An introduction to Mennonite Church USA
Mennonite Church USA is an Anabaptist denomination with roots in the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe. From its beginnings in mostly German-speaking parts of Europe, the Mennonite Church today is growing rapidly in many parts of the world. In fact, more Mennonites currently reside in the southern hemisphere than in the northern. In the United States, people from various faith traditions, ethnicities, nationalities and other backgrounds are also identifying with the vision and mission of Mennonite Church USA. (For more information about Mennonites and their faith, visit ThirdWay.com.) You can also read past Mennonite Church USA confessions and resolutions online.
Mennonite Church USA was formed in 2002 by the merger of the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Mennonite Church, both of which were binational (U.S. and Canada) denominations. Mennonite Church USA has more than 79,000 adult members among 19 area conferences. It is the largest of numerous Mennonite groups in the United States. Mennonite Church Canada, which was organized at about the same time, has about 33,000 members.
Mennonite Church USA organizational structures are relatively “flat” compared to many other denominations. An 18-member volunteer Executive Board guides the denomination and is accountable to congregational and area conference delegates, who meet every two years at a Delegate Assembly. The Executive Board supervises the executive director and staff. Delegates to the Delegate Assembly traditionally discern and process statements and resolutions related to Mennonite belief and practice.
Delegates at the 2011 assembly in Pittsburgh set aside the usual order of business to spend time discerning future direction and priorities for Mennonite Church USA.
The Constituency Leaders Council, a group consisting of Executive Board representatives, conference leaders, constituency group representatives and agency and Executive Board staff, meets semi-annually to listen, discern and advise the denomination on issues facing the church.
Constituency groups work to serve the needs of their members across Mennonite Church USA and connect them to the larger vision and mission of the church. These include:
- African American Mennonite Association
- African, Belizean, Caribbean Mennonite Mission Association
- Asian Mennonite Ministries
- Iglesia Menonita Hispana
- Indonesian Mennonite Association
- Mennonite Women USA
- Mennonite Men
- Native Mennonite Ministries
Executive Board staff work at carrying out the priorities identified by the delegates and board. (The priorities decided upon in July 2011 are shown in the next column.) They also support interconference connections and collaboration, coordinate the denomination’s biennial conventions, provide communication services for the denomination and oversee the denominational archives.
Joint Executive Committee Covenant
This covenant is a written agreement between Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA to maintain intentional partnerships in areas of mutual interest. The Joint Executive Committee reviews this covenant annually.
Churchwide agencies and ministries
The various agencies and ministries of Mennonite Church USA have their own boards but also collaborate with the Executive Board in carrying out the vision and collective mission of the denomination.