Difference between revisions of "Westbourne Orthodox Mennonite Church (Gladstone, Manitoba, Canada)"

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[[Category:Old Order Mennonite Congregations]]
[[Category:Orthodox Mennonite Church Congregations]]
[[Category:Orthodox Mennonite Church Congregations]]
[[Category:Manitoba Congregations]]
[[Category:Manitoba Congregations]]
[[Category:Canadian Congregations]]
[[Category:Canadian Congregations]]

Revision as of 14:19, 8 November 2019

The Westbourne Orthodox Mennonite Church, located in the Rural Municipality of Westbourne near Gladstone, Manitoba, Canada, was established by 12 formerly Orthodox Mennonite families from near Walkerton in Bruce County, Ontario. The group settled on 1,000 hectares of farmland purchased in 2006, with the move from Ontario taking place in spring 2007.

The group was composed of families who were originally part of the Old Order Mennonite Church in Ontario. They were part of a group dissatisfied by decisions within the Old Order community in the 1980s to relax restrictions on use of the telephone in the home and tractors on the farm. In the mid-1990s a number of these families moved to Huron-Kinloss Township in Bruce County in order to retain a more strict discipline. However, disagreement within the Kinloss community led to a significant number of families, including Deacon Amsey Bauman, joining the more traditional Orthodox Mennonite Church in nearby Howick Township in Huron County.

Alvin Weber of the Kinloss group was ordained as an Orthodox Mennonite minister in 2002. The affiliation with the Orthodox Mennonites, however, was troubled for some Kinloss families that desired a still stricter discipline. During 2005 and 2006 some 30 members from the Kinloss group were disfellowshipped from the Orthodox Mennonite Church. It was this group of dissidents, led by Minister Alvin Weber and Deacon Amsey Bauman, that moved to Gladstone, Manitoba.

In 2013 this small, isolated community came to national attention when 13 adults were charged with child abuse, and 40 children were removed for various periods of time by Children and Family Services. The charges related to physical abuse that included the use of straps, whips and cattle prods. Ultimately four men were sentenced to prison terms up to 5 1/2 years in length. One woman was placed on probation, and the remainder were released on peace bonds. Numerous Manitoba Mennonite leaders, including Peter H. Rempel, former Executive Director of Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba, offered assistance to the community as it worked through the crisis. After the last trial in 2016 the community issued a statement that expressed "deep regret for the abuse and shame that took place in our midst" and said "we want to humbly [re-build] the community in harmony with Christ and his teaching."

The Westbourne community sought to re-establish itself on a renewed foundation, and re-affiliated with the Old Order Mennonite Church in Ontario, specifically the Kinloss group district under bishop Paul M. Martin. In that process Alvin Weber and Amsey Bauman were removed from their roles as minister and deacon. For a time, Westbourne was served by ministers and bishops coming from Ontario for short-term visits. In spring 2019 Bishop Eli B. Bowman from Ontario oversaw the ordination of a new minister, Benjamin Weber. Another minister and deacon were ordained later in the year.

As a result of the affiliation with the Ontario Old Orders, the men shaved their beards, some began using tractors, and families began to use closed carriages instead of open carriages. Of the original households six remained in 2019. That year the community included about 13 households with several single young men and women in addition.


Brubacher, Luella B. Kinloss reflections and church directory of South Kinloss Mennonites, Bruce County, Ontario. Lucknow, Ont.: L. B. Brubacher, 2007: 8 ff.

"Building begins for Old Order Mennonite community near Gladstone, Man." CBC Manitoba. 6 September 2006. Web. 1 November 2019. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/building-begins-for-old-order-mennonite-community-near-gladstone-man-1.628652.

"Conservative Swiss Mennonites Settle in Manitoba." Preservings 27 (2007): 3.

Hoover, Peter. "The Pure Church movement." Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies 6, no. 1 (2018): 97-98.

Huber, Tim. "Some Manitoba Old Order children return to their homes." Mennonite World Review (20 January 2014). http://mennoworld.org/2014/01/20/news/some-manitoba-old-order-children-return-to-their-homes/.

Laychuk, Riley. "Old Order Mennonite makes emotional apology in child assault sentencing." CBC News. 17 February 2016. Web. 1 November 2019. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/old-order-mennonite-sentencing-hearing-1.3452109.

Laychuk, Riley. "Old Order Mennonite sentenced to 5 years for 'unfathomable' child abuse." CBC News. 6 September 2016. Web. 1 November 2019. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/final-old-order-mennonite-sentence-1.3750493.

"Mennonite child abuse: Manitoba group asked help before charges." Huffpost. 19 March 2013. Web. 1 November 2019. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/19/mennonite-child-abuse-manitoba_n_2905474.html.

Petkau, Evelyn Rempel. "Old Order Mennonite community in turmoil." Canadian Mennonite 17, no. 14 (8 July 2013): 16. https://canadianmennonite.org/articles/old-order-mennonite-community-turmoil.

Rempel, Peter H. "Westbourne Mennonite community." Personal emails (1 November 2019).

Sherk, Amos. "General Records of the Orthodox Mennonite Church." Unpublished manuscript, 2010. In possession of author.

Weber, Urias. New beginnings: a history of the Old Order Mennonites of Ontario. Wallenstein, Ont.: Vineyard Publications, 2018: 173.

Additional Information


Westbourne Orthodox Mennonite Ordained Leaders

Ministers Years of Service Deacons Years of Service
Alvin Weber 2006-2017? Amsey Bauman 2006-2017?
Ontario Old
Order Ministry
Benjamin Weber Spring 2019-present Amos Bauman October 2019-present  
Joseph Bauman October 2019-present  

Author(s) Samuel J Steiner
Date Published November 2019

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Samuel J. "Westbourne Orthodox Mennonite Church (Gladstone, Manitoba, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2019. Web. 2 Jul 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Westbourne_Orthodox_Mennonite_Church_(Gladstone,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=166025.

APA style

Steiner, Samuel J. (November 2019). Westbourne Orthodox Mennonite Church (Gladstone, Manitoba, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 July 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Westbourne_Orthodox_Mennonite_Church_(Gladstone,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=166025.

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