37 responses to Council Meeting in the Amish Church
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    Council Meeting in Amish Church (October 16th, 2013 at 10:15)

    Council Meeting in Amish Church

    Welcome back, Erik — I’m sure you are forgiven in keeping busy with your other projects, but understand sometimes things must take a back-seat to be able to finish up other projects!

    The info on Council meetings was very informative, and thank you for that. I can see how the Amish remain committed to their beliefs and practices – all of it is taken very seriously, no doubt! They trully are a culture to learn from, in this day and time!

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    Council Meeting in Amish Church (October 16th, 2013 at 11:06)

    Council Meeting in Amish Church

    Thanks for checking in with us Erik. I was wondering if something happened or that I may have deleted myself from your site.

    The subject/info about the Amish Council Meetings is very interesting. I’m always amazed at how you think of so many topics to discuss, and the depth that some of those discussions can take us. You are a walking Amish encyclopedia of sorts. Thank you for all you do and for the things you teach us. I hope you have enjoyed your vacation.


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      Marijane Grassie
      Want to post a statement (October 16th, 2013 at 16:13)

      Want to post a statement

      While traveling the NY Amish trail, i stopped by an Amish farm I have been to befor. The lovely Amish women referred to the Amish movies on TV today. She heard of them through other English who stop by to buy her wears. She said there is No such thing as Amish Maffua. That is against their beliefs. Also all those out of Amish shows are also false. As once they were filmed, they made the house to leave the Amish community and beliefs.do we (the English) realy have to trash such God loving people for entertainment? What are we going to do next? In the name of entertainment

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        Council Meeting in the Amish Church (October 20th, 2013 at 18:46)

        I just had the same conversation with a couple in my church this morning. I’ve been going out to Amish country for a little over 12 years and also started studying the teachings of Luther, and most of all I know a great Amish couple, and I was talking with her husband about the t.v. show, the Amish mafia, and I asked him his view on that and the way he answered it was correct “What do u think? knowing what I do know about them is their non-violent God fearing people, the show is made for entertainment and chances are that a good percentage of people don’t do research on things they watch, they just assume it’s true because they think the producers researched it, were in America people you HAVE to research somethings yourself! If ratings can be made a show will be made.

    • Galen, very kind words. I don’t feel very encyclopedic but thanks regardless. I am glad for the help I get.

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    City Slicker
    Council Sunday (October 16th, 2013 at 11:24)

    Council Sunday

    As an aside, many Amish owned businesses/roadside stands in Lancaster County were closed for a “religious holiday” (according to signs) the Friday (10/11) before Council Sunday (10/13); we were told that the (Fri)day is one of fasting and preparation for the Council, and ultimately for Communion Sunday.

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    Erik? (October 16th, 2013 at 11:42)


    Erik? Name sounds familiar. Erik? Who is he again?

    Ohhhh, E-R-I-K! Yep, now I remember him. Welcome back our prodigal host!

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    Don Curtis
    Mark's first Amish Ordnungs Gmay (October 16th, 2013 at 13:19)

    Mark's first Amish Ordnungs Gmay

    Mark told me a story about his first time participating as a member in Ordnungs Gmay or in English, Council Meeting. Mark had never been to one as he was never before a member. Little did he know that as a part of the service the ministers come around to each member and bend over to listen and the member is supposed to whisper this sort of memorized statement that is called the “Orbeiter” in the minister’s ear. Mark didn’t know the spelling. That’s how it sounds, he says. Anyway, at that time he was working part time at the bulk food store. One of the other employees was a seventeen year old boy (who has sadly, since passed away). Anyway, Mark and Clinton were good friends and Clinton just happened to ask Mark if he’d memorized his “Orbeiter” statement. Mark says he was just panic stricken. He didn’t know anything about this. He didn’t know what he was supposed to say or anything. So, Clinton sat down and tried to write out, phonetically, what Mark was supposed to say. Mark still has that paper as a memory of Clinton who passed away shortly before he reached the age of eighteen. If you’d like to know what the “Orbeit” statement is I can ask Mark to spell it out for me and give the English translation. Anyway, Mark still uses that same Orbeit, unchanged, in memory of Clinton.

