Monday, April 23, 2018

The Old Order and New Order Amish

There are two main categories of Amish: Old Order and New Order. The term Old Order Amish describes the congregation and their customs in how to interpret and practice their faith. The label of Old Order or New Order seems many times to be applied by others that try to describe these groups. Some of the Amish fellowships, particularly the recently formed, will use the words “New Order” to describe their church and worship.

For the most part, Old Order Amish are those that retain the old or traditional ways. New Order Amish differ in that they change or update their practices.

For example, Old Order Amish use horse and buggies for transportation, while New Order Amish allow not only the use of automobiles but also permits their ownership by church members. Most New Order Amish do not practice shunning.

The New Order Amish broke away from the Old Order Amish church fellowships in the middle of the 20th century. In the 1960’s, over 100 families located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania split away from the traditional Amish church and formed a New Order congregation.

Many say the split occurred over use of modern appliances. The New Order Amish use electricity, tireless tractors, and milking machines-- but do not (yet) use cars or computers. They also wear bright colors. The Old Order Amish refuse to be connected to electricity, and use teams of horses to pull plows and to work their fields.

The Old Order Amish – sometimes called House Amish because they hold their worship services in their homes – dress in typical Amish garb. New Amish congregations are usually a bit more liberal in what they permit their members to wear, but do govern with a dress code.

The descriptive title of Old and New Orders are also often attached to Mennonites.

Special Note:

Amish Wisdom is an ongoing feature of various entries about the Amish on George Sheldon's website and blog. Written and produced by George, it is intended to provide information about those of the Amish faith.

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