Springs Mennonite Church (Springs, Pennsylvania, USA)

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The first Mennonite congregation in the Casselman Valley area was established about 1780 near Meyersdale. Pennsylvania. At that time Springs consisting of two farms: the George Folk farm and the Peter Bitsche (Beachy) farm. From 1780 until 1853 the small congregation, then known as "The Society of Mennonites, met in private homes and was under the wing of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference.

The first minister was Jakob Seiler (later Saylor), a former Amish minister from Germany who was ordained by the Lancaster bishops to serve in the Meyersdale area. Later Peter Forrey (Fahrney) and Joseph Gunty (Gundyl were ordained: but after the death of Saylor and Forrey the church declined, and from 1808 (when Gunty joined the United Brethren) until 1853 the congregation was entirely without a resident minister. During this 45-year period, the congregation was served by itinerant ministers who traveled 40 to 60 miles on horseback from the adjoining counties of Fayette. Westmoreland, and Cambria, as well as northern Somerset County.

On 6 September 1853 Henry H. Blauch was ordained to the ministry. In 1853 John Folk was ordained as the first deacon of the church. The membership grew so rapidly that the congregation met for services in schoolhouses and in the German Baptist meetinghouse in West Salisbury. Blauch understood how to encourage organic growth in the church so that the membership grew from 22 at his ordination to about 250 in the entire CameIman Valley district, at the time of his death in 1904.

By 1859 it was thought necessary to construct a church building: and the Keim meeting house, or "Mennonite Union Meetinghouse," a structure 30 by 35 feet, costing $535.00. was built at St. Paul. The Reformed Church contributed 5200.00, and the building was shared by both Reformed and Lutheran congregations.

In 1874 the Mennonite Union was the scene of a preliminary meeting seeking the formation of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Mennonite Conference, later known as the Allegheny Mennonite Conference.

In 1877 the congregation decided to build a meetinghouse in the Springs area. A building committee consisting of John Folk. Samuel Folk and Jeremiah Hershberger directed the erection of the 35 x 48 feet building at a total cost of $1115.00. This structure. first known as the Folk and later as the Springs meetinghouse, was used until 1954. In 1916 the building was remodeled and lengthened, and in 1925 a basement was excavated under the church. A new church building was dedicated on 12 September 1954.

In 1890 the Sunday school enrollment was 50; by 1892 it had reached 100; by 1909. 194; by 1915. 228; by 1951 when steps were taken to investigate the possibility of providing additional facilities, the enrollment had reached 264. Another barometer of growth has been its mission points and daughter churches. By the 1950s there were five independent churches (Oak Grove, Casselman, Glade, Gortner, and Pinto) and nine mission points in operation.

Noah E. Miller was ordained as a minister on 11 May 1912 by Daniel Kauffman. Later that same year on 5 October he was chosen by lot as Bishop and was ordained by Aaron Loucks.

In the 1950s the congregation became more family-oriented with men and women sitting together as a family instead of on different sides of the church. Sunday school classes also became integrated with men, women, young and older members mixed together.

During John Kraybill's pastorate beginning in 1971, changes took place with the discontinuing of designations of Bishop and Deacon. Instead, a Board of Elders was elected, and the Gifts Discernment Committee picked people to serve with congregation approval. In 2021 the congregation was part of the Allegheny Mennonite Conference. The minister was John Verburg.


"Dedication of Springs Mennonite Church." Springs Mennonite Church. 12 September 1954. Web. 11 October 2021. https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/51665044/dedication-of-springs-mennonite-church-1954-high-resolution-pdf-

"A dream comes true: celebrating 60 years in current building." Springs Mennonite Church. 20 September 2014. Web. 13 October 2021. https://springsmc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/60th-Celebration-Bulletin.pdf.

Additional Information

Address: 1686 Springs Road, Springs, Pennsylvania 15562

Phone: 814-662-4201

Website: https://springsmc.org/

Denominational Affiliations: Allegheny Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at Springs Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Jakob Seiler (1715-1793) 1780?-1793
Peter Forrey (?-before 1808) 1790s-1800s?
Joseph Gunty (1751-1823) 1790s?-1808
Visiting Ministers 1808-1853
Henry H. Blauch (1828-1904) 1853-1904
Jonas Blauch (1830-1906) 1862-1906
David Keim (1832-1915)
David Maust (1847-1930) 1882-?
Daniel H. Bender (1866-1945) 1887-1904
Harry M. Gelnett (1866-1930) 1887-1893
Gideon D. Miller (1862-1941) 1891-1939
Edward Miller 1899-1920?
Noah E. Miller (1880-1930)
Roy Otto (1902-1992) 1930-1938
Newton S. Weber (1897-1981) 1941
Walter Otto (1907-1998) 1944-1972
Resley Tressler (1897-1956) 1948-1956
Darrel D. Otto (1930-2016) 1949-1955
Paul E. Bender (1925-2009) 1949
James A. Burkholder (1934-2018) 1963-1967
John H. Kraybill 1971-1981
Steven Heatwole 1982-2005
Owen Guengerich (Interim) 2005-2009
Laban Peachey (Interim) 2005-2009
Casey Rohrer 2009-2011
Eric Haglund 2012-?
John Verburg 2019-present

Membership at Springs Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1853 22
1904 250
1916 205
1930 289
1940 237
1950 294
1960 306
1970 346
1980 325
1990 303
2000 328
2007 319
2020 292

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Elmer Bittinger. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 603. All rights reserved.

Springs Mennonite Church (MC), located at Springs, 4 miles west of Salisbury, Pennsylvania, a member of the Allegheny Mennonite Conference, was founded in 1780. Until 1853 the congregation, known as the Society of Mennonites, met in homes for worship under Lancaster Mennonite Conference. The first minister was Jakob Seiler (later Saylor), an Amishman from Germany, who had been ordained bishop to serve in the Meyersdale area. In 1853, after a period of decline, Henry H. Blauch was ordained to the ministry, and in the half century of his service the church grew from 22 members to about 250 in the Casselman Valley district. In 1859 the Mennonite Union Church, known as Keim's, was built at St. Paul with the Lutheran and Reformed congregations. In 1874 a meeting was held here to consider the formation of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Conference, now the Allegheny Conference. In 1878 a meetinghouse was built at Springs, known first as the Folk Church. It was remodeled and enlarged in 1916 and 1925, and replaced by a new church in 1954. The product of the missionary outreach of this church are the Oak Grove, Casselman, Glade, Pinto, and Gortner Mennonite churches. Other mission points are Laughlin, turned over to the Brethren; Lageer, turned over to Glade; Bear Hill; Manadier; Fairview; Black Hawk, later called Meadow Mountain; Dry Run; Red Run; Bear Creek, and Meyersdale. The membership of the Springs congregation in 1957 was 291, with Roy Otto as bishop, and Walter Otto as pastor.

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published October 2021

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Springs Mennonite Church (Springs, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2021. Web. 30 May 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Springs_Mennonite_Church_(Springs,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=177291.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (October 2021). Springs Mennonite Church (Springs, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 May 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Springs_Mennonite_Church_(Springs,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=177291.

©1996-2024 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.