Menno Simons is the namesake for current day Mennonites. While there were many other Anabaptists before and during his life, Menno was a skilled leader who traveled and lived long enough to have a group carry his name.
VBS June 21
-Week one we learned about St. Francis and Claire who gave up wealth and being important in order to live and be with the poor and sick. They also loved ALL of creation.
-Week two we learned about Pilgram Marpeck, and how he refused to use a sword when he disagreed with people.
-Last week we learned about Hans Denck, and how he followed the Bible, by living instead of just believing (or just thinking). He also believed it was ok to disagree with the older Bible sometimes in order to better follow Jesus now.
Today we learn about Menno Simons, who also lived 500 years ago, like Pilgram and Hans.
Pilgram probably grew up as a dairy farmer, and decided in his late twenties to be a priest.
Here's a pic of St. Lambert's, where Menno started as a priest.
During his first year as a priest he started to disagree with the Catholic Church he was part of.
--He thought that the Bible was more important than the church leaders of his day.
The church leaders didn't seem to always care about following God in every way, so Menno (like Martin Luther shortly before him) choose to follow the Bible more, and specifically the stories of Jesus in the Bible.
--He also thought that rituals (such as communion and baptism) were symbols, and didn't hold any magical power from God.
This was also different than his church. Pilgram still believed rituals were important in showing that you followed God, but they did not have any magical powers.
4.) Two kinds of Anabaptists:
At this same time, there was another Group of Anabaptists who ended up in Munster.
However, they believed the best way to disagree was to save yourself with a military. Unfortunately, their city was destroyed. This saddened Menno, as he probably lost his brother to Munster.
Here's a pic of Cages where they would imprison people who disagreed and disobeyed the church.
Menno was a different kind of Anabaptist. He didn't believe violence and the sword should be used. Instead of fighting with a sword, he went into hiding along with his family.
Many Anabaptists after Munster, were feared by the government and chased down and imprisoned (**if older audience, you can mentioned martyrdom and execution). Somehow, Menno and his family lived without ever being caught.
For nearly 30 years, Menno hid and worked and preached.
He became so famous in the area, that his followers were called Mennists and Mennonites.
Despite all their efforts the government and other churches couldn't stop the spread of Menno and his beliefs and his community.
500 years later, there are now over 1.7 million Anabaptists who draw their roots from people like Menno, Hans and Pilgram.
most live in Africa (38.3%)
less than 1/3 are in North America like us (29.8%)
Asia and Pacific 17.8%,
Latin America and the Caribbean 10.5%,
only 3.6% are in Europe, where Menno, Pilgram and Hans lived.
MWC Data link
I wonder how many Mennonites there will be in another 500 years!
7.) This week:
Pre-K age - remember that like Menno, we don't have to hurt people when we disagree. If you are mad with someone, find a way to love them and be nice.
Older Elementary - like Menno, is there anything in your life that you would be willing to go in hiding for?
What is most important in your life, and what are ways you show it?
How do you show your faith in God?
What does it mean today, that less than 5% of Anabaptists are in Europe, and most are in Africa?
What are ways we can learn from Mennonites across the globe and work together?
Events & Evites:
Tory - Pastor of Children and Youth Faith Formation.