Sunday, February 24, 2013

Amish Minister Ordination Series at Ohio Bed and Breakfast

Here at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, we are continuing our series of Amish minister ordinations and related topics.

In any Amish community, a ministry position is not one that is coveted or solicited for. Reluctance and fear might more typically describe the mood.  Ordinations can be quite complicated if there are dissentions and continuing strife within the church.  In such cases there may be dread among lay members of ever beinging nominated and selected for ministry.  Such was the case in or about 1880 in Pennsylvania, in a community that had suffered great disagreement.  I am restating the following account from a 1983 Amish publication, Family Life.  The original account of this story was given by John Umble.



Ohio Amish Homestead
 The story is that of an ordination that was held at the home of Samuel Kennel in Union County, Pennyslvania.  A grandson of Deacon Christian Stoltzfus drew the dreaded and fateful book that called the bearer into a lifetime of servanthood to the church.  The shock was so great for the young man that he fell to the floor in a state of unconsciousness.  Initially it was thought that he simply had fainted; however, after many attempts were made to revive him, a physician was called.  Someone who was present said that the doctor worked on him for half a day to revive him.

The young man survived the ordeal; however, he was never ordained, and he never fully recovered from this traumatic experience.  It was the opinion of some of the ministers that the young man should submit himself to the decision of the lot.

He was a carpenter by trade and often, when his boss came upon him, he found him sitting or standing, holding his hammer ready to strike and his eyes "fixed on vacancy."  If undisturbed, he soon resumed work. Fear gripped the young man's life, always concerned that he was committing a grevious sin by refusing the "Call of God," and yet it was not as great as the fear of assuming the call to ministry.

Later, in 1883, in another ordination, another man, David Stoltzfus, was chosen by lot.  He also found it difficult to accept his ordination.  He too felt crushed by the weight of this responsibility.  Feeling utterly unfit for the position, he, for a long time, experienced periods of depression; but eventually overcame his fears and performed his duties.



The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast Rose Garden Room

Consider a stay at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, fine accommodations where innkeepers, Paul and Loretta Coblentz share true life stories and point you to exceptional points of interest.  will present to you a most memorable experience.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
February 25, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bed and Breakfast Speak About Amish Preacher and Deacon Selection

Here at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, usually on Sunday mornings, we speak about Amish preacher and deacon selections. We have published some earlier posts on how Amish leadership is chosen by lot.  Please note those earlier posts for the selection process.


Breakfast at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast

Deacons are ordained by lot in the same process as ministers. A deacon's duties are however different from that of a minsters. A deacon is in charge of the poor money, "Armengeld", enforcing the rules "Ordnung" (talking to disorderly or disobedient members), reading Scriptures at church services, and giving "Zeugnis" to the sermons.  Zeugnis is a German word that refers to closing statements of affirmation or clarification that the deacon or a visiting preacher makes after the main preacher speaks. Those giving Zeugnis will usually share about five minutes.  In most Amish congregations the deacon does not preach, however in some counties such as Holmes County Ohio, the deacon may preach under some situations, such as if there is a case where there are not enough ministers present at the church service.


 In some Amish communities deacons may not advance to the ministry, because they see the deacon's position as so separate that he may not leave it even for the ministry.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
February 23, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ohio Bed and Breakfast Shares Amish Minister Selection Process

We here at the Millersburg, Ohio Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, are continuing our blog series on Amish Minister Selection Process.

Once the bishop has found the songbook holding the paper, he will read the phrase or verse written on the slip.  He will then then announce the man's name. The man is then asked to stand, while the bishop explains the duties and responsibilities of his new position, and asks that he promises to faithfully fulfill them. After he agrees, the bishop and the other ministers then greet him with a handshake and a holy kiss. The rest of the brethren in the congregation may do so as well, while the women greet the wife of the newly ordained, giving words of comfort, as the burden may fall upon her husband, it affects her as well.

Each Man Knows Which Is His Hat

In an apparent show of humility, no congratulatory words are spoken to the newly chosen minister, but rather words of consolation and support. In one particular case we know, the newly-selected minister cried for days and the congregation milked his cows for two weeks. When both our brother-in-law and nephew were chosen, solemn phone calls were made informing us of their fearful responsibility.  Certainly the occasion of their selection and call has forever changed their lives and the lives of their children.

Bishop Nomination and Ordination - Bishop ordinations are very similar to minister ordinations. The difference being that only ministers can progress to bishop, and the ordination most often involves two or more bishops.  Most congregations require the same number or nominations as they do when they select a minister.  When a bishop is ordained, unlike in minister selection, he kneels rather than stand.  Usually two or three other bishops preside over his ordination.



Visit The Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, Ohio, and learn the European history of our people. If visiting our area, enjoy a stay at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast for a most memorable stay, exceptional accommodations, and wonderful breakfast cuisine and informative breakfast time orientations to the area .

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
February 15, 2013


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

Friday, February 1, 2013

Holmes County Ohio bed and breakfast hosting Amish Business Directory

The Holmes County Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, located near Berlin, Ohio, has compiled, and is hosting, an Amish business directory, which may help persons seeking a particular Amish-owned business. Amish owned businesses typically do not have a telephone in their workplace nor do they have a website.  Many Amish businesses do have a telephone and/or a fax machine in a shed some distance from their workshop; and it is not unusual for several families to share the same telephone.  Voice mail is very common.  They regularly check their telephone messages and promptly reply.

Amish Homestead in Wayne County
 In the last year or two, since 2011, the Old Order Bishops in and around the Berlin, Ohio area have approved the use of a specific model of cell phone for their businessmen. This phone is approved to be used for business purposes only and is one that has no photographic or texting capabilities.  More and more we will now find telephone numbers for Amish businesses. Some will be cell numbers, but still most other phone numbers are one where you will need to leave a message.

The strictest of the Amish, the Swartzentrubers, do not have telephone booths or telephone service of any kind. If they find it necessary, for example to call a veteranarian, they will usually go to their neighbor for assistance, as they are not supposed to even dial the number.  Dealings with the Swartzentruber Amish must be in person or by letter or postcard. 

Our Amish Business Directory is categorized, and more and more, we will post more specifically what they supply to the community.

If you are traveling into our area, consider The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast for your lodging choice.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
February 1, 2013