18 responses to Amish Affiliations
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    Al in Ky
    Comment on Amish Affiliations (March 31st, 2014 at 06:06)

    Thanks for a very interesting and helpful post. In my twenty years of travel around Amish country, I had sensed there was something like affiliations, but it wasn’t until I read Chapter 8 of The Amish that I really began to understand this part of Amish life. It helped me to think of affiliations sort of like other Protestant church groups; for example “Baptist” is one type of Protestant churches, but then there multiple types of Baptists — Southern Baptists, American Baptists, National Baptists, Progressive Baptists, etc.

    Is there somewhere a more detailed listing of what districts are part of what specific affiliations? I just looked in Chapter 8 of
    The Amish (and footnotes to the chapter) and couldn’t find any notation. It seems like some of the information came from Stephen Scott and I wonder if he had a lisiting. I guess an Amish person in a specific district could tell you what affiliation their district is part of, but I would think they might think it was inappropriate if that question was asked by a visitor to the district.

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      Comment on Same here ... (March 31st, 2014 at 07:23)

      Same here ...

      I had sort of the same experience as Al did; I could tell over the years that there were differences in the various Amish communities that I visited, but I never could find anyone that could explain those differences. I also wasn’t willing to ask an Amish person to explain those differences, but if I had ever made a close friendship with one I would have been willing to ask.

      After I read Chapter 8 in The Amish I was better able to wrap my mind around the concept, though I still couldn’t tell you the various nuances and particulars of any given affiliation without referencing that chapter of the book.

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        Comment on Figuring out district affiliation (March 31st, 2014 at 10:30)

        Figuring out district affiliation

        Oldkat I think you can ask, I know I have asked before numerous times with people I had just recently met. If you explain why you are curious–you enjoy visiting Amish settlements and their businesses, for instance, and just curious which other settlements they are connected to–it’s not really a weird or inappropriate question.

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      Comment on Amish church district affiliations (March 31st, 2014 at 10:24)

      Amish church district affiliations

      Al there is a listing but I don’t think it is ever been published. Stephen Scott was compiling it/compiled it (he really had a knack for, and to me it seemed a real enjoyment for, keeping track of the different Amish groups) and I believe his successor at the Young Center Edsel Burdge took it over after he passed away.

      I think you can get an idea of individual district ties by asking questions once you get talking to someone. You might ask which other communities they are associated with or back and forth with and be able to deduce using the list in Chapter 8 and the 2013 individual settlement list by Donnermyer & Luthy. I don’t think it would be inappropriate once someone understands your interest in the Amish and curiosity.

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on Amish Affiliations (March 31st, 2014 at 10:08)

    Affiliations, fellowships…partial fellowships…it sure can be confusing! This just further demonstrates that all Amish are not alike, despite what the “average Joe/Jane” may think! 😉

    Alice Mary

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      Comment on Example of partial fellowship (March 31st, 2014 at 10:36)

      Example of partial fellowship

      Alice Mary, isn’t that the truth. On partial fellowships, I remembered Mark Curtis of Belle Center OH recently shared a good example of that via his father Don. Don wrote:

      “He said that Belle Center and Union Grove are in partial fellowship. He said that because Union Grove has electricity and tractor farming, those are considered too advanced by Belle Center to be in full fellowship. Belle Center would allow Union Grove preachers to preach at a regular church service. But a Union Grove bishop would not be allowed to officiate at a Belle Center communion service.”


      And here’s another short explanation of affiliation, settlement, church district, for what it’s worth: http://amishamerica.com/how-are-amish-communities-organized/

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    Christine McMahon-Chase
    Comment on Amish Affiliations (March 31st, 2014 at 12:42)

    I find it interesting that the largest growth is in the Swartzentruber Amish since it is my understanding that they are the most conservative.

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      Matt from CT
      Comment on Amish Affiliations (March 31st, 2014 at 15:57)

      I would say it makes sense for the Swartzentruber to be the fastest growing (at least in percentage) because of their conservatism:

      1) Likely larger families;

      2) It’s more difficult for someone to adjust to the “English” way of life, and their exposure to English culture is less as the Swartzentrubers tend to locate in very rural areas and actively eschew tourism and other unnecessary contacts.

