Frazer Mennonite Church (Frazer, Pennsylvania, USA)
Christian Z. Mast, from the Conestoga Amish-Mennonite Church in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, wrote an article for the Gospel Witness in 1907 in which he pointed out that there was an abandoned Mennonite "chapel" (Diamond Rock) in eastern Chester County and lamented that an Amish-Mennonite witness was no longer present there. A newly-formed Mission Committee in the Weaverland Mennonite Church (Lancaster Conference) read Mast’s article and pursued starting a church there in 1908, sending preachers from the Lancaster and Franconia Conferences.
In the spring of 1910, the few local Mennonite families attending services at the “chapel” intentionally changed the meeting place to an old schoolhouse located on the Main Line in Frazer (Route #30) and named it Frazer Mennonite Church. These Mennonites were shop owners of small businesses in or near Frazer who wanted their church visible and accessible in the community rather than four miles northeast out in the country.
From its beginning, Frazer welcomed and attracted local people from non-Mennonite and non-church backgrounds and incorporated them into the life of the church. In 1914, Bishop Benjamin Weaver received an Episcopalian immigrant from Holland, Christine Swanenburg, into membership at Frazer. One of the sons of this family, Mark Swanenburg, became Frazer’s first resident pastor when he was ordained in 1924.
In 2010 the congregation's Ploughshares Community Garden offered garden plots to local families. Its soccer field was used by local teams. Its building hosted three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and provided space for Chester County Intermediate Unit consultations for children with special education needs. It shared worship space with a Pentecostal Hispanic church that met on Sunday afternoons. That year the congregation celebrated its 100th anniversary with a special service on 9 May 2010, and a Bible school reunion held on 12 June 2010. A major celebration was held on the weekend of 15-17 October 2010.
On 20 April 2013, Frazer Mennonite Church was released from membership in the Lancaster Mennonite Conference and became an associate member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The congregation had expressed "preliminary affirmation" for a general membership statement that "welcomes into membership all persons who profess faith in Christ and all who desire to walk with Christ in order to grow and trust in God, in following the light of Scripture and in living Jesus’ way," without naming or singling out gays for exclusion. The congregation requested membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference after it became clear that Lancaster Mennonite Conference would not support the church's position. The congregation became a full member of the Atlantic Coast Conference on 25 October 2014.
Brown, Lowell. "Welcoming Stance Affects Church Transfer Request: Atlantic Coast Approves Pa. Congregation's Move From Lancaster Conference." Mennonite World Review (13 May 2013): http://www.mennoworld.org/2013/5/13/welcoming-stance-affects-church-transfer-request/.
Huber, Tim. "Atlantic Coast Conference adds one, loses another." Mennonite World Review (10 November 2014): 3.
Martin, Darvin L. An Experiment in Grace: A Centennial History of Frazer Mennonite Church 1910-2010. Morgantown, Pa.: Masthof Press, 2010.
Martin Hurst, Brenda. "A Brief Introduction to Frazer Mennonite Church for Atlantic Coast Conference Delegates." Frazer Mennonite Church. 4 September 2012. Web. 22 November 2021. https://atlanticcoastconference.net/images/frazerintro.pdf.
Address: 57 Maple Linden Lane, Frazer, Pennsylvania
Website: Frazer Mennonite Church
Lancaster Mennonite Conference (until 2013)
Atlantic Coast Conference (2013-present)
Pastoral Leaders at Frazer Mennonite Church
|Marcus Swanenburg (1893-1979)||1924-1969|
|Milton G. Brackbill (1896-1997)||1933-1968|
|C. Ralph Malin (1927-2017)||1945-1977|
|Ray M. Geigley||1976-1985|
|Vernon Zehr, Jr.||1987-2006|
|Arthur E. Smoker (Interim)||2005-2007|
|Brenda Martin Hurst||2007-2017|
|Nelson Yoder (Interim)||2017-2018|
|Amy Yoder McGloughlin||2018-present|
Membership at Frazer Mennonite Church
Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article
By Ira D. Landis. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 382. All rights reserved.
The Frazer Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA) is an outgrowth of Diamond Rock in an early Amish settlement two miles north of Malvern, Chester County, Pennsylvania. The Weaverland Missions Committee in 1908-1909 revived this work, and in 1917-1918 a frame church was built along the Lincoln Highway, west of Malvern. The 1955 membership, many of non-Mennonite extraction, was 115; Mahlon Witmer had the bishop oversight, Marcus Swanenberg, Milton G. Brackbill, and C. Ralph Malin were the ministers, and Irvin J. King the deacon.
|Author(s)||Samuel J. Steiner|
|Richard D. Thiessen|
|Date Published||November 2021|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Samuel J. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Frazer Mennonite Church (Frazer, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2021. Web. 18 Aug 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Frazer_Mennonite_Church_(Frazer,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=172586.
Steiner, Samuel J. and Richard D. Thiessen. (November 2021). Frazer Mennonite Church (Frazer, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 August 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Frazer_Mennonite_Church_(Frazer,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=172586.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 382. All rights reserved.
©1996-2022 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.