Mennonites

It’s no secret that I love Mennonites.

I live in Mennonite country. I tweet about them on a fairly regular basis. I count how many I see when I go to Walmart. Sometimes I get to work with Mennonite children. I do a rather good job of speaking with a Mennonite accent. I love learning new things about Mennonites. I love their dresses and their straw hats and their bonnets. One of my favourite books of all time is written by a Mennonite. When I’m driving around town and I see a tiny Mennonite child in a buggy, I squeal with delight.

I just really love Mennonites.

Have a look at this Mennonite couple:

Please note the bonnet, the black clothes, and the giant beard. These Mennonites have it going on. They probably had horses and buggies. They were probably farmers. They probably had more than 5 children. They probably churned their own butter and sewed all their own clothes. In short: they’re awesome Mennonites. What’s not to love?

Over the years, I’ve acquired quite a bit of knowledge about Mennonites, and I can tell you that even in this area where there is a large Mennonite population, they are largely misunderstood. People think there is no difference between Mennonites and the Amish (oh but there is!). They think that all Mennonites have horse and buggies (but they don’t!). They think Mennonites are strange and oppressed people (they’re not!).

I would like to tell you all about Mennonites, because they are fascinatingly wonderful and I think we can learn a lot from their culture. I also need your help to structure this series of posts.

Do you have any questions about Mennonites? What do you really wonder about when it comes to this group of people? I know you have questions. Leave them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them in upcoming posts.

At this point in time, you may be wondering what makes me qualified to teach you about Mennonites. I live a normal life, I have a car, I don’t wear a bonnet or a dress. I certainly don’t till the earth or have a manure pile in my backyard. Well.

The Mennonites in the picture? Those are my great-grandparents.

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35 thoughts on “Mennonites

  1. What I love about Mennonites is that they prefer the simple way of life. They do not complicate things and are perfectly happy living without the modern contradictions of life.
    I really don’t have any questions, but do look forward to your posts on them.

    Walk daily with God at your side.

    Ed.

  2. First of all, I don’t understand why you’re not solely writing about Mennonites. I’m your audience for that.

    Second, here are my questions:
    1. Can you marry a Menno if you’re not a Menno?
    2. Can you become a Menno? If so, what is the process?
    3. What are all the differences between me and the average Menno? You can make assumptions about me.

    I hope this is a 52-part series.

    • Hello, I think I can answer these questions. My husband left his mennonite family at age 20, never being baptized into joining the church. I have learned very much from being around his family, we are currently saving to move to Costa Rica to join a mennonite church there.
      To answer your questions
      1. A baptized member of a mennonite community (member of a mennonite church) will not marry a non-mennonite. They may leave home and marry an englisher, but if they have already joined the church they will be shunned.
      2. Yes, you absolutely can join the mennonites and become a member, they welcome anyone. When we move to Costa Rica, we will attend the church until we decide to get baptized as a member. Once you are baptized into a church if you then decide to leave, you will be shunned. My husband’s cousin left the church and is facing shunning. For example, when he goes home to his parents house, he may not eat at the same table as the rest of his family. (Degrees of shunning vary on the strictness of the church)
      3. There are 3 main types of mennonite churches, tennessee churches, fellowship, and beechy the least strict. My inlaws are fellowship, so I will compare you to them based on my assumptions;
      Your dress- you would wear a dress, and a bonnet. No patterns on your dress, stockings and sneakers.
      Your vehicle- they do not allow SUVs, and no brightly colored vehicles. It’s not a rule, but they do not drive a pick up to church unless you have no other vehicle. No customizing your vehicle…big rims and chrome for example are not allowed.
      Education- They go to the 8th grade, no more. No college etc.
      Work- They typically do not work at an english place of business. For example if a mennonite owns a mini barn business he employs other mennonites in the community.
      Entertainment- No TV, internet, smart phones, and radios. During their free time they enjoy hunting, reading, gardening, sewing, and puzzles.
      Music- They do not believe in musical instruments. At first I did not like A Capella music, but once I gave it a real chance it’s the best music out there. If you are interested, some ones I listen to are GOP (Garment of Praise), Hallal, and Harbor Lights.

      I am blessed to have gotten to know so many wonderful mennonites, they are truly good people. I have no background in any religion, and they welcome me with open arms.
      I hope this may help you a little, if you happen to read this. :)

  3. I need to know about their pie. Is that strictly within the realm of the Amish, or are the Mennonites kickass at pie-making too? This will determine which group is my favorite, which I assume is the purpose of this series.

  4. I also squeal with delight when I see small Mennonite children in buggies…so cute!

    I do have a question for you, though:

    Why do I often see Mennonites in buggies talking on cellphones? Why is one type of technology allowed but not another?

