From Anabaptist to Methodist and Back Again


My wife, Samantha, and I attended Portland Mennonite Church for their Sunday morning service today. The singing was beautiful.1 The sermon excellent.2 And the potluck: classic.3 Ironically within seconds of nervously taking a seat at potluck someone mentions going to Central Illinois for a wedding, and we discovered someone else’s wife went to the same tiny summer camp in Minnesota as Sam.

However, the real irony was in the fact that I found myself enjoying an Anabaptist service. To understand this you have to know a bit of Schurter family lore:

My father grew up United Methodist, swore it off and joined a Apostolic Christian Church, and in the past few years has gone back to a United Methodist Church.

I grew up in the Apostolic church, went off to college and became Methodist (Free, then United), and now I’m back at an Anabaptist church (albeit Mennonite instead of German Apostolic).

I guess I should clarify Sam & I haven’t joined the Portland Mennonite Church, but we’re definitely planning on going back!

1. I’m a sucker for hymns and actual multi-part harmonies. This was only my second time experience Mennonite singing, but both times have been the best congregational singing I’ve ever heard.

2. It was on the Parable of the Talents. The pastor managed to speak frankly both about the current financial crisis and our responsibility to do good (the true meaning of the parable poorly summed up in a sentence fragment…sorry).

3. Lots of casseroles (“hotdish” in Minnesotan).