If you look at my last name “Hutton,” you’ll quickly pick up that I was likely not born into the Mennonite Church. I do not have a Russian Mennonite last name such as Harder, Janzen, or Reimer; nor do I have a Swiss Mennonite last name like Eby, Snider, or Erb.
However, when my wife, Michele and I look at the large and diverse range of families that exist throughout the Christian world; time and again, we come back to feeling that our home is with the Mennonites.
When we look at the history of the Radical Reformation (from which comes the Mennonite tradition), we constantly resonate with the themes of authentic expressions of faith, getting back to what Jesus teaches over and above institution and tradition, living simply, and pursuing peace. For us, the Mennonite Church is home. For us, the Mennonite Church is our family.
In many ways, I think our Mennonite ancestors would celebrate people like Michele and I coming to the Mennonite family. We were not born into it. We did not choose this family because it’s what our parents did. (Not that there’s anything wrong with these things of course!) We chose the Mennonite family because of an authentic and informed decision that this was where we wanted to purposefully and completely follow Jesus. We came to this Mennonite family because we believed!
As I reflect on Mennonite Heritage Sunday coming this week, I celebrate the history of Mennonite heritage that paved the way for Michele and I to come to this church family through their personal examples of faithfulness and sacrifice. And I dream of how I can exemplify and live out those same principles of faithfulness and sacrifice so that one day, our children might also see our example, choose for themselves, and believe.