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Mennonite) Anabaptists (Amish - Amish Community And Family Life, Stages Of Amish Family Life, Mennonite Families

mennonites church america baptism

The Amish and Mennonites stem from the Anabaptist movement of the sixteenth-century Reformation. Members of the Anabaptist movement insisted that church membership involve a fully informed adult decision, hence many of them requested a second baptism that symbolically superceded their infant baptism. As a result of this practice their opponents called them rebaptizers or Anabaptists. The first adult baptism was performed in January 1525 in Zurich (Snyder 1995).

In addition to adult baptism the Anabaptists proposed a complete separation of church and state, including refusing to participate in the military or swearing oaths of allegiance; a nonhierarchical church wherein clergy and laity formed a priesthood of believers; and a commitment against any use of force. These beliefs caused Anabaptists to be persecuted, and many died a martyr's death for their faith. An important book for all of the heirs of the Anabaptists is The Bloody Theater; or Martyrs' Mirror by Thieleman van Braght ([1660] 1990). This collection of accounts of persecution, torture, and death, first published in Holland in 1660, continues to be part of the collective memory of the descendents of these people.

For the Anabaptists, the call to discipleship often took precedence over family. There are many stories where men and women willingly gave their lives for the sake of their beliefs and left spouses and children behind to fend for themselves. In the Anabaptist tradition a believer was a follower of Christ first, and loyalty to family took second place (Graber-Miller 2001; Roth 2001).

The Anabaptists produced three groups: the Mennonites, Hutterites, and Amish. The Mennonites take their name from a Dutch Catholic priest, Menno Simons, who joined the movement in 1530. The earliest groups of Anabaptists were established in Zurich, the cantons of Appenzell, Bern, and St. Gall, and the northern Dutch province of Friesland where Menno lived and worked. The groups in the south were known initially as the Swiss Brethren and later broke into two groups: the Mennonites and the Amish. The faction known as Mennonite had formed alliances with the Dutch Mennonites by the end of sixteenth century (Redekop 1989).

The Amish emerged at the end of the seventeenth century when a young Mennonite minister, Jacob Ammann, became embroiled in a controversy with his fellow ministers in the Alsace, the Palatinate, and the canton of Bern (Meyers 1996). The heart of the argument concerned the degree of discipline that should be applied to a church member who violated accepted standards of behavior. Ammann insisted that the deviant should be excommunicated and subsequently shunned by all other members of the church, including members of the individual's family. When the two sides could not reconcile their differences, a division occurred in 1693, and Ammann and his followers broke away from the larger group of Mennonites. Those who sided with Ammann are now known as the Amish (Nolt 1992).

Because of persecution in Europe many Mennonites fled their homelands and moved east as far as Russia, while others fled west to North America. Although a small number of Mennonites remained in Europe, the majority have emigrated. The first wave of Mennonite migration to North America began in 1683. The Amish began to leave Europe in the 1820s. Many of the so-called Russian Mennonites left the Ukraine in 1874 for new homes in North America (Redekop 1989). The decision to leave Russia followed two problematic pieces of legislation implemented by the government: In 1864 a law required that all schools' primary language of instruction was to be Russian, and in 1871 compulsory military service was introduced. Rather than give up their German language and their pacifist position, the Mennonites decided to emigrate.

No Amish remain in Europe. Today there are nearly 200,000 Amish in North America, with more than 250 communities in twenty U.S. states and the province of Ontario, Canada (Kraybill and Bowman 2001).

In the four centuries since the beginning of the Anabaptist movement there have been many schisms among the Mennonites and they form a continuum from the most conservative, Old Order Mennonites (Scott 1996; Kraybill and Bowman 2001) to progressive groups (Kauffman and Dreidger 1991) that have been almost completely acculturated into the mainstream of society. The various factions of Mennonites are spread throughout the world. The fastest growing membership is in the Southern Hemisphere. Of the estimated 1,203,995 Mennonites worldwide, 702,000 church members can be found in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean Islands, and Central and South America. (Mennonite World Conference 2000).

