Cumberland Valley Mennonite Church

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In 1965 the Washington County (Maryland) and Franklin County (Pennsylvania) Mennonite Conference divided, with the Franklin County, Pennsylvania congregations becoming known as the Washington-Franklin (North) Conference. Bishop Amos E. Martin (1901-1983) became moderator of the northern conference. Although not as conservative as his counterpart in the Washington County, Maryland congregations, where Bishop Moses Horst had led his followers to separate from the Franklin County churches, Bishop Martin still insisted that his members retain a non-conformed life style and appearance. This included requirements for women to wear cape dresses and comb their uncut hair up beneath a head covering of consistent size, and requirements for men to wear the regulation plain clothing. Televisions in the home were not permitted, nor were radios for the ministry. When it became clear that a large component of the Franklin County congregations could not accept these standards, Bishop Martin left the conference with over 300 members and formed the Cumberland Valley Mennonite Church in 1971.

The seven congregations that formed the conference ascribed to the Dordrecht Confession of Faith (1632). Four congregations were located in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and three in Washington County, Maryland.  The four congregations in Pennsylvania were: Rowe, near Shippensburg founded in 1840; Strasburg, near Chambersburg (1812); Burns Valley near Doylesburg (1953); and a fourth congregation that was a mission station and later closed. Burns Valley began as a mission outreach of the Rowe congregation. These congregations were formerly part of the Washington-Franklin (North) Mennonite Conference (later the Franklin Mennonite Conference). The three congregations in Maryland were: Mt. Olive near Maugansville (1971); Lanes Run near Clear Spring (1969); and Yarrowsburg near Brownsville (1965). These congregations were made up of former members of the Washington County (Maryland) and Franklin County (Pennsylvania) Mennonite Conference that had left the Washington County, Maryland district in 1964 due to differences with Bishop Moses Horst.

The Cumberland Valley congregations have been closely associated with the Southeastern Mennonite Conference, and churches in Maryland cooperate closely with the Hope Mennonite Fellowship. The conference also strongly supports the Mennonite Air Mission in Guatemala.

In 2010 Cumberland Valley Mennonite Church had 7 congregations with 392 members, along with three schools: Anchor Christian School, Huyetts Mennonite School, and Path Valley Christian School.

Congregation City State Founded Members
Burns Valley Mennonite Church Doylesburg Pennsylvania 1953 34
Lanes Run Mennonite Church Indian Springs Maryland 1969 25
Mount Olive Mennonite Church Maugansville Maryland 1971 71
Newburg Mennonite Church Newburg Pennsylvania 2007 58
Rowe Mennonite Church Shippensburg Pennsylvania 1840 79
Strasburg Mennonite Church Chambersburg Pennsylvania 1812 87
Yarrowsburg Mennonite Church Brownsville Maryland 1965 38
Total 392


Baer, Nelson. "A Short History of the Rowe Mennonite Congregation."

Burkholder, Harry. "A Brief History of the Strasburg Meeting House."

Mennonite Church Directory 2010. Harrisonburg, VA: Christian Light Publications, Inc., 2010: 60-61.

Mennonite Yearbook and Directory. Scottdale: Mennonite Publishing House (1988-89): 93.

Scott, Stephen. An Introduction to Old Order and Conservative Mennonite Groups. People's Place Book #12. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 1996: 180-181.

Strite, Amos. "Amos Strite Collection," copies at Mennonite Historical Association of the Cumberland Valley, Chambersburg, PA.

Author(s) Clair B Lehman
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published October 2010

Cite This Article

MLA style

Lehman, Clair B and Richard D. Thiessen. "Cumberland Valley Mennonite Church." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2024.

APA style

Lehman, Clair B and Richard D. Thiessen. (October 2010). Cumberland Valley Mennonite Church. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 April 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 214. All rights reserved.

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