Brief History of Conservative Mennonite Conference
The Conservative Mennonite Conference has its roots in the Amish Mennonite wing of Anabaptism. From its modest beginnings in 1910 it has strived to “maintain peace and unity” and to “spread the gospel because Christ himself commanded it.”
Ministers from Belleville (Pennsylvania) and Hartville (Ohio) joined ministers from Pigeon (Michigan), who hosted the first meeting of ministers. Like all Amish Mennonites, these early leaders believed strongly in the autonomy of the local congregation and were deeply concerned that a conference not override the authority of congregational decision-making. At the same time they were concerned about the lack of unity among many Amish Mennonite congregations and desired a conference structure that could help local congregations when unity was threatened.
From its earliest days, the Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference (as it was known then), was interested in missions. Beginning with an orphanage in Grantsville, Maryland, in 1913 and establishing a Mission Board in 1920, over the intervening years the conference planted churches first in Flint, Michigan, and eastern Kentucky and later in other stateside locations. International missions began in 1961 with work established in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Germany, Turkey and more recently in the Far East and Africa. Ministry to Muslims in the 10/40 window has received considerable recent attention. Rosedale Mennonite Mission’s budget recently topped two million dollars.
In the early 1950’s a Bible School was held near Berlin, Ohio, and later moved to a campus in Rosedale, Ohio. The Bible School has grown from one six-week term to a two year accredited Bible college offering associates degrees in Biblical Studies. Students at Rosedale Bible College choose from concentrations in Bible, Theology, Pastoral Studies, Missions, Biblical Counseling, and Music and Worship.
Since the mid-1960’s, CMC’s geographical and institutional center has been in Rosedale, Ohio. The conference now has over 110 congregations with just over 11,000 members located in 24 states. Despite differences in worship styles, age of congregations, geographical locations, and dress through the years; CMC continues to be a network of congregations committed to fellowship in Christ and to the authority of God’s Word.
Click here to watch the 100th Year History of CMC divided into decades.
Click here for information on how to purchase a pamphlet Conservative Mennonite Conference: A Short History (1971) by Richard Showalter.
Click here for information on how to purchase a book History of the Conservative Mennonite Conference 1910-1985 (1985) written by Ivan Miller.
Click here for a 23 minute video of Greenwood Mennonite Church’s 100th Anniversary historical video published on March 15, 2014.
Click here to purchase our newest centennial history book: Together in the Work of the Lord: A History of the Conservative Mennonite Conference (2014) by Nate Yoder.