Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church (Arelee, Saskatchewan, Canada)

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Arelee MB Church on 29 June 2008, day of the last service.
Photo by Victor Wiebe
Arelee MB Church on 29 June 2008, day of the last service.
Photo by Victor Wiebe

The Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church, located in the Eagle Creek area, was a member of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. Early pioneers from Kiev, Russia began to settle in the Eagle Creek District from 1897 to 1903. These pioneers had been persecuted for their faith in Russia and had been baptized, sometimes secretly, by Baptists. The Arelee pioneers built two places for worship because traveling long distances with oxen was inconvenient. The first baptismal service was held in 1903. With increased attendance and changing circumstances, the two places were amalgamated. In 1908, two local men, Apalon Melashenko and Luka Krowchenko, were ordained to the ministry by Elder David Dyck.

The first church building was erected on S.E. section 12, Township 38, Range 12, the present site of the cemetery. In 1917 this place of worship became too small and the old place of worship was sold and a new one was erected. In 1946 the building in the town of Arelee was built. The Arelee congregation had a number of ethnic Russians and Ukrainians as members. The builder of the 1946 church building was Ukrainian and could not imagine a church without spires, so he added them. 

In 1993 there were 22 members; in 2000, 19. Archie Jantzen served in 2008 as the pastoral leader. The congregation was also affiliated with the Saskatchewan Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. The language of worship is English; the transition from Russian began in the late 1960s.

Originally the congregation was known as the Eagle Creek Russian Mennonite Brethren Church, and was once a part of the Russian Mennonite Brethren conference.

The congregation celebrated its 100th anniversary in June 2008, but held the final service of the congregation on June 29 as part of that celebration.


Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. "Arelee MB Church." (accessed 24 March 2009)

Diamond Jubilee of the Mennonite Brethren Church, 1908-1968, Arelee, Saskatchewan. 1968, 26 pp.

Mennonite Brethren Herald (27 May 1988): 66; (November 2008). Available online at (accessed 24 March 2009)

Mennonite Reporter (9 January 1984): 4.

Penner, Peter. No Longer At Arm's Length: Mennonite Brethren Church Planting in Canada. Winnipeg: Kindred Press, 1987. Available in full electronic text at:

Archival Records

Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Winnipeg, MB: Volume 601; Microfilms R14, pp. 977–1561; R15, pp. 1–156.

Additional Information

Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church Leading Ministers

Minister Years
of Service
Apalon Melashenko 1908–1940
Luka Krowchenko 1908-1945
David B. Wiens (Assistant) 1943-1955 
Sidor Matiko   1945-1960 
Pete Unrau (Assistant)  1957-1958 
David Bergen 1960-1964
Mark Gripp 1964-1967
Waldemar Gripp 1967-1971
John Siemens 1972-1974
William Danko 1975-1977
Reuben Andres 1977-1984
John Willems 1984-1988
Henry Schmidt 1989-1991
Garth Fisher 1992-1993
Archie Jantzen 1994-2008

Author(s) Victor Wiebe
Date Published June 2011

Cite This Article

MLA style

Wiebe, Victor. "Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church (Arelee, Saskatchewan, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2011. Web. 30 May 2024.,_Saskatchewan,_Canada)&oldid=163599.

APA style

Wiebe, Victor. (June 2011). Arelee Mennonite Brethren Church (Arelee, Saskatchewan, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 May 2024, from,_Saskatchewan,_Canada)&oldid=163599.

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