43 responses to The “Amish community”
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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 09:12)


    Where can one purchase one of the New Order Amish directories you mention in your post? The Raber’s Amish Almanac Directory lists a few of them in with the Old Order communities, but definitely not all of them.

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 09:37)

    Hi Matthew,

    Unfortunately I don’t have the actual New Order directory with publisher info at hand, just a few pages of it. I’m almost certain it begins with an “A”, and if it comes to me or I find it I will let you know.

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    Lois Klobucher
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 10:11)

    Hi Eric, I love it when you have pictures to show us, and the article are always so interesting
    Happy Thanksgiving

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 10:21)

    Hi Erik:
    Would that be Abana Books, 6523 TR 346, Millersburg, OH 44654? I dont know, but I have a German/English Bible here that they publish, and was kind of thinking that they might be who you are thinking of. (But no one should write them, unless you verify that is who publishes the Directory.)

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 10:34)

    There you go. I’m almost certain Abana is it. They do publish a number of other directories as well. Thanks Mike!

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 10:35)

    Lois, thank you, it’s my pleasure. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 10:47)

    This Beachy Amish page confirms that Abana is correct, and even provides a phone number to call them. Mike

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    Alice Aber
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 11:13)

    Hi Erik,,, this was very interesting. Thanks for posting it. It made me stop and think about the mega churches in the secular world and how often I thought I would never want to go to one because I always thought I would get lost in the crowd so to speak. I never did see how they could have a close Christian fellowship with that many people. Guess my thoughts are similar to the Amish in that respect.

    Hope you have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow!
    Blessings, Alice

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 13:20)

    Thank you, Mike & Erik. I’ll send a query to them next week. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

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    Damon Hickey
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 13:26)

    The article is very interesting (as always!). You want to limit “community” in reference to the Amish to the local church congregation. Why does that make other meanings “incorrect”? When someone asks what the “Amish community” or even “the Amish” believe, do, think, etc., is that any different from asking similar questions about the “Jewish community” or “Catholics”? If one doesn’t know much about certain religious people who use the same name for themselves, is it “incorrect” to think of them as a “community”? If someone asks, “What does the Amish community do when a barn burns down?” wouldn’t it be correct to respond, “The Amish aren’t all the same, so it depends on the group”?

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 13:30)

    Alice, good observation. Make sure you get some good turkey tomorrow. I am in Poland right now so might have to make due with pork chops and potatoes 🙂

    Mike glad you got it, Happy T-day too.

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    Mona Greer
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 13:44)

    Pork Chops are good too….Just what are you doing in Poland ? Are there Amish there too ?
    Love your articles……and from others too…..

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    Comment on Exploring Amish community (November 24th, 2010 at 13:46)

    Exploring Amish community

    Hi Damon, many thanks for the comment. It is an interesting question you bring up. I am not sure I understood, are you saying that my intention is to ‘limit “community” in reference to the local church congregation?’

    I wasn’t sure if that’s what you meant, but in the article I try to identify 3 meanings–community as settlement, affiliation, and church congregation. I emphasized congregation b/c that one seems the most meaningful from a spiritual point of view.

    But the others I think are accurate as well as I was trying to point out. The meaning of affiliation may be the least common but I think that it is valid. One thing that prompted me to write this was thinking about how the “Amish community” term can get used to generalize and mean maybe more than it does.

    I actually tend to think that ideas like “Jewish community” and “Catholics” encompass so much–from Orthodox Jews to secular non-practicing Jews on the one hand, from vow of silence monks to cafeteria Catholics on the other. “Jewish community in Memphis”, or Latin Rite Catholics or the parish you belong to I would think are more meaningful concepts.

    Maybe it’s not necessarily “incorrect” but more accurate to make these distinctions. Of course I would never fault someone that didn’t know a ton about Amish to ask the question that way (as I’m sure I’ve used it myself about other groups), and my purpose wasn’t to nitpick, but to explore an interesting language/religion question (at least interesting to me! 🙂 )And I guess I just tend to interpret the term “community” more tightly–maybe opposite the postmodern/Facebook trend which seems to treat everything as a “community” 🙂

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 13:49)

    Why dziekuje Monika! (that’d be “Thank you” in Polish 😉 ) I live here for part of the year. I am working on a 2nd book on the Amish right now, and have a 3rd book (in Polish language) being released here next month.

