Gulf States Mennonite Conference (Mennonite Church USA)
The Gulf States Mennonite Fellowship was formed on 5 May 1979 in a meeting at the Gulfhaven Mennonite Church, in Gulfport, Mississippi. This new regional conference of the Mennonite Church (MC) brought together churches from various former affiliations, which included the Conservative Mennonite Conference, Ohio Conference, South Central Conference, and the General Conference Mennonite Church.
The Gulf States Mennonite Fellowship in 1988 had 11 congregations with 517 members in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. Included were Native American (Indian), Afro-American, Cajun, and Hispanic Mennonites. Early settlements of Mennonites (1920s) were made in Noxubee and Harrison Counties, Mississippi; St. Charles Parish, Lousiana; and Atmore, Alabama. Although the primary goal of these settlements was inexpensive farm land, in the late 1980s the resulting congregations are increasingly becoming centers for mission outreach. Des Allemands Mennonite Church, St. Charles, Lousiana is the largest of those congregations in southeastern United States that are not composed of people from Germanic Mennonite background. Amor Viviente congregation in New Orleans (a member of GSMF) was a mission work among Hispanic people from Central America begun by mission workers sent by their parent church, Amor Viviente, a Mennonite-affiliated church in Honduras.
In November 2014, the Gulf States conference voted on whether to withdraw from Mennonite Church USA. Although 60% supported withdrawal, it fell short of the required 2/3 vote. A majority of the congregations in the Gulf Coast conference then withdrew in 2015. This move was part of a larger realignment of Mennonite congregations in the 2010s that were formerly part of Mennonite Church USA. These congregations were unhappy with Mennonite Church USA's failure to take stronger disciplinary actions against area conferences and congregations who expressed openness to inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
2017 Member Congregations
In 2017 the following congregations were members of the Gulf States Mennonite Conference:
|Faith Community Church||El Dorado||Arkansas|
|Iglesia Amor Viviente||Metairie||Louisiana|
|Jubilee Mennonite Church||Meridian||Mississippi|
|Mashulaville Mennonite Fellowship||Macon||Mississippi|
|Open Door Mennonite Church||Jackson||Mississippi|
Erb, Paul.South Central Frontiers : a History of the South Central Mennonite Conference. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1974.
"Gulf States Mennonite Fellowship organized." Gospel Herald 72, no. 22 (29 May 1979): 443.
Horsch, James E., ed. Mennonite Yearbook and Directory. Scottdale: Mennonite Publishing House. (1988-89): 58.
Huber, Tim. "Gulf States Conference decides not to withdraw: but several congregations expected to leave MC USA." Mennonite World Review 3 November 2014. Web. 2 June 2017. http://mennoworld.org/2014/11/03/news/gulf-states-conference-decides-not-to-withdraw/.
"Seven questions with…Carol Roth." TheMennonite 31 December 2015. Web. 2 June 2017. https://themennonite.org/seven-questions-with-carol-roth/.
|Author(s)||Robert O Zehr|
|Date Published||July 2010|
Cite This Article
Zehr, Robert O and Sam Steiner. "Gulf States Mennonite Conference (Mennonite Church USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2010. Web. 21 Oct 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gulf_States_Mennonite_Conference_(Mennonite_Church_USA)&oldid=148674.
Zehr, Robert O and Sam Steiner. (July 2010). Gulf States Mennonite Conference (Mennonite Church USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 October 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gulf_States_Mennonite_Conference_(Mennonite_Church_USA)&oldid=148674.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 358. All rights reserved.
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