The North End Mennonite Brethren Church began in 1907 after Johann Warkentin, leading minister in the Winkler Mennonite Brethren Church, had gathered believers for the purpose of establishing a Mennonite Brethren mission (known as the Winnipeg City Mission) and congregation in Winnipeg. In 1911 the congregation began to meet in a small chapel on Burrows Avenue. The congregation formally organized in 1913, at which time the Northern District (Canadian) Conference took over responsibility for the young church. Originally North End, South End, and North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren were under one organization, along with a number of rural branches in Springstein, Marquette, McAuley, Foxwarren and Moosehorn-Ashern.
Throughout the 1920s many Mennonites immigrated to Winnipeg from the Soviet Union, and by 1929 a new sanctuary was erected on College Avenue. In 1953, a decision was reached to leave that location and build a new church on Henderson Highway, then called Kelvin Street. It was named the Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church and was completed in 1954.
The proximity of the Mennonite Brethren Bible College accounted for the fact that staff and students attended services at Elmwood and enriched the life of the congregation. In the 1950s, besides offering the usual German meetings, English services were begun. German Bible conferences, known as Bibelbesprechungen, were held annually between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Speakers dealt with a scriptural theme or a portion of the Bible, frequently a Pauline epistle.
I. W. Redekopp served as pastor of the church from 1953 to 1967, a span of 14 years during which church membership increased to over 600. During the 1980s and 1990s, events to remember included Back Yard Bible Days, replacing the Daily Vacation Bible School; involvement in construction of houses for Habitat for Humanity; Pie Factory, an evening program for young people under Wally Schmidt’s leadership; and the beginning of an Early Service, which ended when the majority of attendees opted to transfer their membership to River East MB Church.
The German Service, which has been a feature of Elmwood since its beginning, received a renewed stimulus in the 1990s, when young families came from South America. Abe and Irene Neufeld took on responsibility for its further development. In 1995, the Saturday night Tehila service began, an outlet of praise and worship for many, particularly young people. In that same year, many members from the Central MB Church joined Elmwood. This provided an important boost in Elmwood’s membership, in the number of children in Sunday school, and in workers in many areas of church programs. In 1997, Keith Poysti became pastor of the congregation, marking a transition to a younger leadership.
The Elmwood congregation has from the outset established a number of ministries in order to be a witness in the community, such as Summer Day Camp, Children’s midweek clubs, Ladies Morning Out, and Community Kitchen. It has also worked at partnering with neighboring churches, like the Christian Family Centre, to address the needs of the Elmwood Community.
Canadian Mennonite (20 May 1960), 17.
Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church: pictorial history 1970 (1970), 63 pp. Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies.
Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church. "Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church History." July 2007. Web. 14 July 2011. http://www.embchurch.ca/.
Klassen, Catherine. "Early History of North End and Elmwood MB Church." 5 pp. Mennonite Historical Society of Canada collection, Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Mennonite Brethren Herald (27 May 1988): 42.
Penner, Peter. No Longer at Arm's Length: Mennonite Brethren Church Planting in Canada. Winnipeg, MB : Kindred Press, 1987.
Thiessen, Anna. "Die Entstehung und Entwickelung der Mennoniten Brueder Gemeinde in Winnipeg, 1907-1966." 1966, 152 pp. Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies.
Toews, John A. A History of the Mennonite Brethren Church: Pilgrims and Pioneers. 1975: 162.
Archival Records:Church records at Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies.
Address: 145 Henderson Highway, Winnipeg MB R2L 1L4
Website: Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church
Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba (1929-present)
Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1929-present)
General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1929-2003)
Elmwood MB Church Leading Ministers
|Wilhelm J. Bestvater||1913-1921|
|C. N. Hiebert||1925-1936|
|Franz F. Isaak||1936-1939|
|Franz C. Thiessen||1939-1943|
|B. B. Fast||1943-1949|
|David K. Duerksen||1949-1953|
|I. W. Redekopp||1953-1967|
|William J. Schmidt||1967-1972|
|Peter R. Toews||1977-1979|
|Jacob J. "Jay" Neufeld||1983-1987|
Elmwood MB Church Membership
|Author(s)||I. W. Redekopp|
|Richard D. Thiessen|
|Date Published||March 2012|
Cite This Article
Redekopp, I. W. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2012. Web. 3 Jun 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Elmwood_Mennonite_Brethren_Church_(Winnipeg,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=87349.
Redekopp, I. W. and Richard D. Thiessen. (March 2012). Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 3 June 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Elmwood_Mennonite_Brethren_Church_(Winnipeg,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=87349.
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