- Mennonite World Conference
- The Mennonite World Conference (MWC) is an international fellowship of Christian churches that derived from the Swiss Brethren movement of theRadical Reformation. The groups in this tradition, which coalesced late in the 16th century as the Mennonite movement, are known for their belief in separation of church and state, their rejection of infant baptism, their devotion to a simple Christian lifestyle, and their commitment to pacifism. Most groups have the word Mennonite in their name, but some do not, such as the Brethren in Christ.The MWC comprises some 87 Mennonite and Brethren in Christ national churches from 48 countries around the world. The MWC provides a context for fellowship, cooperation, and mutual support. Gatherings and other events provide a time for learning, deepening faith, and calls to faithful living. Given that the majority of the member churches are no longer of European heritage, the MWC has reoriented itself to emphasize the Mennonite community as a single global congregation.Efforts were made to found a worldwide Men-nonite fellowship early in the 20th century. An international gathering was held in 1925 in Switzerland to commemorate the first Anabaptist baptism in 1625. The third conference in 1936 marked the conversion of Menno Simons to Anabaptism. The mid-century transformation of mission churches into autonomous bodies created even more impetus toward cooperation. in the years since World War ii, the periodic conferences evolved into a more permanent structure.The MWC maintains offices in the United States, Canada,France, and Zimbabwe.Further reading:■ Ross T. Bender and Alan P. F Sell, eds., Baptism Peace, and the State in the Reformed and Anabaptist Traditions (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1991)■ Diether Gotz Lichdi and Loretta Kreider, eds., Mennonite World Handbook: Mennonites in Global Witness (Carol Stream: Mennon-ite World Conference, 1990)■ C. Arnold Snyder, From Anabaptist Seed (Kitchener, ontario/Scottdale, Pa.: Pandora Press/Herald Press, 1999).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.