The Midwest Mennonite Fellowship grew out of a number of ministers' desire for fellowship for themselves and their congregations along with the need of a winter Bible School for their young people. Most of these ministers were from the midwestern United States. A few were from eastern Ontario.
On 1 October 1976, 15 of these interested ministers gathered at Fairview, Michigan for a day of fellowship and sharing of concerns. Out of this meeting grew an interest in including others unaffiliated with a conference. At this meeting a committee of three were elected to plan the next meeting. The three brethren chosen were Samuel Yoder (Minnesota, USA), Leighton Martin (Ontario, Canada), and Roman Schlabach (Michigan, USA).
The second meeting was held 8-10 February 1977, at Stone Lake, Wisconsin. This meeting was well attended, with 50 ministers present, along with the representation from the local congregation. A third meeting was held at the Salem Mennonite Church near Kinross, Iowa, 1-3 July 1977. About 500 people attended these services. Interest in a winter Bible school was the main topic of the ministers business session. There was strong support for the school and an association to support it. The latter was organized by 23 ministers gathered at Nappanee, Indiana, 21 September 1977. The first program committee was made up of Leon King (Ohio), Homer Miller (Indiana), and Alvin Mast (Wisconsin). A five-member school board was chosen as follows: Leighton Martin (Ontario, Canada), Victor Miller (Michigan, USA), Arnie Skrivseth (Minnesota, USA), Olen Miller (Indiana, USA), and Samuel Yoder (Minnesota, USA). Thirteen churches joined the Mid-West Fellowship as charter members. In 2001 the fellowship had 36 congregations with a total membership of 2,001.
Midwest Mennonite Fellowship is composed of congregations voluntarily subscribing to the following:
First, an appreciation of our Christian heritage as brought to us through the Mennonite Church, and a commitment by the grace of God to preserve this heritage. Second, an acceptance of the Christian fundamentals of our faith as amended and adopted in 1964 at Hartville, Ohio. Third, a congregational type of church administration, but with an appreciation for a broader fellowship in sharing matters concerning the Faith. Fourth, a commitment to maintain a proper Scriptural discipline.
The Fellowship reserves the right, by vote of the members, to discontinue membership to any congregation who fails to maintain proper Scriptural discipline. Congregations wishing to withdraw membership may do so by submitting a written request to the Moderating Committee, which shall be acted upon thereafter by the members.
A former elementary school building at Lansing, Minnesota was chosen as the site for Maranatha Bible School, a winter Bible school. The building, leased at first and later purchased, has also been used to hold the annual winter ministers' meetings. Bible School begins the first Monday of January and runs for 12 weeks. Total annual enrollment in 1990 was 200 students and in 2010 was 130 students.
Midwest Mennonite Fellowship has also operated Deeper Life Ministries, a discipleship and counselling center in Plain City, Ohio. The property of the former Sunnyhaven Childrens' Home was given to the Fellowship in 1993. Deeper Life also includes a bookstore which can be accessed on the Internet.
Midwest Mennonite Fellowship has affiliated with Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship and Southeastern Mennonite Conference in the board management both for the Maranatha Bible School and the Deeper Life Ministries. The three groups have also jointly sponsored a ministers' study week each October, rotating the location among the groups.
Midwest Mennonite Focus has served as the bimonthly periodical for the Fellowship since 1980. Howard Bean has served as editor since its beginning.
In 2011 the fellowship had 36 congregations with a total membership of 2,166. Although Canada has only 25% of the congregations, it has about 50% of the membership.
|Berean Mennonite Church||Wickenburg||Arizona||1969||27|
|Bethany Mennonite Church||Stratford||Wisconsin||1973||39|
|Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church||Nappanee||Indiana||1955||55|
|Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church||Millbank||Ontario, Canada||1956||50|
|Buck Creek Mennonite Church||Richland Center||Wisconsin||1968||41|
|Canaan Mennonite Chapel||Madison||Indiana||1976||10|
|Conservative Mennonite Fellowship||Fairview||Michigan||1967||6|
|Country View Chapel||Wilmot||Ohio||1994||63|
|Countryside Mennonite Fellowship||Hawkesville||Ontario, Canada||1960||229|
|Crystal View Mennonite Church||Floradale||Ontario, Canada||1984||187|
|Donegal Mennonite Fellowship||Donegal||Ontario, Canada||2009||76|
|Fresh Start Chapel||Washington||Indiana||1988||39|
|Glad Tidings Mennonite Fellowship||Tara||Ontario, Canada||1984||78|
|Gospel Light Chapel||Trail||Ohio||1968||122|
|Grace Fellowship Mennonite Church||Charlevoix||Michigan||1986||10|
|Grace Mennonite Fellowship Church||New Hamburg||Ontario, Canada||1976||65|
|Hartville Conservative Mennonite Church||Hartville||Ohio||1956||96|
|Hillside Mennonite Church||Shoals||Indiana||1969||22|
|Maranatha Mennonite Church||Taylorsville||Mississippi||1996||18|
|Moorefield Mennonite Fellowship||Moorefield||Ontario, Canada||2000||122|
|Moriah Mennonite Church||Plain City||Ohio||1995||23|
|North Liberty Mennonite||North Liberty||Indiana||1992||35|
|Northwoods Mennonite Church||Hayward||Wisconsin||1960||48|
|Otter Lake Conservative Mennonite Church||Parry Sound||Ontario, Canada||1972||47|
|Pilgrim Mennonite Church||Middlefield||Ohio||1959||42|
|Pleasant View Conservative||Cochranton||Pennsylvania||1961||91|
|Prairie Chapel Mennonite||Hutchinson||Kansas||1996||23|
|Prairie Mennonite Church||Blooming Prairie||Minnesota||1974||43|
|Sandy Ridge Mennonite Church||Nappanee||Indiana||1981||126|
|Seney Mennonite Church||Seney||Michigan||1952||9|
|Traverse Bay Mennonite Church||Traverse City||Michigan||1967||41|
|Western Plains Mennonite Church||Raymond||Alberta, Canada||1999||20|
|Woodlawn Mennonite Fellowship||Dorking||Ontario, Canada||1989||121|
|Zion Mennonite Fellowship||Brussels||Ontario, Canada||1963||52|
Bean, Howard, ed. Midwest Mennonite Fellowship: History, Institutions, and Leaders, 1977-2011. Midwest Mennonite Fellowship, 2011.
Mennonite Church Directory 2010. Harrisonburg, VA: Christian Light Publications, Inc., 2010: 88-92.
Mennonite Church Information (2001).
Mennonite Yearbook & Directory (1988/89, 1997).
|Date Published||December 2011|
Cite This Article
Schrock, Dan and Howard Bean. "Midwest Mennonite Fellowship." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2011. Web. 30 Aug 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Midwest_Mennonite_Fellowship&oldid=89950.
Schrock, Dan and Howard Bean. (December 2011). Midwest Mennonite Fellowship. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 August 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Midwest_Mennonite_Fellowship&oldid=89950.
Herald Press website.
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