Mennonite Church History
The Mennonite church originated in 1525 from a radical branch of the Protestant Reformation - radical because they believed that the Holy Bible was the "only rule for faith and life." This movement became known as "Anabaptists," or "re-baptizers," because of their belief that baptism should follow profession of faith in Christ. Therefore, they were re-baptized, having been previously baptized as infants by the Roman Catholic Church.
This group soon became known as Mennonites, named after an early leader, Menno Simons, who left the Catholic priesthood and converted to the Anabaptist faith. In addition to the practice of believer's baptism, other beliefs that distinguished the Mennonites from Luther and other reformers included:
complete separation between the Church and State.
living a non-resistant lifestyle, according to Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount.
living a life of non-conformity to the world.
Many early Mennonites were persecuted for their faith, by both the Protestant and Roman Catholic Church, particularly for their refusal to bear the sword. The first Mennonites came mainly from Switzerland and Germany, but were soon dispersed due to persecution. Some fled to Russia and then later to Canada and the mid-western United States in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Swiss/German Mennonites migrated to North America in the 18th and 19th centuries, first settling in Pennsylvania - many in Lancaster County - before spreading westward. Today, significant Mennonite populations exist from Pennsylvania to Kansas, with smaller groups in nearly every state, and due to active missionary activity, Mennonites are found throughout the world.
While there exists a significant diversity of belief throughout the Mennonite Church today, Nickel Mines Mennonite Church continues to hold the biblical doctrines that spawned the church's birth nearly 500 years ago.