Learn about our congregation
Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship is a congregation rooted in the Anabaptist principles of peacemaking, community, and following the way of Jesus in life. We hold as central to our faith the commandment that Jesus taught as a summary of all the great teachings — that we love God with all our strength, mind and spirit; and that we love our neighbor as ourself. We live all over the Cincinnati metropolitan area – including Kentucky and Indiana.
We love to sing and serve and show up for social justice and study the bible and create art. We’re full of paradoxes and we’d love to have you join us!
Our congregation is part of Mennonite Church USA. This Christian tradition finds its roots in the sixteenth century movement known as the Radical Reformation (also called Anabaptism). Our history plays out in our contemporary lives in various ways; work and worship flowing out of one another, nonviolence, communal embodiment of the gospel, concern for God’s merciful justice for our neighborhoods and across the globe. We live these out together by hosting a regular comunity meal and supporting fair trade Ten Thousand Villages stores in the city.
We come from various faith traditions – you don’t have to be born Mennonite or have the right last name to join us. Explore these pages to learn more about us, and then come visit us as you are able. We welcome all who would like to worship with us — whether for a one time visit, or for exploring joining the congregation, or anything in between. Whether we ever meet you or not, we invite you to join with us in living out the vision of God’s Beloved Community in whatever setting you may find yourself.
We were recently featured in an article on TV station WCPO’s website. Read more about it by clicking on the link below!
Come Visit Us
We welcome visitors to worship with us on Sundays and explore our faith community. If you plan to visit, here are some helpful things to know:
Where and When
We meet for worship in the Oakley neighborhood of Cincinnati, at the corner of Brownway and Minot Avenues. We worship at 10:30am on Sunday mornings. Worship usually lasts until around 11:45am. We also have Sunday school for all ages beginning at 9:30am. We do not have Sunday school during the summer months – June, July, and August.
Parking is primarily available on the surrounding streets, and there are a few parking spaces behind the church building reserved for visitors. Baba India restaurant graciously allows CMF attendees to park in the back of their lot on Sunday mornings before noon; please pick up a parking pass in the gathering area of our building if you wish to park at Baba India.
Getting in the Building
Please enter through the main doors on Brownway Avenue. Our newly remodeled front entrance also has a lift for those not wanting to or unable to take the stairs. The elevator entrance is accessible from the alley to the right of the main entrance. Operating instructions are posted both outside and inside the elevator.
We often dress casually at CMF. If you like dressing up, that’s great, too! Bring your whole self, just as you are. We’re excited to meet you wherever and however.
Children are welcome in our worship space. Paper, coloring books, and crayons are available in the left rear corner of the sanctuary for children to play with. There is a nursery available for children through age 3 during the worship service, and children ages 3–7 have the option of attending Children’s Circle, which meets in the church’s lower level, for the second half of our worship service, following the Children’s Time. There is a quiet room to the left of the coat rack that is available for nursing mothers and sleeping babies; this area is unsupervised, so parents will need to accompany their children.
What to expect when you visit
You’ll be greeted at the door and given a bulletin for the service. You’re welcome to sit wherever you like in the sanctuary. If the greeters have already joined the worship service when you arrive, additional bulletins are left on the table at the top of the stairs. During the service there is a time when we open up for sharing reflections. This is also a time when visitors are welcome to introduce themselves. We enjoy knowing who you are.
Our services resembles those in many Protestant churches. Worship is is led by volunteer worship and music leaders from the congregation. The service includes lots of music and singing, scripture reading, a children’s time, offering, a sermon, prayer, and a time to share joys, sorrows, responses to worship, and to introduce visitors. Check out our recent bulletins to get a more detailed sense of the regular flow of our worship.
Listening assistance devices are available at the soundboard in the right rear corner of the sanctuary.
Visitors are invited to fill out a blue visitor card located in the pews. The card includes space to indicate whether you would like the pastor to get in touch with you, as well as whether you are interested in receiving more information about CMF.
We use three songbooks regularly in our worship. You will notice that each book is listed in the bulletin with its own abbreviation.
HWB = Hymnal: A Worship Book (blue hard cover book)
STJ = Sing The Journey (green soft cover book)
STS= Sing The Story (purple soft cover book)
Vision, Welcome Statement, and Covenant
As a Mennonite community, seeking to follow Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will be embracing, engaging, growing.
Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship is a Christ-centered, welcoming and inclusive church community committed to peace and justice. We acknowledge and affirm the image of God in persons of every race, ability, class, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We celebrate an open communion in which all who seek a closer journey with God are welcome to participate. We invite all who covenant with us to join in the full life of the congregation
Jesus Christ is Lord. We choose to follow the way of the gospel and be members of Christ’s church.
This time and this place are God’s gifts to us, and we are called to be God’s active presence to all those around us.
