Locust Grove Church (Burr Oak, Michigan, USA)

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The Locust Grove Mennonite Church in Burr Oak, Michigan, began about 1940 as a mission outpost of the Shore Mennonite Church near Shipshewana, Indiana. The initial members met in a house until a meetinghouse was constructed at the present site in 1941. It enlarged the meetinghouse in 1950.

The congregation was formally organized on 18 November 1945.

Locust Grove established a daughter congregation, South Colon, in 1954.

In 1960, Locust Grove decided to build a new meetinghouse with brick veneer on the property. In 1975, a fellowship hall was added to the building, with additional Sunday school space in its basement.

A major church split in 1997 occurred over leadership styles and differing understandings of the pastor's role. Pastor Jay Ulrich resigned and formed the new non-denominational Firm Foundation Ministries. A number of Locust Grove members followed Ulrich to the new church.

After the painful split, Interim Pastor Gerald Sims suggested the congregation put together a Christmas drama to present to the community. The result, "Mary: A Mother’s Story," drew more than 2,500 people every year and helped the congregation move forward.

In 2018, the congregation withdrew from the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference and Mennonite Church USA and joined the newly formed Evana Network. In 2023, the congregation changed its name from Locust Grove Mennonite Church to Locust Grove Church.


"Our history." Locust Grove Mennonite Church. 2024. Web. 17 June 2024.

Preheim, Rich. In Pursuit of Faithfulness: Conviction, Conflict, and Compromise in Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. Harrisonburg, Va.: Herald Press, 2016: 219, 259, 310.

Wenger, John Christian. The Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1961: 243-244.

Additional Information

Address: 29525 Findley Road, Burr Oak, Michigan 49030

Telephone: 269-489-5041


Denominational Affiliations:

Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference (Until 2018)

Mennonite Church USA (Until 2018)

Evana Network (2018- )

Pastoral Leaders at Locust Grove Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Shore Ministers 1940-1941
Leonard A. Haarer (1918-2001) 1941-1950
Orvin H. Hooley (1910-1998)
William D. Hooley (1928-2019) 1963-1966
Dean M. Brubaker (1925-2020) 1966-1985
James J. Carpenter
Orville G. Miller 1987-1991
Jay Miller (Assistant) 1990-1991
Leon D. Kaufman (Interim) 1991-1993
Jay Ulrich 1994-1996
Gerald Sims (Interim) 1998-2001
John M. Troyer 2001-2007
Faith Carpenter (Nurture) 2004-2008?
Bill Beck 2008-2021
Matt Yoder 2021-

Locust Grove Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1945 61
1950 150
1960 168
1970 237
1980 302
1990 397
2000 239
2009 206

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Orvin H. Hooley. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 384. All rights reserved.

Locust Grove Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church (MC)), located five miles northwest of Burr Oak, St. Joseph County, Michigan, is a member of the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. It was started as a mission station by the Shore congregation near Shipshewana, Indiana, about 1940. On 18 November 1945, the church was organized with 61 charter members, and Orvin H. Hooley was ordained as pastor. Lee J. Miller, bishop of the Shore congregation, served as bishop. The 1954 membership was 190. The first meetinghouse was built in 1941 and enlarged in 1950.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published June 2024

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Locust Grove Church (Burr Oak, Michigan, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2024. Web. 24 Jul 2024.,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=179179.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (June 2024). Locust Grove Church (Burr Oak, Michigan, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 July 2024, from,_Michigan,_USA)&oldid=179179.

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