Ontario Amish Mennonite Conference (Mennonite Church)
The Ontario Amish Mennonite Conference was composed of the congregations of the Amish Mennonite settlement in Waterloo County, Ontario, established in 1824 by immigrants from Alsace-Lorraine and Bavaria, and one small daughter settlement at Zurich, Ontario. In 1957 the Conference had 12 congregations with 2,440 members, 7 bishops, 17 ministers, 6 deacons. Although occasional meetings of the ministers of the settlement had been held in the 19th century, these meetings were discontinued about the turn of the century. Attempts at revival in 1918 and 1923 finally resulted in 1925 in a full organization of an annual conference with a constitution adopted 16 June 1925. Not all the congregations in the settlement joined the Conference, the Old Order Amish congregation and the Nafziger and Lichti groups remaining outside. The Rules and Discipline of the Conference was adopted in 1926. A small schism was suffered in 1956 when a conservative group withdrew at Millbank under Bishop Valentine Nafziger.
The Conference-sponsored activities included: (1) the Winter Bible School under the administration of a Bible School Board appointed by the Conference (first session 1932); (2) the Mission Board organized in 1946, which operated three rest homes and three city missions. A Sunday-school conference was held annually after 1922. The Amish Mennonite Storm and Fire Aid Union has long been operated (since ca. 1865) for the benefit of conference members in cooperation with the other Amish groups in the district. The Conference had not yet become a member of the Mennonite General Conference (MC), although it was eligible. However, it supported generously all the general activities of the Mennonite Church (MC) including the general boards and institutions, and it elects a member on the General Council of the Mennonite General Conference. The Conference did not elect delegates to the General Conference, although a number of its ministers usually attended its sessions. Proposals have at times been made for a merger with the Ontario Mennonite (MC) Conference, but while good relations existed between the two, there was no serious trend in this direction in the mid-1950s.
In 1963 the conference dropped "Amish" from its name, and became the Western Ontario Mennonite Conference.
Burkholder, L. J. A Brief History of the Mennonites in Ontario. Kitchener, ON: Mennonite Conference of Ontario, 1935.
Gascho, C. and J. R. Bender. Bericht der Verhandlungen einer Diener Versammlung der Amischen Mennoniten Gemeinde. 1923.
Cite This Article
Gingerich, Orland. "Ontario Amish Mennonite Conference (Mennonite Church)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 19 Feb 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ontario_Amish_Mennonite_Conference_(Mennonite_Church)&oldid=123669.
Gingerich, Orland. (1959). Ontario Amish Mennonite Conference (Mennonite Church). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 February 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ontario_Amish_Mennonite_Conference_(Mennonite_Church)&oldid=123669.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 65. All rights reserved.
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