Who are the Mennonites?

Mennonites are Christian people all around the world who seek to live life the way Jesus taught through the Bible. Anyone who wants to follow Jesus can become a Mennonite. While Mennonites share common beliefs among Christians such as those in the Apostle’s Creed, we have also responded through history to Jesus’ call for us to live non-violent lives committed to reconciling violence and brokenness through selfless love, even when it means suffering and death. Many early Mennonites in Europe were tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus while refusing to defend themselves. In a world today where self defense is a major justification for violence both nationally and personally, Jesus still calls us to a new way of living, not through power and coercion but through the cross, loving others when they hurt us or have no way of repaying our love.

Mennonites grew out of the Reformation, a time of religious upheaval in Europe in the 16th century. After Martin Luther broke away from the Catholic church, another group of Christians looked for a way to follow Jesus’ teachings even more closely. That group came to be called Anabaptists (re-baptizers) because they were among the first Christians to baptize adults rather than infants. They believed that we must be old enough to understand what it means to follow Jesus before we can commit our lives to him and be baptized. Today, many Christian churches only baptize adults, but for those first Anabaptists and Mennonites, it meant the death sentence.

Mennonites vary in beliefs as do other churches like Baptists, Lutherans and Methodists. Some of our churches are more conservative and wear plain clothes and head coverings among other lifestyle choices. Many Mennonite’s though live modern lifestyles while continuing to follow the teachings of Jesus.

Another important way we try to live out Jesus’ love in through community. We believe that faith was never meant to be personal, private and individualistic, but that Jesus wanted us to know each other so well that we could help each other when we stumbled and challenge each other when we started to weaken in our faith. Many of us love Facebook and Twitter, but we know that technology can never replace genuine face to face relationships in a community that cares for each other.

We believe that Jesus didn’t die on the cross to save us primarily so that we can focus on going to heaven. Jesus saved us so that we can continue his work of healing and reconciliation on earth, right now. That belief has lead us to pray and act for peace and justice in our world and in the countries where we live. We speak out against racism, sexism and other forms of oppression, we work to lift the poor out of poverty in all its complexity, we work to restore shattered lives after natural disasters strike, and we work to be peacemakers where there is conflict and misunderstanding.

Above all we seek to be the people of God, living authentically as Jesus taught. Won’t you come and join us on this journey, following the greatest love the world has ever known, Jesus Christ.

You can find out more about who the Mennonites are at the Third Way Cafe website.

Additional Resources

Who Are The Mennonites Brochure
Who are the Mennonites: This brochure gives you a brief overview and introduction to the Mennonite Church. Explores Mennonite history, beliefs and practices in an easy-to-understand way.
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More With Less Cookbook
More-with-Less Cookbook: When first published in 1976, More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre struck a nerve with its call for every household to help solve the world food crisis. Now with more than 850,000 copies around the globe, it has become the favorite cookbook of many families. Full of recipes from hundreds of contributors, More-with-Less Cookbook offers suggestions “on how to eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources.” This updated edition updates the 25th anniversary edition features a new foreword along with the original collection of recipes—spiced with anecdotes, comments, and tips gleaned from 25 years of cooking “more-with-less.”
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