Missouri Mennonite Log Homes

There’s another Plain program on the airwaves, but this one isn’t about the Amish. National Geographic Channel’s Mennonite Made (despite the name, not a response to Amish Mafia) is about building things–log homes, to be precise.  From the Nat Geo website:

Mennonite Made follows a tight-knit crew of traditional Mennonites, who practice craftsmanship passed down through generations to build one-of-a-kind log homes.

Spearheading the log home crew are owner Norman Troyer and his family of crewmates: his brother-in law-Elmer working as the foreman, his son Freeman driving the loader and cousin Mark manning the chainsaw.

While they haven’t gotten the same attention Amish enterprises have, Mennonite-run businesses have thrived in similar ways.  Mennonite-made furniture, for instance, is quite popular in Canada.

Mennonite Made features members of the Salem Christian Mennonite Brotherhood in Salem, Missouri, formerly a New Order Amish group from Salem, Indiana.  They are affiliated with the Berea Amish-Mennonite Fellowship.

In The Amish-Mennonites of North America, Cory Anderson writes that “The Berea Amish-Mennonites are more conservative than the Ambassadors and Fellowship Churches, but less so than the Midwest Beachy” (p. 286).

I’ve also gotten this description: “Two (or 4) notches stricter than Beachy, more progressive than Amish. They have cars, but the men wear broadfall pants (changed to optional last year at Salem).  They use the English language in worship services like the Beachy Amish do,” and that “Salem is a rather conservative Amish Mennonite group.”

It looks like Mennonite Made is just a one-time program, at least for now.  It has aired a few times already, including last night.

In the clip below, Andy Mast of Mast Woodworks creates a log bench for the Colorado home the crew is building.  You’ll see by his appearance Andy could be taken for an Amishman.

I have not been around TVs a lot lately, so have not watched much more than this clip.  Has anyone seen Mennonite Made?  What do you think?

And have you ever bought anything from a Mennonite-owned business?

(Hat-tip to Linda)

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    1. Nancy @ A Rural Journal

      Thanks for the information. Sounds like a good show and one I will watch out for.

    2. Al in Ky

      I was interested in this post because of the information given about the Salem, Mo. group. I am familiar with the Salem,Ind., New Order Amish and knew that several families left that settlement several years ago, but wasn’t clear about what became of them. So, I enjoyed reading about the Salem, Mo., group and their present affiliation with the Berea Amish-Mennonite Fellowship. I am wondering if there might be a couple of other formerly New Amish groups who have now joined this affiliation
      (such as Gold Creek, Montana, and Worthington, Ind. (the former New Order group there), also maybe a new group in Idaho).

      I was also interested in National Geographic’s mentioning that Mennonite Made focuses on traditional Mennonites. The word “Mennonite” is a big word that identifies many different types of Mennonites. In the book Anabaptist World USA, Kraybill and Hostetter classify Mennonites (and other Anabaptists) in three categories — Traditional, Transitional, and Transformational. So,
      when it comes to things like “Mennonite furniture”, yes, I have bought Mennonite-made furniture (in Daviess, Co. Indiana)from some
      “Transitional” Mennonites, and have been well-pleased with it. But, haven’t bought any from “Traditional” Mennonites as described in National Geo.’s Mennonite Made.

      1. Debbie Halcomb

        Thanks for the info Al. I haven’t read much about Mennonites. This tweaked my interest. I believe there is a group of Mennonites outside of Sarasota, Florida. Do you know much about them? By the way, where in Ky are you. My husband is from Corbin so was curious what area you were from.

        1. Robert Osenenko


          They make a great meatloaf when I visited there years ago. Every day I went to a small restaurant they owned. It was better than any other early bird special in Sarasota. Near the hospital.

        2. KJV Conservative

          Yes, There Are...

          I live in NW Florida, and we have a Mennonite church or two in our county. I’ve seen some Mennonites (I suppose that they were…they might just have been wearing the kapps and dresses for publicity) at our Farmers’ Market. I’ve also seen a married Mennonite lady (her kapp was black, and was a pleated Minnie, comparable to the Mennonite groups) in Sears. However, those were the only two times I’ve seen any Plain group here.


