Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowships, Belize

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Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowships, Belize

Congregations

6

Number of Members

175

Website- Web Page

www.beachyam.org


Immediately after the destruction caused by Hurricane Hattie in 1961, Amish Mennonite Aid, an aid agency, began working on reconstruction in Belize and organized the first congregation of Beachy Amish Mennonites in 1962. This group has six congregations with about 175 members. The group has related congregations in Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the United States..[1]


Stories

This story is written by Carel Roessingh Henning about daily life for a Beachy Amish Mennonite in Belize:

"The first day of the week is washing day for Theresa Miller living at Homestead Acres. Her husband Ryan Miller wakes up at six a.m. to go to work at the chicken business next door. Once a week he has to get out of bed even earlier to catch the chickens. These chickens are driven to the Caribbean Chicken plant in Blue Creek. Blue Creek is a Mennonite settlement in the north of Belize. Before Ryan goes to work, he sits in a chair in the living room doing his morning Bible study. The living room is decorated with pictures of family members and friends in heart shaped frames. Wedding invitations decorate the fridge and on every table there is a decorated small tablecloth, with plants and flowers. Theresa Miller makes an effort to keep her house clean and homelike. Breakfast for the Millers consists of milk and granola (homemade cereal) and freshly squeezed orange juice from the orchard behind the house. Every meal starts with a prayer, in which God is thanked and a request for a good and happy day is made.

Ryan’s wife Theresa normally gets out of bed at 7:00 a.m., but now that she is pregnant she stays in bed a little longer. Theresa also studies her Bible in the morning. After breakfast, she collects the laundry and puts the laundry into dif- ferent piles on the porch, where the washing machine stands. The wash mainly consists of Theresa’s colourful dresses and white veils and Ryan’s shirts and pants and of course towels. The laundry is put into the washing machine and meanwhile Theresa washes the dishes and cleans a part of the house. When the laundry is ready, it is hung on a line outside the house and with the Belizean breeze it does not take long to get nice and dry. While the clothes are drying Theresa walks to her flowerbeds to remove the weeds and to water the flowers and plants. Ryan comes home for a warm lunch at noon.

During lunch Ryan tells about the happenings at the chicken business. He heard from one of the workers that the chicken catcher was so drunk last week that he was not able to catch a single chicken. Both Ryan and Theresa can imagine the man running after the chickens and laugh about the situation. After lunch Ryan takes a little nap before going back to work, while Theresa does the dishes. In the afternoon Theresa takes the laundry from the clotheslines outside and irons the dresses, shirts and pants. Sometimes she also helps her husband with the administration for the chicken business, but usually after ironing, Theresa sows a dress or goes out to visit the neighbours.

Theresa has her own vegetable garden and spends a few weeks a year peeling peas and beans and making pizza sauce from the tomatoes. At the end of the afternoon she sits on her porch reading her Bible or preparing her Sunday school lesson. Theresa teaches the primary class at Sunday school. Meanwhile she is watching Paul’s children as they play a game of volleyball. At five p.m. she starts to prepare dinner. This is a warm meal again and consists of typical Belizean dishes (chicken, rice & beans, pork tail, burrito’s) or American food (potatoes and vegetables, pizza’s). Before eating, Ryan prays or suggests a song of praise. After dinner Theresa washes the dishes and there is time to read email from family and friends in the United States, to do some reading or play a game of Mastermind. Around nine or ten in the evening Ryan and Theresa go to their room to study the Bible together and pray before going to bed.

Theresa has her own vegetable garden and spends a few weeks a year peeling peas and beans and making pizza sauce from the tomatoes. At the end of the afternoon she sits on her porch reading her Bible or preparing her Sunday school lesson. Theresa teaches the primary class at Sunday school. Meanwhile she is watching Paul’s children as they play a game of volleyball. At five p.m. she starts to prepare dinner. This is a warm meal again and consists of typical Belizean dishes (chicken, rice & beans, pork tail, burrito’s) or American food (potatoes and vegetables, pizza’s). Before eating, Ryan prays or suggests a song of praise. After dinner Theresa washes the dishes and there is time to read email from family and friends in the United States, to do some reading or play a game of Mastermind. Around nine or ten in the evening Ryan and Theresa go to their room to study the Bible together and pray before going to bed.[2]."

