Journal of Plain Anabaptist Communities (JPAC) Issue #2 Now Available

The Journal of Plain Anabaptist Communities (JPAC) has just released its second issue (Volume 1, Issue 2). We previously covered the release of the inaugural issue, and an article from that edition by Mark Louden on language and Plain health care.

The Journal is sponsored by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, and the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, Ohio. It is published through the digital library collection at The Ohio State University. One nice thing about this journal is that it’s available for free online.

What’s in Issue #2?

Here’s a brief look at what you’ll find in this latest issue. I’ve linked each article directly in the text:

Gabriel Arsenault from the Université de Moncton looked at the new phenomena of Amish migrations to the Canadian provinces of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Manitoba. Only a few years ago, all Canadian Amish settlements were located in Ontario. So why these places today? Professor Arseneault answers with three reasons:

First, there are high land prices in southwestern Ontario and less expensive land at these new localities, providing an incentive to begin new settlements to accommodate an ever-growing population.

Second, the settlements in New Brunswick and Manitoba may seem remote, but they are actually near the border with the United States and Amish communities there. As for the two Prince Edward Island communities, both maintain strong connections back to their mother settlements in Ontario.

Third, and specifically regarding Prince Edward Island, provincial laws are considered more user-friendly, helping to explain why the province of Quebec so far has been skipped over, because their education laws are not compatible with Amish schooling preferences.

There are four articles that report on some interesting trends in the Amish population. Larry Greksa, at Case Western Reserve University, documents a slow but steady decline in fertility among the Geauga County, Ohio settlement from 1924 to 2014.

Henry Troyer, a retired professor living in Missouri, examines the shifting of wedding dates amongst the Holmes County, Ohio Amish from the winter months in the past to the spring and summer months more recently.

John Cross, an Emeritus Professor from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, documents the decline of dairy cow herds in Wisconsin which are partially offset by the rise of milk goat herds.

Joe Donnermeyer of The Ohio State University looks at four different ways to calculate the doubling time of the Amish, all of which center around a previous estimate of 20 years established by the Young Center and found on their web page of population statistics.

Another article, by Kyle Kopko, Elizabethtown College and his colleagues, examines the appropriation of Amish group identity in political campaigns in Pennsylvania.

There are two COVID-related pieces. Retired sociologist Victor E. Stoltzfus looks at responses to the pandemic by church leaders in northern Indiana, in particular meetings with public health officials seeking to mitigate the spread of the virus. My article reviews approximately 90 media stories, a number of which we’ve previously highlighted here at Amish America, on the impact of COVID-19 on the Amish, from the shuttering of schools to how church services and social events like weddings were modified to meet new restrictions.

JPAC also features two book reviews. Jeff Bach, retired director of the Young Center, reviews a new book on communal Bruderhof communities by Clare Stober, and the Bruderhof way of life. This commemorative book, marking 100 years of Bruderhof history, is accompanied by 200 photographs of Bruderhof communities and its members.

Finally, Joe Donnermeyer completes his review of 11 books about the Amish with “Lessons Learned from Books about the Amish: Part II.” For Donnermeyer, a lesson is something he found within each book he could use to revise a lecture for his courses (both residential and online), titled after the classic book by John Hostetler, namely, Amish Society.

All articles published in The Journal of Plain Anabaptist Communities can be accessed, free of charge, at

We plan to cover future issues here, but to make sure you keep up to date, I recommend registering at the journal. To do so, go to the Login command on the right side, create a username and password, and then fill out the easy-to-complete registration.

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    1. KimH

      Sounds like a lot of really good reading. Many thanks and have a great weekend.

      1. I hope to feature one or two of the articles here on the site at some point soon and I’ll be glad for any input.

    2. Denise

      Erik, I enjoyed reading your article. It was well organized and your statements were well supported by other sources. Very easy to understand your points. Your writing is an important contribution on this subject.


        Has any one watch this six part series on you tube and what are your thoughts on it, i

      2. Thank you, Denise. I appreciate you reading it, and I’m glad you found it worthwhile. One year ago I wouldn’t have expected the topic to still be as active as it is today, but I guess we didn’t have as good a perspective on how the pandemic would play out.