January 2001 Nolt

Contents of Volume
January 2001 Number One

The Amish “Mission Movement” and the Reformulation

of Amish Identity in the Twentieth Century


Abstract: During the middle of the
twentieth century a grassroots “mission movement” emerged among Old Order
Amish set on promoting revival within the church and active service to
others. Engendering a sharply mixed reaction, it led Amish supporters
to organize national mission conferences, participate in Mennonite service
programs, attend college, distribute literature to thousands of homes,
and fund Amish mission workers. By the early 1960s most of those active
in the movement had moved into Mennonite circles or toward affiliation
with the Beachy Amish, while those who remained Old Order often adopted
a more religiously sectarian stance. Recognizing the importance of the
mission movement means that scholarly explanation of the Amish needs to
consider today’s definition of “Old Order” as at least as dependent on
the events of the 1950s as the 1850s. It also points to the evolution
of the Beachy Amish and the role of Mennonites in Amish self-understanding.

“It may be that God will call us from our
nice quiet Christian community to a life of action,” noted an Old Order
Amish writer in early 1953.[1]
The hopeful tone of the opinion signaled not fear of such a divine summons,
but an eagerness to engage a wider world beyond the bounds of traditional
Amish settlements. Such an outward-looking posture among a people popularly
known as sectarians was remarkable, yet by the early 1950s these sentiments
were shared by a significant number of Amish from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma,
who dubbed their informal, grassroots network the “Amish mission movement.”

From the perspective of the early twenty-first
century, the activities of the mission movement jar assumed categories
and definitions. For about a decade during the middle of the twentieth
century, Old Order church members organized national mission conferences,
attended and graduated from college, participated in Mennonite voluntary
service programs, distributed mission-oriented literature to thousands
of Amish homes, and funded full-time Amish mission workers from Mississippi
to Ontario. To be sure, by the early 1960s all this would become impossible
and even unthinkable in an Old Order context, but during the 1950s it
was part of a yeasty mix of ideas and values competing for the Amish soul.

If this crucial chapter in Amish history
is relatively unknown a half century later, its significance at the time
was lost to few. In 1954 sociologist John A. Hostetler thought it one
of the most important developments in North American Amish history, and
Mennonite theology professor J. C. Wenger (1910-1995) warmly endorsed
the movement.[2]

Mission movement promoters pursued a dual
program of witness, both to those outside and inside the Amish fold-“gospel-starved
area[s]” of larger society and “work among our own people,” as the Amish
writer in 1953 put it.[3]
Amish mission activists strove to bring a particular type of spiritual
renewal into Old Order homes and churches and then to marshal that energy
and conviction and direct it outward in evangelism and service to others.
The resulting ferment redirected lives, divided communities, gave rise
to new congregations and institutions, and permanently altered relations
between North American Mennonite and Amish groups.

That the ground was somehow shifting under
the Amish church was obvious by 1956 to mission movement promoter and
Nappanee, Indiana native, Harvey Graber (1930-1978). But, he admitted,
what the “lasting influence upon the Amish Church” would be, “and whether
it is possible for the very character of the Amish Church to adapt itself
to this new . . . quality of Christian life, remains to be seen.”[4]
In the end, many Amish mission movement participants-Graber included-ended
up in Beachy Amish, (Old) Mennonite or Conservative Conference circles.
Yet their exodus should not mask the fact that the movement ultimately
led to a reformulation of Amish identity in the second half of the twentieth
century that was as significant for Old Order society as for those who
took up other paths.


In some ways the mission movement tapped
into old sources of Amish faith, but at mid-century certain factors also
combined to open radically new patterns and possibilities that challenged
the very foundations of Old Order life. The desire to cultivate personal
spirituality, increase Bible knowledge and promote “clean” living had
been a staple concern in most Amish communities-often pressed especially
by certain individuals or families, and to greater degrees of success
in some locations than others. What was new in the 1940s and 50s was the
way these issues fueled a desire to serve and evangelize others in distant
places. The drive to renew Amish churches became not an end in itself
but a necessary means towards a larger project, and neighboring Mennonites-wittingly
or not-played a key role in this evolution.

Although the “tradition-minded” Amish who
had chosen the “old order” path during the “great schism” of the 1860s
resisted many of the religious innovations and individualistic notions
of salvation afloat in American Protestant circles, they did continue
to read and write a style of religious literature that encouraged personal
piety. David Beiler (1786-1871), for example, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Old Order champion bishop, produced a collection of essays that discussed
the new birth in personal, emotive terms.[5]
In the early twentieth century the Ohio-born Kansas deacon, and later
minister, Daniel E. Mast (1848-1930) penned numerous and widely circulated
devotional essays that some Old Order leaders collected in a popular book,
later translated as Salvation Full and Free.[6]

Many of Mast’s articles appeared first
in Herold der Wahrheit, a publication launched in 1912 by well
known Iowa writer and school teacher Samuel D. Guengerich (1836-1929).
The paper encouraged Amish readers to attend to their devotional life,
give up practices like smoking and curb youthful antics. Years before,
Guengerich also had been instrumental in beginning Sunday school in the
Kalona area, one of a number of Amish communities that held Sunday schools
for children and adults during summer months on the Sundays between regular
preaching services.[7]
These schools, often led by elected Sunday school superintendents known
for their personal piety, not only bolstered knowledge of the German language
but also encouraged Bible reading and lay discussion of scripture texts.
The Hutchinson-Partridge, Kansas Amish settlement, for example, held Sunday
school most years from the late 1880s onward,[8]
as did the Elkhart County, Indiana church under preacher David J. Hochstetler
(1839-1929), who in 1912 even published an article encouraging Sunday
school attendance.[9]

If these Sunday schools seemed somewhat
akin to those of neighboring Mennonites, it surprised few people. During
the first half of the twentieth century the interaction between the two
groups was still substantial and significant. The “sorting out” of identity
among Amish Mennonites and Old Order Amish, traced by historian Paton
Yoder, and the subsequent merger of most Amish Mennonites with the (Old)
Mennonites was a long and difficult process in many communities.[10]
Many families maintained close relations across denominational lines,
and members continued to sense a commonality that often made for permeable
boundaries. While Old Order Amish subscription to Mennonite periodicals
and attendance at Sunday evening services of neighboring Mennonite churches
were far from universal, they were hardly uncommon. The Amish Herold
der Wahrheit, for example, informed “readers who may have a desire
to read more true gospel literature in the English language” that they
would do well to take the Mennonite Gospel Herald. As early as
1912 Herold der Wahrheit editors knew that the Gospel Herald
was “already a weekly visitor with many of our readers,” and indeed it
was read in the homes of many who later became active in the mission movement.[11]

But Mennonite contacts did more than just
connect with some Amish people’s interest in devotional literature that
encouraged nonconformity and holy living. For it was precisely during
these late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century years that the (Old)
Mennonite “quickening” of interest in outward-looking evangelism and service
to others also began to fill the pages of Mennonite papers and the schedules
of their evening church services.[12]
Stories of heroic missionaries in distant lands and domestic urban settings
began to reshape Mennonites’ sectarian sensibilities, as did attendant
calls to support such efforts financially and institutionally. None of
this was lost on Amish listeners who walked the borders of Mennonitism.
Anecdotal evidence provides numerous examples of Old Order Amish families
who sent donations to Mennonite mission boards. About 1920 when India
missionary George J. Lapp (1879-1951) toured Mennonite churches, raising
interest in foreign mission, his stories left a lasting impact on Amish
audience members, as well-people such as Elam S. (1902-1994) and Eliza
A. Bender Hochstetler (1903-1976) of Elkhart County, Indiana and David
J. Stutzman (1880-1966) of Holmes County, Ohio.[13]

Inspiring listeners was one thing, but
Lapp and others prompted few Mennonites to actually leave their home communities
and take up the mission call. In this regard the impact of the Mennonite
“quickening” on the Amish was little different than among the Mennonites
themselves. They were made aware of a wider world of need, but their connection
to that world was indirect and usually mediated by the likes of Lapp.
As a result, the implications of Amish interest in or connection to the
world of “quickened” Mennonites was not immediately obvious.

The experience of World War II, however,
was critical in transforming dispositions into personal causes. The hundreds
of Amish men inducted into Civilian Public Service (CPS) in lieu of the
military draft took part in an effort billed as the moral equivalent to
war-a grand scheme to make a relevant contribution to national needs.
For example, CPSer Harry D. Weirich of Shipshewana, Indiana took part
in a community health project in Crestview, Florida, while Kalona, Iowa
church member Moses A. Beachy spent time in Puerto Rico. For fellow Iowan
Tobe Bontrager (1907-1963) CPS “helped him catch a vision of the need
in various parts of the States.” In many other cases, such as that of
Holmes County native Yost H. Miller, a Mennonite-administered CPS camp
turned out to be his first exposure to the world of Sunday school, structured
Bible studies and talk of Christian responsibility to others.[14]

By itself CPS did not produce the Amish
mission movement. In places where pre-war contact with Mennonites was
minimal-in the Swiss Amish settlements of eastern Indiana, for example,
or in Geauga County, Ohio-very few Amish participants came home with any
interests other than returning to a locally oriented, tradition-guided
Old Order church.[15]
But CPS was important in bringing ideas and experience together in the
lives of a good number of Amish men who had grown up in homes or communities
sympathetic to the service assumptions that undergirded the program. Indeed,
it was important enough to prompt some Amish CPSers to volunteer for additional
terms after their official draft terms were up, or to encourage their
younger siblings to volunteer for various post-war service projects.

