Grace Mennonite Church (Pandora, Ohio, USA)

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Grace Mennonite Church in Pandora, Ohio, USA was part of the larger Swiss Mennonite congregation in and around Bluffton. Following 1900 members in outlying parts of the Swiss Mennonite community called for more frequent services in their area. The Bluffton group wanted worship services every Sunday and, in 1901, proposed that a church be erected in Bluffton. The St. John’s group also asked that services be held in the St. John building every Sunday morning. Others called for services to be held in the Pandora area.

Rev. Samuel F. Sprunger of Berne, Indiana, assisted in the organization of the new Grace Mennonite Church in April 1904. The new group elected Peter P. Steiner, Peter B. Hilty, and Christian P. Schumacher as deacons and Albert Schütz, Philip Neuenschwander, and Peter A. Amstutz as trustees. It initially held services in Pandora's Methodist Episcopal Church but dedicated a new building on 26 February 1905. A. R. Schormann was ordained as pastor of the congregation that evening.

The congregation added an education wing in 1964 and renovated the sanctuary in 2011.

Grace Mennonite Church experienced controversy in the 1980s over the presence of American flags in the sanctuary. This may have contributed to a drop in membership.

The Grace church joined the Middle District Conference during the fall of 1904 and joined the General Conference Mennonite Church in 1905.

In 2022 the congregation was part of the Central District Conference of Mennonite Church USA.

Bibliography

Hirschler, Edmund John. A Brief History of the Swiss Mennonite Churches of Putnam and Allen Counties, Ohio: Written for the Centenary of the Origin of the Swiss Mennonite Churches Held on July 4, 1937 at Bluffton, Ohio. Bluffton, Ohio: Historical Committee, 1937.

Rich, Elaine Sommers, ed. Walking Together in Faith: The Central District Conference, 1957-1990. Bluffton, Ohio: The Conference, 2003: 61.

Additional Information

Address: 502 East Main Street, Pandora, Ohio

Phone: 419-384-3038

Website: https://www.gracepandora.org/

Denominational Affiliations: Central District Conference Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Grace Mennonite Church and its predecessors

Name Years
of Service
John Moser (1826-1908) 1853-1908
Christian Zimmerly (1841-1916) 1876-1900
Benjamin Diller (1845-1919) 1881-1919
Friedrich Zeller (1820-1903) 1891-1903
Peter P. Hilty (1871-1959) 1904
Albert R. Schormann (1882-1941) 1905-1906
Otto Lichti (1875-1920) 1906-1908
Albert Schumacher (1884-1955) 1908-1917
John F. Moyer (1885-1955) 1917-1920
John M. Regier (1885-1960) 1920-1928
Paul E. Whitmer (1876-1966) 1929-1941
Forrest Musser (1904-1994) 1941-1945
Ernest J. Bohn (1894-1992) 1946-1959
Wilmer S. Shelly (1893-1981)(Interim) 1959-1960
Virgil M. Gerig (1918-2006) 1960-1968
Loris A. Habegger (1918-2009) 1968-1972
Roger Siebert (1935-1986) 1973-1982
Ruth Brunk Stoltzfus (1915-2008)(Interim) 1982-1983
Donald Longbottom 1983-1985
C. Nevin Miller (1927-1993)(Interim) 1985-1986
Claude F. Boyer (1929-2013) 1986-1994
John M. Dey 1994-2006?
David T. Maurer (Associate) 2002?-2008?
Robert Burdette (Transitional) 2008?-2009?
Dennis Schmidt (Co-pastor) 2009-2016
Dianne Schmidt (Co-pastor) 2009?-2016
Matthew P. Yoder 2017-present

Membership at Grace Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1904 206
1910 274
1920 346
1930 325
1940 400
1950 450
1960 404
1970 422
1980 416
1990 312
2000 341
2009 221
2020 175

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Ernest J. Bohn. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 560. All rights reserved.

Grace Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA), located in Pandora, Putnam County, Ohio, a member of the Central District Conference, was organized 12 May 1904 under the leadership of F. S. Sprunger, pastor of the First Mennonite Church of Berne, Indiana, with 206 charter members, the great majority of whom had withdrawn from the St. John Mennonite Church near Pandora. The church building, which is still in use, was completed in 1905 with a seating capacity of 750. In 1954 the total baptized membership was 415. Ministers who have served the congregation are Peter P. Hilty, Albert R. Shoremann, Peter W. Penner, Otto Lichti, Albert Schumacher, John T. Moyer, John M. Regier, Paul E. Whitmer, Forrest Musser, and Ernest J. Bohn.


Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published October 2022

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Grace Mennonite Church (Pandora, Ohio, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2022. Web. 28 Nov 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Grace_Mennonite_Church_(Pandora,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=174192.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (October 2022). Grace Mennonite Church (Pandora, Ohio, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 November 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Grace_Mennonite_Church_(Pandora,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=174192.




©1996-2022 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.