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    Damon Hickey
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 14:42)

    Erik, what I found most valuable in your post was your identification of the basic units of Amishness, about which the most meaningful generalizations may be made. I agree completely that there are significant differences among Jews, Catholics, and Amish, but I still think one may say some meaningful things about each broad “community.” One may also say more-meaningful things about smaller “communities” within each. The latter, not the former, may be the level at which it’s meaningful to address the question, “What does the Amish community do when a barn burns down?” As you point out, the three senses of “Amish community” you find most meaningful are all more limited. But since you also said, “‘Amish community’ is a concept that is sometimes incorrectly used,” I wondered whether you’d crossed over from “most meaningful” to “correct.”

    My specialty is American Quaker history, and I’ve run into the same problem whenever people have asked me about the Friends. Usually, I have to ask, “Which period and which group?” before I can answer the question. Usually, I’m being asked about the most distinctive practices, even though the majority of Quakers today don’t follow them. That’s probably what most people want to know about the Amish: what are the most distinctive practices and why?

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    Comment on Definition of Amish community (November 24th, 2010 at 15:00)

    Definition of Amish community

    Damon, good points. For my part I probably should have used different phrasing than “incorrectly used” in my end summary, as “correctness” is not really the primary issue, and “community” can have flexible definition. But I think you get what I’m after–the more detailed meanings of the word.

    I also understand the sentiment that you identify–that people probably mean the general most distinctive practices–and wouldn’t bemoan someone using “the Amish community” to describe Amish in general. I’d probably be caught using Quaker community in the same way!

    On the other hand this point was brought home to me by Karen Johnson-Weiner in her discussions on NY Amish and the differing reactions and experiences different migrant groups to that state have had, and the sometimes problematic issues that have resulted from assumptions that all Amish can be expected to act in a certain way.

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    Damon Hickey
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 15:43)

    And as Steven Nolt has pointed out, some legal exemptions for “the Amish” tend to back all Amish into a corner. If several Amish bishops decided that their young people really needed to be schooled through the twelfth grade, what would that do to Wisconsin v Yoder?

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 19:43)

    I find this post very interesting as I have began to give this subject a lot of thought recently. I attend one of those mega churches and am very aware of the lost in the community issue. Lovely people but you cannot get to know anyone unless you get into a subdivision of the larger group…
    My broher who is a Baptist minister suggested a smaller church. He thinks that churches need to be a smaller group… Obviously these amish groups know something that we have to stumble around to find out.

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    Michelle V
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 20:18)

    I find the dress of various Amish communities fascinating and simply beautiful. I have seen pics taken by Bill Coleman of an undisclosed settlement where little girls wear lemon yellow dresses and boys wear brown pants and vests.
    Is there any “good reads” that addresses the reasons or traditions as to why some colors are accepted and other colors are not? Along with style of clothing.
    … “Witness” was on HBO today – How far off in its depiction was it really???(in your opinion)
    Whats the weather like in Poland ? Its Super Hot here in FLA… oh I rather pork chops than turkey!
    Thanks & Take Care
    Michelle V.

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 22:31)

    Although I’m not the one you’re asking, I think that the style depicted in “Witness” can be viewed as accurate, it is certainly not wrong, it may not be the only style or strictness, but, as the article and responses may suggest, it varies. In that way, I don’t think Witness is off on it’s depiction of an Amish dressing style, it depicts one style, and just like anyone of any faith/culture the clothing changes depending on what is going on, we see this in the film. Grandfather dressed up a little more when the Elders came to look at Book, but as far as Amish go, he was more casual when it came time to milk the cows or help at the barn raising. Simply, it depends on where you are and who you’re looking at. I saw an Amish/Mennonite who made me think of my uncle, except for the straw hat.

