Schellenberg, Gerhard K. (1827-1908)

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Gerhard K. Schellenberg: Mennonite minister of the Kleine Gemeinde; born 1 December 1827 in the village of Blumstein, Molotschna Colony, South Russia. His parents were Gerhard Schellenberg (1797-1837) and Elizabeth Kasdorf (1792-1864). Gerhard was baptized in the Kleine Gemeinde in May 1847. That same year he married Elizabeth Warkentin (1819-1905) and together they had two children, Gerhard and Margaretha. When they came to Canada in 1874 they also brought two foster children with them, Jacob Bartel and Katharina Goossen. In Canada Gerhard and Elizabeth became homesteaders and founded the village of Rosenfeld, Manitoba along with a number of other Mennonite settlers in the area. They had the resources to build a large house and began farming. Tragically their 13-year-old daughter Margaretha died the following year, in 1875.

In addition to being a successful farmer, Gerhard also became an active leader in his church community. While still in Russia, he was elected to the ministry in 1866 after moving to the village of Rosenfeld, part of the Borozenko Colony. During his years of service to the church, Gerhard demonstrated sound knowledge of scripture and biblical exposition in his sermons and writings. When divisions among the Kleine Gemeinde leadership developed into a crisis situation during 1969, Gerhard joined in an effort to bring reconciliation and reunification. As a result of negotiations between the various factions, Gerhard and two other ministers joined the "reform" group which later became known as the Blumenhof Gemeinde. In spite of all efforts to maintain unity separation seemed inevitable. In August 1869 under the leadership of Jakob A. Wiebe the "reform" group broke from the Kleine Gemeinde and founded the Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church. Unfortunately by 1871 the "reform" group Gerhard had joined in 1869 had lost confidence in his ministerial abilities and he was removed from office for crossing some boundary while hay-making. Though he had trespassed unintentionally, after several meetings the church removed him from his ministry because "his repentance had not been deep enough." Although Gerhard was never restored to the ministry in 1873 he was appointed Waisenvorsteher of the Kleine Gemeinde Waisenamt, a position of significant responsibility which he continued to administer after the immigration to Canada.

After retiring, Gerhard and Elizabeth moved into a small house near their son and it was here that Elizabeth died on 5 July 1905. Gerhard K. Schellenberg, who had served his church and community faithfully in spite of disagreements and divisions, died on 28 November 1908.


Schellenberg, David K. "Gerhard K. Schellenberg 1827-1908." Preservings No. 9 Part I (December 1996): 36-40.

Author(s) Sharon H. H Brown
Date Published April 2006

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Brown, Sharon H. H. "Schellenberg, Gerhard K. (1827-1908)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2006. Web. 3 Jul 2020.,_Gerhard_K._(1827-1908)&oldid=77488.

APA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. (April 2006). Schellenberg, Gerhard K. (1827-1908). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 3 July 2020, from,_Gerhard_K._(1827-1908)&oldid=77488.

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