chapter  IX
7 Pages


In 1949, Kansas Mennonites observed the seventy-fifth anniversary of their arrival in America. The Mennonite churches of central Kansas in 1939 were significantly altered in both appearance and content after six decades in America. The story of Mennonite acculturation in central Kansas contains a paradox. Immigrants in search of religious toleration in 1874 discovered an American freedom different from what they had envisioned. Mennonites in central Kansas were spatially isolated and segregated in a rural area. The prophetic observation of journalist Nobel Prentis in 1882 was fulfilled by many Kansas Mennonites in the twentieth century. America's entry into World War I reminded Kansas Mennonites of their "Christ-against-culture" heritage. Kansas Mennonites cautiously observed their Anabaptist heritage while simultaneously displaying all of the evidences of good citizenship. The result was an American denomination with an Anabaptist doctrine.