Mennonites are a Christian faith group that began in the 16th century Reformation. Currently over one million members worldwide claim this identity. Mennonite beliefs and practices vary widely, but following Jesus in daily life is a central value, along with peacemaking. Menno Simons was an early prominent leader and eventually the group became known as “Mennonites” because of his name.
Each denomination brings its own unique strengths and history to the task of caring for the earth. Significant pieces in our heritage include:
- Mennonites are a historic peace church. This commitment primes us to look for links between peacemaking and creation care.
- Mennonites love to eat together. Frequent potlucks are an expression of our sense of community. Hence, we’ve been thinking about food a long time. Many people know us through our cookbooks, such as More With Less (1976), Simply in Season (2009) and The Sustainable Kitchen. Each of these books emphasizes how our food choices affect the rest of the planet.
- North American Mennonites have an agrarian heritage. Historically, many cared for the land as family farmers. In earlier centuries, Mennonites were known for their ability to make marginal land productive. A much smaller percentage of Mennonites farm today, but this affinity sometimes expresses itself in backyard and community gardens.
- Simplicity and a simple lifestyle have been emphases for many years.
- Political involvement is relatively new for us. Fifty years ago, many Mennonites did not even vote. Nevertheless, many Mennonites today feel called to challenge their political leaders.
These web sites offer more detailed information about Mennonites.