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The Conservative Mennonite

Amish

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  The Amish are named after their founder Jacob Amman. In the late seventeenth century, Jacob Amman and other Mennonites split from the Mennonite church because they perceived that the Mennonites were too worldly and had a lack of discipline. It was their hope to restore a pure church by casting off all things modern.
 
  The Amish today continue in this pattern. They live without electricity, automobiles, or telephones that they may be unlike the world. They dress in a very plain manner. The Old Order Amish are the largest and most well recognized group of Amish. Many of the Old Order Amish refuse to wear zippers or buttons on their clothes because to them it is worldly. Old Order Amish are normally 'house Amish' since they meet for Sunday services in the home of a member.  
 
  Amish culture is very different from the rest of the world. For example married couples do not wear wedding rings, the husband will grow a beard without a mustache to symbolize that he is married. The reason for not having the mustache, is because in olden times, military officers would have mustaches. Since the Amish are pacifists, they refused to grow mustaches.
 
  Many times, an Amish community is referred to as an 'ordnung.' The term 'ordnung' refers to the rules of life for that particular Amish community. Not all Amish communities are in agreement on how seperated from the world they should remain. Some Amish ordnungs allow for a 'community telephone,' as long as it is a certain distance from a member's house. These rules are not written down, they are just known to each member of the community.
 
  Since only adult, baptized members of the Amish church are counted as Amish, estimates on how many persons live in an Amish community are sketchy. Today, in Old Order Amish communities, there are around 134,000 adult members.
 
  Besides the Old Order Amish, there are also the Beachy Amish, which tend to be 'church Amish.' They meet for Sunday services in a centralized church building in the community. The Beachy Amish are more like Mennonites, in that they allow automobiles and electricity. There are other much smaller branches of the Amish that exist, but little tends to be known about them.
 

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