Kansas Amishman Mahlon Wagler, who performed
reconstruction work in France, later wrote that he had had “a growing
conviction that the church needs more of an outreach, and an expression
of a service of love and sacrifice, in peace time as well as in war time.”[16]
Meanwhile Alvin Beachy of Kalona, Iowa taught Summer Bible school in Youngstown,
Ohio through the Mennonite Relief Committee, and Harry Miller of Partridge,
Kansas joined a Mennonite building unit and mission team in Glen Flora,
At least seventeen Amish participated in the Mennonite Central Committee
(MCC) voluntary service unit that operated during the late 1940s in Gulfport,
Mississippi after the local CPS camp there closed. One of the participants
was a woman, Elizabeth Nisly of Abbyville, Kansas.[18]
Nor was Nisly alone in her pursuit of service as a single woman. In 1948
Miriam Hochstetler of Elkhart County, Indiana spent three months serving
at Brooklane Hospital near Hagerstown, Maryland and later in a Mennonite-related
mission in Loman, Minnesota, while Ada Miller of Holmes County worked
at MCC headquarters in Akron, Pennsylvania-a job she learned about by
reading Gospel Herald.[19]

The years after World War II, then, saw
a coming together in many communities of old interests in bolstering Amish
devotional life with the newer experiences of service and exposure to
the wider world. Groups of young people, especially, began to gather for
activities rather different from the traditional Old Order youth “singings.”
In Kalona after the war, for example, a newly formed group of teens and
young adults asked Moses A. Beachy to speak to them about his time in
Puerto Rico, and then discussed the meaning of Christian service. They
also self-consciously distanced themselves from the undisciplined atmosphere
that sometimes accompanied Amish teen gatherings-a distancing that further
linked certain attitudes towards piety and religious deportment with particular
notions of service and evangelism.[20]

Similar groups of mission-minded young
people who met for Bible study, discussion and fellowship emerged in other
communities: in Elkhart County, Indiana in July 1948; in Partridge, Kansas
in January 1949; in Holmes County and Plain City, Ohio in late 1951; and
in Nappanee, Indiana and Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1952.[21]
Local context and personality colored the story of each group. For example,
in Elkhart County, the Clinton Township churches long had been known for
their support of Sunday school and for their relative tolerance on issues
of technological change. Yet after 1947 when disaffected members in Clinton
Township organized a car-driving, meetinghouse Beachy Amish church, questions
of innovation in the old church became more delicate.[22]
So when two young Old Order women attended a revival meeting at the nearby
Benton Mennonite Church and came home asking permission to begin a weekly
Amish young people’s Bible study, it put ministers Menno S. Schrock (1900-1988)
and Elam Hochstetler in a bit of a bind. The two ultimately approved the
request, though Hochstetler insisted that the meetings be conducted in
German. The Clinton young people and a number of married couples then
organized themselves with a rotation of weekly topics and leaders, as
well as a schedule for collecting money that they directed to local charity
or overseas mission work. When a traveling mission speaker such as MCC’s
Peter J. Dyck was in the area, they invited him to address their group.[23]

Years later when Harvey Graber surveyed
mission movement participants from across the country and asked what their
motivation and inspiration had been, he received a cluster of answers:
CPS and voluntary service, the teaching legacy of Amish Sunday schools
and writers such as Daniel E. Mast, contact with Mennonites, and a general
frustration with the rowdy antics of some Amish youth.[24]
Yet while all of these elements no doubt played a role in cultivating
local interest in personal spirituality, temperance, Bible study and service
to others, they did not immediately spark an active, nationwide network
dedicated to promoting such concerns. True, there was some interaction
on an individual level. In February 1950, for example, Elam and Eliza
Hochstetler returned to Indiana from a visit to Hutchinson, Kansas much
impressed with the midweek Bible study meetings among the Amish there.[25]
In time, perhaps, local interests might have evolved on their own into
something larger, but events did not wait for such an evolution.

In 1950 an outside catalyst precipitated
a collective Amish expression of mission interest that marked the start
of what participants began to see as an identifiable movement linking
people across the country. The catalytic figure was Russell Maniaci (1895-1972),
and although his direct influence on those involved in the mission movement
was uneven, many saw his role as critical in bringing them together.

An urban Roman Catholic and Sicilian by
birth, Maniaci is perhaps the most unusual actor in this mid-century story,
but his background and temperament gave him resources to carry out his
role. A lone immigrant to Detroit when just shy of his fifteenth birthday,
Maniaci worked as a machinist, married and raised three children in the
city’s Italian ethnic neighborhood. His parents’ deaths and his horrific
World War I battle experience left him disillusioned with society and
the Catholic Church. Maniaci had quit attending Mass and become critical
of Depression-era economics when in March 1936 he read a newspaper article
claiming that members of a sect known as the Amish had moved away from
oil-rich Kansas farms in order to avoid becoming wealthy.[26]

Deciding “that they were either crazy or
fanatics,” Maniaci was nevertheless intrigued by the description of the
group and wrote to several Amish communities seeking contacts and information.
When Centerville, Michigan bishop Manasses E. Bontrager (1868-1947) closed
a letter “your obedient servant in Christ,” Maniaci was dumbfounded; no
bishop he had ever met in Detroit had expressed an ounce of humility.
Finding his way to the Detroit Mennonite mission, Maniaci-and eventually
his wife Grace and their two youngest children-were baptized. With the
zeal of a convert, Maniaci set about to immerse himself in the Mennonite
world, moved his family to Elkhart, Indiana and was instrumental in launching
Mennonite mission work in Italy.[27]
Through it all he credited his conversion to the witness of the Amish-and
therein lay his biggest disappointment. As Maniaci got to know more about
the Amish, he came to realize that they had little collective interest
in evangelizing people like him, nor much overt concern for the spiritual
state of the larger world, content to leave such judgment in the hands
of God. Moreover, Maniaci was disturbed by the wild life of some Amish
teens and the apparent blind eye that parents turned toward such behavior.[28]

Maniaci’s relationship with the Amish was
complex. On the one hand he held them up as a model Christian community-the
only people radical enough to break through his cynicism and skepticism
about organized religion. On the other hand he condemned tradition, ritual,
non-English preaching and other aspects of Amish church life, which he
compared to the worst aspects of a Catholicism from which the Amish had
freed him. From 1951 to 1958 Maniaci distributed, largely at his own expense,
a mimeographed Amish Mission Endeavor Bulletin. Comprised mostly
of his own essays, the Bulletin simultaneously praised and excoriated
the Old Orders. That Maniaci mailed the piece unsolicited to hundreds
of Amish ministers only added to the decidedly mixed reception that his
message received.[29]
For some readers the pointed critique of this Catholic-turned-Anabaptist
was just the sort of outside validation they needed to pursue goals such
as youth Bible study or witness to society. For others, the blunt, sometimes
angry-sounding interloper who was often unfamiliar with the nuances of
Amish culture simply represented the worst of a rude, aggressive world
bent on assimilating the Amish.


Maniaci had gradually gathered a small
following of sympathetic Old Orders, but his role in the coalescing of
an Amish mission movement really began in 1950 when he planned a “First
Amish Mission Conference” held August 6-8 on the Kalona, Iowa farm of
lay member and mission-supporter Jonas Gingerich (1900-1985). The gathering
drew 100-175 people each day and the proceedings included the names of
many who would be active in these circles for years to come. Kalona’s
Harvey Bender (1885-1978) served as “chairman,” and Amish men who had
been in CPS or post-war reconstruction work told their stories during
times set aside for “testimonies.”[30]

The conference was a mix of innovation
and tradition. Participants sang old Amish hymns in German, as well as
several verses of English gospel songs, and MCC Puerto Rico volunteers
Perry L. and Judith Schrock Miller of Partridge, Kansas sang “At the Cross”
in Spanish.[31]
Prayers came from the Christenpflicht prayer book, with plenty
of the familiar language of sacrificing the self and submitting one’s
wishes and will. The aim of such submission, however, was to surrender
the desires of security and stability in exchange for going into the world
as missionaries and service workers. Maniaci presented the opening address
with a clear call to the mission cause. He had scheduled three other speakers,
including Elkhart County Old Order ministers Daniel S. Bontrager and Elam
Hochstetler, who gave similar messages. If these men set the call to mission
within the language of Amish life and thought, the third speaker-Mennonite
Board of Missions and Charities’ general secretary J. D. Graber (1900-1978)-symbolized
the emerging movement’s ties to the established world of Mennonite missions.
Graber preached a “consecration sermon” and invited listeners to come
forward and publicly dedicate their lives to full-time mission service.
At least thirty-two people, mostly young adults, did so in an act that
more conservative Old Orders would have labeled a prideful assertion of
the individual.[32]

Perhaps the most significant aspect of
the conference, though, was not the sermons or testimonies, but rather,
as Anna Beiler of Stuarts Draft, Virginia put it, simply “knowing and
seeing others present [with] interest in the same vision in mission.”
The interstate connections and encouragement that participants gained
were key to the development of a group consciousness that allowed supporters
to begin using the language of “mission movement” to describe what they
were about.[33]

Maniaci organized a second conference the
next year, drawing scores of people from seven states to an Amish farm
near Nottawa, Michigan.[34]
The format was informal, with no planned program; Jonas Gingerich was
chosen to chair the meetings only minutes before the opening song. The
gathering again offered a mix of “devotionals” by ministers and longer
addresses on reverence in worship, concern for lost souls and discouraging
alcohol and tobacco use. Testimonials, like that of Kalona native Ezra
P. Beachy, illustrated the new ventures and insights of those drawn to
the gathering. Beachy had entered alternative service without any “real
conviction on nonresistance.” But the time away from home forced him to
reconsider his choices, as did service in Arkansas, where he witnessed
the radical conversion of an abusive father whom “the Spirit convicted.”[35]

The conference ended with the election
of an eight-member continuation committee to plan the next meeting. While
Maniaci had suggested forming such “a working body,” the members were
all Amish laymen, headed by Iowan Ananias (A. J.) Beachy (1889-1971).
The formation of such a committee added a sense of cohesiveness and direction
to the mission movement. While lacking official sanction of any sort,
the group symbolized the commitment of participants to continue the annual
conferences, and Beachy worked to communicate local efforts through a
small newsletter.[36]

But the continuation committee also broke
new ground by collecting money for the support of the first full-time
Amish mission workers-John H. and Elizabeth Nisly Bender-serving in Gulfport,
Mississippi. Their home districts in Iowa and Kansas provided most of
their funds, but the continuation committee’s acceptance of donations
from around the country connected the Benders’ work to a wider constituency
and gave movement supporters a concrete example of active Amish service
in the world.[37]

The way in which the mission movement created
networks among like-minded individuals was clear in the experience of
a Holmes County, Ohio Amish Sunday school that met during the summer of
1951 on the “off Sundays” between regular preaching services. Organizers
Andrew A. Miller (1918-1992) and David J. Stutzman surprised no one with
their interest in promoting such a project. For years Miller had been
outspoken in his advocacy for personal Bible study and “clean” living
among Amish youth, while the seventy-year-old Stutzman had-since his 1916
“baptism of the Holy Ghost”-devoted time to essays urging fellow Old Order
readers to repent and reform.[38]
What the mission movement gave people such as Miller and Stutzman was
a system of support that both helped sustain them in the face of local
opposition and connected their local initiative to something larger. The
Sunday school’s weekly offering collections, for example, went to help
fund Maniaci’s newsletter and support the Benders in Mississippi.[39]

The Holmes County Sunday school donation
check sent to A. J. Beachy for the Benders was made out to the “Amish
Mission Board General Fund”-a title that suggested more of an organizational
bureaucracy than actually existed.[40]
Yet the movement was slowly evolving a more formal structure. At the third
annual mission conference, held in Elkhart County, August 17-19, 1952,[41]
the ad hoc continuation committee became a five-member Mission Interests
Committee (MIC) with delegated officers. Andrew Miller was chairman, Daniel
H. Beachy of Goshen served as assistant chair, Kansans David L. Miller
and Eli Helmuth (1910-1973) were secretary and treasurer, and David L.
Yoder of Kalona rounded out the group.[42]
The MIC would serve as something of a nerve center for the movement, “coordinating
the thinking of the more evangelical element within the church and put[ting]
this into action.”[43]


