The Western Ontario Mennonite Conference had its beginning in 1963 when the Amish Mennonite Conference of Ontario (MC) decided to drop the term Amish from its title. The word Western was primarily a geographic designation to distinguish it from the then-Mennonite Conference of Ontario (later Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec, MC).
A number of changes, however, had occurred in the 1950s and early 1960s. The conference received its first official charter in 1956, had discontinued its Sunday School Conference for a much broader Christian Nurture Council, and became a full-fledged member of the General Conference (later General Assembly) of the Mennonite Church (MC). In 1961 a joint church planting agreement with the Mennonite Conference of Ontario was approved, as was the decision to appoint three members to the Board of Governors of the emerging Conrad Grebel College.
In 1964 the first official lay representatives took part in conference proceedings. Acting on a proposal brought to conference by a study committee appointed in 1963, approval was given for all ministers to perform marriages, baptism, and serve communion without a bishop present. The same document provided guidelines for pastoral changes and the appointment of a "ministerial superintendent" to oversee such changes and serve as a pastor to pastors. The term "conference minister" was adopted a few years later when that designation became common.
A new constitution was approved by the conference in 1970 as an ever greater involvement in mission outreach with both the Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec and the Conference of United Mennonite Churches in Ontario (GCM). This development led in the early 1970s to the formation of a full-fledged inter-Mennonite conference (1973), with all three conferences, however, continuing their separate organizations. In March 1987 members of the Western Ontario Mennonite Conference voted to disband their separate organization in favor of becoming a part of the Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada (1988).
Mennonite Yearbook & Directory, 1986-87, ed. James E. Horsch. Scottdale, PA: Mennonite Publishing House, 1987: 92-93.
Cite This Article
Gingerich, Orland. "Western Ontario Mennonite Conference." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 14 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Western_Ontario_Mennonite_Conference&oldid=78791.
Gingerich, Orland. (1990). Western Ontario Mennonite Conference. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Western_Ontario_Mennonite_Conference&oldid=78791.
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