By Kevin Williams
The vast majority of Amish, New Order and Old Order, worship in their homes. The tradition dates back to Europe when the group was persecuted mercilessly for their beliefs and the religion had to go "underground", which meant worshipping in peoples' homes. The custom has stuck even though persecution generally stopped when they arrived in the USA. Still, there are a handful of Amish church districts in the USA, for varying reasons, that do worship in a church building. Some, like in Unity, Maine, want to be more accommodating to outsiders interested in the Amish faith. Others, like in Oakland, Maryland, have a church building to accommodate their large congregation. In Oakland, Maryland 72 families worship. That is about 3 times the size of an average Amish congregation. A few years ago when a new church building was constructed on donated land in Oakland the bishop and some elders discussed dividing with the other half of the congregation attending the old church building but the bishop said "we've always been one, so we're not going to divide."
Here are some photos of the Oakland Amish church, complete with a large outbuilding stable for horses and a row of hitching posts. The grounds are kept immaculate by church members volunteering.