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Abraham Doerksen (1852-1929) was born in the village of Schoenthal, Bergthal Colony, Russia to Abraham and Katherina (Friesen) Doerksen. His father was a manufacturer of plows, wagons and other machinery. He married Maria Dueck in 1872. They left Russia in 1874 and settled in Manitoba. After living on the Mennonite East Reserve for a short time, they relocated to the village of Sommerfeld on the Mennonite West Reserve..
The church on the West Reserve became divided over the issue of higher education. The majority disagreed with the newly elected bishop Johan Funk who promoted the school of higher learning and the development of the Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI) in Gretna. Mediation with the mother church from the East Reserve under the guidance of Bishop David Stoesz was not able to bring the two parties together. After Funk and his supporters parted (retaining the name Bergthal Mennonite Church), the larger group was left without a bishop until Bishop David Stoesz ordained Abraham Doerksen on Palm Sunday March 18, 1894. This group eventually adopted the name Sommerfeld Mennonite church because Doerksen was from that village. Bishop Abraham Doerksen made numerous trip to visit the adherents of the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church as they spread to various regions in western Canada. In addition to his normal church work, he was on a committee of church leaders that negotiated with the Canadian government for military exemption for Mennonite men during the First World War. When the Canadian government withdrew some school priveleges after the war, Doerksen was among a group of about 600 Sommerfeld church members who immigrated to Mexico in 1922 where he settled in the Santa Clara colony, north of Cuauhtemoc. Bishop Doerksen died in Mexico in 1929.
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Sommerfeld Mennonite Church minister and bishop
Mandates/sources of authority
GRANDMA ID: 177152
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Historical sketch Conrad Stoesz, updated April 26, 2001. Uploaded by Alf Redekopp, May 2020.
Stoesz, Conrad and Richard D. Thiessen. Doerksen, Abraham (1852-1929). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2005. Web. 18 Apr 2020.