History

Our History:
It was the end of an era. The year was 1936. The influence of the depressing thirties was coming to an end, and the passing of this age brought new dreams, new hope and new expectations to the people of Grunthal and surrounding communities. The need was apparent and fulfilling that need became a reality when Rev. William P. Heinrichs and his family moved to the Barkfield area. He began to preach and minister in the homes and school houses of the various districts. Late in the year of 1937 and the beginning of 1938, Sunday School was initiated. The Lord blessed and the small congregation grew in numbers.

Decisions were made and a building for Christian worship was built on a lot in the Municipality of Hanover. The first Bergthaler Church on the East Reserve was dedicated to God on October 29, 1939. The Spencer Bergthaler Church had emerged and become a reality, with a total of 28 people in its membership. Rev. Peter J. Loewen and Rev. Jacob J. Funk were elected and ordained as ministers the same day as the dedication to the church.

The painful stage of birthing was over and the church progressed and grew. It was on its way to maturity. With this maturity came a desire for a deacon. Mr. C.H. Friesen was elected and ordained as a deacon of the church on September 21, 1941, and served two infant churches simultaneously; the Spencer (Bergthaler) and the Steinbach Bergthaler Church. And so the church continued to grow. By 1949, the growth was substantial and the membership felt it was necessary to relocate. The church moved onto it and an addition was constructed and attached to the already finished structure. The fall of 1949 witnessed the re-dedication of this new place of worship. The years were generous and the congregation flourished. Leadership was needed, elected and ordained to the various positions. Mr C.H. Friesen was elected and ordained as minister. The Lord blessed and the people thrived and the congregation increased. Then… the church was sold, a new building was erected, the last sermon preached, and the doors of this little “wildwood” church were closed. The Spencer era had come to an end. Next came the explosive 60’s; the years of society’s discontent. In the fall of 1969, the leadership decided the church was ready for an expansion and a move. It was also decided that a new location, in a town, would be more appropriate. A new lot was purchased and the now existing foyer was built to serve the congregation On June 28, 1970, the Grunthal Bergthaler Mennonite Church was dedicated to God. On May 19, 1974, two ministers and one deacon were ordained into the church’s ministry. John Wiebe and Ed Wiebe took on the leadership roles as pastors and Bernie Friesen and Jacob Esau were the ordained deacons. January of 1979, Rev. C.H. Friesen died. He had been with and helped this church from its infancy. He had been a mentor, guide, advocate, deacon, and minister for so many years, and his absence left a hole. However, the church carried on and grew in number.

1983 brought the decision to expand and so plans were put in action. This is now the current sanctuary and lobby with an outside ramp with roof providing shelter. After 23 years of ministry, Pastor John Wiebe felt God leading him elsewhere. And so the church started looking for a new shepherd. As the search for a new pastor was under way, the Sunday morning pulpit message was occupied by special speakers. Then in July of 1998, Edwin Klippenstein became the interim pastor and he held this position till January of 2000.

The year 2000 held many changes for the church. Colin Plett became the new pastor, bringing with him his youth and a new vision. In January of 2003, Randy Fast, from our own church, was hired as a full time youth pastor. Colin has since moved on to pastor a church in Steinbach and we have now added Pastor John Neufeld as the Senior Pastor to our church in 2011.

Our hope and expectation of the Lord’s blessing continues to this day as we continue to grow in our spiritual walk.