We are pleased to present our full set of minutes from our origins until today. It will be helpful to remind our readers that we had several organizational changes since our founding. Our minutes below are grouped into these four eras:
- Evangelical Mennonite Society – we organized a Gemeinschaft (society) of Mennonite Revivalist preachers in 1859. Before they were a distinct group, they were revivalists among the Oberholtzer Mennonites who were introducing prayer meetings to their traditional Mennonite churches. The Mennonite High Council first questioned but accepted these prayer meetings. Later, the Council decided to bar the meetings as church activities. We have minutes from all these groups.
- Evangelical United Mennonites – we then merged with the like-minded United Mennonites to form the Evangelical United Mennonites in 1879. Revivalist activity continued as our preachers and laymen worked to enliven the faith of the traditionalist Mennonites and general public around them. Minutes for the EUM conferences are posted below.
- Mennonite Brethren in Christ – we then merged again between us (the Evangelical United Mennonites) and the Brethren in Christ to form the Mennonite Brethren in Christ in 1883. During this era, we (the Pennsylvania Conference of the MBC) met annually at various Eastern PA churches; as well we met with the other State Conferences once every four years for the General Conference of the MBC. Minutes of these annual and general conferences are listed below.
- Bible Fellowship Church – the independently-mindedness of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the MBC occasionally became evident over our time together. By the close of World War II, we were theologically and pragmatically drifting from General Conference. The Eastern Conference became independent from General Conference in 1952. Our name changed from MBC to Bible Fellowship Church in 1959, but all minutes from 1952 and after are in the BFC grouping.
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.
Evangelical Mennonite Society
Evangelical United Mennonites (Pennsylvania Annual Conference)
Mennonite Brethren in Christ (Pennsylvania Annual Conference)
Bible Fellowship Church
MINISTERIAL CONVENTION MINUTES
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.
GENERAL CONFERENCE MINUTES
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.