Differences between Mennonite USA and Mennonite Brethren? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 04-11-2009, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know there might be a few ladies on here who can help me with this question.

What's the difference between the Mennonite Church USA and the Mennonite Brethren Church?

I feel very much in line with many of the Mennonites beliefs and doctrine and my mom's side has a very strong Mennonite history. We're looking into changing churches and I was excited to find a Mennonite church in the area, but it's Mennonite Brethren. I'd never heard of it before and I've been looking a bit online to see if I could find a difference and I'm not having a lot of luck. It seems like a lot of things I read just says that they're parallel? Is that true?

Any help??
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#2 of 11 Old 04-12-2009, 01:07 AM
 
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Well, I married a Mennonite Brethren man, and we attend an MB church, and I too have tried to figure out what is the difference between the "general conference mennonites " - I'll call it "GC" (which is what I think is the equivalent of Mennonite USA) and MB. They share a number of things - like MCC and MDS (relief organizations), and what I've been able to gather is that 50 years ago people in the MB church did not watch movies or drink alcohol or smoke, and people in the GC sometimes did. Along with those specific things, a general "more-traditional" flavor to the MB, but nowdays the differences are pretty hard to find/see.

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#3 of 11 Old 04-12-2009, 02:59 AM
 
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I grew up GC Mennonite (which has become part of Mennonite USA) and went to an MB church as an adult.

Big sweeping generalizations here, and it might be more of a local phenomenon:

Politics
MBs: Republican
Menno: Democrat, Green

Mission work
MBs: All about "saving souls" and bringing the gospels to people.
Menno: Expression of faith to help people. Will share how/why faith motivates it if asked, but not big on prostelyzing.

Peace & Justice
MBs: Really not an emphasis. In fact, the last MB church I went to had members that had no idea that it was traditionally a pacifist church. There were a number of military members.
Menno: Huge in most of the conference. In many ways, Mennonites were "hippys" (without the happy drugs) long before it was popular. Were driven from countries and persecuted because they refused to bear arms. "Non Violent Conflict Resolution" is really big and some Mennonite Colleges have majors in it.

Social Issues
MBs: Fall very much in line with mainstream evangelical and non-denominational churches IRT issues like gay marriage, women at the pulpit, etc.
Menno: Split heavily between congregations, although the conference in general "agree to disagree" between congregations. I have been a member of several congregations who had females in leadership roles (including pastors) and a member of church that openly supported gay marriage.

Relationship to Other Faiths
MBs: the church we went to for a while sent out a "prayer calendar" to pray for Muslims in war torn areas. The request was, basically, to pray that they see the error of their ways and become Christian.
Menno: the church I grew up has a "peace lantern" that is lit every week, before the service, to remind everybody to pray for peace and non-violent conflict resolution and healing for those in war torn areas.

Menno's are big on inter-faith initiatives and community groups and encourage others to seek out the similarities between faiths as a starting point to foster peaceful coexistence. MBs are more about converting people.

Spanking
MBs: Recently we stopped going to the MB church because the pastor preached, from the pulpit, that if you weren't spanking your child you were disobeying God.
Menno: Although most of us raised in the church were spanked as kids, it is changing. I am fairly sure that the current minister at my home church (that my parents still attend) doesn't spank his kids. There is a growing movement that questions spanking as appropriate (How can we expect to find non-violent conflict resolution in the world if we can't in the home), but I am sure it isn't universal by any means. It is probably more prevelent in the more liberal end of the spectrum though.

On a pure social note, in the area I grew up, there was the underlying joke that MBs thought they were 'More Betterer' than the other Mennonites, largely because the MBs tended to show their wealth a lot more than Mennonites did. (not that they were wealthier, but that they were more likely to have nicer cars and houses)

One of the things that is cool about the Mennonites and MBs is that they do come together for a lot of great causes. In general, they are able to put aside their differences to accomplish some pretty cool things, especially in the area of disaster recovery and helping the hungry and poor.

Mom to 10yo Autistic Wonder Boy and 6yo Inquisitive Fireball Girl . December birthdays.

