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.
We believe in the lordship and saving grace of Jesus Christ. We yearn to grow more like Christ. We believe in the triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We are neither Catholic nor Protestant, but we share ties to those streams of Christianity. We cooperate as a sign of our unity in Christ and in ways that extend the reign of God's Kingdom on earth. We are known as "Anabaptists" meaning "re-baptizers."
...named after Menno Simons
While we called ourselves "Anabaptists" in the 1500's, others nicknamed us the "Mennonites" after one of our early leaders, Menno Simons, a Catholic priest who aligned himself with the Anabaptists in 1536. The nickname stuck, and after 500 years, we're still known as the Mennonites.
Mennonites are not...
...a closed group
Mennonites value the sense of family and community that comes with a shared vision of following Jesus Christ, accountability to one another, and the ability to agree and disagree in love. We are not a closed group. You are welcome to join us as together we follow Jesus and pursue Christ's purpose in the world. Our vision is one of healing and hope. God calls us to be followers of Jesus Christ and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to grow as communities of grace, joy and peace, so that God's healing and hope flow through us to the world.
We find that many people asking about Mennonites are actually thinking of the Amish or "Old Order Mennonites." Mennonites and Amish come from the same Anabaptist tradition begun in the 16th century, but there are differences in how we live our Christian values. The distinctiveness of the Amish is in their separation from the society around them. They generally shun modern technology, keep out of political and secular involvements, and dress plainly.