Steinbach MB Church

The Steinbach MB Church is located on the corner of 2nd and Lumber in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada. This timeline presents the history of the Steinbach Mennonite Brethren Church from 1860 to the present. Photo:

This project aims to compile available information and media on the history of the church in one place in a visual and chronological format. The content is indebted primarily to the following sources:;xNLx;["A Brief History of SMBC"](, cited inline as "ABH" and drawing from ;xNLx;Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online;xNLx;Harder, Leland. Steinbach and Its Churches. Elkhart, Ind.: Mennonite Biblical Seminary, 1970. Pp. 49–51.;xNLx;Mennonite Brethren Herald 27 May 1988: 41.;xNLx;Mennonites in Canada Collection, “70-Steinbach,” Mennonite Archives of Ontario.;xNLx;Steinbach Mennonite Brethren Church records at the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies.;xNLx;Süss, Lenora. “A Short History of the Steinbach Mennonite Brethren Church, from 1927 to March, 1985.” Unpublished typescript, 1985, 9 pp. Mennonite Historical Society of Canada coll., Mennonite Archives of Ontario.;xNLx;;xNLx;["A Short History of the Steinbach Mennonite Brethren Church: From 1927 to March, 1985" by Lenora Süss]( cited inline as "ASH" and drawing from the 1977 “Church Pictorial Directory” and “Historical Reports”;xNLx;[SMBC's Facebook Page]( cited inline simply as "Facebook".;xNLx;;xNLx;All other sources are indicated throughout.

1860-01-06 00:00:00

The Mennonite Brethren Church Founded

"The Mennonite Brethren Church had its beginning as a movement of spiritual renewal in the Molotschna Mennonite settlement in Russia on January 6, 1860. From there, it spread to other Mennonite colonies in what is today called the Ukraine." (ABH)

1922-08-01 00:00:00

Migration from Russia to Canada

"Among the Mennonites that migrated from Russia to Canada between 1922 and 1930 were many Mennonite Brethren, who either joined already established Mennonite Brethren (MB) congregations or formed new ones." (ABH)

1923-03-01 00:00:00

The Brethren Move to Steinbach

"A number of Mennonite Brethren families made Steinbach their new home, where they initially worshipped with the Brudertaler (Evangelical Mennonite Brethren) congregation." (ABH)

1927-01-03 00:00:00

Separate Fellowship

"In spite of their similarities, the MBs eventually terminated their association with the EMBs and formed their own church... Thus began the Steinbach Mennonite Brethren Church." (ABH)

1927-01-03 00:00:00

First Leadership: G. Unruh and H.K. Siemens

"On January 3, 1927, '38 brethren and seven sisters' met, electing Gerhard Unruh as their leader and H.K. Siemens as their assistant leader." (ABH) These men served without remuneration, a trend that would continue for the next forty years (ASH).

1927-02-01 00:00:00

Meetings in the Old Schoolhouse

"At first the small group met in the EMB church, but after a few months they purchased an old schoolhouse, which they remodelled." (ABH)

1927-03-01 00:00:00


"The original language for the first twenty-five years was almost exclusively German. The first membership meetings were recorded in German Gothic script" (ASH).

1927-03-01 00:00:00

Membership Growth

"Membership in the church began with sixty-five, but by the 1950’s the number had grown to almost 300. There has been a considerable turnover of members over the years. Some joined and others transferred out. In its first 50 years the church had baptised 477 persons and received 674 by transfer, making a total of 1151 additions. The total number of members [was] just below and in some years just above 300 members for three decades" (ASH).

1927-03-01 00:00:00


"The church has always sought to inspire the young people. In the early years “Jugendverein”, a monthly Sunday evening program, gave opportunity to develop talents and inspire the audience. For a number of years five churches of town even gathered for a joint program several times a year. Gradually the interest in the 'Jugendverein' waned (earlier for the joint programs) and in the late 60’s these services were discontinued" (ASH).

1927-03-01 00:00:00

Children's Ministry

"The children were always part of the Sunday morning program. At first the organization was fairly simple. There was no curriculum, and there were no lesson helps. The simple truths of the Bible were taught by means of Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments. Willing and capable brethren and sisters were found to teach these stories. The Sunday School and Young People’s were natural and challenging fields for Bible School students and graduates to practise what they had been taught" (ASH).

1931-09-01 00:00:00

Bible School Begins

It was in the renovated schoolhouse building that "the first Bible School was also organized and conducted by the M.B. Church in 1931. After a lapse of some four years, classes were begun again in 1936. In the spring of 1938 several Steinbach churches got together to organize what is today the Steinbach Bible College. In 1939 the school moved from the M.B. Church to a new building" (ASH).