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 24th, 2010 at 22:36)

    Hi Erik,
    This doesn’t have to do with this post but I was wondering if you have done or are planning to do a post on the Amish and the belief in Salvation. As I’m planning on joining an Amish church and have attended an Amish church for the last 5 years (one that does believe in Salvation through Grace) I have found this is a huge misconception about the Amish. Most people believe ALL Amish do not believe in Salvation by Grace which isn’t true. I was wondering what your expirience was with this and if you would be willing to share? I’d love to either read a post here or email privately about it as I really would like to see the truth about the Amish faith out there which is why I really love your informative & truthful articles. Thank you!
    Also, “cansch du Amish schwetza?” (Can you speak ‘Amish’?) I have noticed a few words & wondered 🙂 God bless & Happy Thanksgiving,

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 25th, 2010 at 05:49)

    Good point on Wisconsin v. Yoder, Damon, I do recall SMN making a point along those lines, though not where exactly off the top of my head. I do appreciate this discussion.

    Glenda on big church groups it does seem you have to self-sort yourself into smaller arrangements, in order to create a sense of that community. And I guess it would hold true of any larger institution. My college had 24,000 students, and was a pretty big fishbowl.

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    Books on Plain Clothing--Amish, Mennonite, etc.

    Michelle V, as for plain clothing reads, probably the best I’m aware of is Stephen Scott’s “Why do they Dress that Way?”. It is a nice slim easy to read volume that goes through the different aspects of dress with some good background. Amish themselves don’t always have answers for why they wear a particular style of plain item vs. a different style of plain item, or why something is one color and not another. But this book does a good job of giving some general background as to main reasons why all Amish wear plain clothing, and Steve also goes into a good bit of detail about individual communities, comparing prayer-coverings and other items in PA to those in the midwest and other areas, for instance.

    And those Bill Coleman shots are likely from the Big Valley settlement, as the Nebraska Amish there dress similarly to the boys you describe (brown trousers/vests, white shirts) though the lemon yellow dresses may be from a different community, if I’m not mistaken, as the women from this very conservative group would wear darker colors. Here’s some more on “Nebraska” Amish if you’re interested: http://amishamerica.com/nebraska_amish/

    And I have to say I’d take turkey over pork chops any day! Guess I’ve had a few too many. We are definitely cooling down in Poland right now, it is definitely not Florida 🙂 Have a great Thanksgiving.

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    Comment on Is the plot of Witness believable? (November 25th, 2010 at 05:59)

    Is the plot of Witness believable?

    And on the Witness question Shom has a good take here. Generally I don’t think it was too far off the mark when you get past the slightly hard to believe premise of the Amish harboring a big-city police officer and getting entwined in a criminal plot. I haven’t seen the recent Amish Grace film but from what I understand the cultural side of it was not quite as accurate, I believe the dress/appearance was what was criticized.

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 25th, 2010 at 06:04)

    Kate I have enjoyed your blog and all best to you with your journey and decision. Sounds like you may be attending with a New Order congregation? I did a short post on Assurance of Salvation a few years back, and also mention it in the Amish Online Encyclopedia entry on New Order Amish: http://amishamerica.com/assurance-of-sa/


    Maybe it will be time for another post on this. As for Schwetza-ing Amish, I don’t schwetza more than a few words here and there. It is fun to learn though. Maybe someday–I speak Polish already, and not sure if my brain can fit another language 😉 How about you? How have you been learning it?

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    Alice Aber
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 25th, 2010 at 09:27)


    Growing up I was raised a Baptist and attending an independant Baptist church that had between 250 and 300 members. I thought that was a mega church, back in the 60’s, ha! Over the years I have moved several times. In each new community I searched for the smaller churches then out of those found the ones with “the best fit” for me. I have crossed over denominations a few times as well. Although I still hang on to my Baptist roots I currently am attending a small Church of God, Pentecostal Church. The most we have in attendance is 50. The sense of “community” and “family” is awesome! I feel we are all going to have our own certain beliefs no matter what church we attend as that is what God puts in our hearts, but there is nothing like having a church family that really comes together to help build faith.

