By Jackie Nelson
Whitestone Mennonite Church, one of the most histories churches in Hesston, is celebrating its 50th anniversary as Whitestone Mennonite Church at the Hesston sanctuary.
Founded in 1885 by early Mennonite settlers, the Pennsylvania Mennonite Church met for the first time in their own sanctuary in January of 1887 in Zimmerdale.
After nearly a century meeting at a church without running water or adequate room for a growing congregation, church elders met to discuss building a new church within the city of Hesston – a rapidly growing community where many congregants called home.
Rev. Donald King spurred the congregation forward to relocate their church to continue growing.
In an interview published Dec. 31, 1964 in the Mennonite Weekly Review, King said, “There is a real future for a growing church here and a real need for its ministry. The rural nature of the church had kept it from growing the past 40 years.”
While the motivation for moving to Hesston from the country was growth, the congregation faced challenges and several families abandon the church.
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