Bethel Mennonite Church (Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA)
Bethel Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake, Minnesota, organized on 8 November 1889 and was a charter member of the Northern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church. The members of this congregation are mainly the descendants of Russian Mennonite immigrants from the Molotschna who settled in the vicinity of Mountain Lake from 1873 to 1878.
The Hochfeld Mennonite Church divided in 1888 over a disagreement about holding Sunday school classes in the church sanctuary. Elder Aaron Wall, the congregation's leader, drafted a 28-page church ordinance that became the basis of the Bruderthaler (Evangelical Mennonite Brethren) church. Others, led by H. H. Regier, rejected the Wall document that insisted on no political involvement, including voting in local elections.
The Regier group met in homes for Sunday school and then in a school building in Mountain Lake. In November 1889, Elder Christian Kaufman of Freeman, South Dakota, ordained H. H. Regier as the minister and helped to organize the congregation.
The Bethel congregation built a church in 1890, followed by a larger building in 1895. It erected a new building in 1942 and added an educational wing in 1962.
Women were given a vote in congregational meetings in 1929. The transition from German to English took place during World War II. The congregation practiced feetwashing as a rite until 1945. The congregation used an organ for musical accompaniment almost from the beginning, starting in the Sunday school and soon following in the worship services. The Women's Sewing Society began in 1885, before the church division, when 12 women met in homes. A women-led Bethel Mission Society began in 1914, raising money for mission projects both in North America and abroad.
Schmidt, Diena, ed. The Northern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church 1891-1991. Freeman, S.D.: The Conference, 1991: 50-53.
Toews, W. J. Bethel Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake, Minnesota : historical highlights, 1889-1943. Mountain Lake, Minnesota: Bethel Mennonite Church, 1942. Available in full electronic text at: https://archive.org/details/bethelmennonitec00unse.
Address: 301 North 9th Street, Mountain Lake, Minnesota (Co-ordinates 43.938889 -94.931944)
Website: Bethel Mennonite Church
General Conference Mennonite Church (Until 2002)
Mennonite Church USA (2002-present)
Pastoral Leaders at Bethel Mennonite Church
|Heinrich H. "H. H." Regier (1855-1933)||1889-1926|
|Jacob J. "J. J." Balzer (1860-1946)||1926-1933|
|John Bartel (1898-1975)||1933-1940|
|Peter R. Schroeder (1888-1941)||1940-1941|
|Peter A. Penner (1871-1949)||1941|
|Erland Waltner (1914-2009)||1941-1949|
|Abraham W. "A. W." Friesen (1892-1984)||1949-1950|
|Walter A. Gering (1908-1996)||1950-1959|
|Orlando A. Schmidt (1924-2002)||1952-1960|
|Albert M. Gaeddert (1907-2002)||1959-1966|
|Malcolm Wenger (1919-2003)||1961-1962|
|Henry V. Friesen||1963-1965|
|George S. Rempel||1966-1967|
|Harris H. Waltner (1925-2012)||1973-1984|
|Norman Geissinger (Assistant)||1988|
|Jeffrey Minor (Associate)||1989-1994|
|Byron Emmert (Assistant)||1989|
|Eldin Claassen (Interim)||1994-1998?|
|Amy Nissley (Associate)||2005-2011|
|Gene Miller (Interim)||2021-2022|
|Lauren Harder (Visitation)||?-|
|Jack Scandrett (Interim)||2023-|
Membership at Bethel Mennonite Church
Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article
By Walter A. Gering. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 312. All rights reserved.
Bethel Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA), located in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, formerly called the Mennonite Bethel Church, is a member of the Central Plains Mennonite Conference (formerly Northern District Conference). Having begun with 47 charter members in 1889, the congregation grew to an active membership of 698 in 1952 (407 in 2005). The congregation has built three churches—the first in 1890, the second, an enlargement of the first, in 1894, and the third, a brick building with a seating capacity of about 970, in 1941.
The members of this congregation are mainly the descendants of Russian Mennonite immigrants from the Molotschna who settled in the vicinity of Mountain Lake, 1873-1878. The eight family names which occurred most frequently in the 1950s church register were Fast, Peters, Schroeder, Franz, Dick, Friesen, Stoesz, and Penner. The Low German dialect was still commonly spoken in many of the homes in the 1950s. About one half of the members of the congregation at that time lived on farms while most of the others resided in Mountain Lake, a village of about 1,900 in 1950 (2,082 in 2000), making their living in business establishments, construction work, domestic and professional services, small industries, day labor, and in various other small-town occupations.
The elders who served this congregation to 1950 were: Heinrich H. Regier, 1889-1926; Jacob J. Balzer, 1926-1933; John Bartel, 1933-1940; Peter R. Schroeder, 1940-1941; Peter A. Penner, 1941; Erland Waltner, 1941-1949; and Walter Gering, 1950. From 1942 to 1953 Susanna Nickel Schroeder (Mrs. Peter R. Schroeder) was employed as a salaried church worker.
|Author(s)||Samuel J Steiner|
|Date Published||August 2023|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Samuel J and Bert Friesen. "Bethel Mennonite Church (Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2023. Web. 29 Nov 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethel_Mennonite_Church_(Mountain_Lake,_Minnesota,_USA)&oldid=177381.
Steiner, Samuel J and Bert Friesen. (August 2023). Bethel Mennonite Church (Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 November 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethel_Mennonite_Church_(Mountain_Lake,_Minnesota,_USA)&oldid=177381.
©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.