The Beachy Amish Mennonites
The Emerging Woodlawn Church
THE EMERGING WOODLAWN CHURCH
A Study of Cultural Change
in an Amish Group
Sociology Seminar, Sociology 412
Professor J. Howard Kauffman
By Calvin J. King
Goshen College, 1963
The Emerging Woodlawn Church—
A Study of Cultural Change in an Amish Group
By Calvin J. King
The study of a church conflict involves a number of difficult problems. It involves personal feelings and emotions which are at times held within the person and not expressed. On the other extreme is the bitter and offensive type of person who contributes to the tenseness of the situation. The conflict is often tense because intimate personal feelings and beliefs are in opposition. Adding to this then, the spiritual element, it is possible for the situation to become very complex.
The study of the Woodlawn Beachy Amish Mennonite Church has been a very interesting study, not only for its supplying me with sociological data for this project, but for the many persons with whom I have come in contact. Since I was a complete stranger to this church until the past few months, it is possible on such a brief acquaintance to be too critical, or misunderstanding. If any such bias is present in the following pages, I wish to be forgiven.
I hope that this study might be an aid not only to those persons who were directly involved, but also to other church groups who might find themselves in a similar situation. Through this study, I have gained at least a beginning into the dynamics of social relationships, and I have become a bit more aware of their complexity.
I would like to express my appreciation to all who have willingly given of their time, information, and advice in this project. I am especially grateful to my seminar professor Dr. J. Howard Kauffman for his guidance and to Mr. Noah Hochstetler for his information concerning the church and his help in arranging for the interviews.
Calvin J. King
Sociology is the study of the social relationships among people. It might better be described as the scientific study of social life. It is a general science, concerned with the processes which are common to all groups and institutional life. The nature of sociology is very broad because there are many different factors which influence a person’s behavior. The economic situation in which a person finds himself, along with what he has received from his heredity and environment determine to a great extent a person’s behavior. Since there are many aspects of sociology, many levels of relationship are found.
The church is a social institution. It is made up on the local level of persons holding similar beliefs, social practices, and religious symbols. Historically, the Mennonite Church along with the other groups springing fro the Anabaptist tradition, were considered to be radicals. However, in the past fifty years, the Mennonites have been placed on the more conservative end of a conservative-liberal continuum. I do not wish to try to answer the question as to why the Anabaptists were, after a time, more “conservative” for this is not the purpose of this study. But we will accept the idea that the early Mennonites were conservative thinkers along religious lines.
In the study of Sociology of Religion we learned that religious groups which are on the conservative end of the scale have a greater tendency toward schism. This is true because the tradition which has been passed from generation to generation plays a more important role. To do away with tradition often is to do away with important elements of the faith. To maintain the tradition or “faith,” strict discipline must be enforced. Therefore the conservative groups have trouble in maintaining the ideals of their forefathers. To violate these ideals is a serious offense, not only to the brotherhood but it is believed, to God as well.
This paper deals with the group of people who presently compose the Woodlawn Beachy Amish Mennonite Church which is located eight miles east of Goshen, Indiana, on Fish Lake Road. The church has a present membership of 163 persons who have all come from the Old Order Amish. The group did not emerge from what we generally think of as a church division. Usually a group divides to form two or more separate groups or to scatter among already existing congregations. The Woodlawn Church in a sense experienced just the opposite. The group comes from what previously had been three Amish districts. Each of these three districts or churches had been expelled from the Old Order by 1956 for their liberal views. This paper deals with the social, economic, physical, and spiritual change which has taken place.
Before conducting the research, nine basic hypotheses were adopted. They are:
1. There was a great amount of disagreement among persons of the church district in regard to change.
2. Leaders in the “breaking process” were on the whole younger than the average ae of the congregation.
3. The change did not happen all at once. It was a gradual process building to a point where it could no longer be tolerated in the Old Order.
4. Personality clashes were a factor in the break.
5. Kinship loyalties have remained strong. The break tends not to cut off completely family feeling and interaction.
6. Those leaving the Old Order tend to be in closer contact with the outside world.
7. Educational attainment is yet very similar to that of the Old Order.
8. Most members express a feeling of spiritual growth.
The older members who came with the break express a slight loss of security.
The information for this seminar was gathered through personal interviews. To establish uniformity in the interviews, an interview guide with 28 questions was prepared and used in every interview as nearly as possible. Any additional notes and observations were recorded. The interview would being after a short introduction of myself and the project for which the data were being gathered. The first question asked for a general response as to what had taken place. Gradually the questions became more involved and personal but toward the end the tension, if there was any, was eased by a sharing of concerns which the interviewee held in common with the interviewer. The material was of such a nature that one could not help byt share his own concerns.
