Homestead Mennonite Church (Homestead, Florida, USA)

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The Homestead Mennonite Church in Homestead, Florida, USA has its roots in a Voluntary Service/Alternative Service project of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference begun in 1951 in the Redland Migrant Camp. Originally the camp was known as the Redland Labor Camp built for military personnel who worked at the Homestead Air Force Base about five miles away. After World War II, the nonprofit Homestead Housing Authority managed the camp which became a migrant camp for workers who came to pick winter and spring crops in the area. The Mennonite volunteers operated a nursery among other things.

Homestead was first listed in the Mennonite Yearbook as a mission congregation of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference in 1958, dating its beginning in 1957. At that time it had four members. The first local minister appeared to be Lauren Horst in 1960, followed immediately by Kenneth Nauman.

In 1967 a new church building was dedicated on 26 November 1967 on 162nd Avenue in Homestead. The church became known as the Homestead Mennonite Church at this time. Previously it was usually called the Redland Camp Chapel. In 2000 the church was burned down by an arsonist but was rebuilt and expanded.

For a number years the Homestead congregation fellowshipped informally with other Mennonite congregations in the southestern United States, affiliated with a variety of Mennonite conferences based in the north. In about 1975 this informal grouping became a regional conference of the Mennonite Church known as the Southeast Mennonite Convention. Homestead moved its affiliation to this conference in 1975.

In 2018 the Southeast Mennonite Conference (as it was then called) voted to leave Mennonite Church USA and become a district of the now independent Lancaster Mennonite Conference. Homestead was among a group of congregations that wished to remain affiliated with Mennonite Church USA and thus became part of the Mosaic Mennonite Conference.

In 2020 there were few ethnic Mennonites in the congregation. The majority of the congregation was senior citizens and young adults, with a few teens and a few middle-aged families. The group was diverse ethnically, culturally, and economically.

Over the years the Homestead congregation has helped with many community events. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated most of the entire city of Homestead. The Homestead Mennonite Church building was fortunate to survive this disaster. Many citizens gathered at the church for help and consolation for many months following the hurricane. More recently immigrants gathered at the church to hear from government officials, officers, and social workers about their rights. The congregation has valued the opportunity to work with the community in an effort to help promote and keep peace with all people.

Bibliography

Glasgow, Kathy. "Field of teens." Miami New Times 4 May 1995. Web. 18 September 2020. https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/field-of-teens-6378100.

Good, Sheldon C. "Florida congregations explore where to affiliate." Anabaptist World 6 May 2019. Web. 18 September 2020. https://anabaptistworld.org/florida-congregations-explore-affiliate/.

Good, Sheldon C. "Six congregations leave Southeast Conference." Anabaptist World 19 August 2019. Web. 18 September 2020. https://anabaptistworld.org/six-congregations-leave-southeast-conference/.

Lee, Rick. "Congregational profile: Homestead Mennonite Church." Mosaic. 15 September 2020. Web. 18 September 2020. https://mosaicmennonites.org/2020/09/15/congregational-profile-homestead-mennonite-church/.

"A new church building..." Gospel Herald 61, no. 2 (9 January 1968): 45.

"The nursery at the Redland Labor Camp...." Gospel Herald 50, no. 18 (30 April 1957): 426.

"Service units follow migrants." Gospel Herald 45, no. 1 (1 January 1952): 19.

Additional Information

Address: 30695 SW 162nd Ave, Homestead, FL 33033

Phone: 305-248-1659

Website: https://hmc.business.site/

Denominational Affiliations: Mosaic Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Ordained Pastors at Homestead Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Lay Leadership 1951-1959
Lauren B. Horst 1960
Kenneth E. Nauman 1960-1973
David Hartzler 1973
Eli Beachy 1974-1975
Raymond M. Martin 1975-1991
Walter Sawatzky 1991-1996?
Joy Sawatzky 1991-1994
Charles G. Goertz 1996?-2009?
José R. Hernandez
(Associate)
2002-?
Rick Lee 2010?-present

Membership at Homestead Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1957 4
1960 7
1970 20
1980 28
1990 52
2000 90
2007 63


Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published September 2020


Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Homestead Mennonite Church (Homestead, Florida, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2020. Web. 2 Dec 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Homestead_Mennonite_Church_(Homestead,_Florida,_USA)&oldid=169310.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (September 2020). Homestead Mennonite Church (Homestead, Florida, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 December 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Homestead_Mennonite_Church_(Homestead,_Florida,_USA)&oldid=169310.




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