I’m not trying to be critical, BUT, if Anabaptists were inclined to violence, we would be causing some international wars. How many groups, denominations, conferences, sects, divisions can you name? Amish, Mennonite, Brethren, Mennonite Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Church of the Brethren, Conservative, liberal, etc. etc. etc. For a body of believers that believe in peace and justice, we sure don’t get along.
Bits from Wikipedia:
In 2009, there were 1,616,126 Mennonites in 82 countries. The United States had the highest number of Mennonites with 387,103 members, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo with 220,444 members. The third largest concentration of Mennonites was in Ethiopia with 172,306 members, while the fourth largest population was in India with 156,922 members. Europe, the birthplace of Mennonites, had 64,740 members.
There are hundreds or thousands of Mennonite churches, many of which are separate from all others. Some churches are members of regional or area conferences. Some, but far from all, regional or area conferences are members of larger national or world conferences. Thus, there is no single authorized organization that includes all Mennonite churches worldwide.
Instead, there is a host of separate churches along with a myriad of separate conferences with no particular responsibility to any other group. Independent churches can contain as few as fifty members or as many as 20,000 members. Similar size differences occur among separate conferences. Worship, church discipline and lifestyles vary widely between progressive, moderate, conservative, Old Order and orthodox Mennonites in a vast panoply of distinct, independent, and widely dispersed classifications. For these reasons, no single group of Mennonites anywhere can credibly claim to represent, speak for, or lead all Mennonites worldwide.
The twelve largest Mennonite/Anabaptist groups are:
- Mennonite Brethren (300,000 members on six continents worldwide)
- Old Order Amish (250,000 in North America)
- Meserete Kristos Church in Ethiopia (120,600 members; 126,000 more followers attending alike churches)
- Old Colony Mennonite Church (120,000 in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Belize, Argentina, and Bolivia)
- Mennonite Church USA with 114,000 members in the United States
- Brethren in Christ with 100,000 U.S. and worldwide members
- Communauté Mennonite au Congo (87,000)
- Kanisa La Mennonite Tanzania with 50,000 members in 240 congregations
- Deutsche Mennonitengemeinden with 40,000 members in Germany
- Mennonite Church Canada with 35,000 members in Canada
- Conservative Mennonites with 30,000 members in over 500 U.S. churches
- Church of God in Christ, Mennonite with 21,765 members in about 19,000 in the U.S. and Canada, with the remaining in members in 32 other countries (2008 data)
The Mennonite World Conference is a global community of 95 Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Mennonite national churches from 51 countries on six continents. It exists to “facilitate community between Anabaptist-related churches worldwide, and relate to other Christian world communions and organizations”, but it is not a governing body of any kind. It is a voluntary community of faith whose decisions are not binding on member churches. The member churches of Mennonite World Conference include the Mennonite Brethren, the Mennonite Church USA, and the Mennonite Church Canada, with a combined total membership of at least 400,000, or about 30% of Mennonites worldwide.