Monday, October 23, 2017

Sundays

       Growing up in an Amish family, Sundays soon became the favorite day of the week.
       As with all Amish communities, we only had church services every other week and were held at different homes every month. On church Sundays we would all get up early and dress in our Sunday best. My favorite outfit was a purple dress and then the usual crisply starched white organdy apron.
      Daddy would hitch Jim to our top buggy and tie him to the hitching rack while Mom would scurry around clearing away the breakfast dishes and check and re-check our faces and ears. After everyone was clean enough for her satisfaction John and I would climb into the back of the buggy.
Our buggy had two seats but only one back which was shared by both seats. John and I didn't enjoy sitting and staring at the buggy door, so we would turn around and kneel on the seat and look over Daddy and Mom's shoulders and watch where we were going.
      After we arrived at church Daddy would stop at the house and Mom and I would go inside and remove our heavy black bonnets and shawls, and then she'd tip my face up and check it yet again and make sure my covering was tied. We would then go greet the women and girls that were already there and then stood and visited until almost 9 o'clock when we would all file into the room where services would be held and sit on wooden backless benches.
      I loved sitting beside Mom and felt very important as I held my hand out to shake hands with the three ministers as the made their way through all the benches shaking hands with the womenfolk.
Once they were done they would sit on the chairs that had been placed at the front of the room for them. The bishop would clear his throat and announce. "Since we're all gathered together we can start singing in the name of our Lord" There would be a general shuffling as everyone reached for their songbook and the song leader would announce which song to sing. He would sing the first syllable, of the first word by himself and then everyone else would join in and help. When the second line was started the ministers would stand up and go off to a little room by themselves to do whatever they do in those little rooms, pray, figure out whose turn it is to preach, and any other discussions they deem necessary.
      Mom would let me share her songbook and I would help sing as she would follow the words with her finger so I know where they are going. It used to take approximately five minutes to sing a stanza with seven lines.
      After the first song was over there would be a short pause and then the song leader would announce the page number for the "Lob Lied" which is the second song you sing no matter which Amish church you go to, and I've never seen it take less than twenty minutes to sing it.
      Usually by the end of that song the ministers would be done with their little meeting and file in and sit on their chairs again. After the last note faded away the first preacher would stand up and preach for half an hour and then we all turn around and kneel to pray. As a little girl, I would try to peek at everybody around me. It was always interesting to see how everyone else was kneeling unless there was a grownup sitting directly behind me blocking my view. A nudge from Mom would make me close my eyes and try to listen to the singsong chant of the prayer.
      After the second preacher was preaching I was allowed to play quietly with my flowery handkerchief. I would fold it to make a little mouse or twin babies in a cradle. It wasn't long until I would be tired and lay my head on Mom's lap and drift off to sleep to be awakened once the preaching was over and the last song was being sung.
      After sitting still for three hours it was great to be able to run and find your friends while the men set up tables by pushing several benches together and setting them on a specially designed pedestal thingies. The women would set bowls of mixed peanut butter and red beets or pickles and stacks of sliced homemade bread along the middle of the table, and then a cup, knife, and fork at each place. The men would sit at one table and the women at another one and after a short silent prayer everyone would reach for a slice of bread and start spreading peanut butter on it. Delicious creamy sweet peanut butter, one piece was never enough, I would ask for more but after several pieces Mom would tell me I had enough and then I'd have to sit there and watch longingly as others were still enjoying another piece.
      Once everyone was done there would be another short silent prayer and then we were free to play the rest of the afternoon while the adults visited. The men would set up a few benches for us to slide on and there were almost always dolls and coloring books to play with too. As evening approached Daddy would go hitch up Jim again and we'd head for home tired but happy.
      On the Sundays we didn't have church we would often go visit Grandpa Masts or one of our aunts or uncles. Other times we would stay at home and sing and play all day long, Daddy used to try to squeeze in a nap somewhere amid all our noisy fun.
      Sundays never lasted long enough and it took a whole week before another one rolled around, which to a child is a long time.

23 comments:

  1. My husband and I attended Sunday services at an Amish church last year, and also attended an Amish funeral service for our dear neighbor. Though we did not understand any of the German hymns, messages, or prayers, and maybe b/c we are adults and all was new to us, the three hours passed rather quickly.
    It was interesting that all similar ages grouped together before the service, and filed in accordingly.
    Our area is a bit unusual, b/c there are Amish church buildings. Homes are gone to after wedding and funeral ceremonies occur at church. I don't think a lunch is ever served in the church, people go home for that, too. Our district is pretty large. so it was divided into two. It is convenient for church to occur every other Sunday, b/c the building is used each week by the alternating districts. Our road divides the districts.
    The church building was constructed in 1881. Our Amish neighbor quickly pointed out that number can be turned upside down and still look the same. :)

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    1. I have always enjoyed the history of the Amish in Somerset County.

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  2. Did you mix honey into the peanut butter?

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    1. No, the peanut butter served aster Amish church services does not contain honey.

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  3. This was so interesting. I've always wondered what an Amish church service was like.

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  4. That was really interesting. I popped in to thank you for commenting on the story on my blog. Glad I did.

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  5. My followers link wasn't showing for awhile (not sure why), and just noticed you followed us. I appreciate that very much, and it's nice to meet new friends. You have a charming blog, and looking forward to seeing more of your blog. : )

    ~Sheri

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    1. Thank you! I hope you'll enjoy your visits here.

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  6. Are Sunday's still your favourite day?

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    1. I still really enjoy Sundays, but as much as I like them I'm always ready for Monday morning.

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  7. Would you share your recipe for that delicious sounding peanut butter, please?

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    1. Yes ... I had shared the recipe on my blog. Happily, it didn't disappear and can be found here. http://ajoyfulchaos.blogspot.com/2017/01/amish-church-peanut-butter.html

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  8. I still have your recipe for the church peanut butter that you shared before. Thank you! My grandma used to make me twin babies in the cradle too, in church with her hankie:-)

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    1. You're welcome!

      Those twin babies used to be so much fun to play with.

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  9. All Sundays are favorite day for us. As you said we also will go to church and have a wonderful dish on that day...

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    1. I'm happy to hear that Sundays are a favorite for you.

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  10. Very interesting. I never imagined that church would be three hours long for you or that you did not go each week.

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    1. It's just one of the many Amish traditions that looking back doesn't seem as normal as it did while we were living it.

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  11. This was so interesting to read, thank you.

    All the best Jan

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  12. I really enjoy the blog! Also, I really appreciate your FB post!! I have read a LOT of Amish books. Some time in the near future, my husband and I plan to visit an Amish community. Thank you!

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