As the mission movement gained momentum
during the mid-1950s, tensions around and within the movement became sharper.
The energy, enthusiasm and innovation on the part of advocates were matched
by increasing skepticism and resistance on the part of other Old Orders.
Current events only added to a context charged with urgency and anxiety.
After 1951, in lieu of the military draft, Amish young men were inducted
into a Mennonite-created alternative service plan known by its classification
number “I-W.” Assigned salaried jobs, often in large cities and without
close supervision of their off hours, many Amish I-W men soon earned a
reputation for mixing too freely with worldly society, causing concern
among parents and church leaders. Then in 1953 when rowdy LaGrange County
Amish teens were arrested for public intoxication and angry draft board
officials threatened to withhold conscientious objector status to Amish
young men, public scrutiny of Amish youth activity and the lifestyle of
I-W inductees raised the stakes of discussion within the church.[44]

For those in the mission movement, the
situation pointed to the need for more intentional moral training of young
people and the promotion of a religious basis for service to others.[45]
For conservatives, the structure of the I-W program was questionable enough
in itself, and hardly to be improved by pushing Amish participants to
see some greater spiritual purpose in it. Moreover, the threat the program
posed to young men by placing them in often isolated settings in larger
society seemed to provide any needed evidence that activist mission work
on the part of young people would also lead to acculturation and the loss
of Amish identity.[46]

Another important component in the mix
of events that heightened tensions in the Amish church was the impact
of Mennonite tent revivalism. A new phenomenon among Mennonites in late
1940s and 50s, traveling evangelists such as Andrew Jantzi (1912-1989),
Howard Hammer (1911-1957) and George R. Brunk II used nightly outdoor
tent meetings to offer a message of salvation and Christian service. The
revivalists often drew neighboring Amish listeners, as well, for whom
the outdoor setting apart from a traditional Sunday service provided a
somewhat neutral ground for listening to Mennonite preaching. While some
Amish attended quite publicly, others listened surreptitiously from surrounding
cornfields or from across the road. The interest in Mennonite church life
was not new in many Amish communities, but the emotional preaching and
calls for individual conversion and consecration challenged Old Order
emphases on humility and submission to the group. In any case, the revivalists
appeared just as the tensions around the Amish mission movement heated
up, and the revivalists provided another point of contention between mission
movement supporters and detractors.[47]

Even more controversial was the ministry
of David A. Miller (1910-1992), an Old Order minister from Thomas, Oklahoma,
who took on the role of a traveling evangelist himself. Acting on what
he believed was the commission of an angelic visitor, Miller preached
sermons on sin and repentance in a style more akin to pulpit-pounding
Protestantism than the sing-song cadence of Amish ministers. Added to
his novel delivery was Miller’s willingness to preach any time of the
day, for days in a row, in a single settlement.[48]

Although Miller at first formally separated
himself from the new MIC and the lay-led mission movement, many Amish
linked him with the movement’s goals and language, making one’s response
to “Oklahoma Dave” a sort of ecclesiastical litmus test. In 1952, for
example, after an extended preaching tour in Lancaster, Pennsylvania,
bishops there excommunicated Miller in absentia and forbade members to
host him again. The next year a twelve-day Holmes County preaching schedule
produced sharp controversy. Advocates claimed that Miller had “crucified
the self more than the rest of us,” and children even began to “play Dave
Miller” in imitation of the remarkable minister. But his ministerial status,
as well as his horse-and-buggy, Old Order lifestyle left some conservatives
initially unsure how to respond to him. After he attended the Amish mission
conference in Kansas, however, and called attendees to make public commitments
to lives of missionary service, his position became all too clear to most
tradition-minded Old Orders.[49]
Thereafter even his autumn 1953 ordination as bishop could not ameliorate
suspicion of him in some quarters. The next summer when he tried preaching
in northern Indiana he found a very mixed reception. For example, before
the start of a regular Sunday morning service at the home of Oklahoma
Dave’s relatives in LaGrange County’s Middle Honeyville district, local
bishop Jacob P. Miller (1880-1965) met him “at the barn before drifting
toward the house” and flatly “told Dave that they could not use him” that
morning. Dave was so shocked that he “fainted on the spot.” But after
“he gained consciousness” he and his wife “hired an automobile to take
them about 12 miles” north to bishop Eli J. Bontrager’s East Barrens district
near Shipshewana, “where he could preach,” and did so with some effect.[50]

By 1954 the various reactions to David
Miller symbolized the polarization taking place in most Amish communities.
While some agreed with Miller that “it takes Holy Ghost-filled preaching
to push the dead church members into a corner where they will have to
do something,” others found such claims to be arrogant and self-serving.[51]
Indeed, opposition to the mission movement had been gaining strength in
some areas and had successfully limited its expression.

Reaction in Nappanee, Indiana, for example,
shut down the young people’s Bible study less than a year after it began.
In June 1952 young people from the Etna Green area south of Nappanee had
begun gathering on Wednesday nights to sing and read the Bible at the
home of Melvin Schwietert (1925-1989), a local Amish man recovering from
a grain elevator accident. No one opposed cheering the shut-in, and the
gatherings won the support of the district’s bishop Amos J. Graber (1905-1989),
who was also an uncle to Schwietert. In time, though, Schwietert recovered
but the midweek meetings continued, evolving into discussion of biblical
texts and times of prayer, often led by another of the bishop’s many nephews,
Harvey Graber. As key settlement leaders spoke out against the meetings,
however, they disbanded and a number of participants actually moved away
rather than risk local discipline.[52]

In Kalona, Iowa opposition to the mission
movement was also sharp and resulted in proponents leaving the area or
joining local Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference congregations. For
advocates who were determined to remain Amish-such as A. J. Beachy or
Harvey Bender-the situation was more delicate. Both were highly respected,
and in the end were never excommunicated-even after Beachy became involved
in planning the annual mission conferences and Bender engaged in enthusiastic
street preaching and tract distribution in the nearby town of Richmond.[53]
Yet it was clear that opposition to the mission movement remained potent.

Mission movement activists responded to
these new conditions with a mixture of apologetics and prudent politics.
Planners of the fourth Amish mission conference, for example, made a concerted
effort to conduct the August 12-14, 1953 proceedings at the Harmon Yoder
(1899-1980) farm, near Hutchinson, Kansas in Pennsylvania Dutch.[54]
In a more dramatic move, planners of the 1954 conference-to be held in
Ohio-actually cancelled the gathering altogether after learning that tensions
in Holmes County and Plain City were running so high that convening the
conference there might lead to a series of excommunications or a settlement-wide
The next year when the gathering resumed leaders did not call it a “conference”;
instead, they described the August 17-19 event as an “Amish Christian
Fellowship Meeting” and organized the program held at the Clinton Christian
Day School in Elkhart County around the theme of “discipleship.”[56]

The most painful action to shield the mission
movement from its critics was the MIC’s public separation from Russell
Maniaci. Although grateful for his role in sparking the mission movement’s
national network, MIC leaders had a growing sense that Maniaci had become
more of a liability than an asset. His acerbic editorials and overt ties
to Mennonites and the Conservative Conference hurt MIC supporters’ ability
to claim that the mission movement was an authentically Amish initiative.
Maniaci’s resistance to being displaced as the movement’s mouthpiece and
some blunt correspondence from MIC leaders added to the tension between
the one-time associates. In spring 1953 Amish mission advocates launched
their own paper Witnessing as an alternative to Maniaci’s Amish
Mission Endeavor Bulletin. Maniaci continued to issue his newsletter
on an occasional basis for a number of years, but its contents reflected
its increasingly marginal and frustrated publisher.[57]

Witnessing was edited by Harvey
Graber-the mission movement advocate now attending Eastern Mennonite College
as an Old Order Amish church member-and assumed a more persuasive tone.[58]
With articles by Amish writers like Ohio minister Roy L. Schlabach (1915-1991),
the paper offered a heavy dose of devotional articles and counsel to “clean”
living, with some apologetics for mission and service. The paper was sent
free to as many Amish homes as the MIC could obtain addresses, but never
to places where it would only stir up opposition.[59]
Graber was delighted by the warm reception the paper received among families
that had not overtly supported the mission movement in the past. He was
especially encouraged when a mailing to 500 additional Old Order homes
brought responses from 200 of them, asking to be placed on the permanent
subscription list, and Witnessing soon had a regular mailing list
of nearly 1000.[60]
In late 1955, using contacts in every settlement that supplied remarkably
comprehensive lists of Amish addresses, a special unsolicited mailing
of Witnessing went to some 6300 homes across the country with a
five-part mission apologetic “A Loving Appeal from God’s Word.”[61]


But if the new paper put some needed distance
between the mission movement and the unpopular Maniaci, it also pushed
mission-minded Amish farther along a path of organization that was in
many ways uncharted territory. A formally constituted MIC responsible
for a bimonthly (and later monthly) magazine that offered lengthy, reasoned
explanations for mission to the larger world was something quite unprecedented
in an Amish experience historically marked by nonverbal witness and locally
oriented congregationalism.[62]

As various Amish MIC projects took shape
during the 1950s, movement advocates had to begin sorting the implications
of their efforts. The first formal foray into mission work-the Gulfport
assignment of John and Elizabeth Bender-had actually proven too problematic
for Amish involvement. The work at Gulfport had grown out of the local
CPS camp and related voluntary service unit, both of which included Amish
participants. After 1951, though, the Benders worked with (Old) Mennonite
church planter Edward J. Miller, and the focus shifted from simply meeting
the physical needs of area residents to organizing a functioning congregation
with its own standards of accountability and discipline-standards that
were quite liberal in Amish terms. In such a situation, where was the
Benders’ primary loyalty: with the Gulfport group or with their Amish
home congregations in Iowa? Could they be Amish in a Mennonite church?
The Benders resolved the dilemma by moving back to Iowa, and MIC financial
support for Gulfport dried up.[63]

The MIC tried to skirt the churchly problems
raised at Gulfport by beginning their own self-standing Amish mission
projects. As with the launching of Witnessing, the control that
the MIC received through their own programming solved one set of problems,
but eventually raised different issues. In August 1953 Eli Helmuth, Katie
Yoder Helmuth (1911-1992) and Fern Yutzy opened Hillcrest Home near Harrison,
Arkansas as a convalescent home for the aged. The local county health
board had been looking for a private group to run the facility, and the
MIC believed the project offered the possibility of serving others without
the entanglements of working directly under Mennonites. By all accounts
the Amish management was a success, and the seventeen-bed center soon
expanded in size, taking in more patients and increasing its Amish volunteer
staff of mostly unmarried young adults. Beyond the fine service that the
Home provided the local community, Hillcrest-like the Amish mission conferences-also
became an arena for building camaraderie and shared experience among mission
movement participants, linking families and settlements through friendships
and even marriages.[64]

Yet assuming responsibility for the administration
of an institution such as Hillcrest posed its own set of challenges. Among
other things, the rather loosely organized MIC had to be formally incorporated
in the state of Arkansas.[65]Then
there was the matter of technology and transportation. Director Eli Helmuth
needed a car for Hillcrest business, and the MIC decided that for the
expediency of mission work he should obtain a license and vehicle while
in Arkansas-although everyone agreed that when the Helmuths visited or
returned to any Amish community they would arrive by bus and then drive
a horse and buggy. When the first two male volunteers-E. Jay Miller and
Daniel E. Hochstetler-arrived at Hillcrest in the spring of 1954, the
home’s 1947 Plymouth coupe was a point of fascination, though it was clear
to them that trips to town were not an endorsement of the automobile by
the MIC.[66]

The fact that the MIC did not establish
an Amish church as part of the Harrison work actually helped avoid some
potentially knotty questions about the implications of mission work. Local
Protestants came to the home to hold Sunday morning worship services,
but it was never assumed that the Amish volunteers were accountable to
those groups.[67]
Hillcrest was an Amish “middle ground” where staff could make provisional,
practical use of things like an automobile while away from home, without
implying any challenge to the discipline of their home congregations.
Volunteers were temporarily separated from their home communities, and
because their home churches represented a modest range of practice, there
was no attempt to impose a uniform local discipline.[68]
Of course, most conservative Old Orders did not support projects like
Hillcrest Home, but for mission-minded Amish, the Home provided a combination
of service, flexibility and accountability to home churches.

