Click below to find out more about the history of the Apostolic Christian Church (Nazarean) or our local Apostolic Christian Church (ACC) congregation here in Kitchener, ON.
History of the Apostolic Christian Church (Nazarean)
The Apostolic Christian Church (Nazarean) began in Switzerland about the year 1830 when S. H. Froelich had a genuine experience with God which transformed him. As a trained minister of the state church, he attempted to teach a living relationship with God through repentance and regeneration. Froehlich was cast out of the state church but felt bound to continue to teach the truth which had set him free. This faith spread rapidly through Switzerland, and Eastern Europe and then through North America as well..
The doctrine is based largely upon the teaching of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, aimed “solely at the saving of souls, a change of heart through regeneration, and a life of godliness guided and directed by the Holy Spirit.”
The church consists of members who have been converted to Christ, reborn, baptized, and who strive for sanctification; “and of such friends for the truth who sincerely and earnestly strive to attain adoption to sonship in Christ.” Members are noted for their life of simplicity and obedience to the Bible, and are required to live “according to the Gospel of Christ, subject to the authorities, strive to be at peace with their fellow men, and fulfill their obligations as good citizens.” We refuse to take up arms, since this denies the biblical command to love one’s enemies; but we will engage in noncombatant service. We believe in holding each other accountable and practicing church discipline to encourage greater holiness in each one of us.
The local churches are independent in policy but united in fundamental organization. Each church is served by elders who are authorized to baptize, lay on hands, serve The Lord’s Supper, and conduct meetings for the exercising of church discipline. There are no educational institutions, and the ministers are not paid. They are expected to depend upon the inspiration and revelation of the Holy Spirit.
With approximately 46 churches and 2,700 members across the United States and Canada, there are also missionaries in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, New Guinea, and Ghana.
History of the ACC Kitchener Church
The story of our local congregation began in 1952 when Brother Ludwig Jahn from the Windsor congregation felt the urging of the Lord to plant a new church in Kitchener, Ontario. He consulted with Elder brother Anton Betz from Mansfield, Ohio and after much prayer to seek God’s will and guidance, by God’s grace the church was begun.
The first meetings were held at the home of Bro Ludwig and Sis. Elisabeth Jahn on Queen Street South in Kitchener. The early gatherings included Brother Adam and Sister Margaret Winterstein and their family along with a small group of other believers and those interested in the truth of the Gospel. Gradually the initial small group grew as it was joined by new immigrants, many of whom Brother Ludwig sponsored and aided to find employment and homes. Brother Ludwig was known going out of his way to sponsor immigrants and help them find work, even to the point of closing his own business so he could go and help others along as they started out.
The joy of this small congregation was great and the Lord’s blessing was felt by all as they worshipped God together.
Soon, the congregation began to meet twice a week and the first local ministers were elected to serve the group’s growing need. The first ministers elected were Brothers John Falkenburger, Karl Jahn and Adam Winterstein. The first baptism took place on May 16, 1954 with 5 precious souls being baptized in the Grand River at Kaufmann’s Flats in Kitchener.
From 1953 to 1959, the congregation rented a hall over a grocery store on King St East in Kitchener to serve their need. This hall was destroyed by a large fire that devastated downtown Kitchener on Dec.16, 1959. This necessitated a move to a hall at the YMCA on Queen Street North that was the congregation’s home until February 1965. After this moved, the congregation saw the need for a permanent home of its own and in early 1960 it purchased a lot located at 299 Sydney Street South in Kitchener.
Our First Church Building
By the fall of 1964, the local congregation had grown to 53 members and work began on the first phase of the new building, the basement. Local volunteers along with visiting helpers assisted in the construction and the first service in the new building was held on February 28, 1965. By the grace of God 5 baptisms were held in this basement church, adding 24 new members to the congregation. With total attendance exceeding 200, it was soon time to being construction on the building’s second phase.
The second phase of construction included the sanctuary and an addition to the basement. Construction was completed by the fall of 1969. With great joy, the new enlarged building was dedicated to God on October 19, 1969.
A third phase of construction was required to meet the need for more Sunday school rooms. This addition was completed in the fall of 1978.
Over the next few decades, thanks to God’s blessings, our congregation outgrew the church building on Sydney Street. The search began for a new property to accommodate the larger group and our various needs.
A New Chapter Begins
By the grace of God, excavation for the new church building at 1880 Strasburg Road in Kitchener began in June of 2006. The foundation was poured in November of 2006. The framing and building shell went up in the winter months and were completed in January of 2007. With the aid of many volunteers from our local church and from other affiliated churches in Canada and the United States, work on the building’s interior and the bricklaying continued into the spring months. During the summer grading and landscaping and finishing touches to the interior were completed. The building was completed by September of 2007, and we held our first service in the new church in that same month.
On November 11, 2007, visitors from near and far joined our local congregation as we joyously and thankfully dedicated this beautiful new building to the glory of God.
A Thriving Congregation
The current Kitchener congregation is a very active one with many ongoing ministries. Among these are our participation in the Cheerful Giver program, where we gather several times a year to package Hygiene, Education and other aid packages to be sent through the Mennonite Central Committee to countries affected by wars and natural disasters, our annual Vacation Bible School, our Church Choir and many others. Work groups from our congregation have travelled to the USA, Mexico and other countries to help other congregations and missions. These and many other ministries are all part of our desire to spread the Kingdom of God and to bring praise and honour to our Heavenly Father.
Soon after we moved to Strasburg Road, we launched our first Church Website. This website allowed us to share audio files of sermons as well as special events, choirs and seminars.
With our newest website, live video streaming of sermons and other church events became available to website visitors.
In 2013 and 2014, our congregation’s history came full circle when two couples from the Kitchener Apostolic Christian Church relocated to Regina Saskatchewan to help revive the congregation in that city. If it is His will, God will bless their efforts as he blessed the efforts of Brother Ludwig and others who came to Kitchener to establish a new church here.
For a complete overview of the 1880 Strasburg Road building in pictures, please click here.