Menno House is one facet of the ministry of Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship (MMF) in its Christian outreach to New York City, to the wider Mennonite and ecumenical communities of faith, and to the world. Menno House, operating from a four-story multi-use brownstone residence on East 19th Street in Manhattan, is intended by MMF to be a broad ministry of hospitality, a portal through which MMF reaches out to the city and welcomes strangers from far and near into its fellowship. More than merely a set of accommodations, Menno House seeks to welcome its guests and residents in Christian love, to draw them into a special relationship with MMF, with God, and with each other, and to extend the spirit of shalom (peace be with you) to the wider community.
As a ministry of hospitality, Menno House provides:
- long-term housing for Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) volunteers who come to work in the MVS Unit sponsored by MMF;
- long-term housing (up to two years) for others who desire to reside in an urban, faith-based community while pursuing a variety of service opportunities as well as educational and vocational goals consistent with the values and mission of MMF; and
- affordable short-term accommodations for visitors to New York City and others in need of temporary lodging.
As a resource to peacemaking, justice, understanding, and scholarly research, Menno House provides:
- a gathering place for peace and justice activities involving members of MMF, house residents, and others joining together to support such causes; and
- space for the Peace and Anabaptist Library, a collection available to residents, members and attendees of MMF, and others interested in understanding the traditional peace churches.
As an important resource facility for MMF, Menno House provides:
- office space for MMF; and
- space for occasional organizational, social, and religious functions of MMF.
Menno House values its central location in New York City and the opportunities that derive from the city’s cultural diversity and varied social needs and strengths. With this cosmopolitan center as its chosen frame of reference, MMF seeks to foster an inclusive community of house residents, MMF congregants, and guests from many backgrounds whose goal is to forge a Christian and Mennonite identity that takes urban life seriously and applies Christ’s message of love and redemption to New York City.
For longer-term residents, Menno House provides an opportunity to live cooperatively with a diverse group of people, linked by various interests in faith, service, and community life. Through informal gatherings and shared household duties, longer-term residents learn from one another’s talents, interests, and work experiences. Menno House endeavors to be a spiritually grounded and supportive space that nurtures residents at important junctures in their lives during their New York City experience.
Menno House is owned and operated by MMF, which is affiliated locally with the New York City Council of Mennonite Churches and is part of the Atlantic Coast Conference of the Mennonite Church USA.
Menno House is intended to be self-supporting. A committee known as the Menno House board, selected by MMF, makes policy and administrative decisions for Menno House. The board retains a house manager to live on site, to help implement committee and MMF decisions, and to oversee day-to-day operations of the house.