The Amish and the plain people
On Monday, October 2nd to completely different cultures collided as an armed man entered a local Lancaster County school. He killed five children and himself.
It was an Amish school and everybody knows that the Amish people are non-violent and peaceful. They have even earned the nickname “the gentle people”
Everything starts at the time of the protestant reformation in Europe. Some people were against the infant baptism and became known as Anabaptists.
The Anabaptists believed that only adults who had confessed their face should be baptized and that they should remain separate from the larger society.
In 1536 Menno Simons (a young catholic priest from Holland) connect the Anabaptists movement. His words connect many of the Anabaptists groups, which where later known as the “Mennonites”.
One of the teachings of the Amish faith was (and still is) called “the ban or shunning”. This is an Amish Law, which forbid it to connect with anybody who isn’t this church group.
This and some more differences between the followers of Jacob Amman and the Mennonites split them in 1693 in two groups. Later the followers of Jacob Amman called themselves “the Amish”.
In Europe this Anabaptists groups were persecuted and thousands of them died.
Because of that, they fled to the Mountains of Switzerland southern Germany. Here began the Amish tradition of farming.
Later they settled in Pennsylvania. The first Amish group settled in Lancaster County in the 1720’s or 1730’s.
Today the Amish can be found in 23 states here and in one Canadian province. Lancaster County is their second largest.
Because of their large families, the Amish groups got bigger and bigger. Only a few of their children leave the church.
The Amish and Mennonites only differ in things like their dresses, language, technology, form of worship and the interpretation of the bible.