Don't Bring Your Horse and Buggy to Church

Don't Bring Your Horse and Buggy to Church

Perhaps you have heard that Stouffville was named after a Mennonite family that settled here, but you've wondered, “What happened to the Mennonites?” They may not be as easy to spot as you think.

I can still remember my sister telling the story of when the people she worked with discovered that she was a Mennonite. While she was a university student, she worked summers in Waterloo. People who had not grown up in the area were talking about wanting to see some Mennonites. “I'm a Mennonite,” my sister announced. With utter astonishment on her face, her co-worker asked, “Well, where do you keep your horse and buggy when you're at work?”

It's easy to understand why the image of the horse and buggy comes to mind when we talk about being Mennonite. Since some Mennonites have rejected some technological advances, they are very conspicuous. Most Mennonites cannot be identified by what they drive or what they wear. We are a diverse Christian denomination, with churches in downtown Toronto as well as in rural Ontario. We have churches in every continent on the globe. In fact, in 2003 there were as many Mennonites in India as in Canada and for years Africa has been the continent with the most Mennonites. So you may not realise who are the Mennonites around you.

What Mennonites do share are beliefs that can be traced to the beginning of our church. Our church grew out of the Anabaptist movement that began during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.

The Anabaptists took a radical stand in saying that the church should be separate from the State. This doesn't sound radical today but in Europe at that time, kings, princes and political leaders would decide the church to which their people would belong. So a baby became a Christian and a citizen of the State through infant baptism. The Anabaptists challenged this practice by refusing to baptize infants.

Instead, they baptized only those who were old enough to choose to join a church. Mennonites also share the heritage of being an “Historic Peace Church.” In the midst of the religious wars of the sixteenth century, Mennonites learned that violence does not make the world a better place. They came to believe that when Jesus said, “Love your enemies”, he meant that we cannot use violence against anyone, even those we detest. Peacemaking has come to mean many things to us, including nonviolent conflict resolution, economic justice and caring for the earth.

Community Mennonite Church of Stouffville would be happy if you would join us in striving to follow Jesus Christ. We meet at the Parkview Village auditorium on Sunday. Our Sunday School for all ages meets at 10:00 a.m. and our worship service begins at 11:00 a.m. Come as you are – with whatever mode of transportation you like!

by Pastor Cameron Kaufman-Frey

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