Hutterthal Mennonite Church (Freeman, South Dakota, USA)

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The Hutterthal Mennonite Church, Freeman, South Dakota, USA, had its roots in the immigration into the then Dakota Territory between 1874 and 1879. Most of the congregation's forebears were Hutterites who came from the Hutterthal and Johannesruh villages in Russia. For three years, they held worship services in the homes. Twelve families constituted the total membership of the first congregation. John Waldner and John L. Wipf were ministers who were part of the immigrants, who were non-communal Hutterites who did not re-adopt the community of goods doctrine as some other Hutterite immigrants did.

The small congregation decided to build a church building in November 1882. It was on the land of minister John Waldner, located about 1.25 miles south of the later church. A second church building was built in 1899 for a total construction cost of $1,720.82. It was located on the congregation's present property. A third, brick, building came in 1952 and was dedicated on 14 June 1953. The congregation added an education wing in 1967. It built a parsonage for the pastor in 1956.

Hutterthal began its first choir in 1924. In 1930, with the purchase of an English-language hymnal, the singing shifted from German. That same decade saw a shift to English in Sunday school. Christian Endeavor for youth began in 1926, and the Women's Mission Fellowship launched in 1943.

Hutterthal Mennonite did not join the Northern District of the General Conference Mennonite Church until 1942. As part of the realignment of the Mennonite Church (MC) and General Conference Mennonite Church into Mennonite Church USA, Hutterthal Mennonite was among the congregations that joined the new Central Plains Mennonite Conference in 2000.

In 2023 the congregation remained part of the Central Plains Conference of Mennonite Church USA.


A history of the Hutterthal Mennonite Church of Freeman, South Dakota: January 7, 1968. Freeman: Historical Committee Hutterthal Mennonite Church, 1968. Available in full electronic text at:

Schmidt, Diena, ed. The Northern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church 1891-1991. Freeman, S.D.: The Conference, 1991: 152-153.

Additional Information

Address: 27473 437th Avenue, Freeman, South Dakota 57029

Phone: 605-925-7286


Denominational Affiliations: Central Plains Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Hutterthal Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
John Kleinsasser 1879-1898
John Waldner 1879-1899
Paul P. Hofer (1841-1909) 1879-1908
John L. Wipf (1847-1922) 1879-1909
Joseph Hofer 1903-1906
John P. Hofer (1868-1926) 1908-1925
Paul P. "P. P." Kleinsasser (1877-1972) 1909-1914
Jacob W. "J. W." Kleinsasser (1885-1969) 1917-1919
Peter P. "P. P." Tschetter (1886-1976) 1921-1937
Jacob B. Hofer (1898-1976) 1926-1954
Ronald von Riesen (1920-1993) 1955-1956
Abram M. Wiebe (1922-2000) 1956-1963
Harold Graber (1923-2003) 1963-1964
Gerhard M. Peters (1919-1997) 1964-1970
Vernon P. Lohrentz (1931-2018) 1970-1978
Lonnie Hofer 1978-1980
Louis H. Goertz (1918-2002) 1980-1989
Kenneth J. Peterson 1989-1999
Ivan D. Friesen (Co-Pastor) 1999-2007
Rachel Friesen (Co-Pastor) 1999-2007
Todd Alan Jones 2008-2017
Jack Scandrette (Transitional) 2018-2019?
Eugene Miller (Interim) 2020?
Randall D. Koehler 2021-

Membership at Hutterthal Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1942 159
1950 210
1960 226
1970 232
1980 247
1990 233
2000 236
2009 200
2020 162

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By John D. Unruh. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 867. All rights reserved.

The Hutterthal Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA), located in Hutchinson County, South Dakota, a member of the Northern District Conference, was organized in 1877 by non-communal Hutterites under the leadership of John L. Wipf. The first meetinghouse was used from 1877 until 1899, when a new church was built, which was replaced by a modern brick structure in 1953. John P. Hofer, P. P. Tschetter, and Jacob B. Hofer have served as ministers. The 1954 membership was 220, largely rural.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published May 2023

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Hutterthal Mennonite Church (Freeman, South Dakota, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2023. Web. 17 Apr 2024.,_South_Dakota,_USA)&oldid=175547.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (May 2023). Hutterthal Mennonite Church (Freeman, South Dakota, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 April 2024, from,_South_Dakota,_USA)&oldid=175547.

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