Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ohio Bed and Breakfast Owners Share About Amish Minister Ordinations

 As a part of their sharing time at breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast owners, Paul and Loretta Coblentz, share with their guests about the Amish; one of those subjects detailing minister ordinations and how those selections are made. New ministers are usually selected when a church district becomes so large that they need to be split into two churches, or when an older minister passes away. Amish men do not ask or choose to become ordained minister, it is placed upon them by lot, (according to Acts 1:23-26). Young Amish boys joining the church understand that there is a possibility they may someday be ordained.  Each congregation has three ministers.  In our low German dialect, the Vellicherdiener (Bishop), Breddicher (preacher), and Armediener (minister to poor or deacon).

The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast
Amish ministers are not paid for performing their duties. The Bishop carries great responsibility and authority in the church and community, always reinforcing the "Ordnung."  In addition to preaching, he administers communion, baptism, marriage, funerals, excommunications, supervises nominations for ministers and ordination services, counsels the wayward, and more.

After discussing the need of ordination among the ministry and some of the congregation, the bishop decides when he feels the congregation is ready to hold an ordination and will inform everyone two weeks prior to the Council-meeting church, giving time to think and pray about it. During the Council meeting church the congregation votes on the proposal of holding an ordination. If everyone agrees, the ordination in most cases will then take place two weeks later on Communion Sunday. This period of time is called "Besinn-Zeit."

Boys Walking Home From Church
During the selection process, the bishop will begin by explaining the importance this office and qualifications. After doing so, the ministers will then leave to another room, while one minister stays with the congregation, making sure that each member whispers their nomination to the minister standing in the doorway of the adjoining room.  The minister at the door, after each individual nomination is whispered, will close the door and tell the bishop. The bishop writes each vote down placing a mark beside the names that are mentioned more than once. In most congregations 2 or 3 votes are required for a man to be in the lot.

Ordination is a very solemn occasion.  After each person has given their vote, the bishop takes songbooks, equal to the number of nominees, and places a slip of paper inside one of the books. Various communities write different phrases or verses on that paper.  One is Proverbs 16:33.  They tie string around the books and shuffle them.  The songbooks are placed upright on a table or bench, according to the custom of the community.  After the congregation kneels for prayer and then is seated, those in the lot, draw the songbooks, one at a time until all the books are taken.  The bishop then unties the first man's book.  If the slip is not in that book, he places it on the table and continues to the other men until the paper is found.  To Be Continued in next week's blog article

Consider a stay at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, one of Holmes County's leading B & B's, where we share about our culture and provide visitor recommendation to our guests.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
February 6, 2013


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