Martin, Lester Stauffer (1929-2008)

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Lester Stauffer Martin: dairy farmer and Mennonite bishop, was born 15 February 1929 near New Holland, Pennsylvania, USA to Elmer H. Martin (13 December 1905-1 September 1980) and Anna Mary Sauder Martin (7 July 1906-March 1985). He was the oldest child in a family of three sons and four daughters. On 4 March 1950 Lester married Grace W. Gehman (18 November 1930-9 June 1962). Lester and Grace had three children before her death from heart disease. On 8 June 1963 he married Doris E. Brubaker (15 November 1933-). Doris was a schoolteacher in the Myerstown Mennonite School. Lester and Doris had four children. Lester Martin died of a heart attack on 11 February 2008. He is buried in the Little Mountain Mennonite Church cemetery in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania.

As a child Lester Martin attended a one-room public school, and in his teens worked on the family farm and at a feed mill.

Lester was asked to serve as Sunday school superintendent for an Indiantown Mennonite Church mission outreach in Roedersville, Pennsylvania. He was ordained by the Lancaster Mennonite Conference as a minister for Roedersville on 19 December 1964. He was ordained as a bishop in the Hammer Creek District of the Lancaster Conference on 28 July 1966.

In his role as bishop he became more familiar with cultural and religious changes taking place within the Lancaster Mennonite Conference. He remained conservative in his approach but did not initially withdraw from the conference despite his concerns. In November 1971 he resigned as bishop "due to personal convictions which I believe to be Biblical." He continued to serve as pastor of the Roedersville congregation until fall 1973 when Lester and Doris Martin transferred their membership to the Rehrersburg Mennonite Church, part of the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church (EPMC), a group of congregations that withdrew from the Lancaster Conference in 1968.

Lester Martin, recognized as a bishop in the Lebanon District of EPMC, became active in the young denomination, travelling to Guatemala, Texas and British Columbia in his leadership role. After a division in the 1990s which saw 22 ordained men leave the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church to form the Pilgrim Mennonite Conference over issues of church discipline, Martin worked to help establish the Little Mountain Mennonite Church from the minority of area members who wished to remain with the EPMC. He continued to serve in his bishop role role until his death.


Gehman, Marvin R. "Lester S. Martin (1929-2008)." The Historical Journal 20, no. 1 (April 2014): 4.

"Martin, Lester S. "Lazarus Project" 2008. Web. 26 November 2018.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published November 2018

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Martin, Lester Stauffer (1929-2008)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2018. Web. 28 Jul 2021.,_Lester_Stauffer_(1929-2008)&oldid=169188.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (November 2018). Martin, Lester Stauffer (1929-2008). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 July 2021, from,_Lester_Stauffer_(1929-2008)&oldid=169188.

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