[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] church beginnings

Ed S esonnenburg at porchlight.ca
Thu Nov 25 15:14:16 PST 2004

Someone had asked how some churches got their beginnings in Volhynia.

Someone that knows alot about this is Edmund Krebs.   He's still living in 
If anyone would want to know more about Volhynia you could look him up.  He's
95 years old but his mind is still sharp.  He lived through the 1915 
He did write a book and even updated it recently.  Unfortunately it's only 
in German
  but it can be purchased for $25 CDN.

It was in the village of Kolowert and Amelin that the Church of God had 
its' beginnings.  Two ladies
came to visit from Germany and evangelized.   For awhile there were house 
services in the
Krebs household.  As the word got around more and more people joined the 
small services.

Within a couple of years a building was built in Amelin that held 700 
people.  At yearly conferences
over 1100 people crammed into that building.  Not everyone was happy that 
the Church of God
was growing like that.  They grew at the expense of the Lutheran 
church.   Edmund writes
that baptism services were planned but word came back that there were 
people that
wanted to throw oil into the pond where services were to be 
held.  Authorities were
told about this and then a policeman on horseback was sent to guard the pond.

One of the ladies that originally came from Germany married Gustav 
Sonnenberg.  Gustav
was also from Germany.  He had his right arm blown off in WW1 and so he 
became a pastor.
He was also in Volhynia for a few years.   With the war came upheaval and 
deportations.Most GRs
ended up in the west.   In the 40s many of these people found each other 
again and
had Church of God services in Germany.

Gustav Sonnenberg emigrated to Canada in 1947.  He settled in Wetaskiwin 
Alberta.   People
from Europe wrote and asked about Canada and Gus encouraged them to come to 
Since Edmonton was the next biggest town many immigrants went there rather 
than the small
farming communities.  My aunt and uncle also were in Edmonton and invited 
Gustav to come
to Edmonton and hold weekly services.   Within a short time Gus ended up in 
full-time.   A church was built in 1950.  Two years later a larger church 
was built because
the first had standing room only.  In the mid 1950s Gustav travelled across 
and wherever he had contact with Volhynian people eventually a church was 

The Kitchener Ontario church started getting some visitors from the GR 
originating from Mexico.  Many seasonal workers from Mexico came to Aylmer 
to pick fruits, vegetables and even tobacco.  By the mid 1960s there were 
services held in Aylmer, also German school was started.  Us high speaking 
couldn't understand these low German speakers, especially if they spoke low 
with Spanish words thrown in. By the 1970s a Church of God church was begun
in Cuahctemoc Mexico.   A school was also started with teachers from Canada.
It didn't take long to fill a church.  The average family had 10 
kids.  There was even
one family in that area with 24 children.

One of the issues that made the news in the last few years was the spanking 
It is one of these families that came from Mexico with 7 kids.  A social worker
came with the police and took all 7 kids away because they were 
disciplining the
kids.   The kids didn't want to go but the police pulled them all 
away.  Anyways
there's lots about this on the net.

Anyways this is a very short  version.   I can expand on any parts of this 
if anyone
is interested.

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