Our MCA History

Our MCA History 

Mennonite history includes many examples of gathering, purposeful joining, and creating structure in order to do together what we cannot do alone.

Our community of congregations, the Mennonite Conference of Alberta, then the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta, and now Mennonite Church Alberta, was also born out of a desire to be stronger in numbers. Mennonite history also includes examples of congregations and the bodies they identify with parting ways when differences in Biblical interpretation and structural policy cannot be resolved.

In The Mennonite Conference of Alberta: A history of its churches and institutions, (Dick, 1980), Elder C.D. Harder is credited as the guiding spirit who gathered together the scattered Mennonite churches into a united organization. In addition to his role as minister at Bergthal Mennonite Church (Didsbury), Harder travelled to every group of Mennonites in Alberta, preaching, baptizing, serving communion, marrying and burying. From 1928-1930, his visitations resulted in the formation of at least six additional churches. 

1950 conference statistics identify eight congregations making up the Mennonite Conference of Alberta, with a membership of 962. All but one of these, Calgary, were located in rural areas of the province, and all served by lay ministers. By 1962, the ten congregations included Tofield, North Hill (Calgary), Pincher Creek, Coaldale, First Mennonite Edmonton, Didsbury, First Mennonite Calgary, Vauxhall, Gem, and Rosemary. In these formative years key concerns were caring for the elderly, programs and education for youth, and the shift from German to English.

Camp Valaqua has long been a sacred space for Mennonites in Alberta. With the land for a camp purchased in 1958, Camp Valaqua came into being in 1961. Camp Valaqua continues to offer summer programs for children and facilities for rental groups. 

By 1998 the conference numbered 21 affiliated congregations, with a total membership of 1,918. Each congregation was served by a professionally trained, salaried minister.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, structural changes at the national and bi-national levels, and conversations around congregational discipline and acceptance of homosexual members resulted in changes in the number of congregations that made up Mennonite Church Alberta.

By 2009 the conference numbered 17 congregations. Today, MCA consists of 12 congregations clustered in Edmonton, Calgary-area, and southern Alberta. Services are held in five languages each Sunday: English, Oromo, Chinese, Nuer, and Chin.

 


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Information from

Dick, C. Lorne and Samuel J. Steiner. "Mennonite Church Alberta." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2010. Web. 6 Jul 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Church_Alberta&oldid=171771.

Dick, C. Lorne. The Mennonite Conference of Alberta: A history of its churches and institutions. 1980

 

Congregational Vignettes

Bergthal Mennonite

Didsbury

1901- present

Bethel International Oromo

Edmonton

2016 - present

Burns Ranch Mennonite (Friedensort)

Didsbury

1926-1951

Calgary Chin Christian Church


2013 -present

Calgary Chinese Mennonite 

1981-2016

Calgary Inter-Mennonite

1976-2006

Calgary Vietnamese Mennonite

1981-2016

Coaldale Mennonite

1926-2001

Edmonton Christian Life Community Church

1989 -Present

Edmonton South Sudanese Mennonite Church

2010 -Present

Edmonton Vietnamese Fellowship

1995-2017

Faith Mennonite 

Edmonton

1980-1996