Bethel Fellowship Church (Fortuna, Missouri, USA)

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Bethel Mennonite Church, Fortuna, Missouri, ca. 1910.
Source: Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College, North Newton, KS: Photo Collection 2011-0100

Bethel Mennonite Church (Fellowship of Evangelical Churches, formerly General Conference Mennonite Church) at  Fortuna, Moniteau County, Missouri, was a member of the Middle District Conference. In April 1866 five families left Wayne County, Ohio, to become the first Mennonite settlers of this community. Others soon followed and on 21 April 1867, ministers John Schmidt and Jacob Pletscher of Summerfield, Illinois, visited the colony to have communion service and organize a church. Nineteen persons took part in this service. The first meetinghouse was built in 1869, enlarged in 1894; it was replaced by a larger church in 1908, with a seating capacity of about 450, which was in use in 2005. The 1952 membership was 137; in 1999 it was 219.

About 1990 the Bethel congregation withdrew from the General Conference Mennonite Church, but maintained its membership in the Central District Conference. At the time of the formation of Mennonite Church USA the congregation switched its affiliation to the Evangelical Mennonite Church (renamed Fellowship of Evangelical Churches in 2003).

In about 2018 the church changed its name to Bethel Fellowship Church.


Bethel Mennonite Church. "Bethel Mennonite Church - History." Web. 30 December 2006. [broken link].

Garber, Twila. "History of the Mennonites of Moniteau and Morgan Counties, Missouri." 7 May 1954. Web. 8 January 2023.

Hilty, P. P. "History of the Bethel Mennonite Church, Fortuna, Missouri, 1867-1942." The Mennonite 57, no. 23 (9 June 1942): 6-8.

History of Bethel Church. Fortuna, MO: The Church, 1967.

Additional Information

Address: 37830 Bethel Church Rd., Fortuna, Missouri 65034

Phone: 573-378-4878


Denominational Affiliation: Fellowship of Evangelical Churches

Pastoral Leaders at Bethel Fellowship Church

Name Years
of Service
Daniel Brundage (1812-1895) 1869-1871
John Schneider 1869-1871
Peter P. Lehman (1846-1919) 1871-1903
Manasseh S. Moyer (1845-1903) 1878-1901
David D. King (1874-1928) 1904-1913
John M. Regier (1885-1960) 1913-1915
Peter P. Hilty (1871-1959) 1919-1926
John D. Warkentin (1889-1958) 1927-1932
Clyde H. Dirks (1908-1969) 1932-1936
Jacob Unruh (1906-1987) 1937-1941
Harvey "Leonard" Metzker (1917-1993) 1941-1943
Howard D. Raid (1912-2004) 1943-1945
Erwin "E. A." Albrecht (1906-1994) 1946-1956
Paul E. Hilty(1915-1996)(Interim) 1957-1958
Ernest E. Porzelius 1958-1963
Abraham Friesen 1964-1970
Russel R. Welty (1924-2011) 1970-1974
Ralph Graber (1927-2002) 1974-1977
Lloyd C. Penner (1912-1983) 1978-1983
Ward W. Shelly (1914-1997)(Interim) 1984
Bruno A. Penner (1928-2020) 1984-1995?
Tom Voth 1996?-2006?
David Zapf 2006-2018?
Jerry Bush 2019-

Membership at Bethel Fellowship Church

Year Membership
1920 162
1930 140
1940 140
1950 135
1960 119
1970 128
1980 159
1990 187
2000 213

Author(s) E. A. Albrecht
Samuel J. Steiner
Date Published January 2023

Cite This Article

MLA style

Albrecht, E. A. and Samuel J. Steiner. "Bethel Fellowship Church (Fortuna, Missouri, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2023. Web. 29 Nov 2023.,_Missouri,_USA)&oldid=174502.

APA style

Albrecht, E. A. and Samuel J. Steiner. (January 2023). Bethel Fellowship Church (Fortuna, Missouri, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 November 2023, from,_Missouri,_USA)&oldid=174502.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 311. All rights reserved.

©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.