27 responses to The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations
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    Min. Tarrel (Terry) Miller
    Comment on Unaffiliated? (March 12th, 2015 at 07:43)


    Are there many totally independent old order Amish congregations not affiliated with any “Group”? The conservative Mennonites, for example, have many congregations like that, which they usually refer to as being “non-conference”, or simply “unaffiliated”.

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      Comment on "Independent" Amish Churches (March 12th, 2015 at 10:16)

      "Independent" Amish Churches

      Good question Terry. There are over 130 churches not associated with any affiliation, according to the authors of The Amish who put this list together.

      You don’t have to be very large to be counted as an affiliation, however, with a minimum of two districts needed by the parameters the authors used. The Kokomo affiliation is just two districts in size, and is fully contained in the Kokomo, Indiana community.

      In other words the entire Kokomo affiliation is only that community–there are no related settlements elsewhere. The Turbotville, PA group is similar, with the affiliation and the community being the same (and just 3 districts in size). There are a few others like that.

      That’s a bit of a tangent, but yes, there are quite a few churches who have not connected with another on an affiliation level for whatever reason or reasons.

      However, they may still “fellowship” with Amish in other affiliations–which would included marrying across groups and exchanging preachers.

      If you would like to know more, I’d recommend either reading Chapter 8 of The Amish, or at the least checking out the link I provided (section “Affiliations and Fellowship”) for a fuller explanation of this. http://amishamerica.com/amish-affiliations/

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    Trish in Indiana
    Comment on A note from the book editor in the bunch: (March 12th, 2015 at 09:21)

    A note from the book editor in the bunch:

    You have Elkhart-Lagrange ranked number 2, but say that it is “third.”

    On an unrelated note, do you have any essays up about the Old Order Mennonite community? Here in Elkhart County (where I think they began), they’re the ones whose buggies can be found on Sunday morning pulled up at a white wooden church building, rather than at a member’s house. I don’t know what other characteristics make them “Mennonite” rather than “Amish.” They’re probably used to people around here confusing them with their Amish neighbors, but I doubt they have fellowship with them.

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      Comment on A note from the post writer :) (March 12th, 2015 at 09:55)

      A note from the post writer :)

      Everything is correct there. This post is a list of Amish affiliations, as explained in the opening section (not a list of largest Amish communities).

      So the 5 elements listed are the names of affiliations, not communities (that’s why you have “Holmes Old Order” and not just “Holmes County”, or “Geauga I”, not “Geauga County”).

      If you read both sentences in #2, I think it is clear:

      “The Elkhart-Lagrange County community is the third-largest individual Amish community. The settlement’s *affiliation* extends to nine communities in three states, for a total of 177 churches.” (*emphasis* added)

      Sometimes the names of communities are the same as the affiliation name used, but I assumed that would be understood (assuming people read the opening section I included to explain the difference).

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      Comment on On Old Order Mennonites (March 12th, 2015 at 10:24)

      On Old Order Mennonites

      On the Old Order Mennonites, I think one of the best things we have is an interview with Osiah Horst, who grew up in an Old Order Mennonite home and whose father, the late Isaac R. Horst, was a prolific writer who wrote over two dozen books including A Separate People: An Insider’s View of Old Order Mennonite Customs and Traditions.

      Part of the Q-and-A covers Amish-compared-to-Mennonites questions but not all. I thought Osiah gave some very interesting answers: http://amishamerica.com/osiah-horst-old-order-mennonites/

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    Trish in Indiana
    Comment on Thanks for the clarification, Erik. (March 12th, 2015 at 10:26)

    Thanks for the clarification, Erik.

    I did read the opening sentences, but while early in the process of absorbing my morning caffeine. Even with the explanation, it’s still quite jarring to see a numeral 2 with a spelled-out “third” right next to it. But at least I see what you mean now.

    Anything about the Old Order Mennonites I mentioned in my post?

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      Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (March 12th, 2015 at 10:39)

      Sure thing Trish. I just added another reminder of the difference in that section. I’d like to assume everyone reads and fully digests the entire piece, but if I’m honest with myself, when I come to these list posts, I am sometimes (often?) guilty of skipping or scanning the top bits and jumping straight to the meat (the list) 🙂

      So I guess a bit of repetition in that spot won’t hurt for anyone who does that.

      I just replied on the Old Order Mennonites. Looking back, Osiah really gave us a nice Q-and-A on the OOM. If you’d like more of the history and background of the OOM, I’m afraid we don’t have a lot here on that. We sometimes do posts on OOM, but don’t have an extensive section devoted to them (compared to the Amish my experience and knowledge on OOM is much more limited). If anyone who knows the OOM would like to share some articles on OOM topics (hint, hint) I’d certainly be open to hearing about it.

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    Trish in Indiana
    Comment on We were typing at the same time! (March 12th, 2015 at 10:29)

    We were typing at the same time!

    As soon as the little wheel stopped spinning to submit my last post, I went back to my email and found a new notification of your answer to my question about the Old Order Mennonites. Sorry to ask again! We “crossed” posts.

    I will check out the article you listed.

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    Comment on Subgroups of Amish (March 12th, 2015 at 11:30)

    Subgroups of Amish

    Wikipedia has an article about Amish Affiliations, titled “Subgroups of Amish.”


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    Alice Mary
    Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (March 12th, 2015 at 12:27)

    I honestly guessed that Lancaster would have the #1 “affiliations” spot. 🙂

    But now I have a whole lot more reading to do when I get home! I’m sure it’ll be interesting!

    Alice Mary

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    Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (March 12th, 2015 at 13:10)

    Wow, I didn’t know all this. Thanks.

