Holmes County, Ohio, I've heard more that one person say that the Amish and Mennonites are one in the same ... or so they thought. There are many different "levels" of both Amish and Mennonite people so what I share is representative of those I have met in Ohio Amish Country. One of the best analogies that I can think of is the Catholic and Lutheran faiths. The Catholic Church was first. Martin Luther came along he didn't like some of the things about the Catholic church and wanted to get them to change. When nothing changed he broke away and started the Lutheran Church. Both churches worship and believe a very similar doctrine but minor differences keep them separate. The Mennonite faith dates back to 1525 and was the first Anabaptist group of people (Anabaptist...believing in adult baptism). It was in 1693 when the Amish division took place. Jakob Ammann, like Martin Luther with the Catholics, felt that certain things about the Mennonite Church needed to be changed but didn't. The differences between the different sects of Amish and Mennonite are more how they live than what they believe. To learn more about these groups you can visit the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, Ohio and tour the mural, Behalt, that depicts the history in more detail.
Written by Carol Steffey, Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, Millersburg, Ohio (330) 674-7608 www.garden-gate.com