Bethel Mennonite Church (Lustre, Montana, USA)

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The first Mennonite settlers in the Lustre, Montana area were homesteaders from Mountain Lake, Minnesota. They made land claims in 1915 and moved to the area the following year.

Initially, these Mennonites met in homes. They established a Sunday school in 1917. In 1920 they organized a Sunday school at the Grandview School. In 1924, with the help of Nikolai F. Toews, they organized the Bethel Mennonite Church with 18 charter members. The congregation joined the Northern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church in 1925.

Bethel Mennonite met at the Grandview School until 1928, when the congregation decided to build a church building 26 miles north of Frazer, Montana. It completed a basement by December of that year. The building was not finished until 1945.

With the Northern District Conference's help, Clyde Dirks came to serve as pastor in 1931. He served the Bethel congregations both at Lustre and Volt.

Bethel suffered a loss of members like many rural congregations. By early 1974 weekly attendance had dropped to 20. On 30 June 1974, it decided to close after celebrating its 50th anniversary. It disbanded in October 1974. In the early 1980s, the church building was moved into Wolf Point.


Schmidt, Diena, ed. The Northern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church 1891-1991. Freeman, S.D.: The Conference, 1991: 76-78.

Additional Information

Address: Star Route 120, Frazer, Montana



Denominational Affiliations: Northern District Conference

General Conference Mennonite Church

Pastoral Leaders at Bethel Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Clyde H. Dirks (1907-1969) 1931-1934
Albert Ewert (1907-1966) 1934-1941
Elmer J. Dick (1916-1993) 1942-1944
Jacob L. Hoffman (1917-2003) 1944-1954
Frank W. Loewen (1914-2003) 1954-1958
Walter Dirks (1929-2017) 1959-1965
Samuel A. Fast (1926-2022) 1965-1966
Harold P. Schrack (1936-2019) 1966-1967
Elmer Ensz (1925-2006) 1967-1973
Albert Foote 1974

Bethel Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1924 18
1930 36
1940 66
1950 56
1960 82
1970 74
1974 67

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By H. G. Baerg. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 312. All rights reserved.

The Bethel Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite Church) at Lustre, Montana, began in May 1920 in a little district schoolhouse named Grand View, where the American Sunday School Union organized a Sunday school with approximately 24 pupils, though it was not organized as a congregation until 2 August 1924. In the fall of 1928 a basement was constructed for a meeting place, 2 miles (3 km) east and 26 miles (42 km) north of Frazer, Township 31, Range 44, in Valley County. The church seated 250. The congregation was a member of the Northern District Conference. Its 1952 membership was 62.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published September 2023

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Bethel Mennonite Church (Lustre, Montana, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2023. Web. 29 Nov 2023.,_Montana,_USA)&oldid=177444.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (September 2023). Bethel Mennonite Church (Lustre, Montana, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 November 2023, from,_Montana,_USA)&oldid=177444.

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