The Amish broke away from the Mennonites nearly 300 years ago when differences arose among Anabaptist leaders in Switzerland and Alsace. Seeking a stricter lifestyle including the Streng Meidung, or shunning, which includes the social avoidance of erring church members. Tensions ran high and eventually in 1693, a complete split occurred. Amish Buggy in the Field.
Forty years later, many Amish responded to William Penn's invitation to come to America and settle the land. No Amish now remain in Europe. Currently there are approximately 145,000 Amish men, women and children living in 22 states in the United States and in Ontario, Canada. There are 220 Amish settlements accommodating over 900 geographically determined church districts.
Persistence of tradition and slowness to modernize have characterized the Amish as they have steadily sought to carve out their lifestyle which is a culture apart from the world. Even at the dawn of the 21st century, Amish are characterized as humble folk--hard working, neighborly, otherworldly, agrarian, God-fearing, and ethnically homogenous--who live the simple life and live it well.
The Amish have maintained their simple lifestyle amidst existing within a technologically advancing culture. They have maintained a peaceful presence independent of the every changing outside world.Information collected from - The Amish in Northern Indiana
Otherworldliness, non-conformity based on Biblical teachings in Romans 12:1-2 and II Cor. 6:14. This pervades the entire lifestyle of the Amish (dress, language, work, travel and education).Family Life
Amish marry Amish. No intermarriage is allowed. Divorce is not permitted and separation is very rare. They are strictly monogamous and generally patriarchal. Sex roles are clearly defined. The average family size is 7-8 children. Homosexuality is not recognized as an acceptable lifestyle.Harmony with Soil and Nature
Manual labor is good (Amish have little regard for labor-saving devices). Hard work and thriftiness are virtues. Amish believe that God is pleased when people work in harmony with nature, the soil, the weather and care of animals and plants. Amish always live in rural community. By contrast, the city is viewed as a center of leisure, non-productive spending, and often as the stage for evil and wickedness.Mutual Assistance Amish do not survive outside of community. There is much neighboring in the community, and helping each other is the most common way of socializing. They carry no life or property insurance; the church assists in cases of major loss. Large families generally give assurance of care for the elderly. Only rarely do Amish retire to places other than the dawdyhaus, a small house built next to the main farm house. Retired Amish farmers do not receive Social Security. Disciplined Church Community Discipline in the Amish community can be sometimes harsh and uncompromising. Baptized members are morally committed to church rules. Erring members are generally excommunicated and shunned until there is forgiveness and restoration to full fellowship.