The Stauffer Mennonites, or "Pikers", are a group of Old Order Mennonites. They are also called "Team Mennonites", because they use horse drawn transportation. In 2015 Stauffer Mennonite had 2010 adult members.
The original church was founded in 1845 when a split occurred in the Lancaster Mennonite Conference in Lancaster County, PA. The more conservative group formed a new church called Piker Mennonites because their meeting house stood near an old turnpike. In 1916 the original "Pikers" split into the Stauffer Mennonites and the group around bishop John A. Weaver, called Weaver Mennonites, who are less conservative. The schism from the Bowman group in Pennsylvania was about the extent of shunning and divided the congregation 101 to 102.
Today the name "Stauffer Mennonite" in a broad sense can refer to at least nine different groups, all descending from the church that was founded in 1845. The groups are named after the bishop who founded the group: Jacob Stauffer, Phares Stauffer, Joseph Brubaker, Noah Hoover, Titus Hoover, Aaron Martin, Allen Martin, Martin Weaver, and Jonas Weaver groups. Today the Noah Hoovers are mostly counted as a separate group.
In general all of these groups hold to orthodox Mennonite beliefs, strictly Plain dress and forbid cars and modern farm machinery. Shunning is practised in a stricter way than among other Old Order Mennonite groups.
Customs and beliefs
As of 2010, these groups are among the most conservative of all Mennonites of Swiss and south German ancestry outside the Amish. They stress strict separation from “the world”, avoid excommunicated members (shunning), forbid or limit cars and technology much like the Amish, and wear very plain clothing. Stauffer Mennonites in general do not wear beards, with the exception of the Noah Hoover Mennonites, who are now considered not to be part of the Stauffer Mennonites in a narrow sense, but of the larger Horse and Buggy Old Order Mennonite movement which formed from later schisms.
Congregations and baptized members
In 1936 Stauffer Mennonite had 161 baptized members. In 1959 there were 2 congregations with 218 adult members. In 2008 there were 13 Stauffer Mennonite congregations with about 1300 adult members. In 2015 there were 17 Stauffer Mennonite congregations with 2010 baptized members.
- Scott, Stephen (1996), An Introduction to Old Order and Conservative Mennonite Groups, Intercourse, Pennsylvania: Good Books, ISBN 1-56148-101-7
- Stauffer Mennonite Church in Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online