1934-01-01 00:00:00

Rev. & Mrs. Abram H. Regehr

"Rev. & Mrs. Abram H. Regehr. Rev. Regehr was leader of the church from 1934-1942." (Facebook)

1934-03-01 00:00:00

Abr. A. Regehr and Peter Riesen Ordained


1935-03-01 00:00:00

Wm. Schroeder and Henry Enns Ordained


1941-03-01 00:00:00

Music Ministry and the First Piano

"The church has been noted for its music making. The first piano was purchased in 1941, and the first organ in 1956. It was felt that the quality of music was important and that the music speak to the heart. For many years during the 1950’s and 1960’s there was a junior choir as well as a senior choir. Choir singing was upgraded by song-fests directed by visiting conductors and combined church choirs sometimes with the E.M.B. church, sometimes with Niverville, Arnaud and sometimes Winnipeg choirs. A conductor who served our church faithfully for many years is Albert Loewen" (ASH).

1943-01-01 00:00:00

New Sanctuary Construction

"The present lot was purchased in 1942, but a new church could not be built because of World War II." (ASH) "In 1943, near the end of the second World War, the church began construction of a facility on the present site" (ABH). "A basement with a roof over it served as a meeting place until five years later, when the new sanctuary was completed. The project was finally completed in 1947." (ASH)

1943-03-01 00:00:00

Rev. Jacob H. Epp

"Rev. & Mrs. Jacob P. Epp. Rev. Epp led the Steinbach MB Church from 1943-1952" (Facebook).

1945-03-01 00:00:00

“Vierteljahres Versammlung”

"Before the late 1940’s there were as many as five affiliate groups meeting at Burwalde, Rosengard, Grunthal (or Barkfield), Bergthal and Halbstadt. The arrangement was that these groups of believers or daughter congregations would all meet at Steinbach with members of the mother church for what was known as “Vierteljahres Versammlung” (quarterly meetings). As transportation by car became more and more common, the members began coming to Steinbach for services" (ASH).

1945-03-01 00:00:00

"Jugendabend" (Youth Evening)

In the mid 40’s Brother J.P. Epp, the church leader, began the “Jugendabend” (Young Peoples). Formerly close to half of the group was post high-school age, including teachers, nurses and others who attended along with the senior high-school young people..." Later on the group consisted of High School students. "Some years, six (more in later years) church groups in town combined to have a United Young People’s service several times a year. This group also undertook to raise funds for the food hampers for under-privileged families. On a designated night shortly before Christmas, the young people were grouped, and each group would go to the selected homes, give them the hampers and also present the Christmas message in song and sometimes also in word and prayer. ...M.B. Conference rallies in this area of Manitoba included young people from Arnaud, Niverville and Steinbach. An annual Youth Sunday, usually an outdoor picnic type of gathering, included baseball and volleyball games and other physical activities and a devotional time. We praise God that His Spirit has been at work among the young people of our congregation" (ASH).

1946-03-01 00:00:00

Early Missionary: Margaret Willms

Margaret Willms went to India in 1946 (ASH).

1947-03-01 00:00:00

Joe Wiebe Ordained


1950-02-01 00:00:00

Transition to English

"By 1950 the Arabic script was used, and by 1960 the minutes were recorded in English. By this time the membership decided to have an English message once a month, and English hymn books were purchased for the congregation. During the 1960’s membership meetings were a mixture of English and German, but during the 1970’s the meetings were mostly in English, and in the 1980’s what was expressed in German (at membership meetings, and any other times) was carefully translated into English for those who don’t understand the German. About seven of the original members who were part of the church since 1927 have experienced the transition from German to English" (ASH).

1953-03-01 00:00:00

Rev. H.A. Regehr

"Rev. & Mrs. Henry A. Regehr. Rev. Regehr was leader of SMBC from 1953-1964" (Facebook).

1955-03-01 00:00:00

Early Missionaries: The Bill Schroeders

Mr. and Mrs. Bill Schroeder went to Paraguay in 1955.

1955-03-01 00:00:00

Missions Continues

"Miss Sally Schroeder (H.C.J.B.), in Ecuador, Miss Viola Reimer to Mexico, Calgary and Winnipeg, Miss Ruth Ewert to Kenya, J.M. Klassens to Korea, Dr. John Dicks to Vietnam, John Nikkels to Jamaica, Arthur Rempels under M.C.C. at Altona, the George Ewerts (Project Look-Up in Florida), the George Klassens to Zaire. The Joe Wiebes, the Peter Martenses and the John Nikkels were sent out under our Home Missions to points in Manitoba" (ASH).

1956-03-01 00:00:00

Sundays at Overstoneville

"In 1956–1973 the church adopted a small group of Christians at Overstoneville. On every second Sunday afternoon a male quartet, pianist and speaker conducted services in this community chapel. Members of our church who served on a regular basis for longer periods of time were Irvin Penner, Abe Penner, Jac Thiessen, Peter Enns, George Ewert, Corny Rempel, Werner Rempel, John and Esther Rempel, Henry Bergmann, Mrs. Anne Rempel, Mrs. Clara Toews, Mrs. Adeline (Redekop) Muller" (ASH).

1957-03-01 00:00:00

Sunday School Expansion

"In 1957 the building was enlarged at the front of the Second Street entrance to provide more space and Sunday School rooms as well as indoor washrooms" (ASH).

1957-03-01 00:00:00

Peter Martens Ordained


1957-03-01 00:00:00

25th Anniversary

"The 25th anniversary was celebrated in 1952. The church took time to praise God and look to Him for renewal" (ASH).

