HISTORY AND STRUCTURE
The Greenwood Mennonite School has the distinction of being the oldest Mennonite Elementary school in continuous operation. It began in March, 1928, after the Mennonite students were expelled from the Greenwood public school for refusal, on grounds of conscience, to salute and pledge allegiance to the American flag. Under the capable guidance of Nevin Bender, the congregation managed to keep the school alive even during the lean years of the 1930’s.
For the first 3 years school was held in the Greenwood Mennonite Church building. In the summer of 1932 the Little Brown School was built. This building was to last until 1958, when a new brick structure was erected on the Mark Swartzentruber farm just off Route 36, 2 miles east of Greenwood. This second building contained 4 classrooms, a gymnasium, and a cafeteria. In 1964 an adjoining building containing 2 classrooms was constructed for grades 1-4. Kindergarten was begun in 1976 in the Elementary building. In 1978, grades 11 and 12 were added to the school using the Accelerated Christian Education program. In 1979, 3 new rooms were added to accommodate Kindergarten, grades 5 and 6, and the music and art classes. In 1987 a mobile classroom was purchased to allow the separation of the first and second grades. In 1993, another addition was completed. It included 4 classrooms, a computer lab and library, a new gym and cafeteria. However, the new cafeteria was not used for its intended purpose until the kitchen was finished in 1995. In the summer of 1996, 3 new offices and 2 classrooms were built within the original gym.
The instructional program included 8 grades until September, 1943, when grades 9 and 10 were added. The enrollment continued to grow, so that in January, 1948, grades 7 through 10 were moved to the old church building. Recent years have seen an increased interest in the school among non-Mennonites and a renewed conviction among Mennonites of the importance of a Christian education. Present enrollment is about 290 students. GMS has an administrator, an assistant principal and over 20 teachers and staff.
Greenwood Mennonite School is owned and operated by the Greenwood and Cannon Mennonite Churches. Responsibility for the operation of the school is delegated to a 7-member board. The principal and board meet monthly to make decisions on matters pertaining to the operation of the school. Major areas of responsibility are handled by the following School Board committees: Personnel, Finance, Transportation, Admissions, and Building and Grounds. Each of these committees is chaired by one of the board members.
We believe that God created man in His own image. We believe that sin entered the human family as a result of man’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Man therefore needs to be restored to fellowship with God. This is possible today because God has communicated with man through His Word, the Bible, and because Jesus died for man’s sin, rose again, and now intercedes with God for us.
We believe that the central task of Christian Education is to guide students to a better knowledge of God’s truth and acceptance of His will for their lives. We believe that God gave parents the responsibility of educating their children and that the parents have delegated some of this responsibility to the Christian school. The home, church, and school must therefore work together in close harmony.
We believe that the child, because of a depraved nature common to all mankind, needs firm, redemptive guidance and discipline in order to develop into the complete person God intends him to be. As the child becomes mature enough to understand God’s plan of salvation, Christian teachers will attempt to guide him in accepting Jesus as his Savior.
We accept the Bible as central in Christian education. We conduct classes devoted exclusively to the study of the Bible and interpreting truth in other studies in the light of Scripture. We are firmly committed to Anabaptist principles of Biblical interpretation and to separation of Church and state.
We believe that only by ministering to the whole child–mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual–can we deal effectively with any single area of his/her personality.
A. PEACE POSITION
We believe that it is the will of God for His children to follow Christian love in all human relationships. This excludes retaliation and revenge. God pours His love into the hearts of Christians so that they desire the welfare of all others. The supreme example of this love is found in the Lord Jesus. He Himself taught Christians not to resist those who do wrong unto them. This requires His disciples to renounce violence in every relationship. Only love must be shown to all people. We believe this applies to every area of life: to personal injustice, to situations in which people commonly resort to litigation, and to international tensions and wars. As peacemaking Christians we must aggressively, even at the risk of life itself, do whatever we can to alleviate human distress and suffering. (Matthew 5:38-48; John 18:36; Romans 5:5; 12:18-21; I Corinthians 6:1-8, II Corinthians 10:3-4; James 2:8; I Peter 2:21-23; Article 18, Mennonite Confession of Faith).
