Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)
In April 1925 the U.S.-based Mennonite Brethren periodical Zionsbote announced that Mennonite Brethren activity in Ontario would be directed by Jacob P. Friesen as leader with an elders' council made up of Jacob P. Wiens, Jacob Reimer, and Peter Goertzen. On 25 May 1925, the Molotschna Mennoniten Brüder Gemeinde was formed in the home of minister Jacob P. Wiens, then living in St. Jacobs. Eighteen persons signed the initial eight principles that formed the basis of the congregation. The minutes of the meeting described it as a joint meeting of members of the Mennonite Brethren and the Allianz. The eight principles articulated the Allianz's more flexible position in relation to baptism and participation in communion. Jacob P. Friesen was elected as leader for an indefinite term. Initially the group alternated worship services on Sunday afternoons between the St. Jacobs Mennonite Church and the Bethany Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church in Kitchener. Although the name Molotschna Mennoniten Brüder Gemeinde formally continued until 1932, the congregation was also soon identified as the Mennonite Brethren Church of Kitchener or Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church (KMB).
The church used a rented hall at 40 King Street East in Kitchener for its services from August 1925 until September 1935. It had the advantage of being on public transportation lines but the disadvantage of street noise and shared facilities with other organizations. In 1935 the congregation purchased a church on Church Street (in 2017 used by the Martin Luther Evangelical Church). At that time the Kitchener congregation had half the membership in the Ontario Mennonite Brethren conference: 144 members out of 287. The four smaller congregations were Leamington (50 members), New Hamburg (37), Hespeler (29), and Vineland (27). The New Hamburg and Hespeler Mennonite Brethren congregations closed their doors and became part of the Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church in the early 1950s.
In 1953 the congregation built a new church building on Ottawa Street North in Kitchener. It became informally known as the Ottawa Street Mennonite Brethren Church. There were a number of additions and renovations to the building over the years. KMB also gave birth to several new congregations -- Waterloo Mennonite Brethren in 1960, Zion Mennonite Brethren in 1961, and Glencairn Mennonite Brethren in 1988.
Kitchener Mennonite Brethren hosted the "Hymns at Eventide" radio program from 1946-1965. It also housed the Mennonite Brethren Bible Institute of Ontario from 1955-1964.
Around 1988 a major change in worship style also made its way to KMB with the formation of worship teams in place of the song leader and pianist format. In 2017 KMB offered a blended mix of traditional and contemporary songs to accommodate all tastes.
Boldt, Ed. "And the Road Goes On: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Kitchener M.B. Church." Ontario Mennonite History 20, no. 2 (November 2002): 18-19. Available in full electronic text at http://mhso.org/sites/default/files/publications/Ontmennohistory20-2.pdf.
Canadian Mennonite (28 June 1966): 17.
Er fuehret: Geschichte der Ontario MB Gemeinden 1924-1957.
"History of Kitchener MB Church." May 2008 Accessed 3 May 2008. http://www.kitchenermb.com/history
Mennonite Reporter (6 June 1975): 5.
Mennonite Brethren Herald (27 May 1988): 49; (17 December 1993): 16.
Steiner, Samuel J. In Search of Promised Lands: a Religious History of Mennonites in Ontario. Kitchener, Ont.: Herald Press, 2015.
When Your Children Shall Ask: A History of the Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, 1957-1982. The Conference, 1982: 38-40.
Wiebe, Anne. "Mennonite Brethren Beginnings in Ontario 1924-1932." Ontario Mennonite History 25, no. 1 (June 2007): 1-10. Available in full electronic text at http://mhso.org/sites/default/files/publications/Ontmennohistory25-1.pdf.
Wiebe, Anne. "The Mennonite Brethren in Ontario: a Brief History." Mennogespräch 4, no. 1 (March 1986): 4-8. Available in full electronic text at http://mhso.org/sites/default/files/publications/Mennogesprach4-1.pdf.
Archival records at Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies.
Address: 19 Ottawa St. N., Kitchener, ON N2H 3K2
Website: Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church
Kitchener MB Church Leading Ministers
|Jacob P. Friesen||1925-1932|
|Henry H. Janzen||1932-1944|
|Henry G. Thielman||1945-1949|
|Frank C. Peters||1949-1954|
|Isaac T. Ewert (interim)||1954|
|Jacob J. Toews||1954-1959|
|William J. Schmidt||1959-1964|
|Isaac H. Tiessen (interim)||1964-1965|
|Frank C. Peters||1965-1973|
|Henry H. Dueck (interim)||1973-1974|
|John F. Froese||1974-1985|
|Ted Braun (assistant)||1979-1981|
|Jim Pike (assistant)||1981-1986|
|Ron Willems (associate)||1986-1987|
|Gareth Goossen (youth)||1989-1994|
|Bill Lehman (associate)||1990-1994|
|Bob Rempel (associate)||1994-1999|
|Grant Gordon (interim)||2000-2002|
|Jonathan Freethy (associate)||2005-2006|
|Alex Suderman (associate)||2007-present|
|Mark Beach (associate)||2009-present|
Kitchener MB Church Membership
Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article
By Henry H. Janzen. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 187. All rights reserved.
Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church, located in Kitchener, Waterloo Co., Ontario, a member of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren churches, was organized on 25 May 1925, under the name "Molotschna Mennoniten-Bruder-Gemeinde," with Jacob P. Friesen as leader. On 20 November 1932, the church was reorganized under its present name with H. H. Janzen as pastor. The membership in 1954 was 375; most of the members live in the city. For a number of years the congregation used a rented hall for its meetings, but later bought a church which is still being used. The following ministers have served the church: J. P. Friesen, J. W. Reimer, J. P. Wiens, P. Klassen, H. Konrad, H. H. Janzen, D. Klassen, I. Ewert, J. Sudermann, H. Thielmann, Frank C. Peters, and J. J. Toews, the present pastor.
|Date Published||February 2017|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Sam. "Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2017. Web. 23 Mar 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kitchener_Mennonite_Brethren_Church_(Kitchener,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=155896.
Steiner, Sam. (February 2017). Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 March 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kitchener_Mennonite_Brethren_Church_(Kitchener,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=155896.
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