Montreal, Quebec is the second largest city of Canada (2006 Greater Montreal Area population 3,635,571 with half of those on the island of Montreal). Until the 1950s the city was a shipping and rail centre as ocean ships could go no further inland. Montreal was founded by Roman Catholic laity from France in 1642 to serve as a hub to Christanize North America as well as a centre for the fur trade. Protestantism was in effect banned until the British Conquest in 1759. The first Mennonite church began two hundred years later in 1958 with the Église évangélique mennonite de Montréal Nord. This was a Mennonite Church (MC) French church plant and closed in 1976. Meanwhile the House of Friendship/Maison de l'Amitié was established by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and the Mennonite Mission Board of Ontario in 1973 at 120 Duluth Av. East in the then impoverished Plateau area near the downtown. This social mission focused largely on daycare and refugee concerns over the years. This building also housed the closing years of the Montréal-Nord church (with primarily Haitian worshippers led by Albert Hodder) and then hosted the new Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal officially formed in 1978. This creative English congregation remained very involved in the House of Friendship/MA activities as the building became the centre of Mennonite and MCC work in Quebec. Two consecutive Hispanic Mennonite missions with pastors Juan Ituriagga in the 1970s and Nelson Castro were begun and ended in the same building. In addition when Montreal was chosen as the General Conference City on the Hill for 1999, an urban church plant the Communauté de Réconciliation was attempted. Only the MFM and the House of Friendship survive in Montreal. Although few in number, Mennonites are known for their refugee, prison and reconciliation work and for peace activism.
Mennonite Brethren (MB) mission has concentrated largely on the suburban area north of the island of Montreal. However in 1967 they did establish a church in the northern part of the island in the St. Laurent area: the Église chrétienne de Saint-Laurent. This congregation at 1775 boul. Édouard-Laurin, also housed the Mennonite Brethren French seminary (IBL which became the École de Théologie Évangélique de Montréal ÉTEM) from 1986 to 2006. In addition it provided space and partnership for Khmer and Hispanic Mennonite Brethren congregations. With a new focus on urban ministry, the MBs concentrated on Montreal in 2002 for their Key Cities Initiative. This led to various church plants in English, Frnech and one multi-ethnic church plant on Montreal island. Of these the largest is Westside Gathering in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. In addition, ÉTEM was moved in 2006 to a more central location near the Université de Montréal. The Mennonite Brethren continue to be known for their evangelism and their quality in theological education.
A new French church plant, L'Essentiel, is pioneering in combining Mennonite Church and Mennonite Brethren affiliation. It is also following the trend of Westside Gathering and Living Room in a non-traditional relational approach to postmodernism.
The Mennonite Central Committee office for Quebec was established around 1987 with leadership first from Debby Martin-Koop, then Jean-Victor and Annie Brosseau and more recently Claude and Muriel Queval. Among their many tasks they fostered cooperation between the two denominations, encouraged Maison de l'Amitié, helped organize Victim-Offender ministries, the annual Peace Festival since 2003 and since 2007 the Société d'histoire mennonite du Québec
Beginning in 1988 a Montreal Church of God in Christ (Mennonite) congregation was established on Jarry St. They are distinctive among other elements in their clothing and in their evangelism in the subways.
Many youth groups visit Montreal each summer for the SOAR programme (MB) or the Learning Through Service programmes and Harmonie (MCC) while Mennonite Voluntary Service (MC) and the Christian Public Service groups (Church of God) have provided young adults with longer-term opportunities for Volunteer Service.
The total membership of all these Anabaptist congregations in 2012 would be less than 350 for the island of Montreal.
Fines, Hervé. Album II du Protestantisme français en Amérique du Nord. Montreal, L'Aurore, 1988.
Histories of the Congregations. Moundridge KS, Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, 1999: 144-145.
Marr, Lucille. "A lonely outpost: the Mennonites Maison de l'Amitié." Journal of Mennonite Studies 24 (2006): 149-167.
Martin, Janet. Archive materials in SHMQ.
Table 1: Mennonite Congregations in Montreal, 2012
|Église évangélique de Saint-Laurent||Mennonite Brethren||1967||65|
|Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal||Mennonite Church||1978||43|
|Église de Dieu mennonite de Montréal||Church of God in Christ (Mennonite)||1988||8|
|Khmer Church (Khmer)||Mennonite Brethren||1996||43|
|Ambassadors Church (Hispanic)||Mennonite Brethren||2003|
|Westside Gathering||Mennonite Brethren||2006||60|
|Living Room||Mennonite Brethren||2010||50|
|Église internationale/Le Rocher/Ég missionnaire de Montréal||MB, Independent, Mennonite Brethren||2003||15|
|L'Essentiel||Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite Church||2012||8|
Table 2: Former Mennonite Congregations in Montreal
|Congregation||Denomination||Year organized||Year closed||Action taken|
|Église évangélique mennonite de Montréal-Nord||Mennonite Church||1958||1976||Dissolved|
|Spanish congregation||Mennonite Church||197?||1987||Disaffiliated|
|Église de la Persévérance||Mennonite Brethren||1988||1992||Merged with Saint-Laurent|
|Église Shalom (hispanic)||Mennonite Church||c1990||1996||Dissolved|
|Communauté de Réconciliation||Mennonite Church||1998||2001||Closed church plant|
|Journey Fellowship||Mennonite Brethren||2003||2009||Closed church plant|
|Date Published||November 2012|
Cite This Article
Lougheed, Richard. "Montreal (Quebec, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2012. Web. 30 May 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Montreal_(Quebec,_Canada)&oldid=95910.
Lougheed, Richard. (November 2012). Montreal (Quebec, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 May 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Montreal_(Quebec,_Canada)&oldid=95910.
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