Mennonites/Anabaptists were severely persecuted in Europe by both Catholics and Protestants. The main reason for the persecution was because of the “third way” they were offering to people — the belief that the church should be a group of voluntary adults, baptized upon confession of faith, and like the early Christian church, separated from the world and state.

More than 4,000 Anabaptists lost their lives in the first 100 years, most by burning or drowning. In the mid-1600s, Mennonites in Switzerland were experiencing this persecution. The Dutch Mennonites assisted them in fleeing the persecution by helping them find homes in the U.S. at the invitation of William Penn. The earliest permanent settlement of Mennonites in America was at Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1683.