Here comes Bishop Yoder…call me back later!


photo from Wired magazine

In Amish Country, Lancaster County, a quiet behind-the-scenes battle is happening–it’s business vs. the bishops, in a discrete tussle over modern America’s favorite portable gadget, the cellphone.

Tensions have risen over the now common device.  “Sometimes I wonder if we’re not getting to a point where some of our people don’t respect church authority the way they should,” says a frustrated spokesman for Amish bishops. That’s from an article out today at Lancaster Online.

So why is the mobile phone so big here, where elsewhere (though definitely not everywhere) in Amish America it’s less frequently seen?

Many say it comes down to one factor, and one factor only:  business.

Lancaster County is one of the most entrepreneurial of all settlements.  The phone has gradually snuck its way into the community, apparently starting way back in the 80’s.  Many Amish now have cellphones, particularly business owners.

The requirements of running a bumping wood shop, retail sales business, or construction crew now somehow seem to demand technology that Amish have long managed to do without.

But are these increasingly prosperous Lancaster Amish entrepreneurs getting something wrong here?

Some take that view.  Church leadership often worries about members’ priorities.  In Kraybill and Nolt’s Amish Enterprise, an Amishman from another community comments that the Lancaster Amish are ‘almost hyper about making money…some businesses are very successful and handling A LOT of cash and are RICH period.   That affects the types of houses they build for themselves and for their children, where they travel, where they eat, and what they own.’


Whether that’s on the mark is another issue altogether.  But back to the phone–with more and more Amish depending on cottage industry, is it really that indispensable to succeed at business?  After all, Amish have had thriving businesses since well before the cell or even the landline were that common.

In Kraybill and Nolt’s Amish Enterprise, one shop owner complains that ‘conservative leaders “say that you can run a business this size without a phone.  I’d like them to try it.  You really can’t.”‘

But another Amishman in the Lancaster Online article feels differently: “A cell phone would come in handy, but I don’t need it,” he says. “You get your wants and your needs mixed up sometimes.

“Besides,” he adds, “I’m not aware of any church district in Lancaster where they actually are allowed.”

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. Crystal Cameron

      Hello. My name is Crystal Cameron and I was curious if you could help me write to a Bishop of an Amish community to see if I could get a pen-pal. I’m curious aobut joing the AMish and would like more information. THank you.

    2. Crystal Cameron

      Hello. My name is Crystal Cameron and I was curious if you could help me write to a Bishop of an Amish community to see if I could get a pen-pal. I’m curious aobut joing the AMish and would like more information. THank you.

    3. David S.

      Hello Crystal,

      I can help you out with that. Please email me and we will talk.


      1. Jasmine


        Hi,Dave I hope you still get on here but you told Crystal Cameron you could help her write to an Amish bishop. I was wondering if you could please help me do the same. I live in Oklahoma. W/B plz…

    4. kristine

      I would like a female Amish pen pal. I myself am 23 years old, married, and I have 2 children. So a married woman would be best so that we have more in common. I have always been atracted to their lifestyle, and I feel I could learn a lot from a pen pal. I am gradually trying to simplify my life to be more like theirs. My email address is

      Thank you.

    5. Tracie

      How can i get an address for an amish pen pal?

    6. Amanda McGonagle

      I am interested in having a Amish penpal. I am 29 and a stay at home mom with two children. Someone in the same age bracket would be nice. My dad was raised mennonite so i know a little about their way of life. In this fast paced world I so much desire the simpler things of life and would love to correspond with someone in that area. if you could help me that would be great.

    7. Anna

      Hi, I would like to have an amish penpal of somewhat similar age. I am 34 mom. I am homeschooling my daughter. We live on a small farm, I love gardening, cooking and crafting.

    8. Anna


      I would like to have an amish penpal. i am 34 mom, homeschooling my daughter. I love gardening, cooking and crafting. We live on a small farm.

    9. Krista

      I am 12 years old and have been interested in the Amish lifestyle for a while. Can anyone help me get a pen-pal?

    10. Heidi Singer

      I am a 42yo mother of 2 from Massachusetts. Lancaster County is my home-away-from-home when I need to refocus. I am very intrigued by the Amish/Mennonite way of life and would love to correspond with a penpal from either faith. Hoping you can assist me with this.