The other major MIC-related project was
the Red Lake, Ontario mission school for members of the Ojibway nation.
Here mission-minded Amish activists hoped to work alongside the Mennonite-related
Northern Light Gospel Mission (NLGM) that had been begun in 1938 by Irwin
G. Schantz (1907-1985).[69]
Harvey Graber had worked with Schantz in Loman, Minnesota for nearly two
years in the early 1950s, and believed that Schantz’s various education
and Bible school projects offered the possibility of MIC “working with
him with a view to eventually assuming full responsibility for a portion
of this field.”[70]
Because NLGM was an independent “faith mission,” MIC workers would not
be unequally yoked with a Mennonite church conference. Yet the Red Lake
work would be “mission work in a real sense” since-unlike the home at
Hillcrest-the Red Lake school ultimately aimed to convert non-Christian
Native people.[71]

By the time Graber proposed the idea at
the fifth Amish mission conference in 1955, he did not expect the plan
to win instant approval, given the “considerable tension within our own
circles.” Even long-time mission movement supporter bishop Elam Hochstetler-who
was also Graber’s father-in-law-was “alarmed that the program committee
[that year] consisted of radicals.”[72]
In the tense days of 1955, mission-minded Amish leaders feared any action
that would isolate them further or finally cut ties to other Old Orders.
Moreover, the prospect of working at Red Lake posed in bold relief the
still unclear relationship between the Amish churches and the activities
of the mission movement. That issue and its implications had been lurking
around the edges of MIC and mission conference discussions for several
years, but with Red Lake it took on new immediacy. If the Red Lake missionaries
expected eventually to do church planting work, what would the resulting
churches look like? How would discipline be practiced? What would be the
relationship of such congregations to existing Amish church districts?
What did it mean that lay schoolteachers might establish Amish congregations
apart from ministers and bishops’[73]

After a long day of discussion-some of
it in closed caucus sessions-the MIC decided to appoint a study committee,
including the skeptical Hochstetler, to visit Red Lake that fall. In February
1956 at a well attended, special meeting, the MIC did approve financial
support for the Red Lake mission and sent Harvey and Miriam Hochstetler
Graber and Mose and Ada Miller Beachy as workers.[74]

The Red Lake mission was also notable for
the way in which it tied mission service and professional, specialized
training. Both Graber and Beachy were college graduates. Nor were they
unique in pursuing such academic work as Amish church members during the
1950s. Likely more than three dozen Amish men and women, primarily from
mission movement-supportive church districts, attended college-most often
Eastern Mennonite or Goshen-during these years. The desire to prepare
for occupations of service to others was implicit in the choices many
made to study education, nursing, pre-medicine or Bible. For some, a stint
at Hillcrest Home provided the impetus for further formal education; for
others, family encouragement played a role. Most did not assume that going
to college was in itself a statement about one’s Amish identity or desire
to remain in or leave the church. Instead, higher education was a secondary
result of involvement in the Amish mission movement and of a logic that
connected credentials with certain avenues of service.[75]


From the outside, all of these developments
within the MIC constituency may have signaled an inevitable movement out
of Old Order circles. But from within, the situation was much more ambiguous.
Those most heavily involved continued to think of themselves as Amish
in a way that placed them within the larger Old Order church. In late
1954, for example, the MIC unanimously passed a resolution “that a person
who does not retain his membership in the O. O. A. M. church is disqualified
for committee membership.”[76]
Yet by that time at least some individuals in more conservative church
districts were certain that MIC participants had, in fact, left the Old
Order camp.

Throughout the movement’s development some
participants had begun attending Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference
churches, or Mennonite congregations.[77]
Very soon after the first mission conference in 1950, for example, conference
host Jonas Gingerich began taking his family to Kalona’s Fairview Conservative
church. In 1954 Holmes County’s Andrew Miller, who had been the MIC’s
first chair, also switched to the Conservative Conference. Such shifts
were often-though not always-symbolized by the purchase of a car.[78]
MIC supporters, on the other hand, saw their continued use of horse-and-buggy
transportation and German-language worship in members’ homes to be important
markers of their fidelity to the Amish way.

The movement out of Old Order circles was
more of an evolution than a quick or decisive break. The situation in
the three eastern Clinton districts of Elkhart County illustrate the process.
The 1948 midweek Bible study meetings had continued and even grown in
size, supported by the ministry and a majority of lay members who also
endorsed the activities of the wider mission movement. These religious
issues were central to the debates in these Clinton churches, though technological
change was also intertwined with the arguments, since some members were
also simultaneously experimenting with tractor farming and the Clinton
leadership moved slowly to discipline them.[79]
By 1952 the minority who opposed the midweek meetings and the ministry’s
involvement in the national mission conferences protested enough that
communion was suspended. When leaders from neighboring LaGrange County
came to try to resolve the disagreement, they reduced the problem to a
dispute over tractors.[80]
To the mission movement supporters and the eastern Clinton ministry the
evaluation was a disappointment. As one reflected years later, “We thought
there was so much more to it than tractors. To us it was the spiritual
concept of life” that was the point of friction.

The visiting bishops stipulated a two-year
grace period, after which the situation was to be evaluated again. During
this time, however, the line between mission interest supporters and dissenters
only hardened, and, without notifying the resident ministry, three conservative
Old Order leaders from outside the eastern Clinton districts came in and
organized traditionalists within those churches into a separate church

Yet even this act cannot stand as a lone
point of formal divide between the two groups. For example, preacher Ira
S. Miller (1891-1978) of the northwest Clinton church-which remained within
the Old Order fold all along-always supported the eastern Clinton midweek
Bible study activities and attended the Wednesday night gatherings even
after 1954. In addition, as long as the eastern Clinton churches’ bishop
Samuel D. Hochstetler (1872-1954) was alive, he served as a resident link
to the conservative side since all parties agreed that Sam remained formally
in fellowship with them. Even Sam’s son, minister Elam, who was most closely
associated with the mission movement, continued to preach in some Old
Order districts in 1955 and 1956.[81]

The process, in the end, was a gradual
sorting out, with the majority of members and all the ministry in the
eastern three districts continuing with the Bible study and mission conference
emphases under the leadership of Elam Hochstetler, ordained bishop in
1954. From their perspective, they had not “split” from anyone. The more
conservative minority within the three eastern Clinton districts, though,
saw the developments around them as clear departure from the Old Order
tradition, and were apt to interpret the story as one of schism, with
the “Elamites”-as the Bible study group was derisively labeled-exiting
the Old Order orb. In any case, the sorting out process was not fast or
neat. A woman who had been quite active in the midweek Bible study meetings
from their beginning and had even been chosen the group’s first song leader,
eventually affiliated with a decidedly Old Order district, while mission-minded
people from conservative churches in other places moved into the east
Clinton area because of its reputation.

Old Order skeptics had their predictions
confirmed in January 1957 when the three east Clinton churches approved
automobile ownership. That change represented a growing detachment on
the part of the mission-minded Clinton churches from the opinions of their
more conservative neighbors and a tacit acknowledgment of the separation
that gradually had been taking place. Even, then, however, the process
of realignment was not complete. In 1959 when the three east Clinton churches
merged and built a single meetinghouse-taking the name Woodlawn Amish
Mennonite Church-bishop John D. Troyer (1906-1977) of the southeast district
supported the decision, but then “quietly left and moved to the Shipshewana
area,” where he affiliated with an Old Order district and yet remained
“a highly respected brother” among the folks at Woodlawn.[82]

In Kansas and Ohio events followed similar
courses. Rather than schism there was a gradual realignment of Amish members
and leaders into mission movement-affiliated congregations alongside church
districts composed of those who upheld a more traditional approach to
church life. By 1958 the differences within the three Amish church districts
around Partridge and Hutchinson, Kansas became such that bishop John D.
Yoder (1886-1968) recommended reorganizing the districts into two congregations-one
avowedly Old Order and the other openly supportive of the mission movement
and with the freedom to explore things like English language worship and
technological change. About two-thirds of the Amish joined the mission-minded
group, which began constructing a meetinghouse in 1959 and became known
as the Center Amish Mennonite Church. As the group did not immediately
have resident bishop oversight, Indiana’s Elam Hochstetler and Oklahoma’s
David A. Miller conducted the initial baptism and communion services.[83]

In 1958 in eastern Holmes and western Tuscarawas
Counties, Ohio families supportive of the mission movement began meeting
separately for worship. Like their compatriots at Woodlawn, the Ohio group
built a meetinghouse in late 1959, adopting the name Bethel Amish Mennonite.
The next year a similar mission interest congregation took shape near
Plain City.[84]
In Ohio, too, the sorting out process did not always follow predictable
lines. Minister Roy Schlabach, for example, who had been active in promoting
spiritual revival for more than a decade and had written for the MIC’s
Witnessing, stayed with the Old Order church, apparently fearing
that he would lose all influence in conservative circles if he joined
the new group.[85]
Similarly, Indiana bishop Amos Graber never left his Old Order post. For
people like Schlabach and Graber the mission movement was always as much
about mission to the Amish as it was Amish mission to others. If
the MIC now saw practical benefits in things like motor vehicles, English
worship or the telephone to spread their message to the larger world,
Schlabach, Graber and others believed such changes undercut goals they
had closer to home.

