Rosedale Network of Churches

Jump to navigation Jump to search

1955 Article

The Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference was brought into being in 1910 at the invitation of the ministers of the Pigeon River congregation, near Pigeon, Michigan, who invited ministers of other similar churches to gather with them in a ministers meeting. The meeting was held 24-25 November 1910 (an error in the official report of this meeting sets the date as 24-25 November 1911.)

At this preliminary meeting, five ordained men were present: Bishop S. J. Swartzendruber and M. S. Zehr of the host congregation; Bishop Joshua King, Hartville, Ohio; Bishop John L. Mast. and Jonas D. Yoder of the Locust Grove congregation, near Belleville, Pennsylvania.

The purpose of the meeting was set forth in the first resolution: "That we stand more closely together in the work of the Lord, to maintain peace and unity in the so-called Conservative Amish Mennonite churches."

The name Conservative Amish Mennonite had been brought into use at the turn of the century by M. S. Steiner, compiler of Mennonite statistics, to distinguish these churches from the more progressive Amish Mennonite conferences on the one hand, and the more conservative Old Order Amish churches on the other.

The second meeting was held with the Maple Glen congregation, near Grantsville, Maryland, 27-28 May 1912. With this session the meeting became established as an annual conference, which it continued to be at this writing. Attending were 16 ordained men from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and Missouri. For the most part, those participating in this conference session represented congregations which, as the name of the conference indicates, felt that the established conferences of that day came short of certain Scriptural requirements, and that a more conservative emphasis was needed in the application of the Word of God than these afforded. On the other hand, it was felt that the Old Order Amish churches left certain things to be desired in the way of an aggressive church program. Most of the congregations interested in this new conference movement stemmed from this latter group and had never been affiliated with any conference, while in several cases their background included contacts with the district Amish Mennonite conferences.

Conservative Amish Mennonite Congregations (with key)
Source: Mennonite Encyclopedia, v. 1, p. 701.

As the conference met year after year and its policies became more clearly outlined, other congregations applied for membership, while a few which had been represented at the first meetings withdrew. In this early stage of development, the conference functioned in a very informal way. It had no written constitution and bylaws to guide it in its work. In fact it did not adopt one until 1945. (Complete text of constitution and by-laws appears in conference report of that year.)

From its beginning, the conference accepted the 18 articles of the Dordrecht Confession of Faith as an official statement of its belief. It insisted on separation from the world for its membership in personal, social, and economic life, including such details as fashionable attire, use of tobacco and intoxicants, participation in war in any form, worldly business associations, secret societies, life insurance, and holding of government offices. Correspondingly it sought to promote a positive Christian testimony through evangelism, benevolence, and personal sanctification.

At its second meeting, in 1912, the conference took steps toward establishing an orphans' home, which plans materialized by 1914 in the Amish Mennonite Children's Home, near Grantsville, MD, an institution which cared for many destitute children until it was closed in 1938 because of state restrictions, which among other things made interstate placement of children impossible.

At this same 1912 session a Sunday-school conference followed the church conference sessions and has remained an annual feature for the promotion of Sunday-school work throughout the congregations.

In 1912 the conference approved a plan for systematic, yearly visitation of all its congregations by ministers appointed for that purpose, who were to preach a number of sermons for each congregation. By 1918, through conference sanction, some of these efforts took on the form of Bible instruction meetings, which were carried on in varied form and frequency since, in most of the congregations.

In 1917 the conference assumed joint responsibility for the publication of the Herold der Wahrheit, a German-English semimonthly periodical, launched in 1912 by a number of interested persons in the Old Order Amish churches.

