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Continental European Protestantism


Doctrines Amish doctrine does not differ significantly from the doctrines of the Mennonites. Like the Mennonites, the Amish adopt a literal interpretation of the Bible and practice feet washing. They differ from the Mennonites in terms of their dress, their reluctance to accept modern forms of technology, their use of Pennsylvania Dutch and style of worship. The Amish emphasise separation from the world. This is apparent through their distinctive dress, their refusal to send their children to state schools, and their strong sense of community and family values.

History The group that came to be known as the Amish seceded from the Mennonites as a result of a dispute that occurred during the years 1693-7. The source of the dispute was the teachings of Jakob Amman (c.1645-1730). Amman taught that those church members who told a lie should be excommunicated and that anyone who was excommunicated should be shunned by the church.
During the 18th century Amish communities developed in Switzerland, Alsace, Germany and Russia. In the 18th and 19th centuries many Amish emigrated to North America. They first settled in Pennsylvania and from there spread into Ohio, Illinois, Nebraska and Ontario. Those Amish who remained in Europe gradually returned to the Mennonite community.
A further split occurred in the second half of the 19th century. Those who wanted to modernise the movement ("new order" Amish) formed their own separate churches or joined the Mennonites. Those who wished to retain the practices and dress code they had brought with them from Europe came to be known as the "old order" Amish. Today the old order Amish are the larger of the two groups. They continue to live in much the same way as they have always done. They do not drive cars or have electricity in their houses; they do not send their children to school beyond the 8th grade; and to live as simply as possible.

Symbols The most distinctive visual feature of the Amish is their style of dress. The women wear a full skirt over which is a cape and an apron. On their heads they wear a white prayer covering if they are married and a black one if they are not married.
The men wear broadbrimmed black hats and black suits. They wear beards but do not wear moustaches. Their clothes are fastened with hooks rather than buttons.

Adherents Their are about 145,000 Amish living in the United States and Canada (

Main Centre
 The Amish do not have a headquarters. The largest Amish community is located in Lancaster county in Pennsylvania.