Franconia Mennonite Church, located near Franconia, Montgomery County, Pennyslvania, the largest congregation in the Franconia Mennonite Conference, had a membership of 800 in 1953. The earliest building, probably a log house erected before 1748, served for both school and church services. This building was replaced by a stone structure in 1833 which was enlarged in 1866 and razed in 1892. The next building, built in 1892 and enlarged in 1917, seated over 1,000 people. Since 1769 Franconia has served as the meeting place for the semiannual sessions of the Franconia Mennonite Conference.
Among the outstanding leaders of Franconia were bishops Henry Funck (died 1760), his son Christian Funk (1731-1811), Jacob Gottschalk (1769-1845), Josiah Clemmer (1827-1905), A. G. Clemmer (1867-1939), and preachers Henry Nice (1804-1883) and Michael Moyer (1836-1912). The first minister to preach in English, Menno B. Souder, ordained in 1914, was still serving the congregation in 1953.
The Franconia Almsbook (1767- ) is a valuable record signed by the ordained men of Franconia and four other congregations in the Franconia Conference District. (See J. C. Wenger, "Alms Book of the Franconia Mennonite Church 1767-1836," Mennonite Quarterly Review X, 1936, 161-72.)
The Sunday school at first served as a medium for teaching the German language. In 1871 or 1872 such a school was founded by Preacher Henry Nice. Sessions were held in the near-by schoolhouse during summer. By 1876 it became a Sunday afternoon school and was held in the meetinghouse. By 1918 it became an all year Sunday school.
In the early 1950s church services were held every two weeks Sunday mornings, and Sunday-school sessions were held in the afternoon. On the alternate Sunday when there were no services, Sunday school convened in the morning. Evening services every four weeks were begun in 1938. The ministers in 1953 were Menno B. Sauder, E. D. Derstine, with Arthur Ruth serving as bishop from the outside.
Address: 613 Harleysville Pike, Telford, Pennsylvania
Website: Franconia Mennonite Church
Cite This Article
Leatherman, Quintus. "Franconia Mennonite Church (Telford, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 7 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Franconia_Mennonite_Church_(Telford,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=80930.
Leatherman, Quintus. (1956). Franconia Mennonite Church (Telford, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Franconia_Mennonite_Church_(Telford,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=80930.
Herald Press website.
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