Des Moines Mennonite Church (Des Moines, Iowa, USA)

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The Des Moines Mennonite Church, Des Moines, Iowa, USA, had its roots in the early 1950s when Mennonite young men performed their alternative service in Des Moines area hospitals. Churches established a I-W house in Des Moines, where Sunday school services began in September 1953. The Iowa-Nebraska Mennonite Conference of the Mennonite Church (MC) began in 1954 to investigate establishing a church in Des Moines. Sunday morning worship services took place at the I-W house in 1956 with visiting ministers.

The Iowa-Nebraska Mission Board appointed Willard Roth to lead the mission outreach in Des Moines in the fall of 1956. In late 1956 it purchased a lot intended for a church building and began construction in June 1957 for a combined parsonage and church facility. It held its first service in the new facility on 6 April 1958. The congregation completed a new geodesic-designed sanctuary in 1982.

In 1978, the congregation became very involved in refugee settlement. By 1982, 3,350 Southeast Asian refugees were in the Des Moines area; more than 1,000 were Thai Dam (Laotian). Nearly 100 of the Thai Dan related to the Des Moines congregation, some becoming members. The congregation appointed Ilene Miller to coordinate the congregation's efforts, which included sponsoring five families totaling 20 persons. Ha Bacccam, one of the Thai Dam immigrants, served as a licensed minister beginning in 1984. In 1984 congregational attendance on Sundays was two-thirds Thai Dam.

In 2023 the congregation was part of the Central Plains Conference of Mennonite Church USA.


"The Des Moines, Iowa, I-W group...." Gospel Herald 46, no. 38 (22 September 1953): 914.

"Ha Baccam was licensed...." Gospel Herald 77, no. 22 (29 May 1984): 397.

"The Iowa-Nebraska Mission Board...." Gospel Herald 50, no. 1 (1 January 1957): 13.

Martin, Paul H. "Des Moines church builds geodesic meetinghouse." Gospel Herald 75, no. 29 (20 July 1982): 497.

"The new congregation in Des Moines...." Gospel Herald 51, no. 16 (22 April 1958): 384.

Shenk, Dan. "Des Moines church appoints resettlement coordinator." Gospel Herald 75, no 2 (12 January 1982): 25.

_____. "Teaching them." Gospel Herald 75, no. 25 (22 June 1982): 428-429.

_____. "When Asia comes to Iowa." Gospel Herald 75, no. 24 (15 June 1982): 409-411.

Sutter, C. R. "A need for workers." Gospel Herald 54, no. 6 (7 February 1961): 119.

Yoder, Holly Blosser. The same spirit: History of Iowa-Nebraska Mennonites. Freeman, S.D.: Central Plains Mennonite Conference, 2003: 198-200, 270.

Additional Information

Address: 4001 56th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50310

Phone: 515-276-2379


Denominational Affiliations: Central Plains Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Des Moines Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Willard Roth 1956-1958
Clarence R. Sutter (1921-1998) 1958-1965
John F. Garber (1905-1993) 1965-1967
Wilbur G. Nachtigall (1918-2003)(Interim) 1967-1969
Robert L. Hartzler (1936-2022) 1969-1978
Paul H. Martin (1921-2018) 1978-1990
Ha Baccam (1941-2012)(Associate) 1984-2002
Randall J. Roth 1990-2008
Karen Dalke 2010-2017
John A. Tyson 2018-

Membership at Des Moines Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1960 8
1970 41
1980 32
1990 84
2000 66
2009 69
2020 72

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published April 2023

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Des Moines Mennonite Church (Des Moines, Iowa, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2023. Web. 26 Feb 2024.,_Iowa,_USA)&oldid=175407.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (April 2023). Des Moines Mennonite Church (Des Moines, Iowa, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 February 2024, from,_Iowa,_USA)&oldid=175407.

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