In the same year the first definite action was taken in mission work, when it was decided that M. S. Zehr should go to the Ozark Mountains of Missouri to preach there if opportunity afforded and investigate the possibility of opening mission work. By 1919 a mission board was appointed by the conference. Besides numerous missionary efforts carried on locally by individual congregations, the conference established under its general mission board in 1929 a city mission at 2124 E. Williamson St., Flint, Michigan, and in 1946 a rural mission on Turner's Creek, near Talbert, Kentucky, with a branch station on Bowling's Creek, near Beech, KY, about one year later. In 1948 the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities invited the conference to appoint representatives to its board, and after that time it had two representatives on this board. In 1950 the conference appointed its first foreign missionaries, a couple to serve under the Eastern (Lancaster) Mennonite Board in Luxembourg, and established its own work in Espelkamp, Germany. In the 1950s the following additional home missions were established: Austin, Indiana, Gays Creek, Kentucky, Mount Morris, Michigan, and Blountstown, Florida.

In 1937 the conference elected a representative on the Peace Problems Committee of the Mennonite General Conference (MC). In 1941 it appointed a representative on the Mennonite Central Committee. In co-operation with this committee it contributed material aid and personnel for relief after World War I and during and after the last war, as well as participating in the Civilian Public Service program.

In 1948 a ministers' Bible study-discussion meeting was held which became a regular annual feature.

Not officially affiliated with the conference, but working with it in matters of mutual interest such as relief and the recent CPS program, were a number of congregations generally known as "Conservative Amish Mennonite—Not under Conference," which were usually listed with this conference in Mennonite statistics. These congregations in 1954 numbered 1,664 members.

The conference ministers were almost always drawn from among the brotherhood of the congregations which they were to serve. Most of the ministers were ordained through the lot, but this practice has changed considerably by the 1950s..

Among the founders and earliest supporters of the conference, the following bishops may be named: S. J. Swartzendruber of Pigeon, Michigan, who proposed and guided the first meeting; Joel J. Miller of Grantsville, Md., in whose congregation the first general public conference was held, as a result of the preliminary meeting in Michigan; C. M. Nafziger of Lowville, New York; Jonathan Troyer of Indiana; John L. Mast of Belleville, Pennsylvania; Joshua King of Ohio; and the ministers, M. S. Zehr of Pigeon, Michigan; Jacob S. Miller and Jonas B. Miller of Grantsville, Maryland; Jonas D. Yoder of Pennsylvania, and Gideon A. Yoder of Iowa.

Among those who later entered the service of the conference only a few may be named here: Elmer G. Swartzendruber and Amos Swartzendruber of Iowa; Emanuel Swartzendruber, Peter Swartz, and Earl Maust of Michigan; Sam T. Eash and Edwin Albrecht of Indiana; Roman Miller, Harry Stutz-man, John Swartzentruber, and M. J. Swartzentruber of Ohio; Christian Roggie, Joseph Lehman,and Joseph J. Zehr of New York; C. W. Bender, Emanuel B. Peachey, Sam T. Yoder, and Shem Peachey of Pennsylvania; Noah Brenneman of Maryland; and Nevin Bender and Eli Swartzentruber of Delaware.

In 1954 the total membership of the conference was 4,259. There were 36 congregations, of which five were in Pennsylvania and Maryland, two in Delaware, four in New York, one in Virginia, three in Kentucky, six in Michigan, seven in Ohio, four in Indiana, one in Illinois, two in Iowa, and one in Kansas. Fourteen bishops, 42 ministers, and 8 deacons served in these congregations. -- Ivan J. Miller

