4/16/13

New Order Christian Fellowship Amish

"Our church is having a dinner and concert. You wanna come?" invited Noah.

"What's if for?" I asked.

"A fundraiser for a mission trip."

"We'll be there."

Noah grew up Swartzentruber Order in a small Ohio town. At age 18 he left against the wishes of his parents. His father was angry and didn't want Noah to return.

Noah's delightful, friendly, and has definite opinions. We love when he calls or stops by for a visit. Last Christmas we invited Noah to go with us to a community's Christmas Walk where Santa would make his appearance. Growing up Amish, Noah never visited Santa nor experienced the innocent enthusiasm of kids and their parents anticipating his arrival. We stood in the chilly air amused watching Noah's expression.

Back to his church dinner . . . I spotted several Amish young adults. "Noah, do Amish come to your church?"

"No, they're visiting."

That spiked my curiosity. Like a toddler drawn to a puddle, I had to meet and talk with these Amish "daring" to visit an English church. In most Orders this visiting English behavior is prohibited. I approached the table where they were eating and asked if I could join them. They explained that they'd also been invited to the dinner and concert.

"What Order are you?" I asked.

"We're New Order Christian Fellowship."

"That's a new one on me."

"We're New Order and we teach the Gospel; living by faith rather than rules."

One young man introduced himself as the choir director.

I probably looked like the toddler caught splashing in the puddle because, while I knew there were many different Orders, I'd never heard of this one.

"Do you sing with musical instruments?" I asked knowing that Amish prohibit instruments as "worldly."

"No."

"Do you hold your service in German or English?"

"German, unless we have English visiting then we'll either interpret or do the service in English."

I'm constantly on a vertical learning curve about this complex - and seemingly evolving - society. Anyone who thinks they know about the Amish because they read romance novels or watch a TV show, has volumes yet to learn! To think all Amish are the same is as ridiculous as a European watching Real Housewives or Duck Dynasty thinking all Americans are like those on the show.

Remember when reading a blog, Amish fiction, or watching a "reality" show, there are many different Orders and settlements; each with their own rules. Keep learning. To me, this is the best way to respect the Amish.

(c)Copyright, 2013, Brenda Nixon.

3 comments:

  1. How interesting to know that this order teaches the Gospel - "living by faith rather than rules."

    Thanks for teaching us as you learn.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment Dawn. Yes, the Swartzentruber & most Old Orders teach rules make righteous. It's ALL about unquestioningly obeying rigid rules to be good enough for God (much like Islam). They do not grasp, offer, receive, nor teach the Biblical salvation through God's grace. It's about Him; not what people do.

      It was most refreshing to know - and actually talk with - these wonderful, warm Amish people who knew God's grace and forgiveness. Author Vannetta Chapman told me she completely agreed with my comment about Amish being "complex and seemingly evolving."

      BTW Dawn, I like your blog too.

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  2. This is all very fascinating, Brenda. :-) I am familiar with an order simply called New Order Amish. While they do teach the Gospel, their members are required to adhere to a very legalistic set of rules.

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