Info About Mennonites
The Mennonites coming down there are a part of this group....
The Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) is a volunteer network through which various groups within the Anabaptist* tradition assist people affected by disasters in North America. The organization was founded in 1950 and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1993.
The MDS currently involves more than 3,000 members of the Mennonite, Amish and Brethren in Christ churches. The primary focus of the service is cleanup, repair, and the rebuilding of homes. The work of the group supplements the disaster relief provided by the Red Cross.
While certain conservative branches of the Mennonite church still dress simply and require women to wear head coverings, Mennonites generally are not culturally separatist, choosing to embrace the larger communities outside of their church rather than forming a separate community around the church. Where the Amish believe in keeping themselves spiritually focused by limiting their interaction with modern society, Mennonites believe in practicing Jesus' teaching of service to others in a broader context.
There are many different groups within the North American Mennonite Church and they have a variety of customs. However, there are some common threads. Many Mennonite customs center around family and church life.
Mennonites are known for their craftsmanship, and building skills and are hard working. They are also known to be good cooks, so food also plays an important part in celebrations. In the past, Mennonite cooking had a decidedly German or Russian flavor, with many Mennonites being of German, Swiss or Dutch descent. As the Mennonite church continues to grow to include people of many ethnic backgrounds, what was once a typical Mennonite potluck now includes food from many different countries.
Women used to wear coverings or prayer veils on their heads all the time and clothing was very simple. However, today only the most conservative Mennonites do this; most Mennonites look like anyone else you would meet on the street.
Mennonites listen to and participate in making music in many different styles. However, the Mennonite church is best known for its four-part a cappella singing.
Mennonites participate in the same leisure time activities as other North Americans. Some Mennonites may choose not to attend movies, or not to have television in their homes because of the violence that is shown. Others don’t allow dancing. Smoking and drinking are generally not practiced because of the belief that one’s body is God’s temple but in some instances some do conservatively drink and smoke. Practices differ widely from community to community.
About the Mennonite Church
The Mennonite Church is one of the more complex and diverse
Christian churches in the world. An all-encompassing Mennonite
denomination does not exist.
The Mennonites are tolerant of innovation, education and technology,
feeling that they can be a positive influence.
One such issue that the denomination is struggling with is
homosexuality, according to an article in Beliefnet. Working with
the Brethren Mennonite Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
Transgender Interests, the Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Church
Canada, and the Church of the Brethren have each supported a
combined 70 plus churches within their denominations that welcome
practicing gay church members.