Lower Deer Creek Mennonite Church (Kalona, Iowa, USA)
The Lower Deer Creek Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA), Kalona, Iowa, is located four miles (6.5 km) north and four miles (6.5 km) west of Kalona, in the neighborhood of the first Amish Mennonite settlement in Johnson County in 1846. After an influx of settlers, their first church was organized in 1851. Sometime before 1863, the church had become large enough to make necessary its division into two congregations, the Deer Creek district and the Sharon Township district. In 1877 the former district was divided into Upper Deer Creek and Lower Deer Creek. Although these two churches were Old Order Amish Mennonite, contrary to custom they discontinued holding services in their homes and in 1890 built churches. In 1917 Lower Deer Creek erected a large frame structure, which was destroyed by fire in January 1956. A new church was constructed a short distance north of the former site during 1956. Following the severance of fellowship with the Old Order churches in 1917 after a controversy and a division over the issue of the installation of telephones in the homes of members, the Lower Deer Creek congregation followed an independent course until it joined the Western District Amish Mennonite Conference in 1919. Jacob F. Swartzendruber for many years served as bishop of the church (1887-1913). In 1955 the bishop was John Y. Swartzendruber, having been ordained to that office in 1919. The membership was 364. In 1945 the Iowa Mennonite School was established across the road from the church.
In 2015 the Lower Deer Creek congregation left the Central Plains Conference. This move was part of a larger realignment of Mennonite congregations in the 2010s that were formerly part of Mennonite Church USA. These congregations were unhappy with Mennonite Church USA's failure to take stronger disciplinary actions against area conferences and congregations who expressed openness to inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. Deer Creek became a member of the Evana Network.
Gingerich, Melvin. The Mennonites in Iowa: marking the one hundredth anniversary of the coming of the Mennonites to Iowa. Iowa City, Iowa: The State Historical Society of Iowa, 1939.
Swartzendruber, E. G. Amish and Mennonite Church Centennial Anniversary. Wellman, Iowa, 1953.
Address: 1408 540th Street Southwest, Kalona, IA 52247
Cite This Article
Gingerich, Melvin. "Lower Deer Creek Mennonite Church (Kalona, Iowa, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 22 Apr 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lower_Deer_Creek_Mennonite_Church_(Kalona,_Iowa,_USA)&oldid=161053.
Gingerich, Melvin. (1957). Lower Deer Creek Mennonite Church (Kalona, Iowa, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 April 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lower_Deer_Creek_Mennonite_Church_(Kalona,_Iowa,_USA)&oldid=161053.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 406. All rights reserved.
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