Amish community


Doyle Yoder photo

Even smaller acts of kindness to those outside the Ohio Amish community are based in the communal spirit. The story was told of an English person who left a Coleman lantern at a local shop for repair. He forgot the lantern, moved out of the community and was gone for almost 7 years. Then an article appeared in the local newspaper about something this man was doing. The shop owner who still had the lantern after all that time, wrote to the customer and encouraged him to pick up his lantern the next time he was in the area. Anyone else would have sold the lantern after 30 days and been done with it.

The Amish value their Amish culture & community spirit. Part of that is rooted in the fact that the church districts are laid out geographically. This is different from an English community where your neighbors all around you may attend several different churches or none at all. Your only interaction with those who live close to you could be through the school your children attend. If you are older there may be little reason to interact with your neighbors.

A church district is composed of about 20 Amish families. This would include young and old, singles and marrieds, couples with children and childless couples. Many times some of the church district members are also relatives. The children attend the same parochial school together. This encourages lots of socialization and interaction. The buggies which restrict travel, the phone booths rather than individual phones, all are designed to bolster the Ohio Amish community spirit.

It is well known that the Amish tradition includes taking care of their own. If a local Amish business, home or barn burns down, the community rallies to help the family rebuild quickly so that life can continue as it was. The labor is donated and sometimes even some of the lumber for the house comes from a local saw mill. Everyone knows that if they faced a similar tragedy or medical emergency the Amish community would rally around them just the same.

This spills over into the broader Amish community. It is common for the Amish to send groups of men in particular to an area in the country when a disaster has hit. They help rebuild and clean up to get the devastated community back on its feet. Much of this work is coordinated through the Mennonite Disaster Service. The Amish often partner with their Anabaptist brethren in the MDS to lend a hand.