Rouge Valley Mennonite Church was so named in 1986 when two older, Mennonite congregations joined together for more effective and practical Christian ministry. Both were located in the southeast part of Markham township. Both the Reesor meeting house at Steeles Ave. and the Scarborough/Pickering townline, and the Cedar Grove meeting house on the 10th Line (now known as Reesor Road) had been the home to congregations of local Mennonite families for over 100 years. As impending development and speculation drove up land prices, some families relocated to western Ontario.
There was a history of cooperation at a number of levels between these churches for events such as Vacation Bible Schools, Mission meetings and women’s service activities. A realization came about that it seemed more feasible to combine their efforts at one location. The decision was made to use the Cedar Grove facility, a larger site, located in the hamlet on the bank of the Little Rouge River. With an increase in attendance and interest from the community, there was a definite need for a larger facility. Inquiries were made to obtain more land from the Ontario Realty Corporation and this was accomplished a few years later when property was purchased to the south of the original site. This gave the new congregation a total of four acres and in 1996 an 8,000 square foot structure was erected just south of the original building. The older structure has been retained as a Christian Education center and called the Cedar Grove Meetinghouse. The new building is a ground level, accessible facility which contains offices, a kitchen, fellowship hall and 250 seat auditorium. There is also a nursery and children’s center, a large foyer/cloakroom and a library/meeting room. The mission statement of the Rouge Valley Congregation is “Welcoming people to Jesus Christ and a caring community”. As Christians we aim to be that caring community.
This account of our history was written by Paul Burkholder who has since passed away. He is dearly remembered, and like many of those who have gone before us, was deeply appreciated and is missed. The richness of a congregation that spans generations is that we deeply value the contributions of those who have come before us. It is with deep gratitude that we recognize those who came before us and upon whose foundation we continue to build into the future.