McArthur's Mills Christian Fellowship (Bancroft, Ontario, Canada)

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The McArthur's Mills Christian Fellowship originated as outreach by the Mennonite Mission Board of Ontario. The mission board learned in 1959 through Elvon Burkholder, its worker in the Fort Stewart area (east of Bancroft, Ontario, Canada) that up to 10 families in McArthur's Mills were interested in having a church established in that place. The McArthur's Mills mission replaced a work begun a year earlier in an area a little further east known as Little Ireland. Fraser Lake Camp was also nearby; it had been established on Elvon Burkholder's farm in 1955 to provide a camping experience for children from Toronto.

Services began to be held in a local school in 1959. The mission board purchased a property in McArthur's Mills in 1960 for use as a parsonage and a building site for a church. George Elsasser, who had been serving as a licensed minister at the Cedar Grove Mennonite Church in Markham, was ordained for ministry with McArthur's Mills in 1960, as well as for serving the existing mission in nearby Fort Stewart.

This was a time of turmoil within the Mennonite Conference of Ontario (MCO) that resulted in a division and the Conservative Mennonite Church of Ontario (CMCO). Some families in the Fort Stewart area knew that Elsasser, a convert to the Mennonite faith, was not supportive of symbols of separation from the world, like the prayer veiling and the plain coat, and resisted his leadership. Soon the Fort Stewart group joined the CMCO, while McArthur's Mills remained part of the MCO.

A new church building was erected adjacent to the McArthur's Mills parsonage in 1961 at a cost of just under $6,000.

Although the congregation has always been small, it developed a significant children's ministry, beginning in the early 1980s. In 1990 more than 50 community children were involved in groups for children, pre-teens and youth.

Bill Theobald was a licensed minister for a number of years, and later continued in leadership as a lay leader.


Boers, Arthur P. "McArthur's Mills Fellowship welcomes children." Mennonite Reporter 20, no. 23 (26 November 1990): 17.

Martin, P. Dean. "Congregational Histories." Unpublished manuscript on the Conservative Mennonite Church of Ontario, 2010.

Additional Information

Address: Route 4, Bancroft, Ontario K0L 2M0

Phone: 613-332-0442


Denominational Affiliations:

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada Conference

Mennonite Church Canada

Pastoral Leaders at McArthur's Mills Christian Fellowship

Name Years
of Service
Elvon Burkholder 1959-1960
George Elsasser 1960-1979
Harold Shantz 1981-1984
Bill Theobald 1984-present

Membership at McArthur's Mills Christian Fellowship

Year Membership
1960 11
1965 13
1975 16
1985 25
1995 19
2008 37
2015 22


Map:McArthur's Mills Christian Fellowship (Bancroft, Ontario, Canada)

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published December 2016

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "McArthur's Mills Christian Fellowship (Bancroft, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2016. Web. 29 Mar 2020.,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=165322.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (December 2016). McArthur's Mills Christian Fellowship (Bancroft, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 March 2020, from,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=165322.

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