Bucher, Simon Gingrich (1887-1972)

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Simon Gingrich Bucher: minister, bishop and conference leader, was born 24 January 1887 in South Annville Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, USA to Allen Dohner Bucher (2 September 1861-18 June 1932) and Mary Gingrich Bucher (26 February 1865-28 January 1949). Simon was the oldest child in a family of five sons and four daughters. On 20 November 1909 Simon married Sallie Bachman (17 February 1888-21 May 1962). Simon and Sallie had three children who all died in infancy. After Sallie’s death, Simon married Elizabeth Harnish Nissley Lutz (17 October 1900-1 April 1994). Simon Bucher died 5 July 1972 after a series of strokes that began in the late 1960s. Simon and Sallie are buried in the Gingrich Mennonite Cemetery in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.

Simon Bucher was raised on his parents’ farm. His father was a minister in the Church of the Brethren. After working on the family farm for five years after graduating from high school, Simon briefly attended Elizabethtown College 1907-1908, but left after suffering health issues.

Simon and Sallie Bucher were baptized into the Church of the Brethren in the early 1910s. In March 1916 Simon Bucher was ordained as a deacon at the Long’s Church of the Brethren. In March 1919 he was ordained as a minister, and on 7 September 1929 was elected to the office of elder.

During the 1930s Bucher was concerned about changes taking place within the Church of the Brethren denomination, including acceptance of jewelry, wedding rings, cut hair and divorce and remarriage. He began to attend nearby Mennonite services while remaining active in the Church of the Brethren. On 17 June 1936 Simon Bucher resigned his charge in the Church of the Brethren. On 13 October 1938 Simon and Sallie were received into the Gingrich Mennonite Church.

On 25 December 1938 Bucher was recognized as a Mennonite minister, and was asked to serve as the leader of the Dohner Mennonite Church. He was ordained by lot as bishop for the Lebanon District of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference on 29 February 1940.

Simon Bucher introduced some changes new to his bishop district. These included regular ministers’ meetings, use of a recording secretary at such meetings, restricting votes on ordination candidates to the congregation seeking a leader, and requiring more than one vote for nomination to the lot for ordination. His service as bishop included 29 years in the Lebanon District, several years in the Cumberland County District, and four years for the Lancaster Conference churches in Florida and Alabama.

From 1953 to 1966 Simon served as assistant moderator of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference. Following one conference session he said, “One thing I have learned is, that when an issue is being discussed, do not become too quick to take a vote because your best thinking men do not speak first. After they have spoken, take a vote.”

In 1968 Simon Bucher was one of five bishops that withdrew from the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, which led to the formation of the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church, but his health issues prevented him from taking a leadership role in that group.


“Elizabeth H. Harnish.” SAGA (Swiss Anabaptist Genealogical Association) Genealogical Website. Web. 18 February 2019.

Newswanger, Timothy. “Simon Bucher (1887-1972).” The Historical Journal 16, no. 1 (April 2010): 4.

“Simon G Bucher.” Find a Grave. 17 June 2008. Web. 18 February 2019. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/27625371/simon-g-bucher.

“Simon Gingrich Bucher, Bishop.” SAGA (Swiss Anabaptist Genealogical Association) Genealogical Website. Web. 18 February 2019.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published February 2019

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Steiner, Samuel J. "Bucher, Simon Gingrich (1887-1972)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2019. Web. 28 Sep 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bucher,_Simon_Gingrich_(1887-1972)&oldid=165090.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (February 2019). Bucher, Simon Gingrich (1887-1972). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 September 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bucher,_Simon_Gingrich_(1887-1972)&oldid=165090.

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