Gem Mennonite Brethren Church (Gem, Alberta, Canada)

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Gem Mennonite Brethren Church, 1950
Creator: Henry J. Wiens (1885-1975)
Digitized by Hiebert Library. Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies
Gem Mennonite Brethren Church, ca. 2004.
Source: Mennonite Brethren Herald

The Gem Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church, located at Gem in central Alberta, had its beginning in November 1928, when 25 Mennonite families, immigrants from the Ukraine and Siberia, settled here, some of whom were the Mennonite Brethren, some Evangelical Mennonite Brethren, and some General Conference Mennonites. On 2 June 1929, the Mennonite Brethren congregation organized with 35 members and with H. K. Siemens as leader. They met in the school every Sunday for worship together with the members of the other two branches.

In 1932 a church was built, which was enlarged a few years later. In 1952-53, because of its unsatisfactory location and poor condition, it was sold and a new one was erected. An important milestone was the opening of the Bethesda Bible School on 12 November 1933, which with a few interruptions served until 1957. On 16 December 1934, P. P. Doerksen was chosen as leader of the congregation.

The membership in 1953 was 130. The congregation has continued to grow, in spite of the fact that the subsidiary congregation in Countess became an independent congregation in 1939, and many members went to British Columbia. In 1942 all the members of the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren congregation formally united with the MB congregation. The language of worship is English; the transition from German occurred in the 1950s.

The congregation celebrated its 75th anniversary on 23 May 2004.


Doerksen, J. P. Gem Mennonite Brethren Church Golden Jubilee Book. Gem, AB: Gem Mennonite Brethren Church, 1979, 110 pp.

Mennonite Brethren Herald (27 May 1988): 7; (2 July 2004).

Toews, John A. A History of the Mennonite Brethren Church: Pilgrims and Pioneers. Fresno, CA, 1975): 165-166. Available in full electronic text at:

Archival Records

Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Winnipeg, Manitoba: Volumes 330–332.

Additional Information

Mailing Address: Box 51, Gem AB  T0J 1M0

Telephone: 403-641-4691

Denominational Affiliations:

Alberta Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1929-present)

Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1929-present)

General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1929-2002)

Gem MB Church Leading Ministers

Minister Years
Henry K. Siemens 1929–1934
P. P. Doerksen 1934–1959
H. H. Siemens 1959–1963
J. P. Doerksen 1963–1989
Larry Schmidt 1990–1993
Phil Born 1994–1997
John Block 1998-2004
Barry Breker 2004-2013
Les Riediger 2014-present

Gem MB Church Membership

Year Members
1929 24
1935 60
1953 130
1965 79
1985 89
1993 85
2000 80
2010 80
2015 77

Author(s) H. H. Siemens
Marlene Epp
Date Published July 2016

Cite This Article

MLA style

Siemens, H. H. and Marlene Epp. "Gem Mennonite Brethren Church (Gem, Alberta, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2016. Web. 6 Dec 2021.,_Alberta,_Canada)&oldid=167855.

APA style

Siemens, H. H. and Marlene Epp. (July 2016). Gem Mennonite Brethren Church (Gem, Alberta, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 6 December 2021, from,_Alberta,_Canada)&oldid=167855.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 452. All rights reserved.

©1996-2021 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.