Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church
Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church was formed in 1968 when a group of bishops, ministers, and deacons were granted a release from the Lancaster Mennonite Conference. The separation was by mutual agreement and by official sanction of the conference.
The group adheres to the Mennonite Confession of Faith (Christian Fundamentals, 1921, Garden City, Missouri) and to many of the practices which had been upheld by the Lancaster Mennonite Conference, including the conference-type of church organization and government (polity). The Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church has a written statement of standards known as the Rules and Discipline, which is reviewed every three or four years and then ratified again by the congregations. The purpose for seeking release from the Lancaster Mennonite Conference was to develop a church program that would help preserve biblical practice and the historic Mennonite values. The Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church does not accept divorce and remarriage. Women wear headcoverings and have uncut hair. Men, as a rule, do not enter the professions. They wear plain clothing (dress), and their life is built around the church, schools, and religious activities. They do not engage in worldly amusements, nor do they follow organized sports. The use of radio and television is not allowed. Their life-style reflects the old Mennonite traditions.
Regular worship services include Sunday school and preaching every Sunday morning, Sunday evening services, and midweek prayer meetings. The singing is in four-part harmony without accompaniment, with some emphasis on singing instruction and special song services. No special group singing is allowed in worship services. Ministers are unsalaried and chosen from the congregation by nomination and the use of the lot.
Life insurance is not permitted and generally members do not use auto, health, fire, or other insurances, but rather employ a unique method of brotherhood assistance (mutual aid) that is directed by the deacons of the congregations.
Children of members do not attend public schools. Private schools are provided by the group so that all the member families have access to them. Teachers are not college-trained. Many of the students continue in school through 10th grade.
The Mennonite Messianic Mission, Inc. directs the group's missions in Guatemala, the Bahamas, Paraguay and Ghana. The church's monthly periodical, Eastern Mennonite Testimony, is published by the Publication Board.
The group sponsors a 15-week winter Bible school at Numidia, Pennsylvania. The school is especially provided for young people in their late teens and early 20s, and offers a wide variety of Bible and practical studies. Each summer the school offers a two-week training course for school teachers, and in December a ministers' fellowship and seminar is provided. Service opportunities are provided in relief work, literature evangelism, child care, and in elderly care.
Many congregations are located in eastern Pennsylvania. Congregations are also located in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Vermont, Texas, Ohio, Maine, Wisconsin, Indiana, Washington, Virginia, Michigan, Massachusetts, Manitoba, and British Columbia, and in the mission countries mentioned above.
In 2010 the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church had 77 congregations with 5,333 members. The conference also had 59 schools.
Mennonite Church Directory 2010. Harrisonburg, VA: Christian Light Publications, Inc., 2010: 62-71.
Mennonite Church Information (2001): 38-46.
Mennonite Yearbook (1986-87): 175-78; (1997): 121-123.
Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage 7 (October 1984): 2-10.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 253. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Neuenschwander, Jesse. "Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2010. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/E2388ME.html.
APA style: Neuenschwander, Jesse. (September 2010). Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/E2388ME.html.