Several members of the Amish Mennonite Egly family immigrated to North America in the 19th century. Among them was Henry Egly (1824-1890). Henry Egly was deeply influenced by the revivalism in America, withdrew from the main body of Amish, and founded of the Defenseless Mennonite Church in Berne, Adams County, Indiana in 1865-66. This body was often referred to as the Egly Amish, and is now the Evangelical Mennonite Church (or Evangelical Mennonite Church Conference), the name adopted in 1949. Henry's son, Christian R. Egle1, also became a leader in the conference.
The Defenseless Mennonite Conference published its Confession of Faith, Rules and Discipline in 1917. The confession of faith was revised in 1937, 1949, 1961, and 1980. It contains 12 articles of faith. In addition to the usual Mennonite doctrines, the Evangelical Mennonite Church holds doctrines obtained through the American revivalism and holiness movement, including divine healing, a second work of grace (or the baptism of the Holy Spirit), and premillennialism. The Lords supper is observed with open communion. Only about 20% of the congregations use Mennonite in their local church name.
The conference office is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The EMC organization is governed through a congregational form of governance. Local congregations elect delegates to a delegate body, which in turn elects the conference leadership. The conference is composed of 34 churches in the Midwest of the United States with 5278 members. Fifty-five percent of the churches are located in Illinois and Indiana. All EMC ministries are funded by voluntary donations of congregations and individuals.
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