Old Order Amish

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The Old Order Amish are a North American ethno-religious group consisting of some 2000 local churches. There is no formal church organisation to bind them together, but they are linked by common faith, traditions and ancestry. The Amish separated from mainstream Mennonites in 1693, led by Jakob Ammann. The Old Order Amish form by far the largest group of Amish.

Different groups of Amish

Main articles: Amish and Subgroups of Amish

"Old Order Amish" is an American term that describes those who resisted innovations both in society and in church work. A series of conferences held in Ohio from 1862 to 1878 resulted in a clear distinction between the conservative and progressive Amish. Traditionally they referred to themselves as Amish Mennonites, but after the schism (especially over issues like the use of meeting houses and innovations like Sunday School) this more traditional group became labeled by others as "Old Order Amish Mennonites".

The Old Order Amish are distinguished from less conservative groups of Amish derivation by their strict adherence to the practice of forbidding automobile ownership, and their traditional manner of dress. The Old Order Amish is the concept many outsiders have when they think of "Amish".

In 1990, Old Order Amish settlements existed in 20 states in the United States and in one province in Canada. Membership was estimated at over 80,000 in almost 900 church districts. By 2002, there were over 1,200 districts. According to sociologist Julia Erickson, of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Amish are among the fastest-growing populations in the world. Old Order Amish groups include the Byler group, Nebraska Amish in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, the Reno group, and the Swartzentruber Amish in Holmes County, Ohio.

Old Order Amish subscribe to the Dordrecht Confession of Faith, a Dutch Mennonite Confession of Faith adopted in 1632. Doctrinally they are similar to other Swiss Mennonites, but show the influence of the Dutch Mennonites. They practice shunning of excommunicated members, and emphasize that a person can only hope to be saved, and that it is a form of pride to claim the assurance of salvation. Feet washing is observed twice annually, in connection with the Communion. Non-resistance, including refusal of military service in any form, is a standard practice.

Most Old Order Amish do not build church houses, but meet for service in private homes every other Sunday. Because of this, they are sometimes called "House Amish".


One group of Amish more concerned with the spiritual life of its members and especially its youth established a publishing house called Pathway Publishing Company located in Lagrange, Indiana, and Aylmer, Ontario. Pathway has become the major publisher of Amish material. There are also a number of private enterprises who publish everything from general reading to reprints of older literature that has been considered of great value to Amish families.


Beverly Lewis, an author of Christian fiction, has written novels based on the Amish. Some of her books include The Covenant, The Betrayal, The Sacrifice, The Prodigal, and The Revelation. These five works are part of a series called "Abram's Daughters", which takes place in a rural Amish community during the 1940s, blending together facts about the Amish with a fictional storyline.

Dale Cramer also wrote books on the Amish. The Daughters of Caleb Bender series. The Bender family move to mexico to get out of having to send their children to an english school. In mexico they are faced with many challenges.


  1. Johnson-Weiner, K. M. (2007). Train Up a Child. Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 
  • Handbook of Denominations in the United States, by Frank S. Mead, et al.[page needed]
  • Mennonite Encyclopedia, Cornelius J. Dyck, Dennis D. Martin, et al., editors[page needed]

Further reading


  • Biedrzycki, Lisa (2006). "'Conformed to This World': A Challenge to the Continued Justification of the Wisconsin v. Yoder Education Exception in a Changed Old Order Amish Society". Temple Law Review. 79 (1): 249–78. ISSN 0899-8086. 
  • Cheng, D. G. W. (2010). "Wisconsin v. Yoder: Respecting Children's Rights and Why Yoder Would Soon Be Overturned". doi:10.2139/ssrn.1636503. 
  • Kurland, Philip B. (1973). "The Supreme Court, Compulsory Education, and the First Amendment's Religion Clauses". West Virginia Law Review. 75 (3): 213–45. 
  • Gordon, James D. (1996). "Wisconsin v. Yoder and Religious Liberty". Texas Law Review. 74 (6): 1237–40. 
  • Wittmer, Joe (1970). "An Educational Controversy: The Old Order Amish Schools". The Phi Delta Kappan. 52 (3): 142–5. JSTOR 20372841. 
  • McConnell, D. L.; Hurst, C. E. (2006). "No ?Rip Van Winkles? Here: Amish Education Since Wisconsin v. Yoder". Anthropology & Education Quarterly. 37 (3): 236–254. doi:10.1525/aeq.2006.37.3.236. 
  • Katz, M. S. (1977). "Compulsion and the Discourse on Compulsory School Attendance". Educational Theory. 27 (3): 179–185. doi:10.1111/j.1741-5446.1977.tb00770.x. 
  • Pullman, Marc H. (1973). "Wisconsin v. Yoder: The Right to Be Different—First Amendment Exemption for Amish under the Free Exercise Clause". DePaul Law Review. 22: 539–51. 
  • Huntington, Gertrude Enders (1994). "Persistence and Change in Amish Education". In Kraybill, Donald B.; Olshan, Marc Alan. The Amish Struggle with Modernity. University Press of New England. pp. 77–95. ISBN 978-0-87451-684-5. 
  • Ruxin, Paul T. (1967). "The Right Not to Be Modern Men: The Amish and Compulsory Education". Virginia Law Review. 53 (4): 925–52. JSTOR 1071423. doi:10.2307/1071423. 
  • McVicker, Debra D. (1985). "The Interest of the Child in the Home Education Question: Wisconsin v. Yoder Re-examined". Indiana Law Review. 18 (3): 711–29. 


