We’re losing our good name

Mar 18, 2019 by

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Our church’s name, “Mennonite,” is being misdirected into oblivion. Some conferences have replaced it with something they feel will disassociate them from existing practices.

“Mennonite” has served us well for many years, both in the United States and abroad, most notably in Europe, where most of the sacrifices occurred. People today know virtually nothing of the history and sacrifices hidden behind the name they are so determined to replace.

“Mennonite” must abound within a denominational or conference name and should remain in a congregational name without reservation. Abandoning the Mennonite name is the first step toward integrating into or starting another denomination.

“Mennonite” was paramount during wartime when conscientious objector status was essential. This brought all the various divisions together. We hear very little about this any more.

African Mennonites outnumber American Mennonites by quite a bit. What are other Mennonites around the world going to think about so many congregations and conferences changing their name?

Lancaster Mennonite Conference now is “LMC: A Fellowship of Anabaptist Churches.” Evana Network emphasizes the word “Anabaptist.” Conservative Mennonite Conference has chosen to identify only as CMC until a new name is chosen. Will they replace “Mennonite”?

“Evangelical” and “apostolic” were hot words a few years ago, and now it appears “Anabaptist” is being refurbished to redefine the church.

Some say replacing “Mennonite” is necessary due to outside perceptions. But the name’s true impact is on the people already in the church.

It is generally the leadership or the decision makers who lead us astray with an agenda detrimental to the group.

A name change can instigate a crisis as identity is lost. People can’t put a church in perspective or understand where that church fits in. Other issues compound the crisis into chaos, leading to extinction of “Mennonite” altogether.

It is time to reinstate “Mennonite.” It is who we are.

William R. Moreland Jr.
Arthur, Ill.

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