Sunday morning in Wayne County, Ohio
Here are a few photos from this past Sunday in Wayne County, Ohio. One of my favorite times to travel through Amish settlements is about an hour before church begins, around 8am (or 7am ‘slow time’ as the Amish tend to go by slow time year round with regards to church, singings, etc, meaning church would start at 9am during daylight savings) as church members are gathering for Sunday service.
Many Amish, especially those who live in the more densely populated, smaller districts, walk to church.
The buggy is of course the other common option. Getting a ride to church from an English person would in most groups be frowned upon. That said, I gave a ride to a New Order couple this past Sunday–though that was actually to Sunday school, not the regular service. I’m not sure how typical Amish from the New Order would view getting a ride to Sunday service itself.
What was the church service like? Did they use the English language during any part of it for their guest?
The more I read about the Amish the more fascinated I become. As I do this research (for accuracy in a fictional story) I find it funny how my story line has changed about five times already! Reading about your adventures/visits makes things “real” and has saved me time as several internet searches actually contradict each other.
My step-daughter recently visited an Amish community in Berlin Ohio (as totally tourists) – She had her mother-in-law in tow (visiting from Scotland). She had no idea I’ve been researching the Amish and I had no idea she was going to Berlin. With that said, she began telling me how rude the Amish were…WHAT? I thought…then she said, “When we asked to take their picture they said no. How rude.” I laughed to myself and told her why they do not like their picture taken, I pointed out that there was a list of “Do’s and don’ts” on the Internet before you visit an Amish community.
I want to visit a community but not sure I want to be a “tourist”
What language do Amish preach in?
I actually did not attend Sunday service this past weekend but rather Sunday school in a New Order district. This was actually mostly in English but mainly for my benefit. New Order churches are known to preach in English, at least part of the service, if there is someone present who does not understand PA German. This was the case during two New Order services I attended last year, where about half of the preaching was in English. Sometimes the ministers would switch in mid-sentence and that would always get me to perk up. It is a strange feeling because you know they are doing it for you as the only one out of 150 or so present that doesn’t understand English. I believe some Old Order districts may do this as well but it would be less common. But I have never personally experienced it in Old Order services I’ve attended.
Non-Amish that attend Amish church services often remark they are long and tiring. But they are also filled with what I feel is beautiful singing and a deep sense of reverence. There are some more detailed descriptions of church services in books like Hostetler’s Amish Society. Generally they are opened and closed with slow singing and consist of two sermons, one shorter and one longer, about an hour, as well as Bible readings, commentary from ministers, and kneeling prayer. They are usually around 3 hours long though more conservative groups would go longer.