Warden Woods Mennonite Church (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada)

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The Warden Woods Mennonite Church in Scarborough, Ontario began services in 1937, and formally organized in 1951. The first building was occupied in 1952, with a subsequent building program in 1970. Emerson McDowell is considered the founding leader of the group. The congregation originated through outreach by Danforth Mennonite Church.

Warden Woods was formerly known as Warden Park Mennonite Church. It began as a Sunday school outreach of Danforth Mennonite Church. It became independent of Danforth in 1951. In the early years the church was led by lay leaders, including Ernest Ford and Harold Brown. John H. Hess was the long time pastor of the congregation from 1955 to 1988.

In the early 1960s a government housing project was built in southwest Scarborough, providing housing for 347 families and 392 senior citizens. Hess, along with the Mennonite Mission Board of Ontario, began advocating for suitable space for activities for inhabitants of the housing project and, in cooperation with local residents, launched three programs: clothing distribution, the Woodland Nursery School, and a teen drop-in center. Later, in 1968, the congregation joined with Family Services Association, the Children's Aid Society and the Public Health Department to form the Warden Woods Community Services Unit, a co-operative inter-agency effort virtually unique in Canada at that time. The Community Centre at 74 Fir Valley Court was built in 1970 with leadership and capital funding supplied by the Mennonite Conference of Ontario. At this time the center also became the permanent home of the Warden Woods congregation.

The community center incorporated in 1985 and was governed by a local board of directors, with continued financial assistance from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, all three levels of government, the United Way, and other agencies.

The congregation began to dwindle after 2000. By the beginning of 2009 the congregation felt that it had reached the end of its institutional life cycle. The congregation held a farewell service on 14 June 2009 and held its last service on 28 June 2009.


Canadian Mennonite (16 October 1970): 1; (7 September 2009): 23-24.

Groh, Mary I. Like a Grain of Mustard Seed: a History of the Warden Park Mennonite Church. Scarborough, ON: Warden Park Mennonite Church, 1977, 14 pp.

Hincks, Craig W. Living Words: a History of Warden Woods Church and Community Centre, 1937-1994. Scarborough, ON: The Church, 1995, 203 p.

Mennonite Archives of Ontario. "Warden Woods Community Centre." 2008. https://uwaterloo.ca/mennonite-archives-ontario/mennonite-organizations-and-institutions/warden-woods-community-center (accessed 31 December 2013).

Mennonite Archives of Ontario. "Warden Woods Mennonite Church (Toronto, ON)." 2008. https://uwaterloo.ca/mennonite-archives-ontario/congregations/warden-woods-mennonite-church (accessed 31 December 2013).

Mennonite Reporter (14 November 1977): 5; (28 October 1991): 19.

Archival Records

Church records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Additional Information

Address:  74 Fir Valley Court, Scarborough, ON M1L 1N9

Phone: 416-694-1138

Denominational Affiliation:

Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec (1951-1988)

Mennonite Church (1951-1999)

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (1988-2009)

Conference of Mennonites in Canada / Mennonite Church Canada (1995-2009)

Warden Woods Mennonite Church Leading Ministers

Minister Years
John H. Hess 1955-1986
Connie Zehr  1980-1987 
Muriel Bechtel 1988-2000
Martha Smith Good 2000-2005
Johanna Wall 2005-2009

Warden Woods Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1950 19
1958 23
1965 53
1975 80
1985 116
1995 115
2000 103
2009  95

Author(s) John H. Hess
Samuel J. Steiner
Date Published September 2009

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hess, John H. and Samuel J. Steiner. "Warden Woods Mennonite Church (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2009. Web. 23 Sep 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Warden_Woods_Mennonite_Church_(Scarborough,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=167309.

APA style

Hess, John H. and Samuel J. Steiner. (September 2009). Warden Woods Mennonite Church (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 September 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Warden_Woods_Mennonite_Church_(Scarborough,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=167309.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 886. All rights reserved.

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