Interviewees were not chosen at random, but were picked on the basis of their involvement in the conflict along with their willingness and ability to talk about the situation. Mr. David J. Miller of rural Goshen, a member of the church, was very helpful in giving information as to who would be good persons to speak with. He also listed names of men still in the Old Order whom he thought might be willing to share information concerning the church.
Interviewing sessions were held with ten persons, of these, seven are present members of Woodlawn. One had come to the Mennonite Church fro Woodlawn and two were Amishmen still in the Old Order. Other information was received through informal chats with members of the church and through visiting two church services.
The persons interviewed represented well the different age groups within the church. The minister, bishop, the Sunday school superintendent, and other people who remember the situation were interviewed. Each interview lasted nearly two hours.
This seminar paper deals with the sociological factors of a group which was not satisfied with the status quo of the Old Order Amish Church. That which is reported will be the situation as the writer has come to see it. Definite sociological principles will be pointed out as they become evident.
II. Historical Factors
The Old Order Amish are a group of people who have tried to follow the teachings of their forefather, Jacob Amman. He, in 1693, felt that within the Swiss Brethren Church, the communion service should be held twice a year instead of only once as was their custom. He also felt that the practice of shunning or avoidance should be observed. “(Avoidance means the breaking of social relationships between the brotherhood and an excommunicated person.)” Jacob Amman believed too, that the Christian should conform to a more detailed regulation of the clothing of the brethren than had been the case with the Swiss Brethren in the past. Wenger says that, “Efforts were made by the Reist (leader of the Brethren) and Amman parties to effect a reconciliation, but in vain. One of the first was in 1694, but the Reist party refused the only terms under which the ‘Amish’ would consider a union, namely that the united brotherhood practice avoidance.” From that time on the Amish have clung to their practices which Amman and his followers considered important.
In the early part of the eighteenth century, a number of Amish families settled in Southeastern Pennsylvania. By the middle of the nineteenth century the Pennsylvania colonies had grown and expanded by establishing daughter colonies in Ohio, Indiana, and points farther west. It is from these movements and of others following which have settled the Clinton Township district east of Goshen and on over into Lagrange County in the Honeyville and Topeka areas.
The Amish, as has been said before, are a peculiar people. The men wear dark clothing of a plain style with large, broad-brimmed hats and with long beards. The ladies wear large bonnets under which is worn a white covering of thin cloth. Their dresses are plain, long, full, and of a solid color, not flowered, checked, or figured. Their homes are of a simple design without electricity, plumbing, and telephones. All of these “rules of simplicity” are to be kept by the brotherhood because their religion does not allow them to be like the world. To be like the world is to be proud and not a true servant of God. The demanding of the observance of these rules gives a cohesion to the group which would otherwise be lost. By their strict rules for dress, beard, and thinking the Amish gain a close feeling of mutuality and common-mindedness.
The true Amish are strict Congregationalists. That is, they are concerned ultimately with the local church. They meet every other Sunday for a church service. This service usually lasts nearly three hours with three or four sermons being preached each Sunday morning. They do not believe in Sunday schools for the teaching of the children should be done in the home. It is their belief that the Sunday school makes one proud. As one interviewee stated, the Sunday school tends to make on haughty.
The Clinton District
The previous history has been given to establish the fact that the Amish hold similar basic beliefs in every district, but it is true that each district has its own particular variations. For example, the Clinton Amish are allowed to have hard rubber tires on their buggies whereas in many communities such a practice is taboo. These variations are usually minor enough that they cause no real problem.
Evidence does tell us, however, that Amish outside of Clinton Township considered those living in Clinton to be more progressive than the average Amish community. This fact was stated in every interview at one point or another. Why was Clinton Township thought of in Amish circles as being “worldly”? The usual answer given was that they were allowed to do more things. They were allowed to have hard rubber tires on their buggies, the men cut their hair a little different, meidung or shunning was not practiced to any great extent, and they also had more liberal views concerning Sunday school and Bible study. These are all good external reasons but in a sociological study, one must go one step further and ask just why were they different.
