Shantz, Elven (1893-1984)

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Elven Shantz.
Source: Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Elven Shantz (1893-1984) was the son of Menno and Susannah (Bowman) Shantz. He was born in Breslau, Ontario. In 1920 he married Mabel Weber, a sister of Urias K. Weber, then minister at Eby's Mennonite Church (later known as First Mennonite Church in Kitchener). Elven and Mabel Shantz returned from homesteading in Saskatchewan and joined the Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church, Kitchener, in 1929. Shantz became an active lay leader in that congregation. He was always considered a "liberal" Mennonite but had a great rapport with all Mennonites.

He served as secretary of the Military Problems Committee of the Conference of Historic Peace Churches, 1943-64. Shantz organized the Ontario unit of Mennonite Disaster Service in 1958 and was interim secretary of Mennonite Central Committee Ontario in the 1960s.

As a result of these activities, his farm background, his ability to speak the Pennsylvania German dialect and his fine rapport with the Old Order, Amish, and Conservative Mennonites, Shantz was asked to be their spokesman to government in their requests for exemption from government health insurance, Family Allowance, Old Age Security, Workmen's Compensation, and the Canada Pension Plan, and in gaining recognition of their right to establish private Christian schools. Shantz was active in the founding of Conrad Grebel College in 1961, the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario, and the Ontario Mennonite relief sale in 1966. The members of many branches of Mennonites who attended and participated at his funeral attested to his commitment and service to Mennonite unity.


Minutes of the Military Problems Committee of Conference of Historic Peace Churches, 1940-64; minutes of MCC (Ontario), 1964-; minutes of Ontario Mennonite Relief Sale board, 1966-; minutes of Conrad Grebel College board; minutes of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario (all located at Mennonite Archives of Ontario).

Author(s) Lorna L Bergey
Date Published 1990

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bergey, Lorna L. "Shantz, Elven (1893-1984)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 24 Jan 2021.,_Elven_(1893-1984)&oldid=102661.

APA style

Bergey, Lorna L. (1990). Shantz, Elven (1893-1984). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 January 2021, from,_Elven_(1893-1984)&oldid=102661.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 819. All rights reserved.

©1996-2021 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.