Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches
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The Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (CCMBC) is an association of Mennonite Christians with origins in southern Russia. It is part of the larger Mennonite Brethren Church and shares some common history with the US Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.
A small group of Mennonites in the Ukraine met in the village of Elisabeththal, Molotschna on January 6, 1860, and formed the Mennonite Brethren Church. These brethren were influenced somewhat by the Moravian Brethren, and to a greater degree by Lutheran Pietism through the influential preaching of Eduard Wuest. They felt the Mennonites had grown cold and formal, and were seeking greater emphasis on discipline, prayer and Bible study. The immediate catalyst for the new organization was the discipline placed on a body of brethren who met to observe communion in a private home without the elders' sanction.
From 1860 until 1872, the church grew from about 50 members to about 600. Mennonite Brethren were among the migration of nearly 18,000 Mennonites from Russia to North America between 1874 and 1880. The members of the first migrations settled in the United States, mainly in Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The first Mennonite Brethren congregation in Canada was founded in Winkler, Manitoba in 1888 as a result of mission work from the United States.
From 1923 to 1929, almost 4500 Mennonite Brethren migrated from Russia to Canada. More Mennonites came to Canada in the 1940s, mostly as a result of the events of war in Germany and Russia. These migrations greatly increased the number of Mennonite Brethren in Canada, and in 1945 a Canadian Conference was established. In 1954, the desire of the Canadian churches for independence brought about the formation of two area conferences of the Mennonite Brethren of North America — the subject of this article and the US Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.
The confession of faith of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (held in common with the US Conference) reveals the churches accept God in three persons; the divinity, humanity, virgin birth, atonement, resurrection, ascension, and return of Jesus; the Bible as the inspired word of God; the fall of humankind and salvation through the atoning work of Christ; the Lord's Day (Sunday) as a day of worship; and the resurrection of all people, either to eternal punishment or eternal life with God. The Mennonite Brethren Church holds two ordinances — baptism and the Lord's supper. Water baptism by immersion is the mode administered by local congregations, but they may receive on confession of faith persons who have been baptized by other modes. Those baptized as infants must receive baptism from a local Mennonite Brethren congregation on their profession of faith. Believers who have confessed their faith in Jesus Christ and understand the meaning of the Lord's supper are invited to participate, though the Mennonite Brethren believe that baptism should precede participation in the communion service. Mennonite Brethren reject the swearing of oaths, membership in secret societies, and bearing of arms in warfare. The church allows alternative types of service during times of war.
Currently (2010), there are Mennonite Brethren conferences in 19 countries. The largest conferences are located in India and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Offices of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches are located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 2010, the Mennonite Brethren had 240+ congregations in Canada. The Mennonite Brethren support the Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary, with campuses in Fresno, California, Langley, British Columbia, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Mennonite Brethren Herald is published monthly.
- A History of the Mennonite Brethren Church, by John A. Toews
- Mennonite Encyclopedia, Cornelius J. Dyck, Dennis D. Martin, et al., editors
- The Mennonite Brotherhood in Russia, by Peter M. Friesen
- Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, National Council of Churches
- Official website
- The Mennonite Brethren Herald
- British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches
- Alberta Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches
- Saskatchewan Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches
- Manitoba Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches
- Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches
- US Conferences of Mennonite Brethren Churches
- Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary
- Mennonite Brethren Mission and Service International
- Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches in Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO)