Orthodox Mennonites

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The Orthodox Mennonites consist of two separate but related groups of Mennonites located in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. In 1954, a group known as the "Hoover Mennonites" divided from the David Martin Mennonites in Waterloo Region, Canada. In 1956 Minister Elam S. Martin was excommunicated from the David Martin Mennonites and joined with the "Hoovers". When Elam S. Martin became their bishop they then became known as "Elam Martins". They officially became the Orthodox Mennonite Church in 1962 with the building of their first meetinghouse, but divided in 1974, primarily over the enforced wearing of beards. The beard wearing group, which included Bishop Elam S. Martin, moved to Howick, Ontario en masse beginning in 1979. They are today nicknamed "Gorries", but are more correctly referred to as Orthodox Mennonite Church, Huron County, Ontario. The other group remained in the Waterloo Region and are referred to as Orthodox Mennonite Church, Wellesley Township, Ontario. After an upset in 1986, the majority of the latter went back to the David Martin Mennonites. After some leaderless years, the group ordained Elam M. Martin (son-in-law of the Bishop Elam S. Martin named above) in 1993, and also his son Alvin Martin in 1998. Minister David E.M. Martin (son of Minister Elam M. Martin, who died in 2002) is the present leader of the remnant Wellesley Orthodox Group.

Orthodox Mennonites overall live very simply, with no electricity or telephones in their homes. They do not own automobiles or computerized technologies, and if farmers use work horses instead of tractors.

A group has also settled further west in Huron-Kinloss township in Bruce County, Ontario. In 2013 a family has settled in Renfrew County in Admaston Bromley Township near Douglas, Ontario in the Ottawa Valley.


  • Martin, Donald (2003). Old Order Mennonites of Ontario: Gelassenheit, Discipleship, Brotherhood. Herald Press, Waterloo, Ontario. 
  • Reimer, Margaret L. (2008). One Quilt Many Pieces: A Guide to Mennonite Groups in Canada. Herald Press, Waterloo, Ontario. 
  • Hoover, Peter. (July 2010). Orthodox Mennonite Church. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.