History and Mission
Mennonites and Brethren have lived in the Shenandoah Valley for more than two centuries, but they have truly been the “quiet in the land.” Their creative labor as farmers and craftsmen and their unique forms of Christian piety and faith have been largely invisible. The Brethren & Mennonite Heritage Center (BMHC) serves to unveil this historical and spiritual legacy.
Brethren and Mennonites represent a significant religious minority in the Shenandoah Valley. The Brethren and Mennonite faith traditions emphasize peace and non-violence, the priority of spiritual over material values, disaster relief and voluntary service, care for neighbors, stewardship of the land, and the role of the faith community in discernment and practice. BMHC interprets these values as expressions of faith.
At the Brethren & Mennonite Heritage Center, visitors and volunteers alike engage with these faith traditions through stories, artifacts, historic buildings, and experiential learning opportunities presented as an invitation to current and future generations to seriously reflect on the shared values of the Brethren and Mennonites.
The Brethren & Mennonite Heritage Center opened to the public on June 18, 2006. Read more about the history of the buildings at the heritage center and two related properties, the Breneman Turner Mill, and Hildebrand Church.
The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center includes three distinct locations: CrossRoads, the main campus, home to the Welcome Center and multiple 19th and 20th century Mennonite-Brethren buildings; Breneman Turner Mill, the only surviving pre-Civil War mill in Rockingham County, VA; and Hildebrand Church, an historic meetinghouse.