Warwick River Mennonite Church (Newport News, Virginia, USA)

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Warwick River Mennonite Church, Newport News, Virginia, 2012.
Source: Mennonite Archives of Virginia.

Photo by Elwood Yoder; used with permission.
Warwick River Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church), located on the Virginia peninsula 12 miles north of Newport News in the former City of Warwick near Denbigh. In 1897 Isaac D. Hertzler of Long Green, Maryland, and David Z. Yoder of Smithville, Ohio, purchased a tract of 1,200 acres from the Young plantation, and five families moved into the area, purchasing plots from this original tract. The early settlers came from Michigan, Ohio, Rockingham County, Virginia, Tennessee, and Maryland. During the late 1950s the community was predominantly rural.

The congregation, including both Mennonites and Amish, was organized in the spring of 1898 under the leadership of the original settlers, I. D. Hertzler (1852-1936), Jacob Hahn (1839-1926), and D. Z. Yoder (1849-1929), all who were ministers. In 1900 D. Z. Yoder withdrew with several Amish families and organized the Providence Mennonite congregation. Daniel Shenk (1853-1943) of Allen County, Ohio, was then ordained minister of the new congregation. George R. Brunk (1871-1938), who moved into the community from Kansas in 1910, was the first resident bishop. He was succeeded by his son Truman H. Brunk (b. 1902) in 1940. The other ministers in 1957 were George R. Brunk (1911-2002) and John H. Shenk (b. 1911). The membership in 1957 was 277. It has been affiliated with the Virginia Mennonite Conference since 1904.

In 1899 a frame building 20 x 30 ft. was erected to serve as a schoolhouse and meetinghouse. In 1908 it was replaced by a larger building, which has been remodeled and enlarged to seat 350. A mission outpost was established in Newport News in 1928, which is now the Huntington Avenue Mennonite Church. In 1952 the Madison Avenue Chapel was organized as a mission among the African Americans of Newport News. In 1951 the Rock of Ages Broadcast, presently heard over stations in Richmond, Virginia, and Tangier, Africa, was organized as a congregational project. An elementary school was opened in 1942, and a four-room tile schoolhouse was built in 1949. It was expanded in 1998. The Warwick River Tide, a bi-weekly community paper, has been published since 1945 as an adjunct to the school.

In 2014 church membership was 181 and the minister was John Michael Dey.


The Warwick River Tide, Phebe Kraus and Eva Carper, editors, 1945-

Yoder, J. H. Fifty Years Building on the Warwick. Denbigh, ca. 1947.

Additional Information

Mailing Address: 250 Lucas Creek Road, Newport News, VA 23602

Telephone: 757-874-0794

Website: Warwick River Mennonite Church

Denominational Affiliation:

Virginia Mennonite Conference

Mennonite Church USA

Author(s) C. Norman Kraus
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Kraus, C. Norman. "Warwick River Mennonite Church (Newport News, Virginia, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 Jun 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Warwick_River_Mennonite_Church_(Newport_News,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=135775.

APA style

Kraus, C. Norman. (1959). Warwick River Mennonite Church (Newport News, Virginia, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 June 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Warwick_River_Mennonite_Church_(Newport_News,_Virginia,_USA)&oldid=135775.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 891-892. All rights reserved.

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