Holdeman Mennonite Church (Wakarusa, Indiana, USA)

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Holdeman Mennonite Church. Source: Church web site

The earliest Mennonites who settled west of Goshen in Elkhart County, Indiana, were part of the Yellow Creek Mennonite Church that built a log meetinghouse in 1845. However, Yellow Creek ministers also preached in homes where clusters of Mennonites lived. One such location was the George Holdeman house located southwest of the village of Salem (later Wakarusa), where services were held every four weeks.

In 1851, these Mennonites near Salem leased land and erected a log meetinghouse directly east of the later meetinghouses. The congregation purchased the land from George Holdeman on 6 February 1854. Almost all the 1854 members were Holdemans. In 1866, the congregation purchased a little over an acre of land from Amos and Magdalena Jones at the present site of the church on the west side of the road. It built a new meetinghouse on this land in 1875.

Until about 1875, the members at this meetinghouse were still considered members of the Yellow Creek Mennonite Church. Bishop Jacob Wisler's division of 1872 impacted the members in the Holdeman congregation less than the central Yellow Creek congregation because Bishop Jacob Beutler, who did not leave with Wisler, was located at Holdeman Mennonite.

Holdeman Mennonite did have problems in 1879 because of a conflict between Minister James Culbertson and Deacon Joseph Holdeman. The great tension divided the congregation from its ministers until December 1879, when reconciliation was achieved, except for James Culbertson, who withdrew from the congregation.

The congregation enlarged the 1875 meetinghouse in 1913. The basement was finished for Sunday school classes in 1915. Various renovations took place over the years. In 1974, a new church building replaced the old one. In 2005, a new addition was added to the existing church building.

The congregation initiated a literary society in December 1922 and conducted its first Summer Bible School that same year.

The Holdeman Mennonite Church withdrew from the Indiana-Michigan Conference of Mennonite Church USA in 2022. It joined the Evana Network early in 2023. In its letter of withdrawal, it said, "The reason for our decision revolves mainly around recent decisions from the Denomination and conference that do not seem to align with many of our member’s biblical understanding and leading of the Holy Spirit."


Centennial History of the Holdeman Mennonite Church. Wakarusa, Ind., 1951.

Guengerich, Vernard. "Holdeman Mennonite." Gospel Evangel 87, no. 1 (January/February 2006): 2.

Huber, Tim. "Evana Network adding strategic partners as it readies for growth." Anabaptist World 4, no. 6 (5 May 2023): 30-31.

Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. "Report Book for Annual Sessions 2023. (9-10 June 2023): 28.

Preheim, Rich. In Pursuit of Faithfulness: Conviction, Conflict, and Compromise in Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. Harrisonburg, Va.: Herald Press, 2016: 29-30, 33, 51-52, 119, 213, 309.

Wenger, John Christian. The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1961: 66-73.

Additional Information

Address: 65723 County Road 1 Wakarusa Indiana 46573

Telephone: 574-862-4751

Website: http://www.holdemanmc.org/

Denominational Affiliations:

Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference (Until 2022)

Mennonite Church USA (Until 2022)

Evana Network (2023- )

Pastoral Leaders at Holdeman Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Jacob Freed (1796-1868) 1851-1868
Jacob A. Beutler (1833-1886)
James M. Culbertson (1836-1916) 1871-1879
Amos Mumaw (1852-1906) 1886-1898
Henry Weldy (1862-1934) 1889-1934
John Hygema (1864-1908) 1893-1907
Silas L. Weldy (1877-1955) 1908-1950?
Warren C. Shaum (1891-1971) 1936-1953
George J. Lapp (1879-1951)(Bishop) 1949-1951
Simon G. Gingerich 1950-1966
Kermit H. Derstine (1933-2008) 1958-1961
David W. Cressman (1933-2017) 1966-1970
Samuel Hostetler (1922-2012)(Interim) 1969-1971
Willard D. Conrad (1925-2013) 1971-1978
Russell R. Krabill (1917-2005)(Bishop) 1978-1987?
Vernard E. Guengerich (Associate) 1983?-1989?
John C. Murray 1983-1987?
Devon Schrock 1983-1987?
Samuel J. Troyer 1989-1992?
John F. Murray (Interim) 1993-1994
David S. Heusinkveld 1993-2004
Chris Kingsley (Associate) 2004-2007
Betty Jo "BJ" Leichty (Associate) 2004-2021?
Danny Russell Jones 2007-2012
Randy Detweiler 2012-2021
Steven E. Slagel (Transitional) 2021-2023
John M. Troyer (Interim) 2023-
Sheila Troyer (Interim 2023-

Holdeman Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1854 16
1885 126
1905 140
1920 257
1930 278
1940 285
1950 240
1960 237
1970 211
1980 236
1990 226
2000 199
2009 200
2020 108

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Lloyd V. Conrad. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 789. All rights reserved.

The Holdeman Mennonite Church (Mennnonite Church USA), located one and one-fourth miles (2 kilometers) northwest of Wakarusa in Olive Township, Elkhart County, Indiana, is a member of the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. The first meetinghouse, a log building, was built in 1851 and was replaced in 1875 by a frame structure, which was remodeled in 1913 and again in 1951. During the early years all the Mennonites in the western part of the county were considered members of the Yellow Creek Church; regular Sunday services alternated between Yellow Creek and Holdeman. By 1875, however, the separation into two distinct congregational organizations had been well established. The congregation was host to the first regular session of the Mennonite General Conference in 1899. Ministers who had given longer periods of service to the congregation prior to 1950 included Jacob Freed, Jacob A. Beutler, Henry Weldy, and Silas Weldy. The membership in 1955 was 234; Simon Gingerich was pastor.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published June 2024

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Holdeman Mennonite Church (Wakarusa, Indiana, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2024. Web. 21 Jul 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Holdeman_Mennonite_Church_(Wakarusa,_Indiana,_USA)&oldid=179077.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (June 2024). Holdeman Mennonite Church (Wakarusa, Indiana, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 July 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Holdeman_Mennonite_Church_(Wakarusa,_Indiana,_USA)&oldid=179077.

©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.