      2. I’d like to know the story of how they went from Salem to Salem.

      3. Mennonite vs. Amish label

        And a good point Al, when you say “Mennonite” you’re more likely to have to clarify which group you mean (horse-and-buggy, “assimilated”, something in-between) whereas describing something as “Amish” usually brings to mind the horse-and-buggy first and foremost.

    3. Kevin L.

      Yes we have, when we visited St. Jacobs in Ontario a couple of years ago. The Old Order Mennonites have quite a large community there. We were even lucky enough to pass a long procession of open air buggies on Sunday morning either going to or coming from church services.

    4. Alice Mary

      My cat would love it!

      This is the kind of furniture I’d like to have in my “dream” log home! My cat (though claw-less by a former owner) could scratch at it as much as he likes—no problem! And I wouldn’t need to bother with polishing. Care-free! 😉

      I’ve not seen the program, but will keep my eye out for it, as I LOVE watching shows about building/constructing things (houses, furniture, textiles) that involve craftsmanship that otherwise might be lost to “hands-off” technology.

      I’m really glad you shared this, Erik! Thanks!

      Alice Mary

    5. KJV Conservative

      A Little Off of the Topic...

      The New Order Amish group was mentioned briefly in this article. Are there any other colonies besides that in Guthrie, Kentucky? Also, does anybody know any credible websites/books that explain the New Order Amish beliefs and practices? I’ve studied them briefly, and understand that they, unlike the Old Order, believe in the assurance of salvation.

      Does anybody out there know of any other Plain/Anabaptist groups that believe in the assurance of salvation?


      1. The Truth in Word and Work is a publication put out by New Order Amish in Ohio spelling out beliefs. You may want to look at something that is more comparative to get the ways the New Order differ however. An Amish Paradox is going to have a lot of that type of info. New Order Amiah are also covered to varying degrees in other books such as Plain Diversity (on Indiana Amish) and The Amish.

      2. Another New Order Amish resource

        KJV, I forgot to mention one yesterday (was traveling from Europe and just had a chance to fire off a few messages while waiting to transfer in JFK)…one of the best writings on the New Order Amish which also lists other “electric” New Order communities is by G.C. Waldrep in Mennonite Quarterly Review (“The New Order Amish and Para-Amish Groups”, G.C. Waldrep, Mennonite Quarterly Review July 2008).

        He discusses in depth both the New Order movement and beliefs as well as spin-off groups that are not fully Amish but resemble them. Also lists both the electric and non-electric New Order groups as of 2008. Very good article.

        You can order single back issues at $10, or even single article pdfs delivered by email for $5. Here’s the website: https://gconline.goshen.edu/acct/prod/mennonite_review/bin/subscription.html

        1. Al in Ky

          Thanks for including this information. I am very interested in learning more about the New Order Amish and Para-Amish groups, so now know where to go to learn more.

    6. KJV Conservative

      Thank You

      Thank you for the information! I am very curious about the Amish and other Plain Anabaptists, especially since a good bit of my heritage is German.


    7. Carolyn B

      Erik, thanks for this post. I love woodworking shows and etc. Plus it has a Missouri connection is especially fun to hear.

      FYI, this post originally ended up in my Spam folder, something which rarely happens with your emails. Just wanted to alert you in case of anything hinky going on through the internet.

      1. Thanks Carolyn for letting me know, sometimes that happens, if possible you might be able to put a sender on your email whitelist. I am experimenting with a few email delivery systems right now to help make sure emails get through to those who want them.

        Most comments I’ve read have been positive towards this show, I wonder if it will become a regular program.

    8. J T

      Here in Central Pa, the Mennonites excell in the business world. Many discount grocery stores, the newer solid plastic outdoor furniture, sheds and speciality retail seems to float to the top as successful business models. Building, roofing, concrete, welding and events planning are also prominent. All that I have interacted with have produced quality products at good prices.

      I’m looking forward to the mud sale season coming up so I can enjoy more Amish life.