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Part 1 – About the Clergy
The Amish attend church, but they do it differently than most of the English. In most of the Amish communities in Missouri there is one Bishop and depending on the size of the community, they will have one preacher per 10-15 families. A church district usually has around 80-90 children and 70-80 adults 20 years and older. This can vary a lot depending on the sizes of the families. If there are 2-3 small communities a Bishop may be shared between them. Normally, the Bishop and Preachers are the male Elders of the communities. There can be four to eight Preachers per church district. The Church Districts are generally divided by the geographical location of the Amish Community.
As far as I know, the Amish Clergy do not go to seminary school like our English pastors. For the Amish preachers this is not a full time job; however, their opinions and guidance is sought after by the community members. They are chosen because of their character and integrity. They must have a great understanding of the Bible and Ordnung (This is the guidelines for daily living – I will discuss this next week). When the time comes that they have to choose a new Bishop or Preacher, there is a lot of excitement in the communities. Many of the Elders will get together to discuss this. They will already have talked to many of the adults in the community to find out whom they would like to see become a Bishop. There is no vote by the adults; it is all done by the Elders and the other current clergy. There is normally a large Sunday dinner for the conformation of the new Bishop or Preacher.