For many mission movement advocates and
MIC leaders, however, the focus was in fact increasingly on the needs
of larger society, and mission to the Amish became less important. “We
just got tired,” is how one participant explained the dwindling interest
in battling opposition within Old Order circles. Witnessing ceased
publication in 1961.[86]

Already in 1956 Harvey Graber had made
the connection between the mission movement “awakening” and “a new attitude
toward change.” The logic of efficiency and desire to help others combined
to make old taboos seem like obvious needs. A minister in the Clinton
church, for example, remembers that the commitment to providing food and
labor at South Bend, Indiana’s Hope Rescue Mission is what prompted members
to think about automobile ownership.[87]
No one was prepared to endorse innovation for its own sake; change still
had to justify itself as a means to an end. But as the mission movement
floated the possibility of new ends, the “willingness to accept change”
seemed to open an ever-wider gap between movement advocates and opponents.[88]

But if by 1960 the Amish mission movement
supporters were no longer Old Order, what was their Amish identification?
In Pennsylvania supporters of the movement had in most cases individually
joined existing Beachy Amish congregations. That was not an option for
their associates in the Midwest, however. Bluntly, mission-minded Amish
at mid-century were not impressed with the spirituality in Beachy congregations
from Kansas to Ohio. Tobacco use, indifference to evangelism and weak
youth activities were among the images that mission movement participants
held of traditional Beachy Amish congregations. “They had the same Old
Order action going on there,” explained one woman. “We thought they were
just Old Order people with cars,” remarked another man, “and material
things were not our real interests.”[89]

During the early 1960s, though, the circle
of MIC congregations and supporters found themselves interacting with
mission-minded Beachy leaders in Pennsylvania such as Eli Tice (1904-1986),
and with Amish Mennonite Aid (AMA), the mutual aid and relief organization
begun in 1955 by Pennsylvania and Virginia Beachy churches.[90]
Another tie was Oklahoma bishop David A. Miller, whose church had affiliated
with the Beachy circle of congregations after 1956. The desire for more
accountability and a wider network of leadership resources pushed the
likes of Woodlawn’s Elam Hochstetler and Center’s Amos Nisly to seek affiliation
with the Beachy Amish fellowship. Yet even after formal ties were forged,
some local suspicions remained. What would be the result of “the merger
of the mission movement with the Beachy Amish'” one MIC supporter wondered
in 1964. “Will the vigor of the [mission] movement be lost as the movement
merges with a group less spiritually dynamic'”[91]

By the 1970s, with a new generation of
leadership in place, relations between the two sides warmed and the Amish
congregations birthed by the mission movement began to think of themselves
as Beachy Amish. Meanwhile, the MIC continued as a distinct organization
and supporting a growing number of mission projects, but now as a Beachy
Amish agency alongside and often cooperating with AMA.[92]


By the mid-1960s the public face of the
mid-century Old Order mission movement was hard to locate. Some participants-such
as Harvey and Miriam Graber, Mose and Ada Beachy, and Homer and Betty
Graber Nissley-had joined Mennonite churches. Many others had followed
a path that eventually took them into the Beachy Amish fellowship. Even
the organizational heir of the movement-the MIC-had formally become a
Beachy enterprise. Institutionally, the Old Order Amish mission movement
as an independent, identifiable entity had disappeared about fifteen years
after it appeared on the scene.

Yet the profound legacy of the mission
movement is best measured in other ways. Mission movement advocate Harvey
Graber once claimed that-given its broad geographic influence-“this awakening”
was “probably one of the most powerful forces which has struck the Amish
church since its beginning. The only possible exception might be that
represented by the split which developed in the mid-nineteenth century.”[93]
If Graber’s deep involvement in this chapter of Amish life led him to
exaggerate somewhat, his characterization made an important point. The
events surrounding the mid-twentieth century Amish mission movement were
in many ways the final chapter of the “great schism” that historian Paton
Yoder has detailed. Although the separation of Old Order Amish and Amish
Mennonites began in the 1850s and symbolically peaked at the 1865 continent-wide
ministers meeting, the process was far from complete by the beginning
of the twentieth century. In places like Johnson County, Iowa families
had been so keen to stay on good terms with all parties claiming the Amish
name that boundaries remained porous for decades.[94]
The story of the mission movement underlines the important connection
between Old Order Amish and Mennonites that continued through the 1950s,
and illustrates a last round in the “sorting out” process that had begun
a century before.

It became a last round because the relationship
between Amish and Mennonites would be very different after the mid-1960s.
Symbolically, the “Old Order Amish Mennonites”-as they had been known
by both Mennonite and Amish writers until then-became simply the “Old
Order Amish.” For their part, (Old) Mennonite publications which had long
included the Amish as another branch of their church suddenly dropped
such listings. Old Order Amish representation on the MCC executive committee
ceased after 1963, as well.[95]

In part, this distancing obviously stemmed
from the Mennonites’ rapid post-war acculturation and changing sense of
But equally important is the way in which the mission movement changed
the Old Order Amish and led to a reformulation of Amish identity.
The wake of the mid-century ferment laid to rest any further possibilities
of joining in active mission work, attending college or experimenting
with lay-led or youth-dominated Bible study groups. In the decades since
1960 the Old Order Amish have in many ways become more sectarian
than they were before that time. In a paradoxical way this religious development
has taken place simultaneously with a greater Old Order openness to negotiating
technological change.[97]
Technological and religious conservatism were de-coupled, with religious
life becoming more fixed even as mechanical innovation became more possible.
As one woman who participated in the mission movement remarked recently,
the young Amish women she knows today operate household appliances and
dress in ways that would never have been permitted when she was their
age. Yet she also grew up attending evening church services of other denominations
and participated in voluntary service assignments that today’s young women
probably cannot fathom doing as Amish people.

Recovering the impact of the mission movement
means that scholarly explanation of the Amish needs to consider the definition
of today’s “Old Order” as at least as dependent on the events of the 1950s
as the 1850s, and not read all of today’s sectarian assumptions into the
past. For if Amish mission movement proponents lost a piece of their Amish
heritage after the 1950s, so too, arguably, did those who remained in
Old Order circles. Even recent well articulated descriptions of the Old
Order worldview reflect only the current status of an identity that has
evolved and transformed during the past half century as much as it has
simply maintained itself.[98]

Indeed, the reformulation of Old Order
Amish identity was not without its own subplots. Already in the 1950s
a few Amish leaders with mission movement-like concerns for things such
as disciplined youth activities or opposition to tobacco, responded in
a very different way from that of the mission movement supporters. Moving
in small groups to new locations such as Kenton (1953) and Ashland (1954),
Ohio and Paoli, Indiana (1957), these highly sectarian Amish joined their
rigorous moral discipline with a principled commitment to staving off
any technological and cultural change, and formed a loose network of ultra-conservative

A decade later, in the mid-1960s the increasing
rigidity around religious matters in Old Order circles sparked the formation
of the so-called “New Order” Amish in Lancaster County and Holmes County.
In both places, a significant number of church members who had supported
a more evangelical expression of faith had remained within the old church.
But as a less flexible environment settled in the post-1960 years, people
like Ohio’s Roy Schlabach and Ervin Gingerich found themselves increasingly
unwelcome within the new strictures. Like the mission movement advocates
of the previous decade, the New Order members promoted youth Bible study
meetings and “clean living.” However, they did not encourage participation
in distant mission work and maintained an Amish horse culture. Some New
Order Amish see themselves as connected to the mission movement, and in
Lancaster about a third of them recapitulated the mid-century story by
quickly evolving into Beachy Amish-related or -affiliated churches.[100]

The Beachy Amish, too, have reformulated
their identity in the years since 1960. The joining of the mission movement-rooted
congregations with the historic Beachy churches has remade the Beachy
Amish into a group now oriented toward mission work and with a much more
outward-looking stance. Symbolically, the Beachy Amish have, in these
decades, become solely associated with the title “Amish Mennonite.”

The events of the mid-twentieth century
have left a lasting mark on those who call themselves Amish-Beachy and
Old Order-and remind all of us of the dynamic, multi-dimensional process
of historical change.[101]

[*] Steve Nolt is Assistant Professor
of History at Goshen College. Return to Text

[1]. R.S., “Things That Hinder Mission
Work,” Amish Mission Endeavor Bulletin, Feb. 1953, [3]. “R.S.” was likely
minister Roy L. Schlabach of Holmes County, Ohio. Return to Text

[2]. John A. Hostetler, “God Visits the
Amish,” Christian Living, March 1954, 6-7, 40-41; John C. Wenger, The
Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1961),
419-20, where Elam Hochstetler had “more vision than characterized many of his
Amish fellow ministers.” See also pp. 46-47 of John Hostetler’s entry “Old Order
Amish” in ME 4:43-47. Return to Text

[3]. R.S., “Things That Hinder Mission
Work.” Return to Text

[4]. Harvey Graber, “Spiritual Awakening
in the Old Order Amish Church,” unpublished paper, 1956, Mennonite Historical
Library (MHL), Goshen, IN, p. 1. Return to Text

[5]. David Beiler, Das Wahre Christentum.
Eine Christliche Betrachtung nach der Lehren der Heiligen Schrift (Lancaster,
PA: Johann Br’s Shnen, 1888), 215-38 (esp. pp. 219-20 on personal salvation
known by being “enlightened by God from above and infilled by the Holy Spirit”).
Return to Text

[6]. Daniel E. Mast, Anweisungen zur
Seligkeit (Baltic, OH: J. A. Raber, 1938?), translated as Salvation Full
and Free (Hutchinson, KS: D & I Gospel Bookstore, 1973); the book carried
a preface and endorsement by Shipshewana, Indiana bishop Eli J. Bontrager (1868-1958).
See also Gerald J. Biesecker-Mast, “Anxiety and Assurance in the Amish Atonement
Rhetorics of Daniel E. Mast and David J. Stutzman,” MQR 73 (July 1999),
525-38. Among the other writings that might be placed in this vein are Holmes
County, Ohio’s Jacob A. Miller, Vermahnungs-Schreiben von Jacob A. Miller
an seine Kinder (Wellman, IA: S. D. Gungerich, 1911). Return to Text

[7]. Joseph Stoll, “Who Shall Educate
Our Children'” in Compulsory Education and the Amish: The Right Not to be
Modern, ed. Albert N. Keim (Boston: Beacon Press, 1975), 23-25; Samuel D.
Guengerich, Deutsche Gemeinde Schulen: Ihren Zweck, Nutzen und Nothwendigkeit
zum Glanbehs-Uuterricht [sic] (Amish, IA: S. D. Guengerich, 1897). Guengerich
promoted Sunday school, relief work in Armenia and mission activity of various
kinds. While his congregation made the difficult decision to affiliate with
the Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference in 1912, he continued to have wide
influence in Old Order circles-see David Luthy, “Samuel D. Guengerich (1836-1929):
Teacher and Publisher,” Family Life, Jan. 1993, 22-25. On the moral status
of Sunday school superintendents, see A. J. Beachy to Andrew A. Miller, Aug.
11, 1952, Hist. Mss. 1-906, Andrew A. Miller Collection (AAMC), Archives of
the Mennonite Church (AMC), Goshen, IN. Return to Text

