A History of Arthur Mennonite Church 

Editor’s Note: The following information was gleaned from “Arthur Mennonite Church: An Historical Profile 1940-1990” which was written and compiled by Orva Helmuth. For a more detailed history, please refer to that book which is located in the book rack in the church foyer.

First meeting place on Elm St 1936

The first services which lead to what is now the Arthur Mennonite Church, were held in the Oba Bontrager home, at what is now 419 N. Elm St. in the north-west part of Arthur. That service was on a Sunday afternoon in Oct. of l936. Brother J.A. Heiser and Brother Harold Zehr conducted the services. Services were held in the Bontrager home every two weeks until the spring of l938, when the services were moved to the Union Prairie Church located 3 miles south and 1/4 mile west of Arthur, where the Trinity Christian Fellowship now meets. We were able to use this building rent free, as long as we kept it clean and in good repair. After moving to Union Prairie, services were held every Sunday.

The Henry J. King family moved to Arthur in October of l938. Brother King became pastor of the group of 30 believers, who considered themselves Anabaptists and Mennonites.

Meeting place on Progress Street 1939
In October of l939, the former Pentecostal Church building, at the comer of E. Progress and S. Poplar Street was purchased. The Pentecostal group had disbanded and they offered our church the building and lot, if AMC would pay off the mortgage.


In the regular meeting of the Illinois Mennonite Conference in 1940, the group at Arthur was granted the privilege of organizing as a congregation. Up to this time, the group of believers at Arthur were considered members of The East Bend Mennonite Church at Fisher, IL. On September 15, 1940, the members at Arthur organized as a congregation in the Illinois Mennonite Conference. Of the 57 charter members on Sept. 15,1940, there were 13 married couples and 31 single young men and women.


Basement Construction 1948
The first relief canning was done on November 1, 1945 when beef was bought by the church and canned for overseas relief needs and given to the Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, Pennsylvania.


In January 20, 1946, 25 people were received into the fellowship of the church, 11 by transfer of membership and 14 others by baptism. This was the largest group received at one time in the history of the church.
On August 1, 1948 ground was broken for the new church building located at 710 E. Park St. in Arthur. On August 12 about 50 men and boys came to cement the basement forms. The job was completed shortly after dinner. Everyone had a job to do and all worked willfully to get the task completed.
Church Building 1948 Park Street
Shortly after October 1 almost all the outside work was completed. Work on the inside went on all winter long. During rainy weather and after cold weather set in when farmers could not work outside, they came to the church to help work. Some days there were only a few and some times there would be a dozen or more working at once. In this way the labor cost was very low. 
In the history of the Arthur congregation 1949 was a great year. After working all winter on the new building, it was completed and on April 16 the benches and furniture were moved from the old building to the new. The first services were held in the new building on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1949. The newly constructed church was dedicated on May 1, 1949. The old church house was sold and remodeled to house the Schrock Cabinet Shop.


Sanctuary 1948
In August 1950 the Illinois Mennonite Conference was to be held at Arthur Mennonite. On the 14th the church grounds became a beehive of activity as tents went up and last minute work was completed for the opening of the conference the next morning.
From August 24 to September 24 in 1952 the churches of Arthur worked together in union gospel tent meetings in the community park just south of the Arthur High School. Brother Howard Hammer was the evangelist for these meetings.


In 1954 a house was built on the east side of the church property for Brother Theodore Wentland. Volunteer help did most of the work and it was completed around September 1. Brother Wentland and his family moved to Arthur on September 7, 1954.


In 1957 Orva Helmuth was appointed to a five-year term as church historian and it was requested that he write a history of the Arthur Mennonite Church and have it completed by the fall of 1958.
Addition Construction 1974 (2)
On January 12, 1958 there was a special dedication and consecration service at which time 12 babies were dedicated to the Lord. In February of that same year the Torchbearer’s Club was formed. This group was for boys, ages 10 through 14 and met the last Friday evening of each month.


On October 1959 there was a day of apple butter cooking at the Roman D. Miller home for the Maple Lawn Home in Eureka.


In 1960 the church bought the Wentland property for a parsonage. Much remodeling was done to the house.
In February 1961 the Arthur Mennonite Church helped with the relief sale at Congerville, IL taking a pickup truck load of things to the sale. This was the second year that Arthur helped with the sale in Congerville. On February 17, 1962 the first Arthur area Inter-Mennonite Relief Sale was held at the Arthur Sale barn.
The first telephone at the church was installed in 1962.
Current Fellowship Hall
In September 1965 there was a 25th Anniversary and Homecoming of the charter membership of the church, which included a special service for Henry and Anna King.
In 1973 members of Arthur Mennonite started having worship services at the Arthur Home.

On September 9, 1973 there was a ground breaking service for a new education wing and fellowship hall. This addition was completed in the spring of 1974. Although many additions and updates have been done since this time the church building remains today at 710 E. Park St. in Arthur.

The Lord has truly been at work in the Arthur Mennonite Church throughout its history. Many persons have committed their lives to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Many have gone out to other places to serve the Lord, and many have faithfully continued to serve Him here through the years. God continues to be at work among us, renewing us by His Spirit, and bringing us into a closer relationship with Him and with each other. Our prayer is that this work will continue and increase in the local community and world as the future unfolds, for the glory of God and the praise of Jesus our Lord.

You are always welcome at Arthur Mennonite Church! To God be the Glory!