UPDATE: This contest is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!
Today, I will continue the story of the Amish beginnings by explaining why they immigrated to America. To see the entire series of posts on this topic, please click here.
As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, the Mennonites came from the Anabaptist movement in Switzerland. The Amish then split off from the Mennonites over concerns of how strict the rules for living and discipline should be. Jakob Ammann led the split to a more conservative lifestyle, and in so doing, he began the Amish.
While in Europe, the Plain people were put through a great deal of persecution because of their refusal to submit to the government-controlled church or to have any part in the military. Amish and Mennonites believe in peace, forgiveness, and turning the other cheek, so they do not join the armed forces. They also believe that they answer only to God as the final authority, not the government, and this attitude led outsiders to view them as rebellious troublemakers. Their presence was soon forbidden in certain areas. In response, they chose to resettle. For years they continued to be pushed from one area to another, at times from one country to another. It seemed that no one wanted the Amish or the Mennonites to live near them.
They were without a place that welcomed them when William Penn invited all European religious minorities to immigrate to his new colony. William Penn was an English Quaker who’d been through a lot of religious persecution himself. He believed in religious freedom. In the 1680’s, King Charles II gave Penn a large tract of land in America (to settle a debt the king owed him). Penn came to America, and after a period of learning about the struggles of other faiths, Penn offered religious freedom in his land. He welcomed every faith warmly. The Amish and Mennonites crossed the Atlantic, believing that Pennsylvania was an answer to their prayers. William Penn was obviously successful in his open-arms mentality because Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, now boasts the largest Mennonite community and the second largest Amish community in the world.
Amish farmers in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
If you would like to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Sisters of the Quilt three-in-one omnibus (a story that begins in Owl’s Perch, Pennsylvania), simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post on my website.
If you are reading this anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to my website and leave a comment at the bottom of my post to enter the giveaway. Only comments left on my website will be entered into the giveaway. (It’s just too hard to track down all the comments left in various places, and that means it’s too easy to miss some of the comments.)
The deadline for this contest is Friday, June 15, 2012, at noon. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on my next post.
I would also like to announce the two winners of last week’s giveaway! Each winner has won a copy of Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women, autographed by my coauthor, Miriam Flaud, and myself, and the winner’s choice of either Hot Buttons: Dating Edition or Hot Buttons: Internet Edition, autographed by Nicole O’Dell. I used Random.org to select the winners, and they are Jean Brittingham and Jasmine Blaylock. Congratulations, Jean and Jasmine!