Who are the Mennonites?

thirdway | simply following Jesus excerpt:

You may think of Mennonites as “the folks who came into town and helped clean up after the flood or tornado that devastated the community.”

That is one view of Mennonites …

… Another, of course — if you’ve ever visited one of the Pennsylvania Dutch or Amish tourist attractions in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere — is that Mennonites are a reclusive group of sectarians who wear bonnets and still use horse-drawn wagons and farm equipment.

Here’s a recent video that our denomination, Mennonite Church USA, developed to talk about who we are as a diverse body of believers who believe in community, love and peace through Jesus Christ:

Basic Beliefs

Mennonite Church USA | We Are Mennonites excerpt:

Mennonites have been around for almost 500 years. Early leaders rejected the grip of church-state control over individuals’ lives. Their ideas and insistence on separation between church and state are equally important today in an era of terrorism and a governmental response that tends to suppress the rights of individuals and nonconformist communities.

Some Old Order Mennonites and Amish still attempt to live simply, “off the grid,” in farming communities and without the benefit of electrical power and automobiles. But most Mennonites don’t live this way. We are pretty ordinary folks. You’ll find vibrant and growing Mennonite congregations everywhere, from small towns and cities to nearly every major urban center in North America. New York City alone is home to more than 20 Mennonite congregations.

Mennonites believe in the centrality and inspiration of the Bible and in Jesus Christ as the One sent by God to bring reconciliation between the Creator and a broken world. We value both our Protestant and Catholic origins and we try to emphasize the connections between faith, words and actions. We believe baptism and church membership should be voluntary. We also emphasize community, peace and love, helping others and being a diverse and multi-cultural church.

Mennonites believe peacebuilding is an achievable way of life.

Because God is loving and just, Mennonites feel called to live lives that reflect this reality. We believe that peace and wholeness is a real possibility in time and space. It’s how God intends us to live here and now, and we have been given all of the necessary tools to achieve this through our faith in Jesus Christ. Living as peacebuilders when war comes is not easy because many in our society believe it is foolish to refuse to defend oneself and one’s country in the face of aggression.