The source of the “liberalness” of the Amish in Clinton Township seems to have come from one family. In speaking with the bishop of the Woodlawn Church, the answer to the previously stated problem became more clear. The grandfather of this bishop had held the conviction for many years that the Amish should be better students of the Bible. He felt that Bible study should and could be a vital part of their Sunday services. This idea was opposed bitterly by many Amish leaders. So bitter was the opposition that this man was forced in 1896, to move from the community. The family moved 180 miles south to Brown County where they lived for 15 years. In 1911, the family returned to Clinton Township and took up residence close to where they had lived previously. While living in Brown County, this an was ordained bishop in 1902. His attempts to establish a Sunday school had planted a seed which nearly 20 years later began to bear fruit. For upon return in 1911, opposition to the Sunday school had ceased and the family was welcomed back into the community.
At the beginning, Sunday school was conducted only in the summer time. This was for several reasons: 1) it was easier to commute to and from the church service in the summer; and 2) it was first established on a trial basis.
By accepting the Sunday school, the Clinton District Amish started their journey to more liberal thinking. This beginning in 1880, was a great contribution to a movement which resulted in the Woodlawn Church.
The Amish Churches of Clinton Township
From the establishment of an Amish colony in the early 1800’s until 1908, there was only one Amish church in the Clinton District. In 1908, the church which did exist divided to form two churches. This division was not because of dissension of belief but because of the size. These two churches were then known as the North and South Clinton Churches. A similar division took place in 1930 in both these churches so that at that time there were four Amish churches located in Clinton Township. The township was divided equally into four quarters with one Amish church located in each quarter. Each church was known by its locating in the township.
In the midst of the 30’s, a division occurred in the Southeast Clinton Church. The main issue involved here was the permitted use of tractors. The bishop of the Southeast district did not take action when several members of the church purchased tractors. This type of activity could not be tolerated in the Old Order. From this division there were two churches in the Southeast district, one of them remaining in the Old Order (Sub-south) and the other retaining the Southeast name but was no longer connected with the Old Order. Then in 1952 a final division took place in the Southeast Church. The main external issue here was the fact that some person wanted to continue to modernize whereas others felt they should not. However, several interviewees definitely felt that the actual reason for the break within this Southeast District was due to a personality clash between two of the ministers. The external issues were blamed for the actual bitter feeling which existed between two persons.
It is from the membership of the Northeast, Southeast or Middle Church, and the South Church who merged to form the present Woodlawn congregation. Amish churches still exist in the other areas of the township with Amish families living throughout the whole township. The separation of religious belief did not play an important part in the change of living locations for any of the Woodlawn members.
Bible Study Group
In 1948, while the confusion of disagreement, unrest, and division were going on in the East Clinton Churches, a group of concerned young people from the idle Church began to conduct a Bible study. This was held once a week on Wednesday evening. Those who attended began to express a real spiritual growth and insight fro them. The news of this spread throughout the whole of East Clinton and young persons from the other areas began to attend. One fellow from Lagrange County, and still in the Old Order became interested in what was taking place in East Clinton and began to attend. He was given a warm reception and found there a real closeness which he said he had never experienced before.
The Wednesday evening Bible study was by the circumstances forced into existence. Within each of the three East Clinton areas, small groups of people were standing almost alone because they had been cut off from the Old Orders. Each church had between fifteen and twenty families who at that time were meeting in three separate locations.
Through the Bible study, these persons found a common concern which strengthened their convictions that what they had done was right. But more than that, this group gave to each one a sense of direction as to where they should proceed to go. It is from this group that later, in 1958 formed the present Woodlawn Church.
III. Leadership and Progress
Leadership and the Laity
Perhaps it seems strange to the reader that thus far so little has been said concerning the leadership of the Woodlawn group. In hypothesis two, it was stated that the leaders (assuming there were such persons) on the whole were persons of a younger age and were persons who associated most frequently with the outside world. However, the findings of the study do not exactly support this hypothesis. We usually think of a leader as a dynamic, outgoing person who is eager to look into new situations to lead his group. He is an original thinker and makes his ideas known to his followers. But in the case of Woodlawn, there were no such persons. In a sense, all who had come from the Old Order had a bit of this spirit. While still in the Old Order, most of these persons were wanting to change to more modern farming methods but for a time were held back because of what would happen to them if someone else would come to know what he actually believed. When they learned that other persons held similar views, changes began to occur. First came the tractor in 1951, the car in 1957, and electricity and other modern household conveniences soon after.
While this was going on, the bishop’s role was that of a controlling person. They had power to check these movements but did not use it because they held similar views. The pressure for progress was being applied by the laity and those who had the authority allowed such changes to be made.
