Zion Mennonite Church (Elbing, Kansas, USA)

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Zion Mennonite Church, 2020
Zion Mennonite Church, Elbing, Kansas.
Photo courtesy of the church
Zion Mennonite Church, Elbing, Kansas, 1924
Zion Mennonite Church from 1924-1963.
Photo courtesy of the church

Zion Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite), located in Elbing, Butler County, Kansas, USA, a member of the Western District Conference, was organized on 10 June 1883, with 14 charter members who were a part of the immigrant group which came to Kansas from Heubuden and Ladekopp, West Prussia. On 15 June 1876, the first group departed from the Simonsdorf train station in West Prussia, crossed the ocean aboard “The Rhein,” and arrived in Mount Pleasant, Iowa on 3 July. The Prussian Mennonites intended to settle together but could not agree on a location. Peter Dyck, a minister of the Heubuden church, became tired of waiting and bought land six miles south of Peabody, Kansas. Eventually, the group settled in four locations: Beatrice, Nebraska; Whitewater, Kansas; Newton, Kansas; and south of Peabody. Over the next two decades a steady trickle of Prussian immigrants, especially with connections to Heubuden, continued to immigrate to these four locations.

The families who settled south of Peabody constituted the smallest portion of the Prussian immigrants. Originally worshipping with the Emmaus Mennonite Church near Whitewater, they soon found the distance to that church too great. Emmaus released the group to build their own church one-half mile east and one mile north of Elbing.

Soon after its founding in 1883, Zion became an early adopter of Sunday school as well as open communion with Christians of other denominations. By 1900 the membership of the church had grown to 66 but declined to 32 in 1921 following a serious rift over the so-called Sprunger movement in the community. Some who left Zion became charter members of the Elbing Missionary Church, now First Missionary Church in Newton, Kansas.

When the original building became too small, a new church was built in the town of Elbing and dedicated on 19 October 1924. In 1963 a larger building was constructed and in 1998 a library and elevator were attached. The cemetery is located along the banks of Henry Creek, one-half mile east and 1.5 miles north of Elbing.

The church has shown an active concern for home and foreign missions. It assisted in the founding of Berean Academy in Elbing in 1946. Numerous missionaries and pastors have come from the church and have served in a variety of locations including China, Congo, Burkina Faso, and among the Cheyenne people in Montana. Others in the church continue to support and assist in area ministries like Camp Mennoscah, Harvey County Homeless Shelter, Bethel College, Mennonite Central Committee and other Mennonite related institutions. Zion also enjoys an amicable relationship with nearby Grace Hill Mennonite Church, with many decades of shared ministry.

In 2020 the ethnic makeup of Zion did not reveal much variation, but there was much divergence on theological, social, and political perspectives… and yet a willingness to worship and live as a group bonded together by faith. There was a strong embrace of ongoing education with nearly all adults participating in Sunday school classes. Zion’s worship tended toward a traditional style, with an appreciation of good singing. While the church had numerous professionals, a majority continued to make their living in agriculture.

Bibliography

Gaeddert, Joyce Regier. "The Bernhard Regier Genealogy, 1669-1973." 1973. Unpublished manuscript.

Janzen, Louis A. "Forbid Him Not." 1978. Unpublished manuscript at Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas.

Additional Information

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 68, Elbing, KS 67041 USA

Location: 525 N. Main Street, Elbing, Kansas

Phone: 316-799-2071

Website: Zion Mennonite Church

Denominational Affiliations:

Western District Mennonite Conference (1883-present)

General Conference Mennonite Church (1883-2002)

Mennonite Church USA

Pastors at Zion Mennonite Church

Name Years
of Service
Peter Dyck (1821-1885) 1883-1885
Cornelius H. Regier (1842-1928) 1885-1922
Jacob W. Regier (1849-1939)
(Assistant)
1892-1939
John P. Andres (1857-1932)
(Assistant)
1917-1932
Henry Jacob Dyck (1880-1970) 1920-1951
Cornelius J. Dyck (1921-2014) 1952-1954
Waldo W. Kaufman 1956-1963
Harold Graber 1964-1965
David Braun 1976-1982
Loris Habegger 1982-1988
Craig Morton 1988-1994
Floyd Born 1994-2004
Bruce Bradshaw 2005-2011
Elena Nussbaum
(Youth Pastor)
2009-2012
Ray Reimer
(Co-pastor/Pastor)
2011-present
Rosie Epp
(Co-pastor)
2013-2020
Karen Andres
(Associate)
2020-present

Membership at Zion Mennonite Church

Year Membership
1955 159
1960 154
1965 162
1970 174
1975 187
1980 161
1985 154
1990 156
1995 157
2000 142
2005 144
2010 152
2015 157
2020 144
  • In 2016 Zion had an average worship attendance of 85.

Original Mennonite Encyclopedia Article

By Cornelius J. Dyck. Copied by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 1031-1032. All rights reserved.

Zion Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite), located in Elbing, Butler County, Kansas, a member of the Western District Conference, was organized on 10 June 1883 with 14 charter members, who were a part of the immigrant group which came to Kansas in 1876 from Heubuden and Ladekopp, West Prussia. Originally worshiping with the Emmaus Mennonite Church near Whitewater, they soon found the distance to that church too great and built their own church one-half mile east and one mile north of Elbing. When this first building became too small, a new church was built in Elbing, and dedicated on 19 October 1924, which building is still in use.

The church has shown an active concern for home and foreign missions. It assisted in the founding of Berean Academy in Elbing in 1946. Missionaries and ministers coming from the church have been the following: Marie Dyck, later Mrs. Ernst Kuhlman, to China in 1906; Abraham H. Regier, ordained in 1905; Henry J. Dyck, ordained in 1905; Walter H. Dyck, ordained in 1936; Paul Kuhlman, ordained as missionary to China in 1936; Arnold J. Regier, ordained to the ministry in 1940.

Pastors who served the church since its founding have included the following: Peter Dyck 1883-1885, Cornelius H. Regier 1885-1921, Jacob W. Regier 1892-1919, John P. Andres 1907-1932, Henry J. Dyck 1921-1951, Cornelius J. Dyck 1951-1955, and Waldo W. Kaufman 1954-    . The membership in 1957 was 152.


Author(s) Ray Reimer
Brett Klingenberg
Date Published March 2021

Cite This Article

MLA style

Reimer, Ray and Brett Klingenberg. "Zion Mennonite Church (Elbing, Kansas, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2021. Web. 19 Jan 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Zion_Mennonite_Church_(Elbing,_Kansas,_USA)&oldid=170756.

APA style

Reimer, Ray and Brett Klingenberg. (March 2021). Zion Mennonite Church (Elbing, Kansas, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 January 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Zion_Mennonite_Church_(Elbing,_Kansas,_USA)&oldid=170756.




©1996-2022 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.