Steeles Avenue Mennonite Church (Markham, Ontario, Canada)

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Steeles Avenue Mennonite Church
Source: Ontario's Places of Worship

The Steeles Avenue Mennonite Church began out of a division in the Markham congregation of the Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Conference. The Markham congregation used three meetinghouses--Reesor, Altona and Almira, rotating Sunday worship services between the three locations.

Mid-week Bible studies, occasional hymnsings and a women's sewing circle were the only activities outside of Sunday morning worship. Beginning in early 1964 congregational meetings were held to try to resolve differences between those who wanted Sunday school and more active outreach and those who wished to follow the traditional patterns. By the end of 1964 it was clear that a group of younger and middle-aged families would separate from the Markham Waterloo Conference. Within a few years remaining members of the Markham Waterloo Conference began to move away, including Bishop Abraham Smith. Many moved to the Brotherston area where they formed a new congregation.

A committee of Fred Drudge, Harvey Nighswander and Herb Diller contacted the Mennonite Conference of Ontario to seek assistance. Emerson McDowell and Newton Gingrich, ministers at the nearby Wideman and Hagerman congregations, provided support for the group. A first worship service was held at the Almira church building on 22 November 1964.

While the group worshiped at Almira, it was known as the Almira Mennonite Church. It was accepted as a congregation in the Mennonite Conference of Ontario on 2 June 1965. Newton Gingrich provided pastoral supervision to the group, in addition to his duties at the Wideman congregation.

In late 1965 or early 1966 the congregation decided the Reesor meetinghouse was a more desirable location. Since that building was very close to Steeles Avenue, the congregation became the Steeles Avenue Mennonite Church.

Because all the congregations in the Markham were quite small, Steeles Avenue could not afford a full time minister, and the Reesor building was not ideal for a more active church program, consideration began to be given to merging with another local congregation. This happened in 1986 when Steeles Avenue merged with the Cedar Grove Mennonite Church to form the Rouge Valley Mennonite Church. Steve Drudge, Steeles Ave.'s last pastor, became pastor of the merged congregation.


Nighswander, Joe. "A brief historical sketch of the Steeles Avenue (Markham) Mennonite congregation." Unpublished paper, 1986.

Unpublished historical information kept by George Reesor; Records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Additional Information

Address: 7070 York Durham Line, Markham, Ontario

Ordained Leaders at Steeles Avenue Mennonite Church Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Emerson McDowell 1964-1965
Newton Gingrich 1964-1966
Guest preachers 1974-1977
Paul Martin 1977-1979
Art Byer 1979-1985
Steve Drudge (Interim) 1985-1986

Membership at Steeles Avenue Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1965 36
1975 51
1985 54


Map:Steeles Avenue Mennonite Church (Markham, Ontario, Canada)

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published January 2017

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Steeles Avenue Mennonite Church (Markham, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2017. Web. 17 May 2022.,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=165511.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (January 2017). Steeles Avenue Mennonite Church (Markham, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 May 2022, from,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=165511.

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