  5. I know a little bit about the differences between Amish and Mennonites, but you should definitely explain them as part of your post.

    When I was being homeschooled, there used to be a homeschool book fair periodically at one of the churches in the nearest big city, and you’d always see Mennonites both amongst the convention-goers and amongst the vendors. Is there much homeschooling among Canadian Mennonites, or is that more of an American thing? There are some very well-known books and curriculums for homeschoolers put out by Mennonites in the US.

    Tamara mentioned pies. Do Canadian Amish and/or Mennonites have a big reputation for hand-made furniture craftsmanship the way Pennsylvania Amish do in the US?

    Do Mennonites have sectarian divisions, like the many varieties of Baptists you’ll find down here in the US South, or are all Mennonites just Mennonites?

    Amish in certain parts of the northeastern US call all non-Amish “English”; do Canadian Mennonites have a term they use for non-Mennonites? How about Canadian Amish?

  6. There are many Mennonites in my neck of the woods, too. Many of the people at my church (including my pastor) are/were Mennonites. And not only do people mix up the Mennonites and the Amish, but there is also the odd occurence where they seem to mix up Mennonites and Hutterites. That to me is weird, as they are so clearly different.

  7. Is it a religious group or more just traditions? If it’s religious (I think it is, right?), what do they believe? Are Mennonites Canadian or are there some in the U.S. too? Do they know who Justin Bieber is? :)

  8. I don’t know if you’re even allowed to answer this, but is it true Mennonites can time travel? Also, where do Mennonites weigh in on the whole “West Coast vs. East Coast” rap battle?

    Thanks for your time.

  9. you don’t know me, but i meander over here sometimes from knox’s blog (which i found through a sickening obsession with making fun of the bachelor)…anyway.

    i’m originally from lancaster, pa – one might call it the mecca of the mennonites. i, of course, grew up mennonite and have recently moved to colorado – these denverites know nothing about the mennonites/amish.

    i anticipate your post more than you know because it will be forwarded to anyone that asks me silly questions about why i don’t wear long dresses or why my cookies/pies/cakes taste better than everyone elses, :).

    thank you for doing this service for me – it is appreciated!

  10. I know a lot about Hutterites (one is named Leanne, after me!), but surprisingly little about Mennonites given that I lived in your neck of the woods for 3 years. Here’s my question: Are there any Mennonites named Mandie Marie, and if not, why?

  11. As a fellow Mennonite, I would like to know how you describe the difference between being ethnically Mennonite and denominationally Mennonite? I am still trying to find a way to describe the difference.

    • This is the difficult thing to explain. I always say, “I’m Mennonite”, but I technically grew up at a Baptist church, then a Mennonite Brethren church. Wikipedia says that Mennonites are an ethno-religious group. So. I’ll do my best.

  12. Pingback: Friday Mish Mash « Mandie Marie

  13. Hi my moms side of the family is Mennonite and a couple on my dads but my parents don’t dress like them but during the summer me and my sister go down to my Mennonite cousins house and doing all the things they do but I need some answer for the future because I’m joining them when I’m 17 or 18 so how many kids is the max for Mennonites?

  14. Hi again but I have a lot more questions. I know Mennonites can’t date till they are 17 but this boy named Nelle Zimmerman I like him and we have know each other since we were 5 I think he likes me too because my cousins talk to him about me and they say he blushes and I do the same and when we are together we smile a lot and he smiles at me when I’m walking around what do I do ????

  15. I’ve always thought it’d be good to be a missionary to the Amish people ( http://www.logan.cc/blog/2012/10/missionaries-to-amish-country/ ), like how they go to Africa to teach them how to use wells, I could teach the Amish how to use Facebook.

    Would this be effective with the Mennonites? Do Mennonites prefer iPhones or Androids? iPad or a good Kindle Fire?

    Do Mennonites know the “men in tights” song? And do they sing it while changing the lyrics oh so slightly? Do they have stuff for the whole song, or just sing the one line and move along?

    Can you teach them a joke? If someone walks up to them during the day and asks if they’re Mennonite, have them respond with, “Yes, and also at dawn, day, and dusk.” If the person understands the joke, have the Mennonite say “Bazinga!” just to throw them for another curve.

  16. Hello,
    I recently stumbled across your page today. And as a Mennonite myself let me tell you that I am truly grateful to hear that you appreciate my religion so much. I have had a bit of difficulty in the past with people in my town not understanding my religion due to the fact we are a tiny comunity. So thank you very much, you brighten my day, and right before good friday aswell. So God bless you, and shalom.

  17. I have recently met a guy who is mennonite and lives and works in his community he is also married although he has seperated himself from his wife for almost a year. He wants to get out and find a job get his GED etc. how should he go about this?

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