Bairs-Hostetters Mennonite Church (Littlestown, Pennsylvania, USA)

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Bair Mennonite Meetinghouse, 2013.
Source: Richard Herr
Hostetter Mennonite Meetinghouse, 2013.
Source: Richard Herr

Mennonites settled in York County, Pennsylvania, in the 1700s and met for worship in private homes. Peter Blasser was the first minister known to be ordained in the district, about 1742.

Bairs of Hanover was the first Mennonite congregation to erect a church building in York County. The first log building, constructed in 1746, was replaced in 1774. A new brick building was erected in 1860 and served 48 years until the present brick building was constructed in 1908. The Bair Mennonite Meetinghouse is located three miles east of Hanover.

Hostetters Mennonite Meeting House, in Adams County, Pennsylvania, gets its name from Bishop John Hostetter (26 January, 1791-5 October, 1866). He was a great-grandson of Bishop Jacob Hostetter who came to America as a Swiss Palatinate refugee in 1712 and purchased land in Lancaster County in 1716.

Worship services had been held in private homes but moved to the schoolhouse on the Hostetter farm around 1837. Bishop John Hostetter's will of 1857 bequeathed: "One acre of ground, including the school house and Cemetery to the Mennonite Congregation and for a burying place forever." A house of worship began to be built in 1854. For unknown reasons, the construction was not completed until about 1860 (after 1857 and before 1863). The cornerstone read, “MANO SIMON MEETING HOUSE 1854.” The 1854 building was used 45 years, after which the present building was erected in 1899. The cornerstone from the 1854 building is in the 1899 building.

The Hanover District of the Lancaster Conference maintained one membership but worshiped in three different meetinghouses known as Bairs, Hostetters, and Hanover. The congregation had an alternating arrangement of services between the three meeting houses. This arrangement was maintained until 1975 when about one-third of the membership left the Lancaster Conference and became a part of the "Conservative Mennonite Churches of York and Adams Counties Conference." The Hanover Meetinghouse became a part of the new conference. The group remaining with the Lancaster Conference met in the Bairs and Hostetters meetinghouses.

Summer Bible School was begun in 1968. In 1971, the congregation added an educational wing to the Hostetters building with services every Sunday soon thereafter. A Christian School was established in the basement of the educational wing in 1975. After two years the school was moved to the basement of the Bairs meetinghouse. In the fall of 1979, the congregation requested a transfer from the Lancaster Conference to the Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship (MAMF). This request was granted in the spring of 1980. Richard Herr was ordained as bishop on 23 January 1983 for the Bairs-Hostetters congregation.

Ordained brethren who served the congregation in the past include: John Hostetter, Samuel Myers, Martin Whisler, John Cleggett Miller, Daniel Stump, Peter Shank, David Herr, Harvey Grove, Richard Danner, Melvin Shank, Amos Shank, Norman Bange, James Danner, Alvan Forry, John Forry, Alvin Lecrone, Robert Brown, Laverne Herr, and Paul E. Miller.

In 2013, David Keller and Kirk Diller were serving as ministers, and Donald Weaver was the deacon. Luke Weaver from Lancaster County began providing bishop oversight for the congregation after Richard Herr's retirement.

Sunday morning services were being held at Hostetters with prayer meetings and Sunday evening services being equally divided between the two buildings. Since 2003 the Bairs meetinghouse has also been used every Tuesday evening for the PEACE Ministries work among the youth and single mothers in the Hanover area. As of 1 January 2013, membership was 48.

See also Bair Mennonite Meetinghouse (Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, USA), Hanover Mennonite Church (Hanover, Pennsylvania, USA)


Stauffer, Romaine, ed. Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship 1972-2013. Myerstown, Pa.: Little Mountain Printing, 2014.

Additional Information

Addresses: Bairs Mennonite Church, 6925 York Road, Hanover, PA 17331

Hostetters Mennonite Church, 537 Hostetter Road, Hanover, PA 17331 Phone: 717-632-0595

Denominational Affiliations: Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship


Map:Hostetter Mennonite Church (Littlestown, Pennsylvania, USA)

Map:Bair Mennonite Meetinghouse (Spring Grove, Pennsylvania)

Original Article from Mennonite Encyclopedia

By Ira D. Landis. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 819. All rights reserved.

Hostetter Mennonite Church, established in Union Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania, in 1845, was originally a member of the Lancaster Conference. The church has a cornerstone marked "Manosimon Meetinghouse Built AD 1854; Rebuilt 1899." This beautiful farming community was settled by Mennonites in the mid-18th century. The congregation met in private homes with Bair's Hanover and later a schoolhouse until 1854, when Bishop John Hostetter gave land for a church, and the first meetinghouse was built, later replaced by another one. Services are held here every four weeks. It is part of the Hanover-Bair's Hanover circuit. In 1955 it had 111 members.

Author(s) Romaine Stauffer
Date Published March 2014

Cite This Article

MLA style

Stauffer, Romaine. "Bairs-Hostetters Mennonite Church (Littlestown, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2014. Web. 29 Nov 2023.,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=177190.

APA style

Stauffer, Romaine. (March 2014). Bairs-Hostetters Mennonite Church (Littlestown, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 November 2023, from,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=177190.

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