    So, would it be fair to say that the affiliations within the Amish parallel (sub-) denominations within the larger denominations of English churches. For example, within the broader umbrella of the Baptist denomination there are Southern Baptist, Missionary Baptist, American Baptist, etc. Do the affiliations work somewhat like that? On a practical level, the workings sound very similar.

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      Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (March 12th, 2015 at 13:17)

      Sure thing Don. Interesting question. I don’t know enough about the structure and workings of those denominations to draw parallels. Amish churches are autonomous in that each has its own ministry and may set a course in a more progressive or conservative direction. The Amish hierarchy is very flat, 2,000+ congregations with no top-level spiritual leadership over them (the National Amish Steering Committee mentioned here before deals with political/legal issues). I’d recommend checking out that chapter 8 in The Amish which may give you a fuller picture from which to draw a comparison.

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        Comment on Erick (March 14th, 2015 at 10:35)


        Do you know the affiliation of the Amish group in Salem, Arkansas or what they are called, Old Order, New Order etc…

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          Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (March 15th, 2015 at 15:40)

          I don’t know about that group George, I don’t think they are New Order though (not to be confused with the Amish at Salem, Indiana, who are).

          Did you happen to see the post we had on them from Don Burke? You can get something of a sense from the buggies, business signs and homes that they’re not as plain as some Amish though: http://amishamerica.com/amish-salem-arkansas/

          At least some of them came from McKenzie, TN, according to this article, so there is a decent chance they are still associated with them: http://www.areawidenews.com/story/1563552.html

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            Comment on Erick (March 15th, 2015 at 19:25)


            Thank you very much and yes I saw the article on Salem, Arkansas. It was very insightful. I will take some pictures and write a story on the Salem, Arkansas Amish when I am there if you would like.

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            Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (March 15th, 2015 at 19:42)

            Erik and George, Erik’s observation is correct that the Salem AR group is not the most plan / conservative Amish that I’ve seen, at least in some aspects. On the other hand, they were not as — is “liberal” (the opposite of conservative) the right word? — as the New Order Amish that I’ve seen who are actually on the grid. But I have no sense of whether they are OOA or NOA. Sorry. (Erik, there aren’t hints of OOA vs. NOA in the Directory, is there?)

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    Al in Ky
    Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (March 12th, 2015 at 19:21)

    It was interesting reading about affiliations, again. I read The Amish book last year, including the chapter on affiliations, but had forgotten that the Buchanan/Medford affiliation is the fourth largest. The Buchanan, Iowa settlement is where I first saw Amish people 50 years ago.

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    Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (March 12th, 2015 at 20:24)

    The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations

    Very interesting article…

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      Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (March 15th, 2015 at 15:49)

      Glad you liked it Natalie, I appreciate the work the authors did to put the entire table together.

      Speaking of affiliations, I am currently among the Amish of affiliation #1, here in Lancaster County. It’s brisk and windy right now, my kind of weather, though most of the frozen stuff is gone. Had a huge breakfast this morning, two types of bacon, french toast, eggs, chipped beef gravy, cracker stew. Washed down with grape juice. I’d eat it every day if I could!

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    Comment on Old Order Mennonites (March 16th, 2015 at 20:40)

    Old Order Mennonites

    Hey Eric, there is a good book on Old Order Mennonites written by Donald Kraybill titled “Old Order Mennonites, Hoof Beats of Humility in a Postmodern World”. An OOM friend of mine gave me his copy to read a few years back.

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      Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (March 18th, 2015 at 08:39)

      Thanks Jerome! I actually haven’t read that one but probably should have by now 🙂 On the Backroad to Heaven also gives a good concise look at OOM and 3 other Anabaptist groups.

      I had the pleasure of visiting Donald Kraybill’s class on Anabaptist groups yesterday. Great group of students. This is his last semester teaching. There will be a retirement event for him at Elizabethtown College April 9 for anyone who is interested: http://www.etown.edu/centers/young-center/events.aspx

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    Ed from NY
    Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (March 19th, 2015 at 00:41)

    Where do affiliations like Swartzenruber, Andy Weaver, or the New Order Amish fall into this?

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      Comment on #6-10 (March 19th, 2015 at 08:12)


      Swartzentruber is just outside the list at #6 (43 settlements, 15 states, 119 districts, districts are likely considered smaller on average than Geauga I hence the higher number).

      Here are 6-10:

      6. Swartzentruber
      7. Geauga II
      8. Swiss (Adams)
      9. Troyer
      10. Swiss (Allen)

      Andy Weaver is 12th largest (1 state, 4 settlements, 40 districts), with New Order non-electric at #14 (7 states, 13 settlements, 35 districts) and New Order-Electric at #24 (6 states, 16 settlements, 17 districts). There are a couple other, smaller New Order sub-groups further down the list.

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      Comment on List of Amish Affiliations (March 19th, 2015 at 09:40)

      List of Amish Affiliations

      Although you have to number the list yourself, the whole list of Amish Affiliations Ranked by Number of Church Districts, as of 2011, can be seen online at either:



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    Comment on What Amish affiliations in Shilo, Ohio (June 29th, 2015 at 18:06)

    What Amish affiliations in Shilo, Ohio

    What are the affiliations of the Amish in the area around Shilo, Ohio?

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      Comment on The 5 Largest Amish Affiliations (June 30th, 2015 at 09:56)

      Jackie that is probably the Ashland affiliation you are referring to. They use a distinct grey-bordered SMV triangle unlike others. http://amishamerica.com/10-views-ashland-county-ohio/

      There is also an Old Order (horse and buggy) Mennonite community in the vicinity of Shiloh.

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