1990 Update

The Conservative Mennonite Conference was organized in 1910 as the Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference. The word Amish was dropped from the name with the adoption of a revised constitution in 1957. The Amish Mennonites were that segment of the Swiss Brethren who followed Jakob Ammann in the Amish division of 1693-97, in part under influence of the strict discipline of North German and Dutch Mennonites. From their first American settlement in Berks County, Pennsylvania (1710-20), and strengthened by later immigration, they moved westward with the North American frontier so that by mid-century they were scattered in autonomous congregations from eastern Pennsylvania to Ontario and Iowa. To unify these scattered churches, Amish Mennonite ministers' conferences were held in 1862-78. After 1878 these meetings were discontinued, and three district Amish Mennonite conferences were formed: Eastern Amish Mennonite, Indiana-Michigan Amish Mennonite, and Western Amish Mennonite. Some Amish Mennonite congregations did not join the conference movement, and others withdrew during the ministers' meetings or after their termination. These nonconference churches met for worship in private homes, held to former worship patterns, including the German language, and generally tended to reject innovations. They came to be known as Old Order Amish, Mennonites and finally as Old Order Amish. The term Amish has come to refer nearly exclusively to Old Order Amish as the conference Amish Mennonites merged with Mennonite groups, primarily the Mennonite Church (MC).

Between the Old Order Amish Mennonites and the conference Amish Mennonites were some congregations, interested in missions and social service, publication, use of meetinghouses, Sunday schools, etc., that had not joined the Amish Mennonite conferences. In the early 1900s the Mennonite Yearbook (MC) began listing these churches as Conservative Amish Mennonite. When these congregations met in their first conference in 1910 they adopted the name as their own.

Since 1950 the Conservative Mennonite Conference has representatives on the major boards of the Mennonite Church (MC) but has declined to be organically affiliated, thus maintaining a rather loose, fraternal relationship with the Mennonite Church (MC) General Assembly.

In 1964 the Conservative Mennonite Bible School was moved from the Pleasant View meetinghouse near Berlin, Ohio, to the village of Rosedale on Rosedale Road, Irwin, Ohio. Known as Rosedale Bible College (formerly Rosedale Bible Institute), the school offers courses in Bible, theology, evangelism, teacher training, music, and related subjects on both high school and college levels. Credits are transferable to various colleges and seminaries. The conference missions and service offices, known as Rosedale Mennonite Missions (also known as Conservative Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities), are located on the same campus. So also are the conference archives.

In 1961 Rosedale Mennonite Mission opened mission work in Costa Rica. By 1974 the Costa Rica Mennonite Conference had been formed, with fraternal ties to the parent conference. The Costa Rica conference in 1986 had 1,053 members in 19 congregations with 20 ordained or licensed ministers. In 1968 mission work was opened in Nicaragua. By 1977 the Nicaragua Mennonite Conference had been formed, with fraternal ties to the parent conference. The Nicaragua conference in 1986 had 723 members in 30 congregations with 21 ordained or licensed ministers. In 1982 mission work was opened in Ecuador. There were 27 members in 1986. The conference launched the Brotherhood Beacon, an official monthly periodical in 1971. -- Ivan J. Miller

2010 Update

In 2010 the conference had 104 congregations with 11,141 members:

