Hawkesville closes with gratitude

May 9, 2024 | News | Volume 28 Number 8
Barb Draper |
Kathy Bauman and Lynne Martin serve cream buns at Hawkesville Mennonite Church. Photo by Barb Draper.

A year ago, Hawkesville Mennonite Church made the difficult decision to close as a congregation as of June 2024. Their numbers had dwindled and there were no children.


Facing the future with courage, the congregation decided to express gratitude for 74 years of ministry and disperse.


Hawkesville is a village near Waterloo, Ontario and there are alternate Mennonite churches nearby. The charter members of 1950 who moved into a former Presbyterian church were from the St. Jacobs and Elmira Mennonite congregations.


On May 5, 2024, the congregation invited past members and friends to join them in a time of celebration to recognize and give thanks for the many years of Hawkesville Mennonite Church. The church was full once again as people shared memories of days gone by.


Sunday school classes were mentioned a few times as a safe place to discuss and struggle together with issues of faith. Sharing time was specifically remembered as a time of community building. There was great affirmation of how warm and gracious the congregation has been, especially to its young people.


Laverne Martin, who led the Bible quiz teams for 30 years, remembered those times with fondness. “I learned as much as they did,” he said, about the teams of teenagers who studied specific books of the Bible and competed with teams from other churches. During those 30 years, the Hawkesville team did well, winning the competition many times.


The congregation also had a history of serving others. As well as highlighting the many volunteer service workers of the past, Ray and Kathy Bauman listed the refugee families supported by the congregation. Since 2020, sewists at Hawkesville made 1,450 pillows for the cardiac unit of a local hospital. The church is known for quilt-making and blanket-making. Over the years, one older lady from the congregation made 1,000 comforters for Mennonite Central Committee.


For many years Hawkesville Mennonite Church has made and sold cream buns at the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale. To acknowledge this tradition, cream buns were provided for everyone after the service.


Although there were undertones of great sadness, the theme of the worship time was gratitude. Julene Fast expressed great thankfulness that David T. Martin agreed to come as an interim pastor in 2022 to help the congregation as it decided its future. Everyone who spoke expressed great appreciation for the past but also a sense that God would continue to lead. The congregation will hold a final service in June 2024.

Kathy Bauman and Lynne Martin serve cream buns at Hawkesville Mennonite Church. Photo by Barb Draper.

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