Faith + Life
We’re followers of Jesus in the Mennonite tradition. “Mennonite” was a nickname (and probably not a friendly one) given to people influenced by the teachings of Menno Simons, a Catholic priest in the Netherlands who became a leader of the Anabaptist (sometimes called “radical”) branch of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Mennonites and other Anabaptists practiced adult baptism and rejected the use of violence, seeking to follow the Prince of Peace.
Today, Mennonites have a wide range of beliefs and practices. Palmer Becker offers one summary of Anabaptist distinctives:
- Jesus is the center of our faith
- Community is the center of our life
- Reconciliation is the center of our work
Mennonite World Conference, a global fellowship of Anabaptist Christians, points to seven convictions that global Anabaptists share.
As part of Mennonite Church USA, we’re shaped by the 1995 Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.
While we care deeply about beliefs, an important part of Mennonite Christian thought is that beliefs are meant to be practiced. As the early Anabaptist thinker Hans Denck said,
“No one may truly know Christ except one who follows Him in life.”
So what makes up our shared life together? Regular rhythms of worship, fellowship, study, and service.
Gathered worship provides a time to come before God and express all God’s worth (the root word of “wort[h]ship”). We celebrate the creativity and diversity God has given us through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. People’s musical preferences are varied, so we sing everything from contemporary worship songs to four-part harmony hymns to the occasional folk tune. Worship also sometimes incorporates creative movement, adult or kids choirs, and other artistic expressions.
Fellowship takes a variety of forms, from quick conversations over coffee to meals shared in each others’ homes. Jesus promises that where ever two or three people gather in His name, He is present. A strong sense of community offers encouragement, support, and opportunities for transformation and growth.
Pastoral staff and a Care Team are able to come alongside people facing physical, emotional, relational or other challenges, and journey with people through the complexities of aging.
“I am among you,” Jesus told His disciples, “as one who serves.” As followers of Jesus, we take his example and legacy of service seriously. Whether it’s gathering materials for local or global relief efforts through Mennonite Central Committee, knotting comforters, working for affordable housing, or rebuilding after disasters with Mennonite Disaster Service, Forest Hills sustains a deep commitment to service.