Wooster Mennonite Church (Wooster, Ohio, USA)

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Wooster Mennonite Church, Wooster, Ohio.
Source: Church website

Wooster Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church), formerly known as the Wooster Mennonite Mission, located in the city of Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio, is a member of the Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA.

In 1941, a group from Salem Mennonite Church in Wayne County decided to begin a Mennonite mission in Wooster. In 1942 Rolland and Martha Ross purchased a home at 713 Gasche Street and offered the front room as a place for the group to meet. In 1943, the Salem congregation requested that the Ohio Mission Board take over the work and the Mission Board purchased the Ross's house. In 1944, Bishop D. D. Miller officially recognized eight charter members of the Wooster Mennonite Mission.

Rudy Stauffer preached every Sunday morning until 1949, when he returned to Salem and D. W. Miller became pastor. By 1948, Sunday school attendance averaged 85. By 1950, it rose to an average of 125 and the church had outgrown its facilities. A search for a suitable site to build a church building led to the members purchasing a lot at 1563 Beall Avenue. The Mission Board approved the purchase and turned over its property in Wooster to the church.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the new church building was on 21 March 1951. Construction work was done mostly by the members of the church. The basement was finished in December 1951 and the church building was dedicated on 21 November 1954 with a seating capacity of 300.

Church membership eventually reached 184. Average attendance on a Sunday morning in 1975 was 182. In 1974, Al Martin joined the church as the minister of Christian education.

The increase in attendance created the need for a larger facility. In 1972, Church Council began working on plans for a new church building. A building site on Shelly Boulevard was selected. However, there was much debate in the congregation on whether to move and build or whether to build an addition to the current building. Tensions mounted in the congregation and members expressed that leadership might not be reflecting the needs and wishes of the congregation. In 1976, several elders and the pastor resigned. Many members began attending different churches. The new church building was not pursued any further. The remaining members worked at reconciliation and rebuilding the lost and broken relationships. Archie Penner, interim pastor from 1976-78, was vital in helping heal hurts. A new vision grew out of Penner's interest in the ministry for college students and young adults. Average worship attendance in 1978 was 125 and grew to 145 in 1982.

On 5 May 1985 ground was broken for an addition that included an expanded fellowship space and church office. The sanctuary was remodeled and the seating reversed. An upper and a lower ramp were constructed to make the church handicap accessible. On 23 November 1986, the building was dedicated. The church was refurbished in 1999.

The church celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1992.


Wooster Mennonite Church. "History." 8 February 2011. Web. 17 April 2014. http://woostermennonite.org/About_Us/History.

Additional Information

Address: 1563 Beall Avenue, Wooster, OH 44691

Phone: 330-262-3631

Website: Wooster Mennonite Church

Denominational Affiliation:

Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA

Mennonite Church USA

Wooster Mennonite Church Leading Ministers

Minister Years of Service
Ray Stauffer 1944-1949
D. W. Miller 1949-1957
Paul Brunner 1957-1966
Sanford Oyer 1966-1976
Archie Penner (interim) 1976-1978
Glen Horner 1978-1987
Wayne Nitzsche 1987-1996
Ralph Reinford 1996-2010
Jacob Dodson 2010-present

Author(s) D. Walter Miller
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published April 2014

Cite This Article

MLA style

Miller, D. Walter and Richard D. Thiessen. "Wooster Mennonite Church (Wooster, Ohio, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2014. Web. 2 Dec 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wooster_Mennonite_Church_(Wooster,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=141468.

APA style

Miller, D. Walter and Richard D. Thiessen. (April 2014). Wooster Mennonite Church (Wooster, Ohio, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 December 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wooster_Mennonite_Church_(Wooster,_Ohio,_USA)&oldid=141468.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 978. All rights reserved.

©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.