First Mennonite Church (Aberdeen, Idaho, USA)

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The Salem Mennonite Church, two kilometers (1.5 miles) south of Aberdeen, Idaho, USA was organized on 4 July 1907, with a membership of 36 and the Elder Jacob Hege officiating. Earlier services had been held in homes. Mennonites first came to the area in 1905, when the Aberdeen-Springfield irrigation tract was opened to settlers. Canal builders and land promoters invited German-speaking Mennonite farmers to come to Idaho to help settle that area. The first settlers were from the Newton, Kansas area, but others followed from California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri and elsewhere.

The Salem church building also served as a school. By 1909 the Salem facility was too small, and the young congregation decided to build a new church building in the town of Aberdeen. The church was completed in fall 1910, and the name of the congregation was changed to The First Mennonite Church of Aberdeen, Idaho.

E. J. Neuenschwander was the first fulltime paid minister in 1914. During his years of service the Sunday school and Christian Endeavor programs expanded greatly, the church was wired for electricity, and a parsonage was constructed.

In the late 1920s, the rural Emmanuel Mennonite Church closed, and its remaining members joined First Mennonite. Further growth led to a building expansion in 1938 as membership reached 320. In 1947 a nearby apartment was purchased and converted to classrooms.

In 1956 the church leased Forestry Department land and developed the Palisades Camp about 200 km (125 miles) from Aberdeen. By 2014 the camp had 11 cabins, a new bathhouse and a lodge.

A new fellowship hall was constructed in 1972, and a neighboring house was purchased in 1980. This became known as Friendship House, and was used to house a Cambodian refugee family.

The congregation's stated mission in 2014 was to: Praise God in worship; Lead people to faith in Jesus; Build Christian character; Offer Christian friendship and support; and Serve others in love.


"History & Photos." First Mennonite Church. Web. (accessed 13 December 2014).

Additional Information

Address: 381 Washington & 4th, PO Box 246, Aberdeen ID 83210

Phone: 208-397-4239

Website: First Mennonite Church

Denominational Affiliations: 

Pacific Northwest Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at First Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Jacob Hege 1907-1909
John B. Baer 1909-1911
Henry Toews 1913-1914
E.J. Neuenswander 1914-1920
Edward J. Schmidt 1920-1922
Menno J. Galle 1922-1929
John E. Kaufman 1929-1936
Philip Wedel 1936-1944
Henry Brown
Henry Harder 1945-1954
Rudolph Toews
Walter H. Dyck 1956-1962
Donovan Diller
Wilfred Ulrich 1963-1969
Paul Roth
Aaron Epp 1970-1975
P.J. John
Lowell Gerber
Ben Rahn 1977-1983
Lance Eisele 1983-1989
Perry Rotenberger
Elmer Friesen
Frank Horst
Oscar Brown
Monty Ledford 1991-2006
David Stutzman
Jarry Kaiser 2007-present

Members at First Mennonite Church

Year Members
1907 36
1938 320
1955 357
2006 223
2014 226


Map:First Mennonite Church (Aberdeen, Idaho, USA)

Original Article from Mennonite Encyclopedia

By Henry N. Harder. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 7. All rights reserved.

First Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite Church), a member of the Pacific District Conference, was organized in Aberdeen, Idaho, on 4 July 1907, with a membership of 36 and the Elder Jacob Hege officiating. The church was erected in 1909, enlarged in 1938, and again in 1947. Its seating capacity was 500. The congregation, with a membership of 357 in 1955, had 25 Sunday-school classes, four Christian Endeavor societies, four mission societies, and one Brotherhood; it had two missionaries in overseas service.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published December 2014

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "First Mennonite Church (Aberdeen, Idaho, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2014. Web. 22 May 2024.,_Idaho,_USA)&oldid=164925.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (December 2014). First Mennonite Church (Aberdeen, Idaho, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2024, from,_Idaho,_USA)&oldid=164925.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 7. All rights reserved.

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