Below are a few sites, with links, which have information about Mennonites, beginning with those with a brief description, to those that have a more in depth look at the Mennonites, our history and what we believe.
Mennonite Church History click here
Third Way Cafe click here
Mennonite Church USA click here
Mennonite Confession of Faith click here
Dirk Willems was born in the Netherlands, and was baptized as a young man, thus rejecting the infant baptism practiced at that time by both Catholics and established
Protestants in the Netherlands. This action, plus his continued
devotion to his new faith and the baptism of several other people in his
home, led to his condemnation by the Roman Catholic Church
in the Netherlands and subsequent arrest. Willems was held in a
residential palace turned into a prison, from which he escaped using a
rope made out of knotted rags. Using this, he was able to climb out of
the prison onto the frozen moat. A guard noticed his escape and gave
chase. Willems was able to traverse the thin ice of a frozen pond, the Hondegat,
because of his lighter weight after subsisting on prison rations.
However the pursuing guard broke through the ice yelling for help as he
struggled in the icy water. Willems turned back to save the life of his pursuer, thus being recaptured and held until he was burned at the stake near his hometown on 16 May 1569.
Dirk Willems, Anabaptist Martyr
(see story below)
Mennonites come from the Anabaptist (Re-baptize)
movement that started in 16th century Switzerland.
The Anabaptists were distinct because of their
the necessity of adult baptism,rejecting
the infant baptism practiced by the
Church. They believed that true baptism required a
confession of both sin and faith, which could
only be accomplished as an adult
exercise of free
will. Many Anabaptists were persecuted in Europe,
Roman Catholics and other Protestant
groups, and most Anabaptist leaders were
by the end of the 16th century C.E. However, in
northern Germany and the Netherlands, pacifist
Anabaptists rallied under the leadership
of a priest named Menno Simons and survived the persecution. Menno's followers
would eventually form the Mennonite tradition.Other beliefs stemming from Jesus teachings, central to Menno Simons and his followers were, separation
of church and state, pacifism and refusal of military service, not swearing
of oaths, simple living, and believing that decisions within the church should be made by the entire local
assembly, not by a hierarchical leader.
Today there are many different branches of the Mennonite Church, but these beliefs are still central to most all of them.
Mennonites are sometimes confused with the Amish, with whom
they share Swiss Anabaptist origins. The Amish, however, broke away from the
Mennonites in 1693, reluctant to accept many of the conveniences of the modern
world. While the Mennonites and the Amish are two distinct groups, many of our
beliefs are held in common.