An Amish Church Service

A week ago I was in Lancaster County for five days. On Sunday morning the people across the road from where I was staying were having church services at their home. I snapped pictures and clicked the camera as fast as I could. Below is the order of the beginning of every Sunday morning's Amish church service in Lancaster. It has been this way for generations and will continue unless the freedom of worship is taken from us in America.

The Bishop in the suit coat is waiting for the precise moment to the lead the flock into the shed where church services is going to be. The other two preachers follow the Bishop and the deacon brings up the end. Then it is time for the older men to line up and walk into the shed.
More people walk in services for they live within the neighborhood.
 Young girls arrive. One has a suitcase and takes it to the house. Either she is going some place else after services or at least needs a change of dress.
 The contrast. I wasn't aiming for the biker but am glad I got him.
 The young married men with small children follow...
 while more people keep coming.
 I think this little girl is at home here, because she acts like this is her home place.
 Little boys, but big and too old to sit with their Daddy. It varies within communities at what age their children start sitting with the boys and girls.
 After the little boys went into the shed, the girls came out from behind the house and walk single file into the shed.
 The tail end of the girls. They all more or less file in by age.
 After the all the married men walked in, this whole group of boys came from where ever the buggy's were parked and went into the barn.
 Up until now this section of the barn was full of married men and their little sons, but once they left for the shed the boys came and did what they needed to do before lining up and walking single file into the shed.
 And then when everybody is seated, the bishop announces that church service will now begin in the Name of the Lord. In some places the men will now take off their hats. At other places the men take off their hats as soon as they enter the shed. 

Then the Bishop, the preachers and the deacon get up and walk solemnly, single file into the house where a room is prepared for them to do whatever they do, generation upon generation.
 These three boys have a desire to be baptized, so for nine times they follow the ministers into the room that has been prepared for them to receive instructions on what it takes to become a Christian and how to be an up-building Amish person. Usually on the ninth Sunday of church services they are baptized. They are watched closely all summer long for any signs or evidence they are not ready to be baptized or become a member of the church.
And then the "Haus-doddy" or home owner sweeps up a bit, with the help of his little daughter.
After everyone was in and the barn swept, I sat on the outside and turned up my hearing-aids and listen to their singing. And time turned back in remembering... 

I have no regrets leaving all this behind, but I treasure it for it is my heritage...


  1. This was exceptional. So glad you caught this.

  2. An amazing glimpse into ordinary lives that we don't normally get to see.

    Katie, did you leave the Amish faith after or before Baptism?

    1. I left after I was baptized. The reason I left was because I was depending on my Amish life to save me and get me into heaven, but God refused to save me until I was sick and tired of all churches, all preachers, all religion. I came to the realization that they haven't helped find peace with God and they never will. Three days later God saved me.

    2. Very good! Praise the Lord! God is good!

  3. This is an extraordinary set of pictures. I think an art gallery would be interested in doing a showing. Somewhere big where amish is not well known. Even tho this kind of amish is nothing like we were, it still took me back, for it was similar enough.

    1. I feel the same way. I was born Holmes County Amish but watching all this deeply affected me in a good way.

  4. I've never seen pictures this good of the beginnings of an Amish church service. They almost look like paintings but I know they're not. I'm glad you got the biker one in there, too, as a contrast. GREAT job!

  5. EXCELLENT photos! Truly, I think I'd watermark these if I were you. No sense in it being a piece of cake for someone else to steal & sell them. O.O
    Happens all the time.

  6. Wonderful photos, Katie. You're wise to watermark them.
    I also love your testimony. I look forward to seeing you again when I visit Pinecraft! :)

  7. I hope that your stay in Lancaster was a warm and welcomed one Katie, and I had thought about using water marks on my own images as well, so Im still thinking on that. Richard

  8. More free advice.. ;)
    Being as you are quite the photographer and have an inside story, too, seems like you ought to consider your own book - chockful of pictures of this caliber, of course.

  9. Katie, I noticed not all the women wear white capes and aprons like we used to for church. Also we used to have wear black caps before we were married. Wonder of that's not something that is stressed in their circle.

    1. Alma, you made an interesting observation about wearing black. This neighborhood and this specific family that hosted church services had a very tragic accident where a young mother was killed. I think this is a reason some wear all black. I don't think the girls wear black caps at all.

  10. Such beautiful pictures and wonderfully detailed! Good job, Katie! I'm glad this brought back fine memories of your heritage; and I'm so thankful you found salvation in Jesus Christ, alone!

  11. I so enjoy your photography and writings. :)
    Have a great day!

  12. These are amazing photo and I so enjoyed seeing them and reading about them. Thanks for sharing them with all of us.

  13. Hi Katie,
    The pictures are wonderful. So serene. They look as if they are paintings. Is there some sort of finish you put on them to give them a softer look or is it my eyes showing their age?
    Is there any significance to people filing into the church service single file or is it for practical purposes?
    I noticed several of the men tending to their young children. What a lovely sight.
    I'm glad you got to enjoy the beautiful singing. What a wonderful way to worship God-by enjoying His beauty.

  14. To bad your hearing aids don't have a record mode.


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