Timeline

1916-Moses M. Beachy became Bishop of an Old Order Amish settlement till his death in 1946. Moses Beachy was the found of the Beachy Amish Mennonite churches and is who the group was named after.[3]

1923- Disagreement began within the church concerning the ban. There were conflicting sides whether to keep the ban or get rid of it.[4]

1927- Sunday school and the use of electricity and automobiles became major issues. Many people along with Moses Beachy withdrew from the Old Order Amish church in order to maintain fellowship and the Beachy Amish Mennonite church came to be.[5]

1950’s- The Beachy Amish removed the used of the German language in their worship along with the practice of unison singing and most of the traditional Amish clothing.[6]

1951- By 1951 there were 12 Beachy Amish congregations around the United States. The Beachy Amish Mennonite church continued to grow.[7]

1955-The Beachy Amish became more involved in missions and created the Amish Mennonite Aid. Jacob J. Hershberger was the first secretary-treasurer, Norman Beachy was chairman, and Elam Kauffman was the board's third member.[8]

1989- The Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship officially formed and had a total of 140 congregations located in 23 states and 6 other countries.[9]

1961- Hurricane Hattie hit Belize, which had a large impact on the people. The Beachy Amish helped with the cleanup process and assisting the homeless. Many Beachy Amish stayed in Belize to help with the rebuilding process and are still there today.[10]

1997- Six Beachy Amish congregations remain in Belize. The congregations consisted of a mixture of American Beachy Amish and Belizean converts.[11]

History

The Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship is a fairly new group of congregations. The beachy Amish churches got their name from Moses M. Beachy who lived in salisbury, Pennsylvania. Moses Beachy was bishop of an Old Order Amish settlement from 1916 till his death in 1946. The Beachy Amish churches formed because of the refusal to ban people from the church. By 1927 there were major issues which dealt with the use of electricity and automobiles. In June 1927 the Beachy Amish withdrew in order to maintain full fellowship with other Old Order Amish congregations[12].

Bishop John A. Stoltzfus of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was leading what came to be known as the Weavertown Amish Mennonite Church. The roots of this congregation grew out of disagreements over the use of the ban as applied to Moses Hartz, Sr., in the 1890s. These two congregations were the leaders of the emerging Beachy Amish Fellowship for nearly three decades.[13]. After the Beachy Amish Mennonite Group was established they continued to slowly grow and are still growing today. Beachy Amish have a large emphasis on doing mission work not only in the United states but in other parts of the world too, one of which is Belize.

Origins

The Beachy Amish Mennonites came to Belize because of Hurricane Hattie in 1961.[14]. Many Amish Mennonite Aid workers went to Belize to help the hurricanes victims. "Amish Mennonite Aid is the mission organization of the Beachy Amish Mennonites and Belize was one of the first countries the organization went to for mission work[15]." AMA was founded in 1955 and did extensive work in Berlin, Germany making a refugee service center. Also has a purpose to stimulate the interest of Beachy Amish to do mission and relief work.[16]

After AMA had done there work with helping the hurricane victims the Belizean people asked them to stay. According to Roessingh,"This way the initial Beachy Amish Mennonite response to the cleanup and assistance of the homeless in Belize led to continued involvement in rebuilding and assisting the people of Belize spiritually[17]." The Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowships in belize are still continuing to grow and create a mixture of American Beachy Mennonites and Belizean converts.

Contemporary

"In Homestead Acres, Esperanza village, Belize a young married couple, an Amer- ican man and a Belizean woman sit on the porch of their house built by American hands in Belizean style (built on wooden poles). The man still wears his ‘work clothes’, a dark shirt and jeans. His wife wears a long, covering pink dress with puff sleeves, and a white veil. They are relaxing now and enjoying the time together, after a hard day of work. The man has been working at the chicken business next to the house all day and his wife had her ‘washing day’ and she also finished her rice and beans for the upcoming unit meeting. They have been looking forward to this moment and enjoy every minute of it.

On the volleyball field below, the youths have started a game of volleyball. They gathered an hour ago at the church, for singing English and Spanish hymns, to listen to devotions of a Belizean youth, and to pray in their separate prayer groups. Now they are on the volleyball field and one of the boys is telling the girls to stand on one side of the field, while the boys stand on the other side, so he can give everybody their team number. After a short while, there are teams on each side of the net and the boys give every team member a position in the field and start the game. The couple listens to the encouragement of the young people: ‘nice try’, ‘good hit’. They remember the days when they used to play volleyball with their youth group and think about the day when their child will play the same game with the church people his age. The sound of the porch fence makes the young couple look in that direction. A family is climbing the stairs, an American missionary family. They run the mission post next to the chicken business. The couple saw the family eat on their little porch with their ten children a few hours ago. The woman carries her youngest child, while her other nine children are already downstairs to play and watch the volleyball game. The Belizean and American women sit together and talk about working on a quilt tomorrow for a poor family at the sowing fellowship of church women the next morning. The men wander off together to discuss the situation of a young couple that wants to join the church." [18].