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      Nice story (October 16th, 2013 at 15:42)

      Nice story

      You always tell the nicest stories. I am glad that Mark and you are willing to share some of these inside details.

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    Council Meeting in the Amish Church (October 16th, 2013 at 13:22)

    Very interesting info – will you let us know if your friend’s church was able to solve any and all issues? And what a beautiful photo! (sunrise or sunset?)

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    Debbie H
    Council Meeting in the Amish Church (October 16th, 2013 at 14:01)

    I agree with Sharon R. other churches could take a cue from the Amish.

    Erik, I was just wondering yesterday if you had given up on the site. So happy to see you are still there.

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    Alice Mary
    Glad you're back! (October 16th, 2013 at 16:48)

    Glad you're back!

    It’s always good to get back to (virtual?) “normal”, isn’t it, Erik? I’m glad you had a good Lancaster visit, and vacation, besides. Looking forward to the fruits of your labor in the coming months!

    Just what type of “statement” is the “Orbeiter”? I’m afraid I don’t understand its’ purpose. What does it refer to? The individual’s state of “grace” (or lack thereof)? I really want to understand this!

    Is there any kind of limit as to how long a church district can “go” without communion, meaning there’s on-going trouble within the congregation? Have districts ever disbanded because of the disobedience of (some of) the membership? Communion being such a rare and solemn occurrence, how are members judged to be “worthy” (or not)? Very interesting!

    Also, I thought that different Amish districts could visit other Amish districts’ church services on their own district’s “off” Sundays—is that not the case? Or does “visiting other churches “r efer to other denominations, like Mennonites, Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, etc? (The more I think I know, the more I think otherwise!)

    Alice Mary

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    Don Curtis
    Orbeiter (October 16th, 2013 at 17:07)


    Okay. I’m going to try and attempt this with my almost ninety-one year old hands. Mark spelled it all out for me and gave me the translation. This is Mark’s Orbeit. They can vary a little I guess but all basically say the same thing.

    “Ich bin einig mit der vor und abstellung und wan mir der mal di levie khalta wat es ist mein beghera fa so do. Ich will helva havva mit mein schwacheit, in di levie. Wan Ich hab enny elbbah beleidet I will augret wadda in die levie und I wit ah sell du. Und Ich wit der Ha sein segna winscha.”

    Very loose Translation.
    “I am totally agreed with the Ordnung as agreed upon by the church and ministry. It is my desire to hold communion with all the members of the church. I desire to have help with my weaknesses, in a loving way. If I have offended or hurt anybody I want to be made aware of this and corrected, in a loving way and I want to do this for others, also. I wish the Lord’s His blessing on this council meeting.

    • Touching story above, and great detail you’ve added here Don. Thanks to both of you.

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      Marcus Yoder
      Council Meeting in the Amish Church (October 17th, 2013 at 13:51)

      I saw Mark made the Budget again.
      Marcus Yoder

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      Don Curtis
      Correction (October 26th, 2013 at 12:38)


      I knew I’d mess up. I read what I had written to Mark and he corrected me. He said that what they say is called the “Dorbeiter” not “Orbeiter” like what I wrote. He said that it’s prounounced sort of like “Door Beater”. Oh well. I tried.

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      Jeanne Uzar
      Council Meeting (November 9th, 2013 at 11:32)

      Council Meeting

      My Beachy Mennonite Church also holds the same sort of Council Meeting. After sermons, members are given a chance to speak up regarding any sins or shortcomings they may have. Then is the time for each Member’s Statement which would include the following: I have Victory over Sin, Peace with God and my fellow man (as far as I know), a desire to Commune, I am willing to follow the Church Standards, I am open to correction from anyone who sees and shortcomings in my life and accept Jesus as my Savior. We also hold Communion twice a year, Spring and Autumn. Our unofficial website is www.BeachyAM.org

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    Patty Tolliver
    Council Meeting in the Amish Church (October 16th, 2013 at 19:31)

    Council Meeting in the Amish Church

    That was such a beautiful picture. I felt like I was there. Glad you are back. When you go on those trips you always have a “wealth of information to share with those of us who couldn’t go on the trip.

