Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship (Taftsville, Vermont, USA)
Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship, Taftsville, Vermont, USA, was formed by Mennonites who moved into the area temporarily in the late 1950s to early 1960s for I-W alternative service to the military draft. Following service at a nearby hospital, many of these families chose to remain in Vermont. The congregation, organized in 1959, meets in an historic schoolhouse in the village of Taftsville, and the former school bell invites people to worship each Sunday.
Taftsville lies in the Ottauquechee River valley along the US Route 4 corridor between the tourist towns of Woodstock and Quechee. The location serves as a central hub for members who represent a wide geographic area of rural communities, hometowns, and workplaces in Vermont and New Hampshire. Although no church members live within the village, a warm relationship has existed between the church and its neighbors; the building is used weekly by a local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter, and the villagers eagerly welcome the Mennonite carolers each Christmas.
Arden Godshall, Taftsville’s first pastor, helped establish the church as a welcoming place in the community. Later, the congregation was a pioneer in Franconia Conference when they called a woman, Martha Kolb Wycoff, as pastor in 1987. More recently, Randy Good, who was called from within the congregation, served as pastor for 15 years. Since his retirement in 2012, Taftsville has been searching for a permanent pastor and has relied on lay leaders, guest resource people, and several short-term interim pastors. Yet the congregation remains strong and vibrant and continues to attract new members. In a transient area where people move in and out frequently, the membership makeup keeps changing but remains stable at around 50, with an approximate composition of 50% ethnic Mennonites and 50% from a wide diversity of spiritual backgrounds.
The Taftsville Chapel building has undergone many changes inside and out to make it functional as a meetinghouse. A 2017 outside change will be the installation of solar panels across the entire span of the rear roof. The church received a $10,000 Mennonite Creation Care Network grant to partially fund this project. As part of Taftsville’s on-going creation care initiative, the credits for the extra power generated will be gifted to local non-profits.
In 2017 the church website gave this description of Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship: We are a group of Christians who affirm that Jesus is the center of our faith and the guide we follow in daily living. We invite you to join with us in worship, study, and fellowship, no matter where you may be on your own journey of faith. Our worship service is friendly, informal, and family-oriented, and we love to sing, whether in traditional Mennonite a cappella four-part harmony or with our small praise and worship band. As a fellowship, we are committed to know each other, to bear each other’s burdens, and to worship and grow in faith together.
In 2015, Taftsville members named five core values - worship, generosity, community, Anabaptist theology, and being open to change - as a reflection of the body life and ministry of the congregation.
Lutz, John A. "Taftsville: A Fellowship and Witness by the Ottauquechee River." Franconia Conference News (May 1980): 4.
Ralph, Emily. "Introducing Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship." Franconia Mennonite Conference. 27 June 2013. Web. 27 October 2016. http://franconiaconference.org/new-beginnings-building-spiritual-and-academic-hearts-and-minds-through-christ-jesus/.
Address: 7505 Happy Valley Road, Taftsville, Vermont 05073
Phone: No phone at the church
Taftsville Chapel Pastoral Leaders
|James E. Millen||1964-1970|
|John A. Lutz||1971-1978
Taftsville Chapel Membership
|Author(s)||Virginia Glass Schlabach|
|Date Published||January 2017|
Cite This Article
Schlabach, Virginia Glass. "Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship (Taftsville, Vermont, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2017. Web. 16 Jun 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Taftsville_Chapel_Mennonite_Fellowship_(Taftsville,_Vermont,_USA)&oldid=146801.
Schlabach, Virginia Glass. (January 2017). Taftsville Chapel Mennonite Fellowship (Taftsville, Vermont, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 June 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Taftsville_Chapel_Mennonite_Fellowship_(Taftsville,_Vermont,_USA)&oldid=146801.
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