WHO ARE WE?
OUR CORE CONVICTIONS
As an Anabaptist community, we recognize that we are journeying towards these convictions that are central to our faith:
God, the creator of the universe, is a God of love, and longs for mercy and justice, both for humanity and creation.
We follow in the way of Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection teaches us how to live.
Jesus showed us a way of shalom, non-violence, and alternatives to empire responses of power and dominion over others.
As Jesus gathered his disciples together to eat with sinners and saints--throughout his ministry, at the last supper, and after the resurrection--we too gather, to share communion, to eat together, to share our joys and sorrows, and to give and receive counsel. We are part of each other’s lives, bound to each other in deep, meaningful ways.
Our discipleship leads us to serve God and others, and to have the grace and vulnerability to be served as well.
Water baptism is an expression of commitment to begin the journey of discipleship. We welcome those who desire to begin that journey to make a public confession of faith, and receive a blessing of the congregation and the Holy Spirit.
We study scripture with each other, aligning our story with the biblical story. We welcome the winds of the Holy Spirit to blow through us, giving us wisdom to discern where God is calling us.
We strive to live lives of simplicity, using our resources wisely, and recognizing the impact of our consumerism on God’s creation and on our spirits.
Thirteen Dutch Mennonite families led the way, when on October 6, 1683, they arrived in Philadelphia on the ship, “Concord,” and settled in what became known as Germantown, a small settlement about seven miles northwest of the seaport of Philadelphia. At first, these families met in private homes and worshipped with Quaker families. In 1687, they authored the first protest by white people against slavery in North America.
The early settlers erected a log meetinghouse in 1708. In 1770, the log building was replaced with a stone structure. In the mid-Fifties, with most of the regular attendees coming from the rural suburbs, this historic meetinghouse was almost sold.
The church’s revival began in the mid-Seventies, when a concerted effort was made to gather the varied Mennonite graduate students and volunteer service workers within Philadelphia. The congregation began to grow numerically and assume an identity and vision for Mennonites who loved the city and felt a spiritual calling to live in an urban setting. A growing congregation soon made the 1770 meetinghouse obsolete. In 1993, after a couple of years as tenants in neighboring facilities, the Congregation purchased the present site at 21 West Washington Lane.
At that time, Germantown was a dually-affiliated congregation, being a member of both the Franconia and the Eastern district conferences. The relationship with Franconia lasted until October 1997 when Germantown was removed as a conference member, due to our full inclusion of sexual minorities into membership. For similar reasons, the Eastern District also removed Germantown as a member congregation in November 2002. While we are outside of the body of Mennonite Church USA, we maintain many relationships with Mennonites in our region and around the world.
“I appreciate the way Germantown Mennonite Church strives to affirm that God’s love embraces all people. Christ invites us to offer hospitality to all. I have found here a congregation seeking to worship God together and work to both respect and transcend differences of ethnicity, race, gender, sexual identity, physical ability, marital status, and class. Germantown Mennonite strives to create a safe yet open space for diverse people to offer praise, find healing, nurture spiritual growth, celebrate the Spirit, and explore both new and old paths of discipleship.”
— John Linscheid