    Their Council Meetings don’t sound too much different from our all church meetings that occurred in the church my family and I attended.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    Al in Ky
    Council Meeting in the Amish Church (October 16th, 2013 at 20:44)

    Glad you’re back with Amish America posts, Erik. I was beginning to think I was going to have to send a notice to the “Information Please” column in The Budget asking if any Amish people anywhere knew what had happened to Erik Wesner.

    In The Budget this time of year in the letters from many Amish communities, I read of them having their council meeting and then on another Sunday having their communion service. And a big thanks to Don and Mark, as always, for sharing new information about Amish life. The orbeiter statement is very interesting.

    • I think I was in non-Budget-reading households on this trip, but if I were in Ohio, you might have gotten a response–one of the families I spend time with there has a Budget scribe among the ranks :)

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    Welcome Back!! Thank you for all your hard work!! (October 16th, 2013 at 20:46)

    Welcome Back!! Thank you for all your hard work!!

    I was a little worried, but I figured you were on vacation and not near electricity to update.

    • Thanks Katrina and everyone else–yes internet is sometimes a challenge to posting, one which I can usually overcome, but there was just a bit too much going on this past visit. I may need to just find a mobile internet solution one of these days.

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    Dali Castillo
    Orbeiter (October 16th, 2013 at 21:22)


    Thanks for sharing that story, Don. Very interesting! Welcome back, Erik!

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    Interesting (October 18th, 2013 at 07:30)


    This is an interesting article and replies. Welcome back, Erik, I hope the trip into Amish country was enjoyable.
    I wonder, is the Church Council/Communion season the times when the Amish select ministers and or make promotions into the different “ranks” in the ministry?
    I like Mark and Don’s presentation of what the “Orbeiter” is, I had no idea of what what was, before, thank you for sharing (you learn something new every day).

    • Communion service is when minister selection commonly happens (there is a bit on this in Amish Way too). The main sort of “promotion” is really from minister to bishop, which follows a similar selection process.

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    Sandra Kathleen
    I've missed you-- and everyone else! (October 18th, 2013 at 13:04)

    I've missed you-- and everyone else!

    Erik– glad you had a respite from the usual daily tasks, even if some were a bit missed– however, truly the basis for R & R! It’s also nice having you — and, therefore, the rest of the community –back in my daily email reading!

    Thank you Don and Mark for sharing — and Erik for publishing the information. Over the years in 3 or 4 of the churches in which I was a member, there was great division for one reason or another, resulting in quite a bit of confusion, hurt, and faith-damage. I can’t help but think that a twice yearly “accounting” by members, confronting “issues” with one another in a grace-filled service would perhaps have given everyone perspective, imparted wisdom, cleared the air of misunderstanding and selfish expectation. Then, to take and make personal accountability for one’s beliefs and affirmation of membership within the community would have given all a renewed sense of unity — the essence of communion with one another in Jesus Christ.

    Thank you for bringing the topic up. It’s given me a great deal of inspiration and rumination.

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    Numbers? (December 9th, 2013 at 01:55)


    Could you tell me how many men sit on the counsel? What are their “rankings”? Bishop, Deacon, Ministers etc… Any information would be helpful! :)

    • Hi Jeff, give this article a try:


      Amish churches typically have one bishop (either exclusive to that district or “shared” among two), 2 or 3 ministers, and a deacon.

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    Council Meeting in the Amish Church (December 9th, 2013 at 14:00)

    Thanks Erik! I thought it was very much like that but wasn’t totally sure. I had heard mixed/ overlapping numbers and it threw me for a loop! :)

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