Conference of United Mennonite Churches in Ontario

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Several thousand Russian Mennonites immigrated to Ontario after World War I, settling primarily in three areas: Kitchener-Waterloo and vicinity, Essex County in the extreme southwest, and the Niagara peninsula. Under the leadership of Bishop Jacob H. Janzen, those of General Conference Mennonite (GCM) affiliation organized themselves as United Mennonite congregations. Developments during World War II underscored the need for a concerted effort in urban missions and education. Consequently, a provincial conference was organized in 1944. It supported the establishment of a private high school, the United Mennonite Educational Institute (Leamington), and continues to take responsibility for ministry to a growing number of Mennonites in such cities as Toronto, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Ottawa, and Windsor, where new congregations soon emerged. The Hamilton Mennonite Church, in turn, initiated an inner-city ministry, which has since grown into the Welcome Inn Community Centre and Church. More recently, conference mission work has extended to Chinese, Laotian, and Latin American immigrants.

Increasing inter-Mennonite cooperation in education and mission marked the period from 1963 to 1988. The conference joined in establishing Conrad Grebel College in 1963 and in forming the Inter-Mennonite Conference of Ontario in 1973. In 1987 the conference agreed to dissolve in favor of the broader Mennonite unity represented by the emerging Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada (1988). At the time, the United Mennonite Conference comprised 22 congregations and 5,363 members.


Jahrbuch der Vereinigten Mennoniten Gemeinden in Ontario, superseded by Yearbook of the United Mennonite Churches in Ontario (1947-).

Handbook of Information 1988. Newton, Kans.: General Conference Mennonite Church, 1988: 108-109.

Reimer, Margaret Loewen, ed., One Quilt, Many Pieces. Waterloo, Ont.: Mennonite Publishing Service, 1983: 51.

Author(s) Henry Paetkau
Date Published 1990

Cite This Article

MLA style

Paetkau, Henry. "Conference of United Mennonite Churches in Ontario." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 6 Jul 2022.

APA style

Paetkau, Henry. (1990). Conference of United Mennonite Churches in Ontario. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 6 July 2022, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 183-184. All rights reserved.

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