The Windsor Mennonite Fellowship was the second attempt to establish a Mennonite church in Windsor, Ontario. The first congregation met from 1926 until the mid-40s but never achieved autonomous status, remaining a satellite of the Essex County United Mennonite Church centered in Leamington.
The second attempt began as a church-planting project of the Conference of United Mennonite Churches of Ontario. Henry Paetkau, pastor of the Harrow United Mennonite Church, was appointed to lead this project. Week-night Bible studies involving interested people were held in the home of Henry and Mary Janzen; these went from September 1981 to February 1983. On 27 November 1983 Sunday evening worship services began in the basement chapel of Trinity United Church. These services continued until 30 December 1984; on 6 January 1985, the services moved to Sunday mornings and the meeting place shifted to the Remington Booster Community Center. Since Paetkau then had to withdraw as pastor, Henry P. Epp of Leamington, newly-retired pastor of the St. Catharines United Mennonite Church, assumed pastoral leadership on an interim basis. The move to the community center also led to the addition of a Sunday School for all ages.
In 1985 the congregation adopted a constitution, achieved registration as a charitable institution, and on 27 October celebrated "Membership Sunday" at which time 13 full members and 4 associate members formally joined the Fellowship. On 1 August 1985 Jacob W. Dyck was hired as pastor, and he served until 31 July 1987. During his tenure, the first baptism (Cathy Janzen) was held on 7 June 1987.Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada (MCEC), and its meeting place changed twice --: first, to the AKO Community Centre and in 1990 to its own building at 1709 George Avenue. Here an abandoned laundromat was transformed into a meetinghouse, with financial assistance from MCEC, the Tenth Man Program of the General Conference Mennonite Church, and volunteer labor from the Leamington and Harrow churches. Within two years, an education wing was also added.
Erwin Wiens, Windsor's longest-serving pastor in the congregation's early life, gave leadership from September 1993 until July 2002. He and his wife, Marian, then left to work with Mennonite Church Canada Witness in South Korea.
At the annual meeting in January, 2003, the congregation revised its constitution, changing from a traditional church council/ministry council format to an eldership/trustee model.
Conference of the United Mennonite Churches of Ontario. Yearbooks 1984-87.
Driedger, N. N. The Leamington United Mennonite Church: Establishment and Development 1925-1972. Trans. Jacob N. Driedger. [Leamington], 1972.
Janzen, Henry D. "Mennonites in Essex County: the Early Years." Mennogespräch 5.2 (September 1987): 9-14.
Janzen, Mary M., et al, eds. Memories: Sixty Years of Mennonite Life in Essex and Kent Counties 1925-1985. Leamington, 1985.
Kliewer, Victor D., ed. The Mennonites in Essex and Kent Counties Ontario: an Introduction. Leamington: Essex-Kent Mennonite Historical Association, 1997.
Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada. Yearbooks 1988-96.
Schartner, Gisela, and Astrid Koop, eds. Biographies of our Late Leaders and Histories of the Mennonite Churches in Essex and Kent Counties 1925-95. Leamington: Essex-Kent Mennonite Historical Association, 1995.
Tiessen, Dave. "An Examination of Windsor Mennonite Fellowship as a Biblical Congregation in Mission." Unpublished essay, December 1985.
Mennonite Reporter (10 July 1989): 13; (24 December 1990): 13; (15 April 1991): 12.
Windsor Mennonite Fellowship website
Table 1: Windsor Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders
|Henry P. Epp (Interim)||1985|
|Jacob W. Dyck||1985-1987|
|Arthur P. Boers||1988-1992|
|Mathew Swora (Interim preaching)||1993|
Table 2: Windsor Mennonite Church Membership
|Author(s)||Henry D Janzen|
|Date Published||September 2003|
Cite This Article
Janzen, Henry D. "Windsor Mennonite Fellowship (Windsor, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2003. Web. 17 Apr 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Windsor_Mennonite_Fellowship_(Windsor,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=93933.
Janzen, Henry D. (September 2003). Windsor Mennonite Fellowship (Windsor, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 April 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Windsor_Mennonite_Fellowship_(Windsor,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=93933.
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