Amish Sunday Rules
The Amish have a set of rules that need to be followed if they want to consider themselves one with the community.
When it comes to Amish Sunday rules, they follow specific procedures to ensure that their Sundays are dictated by faith and filled with family bonding.
We’re about to explore typical Sundays in the Amish community, but before we do that, let’s take a quick look at Amish religious practices in general and how they might differ from other Christian norms.
What this article covers:
Amish Religious Practices
As much as Amish rules may seem strange from the outside looking in, it quickly becomes clear that they’re designed to maintain harmony in the community.
Each religious practice serves a purpose. In fact, the Amish religion strives against practices which are performative or ceremonial for the sake of self-importance.
These are some of the religious practices they follow.
The Holy Communion
Communion isn’t a weekly practice. Strictly speaking, it’s only held twice a year in Amish communities.
It occurs mostly in the Fall and Spring during long church services.
Church members receive bread and wine as the service proceeds, and once it's over, their hands and feet are washed.
However, not just any Amish person may receive communion.
Those who are baptized are granted the privilege of partaking in communion, which brings us to our next point of discussion about Amish rituals and traditions.
The Amish Baptism
In most Christian denominations, baptism is seen as an initiation and typically happens in the first few months of your life. The Amish take a different approach to baptism.
Amish baptism occurs around the age of 18 and is a prerequisite for marriage in the Amish church.
This ritual takes place over an 18-week period where the baptism class prepares for the ritual.
These classes take place during a normal Sunday church service, and the youth are separated from the congregation.
The youths must first accept the life set out before them, and they’re reminded of all the implications this commitment will have on their lives before baptism takes place.
Once they’ve agreed, the candidates kneel with the church leader reading out commandments to follow.
The bishop oversees the process and pours water onto the head of the candidate, affirming their faith and welcoming them to the Amish community.
No, this isn’t the name of a horror movie starring the Amish folk.
It’s a shaming process that occurs when Amish people don’t follow the Amish Ordnung rules.
The Ordnung details rules based on scripture that guide the Amish in faith and general living, including what they should wear, avoiding clothing that makes them stand out in a crowd and sticking to a minimalistic look.
Other rules advise the Amish to steer clear of modern-day technologies that distract them from strengthening their faith in God. These include cell phones and television.
Should any of the rules in the Ordnung be broken, the transgressor will be shunned.
This shunning involves the person being ignored by the Amish community and being distanced from everyone else. In other words, they’re treated like outsiders.
They also cannot attend church, work their jobs, or sit at the table with their own family.
It’s not every day an Amish person is shunned, but when it happens, it’s distressing and no one takes any joy in carrying it out.
The more extreme Amish communities go so far as to banish the person from stepping foot into the community, a practice also known as excommunication.
So yes, Amish shunning rules can appear harsh, but so long as they follow the rules of the Ordnung, everyone tends to stay happy.
Following the Trinity Every Day
The Amish practice their beliefs in worshipping the Holy Trinity, believing in one eternal God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Much like most Christian denominations, the Amish believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world and that living well leads to an eternity in heaven, while a life of sin condemns a soul to hell.
They believe the reward for their faith is the opportunity to build a relationship with God, and doing good deeds regularly strengthens their connection with Him.
Amish Sunday Traditions
A Sunday for the typical Amish family includes church services, family bonding, and evening hymn practice.
Amish church services occur every 2 weeks in the homes of Amish families and benches are set up for the congregation to be seated.
The ministers and deacon positions are drawn from a hat and change weekly so that everyone gets a chance.
They sing hymns and read from their prayerbooks before and after preaching the message of the day.
Some of the rules amish women must follow on a Sunday include handing out treats during the service and setting up the house before the service begins.
They also knit faceless Amish dolls that the younger children can play with as the service proceeds.
When the service is over, the location of the next one is announced, and everyone is free to return home.
The off-week Sunday (the week when the Amish don’t have a church service) is a time for relaxation and preparation for the coming week, but family bonding on a Sunday occurs whether there’s a church service or not.
The Amish are encouraged to take biblical rest on Sundays.
This means workers stay at home and strengthen their faith in God and their family, and shop owners close down for the day.
Amish women are encouraged to do the same. They tend to cook large meals on Saturday so that there will be food left over for Sunday.
That way, they don’t need to spend the entire morning cooking in the kitchen.
The youth mingle outside during the afternoon and practice singing hymns for the next service.
Finally, on Sundays when there’s no service, families are encouraged to visit neighboring churches and extended family.
Sunday nights are a time for young people to socialize and harmonize, singing some well-known Amish hymns, usually in Old German dialect.
The Amish youth sit at a table facing each other and sing hymns until the clock reaches 10 pm, at which point the mothers of the children bring out baked goodies and drinks for them to enjoy. These delicacies are typically stored in vintage harvest boxes, egg collecting baskets and rustic bread baskets intricately handcrafted by women in the community.
During this time, Amish boys and girls mingle, and in some cases, can even plant the first seeds of young love.
While Sunday church services are fairly constant among mainstream Christian groups, the Amish’s dedication to tradition and family bonding is what truly sets them apart.
While some church groups view Sundays as a Holy day that calls upon members to behave in the most Christian and Godly manner possible, Amish Sunday rules are merely an extension of their way of life as a whole.
The Amish are just as devout on a Sunday as they are on every other day of the week.
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