A person who wants to become a Mennonite must submit to water baptism, which is symbolic of cleansing from sin, and publicly pledge to follow Jesus Christ as savior through the power of the Holy Spirit. A Mennonite must afterward choose to renounce a sinful life, walk in grace and follow the scriptures.
Mennonites do not believe in eternal salvation. Once a person has submitted to the public act of baptism, salvation can still be lost by choosing the way of sin instead of grace. Because Mennonites believe that scripture is inspired by God, it is important for them to closely follow the precepts of the Bible. Communion, referred to as the Lord's Supper, is an important sign of the new covenant. Other practices, or Biblical ordinances, include the washing of feet of the saints, the holy kiss, anointing with oil of the sick, marriage and ordination of church elders. Mennonites gather on Sundays for worship services which include prayer, testimonies, sermons and singing.
Mennonites consider themselves neither Catholic nor Protestant. Though Mennonites believe in service to the community, they believe that the Bible promotes pacifism and that war is wrong. As a result, most do not participate in the military. Some also shun voting, jury duty and lawsuits, believing that it is preferable to seek reconciliation for grievances outside governmental systems.