Archive for the ‘Amish’ category

Amish Mission to Europe

August 16, 2010

British viewers who have been following ITV’s series following the group of Amish young people who came to the UK for four weeks to experience ‘rumspringa’ may be interested to learn a little bit more about the missionary activities of one of the Amish groups that has had a commitment to mission from their communities in the USA to several European countries.

Amish mission in Ukraine

One of the earliest mission presences was that of Amish Mennonite Aid, active in West Berlin during the late 1950s and into the early 1960s where it was responsible for several centres offering support and aid to refugee East Germans. After the Berlin wall was erected and the flow of refugees stopped, the mission switch its focus to local physical and spiritual needs. Between 1956v and 1977, 49 Amish missionaries worked in the Berlin mission. More about the story of the Berlin mission can be read online.

In the 1950s the Missions Interest Committee emerged out of the Old Order Amish and as a result of reservations in those communities, the Beachy Amish churches took up the responsibility for Amish mission through the IMC. The IMC’s early work focussed on the USA but in the early 1980s it developed a mission programme in Belgium, later expanding into Ireland. Amish missions in Ireland currently focus around a congregation in Dunmore East. The early establishment of this work from the Alsace region of France is described in James Yoder’s European Project.

In addition there have been a number of other Amish mission activities in the Ukraine (two churches) and Romania (one church). These have been either as a result of individual efforts or in partnership with other organisations. Each of these churches is involved in its own mission care for local people, including providing a seed programme for Ukrainian farmers.

In other parts of Europe, the Beachy Amish now co-operate with anabaptist mission organisations such as Christian Aid Ministries.

You can read more about the Beachy Amish on their website.