Strickler's Mennonite Church (Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA)
The history of Strickler’s Mennonite Church, Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA is closely connected to Shope’s Mennonite Church. The Shope congregation (Mennonite Church), located a few miles southeast of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, one mile east of the Lancaster Pike at Steelton, was first called the Mumma Mennonite congregation, since the group worshiped in Frederick Mumma's home. Shope’s meetinghouse began before Strickler’s as by 1815 a church-schoolhouse, 20 x 30 ft., of log with comb roof was erected, and later weatherboarded. It was replaced in 1873 by a brick church. The cemetery was started in 1877 on the elevation. Bishop Nathaniel Shope was the first to be buried there. Shope's Mennonite Church was a part of the Strickler-Shope circuit of the Lancaster Conference, with communion held at the Strickler church. The total membership in the circuit in 1957 was 87. Harry L. Longenecker was the minister at the Shope church. A separate Sunday school of 50 was maintained at that time.
Strickler’s meetinghouse was erected in 1837 three miles east of Shope’s at its current location. The original Strickler’s meetinghouse was built of limestone and measured 28 feet wide and 42 feet long. The same congregation maintained both buildings, alternating regular worship services between both locations. With a growing congregation, the Strickler’s meetinghouse could no longer adequately accommodate the people. In 1922, the small Strickler’s meetinghouse was razed and was replaced by the present brick building, measuring 42 feet wide by 70 feet long. The limestone from the original meetinghouse was used to form the foundation for the new building.
Cooperation between Shope’s and Strickler’s continued for many years, with services alternating between both churches each Sunday. Around 1950, both Shope’s and Strickler’s began to have Sunday School simultaneously each Sunday, but continued to alternate worship services. In 1965, the congregation decided to conduct all Sunday services at Strickler’s. The Shope’s meetinghouse did not meet the standards of more rigid building codes for an increasingly suburban community, and the declining membership did not provide an incentive to renovate the building. It continued to be used occasionally, especially for prayer meetings during the summer months. In 1976 the congregation donated the building to the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions for the development of a new, community-oriented congregation named Garden Chapel. This congregation renovated and enlarged the building and occupied it for 15-20 years, after which they built a new and larger church a few miles away near Highspire just off Rosedale Avenue. After standing vacant for several years the former Shope meetinghouse became a residence.
In 2000 Strickler's Mennonite Church left the Lancaster Mennonite Conference. Issues of difference with the Conference included such issues as women in leadership, divorce and remarriage, and the prayer veiling. Strickler's remained unaffiliated until 2006, when they became a part of Biblical Mennonite Alliance. In 2019 the congregation had 35 members and an average attendance of 51.
Biblical Mennonite Alliance. "BMA Congregational Directory with Pastors." August 2015.
Zeager, Lloyd. "A Dauphin County Mennonite Congregation: Strickler and Mumma/Shope." Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage 10, no. 2 (April 1987): 12-20. Web. http://stricklersmennonitechurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/A%20Dauphin%20County%20Mennonite%20Congregation.pdf.
Zeager, Lloyd. "History of Strickler's Mennonite Church." Strickler's Mennonite Church. http://stricklersmennonitechurch.org/history/.
Zeager, Lloyd. "Stricklers and Shopes Mennonite Church: Chronology of Significant Events." 14 August 2004. Web. 11 July 2019. http://stricklersmennonitechurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Chronology-of-Significant-Events.pdf.
Address: 3256 Schoolhouse Road, Middletown, PA 17057
Phone: (717) 944-9631
Denominational Affiliation: Biblical Mennonite Alliance
Ordained Pastors at Strickler's Mennonite Church
|John Mumma, Jr. (1776-1859
|Nathaniel Shope (1815-1877)
|John Erb (1839-1913)||1877-1913|
|David Z. Miller (1881-1971)||1905-1963|
|Harry L. Longenecker (1881-1978)||1913-1963|
|Henry N. Shope (1852-1939)||1882-1939|
|Russel S. Zeager (1915-2002)||1947-1992|
|James E. Keener||1965-1972|
|Lester M. Hoover||1970s?|
|Omar B. Stahl||1970s?|
|Elmer K. Breneman||1980-present|
|Edward N. Meyers||2002-present|
Membership at Strickler's Mennonite Church
|Author(s)||Ira D. Landis|
|Date Published||July 2019|
Cite This Article
Landis, Ira D. and Lloyd Zeager. "Strickler's Mennonite Church (Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2019. Web. 19 Aug 2019. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Strickler%27s_Mennonite_Church_(Middletown,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=164318.
Landis, Ira D. and Lloyd Zeager. (July 2019). Strickler's Mennonite Church (Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 August 2019, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Strickler%27s_Mennonite_Church_(Middletown,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=164318.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 516. All rights reserved.
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