Mennonite Faith in Action

Mennonites were in constant danger because of their unpopular beliefs. Maybe you sometimes think differently than your family or friends. Can you imagine what it would feel like if someone tried to kill you for that? Would you be willing to suffer and lose your possessions to stand up for your beliefs? You would have to be very certain that what you believe is right.

The early Mennonites were very certain. They were tortured and killed in horrible ways, but many kept their faith.

To avoid this punishment, Mennonites and Anabaptists escaped to areas where they could hide and practice their faith. First this meant moving from cities into the countryside, but soon they spread all over Europe. From Switzerland and the Netherlands, they spread to England, Germany, Moravia, Poland, Russia, and America.

Many countries did not accept Mennonites as settlers because they would not serve in the army or participate in society. Other countries promised them that they could live in peace. The Queen of Russia, Catherine the Great, invited the Mennonites to come to her country. She was looking for citizens to live in some land she had just conquered, and she had heard that the Mennonites were excellent farmers. She offered them land and the opportunity to keep their language, their customs, and their religion. She told them that they wouldn't have to do any military service. Although the first years were hard, the Mennonite colonies in New Russia soon prospered.

Another group of Mennonites moved to Pennsylvania, USA, because the governor of that colony promised them freedom to live as they wanted.

Even though many people disagreed with them and persecuted them, the Mennonites survived by finding places where they could practise their religion in peace.

Why did they move to Canada ?