Bethlehem Mennonite Church (Bloomfield, Montana, USA)
The first Mennonite settlers in the Bloomfield, Montana area arrived on Christmas Day, 1906. They were Chris and Joe Buller, along with brother-in-law Gerald Boese. Other families soon joined them.
In 1908, Fred A. Buller became superintendent of the first Sunday school, held in the Red Top School in Adams, Montana. In 1910 as the group increased, it began to worship in Fred Buller's barn. Because they worshiped in a barn, they called themselves Bethlehem, a name that persisted even after fire destroyed the barn. H. A. Bachmann of Freeman Junior College helped the congregation organize in July 1910.
In 1912 the congregation built a sanctuary on land donated by the Phillips Land Company of Glendive, Montana. In 1950/51, it built a new church building. The church was located 10 miles northeast of Bloomfield, Montana.
Bethlehem Mennonite called Peter P. Tschetter as its first minister. The second minister was John M. Franz, who was nearly lynched in April 1918 during World War I. He then spent several days in jail before being exonerated of pro-German sympathies.
A parsonage built in 1915 burned in the spring of 1943. Another house was moved to the church property.
As part of the realignment of the Mennonite Church (MC) and General Conference Mennonite Church into Mennonite Church USA, Bethlehem Mennonite moved to the North Central Conference of the Mennonite Church in 2000. That conference withdrew from Mennonite Church USA in 2015 and dissolved as a conference in 2017. Bethlehem Mennonite appeared to leave the North Central Conference prior to its withdrawal and dissolution.
Bethlehem Mennonite Church closed in 2018.
Schmidt, Diena, ed. The Northern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church 1891-1991. Freeman, S.D.: The Conference, 1991: 74-76.
Tieszen, Esther. "This church was born in a barn." The Mennonite 104, no. 23 (12 December 1989): 560.
Address: 183 Road 516, Bloomfield, Montana
Denominational Affiliations: Northern District Conference
General Conference Mennonite Church
Pastoral Leaders at Bethlehem Mennonite Church
|Peter P. Tschetter (1886-1976)||1913-1915|
|John M. Franz (1884-1971)||1916-1919|
|John Baergen (1896-1978)||1923-1926|
|John Peters (Interim)||1926|
|David D. Schultz||1926-1927|
|Abraham P. Unruh||1927-1928|
|Jacob F. Sawatzky (1882-1966)||1928-1938|
|Herbert E. Widmer (1899-1990)||1939-1943|
|George G. Dick (1908-1995)||1943-1955|
|Bruno Penner (Interim)||1955|
|Ervin A. Albrecht||1956-1965|
|John W. Arn (1939-2015)||1975-1981|
|Don Freeman (Interim)||1981-1982|
|Jonas Beachy (Interim)||1982-1983|
|Patrick J. McFarren||1989-2000|
|Darrell A. Nefzger||2000-2018?|
Bethlehem Mennonite Church Membership
Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article
By George G. Dick. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 317-318. All rights reserved.
Bethlehem Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA), Bloomfield, Dawson County, Montana, is a member of the Northern District Conference with a membership of 157 in 1953. A group of Low-German Mennonites originally from Karolswalde, Poland, coming here from Avon, South Dakota, in 1906 and a group of Swiss Volhynian Mennonites coming from Freeman, South Dakota in 1910, were organized into a church in 1910 by H. A. Bachman of Freeman. A third group from Marion and Dalton, South Dakota, of Low-German background, moved into the community in 1910 and joined the congregation in 1911. The 1950s-era church was dedicated in the spring of 1951. Pastors who had served the church to that time were P. P. Tschetter, 1913-1915; John M. Franz, 1916-1919 and 1921-1923; John Baergen, 1923-1926; David D. Schultz (lay minister), 1926-1927; Abe P. Unruh, 1927-1928; Jacob Sawatzky, 1928-1938; Herbert Widmer, 1939-1943; and George G. Dick, 1943- .
|Author(s)||Samuel J Steiner|
|Date Published||August 2023|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Samuel J. "Bethlehem Mennonite Church (Bloomfield, Montana, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2023. Web. 29 Nov 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethlehem_Mennonite_Church_(Bloomfield,_Montana,_USA)&oldid=177450.
Steiner, Samuel J. (August 2023). Bethlehem Mennonite Church (Bloomfield, Montana, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 November 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethlehem_Mennonite_Church_(Bloomfield,_Montana,_USA)&oldid=177450.
©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.