The congregation of the Church of God in Christ was organized in March of 1882. Two American evangelists, John Holdeman and Markus Seiler, were invited by the Aeltester Toews to conduct meetings in the Mennonite villages in 1881. The meetings were conducted in homes. Rev. John T. Enns, a Rosenort Kleine Gemeinde minister, was one of the first to be rebaptized and the first to be elected a minister in Morris.
Other pioneers who joined this Gemeinde were Abram B. Klassen (ordained to ministry in 1884), Deacon Jacob P. Enns (brother to Rev. Enns), brothers Jacob T. and Abram T. Friesen , Jacob W. Toews, and Cornelius E. Eidse. Many young people joined the new church. Following the baptismal services in 1882, the membership numbered 41.
"It occurred in many situations that the children tore themselves from their parents and went over to the other Gemeinde, while the parents continued where they were, This also occurred in our family for we separated ourselves from our parents on both sides who remained in the Kleine Gemeinde. In the beginning the relationship between the relatives was thereby broken but with the passing of time the party spirit calmed itself. Eventually the old relationships returned to normal and remained so to the present day." Abram Klassen writings
According to the writings of Minister Abram Klassen a second election took place in 1884, "...Then Johan Holdeman and Peter Toews together with other brothers and sisters came to Morris to the ministerial election to which I went with trembling heart for I had a feeling that the vote would now fall on me. The vote was very much divided and five persons were elected of whom I had the most votes. Then followed David Hiebert, Jakob Enns, and Cornelius Eidse.
Johan Holdeman was shocked that so many had been elected. He did state though that there was a need everywhere for capable young men who would spread the gospel. But among us we were still too young and inexperienced to understand the language of the Spirit. We then proceeded to the casting of lots in accordance with Acts 1:26. The result was that the lot fell on Cor. Eidse, Jakob Enns, David Hiebert and myself. At first this put us in a dilemma with respect to our holding elections. but it was allowed to stand. The results thereof became apparent in the future notwithstanding that our Gemeinde was only small and only consisted of some 30 to 40 members. Shortly thereafter brother Enns resigned from his position as he was convinced he could not serve as minister. He was released from his ministerial office and appointed as a deacon...Cor. Eidse didn't seem to come unto stream with his gifts and the Gemeinde did not want to extend recognition to him...After a number of years David Hiebert moved to Nebraska...This left Johan Enns and myself alone in the service which we provided there (Rosenort) for 19 years. Because members of the Gemeinde moved away and a number of families moved to the new settlement in North Dakota the membership remained stable in spite of increases."
Heinrich P. and Marie Enns (2)
Jacob P. and Katarina Enns (2)
Johann T. and Maria Enns (2)
Cornelius E. Eidse (3)
Jacob T. and Elisabeth Friesen (schoolteacher(2)
Frank and Anna Froese (3)
Sarah Harms (1)
David K. and Margaretha Hiebert (2)
Mrs. Peter Hiebert nee Anna Goossen(1)
Peter Isaac (2)
Johann H. and Maria Klassen (3)
Peter B. (D.?) Loewen (1)
David F. and Anganetha Thiessen (4)
Jacob W. and Katherine Toews (5)
Corn Warkentin (2)
Gerhard Goossen Sr. was ordained in 1906 to replace Abram B. Klassen who had moved away. After several families relocated, the membership dropped as low as 23.
In 1914, many of the Rosenort members organized the first Rosenort Public School with English being the primary language. Peter T. Kroeker was hired as the first teacher. At this time many of the Kleine Gemeinde formed a Private German School in Rosenort while Rosenhoff continued to have a joint public school.
In 1916 Minister Hiram Mininger came and 19 souls joined the Gemeinde. In 1919 the first worship building was built on a plot of land acquired from Deacon Jacob Enns. Until this time the church body had met alternately in the Rosenort public - Rosenhoff private schools.
In 1924 the ministry was bolstered with the addition of Gerhard F. Goossen and John D. Penner to the ministry.
In 1931 Ed D. Penner was ordained as a deacon. In approximately 1936, a revival was experienced by the church and 36 souls were added to the church membership. John P. Isaac was ordained as a deacon to replace Jacob Enns who had passed away. The following year John P. Isaac and Walter Goossen were set apart to the ministry. Henry Goossen was chosen to serve as deacon at the same time.
In 1940 weekly Bible study meetings were organized. By 1949 the congregation had grown significantly in number, and a new church was built on the same site which is still in use at this time. In 1954 two deacons were elected, George L. Penner and Ben P. Goossen.
In the spring of 1962 , Minister Walter Goossen and Deacon George l. Penner moved to Grandview Manitoba, starting a new congregation there. A year later Alva Froese was ordained as a minister. In 1968 his family moved to Roblin, Manitoba.
In 1976 the membership decided to withdraw their children from the Public Education system and began a school in the former Greenbank School.
The church has been involved in two Manitoba church plants in Gretna (New Bergthal) and Neepawa. A congregation has also begun in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. A fourth church meets in Lowe Farm, with several families from the Rosenort congregation.
The Church of God in Christ offers Sunday School and Christian Endeavour ( the last Sunday evening of every month). Every fall the church has revival meetings. Their youth are active in the community serving Thanksgiving meals to seniors, carolling at Christmas and various other outreaches. The church owns and operates a private K-9 school. Several members own a printing press which publishes Church of God faith material and literature for their private schools. Many church members are involved with the volunteer fire department. They own numerous family businesses and farms. The Church members do not collect interest on their assets but have their own insurance company. They conscientiously avoid the influence of television and radio. They have a strong missions program in other countries. The ministerial is still unpaid but is reimbursed for travelling expenses.
more to follow...
John T. Enns 1882
Gerhard Goossen 1906
Gerhard F. Goossen 1924
John D. Penner 1924
John P. Isaac 1943
Walter Goossen 1943
Alva Froese 1963
Jake E. Bartel 1964
Elmer Penner 1968
Ed. D. Penner 1931
John P. Isaac 1942
Henry Goossen 1943
George L. Penner 1954
Ben P. Goossen 1954
Earvey Friesen 1969
For more information regarding the theology or beliefs of the Holdeman people see link below: