Lakeview Gospel Church (Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA)

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In 1873, thirteen families came from the Crimea to the Mountain Lake, Minnesota, area. The family names included Peters, Goertzen, Enns, Schroeder, Penner, Gloekler Bartel, Strauss, and others. Immigrants came from 60 different Russian communities from 1873 through the 1880s to this community.

These immigrants had differing religious perspectives. In Russia, some had practiced feetwashing as part of the communion service, and others had not. In some churches, ministers read the sermons; in others they preached extemporaneously. Some churches sang in unison, others sang in harmony.

The first church organization began in the spring of 1876. A large group asked Rev. Aron Wall to give catechetical instruction to ten young people. He was not an ordained elder, so Elder Wilhelm Ewert from Hillsboro, Kansas, performed the baptismal service and assisted in the organizing a church. On 18 September 1876, Aron Wall was elected elder of the new church popularly known as "Wall's Church" until 1888. Formally, it was called the Hochfeld Mennonite Church, or sometimes the First German Mennonite Church.

The congregation built the first church building in 1880. At the time of organization in 1876, there were 100 members. Membership between 1879 and 1888 rose from 109 families to 173 families, with membership increasing from 575 in 1879 to 902 in 1888.

In 1888, the leadership organized a Sunday School of five classes in the church in connection with the Sunday morning service. Some members wanted to meet elsewhere because of the noise. Elder Wall called a congregational meeting, thinking that the matter could be solved peaceably, but there was opposition, and a vote on continuing the Sunday School ended in a draw. Elder Wall said he could not continue to serve because of this.

Aron Wall later drew up a church ordinance upon which he would be willing to serve as the minister. This church organized and became the Bruderthaler Church, later known as the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Church (EMB). The members that remained in the original group became the Bergfelder Church in 1909 and later the Gospel Mennonite Church. The third division of this split became the Bethel Mennonite Church.

Those that formed the Bergfelder Church were opposed to Sunday School on Sunday mornings. The ministers who led the Bergfelder church after the 1888 division, were Theodor Nickel, Heinrich Wall, Peter Friesen, Dietrich Walde, Jacob Siemens, and Heinrich Quiring. A. A. Wiebe and D. P. Eitzen were soon ordained as ministers. Following the death of Heinrich Quiring in 1909, the name of the church was changed from the First German Mennonite Church to the Bergfelder Mennonite Church of Mountain Lake and thus incorporated.

The congregation re-introduced Sunday School in 1894. David Fast taught from the New Testament.

In 1897, the Bergfelder Church built a daughter church in the Delft, Minnesota area one and a half miles west of Delft. Until 1940, the ministers of the Bergfelder church provided leadership for Delft. After it became independent, the Delft church took the name of Immanuel Mennonite Church.

The Bergfelder congregation built a new church in 1912 and joined the Northern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church in 1919.

The advent of World War II made it necessary to find a minister who could preach in both German and English. August Ewert, a retired missionary from China, became the minister in 1942 and served until he moved to Omaha, Nebraska, to teach at Grace Bible Institute. He was the first salaried minister.

In the summer of 1945, the congregation voted to change its name to Gospel Mennonite Church. Doubtless, the desire to have a less German-sounding name contributed to the change.

Following August Ewert's ministry, the John P. Suderman family moved into a newly purchased parsonage. During Suderman's ministry, a new church building was erected, with dedication services held late in 1949.

In October 1997, the Gospel Mennonite Church voted to withdraw from the Northern District Conference and the General Conference Mennonite Church. The congregation withdrew because its views differed from the conferences on homosexuality, liberal teaching, and diversity. Subsequently, the congregation changed its name to Lakeview Gospel Church. In 2023 it appeared to be an independent community church.


Friesen, J. John. Seventy-five years in Minnesota, 1874-1949: Mennonite Churches in Mountain Lake Community. Mountain Lake, Minn., 1950. Available in full electronic text at:

"Gospel Mennonite Church,..." The Mennonite 112, no. 19 (14 October 1997): 14.

"Mountain Lake, Minnesota." The Mennonite 60, no. 28 (17 July 1945): 15.

Schmidt, Diena, ed. The Northern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church 1891-1991. Freeman, S.D.: The Conference, 1991: 45-49:

Additional Information

Address: 1002 North 10th Street North, Mountain Lake, Minnesota 56159

Phone: 507-427-2046


Denominational Affiliations: Northern District Conference (Until 1997)

General Conference Mennonite Church (Until 1997)

Pastoral Leaders at Lakeview Gospel Church

Name Years
of Service
Theodor Nickel (1832-1894) (Elder) 1888-1894
Heinrich Wall (1823-1911) 1888-1911
Dietrich Walde (1839-1898) 1888-1898
Jakob Siemens (1842-1911) 1888-1911
Heinrich Quiring (1853-1909)
David P. Eitzen (1875-1958)
Henry H. "H. H." Quiring (1878-1970)
August Ewert (1902-1979) 1942-1946
John P. Suderman (1901-1979) 1947-1954
Abraham H. "A. H." Schultz (1914-1967) 1954-1960
John J. Esau (Interim) 1960-1961
Daniel G. Regier (1923-2007) 1961-1970
Arnold A. Epp (1917-1980) 1970-1974
Peter W. Tschetter (1922-2016) 1974-1992
John Dyck 1993-1996?

Lakeview Gospel Church Membership

Year Members
1880 100
1924 162
1930 116
1940 305
1950 252
1960 260
1970 227
1980 210
1990 223
1997 215

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By A. A. Penner. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 550. All rights reserved.

Gospel Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite), located in Mountain Lake, Cottonwood County, Minnesota, started about 1878 as "Wall's" Church. In 1889 the name was changed to Bergfelder Church. After 1943 it had the name Gospel Mennonite. It was a member of the Northern District Conference. The first settlers arrived in 1875 from Molotschna settlement in South Russia. Aron Wall was the first elder. Other ministers have been his brother Henry Wall, Theodor Nickel, and Jacob Harms. Aron Wall was also an able bonesetter (Knochenarzt). About 1888 Aron Wall left the church with a group to found the later E.M.B. Church of Mountain Lake. The Bethel Church of Mountain Lake, with H. H. Regier and later J. J. Balzer as leaders, is also a daughter of the Gospel Mennonite Church. The first church was built in 1878, and remodeled in 1913. The church had a beautiful location overlooking the lake. The members in the 1950s were mostly farmers. Preaching was in the English language, with occasional German services. In the homes mostly Low German was still spoken in the 1950s. The membership in 1953 was 259, with John P. Sudermann as pastor.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published August 2023

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Lakeview Gospel Church (Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2023. Web. 13 Jul 2024.,_Minnesota,_USA)&oldid=177371.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (August 2023). Lakeview Gospel Church (Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 July 2024, from,_Minnesota,_USA)&oldid=177371.

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