A small Baptist congregation was founded in the city immediately following World War II. This also served the spiritual needs of many homeless Mennonites. After 1956, when Germans were allowed to move more freely, a steady stream of Mennonites who had been scattered throughout the land came to Karaganda. The first Mennonite Brethren congregation was founded here in December 1956 and grew to a membership of 900 by 1958. A Mennonite church (kirchliche Mennoniten) was also established, both congregations working cordially with each other. In 1967 both congregations were registered with the Soviet Union's Ministry of Cults. The Mennonite Brethren congregation was permitted to build its own house of worship, which the Mennonite church also used. After 1986 the latter had their own meetinghouse. Preaching and singing was done exclusively in German in both congregations, but exceptions were made at weddings and funerals since Russian-speaking visitors also participated. The probability of increasing use of the Russian language was clear.
Membership in the Mennonite Brethren congregation exceeded 1,000 in 1986. Choirs, Sunday school activities for children, and youth work were carried out. The Mennonite church congregation was not as large. A second Mennonite Brethren congregation, unregistered, met in private homes throughout the city. Circa 20,000 of the 70-80,000 German inhabitants of the city are of Mennonite background.
Wölk, Heinrich and Gerhard Wölk. Die Mennoniten Brüdergemeinde in Rußland, 1925-1980. Fresno: Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, 1981. English translation as A Wilderness Journey. Fresno, CA, 1982.
Cite This Article
Wölk, Heinrich. "Karaganda (Kazakhstan)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 20 Aug 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Karaganda_(Kazakhstan)&oldid=92222.
Wölk, Heinrich. (1987). Karaganda (Kazakhstan). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 August 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Karaganda_(Kazakhstan)&oldid=92222.
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