Erisman Mennonite Church

History of the Mennonite Church and Erisman Mennonite Church Heritage

In 1525, Swiss brethren at Zurich, Switzerland, organized a Church which afterwards bore the name “Mennonite”, after a Catholic priest named Menno Simons.

The first Mennonite to come to America was Jan Lensen, and 12 other German families who were Quaker weavers from Krefeld, arriving in October 1683. They laid out the village of Germantown, north of Philadelphia.

Following Jan Lensen's arrival in 1683, at least 20 other Mennonite families settled in Germantown. They were from northern Germany and the Netherlands. In 1698 they chose papermaker William Rittenhouse as their first minister.

In 1798, Erisman Mennonite Church was the third meetinghouse in the area that would become Erisman-Landisville Bishop District.

On October 18, 1799, Abraham Erisman sold one acre of land to the trustees of the Mennonite Society and the meetinghouse thereon.

Then in 1891, the stones of this building were used to for the foundation of a new and larger brick meetinghouse.

Sunday School was organized at Erisman in 1908, but was discontinued during the winter months until 1929.

In 1933, Elam and Elizabeth Stauffer from Erisman’s congregation went to the mysterious land of Africa to open the first foreign mission for Eastern Mennonite Board. The Sewing Circle made dresses for Elizabeth and helped get supplies together for the couple. As the women worked, they all had an unspoken question, ‘Would they ever see the Stauffer’s again’?

The Erisman meetinghouse was remodeled in 1957, and the interior was refurbished in 1984.