History of North Main Street Mennonite Church
The first Mennonite families began to settle in the Locke and Union Townships of Elkhart County around 1858-63. Culp schoolhouse, 1 ½ miles northeast of Nappanee, was the first meeting place for worship, since other churches were a distance away. Services were held every four weeks by ministers who came in from the Holdeman and Yellow Creek districts.
Families who helped pioneer the beginning of the Nappanee congregation were Henry Culp Sr., Elias Rupert, Christian Housour, Justus Walter, Daniel Metzler and David Burkholder.
In 1867, a small schoolhouse was built on North Main Street in Nappanee and services were moved from the Culp School to the new school. In 1878, a larger school was built in Nappanee and the original founders purchased the old frame schoolhouse and lot, remodeling it and putting in new seats.
Up to this time, most of the preaching was done in German. Around 1878-79, Sunday school was started. Then on May 15, 1880, David Burkholder was ordained and the North Main congregation was formally organized. Soon after that, services were held every two weeks.
By 1893 the congregation outgrew the original schoolhouse that had been purchased. Therefore, a new brick house was built on the present location. During this era, Sunday morning worship services convened weekly.
Sometime during 1906-08, evangelistic meetings were held and Young Peoples Meetings were started. The congregation grew and the building was enlarged in 1912. In 1921 a balcony was added. Since that time, there have been a number of additions and remodeling projects, making it the facility we now worship in.
During our history we have established several new congregations, and have sent out twelve pastors who have served in other Mennonite congregations. There were four more persons who pastored in non-Mennonite churches. Eleven pastors have served at North Main since its beginning. Ruben Chupp has been pastor at North Main since September 2000. In 2003, Ruben was joined in ministry by Derrick Ramer, who assumed the youth pastor position. Lisa Showalter accepted the assignment of Minister of Worship and Music in 2005, beginning January 2006.
Many people have helped to shape and mold this congregation. It is with a deep sense of gratitude to God – for God’s faithfulness to the North Main congregation – that we celebrate our church history in the Nappanee community.
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid,
which is Jesus Christ.” – I Corinthians 3:11