Menno House (New York, New York, USA)

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Menno House on East 19th Street in Manhattan, New York City, USA, was originally a townhouse built in 1851. In the 1920s, the owners turned the building into a boarding house. In the 1950s, Mennonite conscientious objectors began to perform their alternative service in New York City, often at hospitals. John H. Kraybill from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was the first to do. He had studied for two years at Ontario Mennonite Bible School and Institute and became pastor of the new Harlem Mennonite Church in 1954. He worked with the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities to establish a Voluntary Service Center in the city to bring together I-W men performing alternative service. Consequently, the Eastern Board purchased this building in 1958, and John and Thelma Kraybill became the unit leaders.

In the 1970s, with the end of the military draft, the need for the Voluntary Service Center declined. The Eastern Mennonite Board planned to sell to the building. Myrna Burkholder, a Mennonite student living in the building, envisioned the possibility of a Mennonite Student Center in the building. The Eastern Board approved the concept, and Burkholder, along with David and Ruth Wenger, became managers of the Center. This era was also when "guest rooms" began to be rented to short-term visitors to New York City. It also became connected through programming with the emerging Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship, which located its office in the building within a few years.

In 1997 Eastern Mennonite Missions again wished to divest itself of the property. After a brief fundraising effort, the Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship purchased the building for $300,000. Since that time, Menno House has continued to provide housing for Mennonite Voluntary Service and Mennonite Central Committee workers in New York City, as well as housing for up to two years for persons pursuing educational or vocational goals in accord with the Fellowship's values. In 2022 it continued to make some short-term lodging available to visitors to the city. In addition, it housed a Peace and Anabaptist Library for researchers and continued to be the office for the Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship.


MacMaster, Richard K. Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches of New York City. Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press, 2006: 98-101, 273-275.

"Our history." Menno House. Web. 20 December 2021.

Additional Information

Address: 314 East 19th Street, New York NY 10003

Phone: 212-677-1611


Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published December 2021

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Menno House (New York, New York, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2021. Web. 26 Sep 2022.,_New_York,_USA)&oldid=172734.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (December 2021). Menno House (New York, New York, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 September 2022, from,_New_York,_USA)&oldid=172734.

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