    11. Kaila

      Hello. I am a 14 year old girl from California and I am interested in having a fourteen year old Amish penpal. I reently took a tour in Lancaster, but I forgot to ask while I was there. Please email me at evbmjb@yahoo.com if you can help me. Thank you.

    12. Kaila

      p.s. I meant to write recently, not reently.

    13. hey,
      i am also trying to learn more about the amish.
      i’ve been interested in joining but would need to know more.
      Is there anyone i can talk to particularly around my own age so i can get to know them better?
      i’m 18 and would love to have a young man or woman if that isn’t possible to correspond with

    14. my email address is heyitisjordan@yahoo.com if anyone can get back to me on that

    15. Sarah Heckler

      Hi. My name is Sarah and, like everyone else on this web page, I too would love to have an Amish pen pal. If anyone knows how I can contact someone to write to, I would appreciate it! I was in the presence of several Amish families this weekend and am so interested to learn more about their culture and beliefs. Thanks if anyone can help me! sheckl00@pnc.edu


    16. Amanda

      My name is Amanda and I have been interested in becoming Amish since I was 18 (I’m 28, now). Can anyone give me a starting place or more information? I’m looking for a friendly Old Order community to join as I have made up my mind to become Amish whatever it takes – I beleive that’s where God is calling me.
      Thanks and God bless you all!

    17. Cristina

      hi, my name is Cristina and i’m italian. i’m very interesting in learn more about Amish lifestyle and faith, so please give me the address of an 18 years old amish girl or boy to correspond with!!! i will attend anxiously your e-mail!!!
      thank you,

      p.s. my e-mail address is derrico.cristina@libero.it (no kidding, please)

    18. Shiloh

      Well, like everyone else on here, I am looking for an amish penpal….I am a 36 year old female, never married and no kids, but have hope to one day…if it be God’s will…I read a lot and am very interested in having someone to write to, please help me if you can….waiting for a reply.
      My email address is Shadoew33@yahoo.com


    19. Joe

      I am mennonite from india
      please visit me at
      you are most welcome to India
      with love

    20. Jasmine

      Hello, I am a 16 year old girl and I have read a lot about the Amish. Where I grew up there was a lot of Amish around. I was wondering if it would be possible for me to get an Amish penpal around the same age as me. Please email me at jasmine_nicole93@hotmail.com if you can help me. Thank you.

    21. Denise

      You Guessed it!! I too would like an Amish pen pal. I am a 42 year old Christian homeschooling mom. I have read many books Beverly Lewis and would love to connect with an amish family. I live in Indiana where there is a lot of Amish communities. I would appreciate you assistance and look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

    22. Sasha

      Hi, my name is Sasha and guess what?! I like more information about the Amish i’ve read a ton of books and been the the Pennyslvania Amish Community once and was soo facinated. Is there any chance of getting an Amish penpal around 20 or a little younger, a little older? Boy or girl it doesn’t matter. Thank You. countrygirl_2567@yahoo.com

    23. Katy

      Hello everyone and greetings from Belgium. I’m a 48 year old mom to 3 boys and like you, I’m looking for an Amish snail pal. I’ve been reading quite much about them and I did get very interested in their way of life. Penpaling is one of my hobbies since I’m 10. Can someone help me to get an adress from an Amish woman? Thanks in advance! God bless you all!!

    24. Katy

      My email adress is hereiam2u@hotmail.com

    25. Jordan

      Hi I’m looking for a girl amish penpal ages 16-17. I am 16 years old. I am in highschool. and I would loveee too learn about the Amish. Especially since the book I just read. please contact me. iheartsos26@yahoo.com

    26. Heather

      hello, I am a 23 yr old Female. I wish to find an amish pen-pal. Since the age of 15, I have been very interested in becoming Amish. i would like to find out how this is possible. Please contact me if you are able to find me a pen-pal.

      thank you

    27. Hi, thanks everyone for visiting Amish America. Unfortunately due to the number of requests, we are not able to connect people directly with Amish pen pals.

      However, I’ve finally had a chance to put together a page of information that (hopefully) might help out!


      Feel free to leave any questions here