Ames Mennonite Church (Ames, Iowa, USA)

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The Ames Mennonite Fellowship, Ames, Iowa, USA, began in 1976 and grew out of a student center ministry at Iowa State University. Of the 30 Mennonite students attending the University at that time, 20 were actively involved in the Fellowship. With funds acquired from the lowa-Nebraska District Mission Board and Conference, the Fellowship rented a house four blocks south of campus on Knapp Street. The Mennonite Student Center, as it was called, also provided some housing. The Fellowship was also accepted into the Central District of the General Conference Mennonite Church in 1977.

Keith Schrag was installed as the first minister. For a time the church met in his home, but in 1981 it rented space in the Collegiate United Methodist Church when the group grew to 30-40 persons.

On 20 November 1987, the Iowa-Nebraska Conference expelled the Ames congregation. The expulsion, enacted by the Conference Council, was confirmed by the delegate body on 16-19 June 1988. From the point of view of the Conference Council, the issue arose from the position taken by Ames congregation on homosexuality. It said "The Ames group does not see homosexual practice as sin, and therein lies the problem.... Practicing homosexuals were accepted as members without questioning their lifestyle."[1]

The Central District Conference did not expel the congregation, but it did not renew the ministerial credentials of Keith Schrag after he told conference leadership that he could no longer regard sexual contact between men as sin.[2]. The congregation's leadership has since come from non-credentialed laypersons.

At some point, the congregation referred to itself as Ames Mennonite Church.

On 8 January 2023 the Ames Mennonite Church held its last worship service. It's longtime leader, Keith Schrag, moved from the community soon after.


  1. Steven Reschley, "Iowa-Nebraska leaders give firm accounting of Ames expulsion." Gospel Herald 81, no. 30 (26 July 1988): 513.
  2. Rachel Waltner Goossen, "'Repent of the Sins of Homophobia': The Rise of Queer Mennonite Leaders," Nova Religio 24, no. 3: 84.


Holsopple, Mary. "Ames Fellowship under way, Iowa." Gospel Herald 69, no. 22 (1 June 1976): 468-469.

Reschley, Steven. "Iowa-Nebraska leaders give firm accounting of Ames expulsion." Gospel Herald 81, no. 30 (26 July 1988): 513.

Rich, Elaine Sommers, ed. Walking together in faith: the Central District Conference, 1957-1990. Bluffton, Ohio: The Conference, 2003: 79.

Schrag, Keith. "A church for the campus." The Mennonite 99, no. 17 (14 August 1984): 404.

Shenk, Dan. "'We are servants in God's work, Ames, Iowa story." Gospel Herald 74, no. 52 (29 December 1981): 964-965.

Waltner Goossen, Rachel. "'Repent of the Sins of Homophobia': The Rise of Queer Mennonite Leaders." Nova Religio 24, no. 3 (1 February 2021): 68–95.

Additional Information

Meeting Address: Friends Meeting House, 121 South Maple Avenue, Ames, Iowa



Denominational Affiliations: Central District Conference Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Ames Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Keith G. Schrag 1977-1987
Lay leaders 1987-2023

Membership at Ames Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1980 13
1990 24
2000 8
2007 6
2020 6

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published March 2023

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Ames Mennonite Church (Ames, Iowa, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2023. Web. 29 Nov 2023.,_Iowa,_USA)&oldid=175026.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (March 2023). Ames Mennonite Church (Ames, Iowa, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 November 2023, from,_Iowa,_USA)&oldid=175026.

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