Difference between revisions of "Stirling Mennonite Church (Raymond, Alberta, Canada)"

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The Stirling Mennonite congregation at Raymond, [[Alberta (Canada)|Alberta]] began services in 1946, and formally organized in 1947. John J. Hofer and John Hofer are considered the founding leaders of the group. The congregation was begun by a group which left a nearby [[Hutterian Brethren (Hutterische Brüder)|Hutterite]] settlement. Initially they were associated with the [[Northwest Mennonite Conference|Alberta-Saskatchewan Conference]] of the Mennonite Church, to whom they appealed for assistance in starting a congregation. Eleven members were received as members of the Mennonite Church on 10 November 1946. Stirling was formerly part of the Upper Fraser Mennonite Fellowship.
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The Stirling Mennonite Church is a small congregation with diverse connections and history to both [[Hutterian Brethren (Hutterische Brüder)|Hutterite Brethren]] and Mennonites.  It was founded by several interrelated [[Prairieleut Hutterian Brethren|Prairieleut]] and Colony Hutterite Brethren families.  This Prairieleut - Colony Hutterite ethno-religious mix and then with its Mennonite connections has made this congregation unique. 
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Coming from the area of Huron, [[South Dakota (USA)|South Dakota]] in 1918 the extended families of two brothers, John B. Hofer and David Hofer settled southern [[Alberta (Canada)|Alberta]]. They left the USA because of the [[Conscription|conscription]] crises caused by the [[World War (1914-1918)|First World War]]. In 1922 they formed their own independent [[Raley Hutterite Colony (Raley, Alberta, Canada)|"Hofer Colony" near Raley]], Alberta.  This colony functioned like traditional Hutterite colonies but it was not accepted or recognized as such by the other three Hutterite Leut though it attracted a few other Prairieleut and colony Hutterites often through intermarriage. David Hofer's son David was the pastor of this congregation and was ordained for this task by [[Toews, David (1870-1947)|David Toews]] of Rosthern, Saskatchewan.
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The construction of a dam near Raley in 1944 forced the Hofer Colony to divide and relocate. One small group moved to a farm about 20 km to the north west near Brocket, Alberta.  Here under the leadership of their pastor George Hofer and with help from Jakob Froese, an Old Colony Mennonite from Winkler, Manitoba, in 1948 they established the [[Brocket Hutterite Colony (Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada)|Brocket Hutterite Colony]] farm.  The others from the Hofer colony moved about 60 km to the north east to a farm a few kilometers to the south and west of the small village of Stirling, Alberta. Raymond, Alberta was the closest large town.  After moving they began calling themselves the "Stirling Colony."  In 1947 the communal structure became optional though members ate in a community kitchen until 1962 and farmed collectively until 1990 and as late as the 1990s the Stirling congregation still retained the Prairieleut practice of having men and woman sitting on opposite sides of the church. 
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While at Raley the group sought fellowship with the [[Church of God in Christ, Mennonite (CGC)|Holdeman Mennonites]] but never joined because members could not accept the request for re-baptism. Then later those at Stirling attended studies led by [[Ramer, Clarence J. (1905-1987)|Clarence Ramer]] a Bishop of the [[Alberta-Saskatchewan Mennonite Conference|Alberta-Saskatchewan Mennonite Church Conference.]] This resulted in two members of the Stirling group asking at the 1946 Alberta-Saskatchewan Conference of the Mennonite Church for spiritual help. On 10 November 1946 the Stirling Mennonite Church was welcomed and this led to the acceptance of them into the Conference on 16 March 1947 with 11 charter members.  John J. Hofer was their pastor but not ordained. Other extended family members quickly joined and by February 1948 Stirling had increased to 29 persons from 5 inter related families.
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Feeling uncomfortable with the increasing worldly cultural permissiveness of the Mennonite Church in 1964 the Stirling Mennonite church left the Alberta-Saskatchewan Mennonite Conference to be affiliated with the [[Western Conservative Mennonite Fellowship]] now known as the Western Fellowship Mennonite Churches.  In 1970 Stirling established a private Christian elementary and secondary school and 1981 began supporting a mission in [[Belize]].  
  
 
Bishop Edwin J. Bontrager served in 2001 as a non-salaried congregational leader. In 2010 the church was served by Ministers Michael J. Hofer and Delbert J. Birky and Deacon Peter Fehr.
 
Bishop Edwin J. Bontrager served in 2001 as a non-salaried congregational leader. In 2010 the church was served by Ministers Michael J. Hofer and Delbert J. Birky and Deacon Peter Fehr.
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= Bibliography =
 
= Bibliography =
 
''Mennonite Reporter'' (22 August 1994): 17.
 
