(Photo by Jim Fisher)
During my lifetime of following Jesus, I have visited, and have become a member of many different denominations. By far the most beloved three years of my life was when I attended a Mennonite Church. The members of that church took me in when I had lost all hope of having a personal relationship with Jesus, and even though I could never become a member of their church, the friendships and what I learned about their way of worship will stay with me forever.
During my time there I experience the magical and solemn experience of foot washing, learned that ministers who are appointed to their position by God were done so by a “lot” (similar to drawing the short straw), and I witnessed first hand how the congregation took care of widows and the elderly in a manner like I had never seen before.
I was welcomed and still am a part of their inner circle and protect those friendships like no other. My friend, who is the wife of the lead minister, shared with me that when her husband was chosen to lead their church, she wept for days. The responsibility for tending to their flock was an overwhelming responsibility, and she grieved for weeks at the thought of taking on such a role.
To this day even after years of serving beside him she still has days when she drops to her knees to pray for her husband’s responsibilities. But she has seen him handle his appointment with grace and confidence, the confidence he could only find in Christ.
Over the years I’ve done a lot of research on the Anabaptist way. The history of its origin has always fascinated me probably because I have an appreciation for the Amish and Mennonites way of life.
From the way they dress to their means of transportation, it all can be traced back to their heritage. As Martin Luther worked on reforming the church in Germany, his counterpart Ulrich Zwingli was bringing change to his church in Switzerland. Both men were instrumental in changing the way people worshiped. Despite the changes these men brought there was a small group of concerned brethren who thought the reforms were falling short of following Scriptures. This group eventually started a church and called themselves the Swiss Brethren. Because of their emphasis on adult believers’ baptism instead of infant baptism they became known as Anabaptists.
The premises of their religion was to get back to the Scriptures. Besides adult baptism, they also believed in the separation of church and state. This was also the beginning of their refusal to take up the sword and defend themselves becoming one of their core values — pacifism.
During this period of growth, many were severely persecuted, and hundreds gave their lives for the truth. Both the Mennonites and Amish suffered constant persecution in Europe. To escape it, they fled to America.
If you would like to learn more about their beliefs check out this post by J.E.B Spredemann. – Amish Creed.
Tracy Fredrychowski is a country girl, author, homesteader and everything simple living. She has a passion for writing about the simpler side of life, much like the life she lived growing up in rural Pennsylvania.
Her life has always been intertwined with the Amish, and it’s only fitting that she has a genuine passion for their simplicity, sense of community and God-centered lives.
Growing up in Northwest Pennsylvania she spent her childhood immersed deep in Amish Country. The clip-clop of horse and buggy woke her each morning as Amish men drove past her childhood home on their way to work. As a young woman, she was traumatized by an Amish murder that involved a family member and changed her life forever.
Even though she currently lives in South Carolina her travels take her through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin’s Amish Country every year. During those stops, she researches the communities she visits and prides herself on writing Amish fiction that truly represents the Amish culture. She considers herself very fortunate to have made friends in those communities and values the information they share and wants nothing more than to represent their lifestyle as accurately as possible.