Lima Mennonite Church (Lima, Ohio, USA)

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The Mennonite Gospel Chapel in Lima, Ohio, USA, started in January 1933, led by the Gospel Teams of the Ebenezer Church, the young people of the St. John Mennonite. The mission began in a rented Seventh-Day Adventist church. John J. Esau served as the first pastor. It was also called the Lima Mennonite Chapel or Lima Mission.

The Middle District Conference took over the mission in August 1934. On 2 November 1935, the congregation organized formally with 14 members. (Another source says 2 October with 12 members). By early 1936 it called itself First Mennonite Church even though the Lima Mennonite Mission predated it.

In the fall of 1936, the Middle District Conference, after the Seventh Day Adventists refused to continue to rent to the Mennonites, began construction of a church building at Eureka Street and Orena Avenue in Lima. It completed a basement auditorium by the first Sunday of December. The congregation dedicated the completed building on 26 September 1937.

In 1995 First Mennonite Church merged with the Northside Mennonite Church to form the Lima Mennonite Church. This took place after the two congregations established a "Merger Exploration Coordinating Council" in 1993 when Lavon J. Welty was serving as pastor of both congregations. The new congregation continued at the former Northside location.

Although initially, the new congregation remained part of the Ohio Mennonite Conference and the Central District Conference, in 2017, the congregation decided to be a member only of the Central District Conference.


"Congregations explore merger to strengthen witness in their city." Gospel Herald 86, no. 27 (6 July 1993): 28-29.

"Dedication Services, First Mennonite Church, Lima, Ohio." The Mennonite 52, no. 37 (21 September 1937): 7.

Kliewer, P. A. "Bluffton, Ohio..." The Mennonite and the Christian Evangel (16 January 1934): 4-5.

"Our Church in Lima." The Mennonite and the Christian Evangel 2, no. 22 (19 November 1935): 34.

"Release of congregations." Ohio Mennonite Evangel (March-April 2018): 3, 5.

"Tenth Anniversary of the First Mennonite Church, Lima, Ohio." The Mennonite 58, no. 39 (5 October 1943): 4.

Additional Information

Address: 1318 North Main Street, Lima, Ohio 45801

Phone: 419-222-2120


Denominational Affiliations: Central District Conference Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Lima Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
John J. Esau (1900-1979) 1933-1938
George G. Dick (1908-1995) 1938-1943
Sylvan S. Lehman (1903-1993) 1944-1962
Otto Dirks (1934-2019) 1963-1968
Paul L. Boyer 1968-1971
George E. Leppert 1972-1975
Terry L. Ayers 1976-1993
Carl Liechty (Assistant) 1990-1993
Lavon J. Welty 1993-2002?
David Palmer Moser 2003?-2005?
David B. Elkins Jr. 2005-2015
Emily Hedrick 2017?-2020
Jeff N. Boehr (Interim) 2020-

Membership at Lima Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1935 14
1940 24
1950 40
1960 87
1970 81
1980 75
1990 102
1994 90
2000 86
2009 68
2020 62

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Sylvan Lehman. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 346. All rights reserved.

First Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite), located in Lima, Allen County, Ohio, was organized 1 October 1935 as a mission. It was a member of the Middle District Conference (later Central District Conference). The meetinghouse, erected in 1936, was a brick structure with a seating capacity of 125. The membership in 1955 was 76; the pastor was Sylvan Lehman.

Author(s) Sylvan Lehman
Samuel J. Steiner
Date Published October 2022

Cite This Article

MLA style

Lehman, Sylvan and Samuel J. Steiner. "Lima Mennonite Church (Lima, Ohio, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2022. Web. 5 Dec 2022.,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=174239.

APA style

Lehman, Sylvan and Samuel J. Steiner. (October 2022). Lima Mennonite Church (Lima, Ohio, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 5 December 2022, from,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=174239.

©1996-2022 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved. [[Category:Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA Congregations]