Montezuma Church of God in Christ, Mennonite Church (Montezuma, Kansas, USA)

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The Montezuma Church of God in Christ, Mennonite congregation northwest of Montezuma, Kansas, USA, was established in 1912. The congregation started when Minister Peter A. Friesen and his family moved to the area in March 1912, joined by four other families. There was no railroad or town at the time, so they arrived at the Cimarron railroad station some 20 miles from their destination. Later that year, the Dodge City and Cimarron Valley Railroad laid tracks through the area, and the town of Montezuma that had been founded in 1879 was relocated to its present spot near the railroad. Within three years, the church had grown to 42 families, most of them from Marion County, Kansas.

In the early years, the congregation met in homes and later in a schoolhouse two miles south and 0.75 miles east of the present location. This building was moved several times before it was decided in 1915 to build a small church across the road from the present building. This church was dedicated on 15 September 1915. After several small additions, the congregation decided in 1945 to build a new brick church; it was dedicated on 6 April 1947. Some additions and renovations took place in the years following.

In 1923 a small group of members who lived at a distance from the church applied to become a separate congregation. This was the beginning of the Salem Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. Jacob N. Yost became the pastor of the new congregation.

In 1982 the congregation believed it was becoming too large. The Homeland Mennonite Church was launched about five miles south of the Montezuma church. Four ministers, two deacons, and 148 members moved to the new congregation. In 1996 the Montezuma, Copeland, and Cimarron congregations agreed to start the Living Hope congregation northwest of the Montezuma church. Forty-one members, two deacons, and one minister joined the new congregation.

During World War I, some Montezuma members were harassed. John A. Koehn, a young minister, was taken into town and threatened because he would not buy a war bond. The banker used some of his own money and forged Koehn's name on the bond. He later apologized for that action. Bernard Koehn has his beard shaved off by a hostile crowd. During World War II, Menno Isaac was inadvertently inducted into the military on 27 July 1942. He was court-martialed twice for refusing orders and served two years and three months in prison.

The congregation suffered significantly during the Depression of the 1930s. There were crop failures from 1932 to 1937, made worse by dust storms, grasshoppers, and jackrabbits.

The Montezuma Mennonite School began in 1979 in a new building one mile east of the church. There was an addition in 1997/98.

The congregation has also had a Mutual Burial Plan for all members at cost. Initially, caskets were made by church members, but later, arrangements were made with local funeral homes.

With other congregations, Montezuma has given leadership to the Dodge City mission.

In 2020 the congregation was part of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. The ministers were Craig B. Koehn, Kalvin Salsbury, and Charles Schmidt.

Bibliography

Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. Yearbook (1996-2020).

Histories of the congregations. 3rd. ed. Moundridge, Kansas: Gospel Publishers, 1999: 308-318.

Additional Information

Address: 10506 AA Road, Montezuma, Kansas 67867

Phone: 620-846-2399

Website:

Denominational Affiliations:

Church of God in Christ, Mennonite

Ordained Pastors at the Montezuma Church of God in Christ, Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Peter A. Friesen 1912-1918
John A. Koehn (1885-1966) 1916-1966
Jacob N. Yost (1890-1974) 1918-1923
Heinrich H. Wiens (1864-1955) 1919-1955
Abraham T. Koehn (1893-1975) 1922-1928
J. E. Friesen (d. 1961) 1924-1961
Albert Unruh (1898-1978) 1924-1978
David J. Koehn (1910-1979) 1935-1979
Ervin F. Harms (1910-1969) 1935-1958
Willard Johnson (1921-2012) 1950-1966
Daniel J. Koehn (1918-2004) 1951-1982
Ervey Unruh (1927-2006) 1956-1973
Donald D. Koehn 1963-2017
Harold H. Koehn 1963-2007
Norman Koehn (1928-2006) 1963-1977
Franklin Buller (1932-2010) 1963-1982
Edwin R. Classen 1971-2002
2006-2016
Glen Smith 1980-1982
Lloyd Nightingale 1981-1982
Ernest J. Koehn (1923-2018) 1981-2001
Charles Schmidt 1981-present
James K. Koehn 1991-1996
Kelvin Salsbury 1999-present
Glen Yost 1999-2005
Craig B. Koehn 2013-present

Membership at Montezuma Church of God in Christ, Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1915 82
1957 386
1995 326
2000 278
2010 239
2020 208

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Albert Unruh. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 746. All rights reserved.

Montezuma Church of God in Christ, Mennonite Church is located near Montezuma, Gray County, Kansas. The first members arrived in 1912. In this group, there was Peter A. Friesen, the first resident minister, who served the congregation until 1918. Before 1915 the worship services were conducted in homes and in a small frame meetinghouse, which was later enlarged, and in 1946 replaced by a new brick structure with a seating capacity of 900. The German language, formerly used in the services, replaced by the English. The members are of Dutch-Russian Mennonite descent, and the Low German dialect was still spoken in many homes in the 1950s. The Sunday school was organized in 1935. Three sewing circles were functioning. Several members of the congregation were actively engaged in missionary work. The local burial plan organized in 1940 was operating successfully. Bethel Home for the aged was built in 1950. The membership in 1957 was 386, with Daniel J. Koehn as minister in charge. The congregation survived the dust storms and extreme drought of the 1930s.


Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published January 2021

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Montezuma Church of God in Christ, Mennonite Church (Montezuma, Kansas, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2021. Web. 27 Jul 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Montezuma_Church_of_God_in_Christ,_Mennonite_Church_(Montezuma,_Kansas,_USA)&oldid=170730.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (January 2021). Montezuma Church of God in Christ, Mennonite Church (Montezuma, Kansas, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 July 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Montezuma_Church_of_God_in_Christ,_Mennonite_Church_(Montezuma,_Kansas,_USA)&oldid=170730.




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