Bishops and their Authority
Perhaps it should have been made clear earlier that before the actual merger in 1958, the bishops in the three Amish districts had been working pretty closely together. Of these three, the bishop from the North district had become the leader. This man was well respected in his community. He had given support to many of the changes which the group had made and was considered to be in agreement with the opinions of the majority of persons involved.
On December 31, 1956, a special meeting of these three churches was called to consider officially the possession of automobiles. Already at this time a number of persons had purchased the. This was a large meeting with several hundred persons in attendance. The matter was discussed and the meeting adjourned. To collect the votes, each bishop met privately with each of his members. When all votes were collected, the issued had passed by an 85% majority. The method which the bishops used is significant in that each person felt free to express his true feeling and was not influenced by groups pressure.
IV. Woodlawn Establishment and Progress
The group of people in East Clinton had until 1958 worked together as a loosely knit, unofficial church, In 1958, they began meeting together regularly for their services. These services were in hoes, but the next year, 1959, they constructed a building. It is located in section 11 of Clinton Township of Elkhart County, Indiana. They first used the basement on June 7, 1959, and the first service in the main auditorium was held December 20, 1959. The group officially adopted the name Woodlawn in 1960.
All of the problems which the Woodlawn group have encountered have not been solved easily. There is a tendency for the younger members to want to make changes more rapidly than the older. In fact while the church was being built in 1959, there was a group of approximately five families who felt they could go no further and returned to the Old Order. We must understand that making these changes often deals with guilt feelings because in many cases it involves the violation of principles which these people had long been taught as being basic to their Christian faith.
The Woodlawn congregation did not want to stand as an independent “branch of the Amish.” In 1960, one year after the building of the church house, they joined the Beachy Amish Conference. One of the main reasons for their joining a group such as the Beachy Amish was to show to their Amish brethren that they did not feel themselves too good to join with any other group. If they would have remained independent, it would have been very easy for the Old Order to get this impression.
There is, however, another interesting aspect of their joining the Beachy Conference. Evidence supports the fact that joining a group such as the Beachy Amish was one means of slowing or checking the changing process. By identifying with this group, they accepted the Beachy Amish standards and feel that this is what they now stand for. If they had not joined the Beachy Conference, where would the changing end?
Something should yet be said concerning the closeness and feeling of brotherhood which is evident in the church. One cannot help but be impressed with the cohesion and mutual concern which they have, not only for those in their own local congregation but for the whole of society. Brethren and sisters of Woodlawn upon entering the church each Sunday greet those of their own sex with a kiss. This is a custom carried over fro the Old Order and is one means of expressing their concern for other individuals. Together they have met difficulties and have to an astonishing degree settled the together.
The Clinton Christian Day School was established in 1951 for the main purpose of giving their children a Christian education. Presently the school includes all eight grades of grade school and the first two years of high school. The faculty consists of five teachers plus a secretary. Each teacher has two grades with approximately 25 pupils in each room. The present enrollment is about 125 students. The greater part of the students are from the Conservative Mennonite group with the Amish Mennonite (Woodlawn) and the Old Mennonites also present. The school plays an important part in the life of Woodlawn church members because of their concern for their children and the education which they receive.
The Red Lake, Ontario Mission project was taken on by the Woodlawn Church group in 1956. The bishop of the church had come from a family whose father and grandfather held deep convictions that the Amish should be doing more in spreading the gospel. When the church was asked if they would be willing to support the mission, they seemingly could not refuse. When the issue was voted upon, it carried by 2/3 of the group present. No one voted against it. Fro that tie in 1956 until the present the Woodlawn Church has been very closely related to the work at Red Lake. A number of their members have given of their time at the mission, several for periods of two years.
The members of Woodlawn receive a news letter from the Red Lake mission. This includes general information of the work being carried on there and informs the church of special needs and concerns. This news letter has no doubt tended to keep the idea of missions before the church. It is a reminder to each member of the commitment they have made
Mission conferences of the Amish Mennonite Church have come to play an important role in the life of Woodlawn. The mission conferences were begun in 1951 with several being held since. Present plans are for another to take place within the next year in the Indiana, Michigan area. I state this only to emphasize the growing interest and desire the Woodlawn Church has in serving outside their immediate locality.
V. Woodlawn Today
The purpose of stating the present position of Woodlawn today is so that we might better be able to see a bit further into some of the changes which have occurred.