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        Comment on Amish Affiliations (March 31st, 2014 at 19:26)

        I think that has a lot to do with it; the authors also suggest strict shunning which is typically found in more conservative groups may play a role. The #2 group listed is the Adams County Swiss affiliation (163% growth), also a conservative group.

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    Comment on Swartzentruber not surprised (April 1st, 2014 at 19:34)

    Swartzentruber not surprised

    Thank you for this beneficial article. Makes your head spin in a way. Maybe this has been answered-WHO determines the Ordnung-the church members collectively, or the bishop-and how does that work?

    Regarding Swartzentrubers, I had the good pleasure of inviting 2, a father & son, into my VW Beetle in February during an almost blizzard. They were waiting for the same bus, at an open air drop off, that I was. The son was 17 years old. He had a cute sense of humor. I asked him if he was going to remain Amish (granted-dad was not in the car yet) so he said, “Yes, I don’t want to be part of the world”. He said he was probably going to be baptized next year. I really enjoyed our short chat-he seemed happy & sure of himself. Also I was impressed because they had been at a wedding was why they were traveling and he loved the wedding. He said it’s like church the first few hours, then food and talking. Anyway, Swartzentrubers are what we have in our county and I always walk away with something ‘good’ after chatting with them.

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      Comment on Forming the Ordnung (April 1st, 2014 at 22:47)

      Forming the Ordnung

      Neat story Valerie. And sounds like you did your good deed for the day by providing that VW “waiting room”.

      On Ordnung, we have touched on this before, but no harm in asking 🙂 You might try this article where there is a general description of how Ordnung develops: http://amishamerica.com/what-is-the-amish-ordnung/

      This one also might be useful: http://amishamerica.com/how-do-amish-review-the-unwritten-ordnung/

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    Comment on Amish Affiliations (April 2nd, 2014 at 17:37)

    Thank you Erik, will look at that-I wish more people came to this website for information-

    Good deed? I benefited from the conversation with the Amish. Guess what though? I ended up STUCK in that snow. By the time that 2 hour late bus arrived, it had snowed so much I couldn’t get out. SO, all 6 buggies left with no problem. One Amish man tried to push my car out, poor guy in that blizzard type windy snowstorm. But no use-he said if I just had a chain they could pull me out. I though that was so nice. Yeah. Benefits of autos, LOL. Anyway, 3 hours of sitting, AAA got me out!

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      Comment on Amish Affiliations (April 3rd, 2014 at 11:22)

      Whoops–well at least you had company for some of your time in the storm. Cars are superior to horse-drawn by most measures but in this case I think it’s Buggies 1, Cars 0 🙂

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    Comment on Amish Affiliations (November 5th, 2015 at 00:35)

    Thank you for this article. I have long wondered which affiliation my friends belong to. After reading LOTS of articles and almost all their comments on this site, that curiosity has overwhelmed me, and now I must ask them! I have a feeling their affiliation might have changed. Does that happen much, to your knowledge?

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      Comment on Amish Affiliations (November 5th, 2015 at 12:28)

      Jan, good question…one example would be people marrying from one into another affiliation, for example someone from Lancaster County marrying a person from Holmes County and moving into that settlement. You do have families who move from one settlement to another–often this can be from a parent to a daughter settlment (e.g., from Lancaster County to Lebanon County) but not necessarily. To give an example, not too long ago I met a family from the Adams County Swiss Amish who had moved to the small Hicksville, OH settlement.

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    Comment on Amish Affiliations (November 5th, 2015 at 13:52)

    Thanks, Erik! That makes a lot of sense.

    I decided to just ask them. 🙂

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    Comment on Can I start my own non-affiliated Amish fellowship? (May 16th, 2016 at 19:54)

    Can I start my own non-affiliated Amish fellowship?

    I have been actively trying to become active in a somewhat conservative Amish-Mennonite church? However there are non around me and I have been told that the only way to have “affiliation” with several known churches/affiliations is to be under the bishop of a local congregation. What would stop me, if anything, from forming my own non-affiliated fellowship? As far as the Ordnung, I kind of have an idea that I fit in between a conservative group, old order and possibly a Mennonite church with no real conservative ideas.

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    Helen Curtis
    Comment on Swiss Amish joining the Old Order Amish (October 4th, 2017 at 14:36)

    Swiss Amish joining the Old Order Amish

    Could a Swiss Amish person who has been shunned join an Old Order Amish church?

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