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  THE beginnings of the First Mennonite Church of Wadsworth go back to the summer of 1851 when three families arrived from Pennsylvania. These families settled in the Holmes valley, named for the first white inhabitant of the region, John Holmes, who settled beside the little stream that still bears his name.
  BY 1851, Wadsworth Center, as it was called, was 37 years old and still a pioneer farming community, numbering about a thousand inhabitants. There were three other churches - Methodist, Congregational, and Church of Christ. The newly formed Mennonite group was set apart from other Mennonite churches in Medina County due to some controversy on doctrine and practices (details are beyond the scope of this summary).
 
  First services were held in people's homes and in the schoolhouse, which stood at the intersections of routes 57 and 224. The first church was built on Diagonal road, near the present hospital, in 1853. In 1854 the Sunday school was organized, the oldest Mennonite Sunday School in Ohio. The pastor, Ephraim Hunsberger, was a central figure in the movement to bring together the churches of Ohio and Canada, and later to organize a new Mennonite Conference, which sought to unite as many churches as would join. Rev. Hunsberger ultimately was one of those responsible for the new General Conference of Mennonites of North America, which was launched in Wadsworth in 1861. He also can be credited with bringing the first Mennonite College in America to Wadsworth.
For more detailed information about the history of First Mennonite and the first church building, click on the picture  above.
 
 
  The college, built in 1864, on the site of the present Isham School, was a three - story brick structure.  However, due to economic hard times and various causes, the college was closed in the 1870's, with only the name College Street remaining.
 
  Church membership dwindled for a time, but in 1893, a new young pastor,N. C. Hirschy, revitalized it. The church moved to a new building on College Street, the former Congregational church, then vacant. This beautiful Greek Revival structure, on the National Register of Historic Buildings, is now occupied by the Episcopal congregation.  In 1960, First Mennonite moved to its' present location on Trease Rd, gaining a much larger sanctuary and greatly expanded Sunday School space. The present church is itself a fine example of mid 20th century architecture, with clean lines and uncluttered surfaces of bare wood and warm brick.
 
  According to the 2005 Yearbook, the present membership is 109. The church carries out a ministry to its members and to the community. We sponsor the Trease Road Child Care Center (TRCCC), using the Sunday School Rooms. We administer The MENWA apartments, a 70 unit non-profit senior citizen apartment house for middle to low income tenants, chartered by the State of Ohio and supported by the Federal Agency for Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  There are sections concerning these two projects elsewhere on this website.
 
  For the early history of the First Mennonite Church in Wadsworth, we are greatly indebted to the booklet "The First Hundred Years", published in 1952, and to the church archives.  We are going forward into the new century, celebrating our 150th anniversary in 2002, with hope and faith, led by the Spirit. As the scripture verse on the cover of the booklet puts it, "Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward"