This was passed on to me by the good folk at The Pneuma Foundation:
"On Saturday, 3rd May 2003, a moving reconciliation service was held in Zurich's Grossmunster (Minster), where reformer Huldrych Zwingli preached," reports Christa Heyd-Westerhausen. The Swiss group “Stiftung Schleife” organized the service. "Descendants of the Anabaptists, severely persecuted under Zwingli, entered the church to the accompaniment of bells. Mennonites and Amish, among other groups, had come from the USA and Canada specially for this event: the present-day heads of Zurich's church asked for forgiveness for the sins of the past, which was granted them by an Amish Bishop. Reverend Reich, head of the Zurich Church Council, was presented with a Brethren Table, at which the Brethren still celebrate Communion as in those days. Reverend Paul Veraguth, Reformed vicar in Wattenwil, Switzerland, himself from an Anabaptist family and whose church stands on confiscated Anabaptist property, has published a short history of the Anabaptists during the Reformation period (Schleife Verlag, Winterthur, in German). This day of reconciliation can reduce the tension between the State Church and independent churches for the future. Today's independent churches can now better identify with the pre-Reformation and Reformation-period Anabaptist movement."
Healing for old wounds in Mennonite families
Representatives of the Anabaptists in Switzerland and the USA, such as Mennonites led by Bishop Lloyd Hoover from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, spoke of the hurts resulting from their difficult history and Anabaptist fixation. "Today, I would like to speak about a part of the Anabaptist soul which is hardly ever mentioned," said Mennonite Janet Richards. "It is not true of all Anabaptists, and not all Anabaptist churches feel this way, but we have recognised that our church and even family life is far from the joy, peace, freedom, love and also rebuke which God wants from us. We have been formed by years of persecution, and hurts and sins have been handed down through the generations. They have caused great damage in the children’s' hearts, who themselves become fathers with their own unhealed wounds. My upbringing was the same as that of my parents and grandparents. It was at times as strict and unwavering as excommunication and church discipline of the first Anabaptists, or today's Amish. Discipline was exercised with little understanding of grace. The joy of the Lord was missing in our upbringing and schooling, which concentrated on being serious, and warning us against silliness. Legalism was handed down from father to son and daughter."
Reformed Church confesses Anabaptist persecution as wrong
Ruedi Reich, President of Zurich's Reformed Church Council, spoke of a “tragic rip” in the Reformation in Zurich. "Today, we recognise the independent and State Church expressions of Evangelical Church as of equal value; we need each other, can learn from each other and complement one another. At the time of the Reformation, nether State nor Church recognised this. The Swiss Reformed Church persecuted the Anabaptists. The wrongs done to Anabaptists and related movements over centuries was a betrayal of the Gospel, which we confess, shocked, before God. We declare that the Reformed Church and the Anabaptist movement are twigs on the same Evangelical branch of the large Christian tree. We must recognise and respect each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, even though we live our Christianity in different ways according to our different traditions."
(Source: Peter Schmid and Christa Heyd-Westerhausen, by way of Friday Fax 2003, Issue 21.)