Church Services and Standards
It is interesting to note the similarity of the present services conducted at Woodlawn and those conducted by the Old Order. Yet to those who have made the transition, the services are very much unlike. Preaching services and Sunday school are held on alternate Sundays. Each type of service usually lasts from 9:30 a until 11:45 or 12:00 o’clock. A preaching service consists of several opening hymns which are announced by any member present and are led by that same person from his seat. Two song books are used, the Church Hymnal which is published by the Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, Pennsylvania and a smaller German Hymnal which contains many familiar songs which are sung in four-part harmony. When a song is to be sung from the Church Hymnal, the number is announced in English. When it is to be sung from the German Hymnal, it is announced in German.
The bishop then opens the preaching service with scripture reading, prayer, and several statements for meditation. When visitors are present, the service is usually in English. In speaking with the minister of Woodlawn, it was learned that the German language is being used less and less, especially in the services. His feeling was that if they expect to have an open worship service and to leave a witness, the service must be in a language understandable to all persons present.
Following the introduction by the bishop, a sermon is preached by the minister which lasts for nearly an hour. Usually after the sermon, opportunity is given for testimony. These usually come from the elders.
The Sunday school service is conducted in much the same pattern. The children meet in the basement and the male and female age groups meet separately for their Sunday school hour. After the Sunday school period, the superintendent gives a few comments concerning the lesson and announces the lesson to be studied in two weeks. The material used for the Sunday school is largely Herald Press material published by the previously mentioned Mennonite Publishing House. A regular Sunday evening service and Wednesday evening Bible study is held and both are well attended.
The standards of the Woodlawn Church are high. Members are accepted into the church upon a confession of faith. The use of beverage alcohol and tobacco are tests of membership. If these standards are violated, one is not shunned or cut out of the fellowship, but is admonished to improve his practices if at all possible. These standards have worked out quite well for the group. They are honest and open to one another in a degree which is not known in many Protestant churches.
For an “outsider” to observe the Woodlawn congregation, eh would immediately be impressed with the simplicity of dress. The men who are married wear beards, a custom maintained from the Old Order. Their Sunday suits are of a plain cut and are usually of a dark color. They do not wear neckties. The ladies wear long, plain dresses of a dark color. They have their head covered with a white covering similar to that worn by ladies in the Old Mennonite Church. They do not wear high-healed shoes or transparent hose, for they believe that these are not necessary for a lady to be well dressed or to be happy. To wear more modern or fashionable clothing is to become proud of one’s own looks and an humble servant of God has no room for such pride.
The working clothes of the en are very similar to those worn by any other working man. If it were not for the beard, it would be hard to detect any difference between the male members and any other working men.
Relations with the Old Order
The position which was taken by those who belong to the Woodlawn Church was of such a nature that the Old Order had to sever relationships with them. For a time this made communication difficult between the two groups. Several interviewees stated that they could speak about everything except religion with relatives still in the Old Order, whereas others expressed a close and happy relationship. It seems quite evident that the relationship between the two groups in general is good. In speaking with persons remaining in the Old Order, it was learned that the Amish have a high respect for the people attending Woodlawn. One Amishman said, “They are more spiritual than we are.” When asked why he made such a statement, he replied, “When I speak with any of them, they always want to talk about spiritual things.” This is understandable because of the concern which most of the people of Woodlawn have for those remaining in the Old Order.
Personal Spiritual Experience
As has been stated earlier, the interview would often end in a mutual sharing of concerns and feelings. Each person interviewed expressed a definite spiritual growth from the experience. The reason for this feeling was that each person had to come to his own terms as to what he believed. When a person is able to do this, to ask honest questions and to see answers, most often he will be able to come to a satisfactory conclusion, at least to a conclusion which is right for that individual for a while.
Woodlawn’s Feeling Concerning the Break
As a whole, the group is glad that the situation has taken place. Since they have experienced a meaningful spiritual growth, they cannot help but feel they are better off now than before. Once in a while, it was said, one might hear someone mention that it might have been better if they would have stayed in the Old Order. One older gentleman still has feelings of guilt about driving a car. But these occurrences are very few and the majority of persons are happy for the break even though it has been rough at times.
Woodlawn’s Feelings Toward the Old Mennonites
Each interviewee expressed an appreciation for the work which the Mennonites are doing. Most of them said that basically there is no differences between Woodlawn and the Old Mennonites. However, the main reservations are in matters of dress and other areas where the Old Mennonites are seemingly compromising with the world. This they are sorry to see.