    I don’t want to sound like I am really down on mega churches but truthfully, I do not see how good fellowship and community can come out of them. I think the largest church service I attended was around 500 and felt lost there as well. Maybe its just my way of thinking but I feel like the main reason for joining a congregation is for the closeness of fellowship and community. I would have to agree with your brother, to get the most out of it, look for a smaller church. 🙂 Just my thoughts.

    Be blessed!

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    Michelle V
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 25th, 2010 at 13:30)

    Erik & S.H.O.M. many times Thank You ! for answering my questions and in detail :). Erik I will add S. Scott’s book to my collection. Speaking of I recently added two “old” ones from 1936/1937 – “Straw in the Wind” a fic story (kinda scary, i might add) about an Amish family in a rural setting – full of sterotypes and surnames like Schlegel,Stutzmiller and Riehl which I’ve not heard of before and “Roseanna of the Amish” a sentimental sweet story of an adopted girl becomimg Amish. I’m looking for part 2 “Roseanna and her Boys” Again many times- Thank You!

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    Michelle V
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 25th, 2010 at 15:29)

    Grandma Yoder of Yoder’s restaurant in Pinecraft made the Tampa Paper for her world famous pies- she was also on Man vs. Food. Yum!!! So, whatever you like or have on this Thanksgiving Day be it tasty, simple and joyous!!
    Stay Safe and many warm blessings to all!!
    Michelle V

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 26th, 2010 at 01:06)

    Hi Erik,
    Thanks for the quick reply! I am actually attending an Old Order Church. A lot (not all) of the Michigan churches were formed for a few reasons off of the Indiana or other churches and 1 of the reasons was the belief of Salvation rather than through Works. Have you visited any MI churches? Can I ask which ones, if you have? I looked for a post you did and couldn’t find it so thanks for the links! 🙂 And if you’re able to ‘schwetz’ polish that’s pretty great too. I’m doing alright with my dutch, I can understand a lot but can’t really speak it as much. I’m learning though! haha. Thanks so much again Erik. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 26th, 2010 at 09:21)

    Hi Kate that is interesting to hear, as far as I know there is some sympathy to assurance beliefs among some Old Order churches in Holmes County as well, though maybe not as an “official” stance.

    I have been in a settlement in Hillsdale County but can’t say exactly which one, this was quite a while back. Glad you found the links and take care Kate.

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    Comment on Rosanna of the Amish--fact or fiction? (November 26th, 2010 at 09:26)

    Rosanna of the Amish--fact or fiction?

    Michelle V Roseanna of the Amish is considered a classic. There has been some controversy over that one as it was supposed to be a true story or at least largely based in truth but I believe in recent times it’s generally been considered to be sa fictional work. Not to take away from the book though, enjoy it!

    On the names, “Riehl” is definitely a current name, a lot of them in Lancaster County (take a look at the testimonial near my book at the top of the page 🙂 ) Schlegel might have been an old Amish or Mennonite name, I’d have to check. Stutzmiller sounds like a hybrid creation of Stutzman and Miller 🙂

  • Ideal size of a church--Megachurch vs. Amish congregation

    Alice I have visited some “mega” churches or at least ones with large attendance and I can sympathize with what you say. Not to knock them though as I believe that getting people in the doors on Sunday is a good thing no matter the size of the building. And I think you can have a sense of community in one as well though it may not be as “automatic” as it would in a smaller congregation.

    The Amish tend to divide their districts at the “right” time, I feel in terms of keeping numbers small. It can be a bit of an emotional change though–half the people you have seen every Sunday or every other Sunday suddenly are not there (or at least not so regularly as they’d still visit).

    I recently attended at a friend’s district in Ohio after they’d just had a division. This was a New Order district which in Ohio tend to be a little or even a lot more spread out than the Old Order ones, and that meant that people do not see each other as often. Another Old Order friend who had also recently divided was in a different situation, as the district was basically around one block and most folks lived within about a square mile.

