Einlage Mennonite Brethren Church in the village of Einlage, Chortitza settlement, Ukraine, Russia, was organized on 11 March 1862, when 18 persons were baptized, and within a few months reached a membership of 91. Abraham Unger and Heinrich Neufeld were the first ministers elected, and Unger was the first elder (served 1862-1876) elected, to be followed by Aron Lepp as the second elder (served 1876-1903). For the first two years the Einlage group suffered considerably from repressive measures by the existing Mennonite leadership, and sent Gerhard Wieler as a delegate to St. Petersburg for help. By 1864 the right of existence of the new Mennonite Brethren group both in Chortitza and in the Molotschna had been granted by both the Mennonite Church and the Russian government, and progress was easier. However, internal troubles caused much difficulty, chiefly due to the radicalism of Gerhard Wieler. The unruly elements did so much damage that Unger lost control and resigned, while the erring members were expelled or reconciled through the intermediation of the Molotschna Mennonite Brethren leaders. Unger later regained his leadership and the church prospered. Einlage and Andreasfeld became the two leading Mennonite Brethren centers in Chortitza, with Einlage in earlier years the larger congregation. Out of a total of 600 Mennonite Brethren members in Russia in 1872, 188 were at Einlage. By 1885 Einlage had six branch congregations and was still the largest Mennonite Brethren church in Russia.
In 1873 the Einlage Church, while under pressure of officials who challenged them to prove their Mennonite status, hurriedly prepared a Confession of Faith. This was printed in 1876. Since it was written at a time when the church stood in a close relationship with the Baptists, it contained much from their Confession; and since the attitude toward the existing Mennonite Church was then somewhat estranged, it included several harsh expressions about the church. This confession of faith, therefore, later proved to be an embarrassment rather than a help and was not fully acceptable to the Einlage Church and still less to other Mennonite Brethren congregations (quoted from Lohrenz, p. 40f.).
The relationship with the Baptist Church was a problem which concerned the Mennonite Brethren Church in general and the Einlage congregation in particular for a number of years. While August Liebig lived in Andreasfeld and did a good deal of preaching in the various congregations, the relationship between the two churches was intimate and friendly. Later Eduard Leppke, a former Baptist from Prussia, joined the Mennonite Brethren Church and soon became an influential traveling evangelist. Leppke, together with some brethren of a kindred mind, took an estranged attitude toward their neighboring Baptists and influenced the Mennonite Brethren Church in this way. After several years a more consistent and more brotherly relationship between the two churches evolved, so that each recognized and respected the autonomy of the other.
The Einlage Church continued to be the leader of the Chortitza Mennonite Brethren group throughout the 19th century, although this group declined relatively in importance in the entire Mennonite Brethren Church. Gerhard P. Regehr was elder from 1903 on; and Preacher Johann Siemens, who lived here, carried on an extensive and effective itinerant ministry. Other significant preachers were Dietrich Klassen, Peter Peters, and Cornelius Fehr. Several of the branch churches became independent in 1885-1914, such as those in the villages of Petrovka, Vassilevka, Elenovka, and Barvenkovo.
Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911.
Friesen, Peter M. The Mennonite Brotherhood in Russia (1789-1910), trans. J. B. Toews and others. Fresno, CA: Board of Christian Literature [M.B.], 1978, rev. ed. 1980.
Lohrenz, J. H. The Mennonite Brethren Church. Hillsboro: Published by The Board of Foreign Missions of the Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Church of North America, 1950.
|Author(s)||P. H Berg|
Cite This Article
Berg, P. H. "Einlage Mennonite Brethren Church (Einlage, Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 21 Apr 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Einlage_Mennonite_Brethren_Church_(Einlage,_Chortitza_Mennonite_Settlement,_Zaporizhia_Oblast,_Ukraine)&oldid=56212.
Berg, P. H. (1956). Einlage Mennonite Brethren Church (Einlage, Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 April 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Einlage_Mennonite_Brethren_Church_(Einlage,_Chortitza_Mennonite_Settlement,_Zaporizhia_Oblast,_Ukraine)&oldid=56212.
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