The church family at Lauvers:

Careers include teachers, truck drivers, medical personnel, farmers, mechanics, homemakers,
All ages: God has blessed us with many children and youth.
Fun: softball, canoe trips, volleyball, fishing & hunting, fellowship meals every 2 months.
Support, caring, and sharing are important. People talk a long time after services. They enjoy each other and spend time together. They work hard and are involved and active in the community.

 

Mennonites are, first and foremost, followers of Jesus.. Like those who represent their roots, they share the conviction that the teachings of Jesus should be lived out in real and authentic ways. As such the "Sermon on the Mount" (Matt 5-7) is seen as relevant for the here and now. Mennonites take their name from Menno Simons, a Catholic priest of 500 years ago who joined reformers at that time.

Beliefs that Mennonites value include:
1. the importance of having Jesus as Lord in our lives through a personal experience of being forgiven, of turning away from evil, and of living a godly life.
2. being faithful to serve as the "hands" of Jesus to serve the needy peoples of the world.
3. having a strong commitment to living peacefully at home, in society, and in the world
4. being committed to living simply so others can simply live.
5. teaching the importance of adult baptism as a voluntary public expression of faith in Christ.
6. being diligent in sharing the news that God showed up on our planet to visit in the person of his Son, Jesus, to call us to the kingdom of God.

Anabaptists represent a stream of faith that emerged 500 years ago in Europe. At about the time Reformers were challenging the Catholic Church, a small group of people in Switzerland were studying the Bible. They came to the conclusion that Jesus meant what he said in the Sermon on the Mount. As a result they emphasized the practice of non-violence and the belief that the church should be a voluntary community. You see back then church wasn't a voluntary thing. You were born into it. And baptism was used to create a citizen for tax purposes, it wasn't just religious.

The Anabaptists got into trouble with this behavior. They stopped baptizing infants which angered the state, and they re-baptized adults which angered the Catholic Church (that's how they got there name. "Ana-" means "again," so the name "Anabaptist" means to baptize again). Both the Catholics and the Reformers began arresting, drowning, and burning Anabaptists at the stake for their religious and civil crimes. Because the Anabaptists practiced non-violence, they refused to fight back and instead withdrew from city centers for survival. It was a painful beginning, and they remained distant from mainstream society for several generations.

Early on a Catholic priest named Menno Simons became one of the leading Anabaptists. He was kicked out of the Catholic Church and his followers became known as the Mennonites. That's where the name comes from.

In the last fifty or sixty years, many Mennonites have become fully integrated into society, but they still retain many of the distinct practices of Anabaptism. Specifically, there is a strong emphasis on community, the Bible as authoritative, Jesus as the center, service to the world, peacemaking, and the pursuit of justice. This is what happens when you try to follow Jesus as expressed in the "Sermon on the Mount" and the Gospels.