Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Meeting House

By fall of our first year in Somerset the church house in the Pocahontas area was completed and everyone was looking forward to having services there.

The finished church house was very similar to the other two that were being shared by the four other districts. Since Amish only have church services every two weeks one church house could easily be shared by two congregations. The first one had been built in 1881. The story behind it was that the coal miners used to show up after church to enjoy church dinner. It got to be overwhelming trying to feed all of them so they decided to build a meeting house and have services there instead of in homes. It worked well and they wanted to keep everything the same throughout the Somerset County Amish therefore we got a meeting house too even though there hadn't been any hungry miners showing up for the past century.
The shutters are always closed during the week and only opened whenever services are to be held there. Buggies drive up to the porch where the woman get off and stand in one of the two little rooms at the front of the church until it's time for services to begin. It is always a solemn occasion with no more than a few whispered conversations until it is time to file to your seat.
This is the small table in front of the ministers bench. It had several songbooks and the New Testament laying on it. Plus a water pitcher and two glasses in case the ministers would happen to need it. Sitting right across the table from the ministers was a bench that the main song leaders sat on. Behind them were three benches for single boys, and directly behind them were four benches for single girls.

Standing at the back of the church house you can see the doorways for the two little rooms.The one on the right is where the ministers would go into for their meetings while the rest of the congregation sang the slow church songs. The men sat along the right side of the church house and the women on the left.

Part of the horse barn where horses were kept while services were being held. There was room for 120 horses.
These humble buildings were the place where a lot of things would happen and milestones reached over the next twenty years, but for now I was happy to sit beside Mom and help sing the songs. It was nice to have a back to lean against instead of the backless benches we had been used to. I could see Daddy from where I was sitting. John and David sat beside him. I would listen intently to the sermons most of the time, although there was one preacher that when it was his turn to preach I would count all the knots in the boards on the walls and ceiling rather than try to figure out what he was trying to say. It was years before I found out that Daddy and Mom could never follow his ramblings either.


  1. I can remember making up stories about the stained glass window in my church whenever a certain pastor would preach. I still remember the window, sadly I can't remember the pastor.....
    The wood work is very nice, I can almost smell the pine! I agree with you about the smart cars, I always think of a little bug zipping along, for some reason they annoy me!!!
    It is so nice to Sunbeam happy and healthy!!!
    Take care,
    Margaret B

  2. You will, I hope, compile all your wonderful memories into a book?

  3. i love your story! when you answer you next set of questions will you tell me why you only had church every other week? Thanks.

  4. wow incrediable...I love that you are sharing this part of your life with us

  5. I didn't realize some Amish have a meeting house. I was under the impression they rotated meeting at each of the families homes in their district.

  6. What great pictures those are! How on earth did you get in the building this time around? That table up front is just like my kitchen table! I don't mean that disrespectfully at all, it just is. I think even as adults our minds do tend to wander during church sometimes. Adding pictures to your stories is so brilliant and I just love it ~ ♥

  7. I had a keen interest in the history of the Amish, especially so when I worked for Pathway Publishers at Aylmer Ontario. The Amish Historical Library is also a part of Pathway and so with that connection I learned a lot about the various Amish. Anyway I was told Somerset County was the first place the Amish had meetinghouses for church services, and it produced a big stink among other Amish settlements and they told the Somerset Amish they will not remain Amish for long but will turn worldly. But everyone else was wrong as Somerset Amish are just as Amish as Amish can be. Or have they drifted in the last twenty years?

  8. I like the simple design of the church. I have never understood why poor congregations will sometimes spend a fortune on an ornate church when the money would be better spent on child care or food for the hungry.
    Funny about the preacher no one could follow. I've listened (or tired to listen) to a few of those.

  9. I saw that you left a comment on one of my posts a few weeks ago....I've just gotten around checking out your blog. It's beautiful. I'm really enjoying it. So nice to have a new blog friend. :)

  10. Thanks for visiting and following my blog. It's always great to connect with another blogger. I am interested in following your blog. I know some about the Amish because my cousin conducts hunting and fishing tour for a group. It has been educating to hear about their ways, beliefs, etc. through his travels with the Amish families. I look forward to your writings.

  11. You have a delightful blog here. I stopped by after you popped in at my place. I'm glad you visited and that I've spent a little time here.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.