The congregation's roots extend to the mid-1700s when reports of rich farm land encouraged Mennonite families in Pennsylvania to begin moving down the Valley Turnpike into the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. They settled in close proximity to one other and gathered to worship in homes, eventually deciding to build a meetinghouse on land that included a stand of oak trees and a graveyard containing the remains of early families--including folks with the name of Trissel. This was the first meetinghouse to be built entirely by Virginians. The land was purchased in 1823 from Abraham Neff and wife Catherine for $15. Harry Brunk records that the first church was attended by Brennemans, Drivers, Trissels, Rhodes, Brunks, Showalters, Geils, Branners, Funks, Beerys, and Shanks.
One early Mennonite who followed the route from Pennsylvania to the Shenandoah Valley was Daniel Showalter in 1788. Two of his descendants, Howard Dewitt Hercus Showalter and Mark Cephas Showalter, were instrumental in building the church community. Eight generations of Showalters were buried at Trissels at the beginning of the 21st century.
A log building, reputedly built in 1822, was enlarged in 1848. In 1900 the congregation replaced that structure with a new white frame church 40x50 ft., built on the opposite side of the cemetery. A third Trissels building was constructed of brick in 1950, along with a new parsonage. Trissels added a fellowship hall in 1964 and a new entry way in 1993.
Trissels' history has featured commitment to mission outreach. Ministers like George Showalter, Perry Shank, and Joseph Geil rode a circuit route in the Highlands of West Virginia to bring God's message of salvation. On horseback and later by car, they witnessed and seeded churches. According to Grace Showalter, daughter of Timothy Showalter, this work became known as “Schoolhouse Evangelism.” By 1920 there were 20 such locations. Another ongoing outreach to the local Cedar Run community was Summer Bible school, first offered at Trissels in 1949.
In 2012 worship services were held every Sunday morning at 10:30 with Sunday school at 9:30. Membership was 112. Trissels Mennonite Women met on the second Wednesday of every month for quilting and sewing projects. Several adult small groups have met regularly, as well as middle school, senior high and young adult groups. Recent congregational leaders included council chairs Chris Burkholder and Kent Kauffman, and elders Tim C. Mumbauer, Jewel Yutzy, and Duane Showalter.
The congregation's commitment is to know Christ and to make Him known, learning to let God's healing and hope flow through them to the world.
Brunk, Harry A. History of Mennonites in Virginia, 1727-1900. Vol. 1. Harrisonburg, Va, 1959.
The congregation's archival records are located at the Virginia Mennonite Conference Archives.
Address: 11246 Hisers Lane, Broadway, Virginia 22815
Website: Trissels Mennonite Church
Pastoral Leaders at Trissels Mennonite Church
|Name||Years of Service|
|Daniel Good||1820-? Bishop 1837-?|
|Samuel Shank||1846-? Bishop 1850-?|
|John Geil||1840-? Bishop 1859-?|
|Abraham Shank||c. 1861-? Bishop 1875-?|
|Samuel Shank II||1864-?|
|John Geil II||1875-?|
|Lewis Shank||1883-? Bishop 1901-?|
|George B. Showalter||1901-?|
|Abraham G. Heishman||1911-?|
|J. Hopkins Turner||1914-?|
|Lewis P. Showalter||1922-?|
|John R. Mumaw||1928-?|
|Samuel A. Shank||1928-?|
|Timothy Showalter||1932-? Bishop 1943-?|
|G. Paul Showalter||1936-?|
|J. Ward Shank||1938-? Bishop 1945-?|
|Linden Wenger||1945-? Bishop 1959-?|
|John L. Stauffer||1947-1952|
|H. Michael Shenk||1971-1975|
|Richard E. Martin||1978-1981|
|Gerald E. Martin||1981-1986|
|Eric A. Kouns||1989-1993|
|Paul G. Conrad||1993-1996|
|Philip C. Kanagy||1997-2007|
|Laban Peachey (Interim)||2008-2009|
|Harold N. Miller||2009-|
Original Article from Mennonite Encyclopedia
Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 749. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
Trissels Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA), four miles southwest of Broadway, Rockingham County, Virginia, is a member of the Virginia Mennonite Conference. This perhaps was the location of the first Mennonite meetinghouse built in Virginia. The first building, of logs, was built in 1822, and enlarged in 1848. In 1900 it was replaced by a new frame church 40 x 50 ft., built on the opposite side of the cemetery. The third church was built of brick in 1950. Since January 1948 Sunday school and preaching services have been held every Sunday. The first ministers serving this church were Henry Rhodes, Henry Shank, and John Geil. The membership in 1957 was 123, with Norman Yutzy, a licensed minister, as pastor. -- Timothy Showalter.
|Date Published||July 2013|
Cite This Article
Showalter, Eunice. "Trissels Mennonite Church (Broadway, Virginia, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2013. Web. 30 Jan 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Trissels_Mennonite_Church_(Broadway,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=101310.
Showalter, Eunice. (July 2013). Trissels Mennonite Church (Broadway, Virginia, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 January 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Trissels_Mennonite_Church_(Broadway,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=101310.
©1996-2015 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.