Thursday, September 30, 2010


This is among the Anabaptist religions, starting in the German and Dutch speaking parts of central Europe. They were relentlessly persecuted during the 16th century and then by the 17th century some of them joined the state church in Switzerland. Mennonites ouside the state church were divided about whether to stay with those who had joined the state church or not and they broke away and became the Amish, so named by their founder Jacob Amman.

Their teachings were founded on their belief in both the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ, which they held to with great conviction despite persecution by  various Roman Catholic and Protestant states. One of the reasons they were persecuted so was because of their belief in adult baptism and do not believe in infant baptism, which was far from the belief of the Roman Catholic church who believed one should be baptized and become a member of the church at birth. The Mennonites feel that there should be complete separation of church and government.  Rather than fight, many sled to neighboring states in order to survived. They believed in nonviolence.  They are often called “plain people” although some dress just as the general population does.
There was a group of Quakers and Mennonites that came to American  under the solicitation of William Penn who was looking for settlers for his new colony.  The first permanent settlement of Mennonites in the colonies consisted of one Mennonite family and 12 Mennonite-Quaker families of Dutch extraction who arrived from Krefeld Germany in 1683 and settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Early settlers were William Rittenhouse, a lay minister who was the owner of the first America paper mill, Jacob Gottschalk, who was the first bishop of the Germantown congregation.  They were the first group of Mennonites.

In the 18th Century, Germans from the Palatinate, known as Pennsylvania Dutch, emigrated to Pennsylvania,. among these were Mennonites and Amish.  And they settled in Lancaster Pennsylvania.   Christopher Dock was among this group.

During the colonial period, Mennonites were distinguished from other Pennsylvania. Germans by their opposition to the American Revolutionary War, resistance to public education and disapproval of religious revivalism.

From 1812 to 1860 more immigrants settled in Ohio , Nebraska,Illinois, and Missouri.. They were Swiss-German speaking Mennonites, and Amish and came from Switzerland. Later moved on into Kansas.

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