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Mennonite-Amish Culture in the Pen-Mar Highlands, page 2

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


equivalent for the English Baptist. The members held the doctrine of believers' baptism and opposed infant baptism. After the Anabaptist disaster at Munster, Menno Simons of Holland became the acknowledged head. From Switzerland and Holland the movement spread into southern Germany, Austria, and southern Russia.

In 1620 in the Berner Alps of Switzerland Jacob Amen held that excommunication of one party dissolved the marriage tie. He prescribed the use of buttons, and the trimming of the beard. These strictures were the first departure from the Mennonite sect. The Amish were hypersensitive with regards to vanity of dress. They preferred austere simplicity and no fluctuation of style.

The earliest adoption of a doctrinal formula was made in 1632 in Holland by the Mennonites. It contained eighteen articles. Both Mennonite and Amish adhere to these articles even as now. They followed Ulrich Zwingli in the interpretation of the Lord's Supper, which for them centers in the commemoration of His crucifixion. Ordinarily communion is held twice a year, at Easter, and in October after harvest time. Instead of the foot-washing preceding communion, as designated in the pre-Reformation liturgies, the Amish place this act at the conclusion. Baptism is recognized as a sacrament which is administered on confession of the church's faith. Its form of administration is that of "pouring", followed by the Kiss of Peace. In the early church the Kiss of Peace was practiced not only in connection with Baptism but as the final act of reconciliation prior to the Faithful's participation in the Lord's Supper.

Their emphasis was more on the knowledge of self-discipline than of dogma.

Each congregation is presided over by an ordained Bishop. He functions as the preacher, administrator of baptism, communion and marriage. His services are not essential for funerals. Besides the Bishop each congregation has a minister whose main function is that of teacher* He is also required to preach on occasion. The third official is the Deacon whose responsibility is the temporal affairs of the church.

The ministers are chosen by lot from the members of the congregation. If there are two or three ministers chosen there is another election when by lot one of the chosen is preferred as Bishop. He is then ordained by several visiting Bishops on the appointed day.

The Amish have no school for the training of their leaders. Each congregation is its own school. The Bible is the exclusive textbook.

No member makes an effort to draw attention to his faith. His sense of mission is to glorify God with a life of minimum worldly wants, a maximum of labor in the cultivation of what to him is "sacred soil", and a steady disposition of his progeny to sustain the tradition that needs no reorientation. "The Old Order" Amish do not attempt to convert out-


Felix G. Robinson


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Maryland, History

Western Maryland, 1750-1963

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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