Lancaster, PA

These 4 Values Define The Amish Community in Lancaster, PA

Melissa Frost

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When you've lived in Lancaster for a while, you get used to seeing horses and buggies on large roads. You get used to tourists snapping photos of the Amish people. The best part, you get used to their delicious baked goods.

I've only had good encounters with the Amish community. I find them to be kindhearted and friendly. Not outgoing, because they like to stick to themselves, but when they talk to us "outsiders", they've always been friendly.

Have you ever wondered why the Amish live the way they do? Why they choose horses instead of cars and plain clothes instead of fast fashion?

Here's a quick breakdown, which really boils down to four core values.

Faith

Faith is everything in Amish life. Their religious beliefs call them to live a life of faith, discipline, dedication, and humility. For them, life is a spiritual activity, and they demonstrate their religious beliefs daily through their own actions.

They also attend church regularly, which sermons are held in homes rather than a flashy church building. The service is meant to be a renewal of faith as well as an affirmation of community.

Family

Amish people treasure time spent as a family, also when it comes to work. Within Lancaster County, you will find several Amish family-run successful businesses.

When it comes to family in the Amish community, the more, the merrier. It’s not unusual for a family to have seven to ten children.

The dedication to family continues with older family members. Often multiple generations will live together to either help care for aging family members or help with raising the kids.

Community

The Amish is all about community. Community with each other, not with "outsiders". They believe that community is at the heart of their life and faith.

Since the Amish usually separate themselves from the rest of society, their communities have a very unique support system. Community members will freely give their time and skills to help each another, without expecting anything in return. It's just what they do.

Dependence on the church community is very strong, and church members gladly help each other in everyday life and especially in times of difficulty.

Simplicity

Less is more. The Amish community choose to lead a simple life. Why? Because they firmly believe simplicity is a symbol of humility.

You see this in the way their homes are build and decorated - home is a shelter. It's a house. It's not a magazine cover. You will never find an overly decorated Amish house with lots of details. The same goes for clothing - you need clothing, but you don't need them to be fancy or expensive. The Amish use resilient materials to make the most use of their plain way of dressing.

The Amish will not typically utilize modern or what they call "worldly" things like electricity, technology, vehicles, and other modern conveniences that most of us depend on day to day. They believe worldliness can keep them from being close to God which could present influences that may be destructive to their communities and their way of life.

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Journalist and writer. I cover local stories + food, mostly from PA.

Lititz, PA
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