''Mennonite Reporter'' (22 August 1994): 17.
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! Year !! Members
 
! Year !! Members
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| 1947 || align="right" | 11
 
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| 1965 || align="right" | 28
 
| 1965 || align="right" | 28

Revision as of 12:43, 21 October 2019

The Stirling Mennonite Church is a small congregation with diverse connections and history to both Hutterite Brethren and Mennonites. It was founded by several interrelated Prairieleut and Colony Hutterite Brethren families. This Prairieleut - Colony Hutterite ethno-religious mix and then with its Mennonite connections has made this congregation unique.

Coming from the area of Huron, South Dakota in 1918 the extended families of two brothers, John B. Hofer and David Hofer settled southern Alberta. They left the USA because of the conscription crises caused by the First World War. In 1922 they formed their own independent "Hofer Colony" near Raley, Alberta. This colony functioned like traditional Hutterite colonies but it was not accepted or recognized as such by the other three Hutterite Leut though it attracted a few other Prairieleut and colony Hutterites often through intermarriage. David Hofer's son David was the pastor of this congregation and was ordained for this task by David Toews of Rosthern, Saskatchewan.

The construction of a dam near Raley in 1944 forced the Hofer Colony to divide and relocate. One small group moved to a farm about 20 km to the north west near Brocket, Alberta. Here under the leadership of their pastor George Hofer and with help from Jakob Froese, an Old Colony Mennonite from Winkler, Manitoba, in 1948 they established the Brocket Hutterite Colony farm. The others from the Hofer colony moved about 60 km to the north east to a farm a few kilometers to the south and west of the small village of Stirling, Alberta. Raymond, Alberta was the closest large town. After moving they began calling themselves the "Stirling Colony." In 1947 the communal structure became optional though members ate in a community kitchen until 1962 and farmed collectively until 1990 and as late as the 1990s the Stirling congregation still retained the Prairieleut practice of having men and woman sitting on opposite sides of the church.

While at Raley the group sought fellowship with the Holdeman Mennonites but never joined because members could not accept the request for re-baptism. Then later those at Stirling attended studies led by Clarence Ramer a Bishop of the Alberta-Saskatchewan Mennonite Church Conference. This resulted in two members of the Stirling group asking at the 1946 Alberta-Saskatchewan Conference of the Mennonite Church for spiritual help. On 10 November 1946 the Stirling Mennonite Church was welcomed and this led to the acceptance of them into the Conference on 16 March 1947 with 11 charter members. John J. Hofer was their pastor but not ordained. Other extended family members quickly joined and by February 1948 Stirling had increased to 29 persons from 5 inter related families.

Feeling uncomfortable with the increasing worldly cultural permissiveness of the Mennonite Church in 1964 the Stirling Mennonite church left the Alberta-Saskatchewan Mennonite Conference to be affiliated with the Western Conservative Mennonite Fellowship now known as the Western Fellowship Mennonite Churches. In 1970 Stirling established a private Christian elementary and secondary school and 1981 began supporting a mission in Belize.

Bishop Edwin J. Bontrager served in 2001 as a non-salaried congregational leader. In 2010 the church was served by Ministers Michael J. Hofer and Delbert J. Birky and Deacon Peter Fehr.

Bibliography

Mennonite Reporter (22 August 1994): 17.

Stauffer, Ezra. History of the Alberta-Saskatchewan Mennonite Conference. 1960: 34.

Additional Information

Address: Box 1027, Raymond, AB T0K 2S0

Location: 8 km east of Raymond on Hwy. 52, 5 km west of Hwy 4 on Hwy 52

Phone: 403-756-3762

Denominational Affiliations:

Alberta-Saskatchewan Mennonite Conference (1946-1964)

Western Conservative Mennonite Fellowship (1964-present)

Upper Fraser Mennonite Fellowship

Stirling Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1947 11
1965 28
1975 51
1985 63
1995 33
2000 34
2010 59


Author(s) Ezra Stauffer
Marlene Epp
Date Published July 1986


Cite This Article

MLA style

Stauffer, Ezra and Marlene Epp. "Stirling Mennonite Church (Raymond, Alberta, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 1986. Web. 16 Nov 2019. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Stirling_Mennonite_Church_(Raymond,_Alberta,_Canada)&oldid=164872.

APA style

Stauffer, Ezra and Marlene Epp. (July 1986). Stirling Mennonite Church (Raymond, Alberta, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 November 2019, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Stirling_Mennonite_Church_(Raymond,_Alberta,_Canada)&oldid=164872.




©1996-2019 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.