Biblical Mennonite Alliance
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.
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.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Thiessen, Richard D. and Sam Steiner. "Biblical Mennonite Alliance." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2012. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/biblical_mennonite_alliance.
APA style: Thiessen, Richard D. and Sam Steiner. (May 2012). Biblical Mennonite Alliance. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/biblical_mennonite_alliance.