Gap Mills Mennonite Christian Fellowship (Gap Mills, West Virginia, USA)
The Mission Home Christian Fellowship in Free Union, Virginia, USA began as a mission outreach by the Oak Grove Mennonite Church near Aroda, Virginia. The Sanford Yoder family moved to the area in October 1961, and Sanford Yoder served as the first minister. In 1965 the Faith Mission Home was opened as a training center for children with developmental disabilities.
In May 1966 the congregation was formally established as the Mission Home Christian Fellowship, with a total of ten members. Eli Tice served as bishop until 1969, followed by Jonas Hershberger for one year, followed by Joni Shetler.
The Mission Home Christian Fellowship became increasingly at odds with the theology and practice of the Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship churches that supported Faith Mission Home. The congregation felt that its proximity to Faith Mission Home was incompatible. Since Faith Mission Home was under two Beachy Amish mission boards, the congregation felt it best to relocate. West Virginia was chosen for several reasons: cheaper land and lower taxes, fewer building codes and other state interventions, and a population open to evangelism. Thus, the "Christian Fellowship" relocated from Mission Home to Gap Mills in 1976-1977.
Initially the Gap Mills group met in homes, then rented an old store building. They began worshiping in their new church basement in 1979; the upstairs of the building was completed in the early 1990s. The congregation sponsored a new outreach in Renick, West Virginia in 2003, though that congregations survived only a few years.
In 2018 the church had 37 members and was a member of the Mennonite Christian Fellowship. The ministerial team included Bishop William Beiler and Deacons Paul E. Yoder and Marcus Yoder.
"Amish Mennonite Churches in West Virginia." The Beachy Amish Mennonites. 2013. Web. 23 April 2018. http://www.beachyam.org/churches/wv.htm.
Anderson, Cory. The Amish-Mennonites of North America: a portrait of our people. Medina, New York: Ridgeway Publishing, 2012: 88.
Anderson, Cory Alexander. "The Diffusion of Beachy Amish Mennonite Congregations in the US South: A Regional Chronicle and Spatial Analysis." Unpublished paper, 2006: 23. Web. 23 April 2018. http://www.beachyam.org/librarybooks/Anderson(2006)_Diffusion.pdf.
Mennonite Church Directory (2014): 87; (2018): 97.
Miller, Allan A., compiler. The origin of the Fellowship Churches. Gap Mills, West Virginia: Yoder's Select Books, 2004: 20-22.
Yoder, Elmer S. The Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship Churches. Hartville, Ohio: Diakonia Ministries, 1987: 366-367.
Address: 1464 Zenith Road, Gap Mills, WV
Ordained Leaders at Gap Mills Mennonite Christian Fellowship
|Sanford Yoder (Minister)||1961-1968|
|Eli Tice (Bishop)||1966-1969|
|William McGrath (Minister)||1966-1968|
|Allen Sommers (Minister)||1966-1973|
|Joni Shetler (Minister)
|Jonas Hershberger (Bishop)||1969-1970|
|Albert Schlabach (Deacon)||1969-1976|
|William Beiler (Minister)
|Paul Yoder (Deacon)||1978-present|
|Mahlon Petre (Minister)||1994-2003?|
|Kevin Yoder (Deacon)||1997-2001|
|Marcus Yoder (Deacon)||2014-present|
|Author(s)||Richard D Thiessen|
|Date Published||June 2018|
Cite This Article
Thiessen, Richard D and Sam Steiner. "Gap Mills Mennonite Christian Fellowship (Gap Mills, West Virginia, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2018. Web. 17 Feb 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gap_Mills_Mennonite_Christian_Fellowship_(Gap_Mills,_West_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=162397.
Thiessen, Richard D and Sam Steiner. (June 2018). Gap Mills Mennonite Christian Fellowship (Gap Mills, West Virginia, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 February 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gap_Mills_Mennonite_Christian_Fellowship_(Gap_Mills,_West_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=162397.
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