Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mennonite Mania

I just got back from an unscheduled trip into Ontario, Canada with some Amish friends who had a sudden death in the family (a 12 year old nephew who died in a freak farm accident). It is beautiful country, very rolling and green with farms everywhere, and almost all of the farms are immaculately well-kept. Given the screwy and borderline draconian laws governing farming (and everything else) in Canada, I can see why they take such good care of their farms. I seriously would love to live in an area like the Waterloo region but there is no way I would be able to deal with the endless meddling and regulations. Besides a decent sized Amish settlement and crazy regulations, the area we were in had something else. Mennonites. Lots and lots and Mennonites.

Conservative Mennonites. Amish Mennonites. Old Order Mennonite. Horse and Buggy Old Order Mennonites. Old Colony Mennonites.

This church was with half a mile of the funeral and one of 4-5
Mennonites churches we passed on the way to the cemetery. 

There were Mennonites everywhere. Now we have a lot of Mennonites in our area but nothing like this. For example, the super conservative (although not Old Order/horse and buggy conservative) Pilgrim Conference, which includes Mennonites and Beachy Amish, has three local congregations in relative proximity to where I live. Up in the Milverton (where the funeral was) area? Just look:

That is a lot of Mennonites and that is just one flavor of Mennonites (who have more flavors than Baskin Robbins). 

I am curious to read up and find out why so many Mennonites ended up here, I am sure there are interesting stories that explain it. Also, why do they stay when it is such a pain to deal with the government? Perhaps I am just hyper-sensitive because I am American, and let's be honest, not a fan of government thugs and bullies. Perhaps their non-resistant position makes them more OK with that issue. Or perhaps it is just tradition, this is where they are from and there are lots of people like them, so it is just easier to stay around that area.

There isn't really a point to this post, just sharing something interesting. If you find yourself in Ontario and you are interested in Anabaptism and/or farming, the area to the north and west of the 401 are really scenic and fascinating. I would much prefer to wander around looking at farms and horse and buggy Mennonites than dealing with millions of people crammed into Toronto!

No comments: