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Chicago, Illinois Mennonite Churches in 1953. Mennonite Encyclopedia, v. 1, p. 555

Chicago, Illinois, the second largest city of the United States in 1950 (third largest in 2005), with a population of 3,606,436 in 1950, was the home of nine Mennonite congregations in 1953. Several score Mennonite students could always be found in the many educational institutions of the city. The Mennonite Central Committee customarily held its annual sessions, executive and section meetings in Chicago.

The first Mennonite church (Mennonite Church) in Chicago was organized in 1866 by two businessmen, Peter Neff and John F. Funk. The congregation continued until 1871, when the small meetinghouse was destroyed in the great Chicago fire.

John F. Funk, a co-worker for several years with D. L. Moody, laid the foundations for the publication work of the Mennonite Church (MC) when he started his publishing company in Chicago in 1864, which he then transferred in 1867 to Elkhart, Indiana. Funk published the Herald of Truth and the Herold der Wahrheit, both founded in 1864 and "devoted to the interests of the denomination of Christians known as 'the Mennonites.'"

Chicago has been the scene of pioneer efforts of the Mennonites in city mission work. In many instances the work was begun spontaneously by interested individuals and groups with the conferences subsequently authorizing and supporting the already operating programs. The first Mennonite Church mission in Chicago was established at 145 West 18th Street in 1893 with M. S. Steiner as superintendent. This mission was suspended in 1895 but was re-established in 1896 under the auspices of the Mennonite Evangelizing and Benevolent Board. Other conferences inaugurated mission work in Chicago during the next two decades: Evangelical Mennonite Brethren, 1907; Evangelical Mennonite Conference (Defenseless), 1908; Central Conference, 1909; General Conference, 1914; and Krimmer Mennonite Brethren, 1915.

M. B. Fast and later D. M. Hofer and J. W. Tschetter edited and published in Chicago the Wahrheitsfreund, which came to be the official publication of the Krimmer Mennonite Brethren.

The General Conference Mennonites in 1945 established in Chicago the Mennonite Biblical Seminary in affiliation with Bethany Biblical Seminary (Church of the Brethren).

Following were the Mennonite congregations in Chicago in 1953, their addresses, conference affiliations, and dates of origin: Mennonite Home Mission, 1907 S. Union (Mennonite Church), 1893; Bethel Mennonite Church, Loomis and 14th Place (Mennonite Church), 1950; Mennonite Mexican Mission, 1014 Blue Island (Mennonite Church), 1932; First Mennonite Church, 73rd and Lafflin (General Conference Mennonite Church), 1914; Grace Mennonite Church, 4221 S. Rockwell (General Conference Mennonite Church), 1916; Woodlawn Mennonite Church, 46th and Woodlawn (General Conference Mennonite Church), 1950;  Brighton Mennonite Church, 34th Place and Wollcott (Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Conference), 1907; Calvary Memorial Church, 1217 W. 72nd St. (Evangelical Mennonite), 1908; and Lincoln Avenue Gospel Mission, 2812 Lincoln Avenue (Krimmer Mennonite Brethren), 1915.


Bender, Harold S. Two Centuries of American Mennonite Literature, A Bibliography of Mennonitica Americana 1727-1928. Goshen, IN: Mennonite Historical Society, 1929: 28-32, 143

Fretz, J. W. "A Study of Mennonite Religious Institutions in Chicago." unpublished BD thesis, Chicago Theological Seminary, 1940.

Kaufman, E. G. The Development of the Missionary and Philanthropic Interest Among the Mennonites of North America. Berne, IN, 1931.

Oyer, Emma. What God Hath Wrought in a Half Century at the Mennonite Home Mission. Elkhart, IN, 1949.

Weaver, W. B. History of the Central Conference Mennonite Church. Danvers, 1926: 134-137, 139-140.

Weber, Harry F. The Centennial History of the Mennonites of Illinois, 1829-1929. Goshen, IN: Mennonite Historical Society, 1931.

The Mennonites of Chicago were featured in the April 1953 issue of Mennonite Life.

Author(s) Robert S Kreider
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Kreider, Robert S. "Chicago (Illinois, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 14 Dec 2018.,_USA)&oldid=119170.

APA style

Kreider, Robert S. (1953). Chicago (Illinois, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 December 2018, from,_USA)&oldid=119170.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 554-555. All rights reserved.

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