In 1834, three groups of Amish Mennonites of German and Swiss origin made their way through the wet and mosquito-ridden Black Swamp of NW Ohio in order to find a new home. They originally settled north of what is now Archbold and Pettisville, helping each other to clear the land, drain the swamp, build homes, and plant crops. They also soon started worshipping together in their homes.
Meeting in homes was the regular practice until 1869 when one acre of land was purchased for $100. The land purchased was the sight on which the current building stands (21703 State Route 2). A small meeting house was built and services began to be held there.
By the early 1900’s, membership had grown so much that the church was often overcrowded and uncomfortable. As a result, a decision was reached to build two more meeting houses, one to the east and one to the west. The church to the west eventually became Lockport Mennonite Church and the one to the east West Clinton Mennonite Church. For many years, however, though there were three meeting sites, there was still one church. Not until 1944 did these congregations recognize independent status.
Even though two new buildings had been constructed in the early 1900’s, the “central” congregation kept growing and in 1936 the current facility was constructed and the older, smaller one demolished.
Under faithful leadership, the Central congregation flourished for many years - planting churches, raising up pastors and missionaries, supporting foreign and domestic missions, and encouraging her members to greater faithfulness.
The end of the 1980’s saw a ten or so year period of turmoil as the congregation worked at redefining who it was in a vastly changed world. The turmoil was painful: four pastors came and went, and Central’s membership was greatly reduced. Despite these difficulties, the Lord has brought us new hope and new vitality. We are excited about new ministries that keep emerging that help us to better interact with and minister to our community.
In 2008, the congregation completed a new building and building renovation project. The facility is more accessible and adaptable and we believe it will grow with us as we grow.
Like any congregation, Central has had its ups and downs. May we forge forward into the future deliberately seeking the will of our Lord Jesus Christ and placing our faith in Him alone!