University Mennonite Church (State College, Pennsylvania, USA)

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The University Mennonite Church in State College, Pennsylvania, USA, was founded on 19 June 1963. Before the church's formal founding, Mennonite students and faculty gathered for fellowship and worship as early as 1959 as the Mennonite Student Fellowship. Twelve persons signed the initial charter. The congregation met in homes and sometimes on the Penn State University campus.

Laurie Mitton was the initial lay leader of the congregation. The first ordained pastor was Victor Stoltzfus in 1966. Because of its small size in the early years, the congregation made decisions as a total group, with no church council or board of elders. It elected its first elders in 1988.

The congregation continued to meet on campus for many years until it heard the local Society of Friends was selling their old facility and building a new one. So in 1980, the congregation purchased the former Friends building. This move changed many dynamics within the congregation and led to greater diversity, with more participants not affiliated with the university.

The congregation called its first full-time paid pastors in 1989 and has had full-time pastoral leadership since.

The church added a two-story addition in 1995 to provide Sunday school and nursery space. It also added a chairlift. As space became more limited, the congregation considered planting another congregation but ultimately bought a larger facility on Norma Street in 2006.

In 2021 the congregation remained part of the Allegheny Mennonite Conference. The minister was Kate Heinzel.


Hershberger, Truman. "History of the University Mennonite Church." 12 October 1980. Web. 1 November 2021.

"History of the local church in State College." University Mennonite Church. 2021. Web. 1 November 2021.

Martin, Willard. "A Brief History of University Mennonite Church: 40th-anniversary celebration." 17 May 2003. Web. 1 November 2021.

Weidner, Joel. "UMC history speech." 19 October 2013. Web. 1 November 2021.

Additional Information

Address: 1606 Norma Street, State College, Pennsylvania 16801

Phone: 814-234-2039


Denominational Affiliations: Allegheny Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Pastoral Leaders at University Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Lay leaders 1962-1966
Victor Stoltzfus 1966-1970
Lay leaders 1970-1978
Harold Yoder 1978-1988
Ruthie Yoder 1978-1988
Edwin F. Rempel 1989-1997
Kathrine M. Rempel 1989-1997
David B. Miller 1997=2009
Marvin Friesen 2010-2018?
Ben Wideman 2014-2020
Kathryn M. Heinzel 2018-present

Membership at University Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1962 12
1970 27
1980 36
1990 54
2000 71
2007 105
2020 105

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published November 2021

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "University Mennonite Church (State College, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2021. Web. 30 May 2024.,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=172521.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (November 2021). University Mennonite Church (State College, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 May 2024, from,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=172521.

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