Wopke (Wopco, Wopko) Molenaar, a German Mennonite preacher, was born 30 September 1739, at Workum, Dutch province of Friesland, the son of Hylke Hessels, owner of a large sawmill. He studied at the Lamist seminary in Amsterdam, served at Franeker 1767-1770, and in 1770 became the first theologically educated preacher of the Mennonite congregation in Krefeld. An endowment from the von der Leyen family (1766) enabled the Krefeld congregation to request the seminary to send a trained preacher. Molenaar and Sino van Abbema came. Van Abbema served in Krefeld 1771-1788. The funeral address given by Molenaar at the burial of the last lay preacher, Wynand Peter Wynandsz (1777), indicated that the transition from the lay to a salaried ministry was not easy for either the congregation or the minister. Especially the spiritualistic circles appear to have remained aloof, probably in view of the "enlightened" position of the new preachers. That Molenaar was rationalistic is proved by his membership in the "enlightened" circle of Engelbert von Bruck. Wopke Molenaar was married to Hester Tirion, of Krefeld. He was the progenitor of the Molenaar family in Krefeld. He died on 27 April 1794.
Beiträge zur Geschichte rheinischer Mennoniten. Schriftenreihe des Mennonitischen Geschichtsvereins, No. 2, (1939).
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 146 f.
Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: II: 2350.
Rembert, K. "Zur Geschichte der Crefelder Familie Molenaar." Heimat 4: 189 ff.
 Cite This Article
Cattepoel, Dirk. "Molenaar, Wopke (1739-1794)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 4 May 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Molenaar,_Wopke_(1739-1794)&oldid=111870.
Cattepoel, Dirk. (1957). Molenaar, Wopke (1739-1794). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 May 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Molenaar,_Wopke_(1739-1794)&oldid=111870.
Herald Press website.
©1996-2016 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.