John Stoltzfus touches on a few topics in answering today’s broad question: Amish-English friendship, converting, and divorce.

How hard is it to become accepted into the Amish community? 

John:

Being accepted as a friend or accepted as a convert?

I feel that most of the Plain Community is very open to outside “English” friendship. Years ago (late 1960’s), a lady stopped at my parents and asked for a glass of water.  That glass of water overflowed with friends to this day. She was a tourist from Connecticut and for many years after that she would bring her family for a week stay.  She then introduced her friends.

Through that one lady, my parents have had friends from all over the USA.  With all those, there ended up a few very favorites that continued to visit every year for a long time. In the early 1970’s there was one family that we would visit every Memorial Day weekend, and every Labor Day they would spend their time with us.  This continued til they moved into our area in 1977. Not all couples would do what my parents did, however it was a great experience for us, which I think is why I look at people as people, not Black, White, Jew, Mennonite…..etc.

Being accepted as a convert, is entirely up to the convert.  What I mean by that is, you need to accept the rules/Ordnung of the church district that you are trying to convert to. It really doesn’t matter who it is, you accept the Church, the Church accepts you.

In other words there are “no” divorces in the Amish Church, because the person or couple would be excommunicated before the divorce would happen.  If there would be a chance that the Church wouldn’t know about it til after the fact, at the first opportunity there would be excommunication.  Therefore you would be disconnected from the Church which makes your membership void.

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John Stoltzfus is a father of five and member of a Pennsylvania Old Order Amish community. John works in product design for a local farm supply company. In his spare time he creates computer-generated art, which you can view at Stoltzfus Digital Abstract Art or on Facebook.