History of the People
The Mennonites are part of the Anabaptist group that broke off from the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Their belief that baptism should occur after an individual asks Jesus into their life required them to be re-baptized, therefore the name Ana-baptist. The Mennonites took their name from a Dutch priest named Menno Simons, who after joining the Anabaptist movement, helped organize and gave leadership to the scattered groups. In addition to their belief in believers baptism, they also believed the church and state should be separate and the church is the community of faith.
Since the Mennonites were not part of the state churches, they were considered dangerous “heretics” and were severely persecuted. Thousands of Anabaptists were martyred in the 16th century and many of these events are recorded in the Martyrs Mirror. The most severe persecution ended by the late 1500’s but continued religious harassment caused many Mennonites to relocate to Russia and North America during the next several centuries.
The Mennonites are often confused with the Amish who separated from the Mennonites in the late 1600’s. The Amish, led by Jakob Ammann, adhere to a strict dress code and shun modern conveniences. While the Amish keep themselves spiritually focused by limiting their contact with modern society, the Mennonites believe in sharing God’s love while interacting with modern society.
The church group at River Corner is part of Mennonite Church USA, a group of Christians who strive to follow Jesus in all aspects of their lives. At River Corner, we seek to grow in our spiritual lives by learning Scripture and applying it to our daily practices. Some examples of applying the Bible to our lives are settling disputes in a non-violent way, sharing our material blessings with those in need, and developing friendships as we allow Christ’s love to flow through us.