In an August 1997 meeting, the Conservative Mennonite Conference (CMC) took a vote on the conference's stated position calling baptized woman to wear the prayer veiling. The motion also required ministers' wives to wear the veiling. Approval of the motion required a two-thirds vote; it fell short by one vote. There had earlier been a softening of CMC positions on modesty in dress, and in ministers performing marriages for persons who had been divorced. Some persons also expressed concern about greater use of contemporary worship styles in some CMC churches. A concerned group had been formed in the mid-1990s, but had been ineffective in its appeals to the conference leadership. In February 1997 an extended discussion on the prayer veiling was held in a conference business session, and the lack of conference unity on the issue became evident.
The vote on the prayer veiling was a "final straw" for some leaders who finally left the conference. A meeting of concerned leaders in October 1997 agreed to move toward formation of a new conference, rather than engender further dissension within the CMC. An organizational meeting was held 5-6 June 1998 at the Fairhaven Mennonite Church in West Salem, Ohio at which a constitution was approved and ministerial membership established. Fourteen ministers became charter members of the Biblical Mennonite Alliance (BMA). A Ministerial Enrichment Week was held in February 1999 by which time seven congregations had applied for membership in the Biblical Mennonite Alliance.
The first annual BMA conference was held on 6-8 August 1999 in Plain City, Ohio. At that time 43 ministers and nine congregations representing about 600 members joined the new denomination. Five congregations were formerly members of the Conservative Mennonite Conference: Followers of Jesus Mennonite Church in Brooklyn, New York; Pleasant Grove Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana; Snow Hill Mennonite Church in Maryland; Fairhaven Mennonite Church in West Salem, Ohio; and Bethel Mennonite Fellowship in Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania. The other four congregations were unaffiliated congregations dissatisfied with former conference relationships: Faith Mennonite Fellowship in Crawford, Mississippi; Shiloh Mennonite Church in East Donalds, South Carolina; Calvary Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia; and Mount Zion Mennonite Church in Bladensburg, Ohio. Since 1999, a number of other unaffiliated Mennonite congregations as well as congregations from other Mennonite denominations have joined the alliance.
The 1963 Mennonite Confession of Faith was adopted as the official confession of faith of the denomination. The alliance has operated the Elnora Bible Institute in Elnora, Indiana since 2004, though a Bible institute was held annually beginning in 2000. The mission arm of the BMA is DestiNATIONS International (DNI), which operates a training center in Queens, New York. The Alliance Newsletter, begun in 1998, is the conference periodical.
In 2010 there were 50 congregations in the conference, with 2,843 members and a total average attendance of 4,092.
|Congregation||City||State||Year Founded||Joined BMA||Membership||Average Attendance|
|Agape Mennonite Assembly||Middlefield||Ohio||1993||February 2000||34||50|
|Believers' Fellowship||Stuarts Draft||Virginia||2003||July 2004||15||25|
|Blue Ridge Christian Fellowship||Radiant||Virginia||2000||August 2000||17||25|
|Calvary Mennonite Church||Paden||Oklahoma||1995||February 2006||36||50|
|Calvary Mennonite Fellowship||Harrisonburg||Virginia||1990||February 1999||159||225|
|Central Mennonite Church||Dover||Delaware||1954||August 2002||165||180|
|Christ's Ambassadors||St. Elizabeth||Jamaica||1974||2007||130|
|Christian Life Mennonite||Beach City||Ohio||2001||August 2003||115||195|
|Cornerstone Mennonite Fellowship||Ephrata||Pennsylvania||1998||August 2005||168||225|
|East Hanover Mennonite Church||Palmyra||Pennsylvania||1953||July 2004||24||50|
