About Us

BELIEFS

Our beliefs are founded in the Bible and the Anabaptist tradition (reference: Confession of Faith in the Mennonite Tradition, 1995). We have a family-centered culture with people of all ages - babies, gray-haired grandparents, and everyone in between! We strive to be a friendly and caring church and we hope that all who visit with us feel at home.

 

We have a worship service every Sunday following Sunday school for all ages beginning at 10:30 am. We also host a program every Wednesday night at 6pm, Wednesday At The Grove.

OUR HISTORY

In June 2005, Cedar Grove celebrated its one hundredth anniversary, marking a century of God’s enduring faithfulness. Our primary desire is to honor the Lord Jesus Christ by growing in His likeness and by sharing His gospel with the world around us through tangible and relevant ways. 

Cedar Grove began from a mission-minded spirit among persons in Washington County who had conducted Sunday school at Shanks schoolhouse in Milnor, PA. Traveling preachers spoke on Sunday evenings in the schoolhouse, sparking a level of evangelistic energy that reached out to persons living in the area. In 1904, John H. Grove gave the original land for a new meetinghouse for the Cedar Grove Mennonite Church, named for the grove of cedar trees next to the building site. On August 13, 1905, fifty charter members established the new congregation at Cedar Grove. In the fall of 1905, revival meetings were held for the first time, marking the evangelical spirit of the congregation. Renewal meetings, as they are now called, have been an integral part of church life at Cedar Grove ever since the beginning, featuring pastors and itinerant preachers from many places over the years.

In 1917, John F. Grove was the first ordained minister to serve exclusively at Cedar Grove. He was involved in local Sunday school meetings from the beginning, and was among the aggressive new generation of leaders in the conference. Serving within the context of a traditional/conservative model for the church, men of like mind with John F. Grove and the “aggressives” of the conference soon experienced some tensions between themselves and the “traditionalists.” “According to Grove, the root problem was that Cedar Grove was evangelistic, whereas the other congregations in Washington County were not. By this, he meant that he and his members wanted to pursue an active program of evangelism, by way of Sunday school work, revivals, and other forms of outreach. He saw the leadership and many of the members in the rest of the district as opposed to such measures.” Besides Grove’s marked difference in ministry style, there were also theological differences. “Grove emphasized salvation by faith alone, whereas many of the other leaders tied salvation to obedience as fleshed out in the rules of the church. Grove talked about saving souls, the others about joining the church.” Under Grove’s leadership, Cedar Grove continued to represent ministry goals, methods, and patterns that were difficult for the Washington-Franklin Conference leaders to accept, resulting in several years of strained relationships within the conference.

In 1929, fire destroyed the meetinghouse, which was rebuilt by the end of the year, and the Cedar Grove congregation continued its emphasis on local missions. In 1937, Cedar Grove became involved with the Hagerstown mission, which was evidence of its continuing desire to be active in local outreach and evangelism. Cedar Grove was willing to experiment with new forms of evangelism, including an eight-man singing group that broadcasted over WJEJ radio in Hagerstown . In 1948, Cedar Grove began holding services at Black Oak, with John Grove and Abram Baer alternating weeks in the pulpit. In 1949, Cedar Grove began another mission work near Black Oak, which later was known as Bethel. 

In 1940, Glen Diller was ordained to ministry at Cedar Grove, serving just over two years before departing for membership in the Brethren in Christ Church . In November 1942, Abram Baer was ordained at Cedar Grove,  ministering alongside of John F. Grove during the years of transition in the congregation’s conference affiliation. In May 1950, Cedar Grove was formally accepted into fellowship in the Ohio and Eastern Conference, under the oversight of Bishop Otis N. Johns. Baer resigned in 1956. In 1957, O.N. Johns ordained Nelson L. Martin as an assistant to John F. Grove, who retired in 1960 at the age of seventy. Martin then “became the first salaried minister in a Mennonite congregation in the Cumberland Valley." Martin was considered a progressive leader who supported the congregation’s mission as “a ministry for all people who accept Christ as Savior and Lord and to faithfully serve Jesus Christ until He returns for His church.”

In 1978, the Ohio and Eastern Conference formed the Atlantic Coast Conference of the Mennonite Church out of a concern for better geographic affiliation among congregations; Cedar Grove became a charter member of the new conference. Nelson Martin continued serving as pastor until retiring in 1993. In 1994, Rob Cahill became the new pastor, serving until 2001. Shortly thereafter, Clarence Strite was asked to assume the role of interim pastor at Cedar Grove, while a search was undertaken for another pastor. Clarence served for three years, providing leadership with the Board of Elders until 2004, when Stephen Fretz was called to assume the duties as pastor. Stephen Fretz continued as minister until 2011 when he took another pastorate. The Board of Elders, as well as several visiting pastors, had taken the role of pastoring until Wesley Boyer was called as intentional interim pastor from 2012 to 2014. At that time  Dennis Stutzman was called to serve; he was pastor until December 2019. A new chapter was started in the life of our church with the appointment of Randolph Smith in January 2020.

