Sonnenberg Mennonite Church Source: Church web site
Sonnenberg Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church
USA), located in Kidron, Wayne County
, now a member of the Ohio Mennonite Conference
, was founded by Swiss immigrants from the canton of Bern
in the early decades of the 19th century. The first settlers arrived in Wayne County in 1819 in what is now the Sonnenberg neighborhood north of the village of Kidron. The congregation made a steady growth but gradually withdrew, culturally, from its kindred Swiss Mennonite congregations in Allen
counties, Ohio, Adams County, Indiana
, and Moniteau County, Missouri
. After 1878, when the last conference of all the Swiss congregations was held at Sonnenberg, the congregation, under the wise and able leadership of its bishop (or elder) Christian Sommer (ordained preacher in 1844 and elder in 1862), remained independent, but gradually formed cultural and informal organizational ties with the Wayne County Amish Mennonite and Mennonite congregations. In 1886 a few members withdrew, partly under the influence of the "Oberholtzer" Mennonite school at Wadsworth, Ohio
, to found the Salem Mennonite (GCM) Church
. In spite of difficulties relating to the transition from German to English and similar matters, chiefly cultural, the congregation continued to grow until in 1935 there were over 500 members. Sonnenberg collaborated more and more with the Amish Mennonite
and Mennonite congregations in Bible conferences, Sunday-school meetings, and similar religious activities. In 1935, 330 members withdrew and organized the Kidron Mennonite Church
under the Ohio and Eastern Conference
. The Sonnenberg congregation suffered a later division which resulted in the organization of the Bethel Mennonite Church
(unaffiliated) near Apple Creek, Ohio
, with 49 members. The Sonnenberg Church had a membership of 168 in 1957, with Louis Amstutz as bishop and James Stauffer as minister.
Umble, John. "David A. Schneck's Notes on the History of the Sonnenberg (Ohio) Swiss Mennonite Congregation." Mennonite Quarterly Review 29 (1955): 276-299.
Address: PO Box 226, 14367 Hackett Rd, Kidron, OH 44636
|| John S Umble
| Date Published
Cite This Article
Umble, John S. "Sonnenberg Mennonite Church (Kidron, Ohio, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 1 Oct 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Sonnenberg_Mennonite_Church_(Kidron,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=96480.
Umble, John S. (1959). Sonnenberg Mennonite Church (Kidron, Ohio, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 October 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Sonnenberg_Mennonite_Church_(Kidron,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=96480.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia
, Vol. 4, p. 580. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press
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