Monday, May 7, 2018

Who are the Andy Weaver Amish?

The Andy Weaver affiliation (sometimes called the “Dan church”) takes a stricter stance on shunning. Andy Weaver Amish are also ultraconservative in their use of technology. The Andy Weaver Amish are allowed to use battery lights on their horse and buggies, in contrast with the Swartzentruber Amish who shun battery power. As far as church doctrine, they probably are in a position between the Old Order and Swartzentruber churches.

The Andy Weaver Amish is a group that organized in 1952 in Holmes County, Ohio Amish settlement. It takes its name from Andrew J. Weaver, a conservative Old Order Amish bishop.

Bishop Weaver found himself in conflict with his fellow bishops. He insisted those that left the church should be excommunicated (also known as the Bann). Weaver believed those that left the church, even if they joined a related, more progressive non-resistant church, such as Beachy Amish Mennonite, should he shunned.

Today, the Andy Weaver Amish has a membership of approximately 3,000 persons. There are about thirty church districts in Holmes County, and there is another large settlement in upstate New York.

Andy Weaver Amish have left agriculture at higher rates than other Amish have, with only 6% active in farming probably because of the difficulties of competing with limited technology.

While the Andy Weaver Amish enforce strict behavior standards and hold the line on technological innovation, they do permit a greater tolerance of alcohol and tobacco use. They resist the use of everyday conveniences, such as bicycles or power lawnmowers. Andy Weaver Amish youth are never allowed to have automobiles at home – even during the period of life known as rumspringa (see chapter 35). They limit technology in their homes, businesses, and on the farm. The Andy Weaver Amish are in fellowship with the Old Order Amish in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. That group of Old Order Amish accepts a much higher level of technology but shares the Andy Weaver approach to strict shunning.

Despite their strict enforcement of church doctrine and their restrictions on the use of technology, the Andy Weaver Amish are noteworthy in that they enjoy one of the highest rates of retention among Amish, estimated at near 97%. Old Order Amish have about an 86% retention rate and New Order Amish about 60%.

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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