Lame Deer Mennonite Church (Lame Deer, Montana, USA)

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The Lame Deer Mennonite Church in Lame Deer, Montana, USA, began in 1908 when Peter A. and Katherine Kliewer and Gustav A. and Anna Linscheid came in 1908 from the Busby Mennonite Mission (White River Cheyenne Mennonite Church) to build a chapel. It served Northern Cheyenne People in or near the reservation.

Alfred and Agnetha Wiebe were the first local leaders of the mission; they arrived in 1911. They initially lived in the back rooms of the chapel until a parsonage was completed.

Rodolphe and Bertha Petter were long-serving missionaries at Lame Deer. Rodolphe translated scripture and songs into Cheyenne. Milton White Man and Frank Little Wolf (1877-1959) were early Cheyenne evangelists based at the Lame Deer mission.

The First Mennonite Church in Berne, Indiana helped to remodel and expand the original chapel in 1950. At that time, the mission became known as the Petter Memorial Mennonite Church. In 1988, a Lutheran church building in Frazer, Montana, was donated to the Lame Deer congregation. Despite many difficulties and damage encountered in transporting the building 350 miles, a rebuilt and enlarged church was dedicated on 4 July 1993. At this time, the church returned to the name Lame Deer Mennonite Church.

As part of the realignment of the Mennonite Church (MC) and General Conference Mennonite Church into Mennonite Church USA, Lame Deer Mennonite, which had been part of the Northern District Conference, was among the congregations that joined the new Central Plains Mennonite Conference in 2000.

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


Busenitz, Willis. "Cheyenne leader Joe Walks Along Sr. dies." theMennonite 7, no. 24 (21 December 2004): 6.

Habegger, Alfred. "Petter Memorial Church." The Mennonite 65, no. 26 (27 June 1950): 448.

Reimer, Carla. "Lame Deer Church dedicates a new building." The Mennonite 108, no. 17 (14 September 1993): 19.

Schmidt, Diena, ed. The Northern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church 1891-1991. Freeman, S.D.: The Conference, 1991: 92-94.

Additional Information

Address: MT-39, Lame Deer, Montana 59043

Phone: 406-477-6320


Denominational Affiliations: Central Plains Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Lame Deer Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Peter A. "P. A." Kliewer (1879-1959) 1908-1911
Alfred Wiebe (1885-1973) 1911-1915
Heinrich T. "H. T." Neufeld (1888-1968) 1915-1916
Rodolphe C. Petter (1865-1947) 1916-1947
Bertha E. Petter (1872-1967) 1916-1963
Milton White Man (Whiteman) (1884-1958) 1947-1958
Alfred Habegger (1892-1956) 1949-1956
Barbara Habegger (1892-1977) 1949-1957
David L. Habegger (1925-2020) 1950-1951
Donavin Diller 1957-1962
Joseph Walks Along Sr. (1931-2004) 1961-2004
Malcolm Wenger (1919-2003) 1962-1966
Willis Busenitz (Youth) 1966-1971
Lay and Visiting Ministers? 2004?-2015?
Joseph Walks Along Jr. 2015-

Membership at Lame Deer Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1915 30
1960 123
1970 127
1980 127
1990 51
2000 45
2009 45
2020 45

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Alfred Habegger. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 155. All rights reserved.

Petter Memorial Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite Church), for­merly called the Lame Deer Mennonite Mission Church, is located in the Lame Deer Valley, Rose­bud County, Montana, on the Tongue River Indian Res­ervation, the home of the Northern Cheyenne In­dians. The church was built in 1908 by P. A. Kliewer, who carried on the work from Busby until 1910. Other workers were Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Wiebe 1911-15, Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Neufeld 1915-16, Mr. and Mrs. Rodolphe and Marie Petter 1916-47, and Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Habegger (d. 1956), who assisted from Busby from 1946, then moved to Lame Deer in 1949. Marie Petter continued to help in the work after her retirement. Petter died on 6 January 1947, having served 25 years among the Southern Cheyennes and 30 years among the Northern Cheyennes. Native pastors of this church have been Frank Littlewolf and Milton Whiteman (d. 1958). By the late 1950s over 235 had been baptized since the beginning of the work, with a membership of about 75 in 1947. At this time both the Cheyenne and English languages were used in the work here. Mr. and Mrs. Donavin Diller had been missionaries at Lame Deer since March 1957.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published May 2023

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Lame Deer Mennonite Church (Lame Deer, Montana, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2023. Web. 22 May 2024.,_Montana,_USA)&oldid=175692.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (May 2023). Lame Deer Mennonite Church (Lame Deer, Montana, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2024, from,_Montana,_USA)&oldid=175692.

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