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  • Hsueh, W. C.; Mitchell, B. D.; Aburomia, R.; Pollin, T.; Sakul, H.; Gelder Ehm, M.; Michelsen, B. K.; Wagner, M. J.; St Jean, P. L.; Knowler, W. C.; Burns, D. K.; Bell, C. J.; Shuldiner, A. R. (2000). "Diabetes in the Old Order Amish: Characterization and heritability analysis of the Amish Family Diabetes Study". Diabetes Care. 23 (5): 595–601. PMID 10834415. doi:10.2337/diacare.23.5.595. 
  • Hsueh, W. C.; St Jean, P. L.; Mitchell, B. D.; Pollin, T. I.; Knowler, W. C.; Ehm, M. G.; Bell, C. J.; Sakul, H.; Wagner, M. J.; Burns, D. K.; Shuldiner, A. R. (2003). "Genome-wide and fine-mapping linkage studies of type 2 diabetes and glucose traits in the Old Order Amish: Evidence for a new diabetes locus on chromosome 14q11 and confirmation of a locus on chromosome 1q21-q24". Diabetes. 52 (2): 550–557. PMID 12540634. doi:10.2337/diabetes.52.2.550. 
  • Rampersaud, E.; Damcott, C. M.; Fu, M.; Shen, H.; McArdle, P.; Shi, X.; Shelton, J.; Yin, J.; Chang, Y. -P. C.; Ott, S. H.; Zhang, L.; Zhao, Y.; Mitchell, B. D.; O'Connell, J.; Shuldiner, A. R. (2007). "Identification of Novel Candidate Genes for Type 2 Diabetes from a Genome-Wide Association Scan in the Old Order Amish: Evidence for Replication from Diabetes-Related Quantitative Traits and from Independent Populations". Diabetes. 56 (12): 3053–3062. PMID 17846126. doi:10.2337/db07-0457. 


  • Biswas-Diener, R.; Vittersø, J.; Diener, E. (2005). "Most People are Pretty Happy, but There is Cultural Variation: The Inughuit, the Amish, and the Maasai". Journal of Happiness Studies. 6 (3): 205–226. doi:10.1007/s10902-005-5683-8. 




  • Hsueh, W. C.; Mitchell, B. D.; Schneider, J. L.; St Jean, P. L.; Pollin, T. I.; Ehm, M. G.; Wagner, M. J.; Burns, D. K.; Sakul, H.; Bell, C. J.; Shuldiner, A. R. (2001). "Genome-wide scan of obesity in the Old Order Amish". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 86 (3): 1199–1205. PMID 11238509. doi:10.1210/jc.86.3.1199. 
  • Bassett, D. R.; Schneider, P. L.; Huntington, G. E. (2004). "Physical Activity in an Old Order Amish Community". Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 36 (1): 79–85. PMID 14707772. doi:10.1249/01.MSS.0000106184.71258.32. 
  • Bassett, D. R.; Tremblay, M. S.; Esliger, D. W.; Copeland, J. L.; Barnes, J. D.; Huntington, G. E. (2007). "Physical Activity and Body Mass Index of Children in an Old Order Amish Community". Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 39 (3): 410–415. PMID 17473766. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e31802d3aa7. 


  • Umble, John (1939). "The Old Order Amish, Their Hymns and Hymn Tunes". The Journal of American Folklore. 52 (203): 82–95. JSTOR 536013. doi:10.2307/536013. 
  • Jackson, G. P. (1945). "The Strange Music of the Old Order Amish". The Musical Quarterly. XXXI (3): 275–288. doi:10.1093/mq/XXXI.3.275. 
  • Thompson, Chad L. (1996). "Yodeling of the Indiana Swiss Amish". Anthropological Linguistics. 38 (3): 495–520. JSTOR 30028600. 


  • Buck, Roy C. (1978). "Boundary maintenance revisited: tourist experience in an Old Order Amish community". Rural Sociology. 43 (2): 221–34. ISSN 0036-0112. 
  • Fagance, Michael (2001). "Tourism as a Protective Barrier for Old Order Amish and Mennonite Communities". In Smith, Valene L.; Brent, Maryann. Hosts & Guests Revisited: Tourism Issues of the 21st Century. Putnam Valley, NY: Cognizant Communication Corporation. pp. 201–9. ISBN 1-882345-29-0. 
  • Chhabra, D. (2009). "How They See Us: Perceived Effects of Tourist Gaze on the Old Order Amish". Journal of Travel Research. 49: 93–36. doi:10.1177/0047287509336475. 
  • Buck, R. C. (1977). "The ubiquitous tourist brochure explorations in its intended and unintended use". Annals of Tourism Research. 4 (4): 195–207. doi:10.1016/0160-7383(77)90038-X. 
  • Besculides, A.; Lee, M. E.; McCormick, P. J. (2002). "Residents' perceptions of the cultural benefits of tourism". Annals of Tourism Research. 29 (2): 303–319. doi:10.1016/S0160-7383(01)00066-4. 
  • Pearce, P. L.; Moscardo, G. M. (1986). "The Concept of Authenticity in Tourist Experiences". Journal of Sociology. 22: 121–132. doi:10.1177/144078338602200107. 
  • Boynton, L. L. (1986). "The effect of tourism on Amish quilting design". Annals of Tourism Research. 13 (3): 451–465. doi:10.1016/0160-7383(86)90030-7. 
  • Olshan, Marc A. (1991). "The Opening of Amish Society: Cottage Industry as Trojan Horse". Human Organization. 50 (4): 378–84. 

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