Steinmann Mennonite Church (Baden, Ontario, Canada)

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Steinmann Mennonite Church, Baden, Ontario
Source: Church website

In 1822 Christian Nafziger, an Amish layman from Bavaria, Germany, appeared in the pioneer Mennonite settlement in Waterloo. Living conditions in Bavaria were very difficult. He left his family, set out with little more than his walking stick, faith and hope to find something better in North America. The Dutch Mennonites answered his plea for help. He left Amsterdam Christmas Day 1821 on a sailing vessel bound for Philadelphia. For some unknown reason he arrived in New Orleans on 2 March 1822. With further Dutch assistance he continued his journey up the Mississippi River to Ohio and overland to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The leaders there advised him to go to Canada for cheap land, and supplied him with a horse and provision for the trip. With the help of the Mennonites in Waterloo (who had earlier emigrated from Pennsylvania) he contacted the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada in August 1822 and asked for land for 70-80 Amish families from Europe. The Lieutenant-Governor offered 50 acres of free land for every immigrant family. Waterloo Mennonites set up a committee to help plan for a new settlement immediately to the west in a "German Block."

Probably because of their family involvement in land purchase in Canada in 1807, Bishop John Stoltzfus and Minister Christian Koenig were sent to Waterloo by horse-drawn carriage to organize the new immigrants into an Amish Mennonite congregation in 1824. Two ministers and a deacon were ordained to meet the spiritual needs of a pioneer settlement. For sixty years the Amish met in their homes for regular worship and became known as the Wilmot Amish Mennonite Congregation. In 1884 they built their first "Mennonite style" meeting house at Steinmann's corner where the church is still located. The next year an identical meeting house was built on Erb's Rd. west of St. Agatha. Sunday services alternated between the two meeting houses for many years but in 1957 St. Agatha Mennonite and Steinmann's became separate congregations.

In 1946 the first meeting house was replaced by a new structure with an addition in 1975. The Amish Mennonite Conference was organized in 1923. Forty years later it was renamed Western Ontario Mennonite Conference. The language of worship gradually changed from German to English by mid century although many members are still bilingual. The three area Mennonite conferences merged in 1988 into Mennonite Church Eastern Canada which affiliated with Mennonite Church Canada in 1995.


Bender, Kenneth. "A History of the Wilmot Congregation." Research paper, Eastern Mennonite College, 1958.

Kennel, Lillian. History of the Wilmot Amish Mennonite Congregation: Steinmann and St. Agatha Mennonite Churches, 1824-1984. Baden: Steinmann Mennonite Church, 1984, 56 pp.

Mennonite Reporter (13 November 1989): 12.

Roth, Lorraine. The Amish and Their Neighbours: the German Block, Wilmot Township, 1822-1860. Waterloo, ON: Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario, 1998.

Steinmann, Pauline. "Congregational History of Steinmann Mennonite Church." Research paper, Canadian Mennonite Bible College, 1977, 33 pp.

Archival Records

Archival records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Additional Information

Address: 1316 Snyder's Road West, Baden, ON N3A 3K8

Phone: 519-634-8311

Website: Steinmann Mennonite Church

Steinmann Mennonite Church Ministers and Bishops

Minister/Bishop Years
;Joseph Goldschmidt (1798-1876) 1824-1831
John Brenneman (1766-1848) 1824-1848
Peter Nafziger (b. 1789) 1826-1831
Christian Steinman (1792-1865) 1826-1831
John Oesch (1791-1850) 1829-1848/9
Christian Fahrni 1829-1831
Rudolph Roth (1798-1853) 1835-1850
Jacob Gardner 1845-1850
Peter Litwiller (1809-1878) 1845-1878
Christian Miller (1806-1850) 1829-1847
Christian Wagler (1775-1851) 1848-1851
Christian Wagler (1810-1887) 1848-1887
John Gascho (1830-1909) 1872-1909
Michael Kennel (1834-1898) 1877-1898
Christian Litwiller (1848-1924) 1877-1924
Daniel H. Steinman (1857-1935) 1894-1935
Christian Gascho (1857-1943) 1894-1943
Peter Boshart (1870-1942) 1927-1942
Peter Nafziger (1886-1969) 1936-1969
Menno Wagler (1884-1958) 1932-1958
Benjamin Gingerich (1883-1958) 1932-1958
Moses O. Jantzi (1884-1965) 1936-1965
Elmer Schwartzentruber (1909-2006) 1951-2006
Orland Gingerich (1920-2002) 1951-1972
Albert Zehr (1938-    ) 1965-1971
Ephraim Gingerich (1917-2010)
Vernon Zehr (1920-1999) 1973-1984
Mark Erb (1948-    ) 1973-1976
Fred Lichti (1954-    ) 1979-1993
Jeff Steckley 1987-1989
Jan Steckley 1987-1989
Ingrid Loepp Thiessen 1991-1997
Gordon Bauman
Herb Schultz (1935- ) 1994-2001
Scott Brubaker-Zehr 1995-2000
Gail Roth 1998-2001
Ken Bechtel
Phyllis Kramer
Laurence Martin
Steve Drudge 2003-July 2023
Ilene Bergen 2004-2017
Myrna Miller Dyck 2004-2020
Sara Erb August 2018-Present
Liz Weber (Interim Supply) December 2021-July 2022
Max Kennel (Interim Supply) 2021
Louise Wideman August 2022-
Ben Cassels (Witness and Resourcing) August 2023-

Steinmann Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1925 450
1965 377
1975 421
1985 422
2000 436
2008 448
2015 427
2020 429


Map:Steinmann Mennonite Church (Baden, Ontario, Canada)

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Orland Gingerich. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 628. All rights reserved.

Steinmann Amish Mennonite Church, located one mile west of the village of Baden on Highway 7 and 8, in Waterloo County, Ontario, is a member of the Ontario Amish Mennonite Conference, and with the St. Agatha congregation had a combined membership of 520 in 1957. The congregation, first called Wilmot, was organized about 1826.

In 1822 Christian Nafziger, of Bavaria, Germany, purchased land in Wilmot Township for settlement; he returned to Germany and brought his family and others of his congregation to Canada. During his absence a number of families from Pennsylvania moved to Wilmot and a congregation was organized. Most of the settlers however came directly from Europe, mostly Alsace and Lorraine. Names of some of the early settlers include Fahrni, Roth, Litwiler, Gardner, Miller, Gingerich, Steinman, Wagler, Oesch, Lichti, Gascho, etc.

The congregation worshiped in homes until 1884, when the Steinmann meetinghouse was built. A year later another church was built one-half mile west of St. Agatha, and services were held alternately in the two buildings until 1939. Since then services have been held every Sunday in each church. The old Steinmann church, a white frame building, was removed and replaced in 1946 by a new brick structure, with a seating capacity of 600. Pennsylvania-Dutch is still spoken at home, but church services are all in English.

The congregation is active in the support of missions, evangelism, and church schools.

The ministers serving the congregation in 1958 were Moses O. Jantzi and Orland Gingerich, bishops; Peter Nafziger and Elmer Schwartzentruber, ministers.

Author(s) Orland Gingerich
Alvin Gingerich
Date Published December 2013

Cite This Article

MLA style

Gingerich, Orland and Alvin Gingerich. "Steinmann Mennonite Church (Baden, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2013. Web. 29 Sep 2023.,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=175847.

APA style

Gingerich, Orland and Alvin Gingerich. (December 2013). Steinmann Mennonite Church (Baden, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 September 2023, from,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=175847.

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