Congregation City State Founded Members
Abundant Life Christian Church San Antonio Texas 1985 29
Abundant Life Church Sarasota Florida 1999 208
Agape Community Fellowship of Hilliard Hilliard Ohio 1988 128
Agape Community Fellowship of Marysville Marysville Ohio 2005 38
Allensville Mennonite Church Allensville Pennsylvania 1861 235
Bean Blossom Community Church Morgantown Indiana 1945 49
Berea Mennonite Church Cannelburg Indiana 1921 290
Berean Mennonite Christian Fellowship Tallahassee Florida 1964 58
Bethany Conservative Mennonite Church Hartville Ohio 1972 160
Bethel Mennonite Church Sarasota Florida 1975 318
Bethel Springs Mennonite Church Calico Rock Arizona 1938 25
Bowlings Creek Mennonite Church Altro Kentucky 1947 26
Bowne Mennonite Church Clarksville Michigan 1866 40
Boyer Mennonite Church Middleburg Pennsylvania 1954 72
Buckhorn Creek Mennonite Church Rowdy Kentucky 1958 40
Caney Creek Mennonite Church Clayhole Kentucky 1952 37
Cannon Mennonite Church Bridgeville Delaware 1977 200
Carthage Mennonite Church Carthage New York 1957 43
Cherry Glade Mennonite Church Accident Maryland 1881 358
Cloverdale Conservative Mennonite Church Nashwauk Minnesota 1950 40
Cornerstone Mennonite Church Hartville Ohio 1955 111
Covenant Fellowship West Liberty Ohio 1997 18
Crenshaw Community Church Brockway Pennsylvania 1952 6
Croghan Mennonite Church Croghan New York 1833 178
Crossroads Christian Fellowship Phoenix Arizona 1997 27
Dayspring Community Mennonite Church Salley South Carolina 1998 18
Dayspring Mennonite Church Midland Virginia 1996 46
Fairhaven Community Church Bay Port Michigan 1965 103
Fairlawn Mennonite Church Apple Creek Ohio 1949 161
Fairview Mennonite Church Kalona Iowa 1936 180
Fairview Mennonite Church Albany Oregon 1894 193
Faith Community Church El Dorado Arkansas 1968 40
First Mennonite Church Montgomery Indiana 1980 200
Fuente de Vida (Fountain of Life) San Antonio Texas 1991 82
Grace Christian Fellowship of Flint Flint Michigan 1928 21
Grace Mennonite Church Phoenix Arizona 1969 50
Grace Mennonite Church Berlin Ohio 1981 234
Greenwood Mennonite Church Greenwood Delaware 1914 213
Hicksville Mennonite Church Hicksville Ohio 1961 151
Iglesia Cristiana Dios Con Nosotros (God With Us Christian Church) Phoenix Arizona 1994 23
Iglesia Cristiana Hispana (Hispanic Christian Church) Hilliard Ohio 2001 55
Iglesia Cristiana Vida Abundante (Abundant Life Christian Outreach) Albuquerque New Mexico 1987 55
Johnsville Conservative Mennonite Church Johnsville (Shauck) Ohio 1952 56
Light-in-the-Valley Chapel Sugarcreek Ohio 1959 150
Living Word Christian Outreach Albuquerque New Mexico 1983 20
Locust Grove Mennonite Church Belleville Pennsylvania 1898 446
London Christian Fellowship London Ohio 1984 60
Lowville Mennonite Church Lowville New York 1913 186
Manbeck Mennonite Church Beaver Springs Pennsylvania 1960 43
Maple City Chapel Goshen Indiana 1974 563
Maple Glen Mennonite Church Grantsville Maryland 1877 121
Maple Grove Community Church Mennonite Gulliver Michigan 1942 21
Maple Grove Mennonite Church Hartville Ohio 1922 221
Maple View Mennonite Church Burton Ohio 1945 115
Maranatha Community Fellowship Plain City Ohio 1969 120
Maranatha Fellowship Dover Delaware 1997 63
Maranatha Mennonite Church Hutchinson Kansas 1978 85
Mattawana Mennonite Church Lewistown Pennsylvania 1818 60
Mechanicsburg Christian Fellowship Mechanicsburg Ohio 1978 177
Mennonite Christian Assembly Fredericksburg Ohio 1987 228
Ministerio Manantiales de Vida (Springs of Life Ministry) El Paso Texas 2003 16
Mision Iglesia Cristiana Siloé (Siloam Christian Mission Church) (Los Angelos) Los Angeles California 1979 65
Mountain View Mennonite Chapel Reedsville Pennsylvania 1974 88
Mt. Joy Conservative Mennonite Church Goshen Indiana 1961 58
Mt. Zion Mennonite Chapel Leon Iowa 1982 18
National City Mennonite Church National City Michigan 1945 15
Naumburg Conservative Mennonite Church Castorland New York 1964 491
New Beginnings Fellowship Cincinnati Ohio 1978 23
New Boston Mennonite Church Donnellson Iowa 1974 20
New Life Community Outreach Cuthbert Georgia 1999 21
North Wayne Mennonite Church Dowagiac Michigan 1974 23
Oak Dale Mennonite Church Salisbury Pennsylvania 1966 170
Oak Grove Mennonite Church Adair Oklahoma 1927 30
Oasis Community Church Lexington Kentucky 1985 33
Palm Grove Mennonite Church Sarasota Florida 1953 127
Panco Community Fellowship Oneida Kentucky 28
Paradise Valley Mennonite Church Phoenix Arizona 1960 32
Pigeon River Mennonite Church Pigeon Michigan 1904 190
Pine Grove Community Church Castorland New York 1949 50
Pineview Mennonite Church Vassar Michigan 1938 44
Plainview Conservative Mennonite Church Hutchinson Kansas 1948 136
Pleasant View Mennonite Church Millersburg Ohio 1912 182
Providence Mennonite Church Virginia Beach Virginia 1952 34
Red Lake Mennonite Church Red Lake Ontario, Canada 1959 56
Riverside Mennonite Church Au Gres Michigan 1911 103
Riverview Christian Fellowship White Pigeon Michigan 1952 53
Shiloh Mennonite Church London Ohio 1972 191
Siloam Fellowship Goshen Indiana 1998 140
Southmost Mennonite Church Florida City Florida 1965 13
Sunnyside Mennonite Church Arthur Illinois 1945 125
Sunnyside Mennonite Church Kalona Iowa 1957 147
Sunrise Chapel Mennonite Church Harlan Indiana 1982 125
Templo Cristiano Camino a Jesus (The Way to Jesus) San Antonio Texas 40
Templo Vida Abundante (Abundant Life Church) Ciudad Juarez Chihuahua, Mexico 1993 32
The River's Edge Community Church Pigeon Michigan 1999 164
Townline Mennonite Church Shipshewana Indiana 1876 64
Trinity Chapel Tavares Florida 1982 45
Trinity Christian Fellowship Millersburg Ohio 1998 67
Trinity Mennonite Church Prospect Virginia 2002 50
Turkey Run Mennonite Church Logan Ohio 1803 51
Turners Creek Mennonite Church Talbert Kentucky 1947 45
United Dayspring Mennonite Church Berlin Ohio 1988 211
Upper Deer Creek Mennonite Church Wellman Iowa 1877 100
Zion Mennonite Church Pryor Oklahoma 1911 131
Total 11,141

