Explain the Amish Church system? We will have to answer this in a Multiple Part Blog each Sunday.
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.
Explain the Amish Church system?
Do the Amish children and adults play games?
Yes. Obviously the children do, how could children ever being kept from playing games? The children go to school from first grade to eight grade (we will go into the children’s education in a future blog). During that time the kids get to play games during recess. Understand that recess is done almost every day. Yes, sunny days, rainy days, snowy days, etc… I have been very surprised at showing up to one of my Amish Families to pick up an order and seeing children running around playing outside in the Rain.
Regarding the adults, the answer varies. Surprisingly, many of the adults play Checkers, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Dice Games. More of the younger adults play games than the older adults. Eli B., a 24 year old, loves to play checkers and Mississippi Marbles. For more information check out this link: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5568991_rules-mississippi-marbles.html . The games are played for fun never for money. The majority of the senior adults “pull away” which is Amish for they do not participate in games.
No matter what happens, the Amish really know how to enjoy themselves.
Are the Amish all about work?
While the Amish value hard work, they enjoy their time to relax too. They work Monday through Saturday, normally from sunrise to sunset. This may sound a lot like some people you know, but their work day is much different. They do not live the hustle and bustle of the English’s world with cell phones, computers, notebooks, etc... There is not the rush that we seem to have.
Their philosophy is: we will work together to get it done when we get it done. Puzzled? The Amish take their time to get it done right the first time. I like to call it “Amish time.” Mose, one of our basket makers has told me that, “Things get done when things get done, not much before but maybe a little afterwards.”
Amish are very proud people and their word is their bond. When they tell you they will have something done on a certain date, the majority of the time it will happen. If not, they will apologetically contact you to tell you why it can’t happen.
They take breaks during the day, but normally do not eat lunch. Instead they have snacks during the day. They eat larger breakfasts and dinners. Each person in the family has different responsibilities, yes even the children. Everyone in their family depends on the others to assist them when needed. I remember a few weeks ago going to pick up an order of belts on which Eli B was working. I looked at what he still needed to do and he told me he would have it done in an hour and a half. By my estimation it would take over 5 man hours. I wondered how in the world he could get everything done in that amount of time. One of his sisters, Fannie, came into to the Leather Shop and just started to help out. A few minutes later, his mother came down to help out. Then a couple of brothers and another sister showed up. I actually thought Eli’s dog, Shep was going to help out too the way he can bounding into the shop. Eli went from just himself to five workers in a matter of 30 minutes. Now that’s team work!
Do the Amish Celebrate Thanksgiving???
Yes, but they do it differently. They gather at their family’s home. Many of generations live close together whether in the same house, on the same property, or in the same community. They meet together to give thanks for the blessings that God gives them.
Most Amish do not eat Turkey on Thanksgiving. They have a large meal with one to two meats as the main course and many side dishes. You have to remember that all of their meals are cooked on a stove with fire (rarely propane or gas). Do you remember those old style stoves that have burners and a flue going out of the house so that the smoke can escape? That is what we are talking about here. If you have ever camped out and cooked on an open flame you understand how hard it is to cook something. Imagine a large meal! This holiday is a time to reflect, catch up on the news of the community, be with family & friends, and give thanks to God.
#All About Amish Blog
#AllAboutAmish We admire the quality and craftsmanship that the Amish put into the products they make, from the bake goods to the baskets, the soaps to the quilts, and from the belts to rugs. With our blog “All About Amish”, we will be bringing you interesting facts, information to increase your knowledge, and appreciation of their unique culture. This will include information about their language, their history, education, recipes, trade skills, traditions & customs. We look forward to your comments and please send us your questions as we work together to learn All About Amish.
Kyle G. Smith