Conference Minutes

Conference Minutes

Keeping careful minutes was a tradition that began in our church before it existed. We inherited a concern for records that would provide an accurate account of minutes from John Oberholtzer’s leadership in the church from which the Evangelical Mennonites broke away in 1859.


 The first published minutes of the Bible Fellowship Church appeared in 1896. Prior to that, the minutes were contained in ledger books as hand written notes. Most of these minutes were recorded in German. Some were published in the denominational publication, The Gospel Banner. These minutes, prior to 1896, have been translated and published in our book, Verhandlungen 1859-1895.

David E. Thomann, Royal Kramer, Willard Cassel and Diane Hertzog have provided invaluable service by preparing the manuscripts of the minutes for publication to this website. Our thanks to them for their service.


Pastors in the Mennonite Brethren In Christ / Bible Fellowship Church did not seek formal education because they believed educational institutions were corrupting to biblical faith. But they worked hard at learning and growing in their understanding of the Scriptures and pastoral practice. The Ministerial Convention drew them together that they might learn from each other. They kept minutes of what they were learning and talking about.


The forerunner of the Bible Fellowship Church was a union of conferences across America. At the General Conference, representatives of the various Annual Conferences met to transact their business. Their meetings were held three or four years apart. As always, careful records were kept.