Missouri, admitted to the Union in 1821 as the 24th state, is located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, bordered by Iowa to the north, Illinois and Kentucky to the east, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma to the south, and Kansas and Nebraska to the west. The total area of Missouri is 69,704 square miles (180,533 km²) and the estimated population in 2008 was 5,911,605. In 2005, 86.54% of the population was Caucasian and 12.04% was African American. In 2001, the religious affiliation of people in Missouri was as follows: Baptist – 22%; Methodist – 7%; Episcopal – 4%; Lutheran – 4%; Other Protestant – 12%; Roman Catholic – 19%; Latter-Day Saints – 1%; Other or unspecified Christian – 8%; Other religions – 2%; Not religious – 15%.
Missouri has had Mennonites within its borders since 1860, when the first ones (Amish Mennonites) located on the western border of the state, below Kansas City in Cass County (near Garden City). In 1868 they organized the Sycamore Grove (MC) congregation, which in 1956 had 224 members. The next settlement was made in 1866-1868 in the Morgan County-Moniteau County area near Versailles and Fortuna. First to come were Swiss Mennonites from Berne, Indiana, and Polk County, Iowa, followed by others from Rockingham County, Virginia. In 1871 the settlement peaceably divided into two congregations, Mount Zion (Mennonite Church) and Bethel (General Conference Mennonite Church), with 54 and 131 members respectively in 1956.
The third location to be settled was in northeastern Missouri, northwest of Hannibal in Shelby County and later in Marion County. The Mount Pisgah (MC) congregation, formerly called Cherry Box, was founded in 1868 by settlers chiefly from Sterling, Illinois; in 1956 it had 48 members. A daughter congregation, Berea (MC), was settled in 1895-1899 in the far south in Shannon County. In 1956 it had 25 members. A third small congregation in the Marion County area, Palmyra, founded by settlers from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1884, was dissolved in 1955, part joining the Pea Ridge congregation, which had been started about 1909 as a mission from Palmyra and in 1956 had 28 members.
In addition to the original settlements missions have been established at various places by the Mennonite Church (MC). The first was in Kansas City (Mennonite Gospel Center), dating from 1947, with 29 members. The larger Argentine church (MC) with 109 members, was on the Kansas side of the city. At Hannibal the Mission Church, with 76 members in 1956, was started in 1934. The three additional missions in central Missouri still in existence in 1956 (at Edwards, Warsaw, and Walker, started in 1939, 1949, and 1954) had a total of only about 30 members. The total membership of the Mennonite Church (MC) in Missouri in 1956 was 514.
The remaining Mennonites in Missouri consist of four Old Order Amish districts, with a total of 131 members, located in three widely scattered areas of the state (see map) and were of more recent origin. The Bethany Church of God in Christ, Mennonite congregation at Rich Hill along the Osage River, near the western border of the state, was organized in 1923; it had 93 members in 1956. The total Mennonite and Amish membership in the state in 1956 was 869. There are no Mennonite institutions in the state. -- HSB
Mennonite Church (MC) membership in Missouri increased from 514 in 1956 to 791 in 1987. Three congregations had become extinct, Gospel Center, Lick Creek, and Walker. Three of four new churches were in St. Louis: Bethesda, founded 1958, membership 62; St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship, 1975, membership 40; Word of Joy Fellowship, 1985, membership 22. The fourth, Harrisonville Mennonite Church, 1968 (membership in 1987 of 142), started with 54 charter members mostly from the nearby Sycamore Grove congregation. There are 10 Mennonite Church (MC) congregations in the state.
General Conference Mennonite Church (GCM) congregations were: Bethel at Fortuna; Brookside Christian Fellowship (1983), Kansas City; and St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship which has dual MC and GCM affiliation.
Mennonite institutions were the Beth-Haven Nursing Home, at Hannibal, established 1958, with 66 residential care units, and 102 retirement apartments in two separate units; Harrisonville Christian School (MC), established 1974; and the Home for Mentally Retarded Children located north of Linn.
Horning Mennonites (Old Order Mennonites) first came to Missouri in 1972. There were five congregations in 1987, one at Versailles and four in northeastern Missouri, with a total membership of 343. The Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church had one congregation at Versailles since 1982 with 22 members. Other Mennonite groups included: Wenger Mennonites (Old Order Mennonites), two congregations at Versailles; Church of God in Christ, Mennonites (Holdeman) at Versailles; and two unaffiliated Amish Mennonite (CM) congregations (Buffalo and Otterville), whose members came from Tampico, Illinois.
In 1984 there were 12 Old Order Amish settlements in Missouri. The following list gives the name of the settlement (the county it is located in), year of founding, and number of church districts (congregations) as of 1984: Bowling Green (Pike), 1947, 4; Jamesport (Daviess), 1953, 6; Clark (Randolf), 1954, 5; Anabel (Macon), 1957, 1; Seymour (Webster), 1968, 3; Dogwood (Douglas), 1969, 1; Marshfield (Webster), 1970, 1; Windsor (Henry), 1975, 1; LaPlata (Macon), 1976, 1; Dixon (Pulaski), 1980, 1; Prairie Home (Cooper), 1980, 1; Maywood (Marion), 1980, 1. The settlement at Fortuna established in 1967, disbanded in 1975. -- DK
|Anabaptist/Mennonite Groups in Missouri, 2000|
|Amish; Other Groups||5||760|
|Beachy Amish Mennonite Churches||2||40|
|Church of God in Christ, Mennonite||5||654|
|Church of the Brethren||20||1,045|
|Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church||2||123|
|Mennonite Brethren Churches, U.S. Conference of||1||21|
|Mennonite Church USA||12||1,310|
|Mennonite; Other Groups||13||935|
|Old Order Amish Church||49||3,300|
|Old Order Mennonite||11||1,571|
ARDA: The Association of Religious Data Archives. "State Membership Report - Missouri: Denominational Groups, 2000." http://www.thearda.com/mapsReports/reports/state/29_2000.asp (accessed 2 March 2009).
Horsch, James E., ed. Mennonite Yearbook and Directory. Scottdale: Mennonite Publishing House (1988-89): 29.
Luthy, David. Amish Settlements Across America. Aylmer, ON: Pathway, 1985: 2, 9.
Wikipedia. "Missouri." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri (accessed 2 March 2009).
Wittlinger, Carlton O. Quest for Piety and Obedience: The Story of the Brethren in Christ. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Press, 1978: 147, 149-50.
|Author(s)||Harold S. Bender|
|Date Published||February 2009|
Cite This Article
Bender, Harold S. and Dan Kauffman. "Missouri (USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2009. Web. 24 Jun 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Missouri_(USA)&oldid=58973.
Bender, Harold S. and Dan Kauffman. (February 2009). Missouri (USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 June 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Missouri_(USA)&oldid=58973.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 717-718; vol. 5, p. 597. All rights reserved.
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