history of the Enid Mennonite Brethren church is in fact the history of two
churches: the North Enid Mennonite Brethren Church (also known as the Enid
Country M.B. church) and the Enid City Mennonite Brethren Church. Established
in 1897, the North church was considerably older than the Enid City church,
which was only formed in 1925.
seeds of the North Enid church were planted when Mennonite settlers, many of
them from Hamilton County, Nebraska, and before that, Russia, moved to Garfield
County. The Cherokee Strip in the territory of Oklahoma had been opened for
settlement in 1893, and in late 1894, Bernhard M. Regier and his family, eager
to obtain affordable farming land, made the long trek south. They were soon
followed by the families of Heinrich Poetker, Isaak Regier, Klass Penner, Jacob
Benke, Heinrich Nickel, Absalom Marten, Gerhard Regier and Dr. Gerhard Gaede.
The need for spiritual fellowship and for training children in the faith was
immediately recognized and the new pioneers made arrangements to meet these
needs. The Mennonite Brethren Church in Enid dates its beginning from the
installation of the North church's first ordained pastor, the Rev. Peter Regier
of Henderson, Nebraska, on April 5, 1897.
Enid City church, established more than 30 years after the land run, was
planted in a town that had already been growing for a generation. Meeting first
in a mission building on East Maple, the church purchased a facility on Sixth
and East Broadway in 1926. Like the North church, the City church suffered
during the Depression of the 1930's, but was able to survive those Dust Bowl
years with the able leadership of P.C. Grunau. Pastors like Lando Hiebert, Jack
Adrian, Arno Wiebe, Clarence E. Fast, and Wesley Gunther who followed also
faithfully ministered to the congregation and helped to ensure its continuation
in later years. In 1959, members numbered just under 200.
1960, after much prayer and deliberation, the North and the City churches
agreed to merge. The first joint worship service was held in the City church on
June 5, 1960. A new building for the combined congregations was constructed at
its present site and completed a year later. It has now been a center of
worship and service activities for 50 years.
the merger, the new church, like the North and City churches before it, has
seen both years of boom and years of bust. The prosperity of the 60's gave way
to the recession of the early 70's, followed by affluent years that ended
suddenly in the 80's. Church membership has always fluctuated with swings of
the economic pendulum. This fluctuation has encouraged the church to rely
on the kind favor of God. For all the differences between life in the early
20th century and the present, reliance on divine providence has been a feature
of the Enid M.B. Church from the very start.
the Enid Mennonite Brethren Church has survived for over one hundred years must
be attributed to God alone, who raised faithful servants from the red Oklahoma
soil. The enduring legacy of our charter members is a steadfast, discerning
faith which, in an always changing, unpredictable world, knows what must be
firmly held to and what can be altered to meet new situations. They exemplified
a people dedicated to the Word of God but with an ear to the still, small voice
of the Holy Spirit. In our church can be found Christians eager to claim
Froese, Former Church Archivist