Millwood Mennonite Church (Gap, Pennsylvania, USA)
Millwood Mennonite Church (Biblical Mennonite Alliance), located two miles (3 km) northeast of Gap, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was formed in 1877 with 22 families consisting of 124 members from the Old Order Amish community in this district, under the leadership of Gideon Stoltzfus, who had been ordained a minister in 1868 by the Old Order Amish, and was ordained bishop in 1888, serving in this office until his death in 1913.
The congregation was part of the Eastern Amish Mennonite Conference, and after the merger with the Ohio Mennonite Conference, was part of the Ohio Mennonite and Eastern Amish Mennonite Joint Conference. This continued until the 1945 split mentioned below.
The congregation met in members' homes every two weeks until 1882, when the first meetinghouse was built (frame 36 x 50 ft.), which served the congregation until 1937, when a brick structure was erected. John A. Kennel, ordained bishop in 1926, assisted by LeRoy S. Stoltzfus, ordained bishop in 1949, were serving as bishops in 1955. Ministers and deacons that have formerly served were Samuel Lantz, John M. Stoltzfus, Daniel Stoltzfus, Amos B. Stoltzfus, M. S. Stoltzfus, Frank Stoltzfus, George B. Stoltzfus, John P. Kennel, Aaron Mast, and Isaac G. Kennel. After 1929 the congregation established the following mission outposts which together with the home congregation constituted the Millwood district membership of 431 in 1954: Coatesville (1929), Parkesburg (1938), Homeville (1945), Newlinville (1949), and Kennett Square (1951). In 1954 the Millwood congregation proper had 222 members, with Reuben G. Stoltzfus as preacher in addition to the two bishops.
In 1909 the Millwood congregation built a second meetinghouse, known as Maple Grove, but continued to function as one congregation. In 1945 a division occurred, the more conservative one-third minority withdrawing under Bishop John Kennel's leadership to join the Lancaster Mennonite Conference (the only congregation of Amish background in the conference) and taking the Millwood meetinghouse. The more progressive two-thirds majority (1954 membership 458) continued the congregation's membership in the Ohio and Eastern A.M. Conference, taking Maple Grove meetinghouse.
The Millwood Mennonite Church experienced a decline in membership from about 1968 to 1995. The ministry had different opinions regarding the best way to express faith in everyday living. Following the adoption of the 1968 Statement of Doctrine and Discipline of Lancaster Mennonite Conference, two Millwood pastors and a number of members transferred to a more conservative congregation, which was part of the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church. The use of television was one of the concerns for the more conservative members. Prior to 1968 the Lancaster Conference Discipline clearly prohibited members from having television. The new Discipline did not make television ownership a test of membership.
The congregation that remained continued to be theologically conservative. On 25 February 2012 the church left the Lancaster Mennonite Conference and joined the Biblical Mennonite Alliance.
In 2019 the leading minister was Keith Beiler and the associate pastors were Elvin Ressler and Luke Sensenig. The congregational membership was 105 and the average weekly attendance was 100.
Biblical Mennonite Alliance. "BMA Congregational Directory with Pastors." August 2015.
Biblical Mennonite Alliance. "BMA Directory 2012." Web. 15 May 2012. http://www.biblicalmennonite.com/.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 138.
Hershey, Noah L. "The Millwood Community and its Mennonite Congregation." Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage 26, no. 1 (January 2003)ː 2-8.
Address: 441 Amish Road, Gap, PA 17527
Ordained Pastors at Millwood Mennonite Church
|Gideon Stoltzfus (1835-1913)(Minister)
|John M. Stoltzfus (1862-1945)||1889-1945|
|Daniel M. Stoltzfus (1850-1941)||1884-1919|
|Amos B. Stoltzfus||1913-?|
|John A. Kennel (Minister)
|Menno Simons "M. S." Stoltzfus (1899-1982)||1933-1953|
|Leroy S. Stoltzfus (1911-1979)(Minister)
|Reuben G. Stoltzfus (1910-1994)||1944-1980|
|Roy Ulrich (1909-1992)||1944-1968|
|Elmer D. Leaman (1912-1972) (Bishop)||1967-1972|
|Mahlon Glick (1915-1994)||1970-1994|
|Noah L. Hershey (1920-2010)(Bishop)||1973-1991|
|Frank L. Menkin (1941-||1980-1983|
|Robert M. Stoltzfus||1986-1992|
|Wilbert Lind (Interim)||1993-1996|
|Calvin Beiler (1938-2002)||1995-2002|
|Menno B. Fisher||1996-1998, 2002-2007?|
|Keith L. Beiler||2003-present|
Membership at Millwood Mennonite Church
- Includes daughter congregations, including Maple Grove
|Author(s)||LeRoy S. Stoltzfus|
|Date Published||June 2019|
Cite This Article
Stoltzfus, LeRoy S. and Sam Steiner. "Millwood Mennonite Church (Gap, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2019. Web. 23 Aug 2019. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Millwood_Mennonite_Church_(Gap,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=164190.
Stoltzfus, LeRoy S. and Sam Steiner. (June 2019). Millwood Mennonite Church (Gap, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 August 2019, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Millwood_Mennonite_Church_(Gap,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=164190.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 694. All rights reserved.
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