[8]. Valentine J. Headings, Jr., A
History of the Old Order Amish Mennonite Sunday School of the East Center Congregation
near Hutchinson, Kansas (n.p., 1947?). Return to Text

[9]. David J. Hochstetler, “Der rechte
Gebrauch des Sabbaths,” Herold der Wahrheit, June 15, 1912, 149. Hochstetler’s
obituary in Gospel Herald, March 7, 1929, 1023, reported that he was
“one of the founders of the Sunday school in the Amish Church, of which he was
a member.” In 1897 Hochstetler helped establish a new Amish settlement committed
to Sunday school and located in remote Brown County, Indiana. The small church
lasted until 1911, when the last family returned to northern Indiana. Return
to Text

[10]. Paton Yoder, Tradition and Transition:
Amish Mennonites and Old Order Amish, 1800-1900 (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press,
1991). Return to Text

[11]. Herold der Wahrheit, July
1, 1912, 173. Interviews with Miriam Hochstetler Graber, Sept. 7, 1999, Goshen,
IN; Moses A. Beachy, Sept. 8 and 17, 1999, Goshen, IN; Homer and Betty Graber
Nissley, Sept. 9, 1999, South Bend, IN; telephone interviews with David L. Miller,
June 27, 2000, Partridge, KS; Firman Gingerich, June 29, 2000, Goshen, IN. Return
to Text

[12]. Theron F. Schlabach, Gospel
Versus Gospel: Mission and the Mennonite Church, 1863-1944 (Scottdale, PA:
Herald Press, 1980), 19-108. Return to Text

[13]. Interview with Daniel H. Beachy,
Oct. 6 and 13, 1999, Goshen, IN; Biesecker-Mast, “Anxiety and Assurance,” 533-34.
Return to Text

[14]. David Wagler and Roman Raber, The
Story of the Amish in Civilian Public Service, with Directory (Millersburg,
OH: John D. Hershberger, 1986), esp. 65-67; interview with Moses A. Beachy,
Sept. 8 and 17, 1999; “Notes on the First Amish Mission Conference,” taken by
Anna Beiler, Stuarts Draft, VA, Hist Mss. 1-361, Harvey Graber Collection (HGC),
AMC; interview with Yost H. Miller, June 6, 2000, Millersburg, OH. Return
to Text

[15]. The mission movement had no strong
connections in the so-called “Swiss” Amish settlements. The Amish in Geauga
County, Ohio were also widely considered to be aloof from the mission movement,
as were for the most part the Lancaster, Pennsylvania Amish. In the last case
CPS may have played a role, albeit a negative one. Relatively few Lancaster
Amish participated in CPS, instead obtaining farm furloughs from local officials
who related to conscientious objectors in a more paternal way than their Midwestern
counterparts. Thus the impact of CPS in any way was much less pronounced among
the Lancaster Amish. On the situation in Geauga County, see, e.g., Eli Helmuth
to Andrew A. Miller, Apr. 13, 1953, AAMC, and Noah A. Keim to Andrew A. Miller,
Aug. 1, 1954, AAMC. Return to Text

[16]. Ervin Hershberger and Daniel E.
Hochstetler, eds., History and Memories of Hillcrest Home, 1953-1978
([Harrison, AR: Daniel Nisley], 1978?), 15. See also Wagler’s statement written
in 1945 that appears in Wagler and Raber, Story of the Amish in Civilian
Public Service, 72-74. Return to Text

[17]. “Notes on the First Amish Mission
Conference,” HGC; Amish Mission Endeavor Bulletin, Dec. 1951, [3]-[6];
and Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,” 7-8. Return to Text

[18]. David A. Haury, The Quiet Demonstration:
The Mennonite Mission in Gulfport, Mississippi (Newton, KS: Faith and Life
Press, 1979), 109-22. Return to Text

[19]. Interviews with Miriam Graber,
Sept. 7, 1999; and Moses A. Beachy, Sept. 8 and 17, 1999. Return to Text

[20]. Interview with Moses A. Beachy,
Sept. 8 and 17, 1999; Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,” 17-18. Return to Text

[21]. Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,”
16-17. Return to Text

[22]. Elmer S. Yoder, The Beachy Amish
Mennonite Fellowship Churches (Hartville, OH: Diakonia Ministries, 1987),
130-31, 317-18; interviews with Daniel H. Beachy, Oct. 6 and 13, 1999; and Daniel
S. and Lizzie Bontrager, Jan. 25, 2000, Goshen, IN. Return to Text

[23]. Interview with Daniel H. Beachy,
Oct. 6 and 13, 1999; Dan Beachy, “A Half Century of Midweek Meetings,” Woodlawn
Chronicle, July-Aug. 1998, 6-8; Dan Beachy, “Wednesday Evening Bible Study
Beginnings,” Woodlawn Chronicle, Aug.-Sept. 1993, 3; Daniel S. Bontrager,
Reminiscence of the Bontrager Family (n.p., 1996), 33-34; Harry D. Weirich
notes from Dec. 29, 1948 meeting, in the files of Daniel E. Hochstetler, Goshen.
A few of the initial participants chafed under the German-language restriction
and soon joined a Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference congregation. Connections
to Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference congregations varied from place to
place, as not all Conservative churches had an interest in missions. Some Elkhart
County Amish children, though, attended Conservative summer Bible school.-See
Daniel H. Beachy to Andrew A. Miller, May 27, 1954, AAMC. Return to Text

[24]. Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,”
21-26 and appendices. Graber surveyed 21 people (from Kalona, IA, Plain City
and Holmes Co., OH, Elkhart Co., IN, Hutchinson and Partridge, KS, Thomas, OK,
Lancaster, PA, and Arthur, IL). In addition, the Plain City, Ohio Amish credited
the impact of their Amish parochial school, begun in 1947, which employed Mennonite
teachers and included Bible instruction in the classroom. Another respondent
cited the influence of trips to Florida where “out from under the control of
the home church such people took the risk of attending services of other churches
and liked what they found” (21). Graber’s own opinion-presumably from his Nappanee
setting-was that youthful rowdiness and immorality were the most important factors
in winning support for the mission movement among rank-and-file members “who
were repulsed by these conditions” (24). One also cannot help but note the role
of dramatic personal experience in motivating particular individuals to radically
change their religious outlook-brushes with serious illness, sudden deaths of
young relatives and so on, crop up in contemporary correspondence and later
memory. Return to Text

[25]. Interview with Daniel E. Hochstetler,
Sept. 28, 1999, Goshen, IN. Return to Text

[26]. The story was an AP wire service
feature, and can be found most easily-in a shorter version without photos-as
“Shun Oil-Well Riches: Amish Farmers Move from Area Where New Pool is Found,”
New York Times, March 7, 1936, 5:2. The story was actually inaccurate;
the Amish left Yoder, Kansas for Fairbanks, Iowa for other reasons. See Wichita
Eagle, Mar. 22, 1936. Return to Text

[27]. Maniaci’s autobiographical essay
is found in Ezra W. Shenk, In the Harvest Field (Wellman, IA: Ezra W.
Shenk, 1952), 24-38. Maniaci’s original first name was Rosario. He received
the nicknamed “Russell” soon after immigrating to Detroit and changed his name
legally upon discharge from the U.S. Army after World War 1. See also Clara
S. Raber, Special Handling: An Autobiography (Newton, KS: Graphic Images,
1994), 139-41; Russell Maniaci, comp., “A Genealogy of the Maniaci Family compiled
by Rosario (Russell) Maniaci,” manuscript copy in the files of Steve Nolt; Harold
Weaver, “My Recollections of the Maniaci Family” and Minnie Graber, “A Man Used
of God: Russell Maniaci,” Messenger [Prairie Street Mennonite Church],
June 1988, 1-3; Daniel S. Bontrager, “Russel [sic] Maniaci and the Amish Church,”
Woodlawn Chronicle, May-June 1993, 2-3; and Steve Nolt notes from telephone
interview with Angeline S. Maniaci Jones, Sept. 17, 1999. Maniaci himself and
some of his closest Amish friends-such as Daniel S. Bontrager-pronounced his
name ‘Mahn-ee-ah-chee.’ Many other Amish people less familiar with Italian phonetics
knew him as ‘Ma-na-see.’ Return to Text

[28]. E.g., R. Maniaci, “Sectarianism,”
Amish Mission Endeavor Bulletin, May 1953, [5]-[10]; “A Good Church Member,”
Amish Mission Endeavor Bulletin, Oct. 1953, [15]-[16]; and “Sowing Wild
Oats,” Amish Mission Endeavor Bulletin, Feb. 1954, [14]-[16]. Return
to Text

[29]. The Bulletin did receive
many positive letters from readers, which also give a good sense of the range
of mission movement activities around the country, from Bible schools and Sunday
schools to Voluntary Service assignments and simple visiting between communities.
The paper also received its share of angry responses, leading Maniaci to begin
printing “Please Do Not Tear This Until You Have Read It. Would you condemn
a person before you knew the facts'” above the address line. Return to Text

[30]. “Notes on the First Amish Mission
Conference,” HGC; telephone interview with Firman Gingerich, June 29, 2000.
Return to Text

[31]. Attendees sang not from the Ausbund
but from the hymnal used by the Old Order Amish in the Kalona community: Eine
Unparteiische Lieder-Sammlung (Lancaster, PA: John Baer’s Sons, 1860). Return
to Text

[32]. Notes of the meeting record twenty-nine
specific names. All those with place identification were from Iowa and Kansas,
reflecting the demographics of attendance. Attendance at the conferences was
weighted toward participants from the hosting region, though it also always
included people from across the country and represented most settlements each
time. Return to Text

[33]. “Notes on the First Amish Mission
Conference,” HGC. The files of correspondence in the AAMC provide a window into
the loyalty and camaraderie that developed among mission movement supporters
through the years. They noted who was in fellowship with whom, sent letters
of encouragement when they could not attend particular mission meetings, exchanged
information about supportive bishops and ministers in every state, suggested
the names of like-minded individuals who should be included in mailings, and
so on. Return to Text

[34]. The farm was that of Chris Stauffer
(1890-1952), who agreed to host the gathering but was not especially supportive
of the mission movement. Notes on the second conference appear on pp. [3]-[6]
of the first issue of Amish Mission Endeavor Bulletin (Dec. 1951). Reporting
on the conference seems to have been the impetus for Maniaci’s launching the
newsletter. Return to Text

[35]. Amish Mission Endeavor Bulletin,
Dec. 1951, [5]. Return to Text

[36]. Ibid, [6]; A. J. Beachy’s “Amish
Missions Bulletin,” dated Dec. 31, 1951; Feb. 14, 1952; and May 5, 1952, AAMC.
(Beachy’s “Amish Missions Bulletin” circulars should not be confused with Maniaci’s
Amish Mission Endeavor Bulletin.) Return to Text

