Tavistock Mennonite Church (Tavistock, Ontario, Canada)

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The Tavistock Mennonite congregation at Tavistock, ON began services in 1942 but was not formally organized as an independent congregation until 1964. The congregation grew from the East Zorra Mennonite Church. East Zorra experienced continued growth through the years, and found that an increasing number of its members lived in town. Many older members living in Tavistock and surrounding areas found it difficult in winter to drive to East Zorra due to road conditions. Bishop Daniel Iutzi had grandchildren living in Tavistock and was concerned that his children and grandchildren would attend church. Minister Jacob R. Bender also carried a vision for outreach in the community. Iutzi and Bender can be considered the founding leaders of the Tavistock congregation. The ministry was shared by East Zorra, Cassel and Tavistock until 1954 when ministered were "stationed" at each location.

Daniel Iutz

When worship services began in 1942 they were held in a public library hall. After several weeks the local Presbyterian church invited the group to use its church. When the Presbyterians sold the building in 1949, the congregation built its own building that it occupied in 1950. The sanctuary seated 275 adults, and new Sunday school rooms were welcome. There were subsequent building programs in 1969 (foyer, balcony, mother's room) and 1998 (new sanctuary and Sunday school rooms with the older building used as a fellowship hall). The new sanctuary seated over 300 adults.


Tavistock Mennonite Church has been blessed with much musical talent over years, and often had used these gifts in its worship services. Worship is in English; the transition from German took place prior to Tavistock's formation.

Tavistock has maintained an active Mennonite Youth Fellowship program for youth; and the women's organization has met monthly from the beginning, doing much quilting and knotting of comforters. Boys and Girls clubs and a Seniors group have also been active in recent decades. Many members have participated in voluntary service with Mennonite Central Committee, as well as programs like Mennonite Disaster Service, Youth Evangelism Service, and SALT (Serve and Learn Together). Some have also served on the mission field in Argentina and Colombia. The congregation sponsored two refugee families from Vietnam and one from El Salvador. In 2003 it cooperated with other Mennonite churches in sponsoring a large Afghan family.

Tavistock has been a growing town, and the congregation has attracted some of the newcomers. Tavistock Mennonite Church has striven to be a mission-minded, inviting and caring congregation. It's vision is to be a worshipping community of disciples in mission.


Mennonite Reporter (26 July 1982): 14; (3 August 1992): 11.

Martin, Wilmer. "History of the Tavistock Mennonite Church."

Ramseyer, Alvin. "History of the Tavistock Mennonite Church." 1972, 4 pp., Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Lichti, Fred. A History of the East Zorra (Amish) Mennonite Church 1837-1977. Tavistock, ON: East Zorra Mennonite Church, 1977, 132 pp.

Bender, Wray L. A History of the Tavistock Mennonite Church, 1942-1992. Tavistock: Tavistock Mennonite Church, 1992, 68 pp.

Church records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Additional Information

Table 1: Tavistock Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders

Daniel Iutzi (Bishop) (shared with East Zorra & Cassel) 1942-1948
Jacob R. Bender (shared with East Zorra & Cassel) 1942-1947
Menno Kipfer (shared with East Zorra & Cassel until 1954) 1942-1959
Joel Schwartzentruber (shared with East Zorra & Cassel until 1954) 1947-1978
David Schwartzentruber (shared with East Zorra & Cassel; "stationed" at Tavistock in 1954) 1942-1968
Henry Yantzi (Bishop, 1948-) 1947-1964
Peter C. Erb 1966-1967
Wilmer Martin 1968-1978
Doug Zehr (Interim) 1978
Gordon Bauman 1978-1988
Nancy Brubaker-Bauman (Part-time) 1987-1988
Rufus Jutzi (Interim) 1988-1989
Darrel Toews 1989-2003
Julie Ellison White 1994-2000
Sherri Carman-Martin 2001-2004
Winston Martin (Interim) 2003
Will Loewen (Interim Youth Minister) 2004-
Laurence Martin (Interim) Dec. 2004-

Table 2: Tavistock Mennonite Church Membership

Year Membership

Author(s) Violet Leis
Date Published December 2003

Cite This Article

MLA style

Leis, Violet. "Tavistock Mennonite Church (Tavistock, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2003. Web. 18 Feb 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Tavistock_Mennonite_Church_(Tavistock,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=93687.

APA style

Leis, Violet. (December 2003). Tavistock Mennonite Church (Tavistock, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 February 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Tavistock_Mennonite_Church_(Tavistock,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=93687.

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