Rivers Mennonite Church (Rivers, Manitoba, Canada)

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Rivers Mennonite Church, located in the far western region of Manitoba, Canada, traces its beginnings to 1928 when a recent group of Mennonite immigrants from the Soviet Union met to worship and were served by Bishop Johann P. Klassen of the Schoenwieser Mennonite Church group. At Klassen’s invitation, the initial six families joined the Schoenwieser church. Later that year these families learned of another small group of Mennonites in the Wheatland area who were being served by a Mennonite minister, Abram Paetkau, that were independent of the Schoenwieser Church. It was agreed that these two groups would meet together for Sunday services. By 1930 the membership had grown to include 16 families.

Bishop Klassen ordained Johann Tiessen (1883-1951) and Abram Isaak (1892-1985) as lay ministers in 1930. During the 1930s a number of families moved away. By 1938 there were only nine families remaining –- seven of which belonged to the Schoenwieser Church and two of which belonged to the Whitewater Mennonite Church group of Boissevain. In order to strengthen the group and build unity, the entire group decided to join the Whitewater Mennonite Church group. The Rivers Mennonite Church again grew during the 1940s. Bishop Gerhard G. Neufeld (1902-1997) of Boissevain ordained Abram J. Martens (1906-1979) as a minister and Abram J. Krahn (1909-2004) as deacon, in 1949. The first permanent church building was completed on 19 November 1950. During the early 1950s there were 42 families consisting of 170 people attending, and the active membership reached 102 in 1957. The language of worship was German.

The 1960s and 1970s witnessed a decline of membership as young people left their farms in search of employment and others joined English speaking churches. With a steady decline in membership continuing and no possible influx of new members, the congregation decided to close in 1983 and sell the church building. The building was sold and moved in 1984. Some members joined Grace Mennonite Church in Brandon after the closure. A committee was formed in 1995 whose task was to assure the maintenance of the cemetery in perpetuity.


Canadian Mennonite (25 November 1955): 6.

Mennonite Reporter (26 November 1984): 11.

Neufeld, G. G. Die Geschichte der Whitewater Mennoniten Gemeinde in Manitoba, Canada 1925-1965. Altona, MB: D. W. Friesen, 1967, 242 pp.

History of the Whitewater Mennonite Church 1927-1987. 1987, 99 pp.

Archival Records

Church records at Mennonite Heritage Centre.

Additional Information

Denominational Affiliations:

Mennonite Church Manitoba (1929-1984)

Conference of Mennonites in Canada(1929-1984)

Rivers Mennonite Church ministers

Minister Years of service
Johann P. Klassen 1928-1929
Abram Paetkau 1929
John Tiessen 1931-1934
Abram J. Isaak 1934-1949
Abram J. Isaak 1949-1963
Abram Martens 1963-1979
John Krahn ?-1984

Author(s) Marlene Epp
Alf Redekopp
Date Published November 2015

Cite This Article

MLA style

Epp, Marlene and Alf Redekopp. "Rivers Mennonite Church (Rivers, Manitoba, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2015. Web. 27 Sep 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Rivers_Mennonite_Church_(Rivers,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=142540.

APA style

Epp, Marlene and Alf Redekopp. (November 2015). Rivers Mennonite Church (Rivers, Manitoba, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 September 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Rivers_Mennonite_Church_(Rivers,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=142540.

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