The Hawkesville Mennonite Church was established in 1950 as an outreach of the St. Jacobs and Elmira Mennonite congregations when both were faced with increased attendance and limited space. The eighty-six charter members (some 30 were young adults) lived in the rural community surrounding the village of Hawkesville and were willing to make a commitment to a new congregation. An existing United church building (1868) in the village had stood vacant for several years after many members moved away and attendance declined. The new group purchased the building for $100, with the provision that it be maintained as a place of worship. After renovations, the dedication service took place on 1 January 1950. The original trustees in 1949 were David Heintz, Oscar Snyder and Orville Martin. The Finance Committee included Ezra Frey, Ezra Weber and Menno Martin.
On 22 April 1950 Oscar Snyder was chosen by lot for the office of deacon, a position he held until his death in 1977. He was one of the last active deacons in the Mennonite Conference of Ontario. In May 1950 the congregation called V. Paul Martin to the ministry at Hawkesville Mennonite church. Prior to his death Deacon Oscar Snyder requested that the congregation consider the appointment of a board of elders to assist with pastoral care; since that time elders have consistently served in that capacity.
Within its first year the congregation organized Sunday school, Young Peoples' Bible Meetings, a women's sewing circle and a girls' group. From 1950-1965 visiting speakers were invited annually to conduct week-long evangelistic meetings. In 1950 Sunday school enrolment was 120, by 1975 it had reached 215. A number of Hawkesville's members have served in missions and in voluntary service projects. Hawkesville has also sponsored refugees, and actively supports Mennonite Central Committee projects worldwide.
To meet the needs of the growing Sunday school, an annex was added to the west side of the building in 1963, followed in 1969 by the addition of a second floor to the annex, including a balcony. The sanctuary was also reversed at that time, placing the pulpit at the east end of the sanctuary while a new entrance at the south side of the new annex led to a large foyer.
Hawkesville Mennonite church actively seeks to follow Christ in the church community and around the world. Its worship service combines both traditional and contemporary styles and is conducted in English. Over the years the congregations has integrated members from other faiths and cultures, though the first members were largely rural people with a Pennsylvania German background.
Mennonite Reporter (20 January 1975): 14; (17 March 1980): 9.
Snyder, Mabel. 25th Anniversary of the Hawkesville Mennonite Church. 1974, 32 pp.
Mennonites in Canada collection, "MC" (70-Hawkesville) at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Congregational records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
Table 1: Hawkesville Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders
|V. Paul Martin||1950-1962|
|Clifford Snider, Jr.||1962-1965|
|S. David Garber||1972-1982|
|Herb & Shirley Schultz (Interim)||2001-2003|
|Maurice Martin (Interim)||2003|
Table 2: Hawkesville Mennonite Church Membership
|Date Published||October 2003|
Cite This Article
Snyder, Mabel. "Hawkesville Mennonite Church (Hawkesville, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2003. Web. 27 Feb 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hawkesville_Mennonite_Church_(Hawkesville,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=91990.
Snyder, Mabel. (October 2003). Hawkesville Mennonite Church (Hawkesville, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 February 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hawkesville_Mennonite_Church_(Hawkesville,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=91990.
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