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Forks Mennonite Church (Middlebury, Ind.) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Forks Mennonite Church (Middlebury, Ind.)

Historical Note: Forks Mennonite Church, located six miles southeast of Middlebury, in Newbury Township, Lagrange County, Indiana, was a member of the Indiana-Michigan Conference. The first Amish settlers came to Elkhart and Lagrange counties in 1841-1842. A group broke away from the Amish in 1854 to form the Amish Mennonite Forks Church. Christian Plank and Christian Miller were the first ministers. The first known bishop was Jonas Troyer. D. J. Johns then retained oversight until D. D. Miller was ordained bishop in 1906. Miller, who died in 1955, was ordained deacon in 1890, minister in 1891, and bishop in 1906, all three times by D. J. Johns. In 1953 Earley C. Bontrager was the bishop, Donald E. Yoder the minister, and Malvin P. Miller the deacon; the 1953 membership was 213. The first church, built in 1864, was replaced in 1893 by a larger structure, which was remodeled in 1915. In 1927 the house was destroyed by fire but was soon replaced. Missionaries from this congregation include Dr. and Mrs. W. B. Page, Ernest E. and Ruth Miller, S. Jay and Ida Hostetler, Wilbur and Velma Hostetler, and Amsa and Nona Kauffman. Forks was also the home congregation of Orie O. Miller, executive secretary of the Mennonite Central Committee. The congregation closed in December 2016. Several reasons influenced the decision to close, including the changing community and the loss of youth in the church in the rural area.
Sources: Rheinheimer, Floyd L. "Forks Mennonite Church (Middlebury, Indiana, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 19 July 2010.
Note Author: Floyd L. Rheinheimer

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