Kempsville Amish Mennonite Church (Kempsville, Virginia, USA)

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The Old Order Amish settlement in Kempsville, Virginia, USA in 1900 became one of the more progressive Amish settlements. It constructed a meetinghouse in 1913, and introduced Sunday school in 1922. It accepted the use of tractors in 1920, electricity in 1927 and pneumatic tires in 1934. Concurrently, the congregation discouraged tobacco and alcohol usage and bed courtship, practices prevalent in many other Old Order congregations at the time.

The co-operative, Amish-owned Yoder Dairies prospered in the 1930s, and purchased a fleet of trucks for home deliveries. This focused the issue of ownership and use of automobiles to a head. Communion was not held in the congregation for several years. Those who favored use of motorized vehicles organized as the Kempsville Amish Mennonite Church with Simon L. Yoder as minister. It became part of the Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship. The minority group, led by Bishop Simon D. Schrock and Minister Eli M. Yoder moved to Stuarts Draft, Virginia by 1944. German remained the language of worship at Kempsville until 1961.

The 1913 meetinghouse was enlarged and remodeled several times; a new meetinghouse was constructed in 1968 on North Landing Road in what was then Princess Anne and is now part of Virginia Beach.

Kempsville Amish Mennonite, probably because of the increasing urbanization in the community, helped to start a number of new Beachy Amish settlements, including Montezuma Amish Mennonite in Georgia, Franklin Amish Mennonite in Kentucky, Farmville Christian Fellowship in Virginia, and the settlement in Abbeville, South Carolina.


"Amish Mennonite Churches in Virginia." The Beachy Amish Mennonites. 2013. Web. 12 February 2018.

Anderson, Cory. The Amish-Mennonites of North America: a portrait of our people. Medina, New York: Ridgeway Publishing, 2012: 64-65.

Anderson, Cory Alexander. "The Diffusion of Beachy Amish Mennonite Congregations in the US South: A Regional Chronicle and Spatial Analysis." Unpublished paper, 2006: 15-16. Web. 12 February 2018.

Beachy, Alvin J. "The Rise and Development of the Beachy Amish Mennonite Churches," Mennonite Quarterly Review 29 (April 1955): 118 ff.

Mennonite Church Directory (2014): 42; (2017): 44; (2019): 44.

Yoder, Elmer S. The Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship Churches. Hartville, Ohio: Diakonia Ministries, 1987: 360-362.

Zook, Leon R. The Amish-Mennonites of Kempsville, Virginia: 1900-1970. Leroy Miller, ed. [Virginia]: The Donning Company, 1995. Available in full electronic text at:

Additional Information

Address: 3261 North Landing Road, Virginia Beach, VA

Phone: 757-427-0375

Denominational Affiliation:

Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship

Pastoral Leaders at Kempsville Amish Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Simon L. Yoder 1940-1953
Jacob J. Hostetler (Minister)
Jonas H. Hershberger (Minister)
Paul D. Brenneman (Minister)
Ezra Troyer 1940s-1969
Crist M. Mast 1956-1971
Raymond Kauffman 1966-2018
Henry Raber 1972-1978
Lloyd D. Brenneman (Minister)
Marcus Kauffman (Minister)

Membership at Kempsville Amish Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1945 104
1950 162
1955 126
1960 152
1965 140
1975 61
1985 45
1995 62
2007 69
2015 40


Map:Kempsville Amish Mennonite Church (Kempsville, Virginia, USA)

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Melvin Gingerich. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 165. All rights reserved.

The Kempsville Amish Mennonite Church (Beachy Amish) is located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in the southeastern part of the state. An Old Order Amish community had been established here near the beginning of the 20th century by settlers, many of whom came from Somerset County, Pennsylvania. In 1940 some of the later arrivals in the community led a movement to allow ownership of automobiles by members of the congregation. This produced a schism and the formation of the Kempsville church. After this event, most of the Old Order who did not join the progressive group moved out of the community. In 1955 the congregation had 150 members, with Jacob J. Hershberger and Ezra N. Troyer serving as ministers and Paul Brenneman as bishop. The congregation operated a parochial school, fully organized in 1946. Providence Conservative Mennonite Church wa organized here in 1952, with Simon Coblentz as bishop. Some 15 families left the community in 1953 to found a new congregation at Montezuma, Georgia.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published April 2019

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Kempsville Amish Mennonite Church (Kempsville, Virginia, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2019. Web. 14 Apr 2024.,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=165335.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (April 2019). Kempsville Amish Mennonite Church (Kempsville, Virginia, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 April 2024, from,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=165335.

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