In 2025, Anabaptist-Mennonites around the world will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first voluntary baptisms in Zurich, Switzerland, on January 21, 1525 that marked the symbolic beginning of the Anabaptist movement. In the five centuries since that event, adult—or believers—baptism continues to be a significant point of identity for Mennonites, Amish, Hutterites and other groups associated with the Anabaptist tradition.
Yet despite its central importance, baptism has continued to generate a host of important questions in Anabaptist-Mennonite congregations:
- does the mode of baptism matter?
- what is the appropriate age of baptism (especially for those who are raised in the church?)
- how do we know if a candidate is ready for baptism? what kind of instruction is required?
- what is the link between baptism and church membership? or Christian discipleship?
- how do we appropriately invite young people and visitors to baptism?
- what is the relationship between God’s initiative of grace and the human response?
- can adult baptism be repeated?
- should newcomers who were baptized as infants be rebaptized?
- what is our understanding of baptism for the cognitively impaired?
Recently, representatives of the Mennonite World Conference, the Lutheran World Federation, and the Roman Catholic Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity explored many of these questions in a groundbreaking five-year ecumenical conversation. Led by historian John D. Roth, this workshop will introduce participants to this Trilateral Dialogue and invite Mennonite participants to come to a deeper understanding of baptism through conversations with each other and with local Lutheran and Catholic clergy.
Registration will remain open through November 9, 2021.