Gronau Mennonite Church (Mennonitengemeinde Gronau/Westfalen), in the city of Gronau (1955 pop. 15,000; 2006 pop. 46,500) in Westphalia, Germany, on the Dutch German border 32 miles (50 km) northwest of Münster, was established 4 February 1888, by about 20 Mennonite families living in Gronau and Ahaus, under the leadership of Mathieu van Delden. Services had been held here since 1864 by the pastor of the Enschede Mennonite Church. Most of the families were industrialists, proprietors of the large cotton textile mills in Gronau and a jute mill in Ahaus. The chief families have been van Delden, Stroink, Rahusen, Rommelaar, and Goerke, all but the last of Dutch extraction. The leading Mennonite textile firms in Gronau have been M. van Delden & Co. and Gerrit van Delden & Co. Mathieu van Delden, Jan van Delden, Hendrik van Delden, and Julius Stroink were leaders in the congregation, the latter three having been deacons for a number of years. Though incorporated in Germany and a member of the Vereinigung, the congregation was served in the Dutch language exclusively by the preachers of the neighboring Dutch congregation of Enschede from the beginning until 1922. At the end of that year the connection with Enschede was dissolved and Pastor A. Fast of Leer, later Emden, assumed the pastorate as a part of his circuit and continued to serve to 1956. A considerable number of Mennonite refugees from Russia found help and employment in Gronau in the years 1920-1925.
The first meetinghouse, erected in 1904, was destroyed in a bombing raid in 1944 and was replaced by a new building in 1950. The membership in 1928 was 32 adults and 14 children; in 1954 it was 62 and 18 children.
In 1946-1953 Gronau was the seat of the extensive refugee aid program of the Mennonite Central Committee under C. F. Klassen's direction. The processing office was here as well as extensive housing and hospital facilities of the refugees. Some 1,000 refugees from Russia and several hundred from the Danzig area passed through this center on their way to Canada and Paraguay and Uruguay. A small rest home for incapacitated refugees unable to emigrate to Canada was all that remained in 1954 of the once great work.
Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1864): 183; (1889): 136; (1897): 256 f.; (1900): 226; (1904): 227.
Heeringa, G. Vit het Verleden der Doopsgezinden in Twenthe. Borne, n.d.: 150-153.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 177 f.
|Author(s)||Harold S Bender|
Cite This Article
Bender, Harold S. "Gronau Mennonite Church (Gronau, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 31 Mar 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gronau_Mennonite_Church_(Gronau,_Nordrhein-Westfalen,_Germany)&oldid=101929.
Bender, Harold S. (1956). Gronau Mennonite Church (Gronau, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 31 March 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gronau_Mennonite_Church_(Gronau,_Nordrhein-Westfalen,_Germany)&oldid=101929.
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