A Lazy Sunday Morning in Mennonite Country

My wife, Sue, and I attend an assimilated Mennonite Church (Rockway Mennonite) that chooses not to hold worship services on the August Civic Holiday weekend. The last several years we’ve started a tradition of driving about the countryside passing as many Mennonite churches as possible, both in variety and number, over a three-hour period.

This year we made it past 26 churches from 10 Mennonite denominations between 9:30 am and 12:30 pm. In addition we passed two churches with Mennonite roots that are no longer Mennonite. The churches we passed included:

  1. Kitchener Mennonite Brethren (service was underway; Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches)
  2. Rockway Mennonite Church (also in Kitchener, no service; Mennonite Church Canada)
  3. Martin’s Mennonite Meetinghouse (north end of Waterloo on King Street, no service this Sunday by the Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Church)
  4. Conestoga Old Order Mennonite Church (Three Bridges Road near St. Jacobs, service underway; lot full of buggies)
  5. David Martin Meetinghouse (King Street North west of St. Jacobs, service underway; note the variety of buggies)

    David-Martin-Sunday-2

    David Martin meetinghouse near St. Jacobs

  6. Hawkesville Mennonite Church (service underway; Mennonite Church Canada)
  7. David Martin Meetinghouse (Ament Line near Linwood, service underway)

    David-Martin-Linwood

    David Martin meetinghouse near Linwood

  8. Linwood Old Order Mennonite meetinghouse (Ament Line, closer to Linwood than the David Martin meetinghouse, service underway)

    Linwood-Old-Order-Mennonite

    Linwood Old Order Mennonite meetinghouse. Note the row of bicycles. These are not allowed by the David Martin Mennonites

  9. Countryside Mennonite Fellowship (Herrgott Road near Hawkesville, service underway; they are part of the Midwest Mennonite Fellowship)

    Countryside-Mennonite-Fellowship

    Countryside Mennonite Fellowship. We noted the cars brighter colors than some of the other conservative Mennonite groups.

  10. Peel Old Order Mennonite meetinghouse (Line 86 west of Wallenstein, no service this Sunday)
  11. David Martin Mennonite meetinghouse (Line 86 east of Wallenstein, no service this Sunday)
  12. Elmira Old Order Mennonite meetinghouse (Church Street, service underway)
  13. Elmira Mennonite Church (service ending; Mennonite Church Canada)
  14. Calvary Conservative Mennonite Church (Arthur Street, eight km. north of Elmira, service underway; Conservative Mennonite Church of Ontario)

    Calvary-Conservative-Mennonite

    Calvary Conservative Mennonite near Elmira; the cars are black or gray in color.

  15. Creekbank Old Order Mennonite meetinghouse (Concession 9, 12 km north of Elmira, no service this Sunday)
  16. North Woolwich Old Order and Markham Mennonite meetinghouse (Sandy Hills Drive, north of Floradale, service underway)

    North-Woolwich-Markham-Mennonite

    North Woolwich meetinghouse, with Markham-Waterloo Conference Mennonites. The vehicles are all black. This picture is from 2016.

  17. Floradale Mennonite Church (service underway; Mennonite Church Canada)
  18. Crystal View Mennonite Church (Floradale Road, Floradale, service underway; Midwest Mennonite Fellowship)

    Crystal-View-Mennonite

    Crystal View Mennonite Church in Floradale. These cars seemed a bit plainer than at Countryside Mennonite Fellowship.

  19. Weaverland Old Order Mennonite meetinghouse (Buehler Line near Hesson, service underway)

    Weaverland-Old-Order-Mennonite

    Weaverland Old Order Mennonite meetinghouse

  20. Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church (William Hastings Road near Millbank, service underway; Nationwide Fellowship Churches)

    Bethel-Conservative-Mennonite-Church

    Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church, Millbank. The building formerly belonged to a Bethel Conservative Mennonite Church that was part of the Midwest Fellowship. A division in the congregation led to creation of the Milverton Conservative Mennonite Fellowship. When the original Bethel congregation closed, the Milverton group bought the building and assumed the name.

  21. Heritage Mennonite Church (Millbank, no service?, building for sale; Biblical Mennonite Alliance)

    Heritage-Mennonite-Church

    Heritage Mennonite Church in Millbank

  22. Riverdale Mennonite Church (Perth Line 72 west of Millbank, joint service with another church; Mennonite Church Canada, closing the end of August 2017).
  23. David Martin Mennonite meetinghouse (William Hastings Line near Crosshill, no service, or everyone has departed by 12:10 pm)
  24. Crosshill Old Colony Mennonite Church (probably had service that was over)
  25. Crosshill Mennonite Church (Hutchison Road near Crosshill, service over; Mennonite Church Canada)
  26. Martindale Old Order Mennonite meetinghouse (service just ended; Durst Road near Heidelberg; there was also a schoolbus full of persons from a distance).

With the Martindale Old Order services being over (12:30 pm), we know that we’ll find no more active services in Mennonite churches, and we head home.

The two churches with Mennonite roots that we passed were the Emmanuel Evangelical Missionary Church in Elmira and the Wallenstein Bible Chapel just south of Wallenstein.

We were impressed by how full the parking lots were on a sunny holiday weekend Sunday morning, especially at the David Martin and Old Order Mennonite meetinghouses. Sunday worship has remained central in their lives, with no distractions of sports activities or a late brunch with the New York Times or disappearing to the cottage. It is a discipline that has helped to keep these groups thriving.

Another delight on our drive was finding a few David Martin Mennonite fields with stooks of grain, a sight that is becoming less and less in Waterloo Region.

Stooks-of-grain

Stooks of grain on Hemlock Hill Drive near Hawkesville

All in all, it was a nice way to spend a sunny Sunday morning in August.

3 thoughts on “A Lazy Sunday Morning in Mennonite Country

  1. Next time you tour through Elmira on a Saturday night and have time drop in for coffee and chat history! Drive safe

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  2. Thanks, Sam. It seems that there must be deep irony somewhere in this just begging to be pointed out with a humourous quip or play on words, but I can’t quite come up with it. On a serious note, if you ever want to take someone on such a tour please let me know. Also let me know the price. I think you could hold out for more than just gas money and Sunday brunch at Crossroads for you and Sue.

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