The Amish (/ˈɑːmɪʃ/; Pennsylvania German: Amisch; German: Amische) are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss German and Alsatian Anabaptist origins. They are closely related to Mennonite churches. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, Christian pacifism, and slowness to adopt many conveniences of modern technology, with a view to not interrupt family time, nor replace face-to-face conversations whenever possible. The Amish value rural life, manual labor, humility, and Gelassenheit, all under the auspices of living what they interpret to be God’s word.
The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Mennonite Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish. In the second half of the 19th century, the Amish divided into Old Order Amish and Amish Mennonites. The latter do not eschew motor cars, whereas the Old Order Amish retained much of their traditional culture. When people refer to the Amish today, they normally refer to the Old Order Amish. In the early 18th century, many Amish and Mennonites immigrated to Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons. Today, the Old Order Amish, the New Order Amish, and the Old Beachy Amish as well as Old Order Mennonites continue to speak Pennsylvania German, also known as “Pennsylvania Dutch”, although two different Alemannic dialects are used by Old Order Amish in Adams and Allen counties in Indiana. As of 2020, over 330,000 Old Order Amish lived in the United States and about 10,000 lived in Canada, a population that is rapidly growing, as the Amish do not generally use birth control. Amish church groups seek to maintain a degree of separation from the non-Amish world. Non-Amish people are generally referred to as “English” by the Amish.
Amish church membership begins with adult baptism, usually between the ages of 16 and 23. Church districts have between 20 and 40 families and worship services are held every other Sunday in a member’s home or barn. The rules of the church, the Ordnung, which differs to some extent between different districts, is reviewed twice a year by all members of the church. The Ordnung must be observed by every member and covers many aspects of day-to-day living, including prohibitions or limitations on the use of power-line electricity, telephones, and automobiles, as well as regulations on clothing. Generally, a heavy emphasis is placed on church and family relationships. The Amish typically operate their own one-room schools and generally discontinue formal education after grade eight, at age 13 or 14. Most Amish do not buy commercial insurance or participate in Social Security. As present-day Anabaptists, Amish church members practice nonresistance and will not perform any type of military service. (Source)