1964-03-01 00:00:00

Missionaries: George and Helen Schroeder

George and Helen Schroeder spent 30 years in Nigeria (1964-1994). The first two years were with MCC under the the "Teachers Abroad Program". For the next 28 years both of them taught at the " Ilorin Theological College", sent out by "Missionary Church". George grew up in SMBC and came back to this church when the moved to Steinbach in 2000. Helen grew up in Damascus, Ohio. Bill Schroeder, also a missionary, was his older brother. Wilhelm was his father who was a minister at SMBC for many years (Mary Loewen).

1965-03-01 00:00:00

Rev. Peter Martens

"Rev. & Mrs. Peter Martens. Served as pastor from 1965-1966" (Facebook).

1967-03-01 00:00:00

First Full-Time Pastor: Rev. John D. Reimer

"The first full-time pastor, Rev. John D. Reimer, served this church from 1967–1974" (ASH).

1967-03-01 00:00:00

AWANA Begins


1968-03-01 00:00:00

Church Council Re-organized

"The church council was re-organized in 1968. Before this date the council was made up of ordained ministers and deacons and one elected member. Now the council [had] five or six members by virtue of office and twelve members with three-year terms of office" (ASH).

1969-03-01 00:00:00

Corny Rempel Ordained


1970-03-01 00:00:00

Education Wing & Gym

"In 1970, the Education Wing was added at the back, providing two auditoriums, another entry and more Sunday School rooms. This building was the first in Steinbach to use a concrete slab ceiling construction" (ASH). A side foyer and gym were also added at this time (ABH).

1970-03-01 00:00:00

Pioneer Girls & CSB Begin

"In 1970 the Pioneer Girls and Christian Service Brigade program was adopted" (ASH).

1974-03-01 00:00:00

Choir Reunion

"In 1974 a choir reunion was organized for all who had sung under [Albert Lowen's] direction over the years. A picture of the singers at this reunion hangs in the pastor’s office" (ASH).

1975-03-01 00:00:00

Rev. Jake Falk

"In the years 1975 until his death of cancer in 1984, the Rev. Jake Falk provided pastoral leadership" (ASH).

1976-03-01 00:00:00

First Baptistry Installed

"Until 1976 baptisms were held mostly outside in a gravel pit near Kleefeld or Blumenort. A few times the E.M.B. Church was used because it has a baptistry. In 1976 the maintenance committee had a baptistry installed" (ASH).

1976-03-01 00:00:00

Radio Broadcasts

"The English Sunday morning service was broadcast on radio station C.F.A.M. in the years 1976–78" (ASH).

1977-03-01 00:00:00

Prayer Chain Organized

"A Prayer Chain was organized in 1977 to enable ladies to pray for specific needs as the requests come in" (ASH).

1977-03-01 00:00:00

50th Anniversary

"For the 50th anniversary celebration in 1977 a “Church Pictorial Directory” was collected with a brief history of the church. The “Historical Reports” presented at the 50th Anniversary celebration were compiled in 1977 with contributions by George Bergmann, the late Rev. Jake Falk, the late J. J. Peters, Albert Loewen, Rev. Corny Rempel and Rev. H. A. Regehr" (ASH).

1978-03-01 00:00:00

Purchased Adjacent Property

"In 1978 the adjacent property with Parson’s Apartments was purchased for parking and possible expansion. The property was paid for in 1983 and the block was taken down" (ASH).

1979-03-01 00:00:00

Laotian Refugees Arrive

"In 1979 our Laotian refugees family arrived. Many other Asian refugees visited our services in the ensuing years. Even though many moved, the special Sunday School class that was organized for Asian adults..." continued to have students for some years (ASH).

1979-03-01 00:00:00

MP: Jake Epp

SMBC Member Jake Epp elected Member of Parliament for the Progressive Conservatives in the Provencher riding. He was "a vocal proponent that life begins at conception" (

1980-03-01 00:00:00

Sunbeams Program Begins

"In the 1980’s Wednesday evening expanded to include a pre-school group called Sunbeams and a group for boys and girls in grades 1 and 2, and the name changed from Pioneer Girls to Pioneer Clubs" (ASH).

1981-03-01 00:00:00

Assoc. Pastor Les Riediger

"Les Riediger, our first associate pastor. Hired in 1981, he led the church for a time after Jake Falk's death" (Facebook).

1982-03-01 00:00:00

John Nikkel Ordained


1983-03-01 00:00:00

The Community Fellowship Church

"In the late 1970’s the brethren George Ewert, Jake Epp and Albert Loewen were asked to do a study on “Projections for the Eighties.” The report included program and building projections. One of the suggestions that a community fellowship church be established received temporary council approval but cool membership reaction. The church, sensing that the issue could be a divisive one, responded cautiously and slowly. Finally, several members in favour of establishing a separate congregation tried to get the church to take the initiative. The church decided not to support the idea of a separate congregation at that time. Two of the authors of the study, along with approximately two dozen members, subsequently left the congregation to start the Community Fellowship Church in 1983" (ASH).

Steinbach MB Church

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