Lovina Eicher of Lovina’s Amish Kitchen reports in her latest column on church service restarting in her Michigan community.

Sunday, we hosted church services in our pole barn, which was the first time we met since the lockdown. Our church members decided to gather for the service and then all leave and have their lunches at home.

Below: a photo of Lovina’s family’s pole barn, set up for church. For the Amish, church can be held in a pole barn, workshop, basement (as we saw in the recent Iowa Amish home post), or other room or structure which will fit the congregation.

You can see the Eichers’ pole barn provides a fairly spacious area, and it is easy to get the long benches into and out of this space. I have been in some Amish services which felt much more packed than this area.

The white chairs with backs you see in the front are for the ministers and older folks. As a guest in Amish church, I have been given one of these seats at least once or twice (though I don’t think I qualify for either of the aforementioned categories at present).

Photo: Lovina’s Amish Kitchen

For the Eichers, leaving off the after-service fellowship meal seemed strange, but the church felt it the right thing to do:

Usually, the family hosting the church service furnishes a lunch such as sandwiches made with homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese or cheese spread, pickles, red beets, butter and jam, and coffee and tea. It was decided to skip the lunch and ask everyone to eat at home to observe the COVID-19 lockdown rules. It didn’t feel right not to sit and visit and have lunch with our church fellowship, but we are thankful that we could at least gather together to hear God’s word.

After cleaning, preparations, and hosting 100+ people, the hosting family is ready to relax a bit and return to a normal routine:

After preparing for church services for weeks, it is a relief to have our turn over for another year. Now we can concentrate on other work. My goal is to get some sewing done.

How long until the church will be enjoying red beets and schmier kase together again? Hard to say, but this is a good start.


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