Feelings Toward Higher Education
Education on the high school level, they believe, is very good. However, if a person is going to go to college, he should have well in mind what he wants to enter. If one is not sure of his future plans, he should perhaps work and make some money rather than spend his time and money in school. It should be understood, however, that any member of Woodlawn is free to do as he might wish concerning his education. No person would be held in contempt for his decision.
In conclusion it should be pointed out that any group, if they are willing to work through their problems together, will experience a closeness which would be lost otherwise. This closeness is most often very rewarding.
The break fro the Old Order which came to these people has been a meaningful experience for the because, after making a preliminary decision, they were forced out of the Old Order only to stand alone. They had to face the issues at hand and find just what they did believe. Any time a person is concerned enough about his faith that he spends much time thinking and talking about it, it will begin to have meaning.
This contributes much more to the group’s feeling of togetherness as opposed to their joining another church or denomination immediately after the break. There were those who did not have the patience to stay with the group and together work through their problems.
The hypotheses which were adopted at the beginning of the study have all, with the exception of number 7, been confirmed as true. These confirmations were, of course, of varying degree with numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8 having a strong positive confirmation. Numbers 4, 6, and 9 are true but to a much lesser degree.
We have seen that there was much disagreement in the Clinton District in regard to change. There were those who could only go so far, and as the group continued to progress found it necessary to return to the Old Order. Others were not satisfied with the speed of the change and left to join other Mennonite churches. This latter group, however, was very small.
1) The real leaders of the change were the average church members.
2) These persons on the whole were younger than the persons who actually possessed the authority.
3) The changing process was slow extending over a period of approximately 60 years.
4) Personality clashes were apparent at ties but did not play a ajor role in the situation of Woodlawn.
5) Kinship loyalties in general have remained strong. Communication of religious items is limited but both members of Woodlawn and those still in the Old Order are presently able to accept one another.
6) There was slight evidence that those who left the Old Order were persons in close contact with the “world.” This facto in this study is of no major importance.
7) Woodlawn is willing to allow their young people seek an education and are eager for them to do so especially if the young person has well in mind what he is preparing for.
8) Every interviewee expressed a very definite spiritual growth. Each felt the “profits” to be great enough that if they had to go through it again, they would not hesitate to do so.
9) Some of the older persons have at times expressed a slight loss of security. This, however, is not great. The group maintains yet a strong feeling of brotherhood and mutuality. If a member would ever need physical or material help, the Woodlawn Church group would be quick to give assistance.
Often it is very easy to be critical of the ore conservative people. The faith which they have, even though it is a bit different from that of the Old Mennonites, has meaning for them. Who are we to be critical? No person or group has any right to a feeling of “spiritual superiority” over any one else. Both groups might feel that they have a better understanding of the scriptures and their meaning for today. Every Christian has a responsibility to be open, to listen, to give of his own experience, and above all to live honestly every day what he believes.
Hostetler, John A., Amish Life, (Scottdale, Pa. 1960) pp. 1-37
Wenger, John C., Glimpses of Mennonite History and Doctrine, (Scottdale, Pa. 1959) p. 42
Is your residence the same now as it was before all this situation took place?
As you look back, having come from the Old Order, how do you feel about the changes which have occurred?
What are some of the problems which a group faces in making such a transition?
Could you give some of the main reasons for leaving the Old Order?
At what point did you consciously become aware that a separation was happening? Date?
Was the group which emerged from the Old Order headed or led by one or a group of persons?
Who was this person or persons?
Did they hold any position in the church at that time? If so, what?
What was the age of the leader?
Could you tell me something about the leaders?
Was there any type of difficulty between leaders?
What was the general feeling of the people who compose the present Woodlawn congregation concerning the break from the Old Order?
What were some of the evidences of personality conflicts? Who was involved?
How were cars, tractors, electricity, etc. related to this situation?
What changes did you make first, second, third?
How were these additional adoptions justified?
As you look back to the changes which took place, what would you say are the advantages coming out of it? What are the disadvantages?
In your own personal experience, do you feel a spiritual growth or spiritual decline has taken place? What would be the general feeling of the church concerning this matter?
How do you see your (our) Amish brethren today?
Do you have near relatives still remaining in the Old Order?
What effect has this experience had on your relationships with them?
What are your feelings toward the Old Mennonite Church?
What do you think of modern conveniences, modern dress, and fashion?
What are your feelings toward higher education? College?
Do you have a feeling of closeness in your church today which equals that which you had while still in the Old Order?
If you had it to do over again, do you think you would go about it in a similar manner?
Eighty years in God’s service: June 26, 1927 — 2007