The Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal in Montreal, Quebec, Canada) began with informal house meetings as early as 1956 around two missionary families (Harold & Pauline Reesor and Tilman & Janet Martin) sent by the Mennonite Conference of Ontario. Individual contacts led to formation of a Mennonite Students Association; this association was regathered in 1970 by Joe Martin, MD.
A long process finally led the group to meet at the House of Friendship in downtown Montreal (founded in 1973) and to take over the government recognition and registers of a French congregation which had closed. Worship began on 11 June 1978 with a baptism and membership service.
Being far from the conference offices in Ontario and in a very different context from most Mennonite congregations many congregational characteristics have been non-traditional. The varied group agreed to have no sermons (rather meditations), no pulpit and to sit in a circle. Leadership by women, participation by children, discussion during worship, drama and many creative innovations were encouraged. Strong music has played a major role as has frequent lay preaching. The pastors, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) workers along with many members have been involved over the years in prison ministry, inner-city daycare and the care of refugees. The congregation initiated an MVS unit in 2000 after having profited from many MCC volunteers over the years.
As an urban congregation, and the only English Mennonite congregation in Quebec, the congregation attracted people of many different origins. The formation of Mennonite Church Canada in 1999 allowed simpler explanations of the congregation's identity. Mennonite students at McGill University provided most (often short-term) newcomers. Over the years some of these settled in Montreal and formed the core of the church. The Harold Reesor family provided a link with rural Mennonite roots. At the same time the House of Friendship as a refugee center stimulated a church link with a few of the transient refugees.
With most of its members being bilingual, Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal has interacted in various ways with the French context. French children stories, French hymns, and partly-translated messages have allowed some refugees and other French families to be a part of the congregation. In addition the Fellowship has encouraged a French Mennonite church plant on the island. This received special emphasis in 1999 when the General Conference Mennonite Church named Montreal City on the Hill. Involvement with the Conseil Mennonite du Québec has also encouraged links with the French congregations.
A mission church for most of its life, the Fellowship became financially independent in the late 1990s. Never large in numbers and always precarious with lack of family roots, the congregation has nevertheless financed pastoral leadership since 1980. The congregation has had two couples as pastors and in between a single woman, Laura Loewen, as the longest-serving pastor.
The congregation has been affiliated with the Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec (1976-1988), Mennonite Church (1976-1999), Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (1988-) and Mennonite Church Canada (1981-). The language of worship is English.
Deckert-Reesor, Alice, Deborah Martin Koop and Laura Loewen. "Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal: 1978-1993." Unpublished essay, 1993.
Lougheed, Richard, Dory Reimer, Lucille Marr and Dora-Marie Goulet. "Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal: 1978-2003." Unpublished essay, 2003.
Martin, Janet. "Montreal Mennonite Fellowship Launches Formal Organization." Mennonite Reporter (12 December 1977).
Martin, Janet. "Les Mennonites," in Album II du Protestantisme français en Amérique du Nord, ed. Hervé Fines, Montreal: L'Aurore, 1988.
Mennonite Reporter (24 June 1985): 12; (20 August 1990): 25; (6 September 1993): 15.
Address: 120 Duluth Avenue East, Montreal, Quebec, H2W 1H1
Website: Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal
Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal Pastoral Leaders
|Pastor|| Years |
|Robert & Deborah Martin Koop||1980-1987|
|Lucille Marr & Jean-Jacques Goulet||2001-present|
Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal Membership
|Date Published||August 2003|
Cite This Article
Lougheed, Richard. "Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2003. Web. 1 Feb 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Fellowship_of_Montreal_(Montreal,_Quebec,_Canada)&oldid=114536.
Lougheed, Richard. (August 2003). Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal (Montreal, Quebec, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 February 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Fellowship_of_Montreal_(Montreal,_Quebec,_Canada)&oldid=114536.
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