|Who We Are & Welcome Brochure|
|Our Beliefs as Mennonites|
|Membership & Organizational Document|
Our roots are in the Anabaptist experience of the Protestant Reformation. We teach peacemaking, believers baptism, and following the teachings of Jesus, our Savior and Lord. We value the community of faith as a central part of the Gospel.
Average Sunday attendance is about 70 adults and 25 children. We cultivate ministries of worship, nurture and outreach. Some of us come from Mennonite backgrounds, while others of us grew up in other Protestant, Roman Catholic, or Jewish religious traditions, or none at all. We are students, teachers, social workers, homemakers, missionaries, artists, construction workers, computer programmers, health-care workers, and other professionals. Our common faith in God through Jesus Christ binds us together.
As followers of Christ, our task is to open the door and accept, in love and humility, whomever the Spirit draws inside. And so we welcome people of any ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, status, physical or mental ability to join us on this journey drawing closer to God.
Local: Kingdom Builders Anabaptist Network of Greater Philadelphia (KB)
Kingdom Builders brings together twenty diverse urban Anabaptist congregations to work at common concerns and fellowship together.
Regional: Franconia Mennonite Conference (Visit www.franconiaconference.org)
Franconia Mennonite Conference is one of the twenty-one area conferences that comprise Mennonite Church USA. Its network includes congregations, ministries, partnerships and emerging initiatives; people and organizations benefit from its relationships, resources and accountability. Its geographical area spans the Northeast corridor from southern Vermont to northern Virginia. The earliest Mennonite witness in the Western Hemisphere began in the Philadelphia area over 300 years ago when Swiss and Germans immigrated to Penn's colony.
National: Mennonite Church USA (Visit www.mennoniteusa.org)
Mennonite Church USA is the structure that gives shape to our denomination in the U.S. It connects 939 congregations across 44 states. It provides executive leadership and operates churchwide agencies of Mission, Financial Services, Education and Publishing. It also gathers people from across the denomination to a biannual convention.
The two most prominent features of the biannual convention are the assemblies for congregational delegates and youth, though activites for people of all ages are offered. The Delegate Assembly discusses issues related to the governance and mission of the church, including access to health care, immigration, and peace and justice issues. The assembly structure gives each congregation the opportunity to participate in the denomination's decision making processes. The Youth Assembly is a week of worship, friendship, service, and fun.
Global: Mennonite World Conference (Visit www.mwc-cmm.org)
The Vision of Mennonite World Conference is "to be a communion (Koinonia) of Anabaptist-related churches linked to one another in a worldwide community of faith for fellowship, worship, service, and witness." It works for solidarity and gift sharing across divisions of nationality, ethnicity, race, gender and economic resources. It has adopted a statement of seven "Shared Convictions" for global Anabaptist-related churches and gathers delegates from around the world for an Assembly every six years.
You can read the "Shared Convictions" by clicking here.
MCC (Visit www.mcc.org)
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) seeks to show God's love by working among people suffering from poverty, conflict, oppression and natural disaster.
Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS): Responding, Rebuilding, Restoring
Way Cafe (Visit www.thirdway.com)
News, scripture, and answers to your quirky questions from Mennonite Media, a mission of Mennonite Mission Network and Mennonite Church US
Digest (Visit www.ourfaithdigest.com)
The grassroots every-home evangelical Mennonite/Anabaptist digest
Mennonite (Vist www.themennonite.org)
Official magazine of Mennonite Church USA
Contact the administrative assistant if you would like to join WPMF's group subscription plan.
West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship (WPMF) grew out of a small Bible study group from Diamond Street Mennonite Church in the early 1980s that met in the home of Luke and Miriam Stoltzfus. This group had a vision for an internationally focused Mennonite Church in West Philadelphia. They agreed to be a core group for the emerging congregation and Diane Stitt was named as a church planter by the Franconia and Lancaster Mennonite conferences. Twenty-one people attended WPMF's first worship service on July 1, 1984.David Greiser and Diane Stitt served as the founding pastoral team
Libby Caes and Fred Kauffman followed as co-pastors until 1998, when Libby took a full-time position with another Mennonite church in California. Fred continued to serve as pastor on a 3/4 time basis until November 2005.
The congregation has met in various venues, including the Second Mile Center, Intercultural Family Services at 42nd and Chestnut Street, and its current location in the Calvary Center.
BELIEFS AS MENNONITES
At the center of Mennonite teachings is the need to believe in Jesus Christ as the one who died and rose from the dead in order that people could live in union with God. Mennonites believe that the life and teachings of Jesus guide our daily living. We believe that the church should keep Christ's life and ministry alive in the world, just as though Christ was still living on earth. That's why the church gets referred to as the "body of Christ." Here are highlights of seven basic beliefs:
** The Bible is Central: The church tries to live in obedience to the Word of God -- the Bible. Mennonites believe that God's spirit, or "Holy Spirit," helps the community of believers understand that Word. The life and teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Bible help in interpreting the meaning of the "Old Testament" part of the Bible: "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 3:1 1, RSV). The Holy Spirit uses the written Word to give new life to the church and to help people grow in faith.
** New Life in Christ: Because we are human beings, we all sin: we commit wrongs, we don't do the things we should, and we're out of touch with God. In history, God sent Jesus Christ to the world so that all those who believe in Jesus Christ could receive forgiveness for their sins, as well as the gift of a whole life today and the promise of living forever with God. Taking part in a regular worship service enables Christians to respond to God with praise and thanks, and to live for Jesus through the week.
** Voluntary Membership and Commitment to Christ: A church is strong when its members experience God's love and are wholeheartedly committed to its purpose. For that reason, "believer's baptism" is practiced to symbolize the decision of an adult to make a public commitment to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. In baptism the believer shows willingness to share the good news about Jesus by words and actions.
** Reaching Out to the World: Jesus Christ said, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21, RSV). He sends the church to bring "good news" to all persons throughout the world. Jesus wants his followers to help each other. As Jesus put it, "The Spirit of the Lord ... has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, ... freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind" (Luke 4:18, RSV). Mennonites also believe it's important to be concerned for both the "spiritual" and "physical" aspects of life.
** Belonging to Each Other: "In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others" (Ro. 12:5, NIV). Mennonites feel that Christians need each other for encouragement and growth, for confronting one another in a supportive way, and for help in time of crisis. The church grows in faith, unity, service, and witness when it is a caring and loving community.
** Living Peacefully: As disciples of Jesus, Mennonites try to live under Christ's rule: for many this means loving the enemy and refusing to use violence or participate in military service, living peaceably with others at all levels, serving the poor and needy, and taking risks to work actively for justice and mercy.
**Helping Each Other: As members of the body of Christ, Mennonites try to care for the spiritual, emotional, and physical health of other members. "Mutual aid" takes many forms, including giving time, money, and goods in times of crisis.
Mennonite Church USA uses "Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective" as its guide for beliefs. Copies of this short book are available in the church office. Feel free to discuss your faith questions with others, with Pastor Lorie, or with a member of the pastoral team.
& ORGANIZATIONAL DOCUMENT
Membership in the Mennonite Church, and thus in WPMF, is by confession of faith and/or adult baptism. It's open to all those who declare their faith in Christ and who have completed the WPMF membership class. Members renew their commitment through an annual covenant signing.
Above: Women's Retreat, October 3-5, 2008
"A friend is one who knows who you are and understands where you've been,
accepts who you've become and still, gently invites you to grow." (Anonymous)