The Network sponsors regional groups (previously known as study groups) in various parts of the country, which offer opportunities every couple of months for members of the Network to meet together informally and locally to explore Anabaptist themes and their contemporary significance. Some groups have met for two or three years before disbanding, feeling that they have achieved their aims; others have continued to meet over several years. Each has developed its own identity and flavour.
The Anabaptist movement had its genesis as the radical wing of the Protestant Reformation. It began in Zurich in 1525 when a small group of men and women gathered to baptise one another. This group and those that followed them became known as Anabaptists because they believed that Christians must choose baptism as consenting adults rather than as infants.
The concept of believer's baptism was rejected by more moderate reformers who still believed in the Christendom model in which baptism of infants served as entry into both the church and the state. The Anabaptists were hunted down and persectued by both the Catholic and Protestant authorites for their baptism of adults as well as their rejection of the sword, swearing oaths and their focus on evangelism.