Mennonite Community Church (Fresno, California, USA)

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Mennonite Community Church  (Mennonite Church USA) began in May 1953, was organized on 21 November 1954 as a daughter congregation of the First Mennonite Church in Reedley in order to meet the needs of General Conference Mennonites who had moved to the city of Fresno. The first full-time pastor was Peter Ediger, who served from 1954-1961. James Wenger held the longest pastorate (1983-1998). In 2012 the pastor was the newly instated Gordon Smith.  

In 1955, the urban congregation broke ground for a sanctuary, which still stands at the corner of Olive and Willow avenues. The congregation was originally part of the Pacific District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church (GC). It joined Mennonite Church USA in 2001.

Throughout the years, Mennonite Community Church has provided an Anabaptist alternative to the many churches in the Fresno-Reedley area that are affiliated with the Mennonite Brethren conference. Average Sunday morning attendance was as high as 134 in 1987 but the congregation has historically remained small, with attendance under 100 people. The membership of primarily white collar professionals is actively involved in teaching, service and other ministries. There is a Mennonite Voluntary Service unit associated with the congregation.


Janzen, Rod. Back to the City: Mennonite Community Church, Fresno California, 1954-2004. Sioux Falls, SD: Pine Hill Press, 2004.

Additional Information

Address: 5015 East Olive Avenue, Fresno, CA 93727

Phone: 559-251-5703

Website: Mennonite Community Church

Denominational Affiliations:

Mennonite Church USA

Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Community Church Ministers

Minister Years
Dan F. Schellenberg 1953-1954
Peter Ediger 1954-1961
Horton Flaming (interim) 1961
Lavern Loewens 1961-1962
Ronald Ropp 1962-1968
George Stoneback 1968-1973
Deacon Leadership 1974-1975
Floyd Quenzer 1975-1980
Deacon Leadership 1980-1981
Ron Claassen (co-pastor) 1981-1983
Ken Berg (co-pastor) 1981-1983
James Wenger 1983-1997
Ed Cornelsen 1998
Libby Caes 1999-2001
Deacon Leadership 2001
Mervin Dick (co-pastor) 2002-2003
Jane Dick 2002-2003
Steve Ratzlaff 2003-2012
Gordon Smith 2012-present

Mennonite Community Church Membership

Year Members
1954 41
1960 105
1965 127
1969 157
1970 153
1975 135
1980 109
1985 131
1990 102
1995 106
2000 105
2003 111

Original Article from Mennonite Encyclopedia

Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 395; Vol. 3, p. 619. All rights reserved.

Mennonite Community Church (Mennonite Church USA), located in Fresno, CA, and previously known as the General Conference Fellowship of Fresno, began in May 1953, was organized on 21 November 1954, and affiliated with the Pacific District Conference (General Conference Mennonite) in 1955. Ground-breaking services for a new church, with a seating capacity of 180, took place in August 1955. The building was dedicated in April 1956. The minister in 1957 was Peter J. Ediger; there were 57 members. -- Peter J. Ediger, Andrew R. Shelley

Author(s) Rod Janzen
Date Published March 2013

Cite This Article

MLA style

Janzen, Rod. "Mennonite Community Church (Fresno, California, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2013. Web. 28 Oct 2020.,_California,_USA)&oldid=167268.

APA style

Janzen, Rod. (March 2013). Mennonite Community Church (Fresno, California, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 October 2020, from,_California,_USA)&oldid=167268.

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