Metzler Mennonite Church (Akron, Pennsylvania, USA)

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Metzler Mennonite Church, 2008
Source: Church website

The Metzler Mennonite Church was founded in 1728, a year after Minister Christian Wenger bought land several miles south of the 1896 Metzler Meetinghouse. Christian Wenger led worship services in the homes of Mennonite families living in the area. Wenger also served as a minister of the Groffdale congregation which is also located in West Earl Township about five miles southeast of Metzler. The first settlers in the Metzler Church area were the family of Elias Moyer, (Meyer), and his sons, Elias Jr. and Peter. Other early ministers were Hans Peter Summey, Martin Groff, Martin Huber, and Abraham Reiff.

The congregation worshiped in homes until 26 May 1827 when Jacob Metzler sold land to the congregation for a meetinghouse and a cemetery. The frame meetinghouse was expanded in 1864 and, to accommodate the new Sunday school program, a new brick structure was built in 1896 which was still in use in 2018. Additions were added in 1952 and 1980.

From the beginning the Metzler and Groffdale congregations were served by the same ordained leaders. At some point a third congregation, known as Pike, was added to the circuit. The Pike congregation separated in 1846, but Metzler and Groffdale continued with a joint ministry until 1945. Both of these congregations were part of the original Weaverland-Groffdale District of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference. Weaverland and Groffdale became separate districts in 1939.

The German language was used exclusively until the late 19th Century. The first English hymnals, Hymns and Tunes, were purchased in 1890. Metzler Congregation experienced two significant schisms. The first occurred in 1846 when ministers Jacob Stauffer and Jacob Weber withdrew, criticizing the church for its unfaithfulness and lack of discipline. They also objected to the way Lancaster Conference leaders dealt with a personal dispute in the Groffdale congregation. This led to the formation of a new group—the Stauffer Mennonite Church. Another division occurred in 1893 when Bishop Jonas Martin and a group of like-minded ordained leaders who were opposed to Sunday schools and the use of English language during church services organized the Weaverland Mennonite Conference.

In 1874-1875 the Metzler congregation collected money to assist Russian Mennonites who were emigrating to United States and Canada. Records have been kept of the individual members who contributed money toward that effort. During and after World War II the congregation contributed funds to Mennonite Central Committee’s relief effort in war-torn Europe. Congregational support for the work of MCC has continued since then. The congregation has also participated in Mennonite Disaster Service and community ministries.

The 2018 Leadership Team consisted of Lead Pastor Nevin Horning, and Associate Pastors Ryan Bomgardner and David Buch. Lee Roy Martin served as Deacon and Jason Shirk as the Youth Pastor. All of the Leadership Team members were selected from the congregation. They were bi-vocational, receiving some financial salary from the congregation.

Metzler's worship services in 2018 cultivated both traditional hymn singing and the use of contemporary songs. Its 2018 membership was 252. Membership reached an all-time high in 1997 with 285.


Wenger, A. Grace. Frontiers of Faithfulness. The Story of the Groffdale Mennonite Church. Leola, PA, Groffdale Mennonite Church, 1992.

Sauder, David L. ed. Metzler’s Mennonite Congregation 1728-1978. Ephrata, PA, Hocking Printing Co, 1978.

Documents in the archives at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society.

Additional Information

Address: 515 West Metzler Road, Ephrata, PA 17522

Phone: (717) 859-2412


Denominational Affiliations:

