Imagine holding weekly religious services in your home. For the Amish culture — an Anabaptist group that embraces conservatism, family, humility, and separates itself from outside communities — that’s where holidays, worshipping, and ceremonies all occur (from Discover Lancaster). Their belief system reflects the Romans 12:2 scripture often mentioned during prayer services, “Be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God,” reported Lancaster PA. Part of this is why Amish remove themselves from mainstream society; instead, they chose to live a life obeying God and traditions that the church dictates, something referred to as Ordnung — roughly translated into discipline.
Anabaptism started around the time of the Protestant Reformation. The movement purported that baptism should be chosen, and the faith only performed the act when children entered adulthood at age 18, explained Gents of Lancaster. The word “Anabaptist” embraces this basic tenet, and generally means “baptized again.” While the concept seems innocuous, lots of European people took unction to the practice and discriminated against the Amish people, even stuffing individuals into sacks and tossing them into rivers, said Anabaptists. The Amish escaped from the religious persecution by settling in the United States. Today they live in 19 states — 80% in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana — plus Central America and Canada. They live simple lives, wearing plain clothes that they sew. Community, faith, and family fill their existence.
Church ceremonies and other celebrations
The Amish hold religious services in community members’ homes instead of churches, reported Ranker, and rotate the location. Sometimes a pastor needs to go from room to room during the service because the house does not have a space large enough for the entire community. The religious gathering can go three hours or more and takes place every other Sunday. Women and men sit separately from each other as they listen to the sermon and sing songs in Pennsylvania Dutch and German.
The methodology suits the Amish since church districts are created based on geography, said Discover Lancaster. Each area owns enough backless benches to host up to 150 community members. These are brought to the hosting home, with each family holding services about once a year. Lunch and socializing always follow the ceremony, with some of the communal benches becoming tables to hold the meal — often featuring things like coffee, bread, apple butter, red beets, pickles, cheese, and snitz, a dried apple pie. Everyone eats in shifts because of limited space, with the oldest members going first.
Weddings are also held at home and have a similar feel to church services. These are usually in the fall on Tuesdays and Thursdays and usually take place at the house of the bride’s parents, who can host several hundred guests, reported Ohio’s Amish Country. When the newlyweds wake the next day, they celebrate their union by helping clean up the debris from the party!
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