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    Alice Aber
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 26th, 2010 at 10:24)

    Erik, I did not mean to sound like I was totally knocking mega churches. They are just not for me. I am sure they serve a good purpose in their own way though and obviously a lot of folks like them or they would not go.

    I imagine when an Amish district divides it can be quite hard on those who attended regularly and who will no longer see their “church family” on a regular basis because of the division. The decission to divide must really be a hard one knowing they are breaking up a family so to speak.

    Seems to be cons and pros in everything.

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 26th, 2010 at 10:31)

    Hey Alice, I didn’t think you were so hope it didn’t sound that way. Sounds like you have just found what fits.

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    Alice Aber
    Comment on The “Amish community” (November 26th, 2010 at 10:33)

    No problem Erik!! Yes, I have found what fits for me. 🙂 Well, I am off to the kitchen to get those pies baked for the church bazaar tomorrow. Hope everyone has a great day!!

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    ExWrangler David Bubba E.S.
    Comment on Quetions to anyone who is Amish (July 9th, 2011 at 05:26)

    Quetions to anyone who is Amish

    I don’t know how to start this, but a lot of me am like your life, i love the old ways only, I don’t like how people now days don’t keep their word or shake a hand that means more than just a hand shake. I know I can never be perfect; I don’t have any family just about. All alone and I have a good heart and its being abused by these people around me. I want to be among the old style folks. either on a ranch but can’t find one that would or know of any that is out there to see if they take me, I wanted to know if someone is willing to do all of what you do, would you speak to them or me, and try me and see if you would take someone like me in for life, I LOVE Horses, I have my own saddle and cowboy gear as chaps and stuff, not sure if you al’ use this but, I want to be out in the sun working hard feeling about yourself and i never never been married and never had any children, so i figure I did some right, I just want to belong to a large family that LOVES, NOT HATES… Please write me back, forgive the email title, don’t let the name get to you because I just want someone one but all to love me,
    My name is David and willing to change it, my email


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      Comment on The “Amish community” (October 2nd, 2012 at 20:09)

      I see you are a lieing because the Amish do not use Computers!

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    Comment on Please give me a definition. (October 2nd, 2012 at 20:07)

    Please give me a definition.

    Can anyone give me a definition for an Amish person I would really appreciate this?

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    Comment on Amish in South Africa? (October 3rd, 2012 at 07:07)

    Amish in South Africa?

    Hello everyone,

    I happened to find this site while researching Amish in South Africa.

    I am intrigued and drawn to the whole idea of community with one another and the lifestyle of being free from what binds you to this world is what I crave!

    I am tired of the rat race and everything that goes with it. It all seems so futile and soul destroying. Its like a dog chasing its tail.

    Anyway, that’s my motivation for looking for this information.

    Can anyone tell me please, are there any Amish communities in South Africa as I am keen on finding out more on how to become Amish 🙂

    Thank you for your time – have a great day.

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    Comment on South African Amish (October 3rd, 2012 at 09:20)

    South African Amish

    No, there are no Amish in South Africa. The only “Amish” in Africa are some “Beachy Amish” (they drive cars, but hold many ok the same basic principles as the Old Order Amish) with missions in East Africa (possibly other countries, not sure) and humanitarian aid projects in various other places like Liberia.
    You might find this site–http://www.hisekklesia.org/–interesting, as they would hold some of the Anabaptist principles. The site owner lives in Namibia I believe, but has some contacts in South Africa if I remember correctly.

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    Comment on The “Amish community” (October 4th, 2012 at 01:34)

    Thank you Primitive Christianity for your response – much appreciated 🙂 I will continue my research with your link you provided. Have a great day today.

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      Comment on The “Amish community” (May 27th, 2013 at 05:27)

      U found any Amish people in South Africa i also interested mail me please

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      Comment on The “Amish community” (May 27th, 2013 at 05:30)

      Chantelle sent me a mail at jacowindt88@gmail.com !! have a nice day

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