The Mennonites are spiritual descendants of the 16th century Anabaptists, who were radical disciples of Jesus Christ. Rather than appeal solely to church tradition, the Anabaptists sought to restore the church's primary allegiance to the person of Jesus Christ. They were zealous in sharing their faith, demonstrating God's love in daily life, and extending forgiveness to those who persecuted them. Menno Simons was an early prominent leader and eventually the group became known as the "Mennonites."
Currently there are over one million members world-wide. Mennonite beliefs and practices vary, but following Jesus as both Savior and Lord in daily life is a central value, along with peacemaking, reconciliation and extending healing and hope to the broken world in which we live. We know that the work of reconciliation is well beyond our limited human capacity, and is made possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us.
Bethesda Mennonite Church in Henderson, Nebraska, began in 1874, when a large group of Mennonites emigrated from South Russia to settle in America. Religious privileges once granted to them in Russia were being revoked, particularly those beliefs related to pacifism.