During the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli led a movement separating from the Roman Catholic Church. Small groups of reformers throughout Europe felt the existing church did not meet God's standards or the needs of the people. In 1525, in the middle of this religious upheaval, a small group of young adults who had been meeting for Bible study and prayer in Zurich, Switzerland, felt convicted to re-
During the next decade, a Catholic priest in the north of Holland was observing and carefully following the development and expansion of the Anabaptists. In 1536, Menno Simons joined the Anabaptists, whose network was growing in spite of intense persecution to the members and martyrdom for people in leadership.
Menno was born in 1496, and was 40 years old when he made the change from Catholic priest to Anabaptist leader. From his studies of the Scriptures, Menno began to write and teach about community, mutual aid, sharing of resources, support to widows, their children and the poor, sister/brotherhood among believers, simple life-
The denominational name "Mennonite" was first used as a nickname, but through the centuries it has become an accepted label.