Church Tour: Mennonite

One of the most anticipated stops on our church tour was a local Mennonite congregation. I must admit that before visiting my only knowledge about Mennonites was that they were Anabaptists, pacifists, and somehow connected to the Amish. Being a pacifist myself, I was especially excited to see how that looked in a Christian context.

The day we attended, the sermon was about what it means to be Mennonite, so we got a crash course in all things Mennonite. I learned how important the Anabaptist heritage is to Mennonites. They revere the many martyrs who have gone before them, and they place great importance on believer's baptism. However, they also believe that church membership should be voluntary. I also learned that for them peace extends into every aspect of the Christian life. We should not only refrain from physical violence, but we should extend peace through all our words and actions. I strongly believe that violence begins with language (after all I do teach language), so I found it refreshing to find Christians trying to raise awareness about the violence we do when we label and judge others. I also learned that Mennonites and Amish are really not much alike at all.

The church was very small since Mennonites never really spread through the South. The service was traditional but very low key and simple. I also liked how everyone participated. There was a time of prayer during the service when several people offered up prayer requests and then others volunteered to pray aloud for them. There was a strong sense of community, and the people were very welcoming. In some unexpected ways it reminded me of the Lutheran church I grew up in, particularly because of the small size, simple worship, and German influence.

I am thankful for Mennonites. Their strong sense of peace and justice has had a great influence on many other Christians. Their simple style of worship enhances the message of peace that they convey. The participation of all the members, from every walk of life, helps convey the message that all of us our part of the body of Christ. Overall, it was a very refreshing experience. I only wish there were more Mennonites out there.

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Unknown said...

I wish there were more, too!

Nice to learn about your experience. I am learning a lot by what you are finding. We've decided to give up church for Lent... :)

Happy visiting!


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