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A News article left the wrong impression about Mennonites. Mennonites usually drive cars, listen to music, go to movies, and use computers. Of well over 300,000 in North America, probably less than 10 percent live as the author described.

Few wear beards. Men and women sit together in most churches. Most women wear their hair as they like. Mennonite women, including one Western New York pastor, would be surprised to read they "do not speak from the pulpit."

The author also made a common mistake about a court decision giving exemption from high school, whether public or parochial. Most Mennonite youth do attend public high schools. Thousands attend college, including the ten Mennonite colleges and universities in North America.

The article mentioned communities in the Southern Tier, but Mennonites have lived in Erie County since 1824. There are four area congregations: Westside, Harris Hill, Clarence Center-Akron, and Alden.

Do Mennonites pass tracts, leaving cardboard racks in Laundromats? Certainly, but that's especially characteristic of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite (misnamed in the article), a small, distinctive group to which I suspect this article's main subjects belong. It'd have been more accurate had the author stated she was writing about them, not Mennonites generally.

F.W. Stricker


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