As a Christian community rooted in Anabaptist principles, we worship God as we:
- Experience the power, grace and love of God;
- Discern and share our gifts and resources
- Prepare and equip each other to live Christ-like lives;
- Nurture all who are present in our community;
- Participate actively in the life of the congregation and the denomination; and
- Reach out to others in service and invitation to faith.
As Mennonites we are committed to bringing peace, justice, reconciliation and the Good News to each other and to the world around us.
Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going
Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship is a member congregation of the Central District Conference (CDC) of Mennonite Church USA (MC USA). Some of our members come from families who have been part of Mennonite or other Anabaptist congregations for generations, and others have joined more recently. In all cases, our history shapes who we are and where we are headed.
Mennonites are part of the Christian tradition known as Anabaptism, which began as a radical wing of the 16th-century Reformation. The word “Anabaptist” means “those who baptize again”; the early Anabaptists believed that joining the Christian Church was a decision that individuals needed to make of their own volition as adults. In 1525, a bible study group in Zurich, Switzerland decided to baptize one another as a symbol of their choice to join the Christian church as adults, even though they had all been baptized by the Catholic Church as infants. It is from these “re-baptisms” that the Anabaptists received their name.
In keeping with their spiritual roots, Mennonites still believe in the close textual readings of the Scriptures and a personal spiritual responsibility as the basis of their faith. Radical from the beginning, but later considered conservative in many of their beliefs, Mennonites have come to represent a spectrum of backgrounds and beliefs. Pacifism is one of the cornerstones of the Mennonite faith, prompting many young Mennonites to register as conscientious objectors and perform alternative service throughout the twentieth century, rather than serve in the military. The Mennonite church still emphasizes service to others as an important way of expressing one’s faith. A large number of Mennonites spend part of their lives working as missionaries or volunteers helping those in need, nationally or internationally, through agencies such as Mennonite Mission Network or Mennonite Central Committee.
The first Ababaptists came mainly from German- and Dutch-speaking areas of Europe. To escape persecution, many Mennonites fled western Europe for Russia, where Catherine the Great offered them farmland and an exemption from military service, or for the more accommodating religious climate of the Americas. These two groups developed distinctly different cultural heritages over time. When Russian Mennonites were eventually forced out of Russia in the latter half of the 19th Century and the early 20th Century, many migrated to the western United States and Canadian provinces, as well as Central and South America, where there are large Mennonite populations today.. Many people in the older generation of these groups continue to speak a low german dialect called “Plautdietsch” and eat traditional foods. The Swiss-German Mennonites migrated to North America earlier, in the 18th and 19th centuries, settling first in Pennsylvania, then eventually across the Midwestern states. They, too, brought with them their own traditions, including hearty foods and the German language. Today, large Mennonite populations can be found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Kansas, although Mennonites live in all parts of the United States and the world.
The Amish, who separated from the Mennonites in the Alsace region in 1693/94, are widely known for their plain dress and rejection of modern technology and conveniences. Unlike the Mennonites, they form an exclusive and tight-knit community, with the church community dictating much of what may or may not be done: for example, each local church district would dictate rules regarding the use of telephones. While certain conservative Mennonites still dress simply and require women to wear head coverings, Many Mennonites throughout the world do not choose to separate themselves culturally through dress or restrictions on the use of modern technologies, choosing to live their faith within the context of the broader culture. Where the Amish believe in keeping themselves spiritually focused by limiting their interaction with modern society, Mennonites believe in practicing Jesus’ teaching of peace, justice, and service to others in a broader context.
Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship started as a church plant and has grown and continues to grow to this day.Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship began in October, 1974. A total of nine people, including Pastor Mark Weidner, started meeting every other Monday in each others’ homes for fellowship and worship. By the spring of 1975, attendance had grown to 12 or 13 people and began meeting on Sundays. Regular Sunday morning services were first scheduled the fall of 1975. This early group rented space in the basement of the Lutheran Church of the Cross on Ravine Street in Clifton Heights. A group Affirmation and Covenant was adopted in January 1976 and was signed by approximately 20 members. The Covenant has been signed every year since that first signing. The following spring, CMF joined the Ohio and Eastern Conference of the Mennonite Church (MC) and the Central District of the General Conference (GC). CMF remained a part of both the Ohio Conference and the Central District Conference after the MC and GC merged to form Mennonite Church USA in 1999. We are currently affiliated with the Central District Conference (CDC) of Mennonite Church USA (MC USA).
The church meeting location changed as the needs of the congregation grew. The group met for a time in Walnut Hills before purchasing its current building in Oakley in 1997. Approximately 140 people regularly attend worship, and we have about 70 covenanted members.
Anyone seeking to know more about CMF history to present day is welcomed to visit the office or speak with our church historian.