Portage Avenue Church (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

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Portage Avenue Church, Winnipeg, MB.
Portage Avenue Church (viewed from the west), August 2017.
Photo: Bert Friesen.
South End Mennonite Brethren Church at 344 Ross Avenue.
Photo: Centre for MB Studies (Winnipeg), NP052-02-03.

Finding it difficult to travel to the North End Mennonite Brethren Church in Winnipeg, Mennonite Brethren living south of the CPR yards began to meet separately in the early 1930s. After renting four locations in quick succession, the group purchased a small church at 344 Ross Avenue in 1933. The congregation chartered as the South End Mennonite Brethren Church in 1936 with 89 members, and was accepted into the MB Conference.

In 1940 the congregation bought the former Wesley Methodist Church at William and Juno with a seating capacity of 1,200. Wanting a location with a higher profile and needing more space, especially for Sunday school, the congregation built a new church at Portage Avenue and Raglan Road, dedicated in 1961. The next year the name was changed to Portage Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church. In 2005 “Mennonite Brethren” was dropped from the name.

A group consisting of 141 members remained at the old location in 1961 and created the Central Mennonite Brethren Church. A Sunday school outreach in the Brooklands area in the 1950s led to the chartering of a full-fledged church in 1964, Brooklands Community Church, while a Christian Service Brigade program conducted by the church in the Westwood area led to the chartering of Westwood Community Church in 1979.

Given its ageing profile, the church, led by Pastor Carpentier, incorporated Ukrainian and Korean ethnic groups into its membership. This created one congregation with simultaneous Sunday morning translation. These new groups were also free to worship at other times in their languages of origin.


Canadian Mennonite (20 May 1960): 18; (15 September 1961): 10.

Mennonite Brethren Herald (22 June 1962): 14; (27 May 1988): 43.

Toews, John A. A History of the Mennonite Brethren Church: Pilgrims and Pioneers. Fresno, CA, 1975: 162. Available in full electronic text at: https://archive.org/details/AHistoryOfTheMennoniteBrethrenChurch.

50th anniversary book.

Archival Records

Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Additional Information

Address: 1420 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3G 0W2 (Co-ordinates 49.881389 -97.191944)

Phone: 204-774-4414

Web site: Portage Avenue Church

Denominational Affiliations:

Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba (1936-present)

Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1936-present)

General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (1936-2002)

Portage Avenue Pastors

Pastor Years
Peter J. Kornelsen 1936-1947
Henry H. Janzen 1947-1950
Jacob P. Neufeld 1950-1961
Frank C. Peters (interim) 1962
Henry R. Baerg 1962-1969
Henry H. Voth (interim) 1969-1970
Henry H. Voth 1970-1980
Frank C. Peters 1980-1983
David Wiebe (interim) 1983
Abram J. Neufeld 1983-1986
Albert Baerg 1986-1990
Abram J. Neufeld (interim) 1990
John M. Schmidt (interim) 1990
Roland Marsch 1991-1997
Abe Konrad (interim) 1997-1998
Cliff Janzen 1998
Abe Konrad 1998-1999
Claude Pratte 1999-2006
Travis Reimer (interim) 2007-2011
George Toews 2012-2014
Jedidiah Carpentier 2015-

Portage Avenue Membership

Year Members
1950 279
1960 547
1965 477
1985 667
1995 483
2000 428
2010 287
2018 247

Original Article from Mennonite Encyclopedia

By Herman Neufeld copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 587. All rights reserved.

South End Mennonite Brethren Church, located at Juno and William Streets, Winnipeg, Manitoba was organized on 4 October 1936 under P.J. Kornelsen, who led the church until 1947. At first the meetings were held at the rented Maple Street Mission Church. A year later an old church building on 344 Ross Avenue was bought. In 1940 this church was sold and a church building, fully equipped, with seating capacity of 1,200 was bought. The membership in 1957 was 527. J.P. Neufeld was the leading minister. The congregation was a member of the Manitoba Provincial and the Canadian District M.B. conferences.

Author(s) Ed Lenzman
Date Published January 2018

Cite This Article

MLA style

Lenzman, Ed. "Portage Avenue Church (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2018. Web. 6 Feb 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Portage_Avenue_Church_(Winnipeg,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=167848.

APA style

Lenzman, Ed. (January 2018). Portage Avenue Church (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 6 February 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Portage_Avenue_Church_(Winnipeg,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=167848.

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