An article in the Mennonite World Review, reporting on a recent panel discussion at the Lancaster (Pa.) Brethren in Christ Church, might be of interest to those in the Grace Brethren movement. The Grace Brethren, who trace their spiritual heritage to Alexander Mack and the 1708 baptism of eight adults in the Eider River in Germany, are also part of the Anabaptist movement. A portion of the story appears below. Click here for the complete article.
Lancaster panel reflects on changing Anabaptist world
LANCASTER, Pa. — From plain to acculturated, uniform to diverse, insulated to global, the Anabaptist movement has changed and will continue to do so.
A panel of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ leaders assembled by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and the Brethren in Christ Historical Society gathered Nov. 9 at the Lancaster Brethren in Christ Church to discuss shifts in the Anabaptist world community.
Harriet Sider Bicksler, editor for the BIC Historical Society, led a panel composed of Emerson Lesher, chair of the BIC Historical Society board; Samuel López of the Spanish Mennonite Council; Leonard Dow, pastor of Oxford Circle Mennonite Church in Philadelphia; and Alain Epp Weaver, director of planning and learning at Mennonite Central Committee.
Each reflected on Anabaptists’ journey over the past 50 years and what it means to be an Anabaptist today.
Fifty years ago, Anabaptists were predictable in their dress and their background.
“In my lifetime we moved from plain to fancy,” Lesher said. “My grandparents were plain. My parents grew up plain. But in their young adulthood they took off the covering and plain coat, and that was never part of my experience.
“I grew up with a minority mindset. If the majority believed something or did something, they were probably wrong.
“We were a separatist people, and that has changed.”
The Anabaptist community — BIC, Mennonite and others — saw a broad change, not just in dress but also in the people coming to church. Dow has seen this shift in the neighborhood around Oxford Circle. Twenty-five years ago, it was predominantly Irish Catholic and Jewish. Now it is a diverse community where 70 percent are immigrants.
Click here for the complete article.