Independent Old Order Mennonite Church
The Independent Old Order Mennonite Church (formerly known as the David Martin Mennonite Church), was established in 1917, as a division from the Old Order Mennonite Church in Ontario. At the time, Minister David Martin and his son, Deacon David W. Martin of the Peel congregation (in Peel Township) largely objected to what they considered laxity and lack of discipline among the Old Order Mennonites, and left with a group of other conservatives to form what they considered as a continuation of the true church. The name "Independent Old Order Mennonite Church" is of recent usage, but is a more modern reflection of their identity, as their Bishop David W. Martin died in 1959.
Still nicknamed "Daves", the Independent Old Order Mennonites are an interesting mix of old and new. Although their farms are quite plain, using gas powered generators instead of public hydro, their level of business activity has seen the increased usage of computerized technologies over the years. In addition, while they use horse and buggy transportation, it is not uncommon to see them talking on cell phones. They are a very private group personally and in their church life, and do not discuss religion outside of their group. Unlike other Old Order Mennonites, they utilize government programs and send their children to public schools. Smaller than their parent group, they nevertheless have expanded into other rural communites in southwestern Ontario, although the majority still live in or near the Waterloo Region.
The general history of the Independent Old Order Mennonite Church has been adequately discussed elsewhere (see the Bibliography below). In related articles, our interest is to take a detailed look at the first 40 years of their history, by making a digital record of existing unpublished church records,in celebration of their 100th anniversary in 2017.
- David Martin Mennonites: 1917-1927
- David Martin Mennonites: 1928-1937
- David Martin Mennonites: 1938-1947
- David Martin Mennonites: 1948-1957
We have listed the Independent Old Order Mennonite Church among Moderate Old Order Mennonite Groups. Certainly it may be considered that they did not start out that way. Yet, over the years their unique mix of tradition (eg. continued use of horse and buggies) and modernity (eg. use of cellphones) has come to define them.
The Ban and Shunning
That said, there are some unique practies that set them apart from other Old Order groups. Although they are of Swiss Mennonite background, their interpretation of the Dordrecht Confession of Faith (Mennonite, 1632), is quite literal in practice, especially regarding Articles 16 & 17 respecting the ban and shunning. One author has said, "Although one may not agree with (their) approach, it must be remembered that it is the David Martin interpretation of shunning which is similar to that of the Old Order Amish", in that "The Amish interpretation of the ban reflects their emphasis on the Dortrecht Confession,"
- Moderate Old Order Mennonite Groups
- Old Order Mennonite Groups in Ontario
- David B. Martin: Pioneer of Mennonite Orthodoxy
- Elam S. Martin: Father of the Orthodox Mennonite Church
Charlotte Martin: "My Relatives: Ultra Conservative Mennonites", Ontario Mennonite History, Volume XVI, Number 1, May, 1998.
Donald Martin: Old Order Mennonites of Ontario: Gelassenheit, Discipleship, Brotherhood, Pandora Press, Kitchener, Ontario, 2003.
Amos Sherk: Unpublished history of the Orthodox and David Martin Mennonites (Primary Source), no date.
Sam Steiner: A Brief History of the 'David Martin Mennonites', ontariomennonitehistory.org, Nov. 2, 2015.
- 2012 Descriptive Profile of Amish and Mennonite Communities in Perth County: Perth County, Ontario, 2012.
- Amos Sherk: Unpublished history of the Orthodox and David Martin Mennonites (Primary Source), no date, pages 1-17.
- Donald Martin: Old Order Mennonites of Ontario: Gelassenheit, Discipleship, Brotherhood, Pandora Press, Kitchener, Ontario, 2003, page 174.