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Olive Mennonite Church (Elkhart, Ind.) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Olive Mennonite Church (Elkhart, Ind.)

Historical Note:

1845 (Old) Mennonites began moving to Elkhart County

1848 Organized Yellow Creek Mennonite Church; Yellow Creek started several branch meetinghouse locations in the surrounding area: Holdeman, Christophel and Blosser (which merged to form Salem), Olive, and Nappanee

1850 Yellow Creek preaching services begin in the Olive Township schoolhouse; Daniel Moyer (1812-1864) is the first minister and serves until his death

1862 Frame building put up (at site of current building) on farm of Jacob and Mary (Troxel) Shaum; meetinghouse knows as Shaum Mennonite Church; 36 feet x 60 feet in size

1864 Daniel Brenneman (1834-1919) replaced Moyer as minister; often preached in English

1866 Summer Sunday school begun; one of the first in the area; in English

1871 “Old Order”/Wisler division in the Yellow Creek district; some Olive members withdrew; follow Old Order leader Bishop Jacob Wisler

1871 Henry Shaum (1826-1892) ordained minister; 1886, ordained bishop; served until his death

1872 Jacob A. Beutler (1833-1886) appointed bishop to replace Jacob Wisler; served until his death

1874 Minister Daniel Brenneman dismissed from the conference; some Olive members withdrew; followed Brenneman into a new group later called Mennonite Brethren in Christ and today known as the Missionary Church

1880 Noah Metzler (1854-1907) began serving as minister; served until 1885

1888 Frame meetinghouse replaced with brick building; 40 feet x 40 feet; officially called Olive Mennonite

1892 John F. Funk (1835-1930) ordained bishop after death of Henry Shaum; served until 1902 when he was silenced

1896 Jacob Shank (1856-1905) began serving as minister; served until his death

1904 David Burkholder (1835-1923) chosen as bishop to replace Funk; served until 1918

1905 Membership is 51

1907 David (D.A.) Yoder (1883-1980) ordained as minister; ordained as bishop in 1910 at age 26; served until 1949; may have lived longer after ordination than any other Indiana-Michigan Conference leader; school teacher and farmer; was chair of Mennonite Board of Education for twenty years and a member of the board for almost another twenty years

1916 Women’s Sewing Circle begun

1917 Clarence A. Shank (1885-1963) ordained as minister; served until 1949; the Bishop Yoder – Preacher Shank era noted for growth of membership

1918 Membership was 143; building addition constructed

1933 Olive members help start Crumstown Mennonite Church in Saint Joseph County, Indiana

1936 First summer vacation Bible school held

1940 Membership was 250

1949 After a period of intense conflict, a conference committee recommended that both Yoder and Shank step aside from leadership for at least one year; (in fact, they never returned to active leadership roles in the congregation); membership was 260

1949 J.C. Wenger (1910-1995) served as interim minister; in 1951 he received bishop oversight and continued that role until 1964

1950 Olive members helped start Hudson Lake Mennonite Church in Saint Joseph County, Indiana

1951 Elno Steiner (1924- ) was ordained as pastor; served along with Mable (Smeltzer) Steiner until 1966

1950s Congregation began using weekly church bulletins and issuing a monthly newsletter (Olive Visitor); adopted a church budget; began using individual communion cups instead of a large common cup

1962 Began appointing lay elders to help give congregational leadership; first woman elder chosen in 1987

1964 Ivan K. Weaver was appointed bishop and served until 1975; was the last bishop since the conference moved to appointing overseers; received 1.2 acres of adjoining land

1966 Richard D. (1928- ) and Helen (King) Hostetler arrived from Pennsylvania; Richard served as pastor until 1973

1973 Sold the parsonage; Jason and Mary (Baer) Martin came; Jason served as pastor until 1982

1973 Began a major renovation project

1976 Launched a Sharing Program for hospital insurance

1977 Purchased an organ

1983 Phil and Loretta (Kuhns) Helmuth arrived from Illinois; Phil served as pastor until 1987

1986 Dale and Patricia (Bontrager) Shenk arrived; Dale served as associate pastor

1999 Membership was 233 with William Hooley serving as pastor

Sources: J.C. Wenger, A History of the Olive Mennonite Church, 1988.
Note Author: Steve Nolt

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