"What mean these stones?"
We welcome you to this historical site. May you find your stay interesting and profitable. The Memorial Marker stands on the site of the immigrant house provided for the settlers by the Atchinson, Topeka and Sante Fe Railroad. The church building, Marker, smaller marker, and graveyard are all on the quarter section of Sante Fe land designated for church purposes.
September 3, 1974 marked the 100th anniversary since the Swiss Mennonites arrived in New York. They had endured a difficult crossing of the Atlantic Ocean but their hopes were high as they entered their "promised land."
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The Eden Mennonite Church as organized Feb. 12, 1905 (Hopefield-Eden) and the first building was due west of the 1943 marker. The building that was destroyed by fire (Jan. 25, 1988) was located 1 1/2 miles north of the Hopefield church.
Please take the time to carefully read the inscriptions on the seven plaques. Each has great meaning. The monument itself is symbolic: the strong base represents our solid foundation in Jesus Christ. The globe represents the world and the cross reminds us of the fact that Christianity is worldwide.
The marker symbolizes the solid faith in a divine providence of the pioneers who settled here. Many endured martyrdom in the early years in Europe. They faced frequent migrations rather than compromise what they held most dear. In many cases they were forerunners of truths now accepted so widely: for example, freedom of a person to believe as he wishes without fear of persecution or death.
The marker stands as a tangible symbol of appreciation to God and to all who made the migration possible: friendly North American governments, liberal provisions of a railroad and others.
But the marker also seeks to point the way to an application of Biblical living for our day‹ and all future times. These "stones" do have meaning.
To their predecessors, the Anabaptists, the Bible was an open book. Named Mennonites after Menno Simons, they shared concepts of adult baptism, separation of church and state, opposition to slavery, the simple life, resistance in relation to war and refusal to take the oath (because they felt a person should always tell the truth; so there was no need for the oath).
Contrary to belief in some circles, the early Anabaptists were men of learning. The galaxy of heroes who sought to be totally loyal to Christ inspires us today. Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, Georg Blaurock and others were first among those who believed the Bible must be understood and applied in the light of total teaching rather than building on verses here and there. Thus, very early, they sought to support only that which can be supported by "plain scripture" and the heart of the gospel in the teaching and example of Jesus Christ.
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