The Ottawa Mennonite Church

May 11th, 2018 | By | Category: Featured, This Is Your Church

The Ottawa Mennonite Church (OMC) is a congregation of approximately 270 members. It began in 1959, when a number of Mennonite professionals, who had moved to the nation’s capital for work, began meeting together for worship in homes and schools. In the fall of 1960, the group purchased land on Kilborn Avenue, on the outskirts of the city, and five years later built a small church. The building has been expanded twice since then.

OMC is one of 225 Mennonite congregations across the country that make up the Mennonite Church Canada with roughly 31,000 members. Mennonites originated during the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth century Switzerland and Holland, and take their name from Menno Simons, a Dutch priest who was one of the early leaders of the movement. Because they were Anabaptists (practicing adult baptism of believers rather than infant baptism) and refused to participate in war, they were persecuted in Western Europe.

Dutch Mennonites migrated first to Prussia (now Poland) and then to Ukraine, seeking religious freedom. Some Swiss Mennonites went to Pennsylvania. Later migrations went to Kansas, Manitoba, Ontario, South America and Mexico. There are numerous sub-groups of Mennonites, including the Old Order (“horse and buggy”) Mennonites familiar to tourists in southwestern Ontario, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Today, because of missionary efforts, there are many more Mennonites in Africa and Asia than in North America and Europe.

Mennonites have traditionally been active in relief work through the Mennonite Central Committee and the Mennonite Disaster Service. Volunteers go not only to developing countries, but also to areas in North America to help rebuild homes destroyed by floods or other natural disasters.

OMC, like many other congregations, supports artisans in developing countries through the Ten Thousand Villages retail stores. We also hold Ten Thousand Villages Festival craft sales at our church every weekend in November.

Through our Refugee Assistance Program, we sponsor refugee families and provide affordable housing for them. Volunteers from several other churches in the Alta Vista area help out at our Villages Festival sales and in our refugee work.

Our pastors are Lead Minister Anthony Siegrist and Youth and Young Adult Minister Carrie Lehn. Anthony began serving our congregation in 2015. He holds advanced degrees from Wycliffe College, University of Toronto and Eastern Mennonite University. Carrie graduated from Canadian Mennonite University with a degree in theology. Before taking her current position at OMC, she worked with at-risk youth in Winnipeg.

Those who gather to worship at OMC on any given Sunday include people from across Canada and the world, many of whom grew up in other Christian traditions. In 2017, the congregation approved a resolution stating that we believe that every human being is created and gifted by God. We affirm LGBTQ+ persons in church membership, baptism, marriage, congregational leadership and pastoral ministry. We seek to love all as Christ first loved us. Our doors are open to everyone who wishes to participate in our worship services.

For more information visit the website at ottawamennonitechurch.org

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