Mennonite Men (General Conference Mennonite)
Mennonite Men or Men's Brotherhood was an organization within the General Conference Mennonite Church with divisions in district conferences and local congregations. The first organization of this type within the Conference originated in 1918 in the Zion Mennonite Church at Souderton, PA, after Maxwell H. Kratz of Philadelphia had challenged the men at the Eastern District Conference during the preceding year to greater activity within the local congregations and the Conference. The "Mennonite Men" of the Eastern District Conference met annually after 1918. They raised money for the Mennonite immigrants from Russia to Canada to help them pay for their transportation and had an active part in developing the Eastern Conference camp, Men-O-Lan.
In 1945 at the General Conference Mennonite Church sessions at Bethel College steps were taken to organize "Mennonite Men" on a General Conference scale. Ever since the "Mennonite Men" of the General Conference reported about its work at all triennial Conference sessions.
At the Northern District Conference sessions in 1950 held at Mountain Lake, MN, the Northern District "Mennonite Men" was organized. As a rule they met in conjunction with the district conference sessions. One of the outstanding projects of this district was the purchase of a bulldozer which arrived at Fernheim Colony, Paraguay, in 1952. The brotherhood raised $18,468.94 for this purpose.
The Western District "Mennonite Men" was organized in September 1950. They assisted youth fellowship in the development of Camp Mennoscah, in purchasing a linotype for the Mennonites in Brazil, and numerous other projects. They published The Spotlight after 1950.
In 1957 the General Conference "Mennonite Men" was trying to organize additional districts. One of the projects was to assist the Mennonites of Paraguay in road construction. Another project was in the field of boys' work and youth activities. Officers in 1957 were John O. Schrag president, Menno Schrag vice-president, and Carl M. Lehman secretary. -- CK
In the General Conference Mennonite Church, the need for help in church planting had the most to do with the revival of the Mennonite Men's organization. The district conference men's groups often had some challenging projects but the General Conference Mennonite men had completed theirs and had not adopted new ones.
In 1983 at the Bethlehem, PA, General Conference sessions, representatives from the Commission on Home ministries and Mennonite Men presented a plan to help new congregations handle the burden of buying a new meeting place. The concern was that new congregations were so burdened with debts and payments that little energy was left for evangelism, welcoming new members, and caring for the present ones. The General Conference Mennonite Men decided to sponsor the plan for three years. In 1988, this Tenth Men Church Building Plan continued to assist new churches and had by then contributed $171,000 in grants.
Mennonite Men were also active on the district conference level. A number of local congregations had active men's groups participating in projects. Mennonite Men organizations in the Eastern District, Central District, Northern District, Pacific District, and Western District met at least annually and assisted a variety of projects from leadership training and seminary education to camps, youth work, and disaster relief.
There appeared to be strong support for a revitalized program for men throughout the General Conference as shown by a survey completed in 1986. In 1986 a task force approved by the General Conference at Saskatoon, SK, began efforts to continue development of the various levels of the program, and to coordinate it with the work of Women in Mission (GCM). The General Conference Mennonite Men employed Randall Kaufman as a part-time administrator on 1 February 1987. -- ESB/IDV
"Mennonite Men at Work." Mennonite Life 9 (October 1954): 167-171.
Reports and Official Minutes of the General Conference Mennonite Church, 1947, 1950, 1953, 1956.
Handbook of Information, General Conference Mennonite Church. Newton, KS (1988): 97.
|Author(s)||Cornelius, E. Stanley Bohn Krahn|
|Irvin D. Voth|
Cite This Article
Krahn, Cornelius, E. Stanley Bohn and Irvin D. Voth. "Mennonite Men (General Conference Mennonite)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 21 Nov 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Men_(General_Conference_Mennonite)&oldid=121237.
Krahn, Cornelius, E. Stanley Bohn and Irvin D. Voth. (1987). Mennonite Men (General Conference Mennonite). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 November 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Men_(General_Conference_Mennonite)&oldid=121237.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 631, v. 5, p. 572. All rights reserved.
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