Ebenezer Mennonite Church (Bluffton, Ohio, USA)

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The Ebenezer Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite), located two miles (three km) east of Bluffton, Ohio, was a member of the Middle District Conference (later Central District Conference). This congregation formed one of the two centers of the original Swiss community between Bluffton and Pandora. A meetinghouse was built near the site of the present building in 1846, enlarged in 1883, and again in 1928, 1964, 1979, and 2001.

After Pandora in 1904, and Bluffton in 1918 had organized separate congregations, Ebenezer and St. John remained united as one congregation under the ministry of William Gottschall, the last of the ministers to serve the united Swiss community.

In 1923 this union was dissolved, and William Gottshall continued as the first minister of the separate Ebenezer congregation. The 1953 membership was 507, with Howard T. Landes as pastor.

The division of St. John and Ebenezer also brought increased English-language usage. Previously, the combined congregation had one English Sunday morning service per month. This changed to alternating English and German on Sundays.

In February 1986, Ebenezer formally withdrew from the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Central District Conference. The church cited doctrinal and ethical differences, including sanctuary [refugees], abortion, and peace. This followed an earlier conflict with the Central District Conference dating to 1967. At that time, after discussions between the church and the executive board, the conference proposed to its delegate body that Ebenezer had withdrawn from the conference since it was no longer sending delegates. However, the conference delegates rejected this proposal.

The congregation has continued since 1986 as an independent Mennonite church.


"Ebenezer Cong. Bluffton, O." The Mennonite (26 July 1923): 2-3.

Rich, Elaine Sommers, ed. Walking Together in Faith: The Central District Conference, 1957-1990. Bluffton, Ohio: The Conference, 2003: 103-105, 227-240.

Weidner, Mark. "Ebenezer Church Withdraws from Conferences." The Mennonite, Central District Edition (22 April 1986): A-8.

Additional Information

Address: 8905 Columbus Grove-Bluffton Road, Bluffton, Ohio 45817

Phone: 419-358-8588

Website: https://www.ebenezermennonite.org/

Denominational Affiliations:

Pastoral Leaders at Ebenezer Mennonite Church and its predecessors

Name Years
of Service
John Moser (1826-1908) 1853-1903
Christian Zimmerly (1841-1916) 1876-1900
Benjamin Diller (1845-1919) 1881-1919
Friedrich Zeller (1820-1903) 1891-1903
John B. Baer (1854-1939) 1894-1909
Christian Hege (1878-1971) 1904-1909
William S. Gottshall (1865-1941) 1909-1924
Elmer J. Neuenschwander (1882-1959) 1924-1929
Peter A. "P. A." Kliewer (1879-1959) 1929-1941
Arnold C. "A. C." Schultz (1904-1988) 1941-1944
John J. Esau (1900-1979)(Supply) 1944-1945?
Howard T. Landes (1905-1994) 1946-1954
Vernon J. Sprunger (1904-1980)(Interim) 1955
Waldo J. "W. J." Flickinger (1909-2001) 1955-1960
Daniel "Dan" U. Dalke (1921-2014) 1961-1978?
Donald "Don" L. Pahl (Assistant) 1978?-1981?
Burton Reed 1981-1985
Mark Steiner (Associate) 1986?-?
Dick Potter (Assistant) 2004-present
Jim King (Senior) 2008-2022
David Glick (Student Ministries 2015?-present
Nick Ringger (Senior) 2021-present

Membership at Ebenzezer Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1923 410
1930 439
1940 529
1950 532
1960 491
1970 437
1980 510
1986 510

Author(s) C. Henry Smith
Samuel J. Steiner
Date Published November 2022

Cite This Article

MLA style

Smith, C. Henry and Samuel J. Steiner. "Ebenezer Mennonite Church (Bluffton, Ohio, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2022. Web. 26 Feb 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ebenezer_Mennonite_Church_(Bluffton,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=174806.

APA style

Smith, C. Henry and Samuel J. Steiner. (November 2022). Ebenezer Mennonite Church (Bluffton, Ohio, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 February 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ebenezer_Mennonite_Church_(Bluffton,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=174806.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 136. All rights reserved.

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