Eastern Brown County is like the land that time forgot. One-stoplight towns, century-old barns groaning in the wind, and Mom & Pop diners serving breakfast all day add a forgotten flavor to this rural respite about 30 minutes from Cincinnati's eastern suburbs. Neighbors know one another and locals cheer on their Eastern Brown Warriors. It's precisely this piece of peace that prompted the Bethel Beachy Amish Mennonite church in Holmes County to start a "daughter church" here in 2006. Fast-forward to today and the church is thriving, with families working in construction, carpentry, and retail.
This is a photo of the new Beachy Amish Mennonite church building rising from a field north of Russellville, Ohio. The church is just a few weeks from holding its first service in the building. Services are currently being held in a rented facility.
The Beachy Amish Mennonite is a conservative church with members dressing plainly and some still speaking Pennsylvania Dutch at home. They do permit electricity and cars. Use of media like television and the internet is discouraged. Very little separates the most conservative Beachy Amish Mennonites from the most progressive Amish. The New Order Amish Fellowship (sometimes called the New New Order church) is closely aligned with the Beachy church, the main difference being that the New New Orders still use horse and buggy while the Beachys have embraced motorized vehicles. The Beachy Amish Mennonites are also much more comfortable with having their photograph taken.
One of the success stories of the Brown County Beachy community is The Home Place, a combination bakery,bulk food and furniture emporium. My next post will introduce you to the Home Place and the friendly family that runs it, along with some great photos of their food!:) EASY AS SLICED BREAD: Above, Lucinda Schlabach, 17, demonstrates a "super slicer" that quickly turns a loaf of homemade bread into about two dozen slices. Beats a serrated bread knife!