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Authority record
Mennonite Heritage Archives

Adventure Crossroads Inc. (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

  • CA-MHC-2018
  • Corporate body
  • 1969-1995

Adventure Crossroads Incorporated traces its beginning to 1969 when a group of Mennonite volunteers decided to become involved in the lives of Winnipeg's inner city people. They formed a group called the Inner City Community Ministry Project. One of their first projects was to coordinated a camp for disadvantaged families. In 1971, Inner City Community Ministry Project changed its name to Crossroads and on January 14, 1974 Crossroads incorporated to become Adventure Crossroads Inc.
Crossroads worked on the premise that many people who needed help were not taking advantage of resources available to them. In order to alleviate this problem, members of Crossroads tried to develop personal relationships with people in the inner city in order to foster a greater sense of community and promote greater involvement.

Crossroad attempted to develop these personal relationships through their programs such as creating a receiving home, a foster home, and a learning centre for children with behavioral problems called Alexander Place. One of their largest and longest lasting projects was a family centre. Run at first out of Maclean House and then later out of 211 Isabel Street, this family centre provided a place for residents of the area to gather and participate together in activities.

A few Mennonite churches provided most of the volunteers and financies. When Crossroads became Adventure Crossroads Incorporated, a board was created consisting of representatives from these churches. Although volunteers made up the majority of the staff, there were also various employees.

Adventure Crossroads official dissolved on November 30, 1995.

Altona Bergthaler Mennonite Church (Altona, Manitoba)

  • CA-MHC-2016
  • Corporate body
  • 1908-

The Bergthaler Mennonites first came to the West Reserve area from the East Reserve in 1877. These settlers formed four villages over the next decade. They first began worshiping together in 1880 in Rudnerweide. The education question caused these settlers to divide into two groups, the Sommerfelder and Bergthaler. Johann Funk was the leader of the Bergthaler and Abram Doerksen the leader of the Sommerfelder. In 1895 the Bergthaler built a new meeting house in Hochstadt. However, the centre for worship shifted in 1907 when the new Mennonite Educational Institute was built in Altona. In 1912 it was decided to build a new meeting house in Altona. In 1919 this building was expanded and again in 1944. With the Bible School expanding in Altona it was decided to build a new building to accommodate the large gatherings in connection with the Bible School. A larger building was completed in 1954. The language transition occurred over the next two decades. The congregation has been affiliated with the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba, the Conference of Mennonites in Canada and the General Conference Mennonite Church since 1968. The language of worship was originally German and the transition to English occurred in the 1960s.

Altona Evangelical Mennonite Mission Church

  • CA-MHA-2020
  • Corporate body
  • 1949-

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.

Altona Mennonite Church (Altona, Manitoba)

  • CA-MHA-2020
  • Corporate body
  • 1962-

The Altona Mennonite Church was an outgrowth of the Altona Bergthaler Mennonite Church. That congregation had space needs and there was a group which wanted more English language services. So in 1962 a new congregation was formed with 22 charter members. Its mission was to reach out to the English-speaking people of Altona and the surrounding area. The congregation met in rented facilities. In 1964 it completed its own meeting house.

Arnaud Mennonite Church (Arnaud, Manitoba)

  • CA-MHA-2020
  • Corporate body
  • 1944-

Mennonites settled in the Ste. Elizabeth, Arnaud, and Dominion City areas in 1925. They met to worship in private homes and rented facilities when these became available. In 1929 it was decided to build a meeting house at Ste. Elizabeth. This was the first meeting house built by the 1920s Russian Mennonite immigrants in western Canada. Travel conditions and means made it difficult for the entire group to worship together at Ste. Elizabeth. So in 1944 another meeting house was built in Arnaud. The Mennonite Brethren families had already built a meeting house in Arnaud in 1935 so many of the other Mennonite families worshiped there until 1944. An attempt at remaining an equal congregation in the Lichtenauer Mennoniten Gemeinde did not work out so two independent congregations emerged after 1944, the Lichtenau Mennonite Church at Ste. Elizabeth and the Arnaud Mennonite Church. They did co-operate in some programmes such as the Jugendverein. For some major celebrations, such as the 40th anniversary of the settlement in 1965 the three congregations, Lichtenau, Arnaud M.B., and Arnaud M., celebrated together. The Arnaud Mennonite Church continued to survive after Arnaud M.B. congregation dissolved in 1980 and the Lichtenau congregation 1990.

