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The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist denominations based on the teachings and tradition of Menno Simons. They are one of the peace churches, which hold to a doctrine of non-violence and pacifism. They are the modern denominations which present many Anabaptist views.
Their core beliefs, deriving from Anabaptist traditions are:
- Baptism of believers understood as threefold: Baptism by the spirit (internal change of heart), Baptism by water (public demonstration of witness), and baptism by blood (martyrdom and asceticism).
- Church discipline understood as threefold : Confession of Sins, Absolution of Sin, and Re-admission of Sinner in the church.
- The Lord's Supper as Memorial, shared by baptised believers within the discipline of the church.
- The Ban (Excommunication)
- Breaking of Bread (Communion)
- Separation from the Abomination
- Pastorss in the Church
- The Sword
- The Oath
Other disagreements over the years have led to other splits; sometimes the reasons were theological, sometimes practical, sometimes geographical. For instance, near the beginning of the twentieth century, there were some in the Amish church that wanted to begin having Sunday Schools and evangelize. Unable to persuade the rest of the Amish, they separated and formed the Conservative Mennonite Conference. Mennonites in Canada and other countries typically have independent denominations due to the practical considerations of distance and, in some cases, language.
Some Mennonite communities conscientiously reject the use of modern technology, such as electricity or motor transport. Such Mennonites are often referred to as Old Order Mennonites (although the term strictly refers to a particular church within that group) in order to distinguish them from Mennonite denominations that fully accept modern inventions.
Mennonites are prominent among denominations in disaster relief, often being the first to arrive with aid after hurricanes, floods and other disasters.