Friesenheirn, formerly a village in the Palatinate, Germany, now incorporated into Ludwigshafen, has since the beginning of the 18th century been the seat of a Mennonite congregation, which was in the 1950s called the Ludwigshafen-Friesenheim congregation. At first the Mennonites living in the adjacent villages of Ruchheim, Oppau, Hemshof, Gräfenau, Petersau, Scharrau belonged to this congregation.
The membership has remained constant in spite of several emigrations to America: in 1820 there were 103 members; in 1825, 109; 1834, 120; 1923, 130. In 1784 the congregation suffered severely in a flood; the same fate (Heimatsblätter für Ludwigshafen a. Rh., 1915, No. 5) befell them in 1824 and 1882-1883 because of a broken dam (Heimatsblätter, 1915, Nos. 6 and 7; also Mennonitische Blätter, 1883, 8 and 15).
Originally Hemshof and Gräfenau belonged to the Mannheim congregation. It is not known when they joined Friesenheim. It was perhaps the work of Heinrich Ellenberger, who was the first minister to serve the Eppstein and Friesenheim congregations for a salary. These two churches seem to have long been united (Müller, Berner Täufer, 211). The Ibersheim resolutions of 1803 are signed by Johannes Möllinger, minister of Ruchheim, for the "Ruchheim and Friesenheim congregation." At first meetings were held in private homes. On 21 June 1807 the Friesenheim Mennonites acquired the right to share the Protestant church building in the village for the sum of 400 guilders. The document was signed for the Mennonites by Johannes Möllinger of Ruchheim and Christian Schowalter of Hemshof. When the building was remodeled in 1902, this contract, unique in German Mennonite history, was dissolved for the payment of a nominal sum. The Ludwigshafen-Friesenheim congregation, which was incorporated in 1891 under this name, built a small church on Kurze Strasse 12 in Ludwigshafen, which was dedicated 6 September 1903. Here the conference of the South German Mennonites met whenever a session is held in Ludwigshafen. Ulrich Hirschler was elder of the Friesenheim-Eppstein congregation 1738-1768; Johannes Möllinger, preacher 1754, elder 1768 to at least 1793. Other ministers in the 18th century (found in Naamlijst) were Christian Stauffer, Christian Gebel, Heinrich Plätscher, Christian Schmutz from 1762, Johannes Krehbiel from 1771, Johannes Deutsch from 1774, and Jacob Hackmann from 1774.
The first salaried minister of the congregation was Heinrich Ellenberger (see Eppstein). From 1850 to 1854 Johannes Risser of Sembach preached for the orphaned congregation. Then Christian Krehbiel of Wartenberg, who had studied at Erlangen, was made preacher. After his emigration the Frisenheim congregation together with Eppstein joined Ibersheim, whose preacher, Heinrich Neufeld, preached for the united congregation. Neufeld served until 1869; J. Ellenberger II 1869-1871; Hinrich van der Smissen 1872-1882; Thomas Löwenberg 1883-1917; Emil Händiges 1917-1923; Erich Göttner 1923-1927; A. Braun 1928- .
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 6.
Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: I, No. 1541.
Naamlijst der tegenwoordig in dienst zijnde predikanten der Mennoniten in de vereenigde Nederlanden (Amsterdam 1766 ff.).
Cite This Article
Neff, Christian. "Friesenheim (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 17 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Friesenheim_(Rheinland-Pfalz,_Germany)&oldid=96942.
Neff, Christian. (1956). Friesenheim (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Friesenheim_(Rheinland-Pfalz,_Germany)&oldid=96942.
Herald Press website.
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