Lancaster Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Ordained Leaders at Metzler Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Christian Burkholder (1746-1809) 1778-1809 First ordained as minister for Groffdale/Metzler
Henry Martin (1741-1825) 1809-1825 First ordained as minister for Weaverland
Jacob Zimmerman (1784-1856) 1815-1856 First ordained as minister for Weaverland
George (Weber) Weaver (1818-1883) 1854-1883 First ordained as minister for Groffdale/Metzler
Jonas H. Martin (1839-1925) 1881-1893 First ordained as minister for Weaverland
Benjamin W. Weaver (1853-1928) 1902-1928 First ordained as minister for Weaverland
Noah H. Mack (1861-1948) 1919-1926 First ordained as minister for Groffdale/Metzler
Served the York-Adams District 1926-1935
John M. Sauder (1864-1939) 1926-1939 First ordained as minister for Weaverland
Mahlon S. Witmer (1893-1975) 1939-1975 First ordained as minister for New Holland
John S. Martin (1908-1964) 1962-1964 First ordained as minister for Groffdale
Amos H. Sauder (1912-2000) 1964-1988 First ordained as minister for Metzler/Groffdale
Frank E. Shirk (1925-2014) 1978-1990 First ordained as minister for New Holland
Charles W. Wert (1935-) 1985-1996 First ordained as minister for Groffdale
Lloyd E. Hoover (1957-) 1995-present First ordained as a minister for Carpenter
Hans Rudolph Nägele (d. 1765) Served at Groffdale before Metzler was founded.
Christian Wenger (1698-1772) before 1748-1772
Hans Peter Summey (d. before 1748) Arrived in America in 1733.
Martin Groff (died ca. 1760) 1755?-ca. 1760 Ordained by 1755. Grantee for the first Groffdale Meetinghouse.
Martin Huber (ca. 1725-1785) ?-1785 Mentioned in a 1773 letter.
Christian Burkholder (1746-1809) 1770-1778 Ordained Bishop in 1778
Abraham Reiff (1735-1788) 1780?-1788 Possibly ordained to assist Martin Huber
after Christian Burkholder was ordained Bishop
Christian Horst (1755-1837) 1813?-1837 Ordained by 1813
Joseph G. Wenger (1766-1851) 1840?-1851 Ordained by 1840. Grandson of Christian Wenger
Abraham Burkholder (1768-1840) 1808?-1840 Ordained ca. 1808. After serving about ten years,
he requested to become a deacon. Son of Christian Burkholder
William Westhaefer (1785-1851) 1810-1826 Moved to Cumberland County, PA in 1826, and
then moved to Martin Congregation in Ohio in 1830
Jacob Weber (1796-1861) 1830-1846 Joined the newly organized Stauffer Mennonite Church
Jacob Stauffer (1811-1855) 1840-1846 Left ministry to found the Stauffer Mennonite Church
George (Weber) Weaver (1818-1883) 1846-1854 Ordained Bishop in 1854
Abraham Martin (1799-1889) 1847-1889
Joseph E. Wenger (1829-1907) 1857-1907 Grandson of Joseph G. Wenger
Died when his wagon was struck by a train locomotive
Elias Nolt (1824-1900) 1868-1900
Esaias B. Witmer (1856-1937) 1895-1937
Noah H. Mack (1861-1948) 1900-1919 Ordained Bishop in 1919
Benjamin G. Wenger (1875-1942) 1908-1942
Banks S. Winey (1858-1918) 1910-1918 Earlier served as minister in the
Graybill (Cross Roads) Congregation near Richfield, PA.
Eli G. Sauder (1888-1979) 1920-1970
Amos H. Sauder (1912-2000) 1940-1964 Ordained Bishop in 1964
Paul S. Wenger (1905-1964) 1949-1964 He was the first minister ordained solely for Metzler
All the ministers listed below were ordained solely for Metzler
Roy B. Martin (1933-2015) 1965-2005
Ray M. Geigley (1939-) 1966-1969 He later served as minister in the Locust Lane and Frazer congregations
Richard E. Buch (1946-) 1969-2014
D. Eugene Zoll (1959-) 1994-2016
Nevin Horning (1966-) 2005-
Ryan Bomgardner (1984-) 2015-
David Buch (1981-) 2017-
Christian G. Wenger (1733-1817) 1813?-1817 Ordained by 1813. Mentioned on a receipt
from Martin Mellinger. Likely son of Minister Christian Wenger
Abraham Burkholder (1768-1840) 1818?-1840 Ordained minister ca. 1808.
After serving about ten years, he requested to become a deacon.
Son of Christian Burkholder
Benjamin H. Wenger (1808-1874) 1838-1874 Son of Joseph G. Wenger
Abraham Kendig (1808-1882) 1870s-1882 Likely ordained in the 1870s
John H. Martin (1827-1911) 1878-1893 Served until he joined the newly formed Weaverland Conference
Michael W. Nolt (1839-1933) 1894-1933 Probably served only Groffdale after 1905
Samuel Metzler (1857-1940) 1905-1940 Served the Metzler and Ephrata congregations from 1905-1940
Amos B. Sauder (1875-1954) 1931-1954
Paul H. Weaver (1912-2013) 1945-1988
Lee Roy Martin (1955-) 1981-

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Ira D. Landis. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 659. All rights reserved.

The Metzler Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church USA) in West Earl Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is a member of the Lancaster Conference. It was named for Jacob Metzler, who on 6 May 1827 donated 60 perches of land to the trustees of the congregation. This was the home district of Bishop Christian Burkholder (1746-1809). Earlier the members had worshiped in private homes or at Groffdale, which was always a part of the circuit. Jacob Weber and Jacob Stauffer, two of the ministers here, led the schism which resulted in the Stauffer Mennonites (Pike meetinghouse) in 1845. The Metzler meetinghouse was enlarged in 1864. A new one 40 x 62 ft. was built in 1897 and renovated and enlarged in 1952. In 1956 the congregation numbered 235, with Eli G. Sauder, John S. Martin, Amos H. Sauder, and Paul S. Wenger as preachers.


Map:Metzler Mennonite Church (Akron, Pennsylvania, USA)

Author(s) David L Sauder
Date Published May 2018

Cite This Article

MLA style

Sauder, David L. "Metzler Mennonite Church (Akron, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2018. Web. 5 Jun 2023.,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=160734.

APA style

Sauder, David L. (May 2018). Metzler Mennonite Church (Akron, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 5 June 2023, from,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=160734.

©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.