September 12, 2012
U.S. Colonization: The struggles within the Ana-Baptist communities
Colonization is one of mystery to most American’s. The ability for Ana-Baptist to survive in a colony for so long, without the modern advances we take for granted, amazes many. Discussion and research on these colonies shows that the idea’s we have toward these individuals is false rhetoric and a lack of knowledge. As citizens of the United States whether they be Colonized or not, have seen the economic hardships together that will forever link our communities together, if not by faith but by compassion.
The history of the Anabaptist begins over 4 centuries ago out of Switzerland. The fellowship was made up of Christian believers at a time where it was rumored the Catholic Church had become corrupt. Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz were the founders of the Anabaptist church were they believed men and women could come together to worship Jesus Christ and follow the word according to the bible. Anabaptist are the only faith that believe baptism to only be performed in adulthood, as only an adult can accept and declare faith on their own behalf. Mennonites feared persecution so they migrated to Russia. Once their religious freedom was threatened in Russia, 300,000 Mennonites decided to migrate to North America. Among them were members from Holland and Switzerland. Migration became almost second nature among the Anabaptist whom looked for religious acceptance. (Anabaptists, 2011)
Protestant Reformation became prevalent and left Anabaptist to move across Europe to find a place of acceptance and refuge from persecution by the Protestants and Roman Catholics. They found solitude in the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Eastern France and especially North America. At this time other groups of Anabaptist were formed, much like the Mennonites. These groups were the Amish and Hutterites. (Anabaptists, 2011, p. 0) “Other denominations that emerged after the Reformation were attempts to revive the church to the first century conditions described in the New Testament. Such was the aim of the Anabaptists, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists, Moravians and others (Anabaptists, 2011, p. 0). In the late 1600s the Quakers and Mennonites in the British colonies protested slavery on religious grounds. These groups were most active in helping slaves to escape by way of the famous “Underground Railroad”. (Anabaptists, 2011, p. 0) This defined Anabaptist in the role they play in America today.
We associate Anabaptist to Amish and Mennonites, most knowing nothing of Hutterites until a recent reality show called “Meet The Hutterites” shown on National Geographic. When we think of these Anabaptist we refer to them as colonies. After research this was found to be inaccurate. According to Erwin Rempel, interviewed via e-mail, “The only colonies left in America are ones maintained by the Hutterites, located in the Northern U.S. There are Mennonite colonies located in Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico and a few other countries in Latin America. Mennonites in the U.S. do not live in colonies; however there are a number of communities with significant numbers of Mennonites and Mennonite congregations.” [ (Rempel, 2012, p. 0) ] Mennonites seem to be the most modernized of the 3 groups more involved with community and entrepreneurship.
Mennonites are hard to notice within a crowed unless they are living with their Amish cousins. Mennonites are more modern and dress to fit into the Non-Anabaptists worlds. The Amish stick strictly to their religion and traditions by wearing dark colors and old fashion styles that reflects humility. Wearing patterns and bright clothes only attract attention. There Ordnung, or rule for living dictates down to the type of shoe, or thickness the brim on the hats should be. Women only wear the white prayer cloth