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Keywords

Hoover Mennonites; Belize; Old Order Mennonites; Noah Hoover Church; Expansion; Migration

Abstract

We examine the migration history of the Old Order Hoover Mennonites located in the small, multi-ethnic country of Belize. The Hoover Mennonites live in the settlements of Upper Barton Creek, Springfield, Birdwalk, and Roseville. Characterized as one of Belize’s more conservative churches, the Hoover Church is also Belize’s most geographically dispersed Mennonite community. This paper brings together historical and present-day sources to account for and chart this dispersion. To describe what brought together this group between 1958 and 1984 and what drove their subsequent migration across Belize, we examine the religious and legal circumstances of the founding of their settlements. Observations and reflections on their most recent expansion consider how changes in immigration policy, desire for separation from worldly influences, and population growth contributed to an Old Order community that is doubly separated: from the world and from kindred settlements.

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