On May 18, 1919 a small group of people met in the old Surrey School near Surrey, Indiana for the first worship service of the Mennonites in Jasper and Newton County in Indiana. Brother J. K. Bixler from the Mennonite Mission Board officiated at this service and received eight people into membership. Although there were other Mennonite churches further away, they wanted to stay in the area, closer to their Amish relatives.
In addition to the Surrey School, the congregation used other temporary sites for their meetings such as Burr Oak School, Moffit School, a vacant house, or private homes. When necessary they brought their own lanterns and folding chairs to the service.
In 1925, the Mennonites decided to build a meetinghouse of their own. James Lane donated ½ acre of land so the Mennonites could build a church. The group bought the vacant Burr Oak schoolhouse across the road from this ½ acre. They tore the school down and used the lumber to build a church 24’ wide X 38’ long.
Simon Yoder recommended that the church be named the same as the Burr Oak schoolhouse they had dismantled to have lumber to build the church. That was how they became known as the Burr Oak Mennonite Church. The church was completed in September 1925. On October 4, 1925 they had a dedication service for the new building. In that same service Floyd W. Weaver was ordained as the first pastor of Burr Oak Mennonite Church. Since that time the congregation built on three more additions.
A dream, a desire to worship with other like-minded, Anabaptist believers, a willingness to adapt to change, a generous donation of a neighbor, and countless volunteer hours brought Burr Oak Mennonite Church to where it is today. It is situated in rural northwest Indiana, surrounded by summer cornfields but clearly visible from I-65. Burr Oak is connected to its roots but we are still adapting to change as we embrace new ways of transporting the message of God’s love.