What is a Mennonite, and what does it matter?
When most people think of ‘Mennonites’, they probably have a cultural picture in mind – primarily people of German/European descent who speak English funny, and who eat delicious food with hard-to-pronounce names like ‘borscht’, ‘Wareneki’, ‘tweibach’, and ‘rollkuchen’. If this is how you’ve pictured Mennonites, you might be surprised to hear that India and Africa each have more Mennonites than Europe and North America combined.
But for us at Bethany what really matters to us about being Mennonite is the spiritual emphasis: we emphasis that being a Christian is all about following Jesus Christ every day. While other Christians might emphasize that Christians go to heaven after they die; or have special encounters with God here on earth; or that God helps us solve our problems and crisis (and we Mennonites also believe these things), we emphasis that we are Christ’s followers and disciples, and we are called to follow his teachings every day. This is why we place such a strong emphasis on generosity and service.
So, At Bethany Mennonite Church we are not about ‘being Mennonite’, we are about being faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Many of us were raised with a Mennonite Church background but not all - some of us grew up Anglican, or Catholic, and some didn’t grow up with any Christian background at all. The background isn’t what’s important to us, and if it ‘Mennonite’ is not your background you are more than welcome to come
On a Sunday morning you probably won’t hear the word ‘Mennonite’ very much, if at all, but you will hear us talk about our faith in Jesus Christ and our values. For us, the label ‘Mennonite’ just describes what we believe it means to be a Christian, and a follower of Christ.