Indiantown Mennonite Church turning 200

By on September 25, 2019

In the summer of 1819, a little stone meetinghouse was built in Ephrata. The land it was built on came from pastor Abraham Brubaker. Arriving on U.S. soil at the age of 19 in 1751, Brubaker taught congregants and students religious and nonreligious topics alike at the school on his homestead. He would not live to see his land become the site of Indiantown Mennonite Church that summer two centuries ago, but he would be happy to find that the church will be holding a 200th anniversary celebration on Sept. 28 and 29.

When Abraham Brubaker Jr. took over as pastor, he constructed the first true house of worship on his father’s land. The church is now located at 255 Indiantown Road, Ephrata.

“There is a long, rich legacy of God’s faithfulness through many generations that dates back to some of the first settlers in the area during the 1700s,” said Indiantown Mennonite pastor, Rick Gehman.

Along with offering a bus tour and free meal for 53 people, the celebration will include a display of historical artifacts from Indiantown Mennonite’s earlier days, crafts and stories for children with MaryAnn Robbins, and a video showing of the play “The Trail of the Conestoga.” Based on a novel written in 1924, “The Trail of the Conestoga” is about the trek from Pennsylvania to Canada that Mennonite pioneers embarked on, and their settlement of Waterloo County, Ontario.

“Indiantown Mennonite Church has long served the needs of the community through many generations,” Gehman said. “Years ago, the ladies of the church met the needs of the hospital by rolling bandages and sewing supplies.”

In its 200-year history, Indiantown Mennonite tells the American story. The name of the congregation, Indiantown, comes from the fact that the land Brubaker set aside for the church was originally inhabited by the Nanticoke tribe.

However, Gehman holds firm that the church will serve the future as well.

“We will keep telling the stories of God’s faithfulness through all generations,” he said, “and keep serving our community and each other.”

Wes Cipolla is a new correspondent for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your comments and questions at wescipolla@gmail.com.

 

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