Konferenz der pfälzisch-hessischen Mennoniten-Gemeinden
Konferenz der pfälzisch-hessischen Mennoniten-Gemeinden (Conference of the Palatine and Hessian Mennonite Churches). The momentum to organize this conference was given by W. H. Angas, a Baptist preacher, after the plan of Johann Risser of Friedelsheim to call a "meeting of preachers and elders" at Pentecost in 1820 had failed to materialize. At the first session held at the Branchweilerhof on 13 July 1824, a resolution was passed to give some consideration to foreign missions on the first Sunday of each month and to put up an offering box in each church to collect funds for the missions of the English Baptists.
Successive conferences met at the Spitalhof (May 1825), Friedelsheim (12 September 1826), Weierhof (9 May 1830), Sembach (8 October 1843; see Mennonitischer Gemeinde-Kalender, 1918, 99-109), and Monsheim (2 June 1844). This last-named conference was very significant. The next two meetings, held respectively at Kühbörncheshof (10 May 1852) and Eppstein (7 June 1854), were called to consider particular matters. At the former it was decided to introduce a new ministers' manual or formulary (Formularbuch), at the latter a new hymnal. There was now a lull in conference activities, until it was revived by a call issued by Ibersheim on 5 August 1871.
On 20 February 1872 a meeting was held at Monsheim, and on 29 October 1872, at Sembach. The question under consideration was a proposed union of the South German churches with those of Northwest Germany; it was negatively decided at the next session meeting at Friedelsheim (28 May 1874). Eleven years later the Palatine and Hessian brethren, in conference at Ernstweiler (28 May 1885), declared themselves ready to join the Union of Mennonite Churches in Germany (Vereinigung der Deutschen Mennonitengemeinden).
Another significant decision was that passed at Monsheim on 27 May 1880 to establish a central relief fund. After the organization of the Vereinigung der Deutschen Mennonitengemeinden this fund involved only the Palatinate and Rheinhessen. At the conference held at Eppstein on 27 May 1886 this fund was named the Mennonitische Hilfskasse. Here it was also decided to plan a conference with the brethren of Baden, which led to the formation of the Conference of South German Mennonites.
From the beginning the conference has been a brotherly association of the Mennonite congregations in the Palatinate and Rheinhessen (except the Deutschhof and Branchweilerhof congregations which belong to the Badischer Verband) for the purpose of fellowship and the ordering of problems of common concern as they may arise. It has no separate program of work, since these matters are handled by the Conference of South German Churches to which all belong. Its chief expression has been the spring conference, which met annually for more than a century in rotation in the various congregations, and after World War II met in the central cities of the Palatinate on account of the increasingly large attendance. The program of these conferences consisted of sermons and Bible expositions, inspirational, informational, and practical addresses, and necessary business and reports. The conference was managed by a committee composed of representatives of all the congregations in the mid-1950s.
Subsidiary to the Palatine and Hessian Mennonite conference was a "conference of preachers and congregational lay leaders" which met usually annually in January largely to consider general and business matters. The preachers met every two to three months for fellowship and counsel in a "preachers' conference."
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 v. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 528.
Neff, Christan. "Aus der Geschichte der Pfälzisch-Hessischen Konferenz." Mennonitischer Gemeinde-Kalender (1935): 85-101; (1936): 103-117; (1937): 95-102.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 677-678. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Neff, Christian. "Konferenz der pfälzisch-hessischen Mennoniten-Gemeinden." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/konferenz_der_pfalzisch_hessischen_mennoniten.
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