The Amish practice of home worship goes back to their early days in Europe when they were persecuted for their beliefs. Church services were driven “underground”, which meant being held clandestinely in the homes of worshippers away from the watchful eyes of authorities and religious police. This tradition of home worship has stuck for centuries, even though the Amish have been free to worship as they wished ever since first arriving in the USA in the 1600s.
The idea of home worship also ties into other Amish beliefs like creating strong family and community ties.
Another reason the Amish worship in their homes is to reinforce the idea of the family as the core unit of their community. By gathering in homes, the Amish strengthen their family ties and reinforce the importance of the family unit in their daily lives.
Overall, the Amish worship in their homes as a way of reinforcing their religious beliefs, strengthening their community ties, and emphasizing the importance of family.
An Amish church service can easily attact 100 – 150 people and having that many guests is an excuse for the house host to do some massive cleaning twice a year. The services rotate among members and most people usually take a turn twice a year holding it,but that is not set in stone. So windows are cleaned to a sparkle, cobwebs are cleared, dust is eliminated, and outhouse and indoor toilets are sanitized.
If a church member is too infirm to hold a service at their house, or a church member’s house is too small (this often applies to newlywed couples or elderly) dkdidiidiid
⛪ Do The Amish Have Church Buildings?
Like so many things with the Amish, customs are slowly changing and evolving. For instance, the Old Order Amish of Unity, Maine, have a church building for services. They constructed it around 2012. That particular Amish community has a bit more of a missionary bent to it, so, in order to attract outsiders to worship services, having a separate building makes it easier
The Amish of Oakland Maryland also have a church building that’s been in use there for many years. That community also has a bit more of an evangelical streak in it, outsiders, often attend services.
And in Pinecraft, Florida, a winter home for the Amish, Amish worship in a church building. Most of the homes there are way too small to accommodate the 100 people or so that would go to a service, and people come and go in Pinecraft, so it just makes more sense to have it in a church building.
Other Amish communities aren’t quite ready to let go of the home worship custom, but also recognize the need for a place to gather. So some Amish communities have constructed “community buildings “. These buildings are becoming more and more common. One such building is in the Wheat Ridge Amish community in Adams County, Ohio. These cavernous buildings are designed for hundreds of people to gather and for tables to be set up. Perhaps benches.
While typical Sunday services are still held in homes, often, these “event centers” are used for funerals, weddings, and school events. The The Wheat Ridge community holds an annual birding symposium with guest speakers and panelists.
Some strict traditionalist Amish object to these buildings on grounds that it’s taking the first step towards moving home worship and into a church building. But, so far, I haven’t seen a lot of evidence that is changing the practice of home worship on a wide scale.
🙋 Amish Church Building FAQ
Outsiders can attend an Amish service, but some communities are more open to it than others. See our list here!
Most Amish church services are held in high German or Pennsylvania Dutch. Some Amish churches may switch to English if they see an outsider in attendance.
Yes. If an Amish home is too small to accommodate 100 people and the weather is nice, they may hold services outside. Or if they have an outbuilding, shop, or shed that can be cleared out, services could be held there.