Grand Marais Mennonite Church (Grand Marais, Michigan, USA)

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The Grand Marais Mennonite Church, located in Grand Marais, Michigan, on the southern shore of Lake Superior, began with Summer Bible Schools in 1945 and 1946. In 1948, Bruce Handrich conducted another Bible school, after which he started a Sunday school. The Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Mission Board then ordained Willard D. Handrich to pastor the Grand Marais mission.

The group met in the Grand Marais town hall until 1954, when a new meetinghouse was dedicated on 10 October 1954.

The congregation was the only Protestant church in Grand Marais with a resident minister. This led to conflict with Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference polity in 1957 when a regular summer attendee who belonged to a Baptist church in Detroit was refused communion by the officiating bishop. Pastor Willard Handrich strongly disagreed with this decision. Beginning in 1961, Handrich was allowed to serve communion himself (without an officiating bishop), which resulted in more open communion practices locally.

In 2010, the small congregation built a fellowship hall that doubled as a community emergency shelter, especially in winter. It also served as a certified Red Cross training center for a community with up to 300 inches of snow per year.


Preheim, Rich. In Pursuit of Faithfulness: Conviction, Conflict, and Compromise in Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. Harrisonburg, Va.: Herald Press, 2016: 182, 204-206, 309.

Robinson, Laurie Oswald. "Providing shelter in the storm: Grand Marais prepares to serve rural neighbors." Gospel Evangel 97, no. 5 (October-December 2016): 3.

Wenger, John Christian. The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1961: 254.

Additional Information

Address: N14257 Campbell Street, Grand Marais, Michigan 49839

Telephone: 906-494-3777


Denominational Affiliations:

Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Grand Marais Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Willard D. Handrich (1916-2006) 1948-1981?
Lay Leadership 1981-1983
John M. Miller 1983-1993?
LeRoy Mast 1994-1998?
Lay Leadership 1998-1999
Elno W. Steiner (1924-2009)(Interim) 1999-2002?
Stephen Post 2002?-2016
Philip E. Bontrager 2016-2021
Joetta Handrich Schlabach &
Gerald Schlabach

Grand Marais Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1952 5
1960 5
1970 10
1980 21
1990 22
2000 8
2009 12
2020 20

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published June 2024

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Grand Marais Mennonite Church (Grand Marais, Michigan, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2024. Web. 25 Jul 2024.,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=179072.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (June 2024). Grand Marais Mennonite Church (Grand Marais, Michigan, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 July 2024, from,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=179072.

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