Bethany Grace Fellowship (East Earl, Pennsylvania, USA)

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The Blue Ball Mennonite Church, East Earl, Pennsylvania, USA began in summer 1957 when six families wanted to start a Mennonite congregation that did not have the restrictions that were part of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference polity at the time. Ford Berg, who was completing an interim pastorate at the Zion Mennonite Church in Birdsboro, offered to lead the fledgling group. However, objections by the Lancaster Mennonite Conference led him to withdraw his offer. This did not deter the group, which began to meet in September 1957 at the Blue Ball Fire Company.

The Ohio and Eastern Mennonite Conference made the new congregation a mission post of the Neffsville Mennonite Church. In September 1959 the congregation began to meet in a sandstone building along Route 625 that was a former schoolhouse. It then took the name Bethany Mennonite Church. It began meeting in its own new building near Terre Hill on 2 April 1961.

In 2001 the congregation changed its name to Bethany Grace Fellowship. The congregation believed the "Mennonite" term could imply either a too conservative or too liberal theological perspective. In October 2002 the congregation withdrew from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Mennonite Church USA. It then joined the Alliance of Mennonite Evangelical Congregations.


"Our story." Bethany Grace Fellowship. 2021. Web. 10 February 2022.

Zimmerman, Ann. "Atlantic Coast Conference church." Atlantic Coast Conference Currents 5, no. 3 (May-June 1984): 1.

Additional Information

Address: 400 Reading Road, East Earl, Pennsylvania 17519

Phone: 717-445-6644


Denominational Affiliations: Alliance of Mennonite Evangelical Congregations

Pastoral Leaders at Bethany Grace Fellowship

Name Years
of Service
Abner G. Miller (1909-2008) 1957-1964
A. Willard Shertzer 1963-1968
Herman F. Myers (1929-2019) 1970?-1975
Roman Musser 1975?-1977?
Leon R. Shirk 1977-2010
Todd E. Henley (Youth) 1996-?
David K. Stoltzfus (1931-2002) (Assistant) 1999-2002
Adam Nagle 2010-2019
Chris Smeltz (Associate) ?-?
Steve Benedict 2019-present

Membership at Bethany Grace Fellowship

Year Membership
1960 35
1970 143
1980 148
1990 158
2000 215

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published February 2022

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Bethany Grace Fellowship (East Earl, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2022. Web. 29 Nov 2023.,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=173068.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (February 2022). Bethany Grace Fellowship (East Earl, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 November 2023, from,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=173068.

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