Kelstern Community Church (Hodgeville, Saskatchewan, Canada)

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Elim Mennonite Brethren Church, ca. 1950-1951
Creator: Henry J. Wiens (1885-1975)
Digitized by Hiebert Library. Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies

In 1908, a small group of Mennonite Brethren families homesteaded south of Morse, Saskatchewan. They had immigrated to the area from Russia, Germany, and the United States. At first the families met for worship with a group in the Flowing Well area in the north at Gnadenau. These services alternated between the homes of the Jacob Priebes, in the north and the Peter P. Penners, in the south. This group, organized under the name of Gnadenau Mennonite Brethren Church, consisted of 34 baptized believers. More people moved into the area and by 1910, the membership had risen to 52. As there was 22 miles between the two farthest families, it was decided that the two groups would only meet together twice a month. Because they could not organize another church under the name of Gnadenau, the southern group around the Kelstern area was organized under the name Elim Mennonite Brethren Church. In 1910, they were officially accepted into what is now the Saskatchewan Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, with Peter P. Penner serving as the minister.

After Elim officially became a church, and with more families moving into the area, the homes became too small for services. In May 1910, the Queen Centre School became the meeting place for this young church, and served in that capacity until 1918. Jacob J. Froese donated an acre of land to be used as the cemetery and on 20 February 1918 Frank Brown donated an acre of land three miles west of Kelstern on which to build a church. The building was completed in the summer of 1918. 

On 5 November 1954 the church building was moved to the town of Kelstern. In 1968 the Gnadenau and Elim churches joined and continued to meet in the Elim Church. A new church was built in 1998. At that time the name was changed from Elim Mennonite Brethren Church to Kelstern Community Church.

Congregational leaders prior to 1950 included Peter P. Penner (1847-1918), Jacob Mueller, Gustav Ewert, Paul Koop, Jacob J. Knelsen (1878-1954), Abram J. Redekopp, and John G. Redekopp.

The congregation celebrated its centennial in July 2010.


"Elim MB Church Cemetery." Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan Inc. Web. 2 August 2011.

Heinrichs, Kevin. "A Church in the Middle of Nowhere." Christian Week 11 (17 March 1998): 16.

"Kelstern Community Church." Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Web. 2 August 2011.

Mennonite Brethren Herald (27 May 1988): 63; (24 November 2006):

Toews, John A. A History of the Mennonite Brethren Church: Pilgrims and Pioneers. 1975: 160. Available in full electronic text at:

Archival Records

Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Winnipeg, MB: Volume 615, Reel 46.

Additional Information

Address: Box 114, Hodgeville, SK S0H 2B0

Telephone: 306-677-2608

Denominational Affiliations:

Saskatchewan Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1910-present)

Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1910-present)

General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1910-2002)

Kelstern Community Church Leading Ministers (1953-present)

Minister Years
Jacob Kehler 1953–1956
Henry Dueck 1956–1958
Jacob Schmidt 1959–1963
J. J. Thiessen 1967–1973
Henry Martens 1973–1977
Earl Wanamaker 1977–1979
Wesley Ulriksen 1979–1983
Bill McGladdery 1983–1989
Archie Jantzen 1989–1993
Arnie Armstrong 1994–2000
Ray Ulriksen 2001-2006
Dion M. Grimm 2008-present

Kelstern Community Church Membership

Year Members
1955 54
1965 27
1985 49
1994 49
2000 42
2010 30

Author(s) Jacob I. Regier
Marlene Epp
Date Published August 2011

Cite This Article

MLA style

Regier, Jacob I. and Marlene Epp. "Kelstern Community Church (Hodgeville, Saskatchewan, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2011. Web. 19 Sep 2020.,_Saskatchewan,_Canada)&oldid=167875.

APA style

Regier, Jacob I. and Marlene Epp. (August 2011). Kelstern Community Church (Hodgeville, Saskatchewan, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 September 2020, from,_Saskatchewan,_Canada)&oldid=167875.

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