St. Jacobs is a community and former village located in the township of Woolwich in Waterloo Region, Ontario, just north of the city of Waterloo. It is a popular tourist location, due to its quaint village appearance, retail focus and Mennonite heritage. Waterloo Region is still home to the largest population of Old Order Mennonites in Canada, particularly in the areas around St Jacobs and Elmira. They are often seen on the local roads using traditional horse and buggy transportation; many also use horses to pull the implements in their farm fields.
The Conestogo River, which powered the village's original mills by the 1850s, runs through the village. At the time of the 2016 Census, St. Jacobs had a growing population of 1,988.
The logo of the Mennonite World Conference
This logo image consists only of simple geometric shapes is therefore in the public domain
Mennonites are groups of Anabaptist Christian church communities of denominations. The name is derived from the founder of the movement, Menno Simons (1496–1561) of Friesland. Through his writings about Reformed Christianity during the Radical Reformation, Simons articulated and formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders, with the early teachings of the Mennonites founded on the belief in both the mission and ministry of Jesus, which the original Anabaptist followers held with great conviction, despite persecution by various Roman Catholic and Mainline Protestant states. Formal Mennonite beliefs were codified in the Dordrecht Confession of Faith in 1632, which affirmed "the baptism of believers only, the washing of the feet as a symbol of servanthood, church discipline, the shunning of the excommunicated, the non-swearing of oaths, marriage within the same church", strict pacifistic physical nonresistance, anti-Catholicism and in general, more emphasis on "true Christianity" involving "being Christian and obeying Christ" however they interpret it from the Holy Bible.
The majority of the early Mennonite followers, rather than fighting, survived by fleeing to neighbouring states where ruling families were tolerant of their belief in believer's baptism. Over the years, Mennonites have become known as one of the historic peace churches, due to their commitment to pacifism.