B. STATEMENT ON ABORTION
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139: 13-14 NIV)
Greenwood Mennonite School is opposed to the use of induced abortion for the purpose of convenience or birth control. In addition, any decision to terminate life by abortion should only be made if the life of the mother is endangered and if proper medical and spiritual counsel is obtained.
The crisis of an unwanted pregnancy calls for the community of believers to provide a context of love, prayer and counsel. Loving support can take the form of counseling centers, homes for expectant mothers, and the creation or use of Christian adoption services.
Abortion as a means of terminating an unwanted pregnancy is sometimes considered because Christian standards of purity and responsibility have been violated. GMS urges Christians to uphold New Testament standards of holy living, to adhere to biblical principles for guidance in all areas of morality, and to protect life whether born or pre-born. (Job 31:15; Psalms 22:9; 139:3-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:5; Luke 1:36-45; Romans 12:1-2; I Corinthians 6:18-20; I Thessalonians 4:3-8).
C. STATEMENT ON MARRIAGE AND HUMAN SEXUALITY
We believe that at the beginning of human history God instituted marriage. He ordained that a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two would become one in love and mutual submission. It is God’s will that marriage be kept pure, monogamous, and for life. It is also fully acceptable to God to serve Christ unmarried. These are God’s two options: a permanent relationship and commitment to one person of the opposite sex, or purity in an unmarried state.
Marriage was instituted for the happiness of the husband and wife and for the procreation and Christian nurture of children. Christians are to marry only in the Lord, and for the sake of spiritual unity in the home they should become members of the same congregation. The Christian home ought regularly to have family worship, to seek faithfully to live according to the Word of God and loyally support the church in its mission. We believe it is appropriate for parents to pledge themselves to the faithful Christian nurture of their children. (Article 15, Mennonite Confession of Faith).
We also believe that human sexuality is one expression of the holiness and beauty that God our Creator intended for His children. It is one of the ways by which the covenant between a husband and a wife is sealed and expressed. Human sexuality achieves fulfillment only as a sign of comprehensive love and loyalty. Christian husbands and wives should view sexuality as a part of their much larger commitment to one another and to Christ from whom the meaning of life is drawn. As Christians, we urge the proper manifestation of sexuality to be celebrated and guarding against its betrayal and distortion.
Sexuality misses its purpose when treated as an end in itself or when cheapened by using another person to satisfy pornographic and perverted sexual interest. We view all forms of sexual intimacy that occur outside the covenant of heterosexual marriage as sinful distortions of the holiness and beauty God intended for it.
Homosexuality is one means by which human sexuality is perverted. We affirm the biblical position that homosexual acts are sinful and subject to the wrath of God. We believe the grace of God sufficient to overcome the practice of homosexuality (I Corinthians 6:9-11). We need to love people where they are at, but this does not mean we agree with lifestyle that the Bible calls sinful behavior! We deplore any action or statement that would seem to imply compatibility between Christian morality and the practice of homosexuality. (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:20-24; 19:1-25; Leviticus 20:13; Matthew 19:3-9; mark 10:2-12; Romans 1:26-28; I Corinthians 6:9-11).
D. VALUE STATEMENT ON HOLIDAYS
CHRISTMAS – This is a celebration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The emphasis of GMS at this time will be upon giving because God first gave when He sent Jesus to be born. Therefore, decorations that exalt and remind us of Jesus will be accepted: a baby, Joseph and Mary, a manger, angels, shepherds and sheep, a stable with animals from the early century, a star and magi. We will allow an evergreen tree, because it symbolizes everlasting life. However, decorations that stress material abundance and fiction will be downplayed. Therefore, we will not use items such as Santa and his reindeer, and Frosty the snowman. Our focus is to be upon Jesus, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, who came to bring peace on earth. Each Christmas, in lieu of gift exchanges in our classrooms, we promote giving to a world or local need as a Christmas project.
During EASTER, GMS will stress the empty tomb and resurrected Christ.
Instead of Halloween, GMS will stress FALL HARVEST and thankfulness for God’s provision. We do not allow ghosts or evil spiritual images to be used at school, and we will downplay Trick-or-Treat and such items as Jack-o-lanterns.