[37]. Ibid., Dec. 31, 1951; Yoder, Beachy
Amish, 250. Return to Text

[38]. Biesecker-Mast, “Anxiety and Assurance,”
525, 533-37. Return to Text

[39]. Beechvale Brethren Bible Class
record book, AAMC. Return to Text

[40]. Ibid. Return to Text

[41]. Notes on the third conference are
in the September 1952 issue of Amish Mission Endeavor Bulletin. See also
Daniel H. Beachy to “Dear Brethren,” July 11, 1952, AAMC. Return to Text

[42]. A list of MIC members 1952-1978
is contained in Hershberger and Hochstetler, eds., History and Memories,
121-23. The MIC name was suggested by David L. Miller and modified by Andrew
A. Miller-Andrew A. Miller to MIC members, April 6, 1953, AAMC. Return to

[43]. Mahlon Wagler to Andrew A. Miller,
Aug. 1, 1954, AAMC. Return to Text

[44]. “Two Arrested for Providing Beer
to Amish Youths,” Goshen News, Oct. 26, 1953, 1; “Amish Uprising Halts
LaGrange Draft,” South Bend Tribune, Oct. 28, 1953, 1. Return to Text

[45]. Maniaci was concerned about the
welfare of Amish I-W men, and listed many of their names in Amish Mission
Endeavor Bulletin, urging readers to write the men encouraging letters.
He also sent the Bulletin to I-W units. Testimonies from I-W men were
a staple part of the annual mission conferences. Return to Text

[46]. David Wagler, “Is it Balaam’s Counsel'”
Herold der Wahrheit, Dec. 1, 1952, 726. Men from some particularly conservative
Amish families or communities eventually began refusing to participate in the
I-W program altogether, opting instead for jail terms-e.g., Budget, July
4, 1957, 1; Feb. 18, 1960, 7. Return to Text

[47]. Interviews with Miriam Graber,
Sept. 7, 1999; Homer and Betty Nissley, Sept. 9, 1999; Yost H. Miller, June
6, 2000; and Daniel H. Beachy, Oct. 6, 1999. On the Hammer revival in Iowa,
see A. J. Beachy to Andrew A. Miller, July 14, 1952, AAMC. A Mennonite tent
revival sparked the formation of an Amish youth Bible study group in Milverton,
Ontario in 1952.-Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,” 23. George Brunk II returned
the favor by attending the fourth Amish Mission Conference, in Hutchinson, Kansas
in 1953. Return to Text

[48]. Raymond [Wagler] to Andrew A. Miller,
Dec. 18, 1952; Melvin E. Miller to Andrew A. Miller, Oct. 18, 1953; Enos Miller
to Andrew A. Miller, Dec. 29, 1953, AAMC. Return to Text

[49]. Yoder, Beachy Amish, 79-80;
Hostetler, “God Visits the Amish,” 6; The Budget, Aug. 6, 1953, 3; Aug.
13, 1953, 1, 5; Abbie Gertrude Enders Huntington, “Dove at the Window: A Study
of an Old Order Amish Community in Ohio” (PhD diss., Yale, 1956), 693-700. MIC
member Yost H. Miller hosted one of David Miller’s large Holmes County meetings.
The Lancaster Amish who continued to support David Miller and attend the mission
conferences were denied communion-Stephen E. Stoltzfus to Andrew A. Miller,
Nov. 8, 1953, AAMC (note Stoltzfus’ strong use of evangelical language and his
desire that revival “sweep the nation from coast to coast”). Return to Text

[50]. John B. Mast to Andrew A. Miller,
Sept. 13, 1954, AAMC. Return to Text

[51]. David A. Miller, Witnessing,
Nov.-Dec. 1953, 3. Return to Text

[52]. Interview with Homer and Betty
Nissley, Sept. 9, 1999; Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,” 16-17. Return to Text

[53]. On the situation in Kalona, see
“Amish Missions Bulletin,” May 5, 1952, 4; David L. Yoder to Andrew A. Miller,
July 21, 1953; David L. Yoder to “AAM and DHB,” May 10, 1953; AAMC. Interview
with Moses A. Beachy, Sept. 8 and 17, 1999; Telephone interview with David L.
Miller, June 27, 2000. Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,” 17-18, gives his assessment
of the situation in Kalona (the “elderly man” was apparently Harvey Bender).
Bender’s situation was discussed by the MIC, though they hesitated to get involved
without having heard the Kalona church leaders’ side-MIC Minutes, Feb. 14-15,
1956, HGC. Very late in his life, Bender left the Amish and joined the Pentecostal
Church of the Living World. Return to Text

[54]. Notes on the fourth conference
appear in Witnessing, Sept.-Oct. 1953, 2-7. See also the planning notes
and comments that went into such a gathering in David L. Miller to “Dear Brethren
in the Lord,” March 3, 1953; David L. Miller to Andrew A. Miller, March 19,
1953, AAMC. Return to Text

[55]. Daniel H. Beachy to MIC, July 20,
1954; Mahlon Wagler to Andrew A. Miller, Aug. 1, 1954; AAMC. The tension in
Holmes County is illustrated in Malva Shetler to Andrew A. Miller, postmarked
Feb. 12, 1954, AAMC. The cancellation was disappointing to many “for whom because
of stiff opposition in their own communities, the conference held out the only
hope of better days.”-Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,” 10. Return to Text

[56]. Notes on the fifth conference appear
in Witnessing, Oct. 1955, 5-11; Amish Mission Endeavor Bulletin,
July-Oct. 1955, 2-3. Return to Text

[57]. The key meeting was held at the
Daniel H. Beachy home near Millersburg, Indiana.-MIC Minutes, Dec. 22-23, 1952,
HGC. Also A. J. Beachy to Harvey Graber, Sept. 17, 1952, HGC; David L. Miller
to Russell Maniaci, Jan. 5, 1953, AAMC; David L. Miller to Harvey Graber, Feb.
4, 1953., HGC. Maniaci moved to Sarasota, Florida in 1957 and died fifteen years
later in Miami. Return to Text

[58]. Graber was editor 1953-1959, succeeded
by Yost H. Miller and Homer Nissley, who served as editor and assistant editor
1959-1961. Witnessing became a monthly in 1955 and reverted to a bimonthly
in 1958. Originally printed and distributed by Andrew A. Miller in Holmesville,
Ohio, production and mailing soon shifted to Mennonite Press, Newton, Kansas.
Graber later wrote that he believed Maniaci did not trust him as the editorial
voice for the mission movement because Graber was Amish and “would be too subservient
to conservative interests in the church.”-Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,” 14.
Return to Text

[59]. Daniel H. Beachy to [Andrew A.
Miller and Harvey Graber’], March 27, 1953, AAMC. Return to Text

[60]. Graber placed ads for Witnessing
in The Budget and Herold der Wahrheit. Return to Text

[61]. Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,”
14-16; Graber hatched the idea in 1953, but the MIC was more cautious, fearing
negative reaction. See Dan Beachy to MIC, Dec. 14, 1953, MIC Minutes Dec. 31,
1953, Graber to AAM, May 12, 1953. The series appears as “A Loving Appeal from
God’s Word,” Witnessing Jan. 1956, 1-3; Feb. 1956, 1-4; Mar. 1956, 1-3;
Apr. 1956, 1-2; and May 1956, 1-3. When sociologist John A. Hostetler visited
Goshen in 1956 he was astounded to see more than 6000 names on the Amish address
list. Nothing of that scope had ever been compiled before.-Interview with Homer
and Betty Nissley, Sept. 9, 1999. Return to Text

[62]. For a Pennsylvania Old Order Amish
bishop’s belief in “mission work rather from an exemplary point, that is, in
living a Christian life, rather than in spreading it by word,” see quotes in
Evan J. Miller to Andrew A. Miller, Dec. 13, 1951, AAMC. Return to Text

[63]. Haury, Quiet Demonstration,
1-56; 109-22 contain lists of workers, including eight CPS and 17 VS Amish participants.
See also Yoder, Beachy Amish, 250. On the problems for the Benders at
Gulfport, see Raymond Wagler to Andrew A. Miller, May 22, 1952, AAMC. Return
to Text

[64]. The facility had been the Boone
County, Arkansas “poor home” until it closed in 1951 for municipal budget reasons.
Locals were impressed with how the Resthaven Nursing Home near Gassville, Arkansas
was operated by South Central Conference Mennonites and asked if they would
re-open the Boone home. An Amish couple working at Resthaven-Menno S. and Edna
Yoder Nisly-passed the request on to the MIC, which accepted the offer from
Boone County officials. See Hershberger and Hochstetler, eds., History and
Memories, 6-21; Yoder, Beachy Amish, 250-51; and Paul Erb, South
Central Frontiers: A History of the South Central Mennonite Conference (Scottdale,
PA: Herald Press, 1974), 423. The Helmuths were administrators at Hillcrest
through 1966. Return to Text

[65]. Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,”
11. The MIC also struggled with personnel issues for the first time, such as
insurance, vacation policies, etc.-Daniel H. Beachy to MIC, Jan. 22, 1954, AAMC.
Return to Text

[66]. Hershberger and Hochstetler, eds.,
History and Memories, 24; interview with Daniel E. Hochstetler, Sept.
28, 1999. Return to Text

[67]. Hershberger and Hochstetler, eds.,
History and Memories, 26. At first the staff attended services at nearby
Protestant churches.-See, e.g., “Hillcrest Home News Letter,” Nov. 8, 1953,
AAMC. Return to Text

[68]. The situation was not entirely
unlike that of Sarasota, Florida where even today Old Order Amish from various
settlements live together in ways that transcend any one local discipline, and
in which the temporary nature of one’s association with the community allows
one to live provisionally outside the boundaries of one’s home church discipline
without challenging that discipline or implying that one will not submit to
it after eventually returning home. Return to Text

[69]. Joni Beachy, “History of the Northern
Light Gospel Mission,” unpublished student paper, 1957, MHL; also Stephen E.
Scott, An Introduction to Old Order and Conservative Mennonite Groups
(Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 1996), 192-93. Northern Light Gospel Mission is
now known as Impact North Ministries. Return to Text

[70]. Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,”
12. Yoder, Beachy Amish, 251-52. Return to Text

[71]. Noah Hochstetler, “A History of
the Amish Mission Board: The Mission Interest [sic] Committee,” unpublished
student paper, 6, AMC. Return to Text

[72]. Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,”
12. Return to Text

[73]. Issues surrounding the practice
of church discipline were debated in mission movement circles.-See, e.g., Ray
Wagler to Andrew A. Miller, May 22, 1952; Joseph G. Gingerich to Andrew A. Miller,
Apr. 19, 1949, AAMC. See also “Congregational Church Discipline,” Witnessing,
May-June 1955, 3-6. A number of people active in the mission movement were fascinated
by the “Letters of the Amish Division,” perhaps because of their own contemporary
discussions of discipline. Return to Text