The meetinghouse served the needs of the growing congregation until 1953, when it was enlarged and renovated. In 1972, an addition was built which housed the new sanctuary, nursery area, rest rooms, and Sunday school rooms in the basement. Adjoining parcels of ground were acquired by the congregation over the years, which enlarged the original cemetery and provided room for future facility expansion.

Over the years, Cedar Grove has remained committed to Jesus’ teachings regarding peace and non-resistance, while some of the other “traditional” elements of church discipline and lifestyle have slowly changed. Persons from Cedar Grove served in Civilian Public Service during WW II and in 1-W service and Voluntary Service in the Korean and Viet Nam wars, choosing these alternate forms of service to active duty in the military. Beyond this, persons from Cedar Grove have actively participated in the broader mission of the Mennonite Church through Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service, and Youth Evangelism Service.

While many things have changed over the years since Cedar Grove Mennonite Church began, its passion for evangelism, outreach, service, and discipleship has not.

Cedar Grove Pastors:
A. Dorsey Martin 1911-1913
Conference Supplied 1913-1917
John F. Grove 1917-1962
Glenn F. Diller 1940-1942
Abram M. Baer 1942-1956
Nelson L. Martin 1957-1993
Marlin Lehman – interim 1993-1994
Rob Cahill 1994-2001
Clarence Strite – interim 2001-2004
Steve Fretz 2004-2011
Wesley Boyer-interim 2012-2014
Dennis Stutzman 2014-2019

Randolph E. Smith 2020-present

OUR
VISION

To be a community of Faith:

Centered in Christ;

Committed to Discipleship;

Serving our World

OUR
MISSION

To go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us. 

OUR
COMMUNITY

We as a church family are very involved in service to those locally in need as well as to those around the world. Come be part of all the various activities to serve others.

MENNONITES

Mennonites are a branch of the Christian church, with roots in the radical wing of the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Part of the group known as Anabaptists (because they rebaptized adult believers), the Mennonites took their name from Menno Simons, a Dutch priest who converted to the Anabaptist faith and helped lead it to prominence in Holland by the mid-16th century. Modern day Mennonites number almost 1 million worldwide, with churches in North and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Mennonites are known for their emphasis on issues such as peace, justice, simplicity, community, service, and mutual aid.

 

In keeping with their spiritual roots, Mennonites still believe in the close textual readings of the Scriptures and a personal spiritual responsibility as the basis of their faith. Radical from the beginning, but later considered conservative in many of their beliefs, Mennonites have come to represent a spectrum of backgrounds and beliefs. Pacifism is one of the cornerstones of the Mennonite faith, prompting many young Mennonites to elect service to the church rather than military service. The Mennonite church emphasizes service to others as an important way of expressing one’s faith. A disproportionately large number of Mennonites spend part of their lives working as missionaries or volunteers helping those in need, nationally or internationally, through agencies such as Mennonite Mission Network or Mennonite Central Committee.

The first Mennonites came mainly from Swiss and German roots, with many of the important martyrs of the early church coming from the area around Zurich. To escape persecution, many Mennonites fled western Europe for the more accommodating religious climate of the Americas or Russia, giving these two groups distinctly different cultural heritages. When the Russian Mennonites were eventually forced out of Russia in the last half of the 19th Century and the early 20th Century, many migrated to the western states and provinces, where today there is a large Mennonite population. Many people in the older generation of this group continue to speak a low German dialect called “Plautdietsch” and eat traditional foods. Swiss German Mennonites migrated to North America in the 18th and 19th centuries, settling first in Pennsylvania, then eventually across the Midwestern states. They too brought with them their own traditions, including hearty foods and the German language. Today large Mennonite populations can be found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Kansas, although Mennonites live in all parts of the United States and the world.

The Amish, who separated from the Mennonites in the late 1600′s, are widely known for their plain dress and rejection of modern technology and conveniences. Unlike the Mennonites, they form an exclusive and tight-knit community, with the church dictating much of what may or may not be done: for example, each local church district would dictate rules regarding the use of telephones, if indeed they are permitted at all. While certain conservative branches of the Mennonite church still dress simply and require women to wear head coverings, Mennonites generally are not culturally separatist, choosing to embrace the larger communities outside of their church rather than forming a separate community around the church. Where the Amish believe in keeping themselves spiritually focused by limiting their interaction with modern society, Mennonites believe in practicing Jesus’ teaching of service to others in a broader context.