The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist denominations named after and influenced by the teachings and tradition of Menno Simons (1496-1561). As one of the historic peace churches, Mennonites are committed to nonviolence, nonresistance, and pacifism.
There are about 1.3 million Mennonites worldwide as of 2006. Mennonite congregations worldwide embody the full scope of Mennonite practice from old fashioned 'plain' people to those who are indistinguishable in dress and appearance from the general population. With a few notable exceptions, Mennonite experience in Europe and North America has been, and continues to be, predominately rural. The largest population of Mennonites is in Africa, but Mennonites can also be found in tight-knit communities in at least 51 countries on six continents or scattered amongst the populace of those countries.
Mennonites have an international distinction among Christian denominations in disaster relief and place a strong theological emphasis on voluntary service. Mennonite Disaster Service, based in North America, provides both immediate and long-term responses to hurricanes, floods, and other disasters. Mennonite Central Committee provides disaster relief around the world alongside their long-term international development programs. Other programs offer a variety of relief efforts and services throughout the world.
In the last few decades Mennonites have also become more actively involved with peace and social justice issues, helping to found Christian Peacemaker Teams and Mennonite Conciliation Service
The Amish, (IPA pronunciation: [ɑmɪʃ]) are an Anabaptist Christian denomination found primarily in the United States and Ontario, Canada, that are known for restrictions on the use of modern devices such as automobiles and telephones. The Amish separate themselves from mainstream, modern society for religious reasons: they do not join the military, draw (nor are forced into) Social Security, or accept any form of financial assistance from the government, and many avoid insurance. Most speak a German dialect known as Pennsylvania Dutch (or Pennsylvania German), which the Amish call Deitsch. The Amish are divided into dozens of separate fellowships, which are each broken down in turn into districts or congregations. Each district is fully independent and has its own Ordnung, or set of unwritten rules. This article primarily discusses the conservative Old Order Amish fellowships that observe strict regulations on dress, behavior, and the use of technology. There are many New Order Amish and Beachy Amish groups that use electricity and automobiles, but still consider themselves Amish.