CMC, formerly known as Conservative Mennonite Conference, has changed its name to Rosedale Network of Churches, with the tagline “a global family of Anabaptists.”
The change was made Feb. 23 during the Ministers Business Meeting at the Annual Pastors Conference, hosted by Fairlawn Mennonite Church in Apple Creek, Ohio.
Founded as Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference in 1910, the group dropped “Amish” from the name in 1957. It rebranded from Conservative Mennonite Conference to the initials CMC in 2018, the same year Lancaster Mennonite Conference made a similar switch to LMC.
Leaders considered CMC a transitional name. Rosedale Network executive director Brian Hershberger said advocates for a name change had multiple concerns.
“In many of the communities where our churches are located, people automatically associate the word ‘Mennonite’ with Amish or Mennonite Church USA rather than the evangelical Anabaptism that we embrace,” he said. “Additionally, ‘conservative’ is understood by many in our communities to be a political term rather than a theological term.
“Having said that, this was not a quick, easy or unanimous decision. Some among us are grieving the loss of ‘Mennonite’ from our name.”
The conference offices are in Irwin, Ohio, where the new name reflects the body’s institutional presence at Rosedale Bible College and Rosedale International, which carries out mission work.
“The word ‘Rosedale’ has become widely known in Anabaptist circles in the U.S. and around the world,” Hershberger said. “In fact, for years it has been quite common for people to refer to our body of churches as Rosedale instead of Conservative Mennonite Conference. We have chosen to embrace that name.”
Darren Peachey, a conference pastor from Belleville, Pa., wrote in the conference’s digital newsletter Beacon that there are diverse perspectives on the name.
“Some felt strongly that it was time for a new conference name, others cherished the history associated with the name CMC, and others had theological or cultural reasons for having (or not having) words like ‘Conference’ or ‘Mennonite’ in the name,” he wrote. “I believe I know my brothers well enough to recognize that many are embracing a new name, some are disappointed and a few aren’t sure what to think.”
Rosedale Network identifies itself as a family of evangelical Anabaptist churches with 113 congregations counting more than 13,000 members in 24 states.