Emmaus Mennonite Church
Our Church History
“Where can we go where we can worship God freely?” That was the question heavy on the minds of Mennonite Christians in Prussia and Russia in the late 1800’s. At the same time, the railroad companies in the United States and Canada were actively inviting people in Europe (prospective customers for them) to settle on the land they owned and where they planned to lay tracks.
From a single, large congregation in what is now Poland, 55 families and 29 individuals came during the six years from 1876 to 1892 to live in various places in Kansas and Nebraska. Six (some say eight) families from the Heubuden Church settled in the Whitewater area and more joined them in the next few years. Whitewater, however, did not exist then. When these Dutch/German immigrants arrived, there was only a sea of prairie grass spreading in every direction.
Their commitment to God and His Word caused them to leave their homes and businesses and brought them to this country. And because their faith was an integral part of who they were, they immediately began holding Sunday services. The first wooden building erected in the community was a granary on the Harder farm, so that is where they met. Two years later they gladly moved services to their newly-finished church building.
Through the years the Emmaus Church has grown and every now and then it was necessary to build a new building. The fourth structure was built after a fire in 2008 destroyed the 1929 building. In that transition time, people reminded each other often that the church is not a building, instead, the people of God are the church.