Mary Martha Girls' Home (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

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The Mary Martha Girls' Home, located in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, was founded in 1935 by the General Conference Mennonite Church (GCM) Home Mission Board to gather for spiritual guidance and care the large number of Mennonite girls working in this city. This service was rendered by the pastor of the Vancouver First United Mennonite Church. An experienced girl served as matron of the Home. At first a home was rented by the Missions Board in the Kerrisdale area. In 1937 the Missions Board purchased a small church and an adjacent home at 6460 St. George Street. The house served as both a home for the minister's family as well as the Girls' Home. Expenses for the home and salaries for the matrons and administrators were paid by the Home Mission Board.

At the beginning, approximately 45 girls made use of the Home but this number soon increased considerably. Then for a period the number decreased greatly until it rose during the new immigration, which started toward the end of the 1940s. On Thursday the Home was full of life because at that time the girls working in the private homes had their weekly half-day off. They enjoyed social as well as spiritual fellowship, as the pastor then led in an hour of Bible study, which was always well attended. Sunday was observed in a similar manner, but then the girls shared in the worship with other Mennonites in the nearby church. This Home proved a great blessing for the young women, as well as for the churches as a whole (see also Bethel Girls' Home in Vancouver.)

In 1955 the First United Mennonite Church relocated to a building at 659 East 52nd Avenue. For almost a year the Girls' Home did not operate. In January 1956 a new home was purchased at 605 East 49th Avenue. Eventually ownership of the Mary Martha Home was transferred from the Home Mission Board to the Mission Board of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada, and expenses were covered in part by the Canadian and provincial conferences, with rent payments from full-time residents and donations from many of the women covering the remainder of the expenses. In January 1960 it was reported that the house had been sold.

The first superintendent of the Home was Jacob H. Janzen, 1935-1937, with his wife Elisabeth serving as matron. In 1937-1946 Jacob B. Wiens, the pastor of the Vancouver First United Mennonite Church, was superintendent, with his wife Erna serving as matron. In 1945 Katarina "Tina" Lehn became the matron, with Jacob and Erna Wiens serving as spiritual advisers. Lehn served until 1957, and was replaced by Franz and Susie Driediger.


Siemens, Ruth Derksen and Sandra Borger. Daughters in the City: Mennonite Maids in Vancouver, 1931-1961. Vancouver, BC: Fernwood Press, 2013.

Author(s) J. B. Wiens
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published December 2014

Cite This Article

MLA style

Wiens, J. B. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Mary Martha Girls' Home (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2014. Web. 11 Dec 2023.,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=162258.

APA style

Wiens, J. B. and Richard D. Thiessen. (December 2014). Mary Martha Girls' Home (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 December 2023, from,_British_Columbia,_Canada)&oldid=162258.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 531. All rights reserved.

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