The Funkites

The first Mennonite split in America:

Funkites (1778 to c.1850) were a group of Mennonite (Anabaptist) followers that splintered from mainstream Mennonites as the result of a schism caused by Bishop Christian Funk.

The Funkite congregation formed during the late 18th century when the colonies were building support to separate from English rule. A Mennonite Bishop, Christian Funk of Franconia Township, Pennsylvania, spoke in favor of supporting the movement. Bishop Funk realized that Mennonites as well as other Anabaptist departed Europe due to religious persecution, and he feared that if this new country would fall under European rule that religious persecution would continue. He preached that Mennonites should stand up to support revolution against European rule and dominance. Otherwise everything they gained might be lost. This went against the doctrines held by Mennonites of non-violence, pacifism, and swearing oath of allegiance. Another issue which Funk advocated was the support of the revolutionary war tax. Again this was contrary to Mennonite doctrines[1]

In an effort to break away from English dominance and in supporting religious freedom in the colonies, Bishop Funk stated that Mennonites should pay the war tax. Fellow Bishops tried to change Funk’s mind but failed. Funk’s refusal resulted in being ordered to step down as Bishop. Unable to accept this decision, Funk was excommunicated in 1778. He and approximately 52 of his followers splintered from the main congregation and formed a separate Mennonite group known as Funkites.[2] This was the first schism among the Mennonites in America.[3]

This was quite a serious turning point for the Mennonite religion and culture in the new world. Never before did anything so serious cause a break-up of the church, and among Mennonites who had suffered persecution together in Germany and Switzerland, not too many years earlier.[1]

On Bishop Christian Funk’s death in 1811 the congregation continued to worship in four locations near Evansburg, Lower Providence Township, Pennsylvania until 1850 when the last of the Funkites died out. A memorial to Christian Funk is located at the Funkite Cemetery near Evansburg, Pennsylvania. The cemetery contains 32 markers, the earliest dating from 1815.[4]

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Common Definitions

Some definitions (thanks Wikipedia) for commonly used terms in Anabaptist circles:

conscientious objector (CO) is an “individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service”[1] on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion.[2] In general, conscientious objector status is only considered in the context of military conscription and is not applicable to volunteer military forces.

Pacifism is opposition to war and violence. The word pacifism was coined by the French peace campaigner Émile Arnaud (1864–1921) and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress in Glasgow in 1901.[1  

Pacifist: a person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable.

Peace is an occurrence of harmony characterized by the lack of violence, conflict behaviors and the freedom from fear of violence. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility and retribution, peace also suggests sincere attempts atreconciliation, the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all.

Nonresistance (or non-resistance) is generally defined as “the practice or principle of not resisting authority, even when it is unjustly exercised”.[1] At its core is discouragement of, even opposition to, physical resistance to an enemy. It is considered as a form of principled nonviolence or pacifism which rejects all physical violence, whether exercised on individual, group, state or international levels. Practitioners of nonresistance may refuse to retaliate against an opponent or offer any form of self-defense. Nonresistance is often associated with particular religious groups.


Amish leaving Lancaster

Amish Leave Pa. In Search Of Greener, Less Touristy Pastures

May 22, 2014 9:50 AM ET

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The tourism attracted by the Amish population in Lancaster, Pa., is now making it harder for Amish to maintain their traditional lifestyle. Some families are leaving the area as a result.

The tourism attracted by the Amish population in Lancaster, Pa., is now making it harder for Amish to maintain their traditional lifestyle. Some families are leaving the area as a result.

Mark Makela/Reuters/Landov

Rolling pastures dotted with grazing cows, fields of corn and classic buggies driven by Amish in hats and bonnets — these are the images that attract visitors to Lancaster County, home to more than 30,000 of the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Visitors who also bring big money to the state — to the tune of nearly $1.8 billion a year. Which explains why the winning bumper sticker in a contest sponsored by Pennsylvania’s Tourism Office didn’t feature the Liberty Bell or the battlefield in Gettysburg — but rather, “I Break for Shoofly Pie,” an ode to the traditional Amish dessert.

But pictures can be deceiving, and the office of tourism — indeed the entire state — has reason to worry. The Amish, with their emphasis on family, hard work and simplicity, have drawn hordes of tourists but also an influx of residents, malls, roads and housing developments. The upshot? Swaths of farmland have been lost, and many Amish are now choosing to give up farming or are leaving the state to pursue quieter surrounding and cheaper land.

The irony, spelled out in research from Pennsylvania’s Kutztown University, couldn’t be more blunt: “The commercialization of the Amish lifestyle has grown tremendously in recent decades, so much so that it actually threatens the viability of the very tourism industry it created. … Stores catering to the tourists now sit on land that was once an Amish farm.”

Samuel Lapp, a former Amish farmer who lives near Intercourse, said a farm is “a nice place for boys to grow up,” but seeing others get jobs, make money and not have to work seven days a week convinced his sons to take another path.

“My sons didn’t want our farm and I’m not going to milk cows by myself,” said Lapp.

He sold his dairy and hog farm about 25 years ago and his children mostly work in construction, a lucrative industry in a county where the population has risen by more than 100,000 since 1990.

But the commercial and residential development that is generating construction jobs has also bumped up land prices. Donald Kraybill, who teaches at Elizabethtown College and is co-author of The Amish, said a 60-acre farm today costs around $1.2 million — not including livestock or equipment.

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What are Anabaptists

Article posted in Christianity Today:


Who are Anabaptists?

What do Anabaptists believe? Ed Boschman, Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches explains. |
Who are Anabaptists?


We use the terms “biblical theology,” “anabaptist,” and “evangelical” to describe our faith because these words also grow out of our history. Because MBs have been shaped by other movements that we have found compatible, a brief review of our story is helpful in understanding the context for such words as “evangelical” and “anabaptist.”

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