Did You Know…

Bishop John Winger Memorial, Stevensville, ONT, Canada (Courtesy of NiagaraThisWeek)

… that there’s a monument honoring John Winger, the founder and first bishop of the Brethren in Christ Church in Canada, near Stevensville, ONT?

This article in NiagaraThisWeek features the memorial — and the story of Winger’s late eighteenth century journey to southern Ontario. Though peppered with factual inaccuracies (including the mis-labeling of the nineteenth-century Canadian Brethren as “Tankers”), the story does suggest the significance of the eighteenth-century Brethren sojourn to the economic and cultural development of southern Ontario.

Here’s taste of the piece:

One of those who found his way to Bertie Twp. was John Winger (born 1740). Back in Pennsylvania he had been ordained a minister in the Tanker Church (now known as Brethren in Christ). In 1799, John Winger purchased 200 acres of land near Black Creek (Stevensville area today).

He became the leader and pastor of the Bertie group, travelling by horseback and by foot when necessary. This group met as a congregation in houses and barns, John Winger was named their Bishop. This congregation would be the foundation of the Brethren in Christ Church in Canada.

Bishop John Winger died in 1827, and was buried on his own land on the banks of Black Creek. Today this place is known as Black Creek Pioneer Cemetery. Many of the early Bertie settlers are buried there.

Twenty-five years after his death, the first Brethren in Christ church building was built in Stevensville. Nearby, sits a monument to the memory of John Winger, Founder and first Bishop of the Brethren in Christ Church of Canada.

Read the whole piece here.


About Devin Manzullo-Thomas

Father to Lucas. Husband to Katie. Prof and administrator at Messiah College. PhD student at Temple University. Member of Grantham BIC.
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2 Responses to Did You Know…

  1. Beth Mark says:

    Interesting piece! One correction–you spelled the name as Wenger. I believe the spelling with an “i” is correct: Winger. Most BIC in Ontario with that surname spell it with an “i.”

    • Devin Manzullo-Thomas says:

      You’re right! Thanks, Beth. How dare I criticize the Niagara paper for its “factual inaccuracies” when I can’t even spell the bishop’s last name correctly? 🙂

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