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.
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.
A small timeline of our growth at WPMF
Our 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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Our Discernment for Inclusion
In April of 2012, our congregation embarked on a deliberate 6-month discernment process to clarify our position regarding sexual orientation and membership at WPMF.
Click here for more details: Discernment regarding Sexual Orientation and Following Jesus