Bergthaler Mennonite Church of Manitoba

  • CA-MHA-2020
  • Corporate body
  • 1892-1983

The Bergthaler Mennonite Church of Manitoba traces its origin to the ordination of Johann Funk in 1882 (although the church did not subscribe to the Bergthaler name until 1892. Funk led the Mennonite people who had migrated from the Manitoba Mennonite East Reserve since 1877. These people settled on the east side of the West Reserve in what is now the Altona-Gretna area. Originally these people had immigrated to Canada from the Bergthal and other colonies in Russia. In the East Reserve their church became known as the Chortitzer Mennonitengemeinde. In 1889 the Choritizer church gave their members on the West Reserve more autonomy with the establishment of the Waisenamt (church mutual aid institution). Johann Funk pushed the church into new territory with the vision of a teacher-training center in 1885. This became a reality in 1889 with the establishment of the Mennonite Educational Institute (MEI) later known as the Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI) in Gretna, Manitoba. Funk also proposed to have singing practices, Bible studies, Sunday School and fellowship with other churches. The biggest issue became education and the continuation of the MEI. The parent church on the East Reserve did not support Funk and in 1892 a church split occurred. A group of fifty-seven to sixty-one families chose to side with Funk but the vast majority, 441 families aligned themselves with the parent church. A new bishop, Abraham Doerksen from the village of Sommerfeld, was elected by the Chortitzer church in 1894 to serve its members. This larger group became known as the Sommerfelder Mennonite church and Funk's group as the Bergthaler Mennonite church. Included in Funk's small group of supporters were a few ministers. One of these, Jacob Hoeppner, was elected as an assistant to Funk in 1903. In that same year the Bergthaler church formed a partnership with the Rosenorter Mennonite church of Saskatchewan, beginning what became the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. In 1926 David Schultz was elected as the Aeltester (Bishop) to take over the responsibilities from Hoeppner. During this era the church expanded greatly due to the depression forcing people to move, the influx of new Mennonite immigrants and the controversy over the school and Waisenamt having somewhat been forgotten.

A finance commmittee was organized in 1929, taking control of finances away from the ministers. Other new venture in subsequent years included the establishment of the Elim Bible School, Mennonite Pioneer Mission to aid Mennonite people in Mexico and native people in Canada, the Christian Home Hour and the Abundant Life radio programs aired on CFAM in Altona, Manitoba. The church established seniors homes and a Christian Bible camp (Moose Lake Camp). It published church paper called Das Bergthaler Gemeinde Blatt printed by D.W. Friesen Printers in Altona, Manitoba. The church also supported its young men with getting contentious objectors (CO) status during World War Two and with visits to the men in the Alternative Service camps.

The church suffered a serious set back when the Waisenamt, where many people had invested their life savings, collapsed in 1931.

When Schultz began as Bishop in 1926, the church had three houses of worship. By 1952 there were ten church buildings, twenty-one places of worship, twenty-four Sunday schools, one Bishop (Aeltester) and twenty ministers. The church began a decentralization process when it began to ordain more elders, moving away from the strong one leader concept. In 1951 J.M. Pauls of Morden, Manitoba was ordained and served until his death in 1961. In 1961 D.D. Klassen and J.F. Pauls were ordained and in 1962 Ernest Wiebe was ordained. In 1965 the Bergthaler church continued to decentralize, giving more autonomy to the local churches. In 1967 ministers in the local churches had the right to baptize and serve communion, which had earlier one been done by the bishop. By 1968 the Bergthaler Mennonite Church of Manitoba had almost totally decentralized with all the major church programs having been assumed by board of the General Conference Mennonite Church or the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. With decentralization almost complete, the next step by default was dissolution. In a meeting in Carman, Manitoba on March 9, 1971, the nineteen congregations decided to dissolve the Bergthaler Mennonite Church. This action became final in 1983 when Bill 112 received Royal Assent and the Act to incorporate the Corporation of the Bergthaler Mennonite Church of Manitoba was repealed.

Bethel Bergthaler Mennonite Church (Hochfeld, Manitoba)

  • CA-MHA2020
  • Corporate body
  • 1965-

Bethel Bergthaler Mennonite Church originated through division from Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church for evangelism purposes and began services and formally organized in 1965. It is located 5 miles south of Winkler, MB on Hwy. 32. The congregation was affiliated with the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba and Conference of Mennonites in Canada (1965-). The church is no longer a member of the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba and has never been a member of the General Conference Mennonite Church.

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