Montrose Mennonite Meetinghouse (West Montrose, Ontario, Canada)

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In 1950 the Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Conference group built its first meetinghouse about two kilometers north of West Montrose, Ontario at 6101 Middlebrook Rd. It previously had always shared meetinghouses with the Old Order Mennonites. This meetinghouse deviated from the traditional Old Order amphitheater seating arrangement in which the pulpit was midway along the long wall of the building. Rather the interior resembled Mennonite Conference of Ontario churches that had the pulpit at the gable-end of the building facing pews rather than benches.

Montrose meetinghouse exterior in 2010.
Montrose meetinghouse Interior, 1950-2009
Montrose meetinghouse renovated interior, 2009-

When the Goshen Meetinghouse was built five years later it returned to the customary Old Order amphitheater style, and Markham meetinghouses have since been constructed in this Old Order style. Markham meetinghouses remained distinctive in providing lobbies for both men and women; Old Order meetinghouses have lobbies only for the women.

The reasons for the unique seating arrangement at the Montrose Meetinghouse are not clear. Several views have emerged -- one suggested the availability of some used pews at the time of construction; these were installed in the "cathedral" style of the conference churches. Another view has proposed that when the Markham Mennonites separated from the Old Order, some members wanted to express points of difference from the Old Order. However over the subsequent years the desire to maintain similarities to the Old Order prevailed.

The Montrose meetinghouse was constructed by the Markham-Waterloo conference because of increasing population in the area. In 1978 the meetinghouse was enlarged.

On 16 April 1978 Minister George Brubacher from the Elmira congregation suddenly passed away while preaching at the Montrose meetinghouse. Silence filled the meetinghouse as he was carried outside and Minister Noah Martin arose to proceed with the service.

The Montrose congregation experienced continued growth, as did neighboring congregations. In June 2009 a portion of the Elmira and North Woolwich congregations were split off and about five families from Montrose joined them to form a new congregation. This new congregation used the Montrose Meetinghouse on alternating Sundays and was known as Montrose West. The old Montrose congregation was renamed Montrose East.

While the planning was underway to establish the Montrose West congregation, a request was made to renovate the Church to arrange the seating into the amphitheater style like all the other Markham-Waterloo churches. A meeting confirmed a favorable consensus to renovate and make the changes. This occurred in the spring of 2009 and was finished in time for the formation of the Montrose West congregation. The pulpit is now midway along the north wall with seating in the amphitheater style. This was the first time since 1950 that the Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Conference churches all have the same seating arrangement.

Minister Clare Frey from the Elmira congregation lived in the geographical area of Montrose West so became the home minister. Deacon Elmer Martin also lived in this area so was now the resident Deacon. Minister Elverne Martin served in the Montrose East geographical area and in June 2010 Richard Weber was ordained Deacon for Montrose East. Because of growth in the conference these two districts now came under Bishop Gordon Bauman’s leadership.

Earlier the language of worship was in English and German, but by 2000 worship was entirely in English.

See also Montrose East Mennonite Church (West Montrose, Ontario, Canada); Montrose West Mennonite Church (West Montrose, Ontario, Canada).


Frey, Aden. "The Markham-Waterloo Conference of Ontario." Research paper, Conrad Grebel College, 1972, Mennonites in Canada collection, "70-Markham-Waterloo."  Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Hiebert, Esther. "History of the Markham-Waterloo Conference." Research paper, Canadian Mennonite Bible College, 1980, 62 pp.

Additional Information

Address: 6101 Middlebrook Road, West Montrose, Ontario (0.5 km. north of Line 86)

Denominational Affiliation: Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Conference

Table 1: Montrose Mennonite Meetinghouse Pastoral Leaders

Name Years of Service
Noah Martin (1920-1990) 1950-1990
Amsey Martin (1898-1985)(Bishop) 1950-1985
Levi Martin (1916-2001) (Deacon) 1953-2001
Jacob Weber (1917- ) (Minister) 1962-2008
Orvie Brubacher (1940-1986)(Bishop) 1979-1986
Ernie Wideman (1942- )(Bishop) 1986-2009
Elverne Martin (1955- ) (Minister) 1993-2009
Elmer Martin (1944- )(Deacon) 1995-2009
Gordon Bauman (1942- )(Bishop) 2009

Table 2: Montrose Mennonite Meetinghouse Membership

Year Membership
1975 129
2003 137
2006 143


Map:Montrose Mennonite Meetinghouse (West Montrose, Ontario)

Author(s) Marlene Epp
Paul Martin
Date Published October 2010

Cite This Article

MLA style

Epp, Marlene and Paul Martin. "Montrose Mennonite Meetinghouse (West Montrose, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2010. Web. 4 Aug 2021.,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=146824.

APA style

Epp, Marlene and Paul Martin. (October 2010). Montrose Mennonite Meetinghouse (West Montrose, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 August 2021, from,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=146824.

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