©Mennonite Heritage Centre 2007
Last updated 02 July 2008
The Rivers Mennonite Church, located in the far western region of Manitoba, traces its beginning to 1928 when a recent group of Mennonite immigrants from the Soviet Union met to worship and were served by Bishop J.P. Klassen of the Schoenwieser Mennonite Church of Winnipeg. At his invitation the initial six families, joined his church. Later that year these families learned of another small group of Mennonites in the Wheatland area who were being served by Mennonite minister A. Paetkau, that were independent of the Schoenwieser Church. For Sunday services these two groups decided to meet together. By 1930 the membership had grown to include 16 families. In that year, Bishop Klassen ordained J. Tiessen and A. Isaak as lay ministers to lead the now newly organized Rivers Mennonite Church. During the 1930s a number of families moved away. By 1938 there were only nine families remaining -- 7 of which belonged to the Schoenwieser Church and 2 of which belonged to the Whitewater Mennonite Church of Boissevain. In order to strenthen the group and build unity, the entire group decided to join the Whitewater Mennonite Church. The Rivers Mennonite Church again grew during the 1940s. In the late 1940s, they requested that Bishop G. Neufeld of Boissevain ordain another minister and deacon for Rivers. November 19, 1950 marked the completion their first permanent church building and the ordination of Minister A. Martens and Deacon A. Krahn. During the early 1950s there were 42 families consisting of 170 people attending. The active membership reached 102 in 1957. The 1960s and 1970s witnessed a decline of membership as young people left the farms in search of employment and others joined English speaking churches. With a steady decline in membership continuing and no possible influx of new members, the decision was made to sell the church building in 1983 and was moved in 1984. A committee/board was formed in 1995 whose task was to assure the maintenance of the cemetery in perpetuity.
Leaders of the congregation were: J.P. Klassen, 1928-1929; A. Paetkau, 1929; John Tiessen, 1931-1934; Abram Isaak, 1934-1949; A.J. Isaak, 1949-1963; and, Abram Martens, 1963-1979.
This fonds contains the church family membership register which was started in the early 1950s and used to records, births, marriages, deaths, and termination of membership and eight photos of the interior and exterior of the church building. In 2020 Charlotte McCrae provided the archives with a spreadsheet index of the people represented in the Church register.
Index to names in register
Conference of Mennonties in Canada - General Secretary's Files - Congregations closed (Vol. 5070:13)
MHC Small Archives-Rivers Mennonite Church Reunion bulletin, 1996. (Vol.2286:18)
Deacon Abram J. Krahn (d. 2004), last secretary/treasurer passed the book on to his son John A. Krahn (d.2005), who maintained the cemetary. Elsa Krahn of Brandon delivered the register to the Heritage Centre archives in 2007. Photos were donated in 2008 by Margaret Peters, daughter of John A. Krahn.Language
Described by Alf Redekopp, 14 Nov 2007, updated by Conrad Stoesz July 2, 2008 and March 5, 2020.
None to access
Acc. No. 2007-084, 2008-051, 2020-002.
2. Rivers Mennonite Church, Rivers, Manitoba membership register. -- 1950-1984. Index created by Charlotte McCrae was added (2020-002).
Photo Collection 646 Rivers Mennonite Church photo collection
646:1 Abe and Margaret Krahn 25th Anniversary. - [ca. 1963]. - 7.5 x 9 cm [b&w].
This photo is of Abe Krahn and his wife Margaret Krahn (Margaret Tiessen) on their 25th Wedding anniversary
celebration held in the Rivers Mennonite Church, Rivers, Manitoba. They are seated on chairs in front of the pulpit
in the church. -- Note: this photo is a reproduction
646:2 Rivers Mennonite Church. - [198-?]. - 14 x 10 cm [col.]..
This photo is of the Rivers Mennonite Church on a fall morning with hoar frost on the surrounding trees and grass.
A road in is in the foreground. -- Note: this photo is a reproduction.
646:3 Rivers Mennonite Church. - [198-?]. - 14 x 10 cm [col.]..
This photo is of the exterior of the Rivers Mennonite church. Church dorrs and windows on the side can be seen.
The photo is taken in the summer. -- Note: this photo is a reproduction.
646:4 Rivers Mennonite Church. - [198-?]. - 10 x 10 [col.].
This photo is of the Rivers Mennonite Church. The front of the church with railings on the front step are shown on
a bright sunny day with a blue sky and white clouds. -- Note: this photo is a reproduction.
646:5 Interior of the Rivers Mennonite Church. - [1984?]. - 12.5 x 10 cm [col.].
This photo is of the interior of the Rivers Mennonite Church shortly before it was moved, notice the bare light bulbs.
646:6 Rivers Mennonite Church being moved. - [1984?]. - 14.5 x 10 cm [col.].
This photo is of the Rivers Mennonite Church as it is being moved to a new location. The photo is taken in the
646:7 Former location of the Rivers Mennonite Church. - [1984?]. - 13 x 10 cm [col.].
This photo is of the former location of the Rivers Mennonite Church in the Community of Rivers, Manitoba. This is
the location where the model of the church was placed.
646:8 Model of the Rivers Mennonite Church. - [1984?]. - 10 x 8 cm [col.].
This photo is of a model build and placed on the original location of the Rivers Mennonite Church.