By Kevin Williams
I saw someone posted a link to a video on Twitter of Amish singing. I clicked over and it was of a video I had seen before. It was first posted about 4 years ago and is of some singing at the funeral for an Amish woman. One of her nephews was there and recorded a 3 minute video clip of them singing. People were probably aware they were being filmed. This particular Amish settlement is very progressive in their permission of photos. The Amish of Oakland, Maryland align with the New Order Amish church. Some online postings will incorrectly say this group is “shunned” by other Amish, but that is not true. They do not, however, fellowship with other Amish churches. I think they may fellowship with a couple of other “electric Amish” churches in Kentucky and Kansas. The Amish in Oakland do allow electricity, but they are a horse and buggy church.
If you never get a chance to attend an Amish church service (which is most of us), this clip is the closest you’ll come. I love, love, love the video because, to me, it shows the Amish at their best, capturing their sense of comfort and community.
I did an article a few years ago about Oakland for The Guardian newspaper. Because this church is a bit more liberal, it does attract some converts. You can read my article here.
City of Light is a well-known hymn, but most Amish church music is sung out of the Ausbund. There is a wonderful book about the Ausbund, I have a copy. The book was actually written by an Amish man in the 1990s and there are a handful of copies left on Amazon.