Frequently Asked Questions
Questions About Church Services
How formal is your church? What should I wear on Sunday?
There is no dress code for our church, and you will find that the members of our congregation have a wide range of wardrobe choices, from some who wear dresses or dress shirts to others who wear jeans and tee shirts. Come in whatever apparel is most conducive for worship for you and we will be glad to have you.
Is there a time in the service where I am supposed to stand up and introduce myself?
That is entirely up to you. During the announcements, we usually leave space for visitors to introduce themselves or be introduced, but please don't feel obligated to do so. We would love to meet you if you are looking to connect with people on Sunday, but it is perfectly acceptable to quietly observe our services.
Where do I park?
We have a small parking area that forms a circle in the front of the church, and we invite you to park there for your first few visits. Parking is also available in the back.
Is your church handicap accessible?
Yes. We have handicap parking available in the front, handicap-accessible bathrooms upstairs, and an elevator that allows people to get to the downstairs area. Additionally, our sanctuary is equipped with a hearing assistance system.
Questions About Mennonites
Are Mennonites a cult?
No. Historically, the Mennonites descended from the Anabaptist or Radical Reformation movement, which emerged in the sixteenth century around the same time as the Protestant or Magisterial Reformation. It was called "Radical" because the Anabaptists were more radically committed to the teachings of the New Testament than even the Protestants such as Martin Luther or Huldrych Zwingli: For example, most Anabaptist groups rejected infant baptism, refused to swear oaths, disavowed the hierarchical structure of church leadership and embraced non-retaliation. Although Mennonites don't put as much of an emphasis on creeds as other traditions, their doctrine is consistent with the consensus of the early Christians in the councils of Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon.
What are the differences betwen the Mennonites and the Amish?
Unfortunately, popular television shows such as "Breaking Amish" and "Amish Mafia" have perpetuated large misunderstandings about the Mennonites, the Amish, and the relationship between them. Historically, the two groups are related, but the Mennonites are the older tradition. The Amish broke off in 1693 when a group of Swiss Mennonites, led by Jakob Ammann, felt that the Mennonite community was not strict enough in its enforcement of Biblical standards. Since then, there have been a number of subsequent splits within the Mennonite and Amish communities, and today there are over 20 denominations of Mennonite, Amish, and other Anabaptist groups. However, in recent decades, these various groups have built closer relationships through shared service work with Mennonite Disaster Service and Mennonite Central Committee.
Books and television shows tend to highlight and sensationalize the "Old Order Mennonites," which lead most people to believe that Mennonites, while a little less strict than the Amish, are nevertheless very limited in their use of technology and old-fashioned in their cultural and educational practices. However, most of the Mennonites in our denomination, the Mennonite Church USA, make full use of modern technology, dress in normal clothing, and participate in the same civic and social institutions as other citizens. That being said, we do try to maintain the values of simplicity, frugality, and good stewardship, and we strive to critically evaluate the civic and social practices and attitudes that many people take for granted, in keeping with our tradition.
Can people become Mennonite or do you have to be born into it?
Anyone can become a Mennonite! Although it is true that Mennonites have been an ethnically tight-knit group due to the oppression that they experienced for their religious beliefs, the Mennonite demographic is changing and the Mennonites are quickly becoming an ethically-diverse and international community. Both of the pastors at our church and a number of our other members were originally from other denominations, and we welcome anyone who is interested in the Mennonite faith to consider joining our religious community.
Do the women in Mennonite churches wear head coverings?
Historically, Mennonite women covered their heads in public, and while this is still common in some Mennonite traditions, it is not widely practiced in the MCUSA.
Are Mennonites pacifists?
Yes. In keeping with both the letter and the spirit of the New Testament, the Mennonite Church USA and our particular church believe that nonviolence is an important component of the gospel message that Christ brought to the world. For more information about this, see our Peace Stance.