Wideman Mennonite Church (Markham, Ontario, Canada)

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The 1857 building.
Photo by Edwin Byer.
Interior of the 1857 building.
Photo by Edwin Byer.
Wideman Mennonite Church, Markham, ON.
Source: Ontario's Places of Worship

The Wideman Mennonite congregation in Markham, Ontario is named after its first minister, Henry Wideman (d. 1810), who emigrated from Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1803. The first meetinghouse was located across from his homestead.

The language of worship is English; the transition from German occurred in the 1880s. The congregation began services in 1803, and formally organized in 1816. The first building was occupied in 1817 with subsequent building programs in 1857 and 1928. Henry Wideman is considered the founding leader of the group. The congregation originated through immigration from Pennsylvania.

The second minister, Martin Hoover, arrived in 1804. Bishop Abraham Grove (d. 1836), who had been ordained in Pennsylvania, arrived in 1808. Jacob Grove (d. 1863), son of Abraham, was ordained minister in 1836 and bishop in 1837. Christian Reesor (d. 1915) was ordained bishop in 1887; he withdrew with the Old Order division of 1889.

Sunday school began about 1876 but was closed in the 1880s. Wideman's was the largest of the early Mennonite churches in the Markham area. A substantial portion of the congregation followed its bishop, Christian Reesor, into the Old Order Mennonite movement. The Mennonite Brethren in Christ also attracted a number of members.

Sunday school was re-established and English was used as the language for worship in the 1890s, making Wideman more accessible to the community.

The late 20th century brought massive changes to the community served by the congregation, as the Greater Toronto Area experienced unrelenting growth. Traditionally, most families in the church were farmers, and many moved away to other communities in Ontario where land and housing were more affordable. A smaller and more diverse congregation remained. Although some members could still trace their roots back to the original pioneers in the area, many came from other backgrounds.


Burkholder, L. J. A Brief History of the Mennonites in Ontario. Kitchener, Ontario: Mennonite Conference of Ontario, 1935: 114-117.

Mennonite Reporter (26 July 1976): 4; (21 January 1985): 12.

Reesor-McDowell, Joanna. "Wideman Mennonite celebrates 200th anniversary." Canadian Mennonite 20, no. 16 (15 August 2016): 16-17.

Wideman, Janice. "A History of the Wideman Mennonite Church, 1816-1928." Research paper, Canadian Mennonite Bible College, 1983, Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Archival Records

Records at Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Additional Information

Address: 10530 Highway 48, R.R. 2, Markham, Ontario L3P 3J3

Phone: (905) 640-6219

Website: Wideman Mennonite Church

Denominational Affiliations:

Mennonite Church (MC), 1898-1999

Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec, 1810-1988

Conference of Mennonites in Canada / Mennonite Church Canada, 1999-Present

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, 1988-Present

Wideman Mennonite Church Pastors

Name Years of
Henry Wideman 1803-1810
Martin Hoover 1804-1837
Abraham Grove (Bishop) 1808-1836
Jacob Grove (Bishop, 1837- ) 1836-1863
Joseph Barkey 1864-1886
Christian Reesor (Bishop) 1867-1889
Samuel R. Hoover 1888-1916
Isaac A. Wambold 1912-1954
Leonard W. Hoover 1914-1945
A. Lewis Fretz 1920-1931
Aaron D. Grove 1932-1960
Emerson McDowell 1940-1945
Elmer Burkholder 1947-1959
Newton Gingrich 1960-1965
Paul Weidner 1966-1969
Paul Martin 1970-1981
Jim Shantz 1981-1989
Lawrence Burkholder 1991-1999
Ken Wellington 1999-2008
Gary Harder (Interim) 2008-2010
Lydia Harder (Interim) 2008-2010
Lois Unrau Bukar 2010-2013
Ken Driedger
2015-June 2019
Dawne Driedger
2015-June 2019
Taucha Inrig June 2019-present

Wideman Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1905 80
1925 107
1950 115
1965 139
1975 136
1985 104
1995 94
2000 99
2010 65
2015 65
2020 60


Map:Wideman Mennonite Church (Markham, Ontario, Canada)

Author(s) Harold S. Bender
Marlene Epp
Joanna Reesor-McDowell
Date Published April 1986

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S., Marlene Epp and Joanna Reesor-McDowell. "Wideman Mennonite Church (Markham, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 1986. Web. 21 Jun 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wideman_Mennonite_Church_(Markham,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=171716.

APA style

Bender, Harold S., Marlene Epp and Joanna Reesor-McDowell. (April 1986). Wideman Mennonite Church (Markham, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 June 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wideman_Mennonite_Church_(Markham,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=171716.

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