3/06/2013

Attending An Amish Church

This past Sunday we attended a Amish Church service.
My husbands brother and girlfriend got baptized.
So they asked us to attend the service. I was a little anxious about sitting on the hard benches for that long. I was also looking forward to see how the church services have changed since I used to attend on a regular basis.
The services traditionally start around 8:30 am. First the preachers file in the the married men. Next the married ladies then the single young girls and last but not least the single boys. This is all done in age form. The older to the youngest file in to a shop or home. As soon as the men enter they remove their hats. It is all done in a quiet orderly fashion.
The men and boys sit on one side facing the ladies and girls on other side. With a aisle left in the middle where the preacher stands.
One of the elderly men announces the page of the song book and asks a guest to lead the song.
They then have a beautiful chant like opening song. While the preachers file out to have prayer and counsel.
They stay out for a hour while the rest of the church sing songs.
I was amazed at the patience of the kids on the laps of a parent or sitting beside the parent for this 3 to 4 hour service.
They have little black purse where they have quiet toys,books,little tablets and pencils or a handkerchief to play with. I remember growing up how we made a mouse or a flower out of folds from a hankie.
There is also pretzels,animal crackers,Ritz crackers and cookies set out for the children to take turns coming up to table and filling a baggy that's also provided by hostess.
Then when preachers return from prayer the sermon starts. Three different preachers take part in service that is spoken in mostly Dutch. The bible is read in high German but he stops to take time to translate it in Dutch so the young children can understand it.
Speaking from my husband and my prospective of the sermon. We were highly impressed on how
spiritual and correct teaching the sermon was.
Toward the end of the preaching the bishop asked us all to stand for prayer for the ones that were getting baptized, as they were kneel ed down in the center of the ceremony. Then we all had a seat and the one getting baptized stayed kneeling. The bishop asked them some questions and following their them answering to a yes. Another preacher held his palms over their heads while the bishop poured little bits of water in the other guys palm and it trickle down over their heads. We got lucky with seats we had that we sat right in front of the baptismal. It was very spiritual and touching as tears were wiped.
Afterward we all kneel ed down in prayer together. Then stood up as the bible was read again. Then during that part all the members of the Amish church made a dipping motion with their knees. It is done in unison where they all know when to do the dip. This is the part where my kids look at me and say what was that? :)
Then a finally chanting song is sang as the hostess and helpers(close friends and relative) form out of service to make the final arrangements with the lunch that is served right after service. The last song lasts about 20 minutes.
Then when services are over the boys and girls file out of shop. They eat around a table where they just stand to eat. The young mothers go feed their children baby soup. Which is a milk bread soup. (I have recipe on OAC recipes)
Next the bench we sat on are transformed into tables and tablecloths are spread on and the meal is served.
The typical Amish church lunch consists of coffee, homemade bread, peanut butter spread(recipe also on OAC), or strawberry marshmallow spread, ham, cheese, pickles, red beets and pie.
My daughter and me sat across very nice informational ladies.
They answered my questions and showed so much kindness and respect towards us.
The one lady said last year over 900 babies were born in the Amish community and only a little over a 100 people died so the are multiplying as a community at a fast rate.
Our experience visiting the Amish Church was a positive experience and I'm thankful for the heritage I came from.

I was respectful and left my camera at home so this blog I just put this together of some pictures I had.
Feel its time for people to know that all the negative shows on TV about the Amish are mostly false and its time we continue to talk about the genuine respect and honesty the Amish people have for each other. They are human and make mistakes just like all us other average Americans do. Hope you enjoyed this service as much as we did.
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