East Fairview Mennonite Church (Milford, Nebraska, USA)

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East Fairview Mennonite Church, Milford, Nebraska.
Souce: Tom McLaughlin

The East Fairview Mennonite Church, Milford, Seward County, Nebraska, USA, was rooted in the migration of Amish Mennonite families in the early 1870s from Ohio and Illinois to Nebraska.

Church Services and Sunday School started in 1875. These services, in the German language, took place in homes every two weeks--one week with worship services, the other week with Sunday School. In October 1875, the first communion service was held at the home of J. M. T. Miller. Paul P. Hershberger, a native of Ohio, moved to Milford, Nebraska in Spring 1876. The church was organized that same spring with 23 members and P. P. Hershberger, who had been ordained earlier in Kalona, Iowa, became the first resident pastor.

The settlement grew rapidly, and the congregation decided to build a 28 ft. x 40 ft meetinghouse in 1878. Six years later, the congregation need to lengthen the building by extending the east end 16 feet. By 1890, two wings, each 16 ft. by 18 ft. were added onto the north and south sides of the west end of the main building. In 1906 the congregation built a new 46 ft. x 70 ft. meetinghouse that it dedicated on 16 December 1906. This building lasted 44 years with some modifications such as adding a balcony.

The congregation's first name was Fairview Church because of its elevation from which there is a "fair" view of many surrounding farms. When another church organized five miles west of the Fairview Church, it was necessary to differentiate the two; hence East Fairview and West Fairview.

Until 1920, the congregation was known as an Amish Mennonite Church under the Western District Amish Mennonite Conference which organized in 1890. Joseph Schlegel was the moderator of this first conference and of nine succeeding ones. The Western District extended from the western line of Indiana to the Pacific coast, and from the Canadian line to the Mexican border. When the Amish Mennonite and Mennonite district conferences began to merge, East Fairview joined the new Iowa-Nebraska Mennonite Conference of the Mennonite Church (MC).

The East Fairview Church was the mother church of 11 churches. The eight in Nebraska are Chappell (1890), Salem at Shickley (1891), West Fairview (1905), Wood River (1905), Broken Bow (1923), Milford Mennonite (1925), First Mennonite, Lincoln (1958) co-sponsored by East Fairview, Milford Mennonite and West Fairview, and North Side Chapel, Omaha (1966). The three churches outside Nebraska were Thurman, Colorado, Tofield, Alberta and Miller, South Dakota.

The first Young Peoples’ Bible Meeting was held on 16 February 1896. In 1920 the question of sewing for missions and the needy came before the church. It gave permission to have a sewing gathering whenever there was a call for clothing. The women met in homes every several months or perhaps twice a year. The first meeting was held in the Joe Yeackley home in April 1920, with eleven women present.

A major division at East Fairview occurred in 1925 when ministers L. O. Schlegel and Will Schlegel and a number of members left and started the Amish Mennonite Church in Milford with 81 charter members. It was later known as the Milford Mennonite Church. In November 1957 a more progressive segment of 13 families withdrew and organized the Bellwood Mennonite Church with 39 charter members.

East Fairview remained more conservative than most other congregations in the Iowa-Nebraska Conference. It did not adopt the denomination's new hymnal in 1968. Questions about women's dress, hairstyles, and jewelry continued at East Fairview long after other congregations. It stopped using Sunday School material published by the Mennonite Publishing House and engaged less and less with the district conference. By the mid-1990s few ties to the denomination remained.

When the realignment of the Mennonite Church (MC) and General Conference Mennonite Church into Mennonite Church USA took place in 2001, East Fairview Mennonite withdrew and became an independent Mennonite congregation. Sometime in the mid-2010s it joined the Conservative Mennonite Conference.


[Yeackley, Eva]. East Fairview Mennonite Church 1876-1976. Milford: East Fairview Mennonite Church, 1976. Available in full electronic text at: https://archive.org/details/eastfairviewmenn00yeac.

Yoder, Holly Blosser. The same spirit: History of Iowa-Nebraska Mennonites. Freeman, S.D.: Central Plains Mennonite Conference, 2003: 247-251, 268.

Additional Information

Address: 508 280th, Milford, Nebraska

Phone: 402-761-2836

Website: https://www.facebook.com/eastfairviewchurch/

Denominational Affiliations: Rosedale Network of Churches

Pastoral Leaders at East Fairview Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Paul P. "P. P." Hershberger (1840-1908) 1876-1890
Joseph Gascho (1841-1902) 1878-1902
Joseph Schlegel (1837-1913)(Bishop) 1879-1913
Joseph Rediger (1847-1938) 1881-1938
Jacob Stauffer (1850-1923) 1895-1923
Nicholas E. "N. E." Roth (1870-1939)
William Schlegel (1880-1949) 1912-1925
Joseph E. Zimmerman (1880-1949)(Bishop) 1920-1949
George S. Miller (1887-1978) 1919-1938
Ammon "A. M." Miller (1895-1973)
Oliver Roth (1909-2010) 1950-1981
Norman D. Beckler 1970-1979?
Auris E. Roth (1931-2019) 1982-1983
Lloyd L. Gingerich 1983-1998
William J. Saltzman 1989-2017
Anthony L. Troyer 1999-2010?
Brad Roth 2013?-
Kyle Roth 2016?-

East Fairview Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1878 50
1890 168
1913 321
1920 332
1930 400
1940 440
1950 390
1960 354
1970 328
1980 375
1990 216
2000 252
2011 155
2022 158

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Ammon M. Miller. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 119. All rights reserved.

The East Fairview Mennonite Church, Milford, Seward County, Nebraska, was a member of the Iowa-Nebraska Mennonite Conference. The first communion service was held in 1875, with 11 members, and the first meetinghouse was built in 1878 and dedicated with a membership of 50. The 1954 membership was 440. Bishops who served this congregation up to 1954 were Joseph Schlegel, N. E. Roth, P. R. Kennel, and J. E. Zimmerman; ministers were P. P. Hershberger, Joseph Gasho, Joseph Rediger, Jacob Stauffer, William Schlegel, and George S. Miller.

In 1954 the ministers were Ammon Miller and Oliver Roth, with W. R. Richer serving as bishop.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published August 2023

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "East Fairview Mennonite Church (Milford, Nebraska, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2023. Web. 26 Feb 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=East_Fairview_Mennonite_Church_(Milford,_Nebraska,_USA)&oldid=176484.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (August 2023). East Fairview Mennonite Church (Milford, Nebraska, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 February 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=East_Fairview_Mennonite_Church_(Milford,_Nebraska,_USA)&oldid=176484.

©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.