The Anabaptist Vision
During the Reformation era, Spirit-filled and thoughtful people began to consider their faith in Jesus Christ anew. Martin Luther sparked the Reformation by nailing his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Church for all to see. These theses were reforms that Luther believed were necessary for the church to become what she was meant to be in Christ. Other leaders rose up and took the reforms further.
Among these reformers of the church were certain radicals known as Anabaptists. They were known as Anabaptists because it was their conviction that persons who were adults and believed in Jesus Christ for their salvation should be baptized by personal choice. Most people were baptized as infants in those days and to be re-baptized was considered illegal, since the church and state were closely connected. Anabaptists (re-baptizers) suffered for their stand, but they were convinced that their convictions were biblical (Acts 2:38 indicates that a person believe and then be baptized upon that faith).
Important elements of their biblical vision included:
Daily following Jesus Christ in every part of life (Discipleship).
Obedience to Scripture. (the Sermon on the Mount was considered an ethical guide to life and was therefore adhered to most literally)
Separation of Church and State or Free Church. When infants were baptized in the Middle Ages they became part of the state, whereas the Anabaptists believed that the Bible taught a person becomes a member of the kingdom of God when baptized.
The Way of Love. Anabaptists believed it was always wrong to take the life of another human being, whether in war or in self-defense. According to Philippians 2:1-11and the example of Christ, we are to put the needs of others ahead of ourselves.
Ambassadors of Reconciliation. We are to seek peace in all situations and help bring people into relationship with God as witnesses of Christ’s reconciling work on the cross.
Believer’s Church Membership. Those who have experienced spiritual rebirth by faith in Christ are members of the Church of Christ, His Body. With baptism comes reception into the membership of the church.
Adult Believer’s Baptism
Mutual accountability. Being part of a church body means helping each other live the Christian life (Gal. 6:1-2).
KEMC shares this vision.
Evangelical Mennonite Conference
Over time a church may grow stagnant and needs to revisit their faith walk. Out of the Anabaptist movement arose a group known as the Mennonites, named for an Anabaptist leader in Holland by the name of Menno Simons. Menno wanted to follow Christ and lead others in the way of Jesus. Though called Mennonites, we do not follow Menno, but Christ alone.
The Evangelical Mennonite Conference broke away from a larger Mennonite group in Russia when the larger group did not appear to want to take their faith seriously. Klaas Reimer and a few families eventually left the larger group to study the Bible and worship on their own. Out of derision, the larger group called the break-away group Kleine Gemeinde (little/small church). The name stuck.
In 1874, the Kleine Gemeinde as a group moved from Russia to Manitoba, Canada and to Kansas, U.S.A. Farmland was a major contributing factor in their choices. The Canadian group changed its name to the Evangelical Mennonite Church in 1952 and to the Evangelical Mennonite Conference in 1959. Prior to 1952, the EMC was considered one church in six locations. With church planting and missions in Canada, the EMC grew in its number of congregations and thus gave them autonomy in governance. “Conference” reflects a family of church with a shared vision for worship and evangelistic outreach.
Kleefeld Evangelical Mennonite Church (KEMC) belongs to the Evangelical Mennonite Conference.
Kleefeld is the community in which we live. It was the first EMC church in Canada. “Kleefeld” means “clover field” and reflects the history of honey farming in the area.
Evangelical highlights that we are Christ-centered, Gospel-believing witnesses of Jesus Christ.
Mennonite underscores our connection the heritage of faith we have inherited and the vision of the Anabaptists to which we cling.
Church tells everyone we are a community of faith committed to one another for the equipping and upbuilding of the believers.