Oak Grove Mennonite Church (Aroda, Virginia, USA)
The Oak Grove Mennonite Church in Aroda, Virginia, USA was established in 1957.
When the Mount Zion Amish Mennonite Church began, nine families joined from the Old Order Amish. They had contrasting goals for the new church. Bishop Alvin D. Miller and some members desired to maintain a strict standard of practice to demonstrate to the Amish in the community that they could drop certain Old Order practice and still resist complete absorption into the world. Others, including Minister Noah Keim, wanted to have an aggressive evangelization program, which included dropping the German language from services. The two groups attempted to compromise, but the attempts were futile.
The faction looked for a new place to start a church in the Madison County area and decided on Aroda.Three young families were in the initial move: Minister Noah Keim, Sanford Yoder, and Enos Schrock. Perry Nisly from Kansas also joined them. Keim and Yoder had been to a mission-focused colonization meeting in Kansas in 1956, which helped fuel their interest.
In the first few years, Oak Grove was actively involved in local evangelism of both African Americans and Caucasians. Several missions in the area were established, the only one remaining in 2012 was Faith Mission Home. The church also operated Mountain View Nursing Home, one of the Beachy Amish church’s most well known voluntary service units, and begun in 1962 by Harvey Yoder.
Oak Grove requested a bishop committee investigation of their new church. The committee was initially reluctant to grant Beachy Amish status because of Mt. Zion’s stand against the church and its less strict discipline. Some of the new practices, such as mixed seating in services and acceptance of the frock coat, were given up to meet the bishop committee’s requirements. In the end, Beachy status was granted to the new congregation, the first church to try the Beachy admissions process, a process that did not survive.
In 2017 the church was a member of the Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship and had a membership of 130. The bishop was Lamar Hochstetler, and the ministers were Henry Brenneman and David Hochstetler.
"Amish Mennonite Churches in Virginia." The Beachy Amish Mennonites. 2013. Web. 22 February 2018. http://www.beachyam.org/churches/va.htm.
Anderson, Cory. The Amish-Mennonites of North America: a portrait of our people. Medina, New York: Ridgeway Publishing, 2012: 84
Anderson, Cory Alexander. "The Diffusion of Beachy Amish Mennonite Congregations in the US South: A Regional Chronicle and Spatial Analysis." Unpublished paper, 2006: 20. Web. 22 February 2018. http://www.beachyam.org/librarybooks/Anderson(2006)_Diffusion.pdf.
Mennonite Church directory (2017): 46.
Yoder, Elmer S. The Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship Churches. Hartville, Ohio: Diakonia Ministries, 1987: 363-364.
Address: 571 Tom Johnston Road, Aroda, Virginia
|Date Published||February 2018|
Cite This Article
Steiner, Sam. "Oak Grove Mennonite Church (Aroda, Virginia, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2018. Web. 17 Aug 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Oak_Grove_Mennonite_Church_(Aroda,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=160162.
Steiner, Sam. (February 2018). Oak Grove Mennonite Church (Aroda, Virginia, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 August 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Oak_Grove_Mennonite_Church_(Aroda,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=160162.
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