The discussion of family life will focus on the two largest groups, the Old Order Amish and the most progressive Mennonites. The term Old Order is used to describe the Amish who retain a traditional lifestyle that includes the retention of a dialect of the German language, horse and buggy as primary form of transportation, nineteenth-century dress and hairstyle, and a resistance to organizing human beings in hierarchical organizations. Progressive Mennonites have retained an emphasis on believer's baptism, nonviolence, and the separation of church and state. However, in contrast to the Old Orders they have become increasingly urban, emphasize higher education and employment in professions, and have developed an elaborate denominational bureaucracy (Kauffman and Dreidger 1991).

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about 7 years ago

Good Morning,

I am french, i write you as i have just found your website at Contact Amish communities usa. I would like to be in contact with Amish people about a project and not only about a project ; i hope that will be possible thanks to you.

I would like to build or to start an Amish community. I would like to live an Amish life with you.

For the moment, i try to be in contact with jewish people, Protestant people, and Amish people (you will find below a copy about the mail that i sent them, too). I hope to be in contact with you.

If you know people or Amish communities who would be interested about this project, thank you to pass the message around you.

I hope to have the possibility to speak about this project with you, with fraternity. I hope to have your support.

With my respect and consideration, please receive well my message


Anne le goarant



Good Morning,

I would like to be in contact with you

I believe in the Life like a Jewish

I love to read the Bible, to keep the Bible in my life, like a Protestant

And i would like to live my life, my faith like an Amish -in resilience with the mistakes of the world (but in Jewish faith and like a Protestant).

(I had Catholic origines but i had to find my religion by myself as i never received a religion when i was young -no transmission. Inside me, i have always felt myself more protestant or more jewish than catholic. At the end, it was more and more difficult for me to choice between Protestantism or Judaism. I both love. Now, i definitely know that i am really inside me Jewish. I am sure about that, about my natural conversion. I have always been like this inside me. From the beginning like this. I am definitely Jewish inside me, in my faith and i want to be converted to Judaism. But i would like to live my faith like a Protestant -for a progress).

My name is Anne le goarant, i am french, 41 yo. I speak a little bit english. I am for the moment in Ireland.

I want to leave Europe like some others did it before, in the past. For the same reasons.

I am in a homeless situation, consequence of all the violence i have known in Europe : for the moment i do every day housework in the building where i live. I have a bedroom but i have no salary -they don't pay me- (it's a nightmare).

I hope to meet people who would like to live their faith like this and their life like this for a progress.

I know thanks to protestant it is possible to change religion for a progress and it's possible every time when

it's an obligation for a progress/necessary. I know now Life (God) trust on that (i say that with modesty, i give you away what i have discovered or learnt in my soul, too) ; and, in Life (God) i trust for that.

This is the reason why, now i try to be in contact with Jewish people, Protestant and Amish people in order to dare to speak about that and I hope this progress comes true. I don't know if that will be in France or abroad ; or the best in France and abroad together in a one and same religion family, in contact together

There are a lot of things to do together, in Jewish faith, with the Bible, jointly. "Jewish protestant in an Amish style of life*" (but protestant and amish in jewish faith, converted to judaism -for a progress, with Jewish people for a progress).

I hope to find with you.

I would like to build or start with you a Jewish protestant community in style of Amish life.

An Jewish community "Amish", who are a gardener in order to respect the Earth, the Nature (the plants, the animals, the environment, the humanity), who are in harmonia with the Nature -with a knowledge about Tai-Chi as well.

I hope to have the possibility to speak about that with you, with fraternity.

With all my consideration and respect,


Anne le goarant

mail: annelegoarant@googlemail.com

n.b : "in an Amish style of life"* : now, i know that their way of life is really the best way in order to live our life on the Earth. I know that from a long time, now. Their way of life is really Truth, and really the solution on this Earth whatever the problem (there is not an other Truth, Life is Truth) ; there is no solution except to live like this if we want to live on this Earth ; if we want to continue to live on this Earth.

Finally, Amish people in the past were completely right when they decided to live like this (it was extremely modern at this time) and when they decided to improve/or repair some mistakes/or change their religion for an improvement -for a progress. This is the modernity. And I know now there is definitely only one modernity. People who didn't listen Amish people made a big mistake, a mistake for the futur. I want to find this modernity again -living in my life this modernity, this new modernity.


n.b. : i go to the library in order to consult my boxmail from tuesday until saturday.

The library is closed on monday and i have only 45 minutes/day in order to go on internet

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almost 8 years ago

I dont know if the baptists are derived from the Anabaptists but I want to know.