Schellenberg, Abraham (1845-1920)

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Abraham Schellenberg: an elder and outstanding leader of the Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church; born in the village of Halbstadt, Molotschna Mennonite settlement, South Russia, on 29 August 1845. He was the eldest surviving child of Abraham J. Schellenberg and Maria (Pauls) Schellenberg (see additional information for more information regarding Abraham's family). Abraham died 11 April 1920 in Moundridge, Kansas, and was interred in the Ebenezer Mennonite Brethren cemetery east of Buhler, Kansas.

In Abraham's early life his parents lived in Tiegerweide and Tiege, where father was a calico dyer. At the age of fifteen he began to work in his father's shop. In 1864 Schellenberg was converted and baptized the following summer. He soon became active in his home church at Rückenau, where he was elected minister in 1869 and elder 1875. Until 1879 he was a very influential minister and leader of the Mennonite Brethren Church in Russia, traveling extensively and preaching very effectively in all of its congregations.

In the spring of 1879 Schellenberg immigrated with his family to America and settled on a farm southwest of Moundridge, Kansas. Elder Schellenberg was very active in the MB Church from his arrival in America until his death. He was at once chosen as the pastor of the newly organized Ebenezer MB Church east of Buhler, Kansas and served for thirty years. Under his ministry this congregation developed into one of the strongest of the MB Conference. Elder Schellenberg filled a very important role in the Mennonite Brethren Conference. In the two decades 1880-1900 he was elected moderator eighteen times. He served much as an itinerating minister, being a gifted public speaker and Bible expositor. He was one of the first of the MB leaders to urge foreign missions and was chairman of the Foreign Mission Board for many years. His oldest daughter, Dr. Katharina L. Schellenberg, became the first medical missionary of the MB Church. Schellenberg took a leading part in establishing the mission endowment fund for the support of its foreign missions.

Among the other phases of Conference work in which Schellenberg had an important part was that of publication. He urged the establishing of its church organ, the Zionsbote, and advocated the establishing of a conference publishing house. His oldest son, Abraham L. Schellenberg, carried out this plan and served as its manager for many years. Schellenberg also contributed valuably to the cause of education in the MB Church. Largely through his influence the Conference established a German Department School in conjunction with McPherson College, McPherson, Kansas, in 1898. He later also encouraged the establishment of Tabor College and faithfully supported this institution.

In 1907 Schellenberg moved with his family to Escondida, California, where he organized an MB Church and served as its pastor until 1915. He then returned to Kansas, and after living on his farm four years, retired to Buhler, until his death in 1920.

Additional Information

The parents of Abraham were Abraham J. Schellenberg (3 December 1807 – 23 April 1884) and Maria (Pauls) Schellenberg (10 August 1823 – 17 November 1876).

Abraham's first wife was Katharina Lohrenz (27 March 1847, Tiegerweide, Molotschna Colony, South Russia – 21 August 1884, Moundridge, Kansas), whom he married on 25 February 1868 in Elisabethtal, Molotschna Colony, South Russia.  They established their home in Tiegerweide. Katharina was the daughter of Peter Lohrenz (19 November 1811 – 13 March 1900) and Elisabeth (Neufeld) Lohrenz (24 June 1819 – 11 July 1907). Abraham and Katharina had nine children, of whom seven survived to adulthood: Abraham, Katharina, Peter, Maria, Elizabeth, Justina, and David.

Abraham's second wife was Susanna Flaming (14 August 1861, South Russia – 12 May 1924, Buhler, Kansas), whom he married on 17 February 1885 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. She was the daughter of Andreas Flaming (16 May 1816 – 30 September 1897) and Maria (Voth) Flaming (20 March 1822 – 12 April 1879). Abraham and Susanna had fourteen children, of whom twelve reached adulthood: Susanna, Helena, Eva, Anna, Jacob, Agnes, Gerhard, Johann, Isaac, Daniel, Martha, and Rubena.

Author(s) J. H. Lohrenz
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published November 2006

Cite This Article

MLA style

Lohrenz, J. H. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Schellenberg, Abraham (1845-1920)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2006. Web. 28 Sep 2020.,_Abraham_(1845-1920)&oldid=77484.

APA style

Lohrenz, J. H. and Richard D. Thiessen. (November 2006). Schellenberg, Abraham (1845-1920). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 September 2020, from,_Abraham_(1845-1920)&oldid=77484.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 448. All rights reserved.

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