[74]. The team appointed was Hochstetler,
William W. Wagler (1914-1983) of Partridge, Kansas and Yost H. Miller of Millersburg,
Ohio. In October this group went to Red Lake to investigate (Daniel S. Bontrager
replaced Yost Miller). See Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,” 12-13. Return to

[75]. Daniel E. Hochstetler, “The Amish
Go to College'” unpublished reflections and partial listing of Amish college
students during the 1950s; Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,” 18-19. The influence
of Mennonite college attendance is occasionally apparent in the language of
mission movement correspondence, such as Mose Beachy’s suggestion to consider
“the Anabaptist vision for mission work.”-Moses A. Beachy to Andrew A. Miller,
Aug. 4, 1952, AAMC. David L. Miller was concerned, however, that mentioning
higher education in Witnessing would alienate some readers-David L. Miller
to Andrew A. Miller, April 20, 1953, AAMC. Return to Text

[76]. MIC Minutes, Dec. 21, 1954, HGC.
On Amish identity and the MIC, see also David L. Miller to Andrew A. Miller,
June 4, 1953, AAMC. Return to Text

[77]. On the possibility of defection,
Harvey Graber feared that the constant tension in many settlements was slowly
pushing mission movement advocates out of the Amish church and into Conservative
Conference or Mennonite arms. In areas where an exodus to the Mennonites seemed
likely, Graber-though fearing schism-postulated that division might be preferable,
provided that leaders in the mission movement use “every possible teaching device”
to keep “the psychological orientation . . . such that the new group will continue
to consider itself Amish, to feel that it is still their duty to minister to
them [the Old Order], and that eventually the two will reunite.”-Graber, “Spiritual
Awakening,” 25-26. Return to Text

[78]. Andrew Miller came to believe that
the automobile was “essential” for effective mission work-Andrew A. Miller to
Harvey Graber, May 4, 1954, HGC. Jonas Gingerich did not immediately buy a car,
but attended the Conservative Conference church in a horse and buggy for several
years. Gingerich was also never placed in the ban by the Old Order church at
Kalona, which he took as a mark of their respect that his choice was one of
conviction and not rebellion.-Telephone interview with Firman Gingerich, June
29, 2000. Return to Text

[79]. Interview with Daniel H. Beachy,
Oct. 6 and 13, 1999. On the place of technological change in controversies in
Plain City, Ohio, see Noah A. Keim to Andrew A. Miller, May 18, 1953, AAMC.
Return to Text

[80]. Tractors were not an issue in the
tensions in Iowa and Kansas, since all the Old Orders there had already accepted
tractor farming. Return to Text

[81]. Interview with Daniel H. Beachy,
Oct. 6 and 13, 1999; Elam Hochstelter preached in the Northwest Clinton district
of Rudy Kauffman in Elkhart County on January 2, 1955, in the East Barrens district
of David D. Helmuth in LaGrange County on January 16, 1955, in the “Amos W.”
district in Daviess County, Indiana, on August 28, 1955, when church was at
the Amos Hostetler home in Nappanee on January 23, 1956, and in the Levi Hochstetler
district in Holmes County, Ohio on August 12, 1956-Elam Hochstelter notes on
the bottom of a letter from J. C. Wenger, May 28, 1960, in the possession of
Daniel E. Hochstetler, Goshen, IN. Wenger, Mennonites in Indiana and Michigan,
420 uses the date 1956 as the point at which formal fellowship between the east
Clinton districts and other northern Indiana Old Order Amish was severed; this
would appear to be a fairly realistic date. For an interpretation that suggests
a 1952 schism and technological change as the sole issue, see [Eli E. Gingerich],
Indiana Amish Directory: Elkhart, LaGrange, and Noble Counties, 1995
(Middlebury, IN: Jerry E. Miller, 1995), 5-6. Return to Text

[82]. Bontrager, Reminiscence of the
Bontrager Family, 35. For a brief summary of Woodlawn history, see Yoder,
Beachy Amish, 131-33, 318-19. At first Woodlawn held preaching services
and Sunday school (all in German) on alternating Sundays in the traditional
Old Order pattern. Return to Text

[83]. Yoder, Beachy Amish, 134-35,
325-27. Telephone interview with David L. Miller, June 27, 2000. Return to

[84]. Yoder, Beachy Amish, 135-36,
338-39, 336-37. Interview with Yost H. Miller, June 6, 2000. Return to Text

[85]. Interview with Paul A. Kline and
Edward A. Kline, June 7, 2000, Millersburg, Ohio. Schlabach’s role in Ohio was
widely known as early as 1949.-See L. A. Miller to Andrew A. Miller, June 23,
1949, AAMC. Return to Text

[86]. Interview with Homer and Betty
Nissley, Sept. 9, 1999. The MIC inquired about Herold der Wahrheit
purchasing Witnessing and merging the two publications, but the arrangements
did not work out. Return to Text

[87]. Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,”
19-20; interview with Daniel S. and Lizzie Bontrager, Jan. 25, 2000. Hope Rescue
Mission had been started by Tobe E. Schmucker (1918-1986), a Nappanee Amishman
whose CPS experience had prompted him to join the Mennonites and adopt a life
of active service to others. See Tobe E. Schmucker, Beacon of Hope: The Story
of an Inner-City Rescue Mission (South Bend, IN: Hope Rescue Mission, 1991).
Return to Text

[88]. Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,”
19-20. Return to Text

[89]. Candid comments from a variety
of interviewees. Interviewees remarked on exceptions to these stereotypes. For
example, bishop David A. Bontrager (1915-1989) of the Fair Haven Amish Mennonite
(Beachy) church in Elkhart County, Indiana had a deep personal interest in mission
work (and even later organized Christian Missions to the Communist World), but
he was regarded as exceptional, even in his own congregation. The appraisal
of the Beachy Amish in Lancaster and Somerset, Pennsylvania was different. They
were considered more “spiritually minded,” and thus it was possible for mission-minded
Old Order folks to join them without compromising conscience-something which
was apparently less likely in the Midwest and may have forced the mission movement
supporters in the Midwest to try longer to remain within the Old Order fold.
For their part, Midwestern Beachy Amish typically had little time for the mission-interest
folks. According to some local memories in northern Indiana, for example, they
were more apt to employ the derisive “Elamite” nickname for the pre-Woodlawn
Clinton Amish group than were many Old Order church members. Another example
is Yoder, Beachy Amish, 133, 212-13. Return to Text

[90]. Significantly, however, AMA was
always run by Beachy Amish bishops, whereas the MIC was always a lay board.
On AMA history and activity, see Yoder, Beachy Amish, 216-47. Aaron S.
Glick, The Fortunate Years: An Amish Life (Intercourse, PA: Good Books,
1994), 200-203, 210 documents some connections between Pennsylvania Beachy Amish
and the Woodlawn congregation; pp. 217-32 recount a trip Glick took with Oklahoma
David A. Miller. Glick was a brother-in-law of Tobe Bontrager of the Kalona
community who was active in the mission movement. Return to Text

[91]. Hochstetler, “History of the Amish
Mission Board,” 8. Return to Text

[92]. For the continuing story of the
MIC, see Yoder, Beachy Amish, 247-59. Another approach to evangelism
among mission movement Amish involved the notion of mission by colonization.
Noah Kiem and Nicholas Stoltzfus were popularizers of this idea and helped found
several settlements. Some of these colonies, like Aroda, Virginia, became Beachy
Amish, while others, like Aylmer, Ontario, remained Old Order. See Nicholas
Stoltzfus, The Great Commandment (Medford, WI: Lord’s Blessed Tract Service,
[194-]); and David Luthy, The Amish in America: Settlements that Failed,
1840-1960 (Aylmer, ON: Pathway Publishers, 1986), 366-69. Return to Text

[93]. Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,”
7. Return to Text

[94]. Yoder, Tradition and Transition,
265-66, 275-76. Glick, Fortunate Years illustrates the family connections
across Old Order Amish, Amish Mennonite and (later) Beachy Amish church lines
that existed in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, as well as interaction between
these groups and neighboring Mennonites. Return to Text

[95]. E.g., through its 1967 edition
Mennonite Yearbook always listed all the “Old Order Amish Mennonite”
districts and ordained leaders. See also Henry A. Mast to Andrew A. Miller,
Oct. 8, 1952, AAMC. Among the many examples of Amish self-designation is the
World Wars I and II era conscientious objection statement, “Articles of Faith
of the Old Order Amish Mennonite Church,” copy in files of Steve Nolt; and Headings,
History of the Old Order Amish Mennonite Sunday School. See also “Amish
Mennonites” entry in ME 1:93-97. The Old Order Amish were represented
on the MCC board after its reorganization in 1942: Eli J. Bontrager, Shipshewana,
Indiana, 1942-1953; Abe Yoder (1895-1963), Hartville, Ohio, 1953-1960; “member
undesignated,” 1960-1962; Ammon Troyer (1899-1962), Sugarcreek, Ohio, 1962.
Troyer died suddenly at the end of 1962 and was never replaced. In 1954 the
Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference changed its name to the Conservative
Mennonite Conference. Return to Text

[96]. D. J. Steinmann to Andrew A. Miller,
April 27, 1953, AAMC for an example of a long-time Amish subscriber to Gospel
Herald who was becoming uninterested in that magazine as its tone and content
changed, reflecting Mennonite post-war acculturation. Return to Text

[97]. The rise of Amish parochial schools
in some of these communities is a part of this sectarianization story. Return
to Text

[98]. E.g., Donald B. Kraybill, The
Riddle of Amish Culture (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Univeristy Press,
1989), 24-45; John S. Oyer, “Is There an Amish Theology'” in Les Amish: Origine
et et Particularismes, 1693-1993, 278-99, ed. by Lydie Hege and Christoph
Wiebe (Ingersheim: Association Franaise d’Histoire Anabaptiste-Mennonite, 1996).
Return to Text

[99]. Graber, “Spiritual Awakening,”
24, noted this development, commenting positively on their moral commitments
but disagreeing with their strategy of withdrawal. Between 1953 and 1961 five
ministers and a group of lay members from LaGrange County, Indiana relocated
to Kenton, Ohio and established that community. Other settlements in this network
drew members from a broader range of other communities. Return to Text

[100]. Edward A. Kline and Monroe L.
Beachy, “History and Dynamics of the New Order Amish of Holmes County, Ohio,”
Old Order Notes 18 (Fall-Winter 1998), 7-19; regarding Lancaster, see
Abner F. Beiler, “A Brief History of the New Order Amish Church, 1966-1976,”
unpublished paper, MHL. A few New Order leaders, like Schlabach and Gingerich,
had been connected personally with the mission movement, but most New Orders
had not been. The link between the mission movement and the New Orders was often
indirect. Return to Text

[101] Jan Shipps, Mormonism: The
Story of a New Religious Tradition (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press,
1985), 109-29, offers a good example of thinking about group identity forward
through time (rather than backward), and thoughts on the changing nature of
identity markers from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries. 32 The Mennonite
Quarterly Review 33 The Amish Mission Movement 7