- 1950-1999 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
The Altona Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference (EMMC) congregation traces its beginning to a group of rural EMMC members who had moved into the town of Altona and began meeting for fellowship and worship in 1949. In 1951 they acquired and moved former Kleine Gemeinde (EMC) church building from Rosenhof to Altona. A new building was built in 1968 and was expanded in 1976 and again in 1986.
The EMMC began under the bishop system of church leadership but more autonomy was requested by some of the town churches such as Altona and Winkler. Altona youth worker B.W. Sawatzky was one strong proponent of this concept. In 1955 the church asked to hire its own minister, even though their Bishop Wilhelm H. Falk, Bishop J.H. Friesen (after 1955), and minister Jacob Gerbrandt already lived in Altona. This however only became reality after the 1959 with wide sweeping reorganization within the larger church organization.
The Altona EMMC congregation hired John G. Froese in 1960. He remained leader until 1964. Other leaders have included: Henry Dueck (1965-1967), Lawrence Giesbrecht (1967-1970), John Bergman (1970-1973, 1978-1984), Henry U. Dueck (1973-1978), Allen Kehler (1984- ), Frank Friesen ( - ).
The congregation experienced rapid growth in the late 1960s and early 1970s as EMMC churches in the neighboring communities of Neubergthal, Eigenhof, and Rosenfeld closed.
The congregation was a supporter of Elim Bible School, Mennonite Central Committee, radio ministries, and EMMC missions. The congregation hired its first youth pastor in Tim Ryan in 1985 and has had an active children's program with Sunday School, cradle roll, Pioneer Girls, Boys Brigades and youth events. The women of the congregation organized themselves into the Priscilla Sewing Circle (later Priscilla Fellowship) and the Rebecca Fellowship.
The membership in 1965 was 200; in 1975, 255; in 1985, 369; in 2000, 658.