Metzler Mennonite Church (Akron, Pennsylvania, USA)
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.
Address: 515 West Metzler Road, Ephrata, PA 17522
Phone: (717) 859-2412
Ordained Leaders at Metzler Mennonite Church
|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.
|Author(s)||David L Sauder|
|Date Published||May 2018|
Cite This Article
Sauder, David L. "Metzler Mennonite Church (Akron, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2018. Web. 25 May 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Metzler_Mennonite_Church_(Akron,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=160734.
Sauder, David L. (May 2018). Metzler Mennonite Church (Akron, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Metzler_Mennonite_Church_(Akron,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=160734.
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