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.

* Anabaptists are Christians who believe in delaying baptism until the candidate confesses his or her faith. Although some consider this movement to be an offshoot of Protestantism, others see it as a distinct one. The Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites are direct descendants of the movement

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Basic Info

 

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 Mennonite Church history website reports that there are five such denominations: the Mennonite Brethren Church US Conference, the Mennonite Brethren Church Canadian Conference, the Mennonite World Conference, the Mennonite Church Canada and the Mennonite Church USA. 
(I'm not certain what branch the folks coming down there are.)

 

The Mennonites are tolerant of innovation, education and technology, feeling that they can be a positive influence. 

The Mennonites also hold a handful of key beliefs that set them apart from other Christians. Here are four key beliefs:

1. Radical founding: The Mennonites trace their origin to a radical offshoot of the Protestant Reformation that occurred in the 1500s. The Mennonites are named after Menno Simons, a one-time Catholic priest. Simons rejected the Catholic Church's teachings and joined the Anabaptists, a new movement known for re-baptizing adult believers, according to the Mennonite history website. 

Starting in the mid-1540s, Simons organized the original Mennonite church in Holland, according to Religion Facts. Today, nearly one million Mennonites fill churches in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and North America.

2. Pacifism: One of the trademark characteristics of Mennonites is their commitment to pacifism. Mennonite Christians believe war is never the answer to solving the world's problems. In fact, some young adult Mennonites avoid military service by serving the Mennonite Church as missionaries and volunteers via the Mennonite Central Committee or the Mennonite Mission Network, according to the church.

3. “Similarities” with the Amish: Mennonite Christians can be confused with the Amish because the two groups hold many of the same beliefs and practices, according to Religion Facts. Both groups are known for religious reform and pacifism, and each believes in individual Bible study and a commitment to a sin-free life after conversion and adult baptism. 

What primarily distinguishes the Amish from the Mennonites is the Amish practice of separation from the world. While the Amish create their own communities separate from the rest of society and avoid technology, Mennonite Christians believe in living in the world but not being of the world in terms of embracing worldly spiritual and moral values. The Mennonites embrace technology but warn against falling for its temptations, such as online pornography.

4. Homosexuality: Since the Mennonite Church based in Elkhart, Ind., merged with the General Conference Mennonite Church based in Newton, Kan., to form the Mennonite Church USA, 14 years ago, a number of biblically conservative churches have left the new denomination, primarily over liberal theological shifts, according to church leaders like Ted Grimsrud of the Thinking Pacifism. 

 

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. 

In 2014, an openly gay pastor was approved for ordination by the Mountain States Conference of the Mennonite Church USA, according to the Brethren Mennonite Council on LGBT Interests, and a handful of Mennonite pastors have performed same-sex unions.

Still, some parts of the Mennonite Church retain their dedication to biblical teaching. Some pastors have seen their churches disciplined and their ministerial credentials retracted for performing these unions or for failing to expel practicing homosexual church members, The Brethren Mennonite Council reported.

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