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#4 of 11 Old 04-12-2009, 03:08 AM
 
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yeah um we could all make generalizations but every mennonite church is VERY different event within separate style mennonite churches. the best way to find out is to call/email and talk to them...or visit!

Menno USA has a lot more in common with other Menno USA than a lot of ther mennonite churches. Pilgrim and Eastern mennonite are pretty similar too, but even they have some personal variations..

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#5 of 11 Old 04-12-2009, 03:10 AM
 
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maybe if you told us more about which "mennonite doctrines" you feel inline with we could better give you an idea of what churches would work best for you in that realm? (just a thought...)

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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#6 of 11 Old 04-12-2009, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by HennyPenny View Post
maybe if you told us more about which "mennonite doctrines" you feel inline with we could better give you an idea of what churches would work best for you in that realm? (just a thought...)
Well, I don't know specifically what to tell you other than I went to both websites and looked at their confessions of faith and they seemed very similar to me. I really agree with pretty much every point from both groups. Their position on things like peace and nonresistance, baptism, marriage, the authority of scripture, simplicity, and serving others. I consider myself fairly conservative...but I do not like politics and I especially don't like the church being involved in politics.

Anyways, just looking at the two I didn't see anything HUGELY different. Like, there's a HUGE difference between the Presbyterian Church (USA) and Presbyterian Church in America. PCUSA is markedly more liberal and PCA is quite conservative. I'm just wondering if there's a big enough difference between the two (like the Presbyterians) to be very noticeable about what is taught in the churches.

Am I making sense?
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#7 of 11 Old 04-13-2009, 01:16 AM
 
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It's funny, because for me, coming from outside the Mennonite world before marriage, I have a very different perspective on things than Jennifer Z - like a lot of the things mentioned for the Mennonite USA and not the MB are things that struck me about the MB church (things I see in the MB church). But I haven't gone to a GC church. MB is pretty conservative - in Canada they recently have had denominational discussions about women being ordained, and did agree to it with the caveat that a woman can be made the pastor of a church if there isn't a right man to do it.

Here in Canada, anyway, in the MB church politics and church don't mix often at all. Especially compared to the protestant church I went to in the US.

Tjej

ETA: Have you read More with Less? It is such a neat book about faith and simplicity (done by Mennonites - I don't know if she was MB or not ).
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#8 of 11 Old 04-15-2009, 01:17 AM
 
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the thing about finding an Anabaptist church, like I said before, is beyond the listed "beliefs" you really need to visit and talk to the members to decide what you do and don't think about it. There will be small but important differences just like any other congregation.

it's never the best idea to read through a bunch of websites and pick and choose saying "I agree with this, but i don't like this..." b/c then it comes down to a matter of what you think God should be instead of figuring out who He is. if that makes sense.

I say visit, email or call them... talk it over. and pray about it for clarity.

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

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#9 of 11 Old 04-19-2009, 10:24 PM
 
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Although each region might have general differences between Mennos and MBs, because of how the whole denomination is structured, any congregation can be any varient of liberal/conservative. Instead of the Roman Catholic structure (pope dictates to the bishops, down to the priests, down to the congregation) it has a congregation up structure...the congregations arrange themselves according to beliefs and select a minister that lines up with those beliefs (for the most part), and then each congregation sends delegates to conferences to work on bigger projects and work on conference wide initiatives. It goes from the individuals up to conference level, which means that the conference can't dictate how you are going to beleive, except in extreme case where the church itself will break off from the conference.

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#10 of 11 Old 05-01-2009, 01:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by purplestraws View Post
I consider myself fairly conservative...but I do not like politics and I especially don't like the church being involved in politics.
I'm a member of an MCUSA congregation, and one of the things I like is that there is room for a wide range of positions on not only politics but also theology within the church. We have members all along the spectrum. And participation and leadership are not reserved for those who lean one way or the other. I guess what appeals to me is that the emphasis is on service and community rather than everyone falling in line with a particular set of beliefs (beyond basic Christianity and central Anabaptist tenets such as adult baptism and nonviolence, that is).
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#11 of 11 Old 09-10-2013, 09:45 PM
 
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I'm neither but Apostolic, Jesus name. we aren't a closed church but we are very conservative.

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