About the Mennonites and Anabaptists
Mennonites believe in the centrality and inspiration of the Bible and in Jesus Christ as the One sent by God to bring reconciliation between the Creator and a broken world. We try to emphasize the connections between faith, words and actions. We believe baptism and church membership should be voluntary. We also emphasize community, peace and love, helping others and being a diverse and multi-cultural church.
The Mennonites stem from the Anabaptist movement of the sixteenth-century Reformation. Members of the Anabaptist movement insisted that church membership involve a fully informed adult decision, hence many of them requested a second baptism that symbolically superceded their infant baptism. As a result of this practice their opponents called them rebaptizers or Anabaptists. The first adult baptism was performed in January 1525 in Zurich, Switzerland.
The Mennonite group took its’ name from a Dutch Catholic priest, Menno Simons, who joined the movement in 1530. The earliest groups of Anabaptists were established in Zurich, Switzerland and the northern Dutch province of Friesland where Menno lived and worked. The groups in the south were known initially as the Swiss Brethren and later broke into two groups: the Mennonites and the Amish.
Some history of West Swamp Mennonite
West Swamp traces its beginnings to 1717 with the arrival of a Mennonite elder and a number of immigrant families from the Palatinate. Pastor John H. Oberholtzer (1842-1864) was instrumental in the formation of both the Eastern District Conference (1847) and the General Conference(1860).According to tradition, the first meetinghouse was erected in 1735 on land owned by William Allen. A marker was erected in 1944 at a spot that is thought to be the site of this meetinghouse, about midway between the present East Swamp and West Swamp churches. In 1771 a meetinghouse was erected a mile east of the first building. This is the site of the present East Swamp church. Services were held alternately in both buildings. In 1790 another building was erected about one-half mile west of the original meetinghouse on the site of the present West Swamp church. It was replaced in 1819 and again in 1873. In 1847 John H. Oberholtzer began to organize Bible instruction classes in this church. In the Oberholtzer division of that year the congregation joined the new movement, later joining the Eastern District Conference (GCM). As the number of members increased separate congregations were organized (1877), which are known as East Swamp and West Swamp; they continued to be served by the same minister until 1921.
West Swamp Mennonite Church is a member of the Eastern District Conference of Mennonite Church USA. West Swamp supports Mennonite missions, education, service and outreach.
*Rosenberger, Arthur S. (1959). “West Swamp Mennonite Church (Quakertown, Pennsylvania, USA).” Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 July 2008