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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
Totals 2,843 4,092

Bibliography

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.

Additional Information

Website: Biblical Mennonite Alliance.


Author(s) Richard D. Thiessen
Sam Steiner
Date Published May 2012


Cite This Article

MLA style

Thiessen, Richard D. and Sam Steiner. "Biblical Mennonite Alliance." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2012. Web. 14 Jul 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Biblical_Mennonite_Alliance&oldid=113224.

APA style

Thiessen, Richard D. and Sam Steiner. (May 2012). Biblical Mennonite Alliance. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 July 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Biblical_Mennonite_Alliance&oldid=113224.




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