2023 Update

In July 2018 the ministers of the Conservative Mennonite Conference voted to change the legal name of the denomination to: Conservative Mennonite Conference doing business as CMC.

In a 2017 interview, CMC executive director Brian Hershberger expressed concern with the name "conservative," due to its connotations of political conservatism or plain dress. At the July 2017 meeting, other ministers said "Mennonite" associated them with Mennonite Church USA.

On 23 February 2023 the conference made a more permanent name change to Rosedale Network of Churches--a global family of Anabaptists.


Anabaptist (Mennonite) Directory 2011. Harrisonburg, VA: The Sword and Trumpet, 2011: 45-56.

Conservative Mennonite Conference. Conservative Conference Reports. Irwin, Ohio, 1910-86.

Huber, Tim. "CMC becomes Rosedale Network" Anabaptist World 15 March 2023. Web. 19 March 2023.

Mennonite Directory (1999).

Mennonite Yearbook (1988-89): 49-52.

Miller, Ivan J. History of the Conservative Mennonite Conference. Grantsville, MD: the author, 1985.

Stella, Rachel. "Conservative Conference rebrands with initials." Mennonite World Review 30 July 2018. Web. 21 February 2022.

Additional Information

Rosedale Network of Churches

Conservative Mennonite Conference Statement of Doctrine

Author(s) Ivan J Miller
Date Published March 2023

Cite This Article

MLA style

Miller, Ivan J. "Rosedale Network of Churches." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2023. Web. 24 Sep 2023.

APA style

Miller, Ivan J. (March 2023). Rosedale Network of Churches. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 September 2023, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 700-702; vol. 5, p. 192. All rights reserved.

©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.