Consequently, native Tennesseans comprise much of their membership.The second major group of Tennessee Mennonites are comprised of church groups and/or communities that can be classified as cultural (and ethnic) as well as religious groups.

Some Old Order Mennonites and Amish still attempt to live simply, “off the grid,” in farming communities and without the benefit of electrical power and automobiles. Some Old Order Mennonites and Amish still attempt to live simply, “off the grid,” in farming communities and without the benefit of electrical power and automobiles. New York City alone is home to more than 20 Mennonite congregations.

Early leaders rejected the grip of church-state control over individuals’ lives.

Included are the four churches which are part of the Mennonite Church--two in Knoxville, one each in Nashville (Brentwood) and Mountain City--and the three Brethren in Christ churches in Rolling Acres (Mc Minnville area), Dowelltown, and De Rossett (near Sparta).

With one or two exceptions (such as the Concord Mennonite church in Knoxville, which dates to the late nineteenth century), these churches were established as home mission efforts by Mennonite Conferences outside of Tennessee after World War II.

We try to be most concerned with trusting in the leading of God’s Spirit in a way that reflects the life and teaching of Jesus .

Inside each of us there is a yearning to understand why we are here.

Reasons these groups came to Tennessee include the search for affordable land, concern over school consolidation, and compulsory school attendance laws that were instituted after World War II in the Middle Atlantic and Midwestern states.

You may think of Mennonites as “the folks who came into town and helped clean up after the flood or tornado that devastated the community.” That is one view of Mennonites … Another, of course — if you’ve ever visited one of the Pennsylvania Dutch or Amish tourist attractions in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere — is that Mennonites are a reclusive group of sectarians who wear bonnets and still use horse-drawn wagons and farm equipment. Their ideas and insistence on separation between church and state are equally important today in an era of terrorism and a governmental response that tends to suppress the rights of individuals and nonconformist communities. You’ll find vibrant and growing Mennonite congregations everywhere, from small towns and cities to nearly every major urban center in North America.

Though the two groups of Mennonites in Tennessee share a religious background, only one functions as a distinct cultural and ethnic community.

As Anabaptists, they trace their roots to the radical wing of the Protestant Reformation, and nearly all are part of the "Swiss Brethren" wing of Mennonites.

The largest and fastest-growing Mennonite church in the U. is an African-American congregation in Hampton, Va.