White River Cheyenne Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA; originally Busby or Bethany Mennonite Mission Church) is located on Mennonite Church Road, Busby, on the Tongue River Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana, home of the Northern Cheyenne Indians. The work was begun in 1904, by Mr. and Mrs. G. A. Linscheid, who remained in the work until 1920. Other workers up to 1953 included Agnes Williams, 1905-1906; Mr. and Mrs. P. A. Kliewer, 1908-1910; Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Neufeld, 1911-1915; Alfred and Barbara Habegger, 1918-1949; Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Wenger, 1944-1953; and Mr. and Mrs. David L. Habegger, 1949-1950; Mr. and Mrs. John W. Boehr, 1953- . Over 200 had been baptized by 1953, with a 1949 membership of about 100. Both the Cheyenne and English languages were used in this mission work.
In the early 1950s under the vision of missionary Malcolm Wenger, the church began its slow but significant move from being a church that was operated under the control of the General Conference Mennonite Church Mission Board to becoming an indigenous church. First a church council was formed to help make decisisons that affected the church. Then this council began to handle its own funds. The church began calling itself the Bethany Mennonite Church (rather than Mission). In the late 1960s the church began calling its own pastors.
In 1975-76, a fellowship hall, kitchen, bathrooms, and Sunday School rooms were added to the chapel with the help of volunteer labor. In 1976 at the dedication of the remodeled facilities, the church group decided to change its name to the White River Cheyenne Mennonite Church. (The Busby band of Cheyennes had been known as the White River People since returning from Oklahoma and South Dakota and this name change seemed more culturally appropriate.).
In 2005 the membership of the congregation was 60; Willis Busenitz served as the pastor.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 304.
"History of the White River Cheyenne Mennonite Church Busby, Montana." White River Cheyenne Mennonite Church. Accessed 7 July 2007 <http://www.geocities.com/wrcmcbusby/aboutthechurch.html>
White River Cheyenne Mennonite Church website
Cite This Article
Habegger, Alfred and Sam Steiner. "White River Cheyenne Mennonite Church (Busby, Montana, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2007. Web. 13 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=White_River_Cheyenne_Mennonite_Church_(Busby,_Montana,_USA)&oldid=78802.
Habegger, Alfred and Sam Steiner. (2007). White River Cheyenne Mennonite Church (Busby, Montana, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=White_River_Cheyenne_Mennonite_Church_(Busby,_Montana,_USA)&oldid=78802.
Herald Press website.
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