|Fairhaven Mennonite Church||West Salem||Ohio||1965||February 1999||18||24|
|Fair Play Christian Fellowship||Fair Play||South Carolina||1980||February 2009||18||15|
|Faith Mennonite Fellowship||Crawford||Mississippi||1985||February 1999||66||75|
|Faith Mennonite Mission||Shellman||Georgia||1979||February 2008||26||50|
|Followers of Jesus Mennonite Church||Brooklyn||New York||1986||February 1999||67||124|
|Goshen Mennonite Church||Laytonsville||Maryland||1949||February 2001||24||45|
|Hartwell Mennonite Church||Hartwell||Georgia||1989||February 2009||22||45|
|Heritage Mennonite Church||Millbank||Ontario||1998||February 2000||24||39|
|Herr Street Mennonite Church||Harrisburg||Pennsylvania||1953||February 2006||30||60|
|Juanita Christian Church||Port Royal||Pennsylvania||2005||August 2007||45||100|
|Kossuth Community Chapel||Bolivar||New York||1983||February 2006||22||29|
|Lamb of God Mennonite Church||Butler||Indiana||2000||August 2000||49||85|
|Laws Mennonite Church||Harrington||Deleware||1953||February 2003||45||45|
|Living Water Mennonite Church||Goshen||Indiana||1999||February 2000||102||150|
|Living Word Christian Fellowship||Sparta||Wisconsin||2001||August 2007||13||40|
|Madison Mennonite Fellowship||Madison||Indiana||1993||August 2001||16||35|
|Mohican Valley Door of Hope||Danville||Ohio||2006||2007||65||126|
|Mt. Airy Mennonite Church||Mt. Airy||Maryland||1952||August 2004||11||21|
|Mt. Zion House of Prayer||Utica||Ohio||1995||August 1999||62||92|
|New Holland Mennonite Church||Batesburg||South Carolina||1986||July 2009||68||121|
|New Hope Mennonite Church||Orrstown||Pennsylvania||2003||August 2004||34||70|
|Nickel Mines Mennonite Church||Paradise||Pennsylvania||1935||August 2002||70||80|
|North Vine Mennonite Church||Arthur||Illinois||1957||August 2008||81||90|
|Oak Hill Mennonite Church||Cumberland||Virginia||1970||August 2000||51||60|
|Pleasant Grove Conservative Mennonite Church||Goshen||Indiana||1948||February 1999||170||245|
|Prairie Mennonite Church||Raymond||Alberta||1986||July 2004||30||60|
|Red Oak Community Mennonite Church||Blountstown||Florida||1993||February 2003||40||90|
|Shalom Mennonite Church||Odon||Indiana||1999||February 2000||17||30|
|Shekinah Mennonite Fellowship||Castorland||New York||1997||August 2001||41||55|
|Shiloh Mennonite Church||Due West||South Carolina||1995||February 1999||84||130|
|Skyline Mennonite Church||Caon City||Colorado||2004||July 2004||67||145|
|Snow Hill Mennonite Church||Snow Hill||Maryland||1953||February 1999||43||50|
|Solid Rock Mennonite Church||Liberty||Kentucky||2007||August 2007||14||30|
|Strickler's Mennonite Church||Middletown||Pennsylvania||1837||February 2006||33||48|
|Union Chapel Mennonite Church||Odon||Indiana||2007||2008||17||35|
|United Bethel Mennonite Church||Plain City||Ohio||1940||February 2000||236||250|
|United Covenant Mennonite Church||Etowah||North Carolina||1994||February 2000||38||65|
|Womelsdorf Mennonite Church||Womelsdorf||Pennsylvania||1993||2008||71||120|
|Word of Life Mennonite Church||Hutchinson||Kansas||2005||August 2007||38||65|
|Zion Mennonite Church||Nappanee||Indiana||2008||2009||12||28|
Canadian Mennonite (13 September 1999).
Emerson, Paul M. BMA: The First Ten Years. Biblical Mennonite Alliance, 2009.
Oswald, Laurie L. "New Conference Carves More Conservative Niche: Former Conservative Conf. Congregations and Others Form a 'Biblical Alliance.'" Mennonite Weekly Review (19 August 1999): 1-2.
Website: Biblical Mennonite Alliance.
|Author(s)||Richard D. Thiessen|
|Date Published||May 2012|
Cite This Article
Thiessen, Richard D. and Sam Steiner. "Biblical Mennonite Alliance." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2012. Web. 23 May 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Biblical_Mennonite_Alliance&oldid=113224.
Thiessen, Richard D. and Sam Steiner. (May 2012). Biblical Mennonite Alliance. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Biblical_Mennonite_Alliance&oldid=113224.
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