Gingerich, Ephraim (1917-2010)

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Ephraim Gingerich, farmer, pastor and bishop, was born near Zurich, Ontario, Canada on 1 October 1917, the second youngest of the eight children born to Christian Gingerich (23 February 1874-10 August 1965) and Annie (Baechler) Gingerich (8 February 1880-6 December 1971). Ephraim married Elsie Martin (3 April 1920-18 August 2018), daughter of Simon B. and Lydia (Bauman) Martin, on 6 October, 1948. They had met while attending Ontario Mennonite Bible School in Kitchener. Elsie had graduated from nurses training in 1945. They raised a family of four daughters, Yvonne, Mary Margaret, Jane, and Debra.

Gingerich was called into congregational ministry at Blake Amish Mennonite Church to assist Solomon Baechler, and was ordained on 5 August 1946. Throughout his career he was a bi-vocational minister. Ephraim had a love and respect for nature and enjoyed tilling the family farm and caring for livestock. He especially enjoyed raising horses and developing an apple orchard containing historic varieties. Gingerich also enjoyed preaching and teaching and had the ability to solve congregational issues in practical ways. Ephraim memorized many classic poems and bible passages that he called upon in his preaching and speech making. He was ordained as a bishop in 1952 and became involved in the Ontario Amish Mennonite Conference leadership which later became the Western Ontario Mennonite Conference.

Ephraim and Elsie attended Eastern Mennonite College for two years from 1949-1951. During this time three of Elsie's siblings and their spouses were also attending and preparing for mission work. Upon returning to Ontario, Ephraim and Elsie continued to serve the Blake congregation and in 1966 Ephraim also became pastor of Zurich Mennonite Church serving both congregations until December 1970. For the next 15 years Gingerich served as an interim pastor for six congregations: Steinmann 1971-1973, Cassel 1973-1979, Hanover 1981-1982, Dungannon 1982-1983, Nairn 1983-1985, Maple View 1986-1987.

Ephraim was respected for his ability to help churches during times of transition both in leadership and in ministry. During this time he and Elsie continued living and managing the home farm in the Zurich, Ontario, area. Elsie also resumed her nursing vocation in the Blue Water Rest Home. Ephraim Gingerich died peacefully at the Blue Water Rest Home in Zurich on 18 June, 2010.


"Ephraim Gingerich (1917- )." Mennonite Archives of Ontario. Web. (accessed 25 February 2014).

Rogalsky, Dave. "Last bishop 'worked himself out of a job.'" Canadian Mennonite (2 August 2010): 33.

Author(s) J. Laurence Martin
Date Published February 2014

Cite This Article

MLA style

Martin, J. Laurence. "Gingerich, Ephraim (1917-2010)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2014. Web. 1 Aug 2021.,_Ephraim_(1917-2010)&oldid=161393.

APA style

Martin, J. Laurence. (February 2014). Gingerich, Ephraim (1917-2010). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 August 2021, from,_Ephraim_(1917-2010)&oldid=161393.

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