Sunday, April 3, 2016

MAP Ministry Helps Amish Transition to Modern-Day Society

Each morning, we, the owners of the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast share information about the area, places to go and things to do; additionally, we often share social aspects of the society. We are supporters of MAP Ministry, (Mission to Amish People), an Ashland area ministry that assists people who wish to transition from the Amish religion into modern-day society.  Director, Joe Keim, along with his wife, Esther, grew up in the strictest sect of Amish, the Swartzentruber.  MAP Ministry offers the most comprehensive transition program for formerly Amish that I know of.  It is not surprising that Joe has become a leading resource for writers authorities, as he understands the mores that govern their social behavior.

Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast
 In the March, 2016 MAP Ministry newsletter, Joe shares a most difficult story of a  formerly amish lady and her challenge to get identification.  Within the Swartzentruber sect, most babies are birthed at home, with or without a midwife.  Sometimes birth certificates are not obtained, and even more common, social security numbers often are not applied for.  Increasingly, it is becoming more difficult for these people to secure identification since so much time has lapsed since birth. I am printing the following article with permission from the MAP:

Wedding Bells Ring Again
Amish Corn Shocks

More than a year ago, September 07, 2014, Henry Lee and Katie Shetler were married by a minister, but due to circumstances, there was no official marriage certificate filed with the state, and so Katie's legal name was still considered Shetler. Since then many have been involved in helping Katie get her birth certificate and Social Security number.

Since Katie has never had a birth certificate, progress was slow. Finally we were able to provide a census report that showed her birth name and parents' names dated in the year 2000.  This census report, along with a letter from a relative and a medical record, allowed Katie to obtain a birth certificate.  Still, her photo ID would still have been done in her maiden name, Shetler, instead of Lee. After nearly one hundred phone calls and many trips to the BMV, the courthouse, and the Social Security office, she was told she still needed a legal marriage to get her new name on her documents.
The Lees wanted to correct this situation, so on February 13, 2016, Henry and Katie went through their marriage vows again. This time they became legally married with their son, Michael, present.
They chose to have a small wedding at the MAP office, attended by 22 of their close friends.  Henry said he was going to wear jeans, but surprised Katie by wearing a suit and tie. Katie wore a long red dress with a black shawl.  Both were late for their own wedding!


After a whole year of agony and sweat, we finally drove back to the Social Security office with all the identification records and the newly filed marriage license, only to be informed by the Social Security office that they have decided that Katie's birth certificate is too new; she will need to wait five more years before they will acknowledge her as a US citizen.  Please pray for Katie an others who are in the process of being recognized as human beings in the United States. - Rene' Budd

I find it appalling that someone who was born in the US and has a US birth certificate is not recognized as a US citizen.  I spoke with Joe Keim about this and he said that it seems today, a copy of a birth certificate no longer carries the credence as it once did. I brought this to the attention of our state representative Dave Hall.  Perhaps he can give assistance in this matter.

I should add that most Amish get birth certificates and Social Security numbers for their children. Amish, as a rule, file income taxes.  If they are exempt from paying into Social Security, they get no benefits.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
April 3, 2016