This is what an average day might be like for someone who is part of the Beachy Amish living in belize. A person who is part of the Beachy Amish has a very traditional life. The women can only wear plain dresses with little to no ornaments and must also be wearing a white head covering at all times, which is used as a praying veil.[19] The Beachy Amish Mennonite men wear trousers and a shirt. The Beachy Amish of Belize live in modern houses and are allowed to use electricity and drive cars but many still dont. The Beachy Amish Mennonites do not feel they have to have a hard time on earth to deserve a place in heaven but they do believe that they have to keep away from the seductions of the world..[20]

Important people in the life of the church

Several Important Past Church Leaders of the Beachy Amish Mennonite churches (Deceased):

John Stoltzfus: the bishop of the Lancaster church that fellowshipped with Moses Beachy's group shortly after the division. Stoltzfus withdrew with Christian King from the Old Order Amish in 1909. In the 1920s, Christian King withdrew from Stoltzfus' group. Stoltzfus was then ordained to be a bishop. He had been a minister.

David O. Burkholder: an Amish bishop from Nappanee, Indiana, he was instrumental in starting a number of Beachy churches in the Midwest during the 1940s and 1950s; he also had a burden for Amish and Beachy young people, which in part led to the formation of the Youth Fellowship Meetings.

Eli Tice: the successor of Moses Beachy in the Mountain View congregation. He wrote an English-German parallel Bible that was widely distributed in Beachy, Amish, and other circles.

Jacob Hershberger: a bishop for the Kempsville Amish Mennonite congregation in Virginia Beach during the 1950s and 1960s. He was one of the founders of Amish Mennonite Aid. A prolific writer, he published a number of books and had a regular column in the Budget. Hershberger was killed in an automobile accident in 1965 while on an expedition trip to Alabama to search for a new church site.

Ervin Hershberger: an instrumental deacon in the Mountain View congregation. He assisted in the beginnings of Calvary Bible School, and was influential in work of Amish Mennonite Aid. An avid writer, he started the Beachy periodical Calvary Messenger and served as editor for about 30 years. He also helped compile and write Into the Highways and Hedges, AMA's first book, as well as a number of other books.

Link to official website: http://www.beachyam.org/general.html

Electronic Resources

http://www.gameo.org/

http://www.beachyam.org

http://vu.evenkijken.eu/images/stories/catalogus/preview/roessingh.pdf

Annotated Bibliography

"Amish Mennonite Aid — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/amish_mennonite_aid>.

This was an article off of GAMEO, which stands for Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia. This article talks about how Amish Mennonite Aid came to be and also about some of the work they’ve done. It talks about how AMA went to Belize after Hurricane Hattie to help with mission and relief work.


"Amish Mennonite Aid from a Sociological Perspective." The Beachy Amish Mennonite Churches. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.beachyam.org/librarybooks/ama.html>.

This article also talks a lot about Amish Mennonite Aid and how they do relief work around the world. Tells the history of AMA and where they are at now present day.


Anderson, Cory A. "General Information." The Beachy Amish Mennonite Churches. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.beachyam.org/general.htm>.

This is a section off the Beachy Amish Mennonite website. It talks a lot about the general information of the Beachy Amish. It also talks quite a bit about the history of the Beachy Amish Mennonite church and how they came to be.


"Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.

This article is also off of the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia. The GAMEO has information about most of the Anabaptist related topics. This article that I have chosen off GAMEO talks a lot about the history of the Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship and it history. Covers everything from the Beahy Amish branching off the Old Order Amish to present day Beachy Amish churches.


Roessingh, Carel Henning. "7.2 Homestead Acres." Between Horse & Buggy and Four-wheel Drive: Change and Diversity among Mennonite Settlements in Belize, Central America. Amsterdam: VU Univ., 2009. 171-72. Print.

This is a book written by Carel Roessingh Henning who is faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Culture, Organization and Management, Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He wrote this book about his experiences is Belize with the different Amish group. He covers everything in this book from the Beachy Amish lifestyles to how the Beachy Amish came to Belize.


Roessingh, Carel, and Amber Schoonderwoerd. "TRADITIONAL FARMERS OR MODERN BUSINESSMEN? RELIGIOUS DIFFERENTIATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN A KLEINE GEMEINDE MENNONITE COMMUNITY IN BELIZE." Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship 10.1 (2005): 65-76. Print.

This journal article talks a lot about the Mennonite communities in Belize and how they affect Belize in different ways. The article talks about the Mennonite farmers in Belize along with the business owners and how they have an affect on the Belize economy as a whole.


"Adherents.com." World Religions Religion Statistics Geography Church Statistics. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. <http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_77.html>.

This site has facts on all the different churches from all around the world including Belize. It has stats like the number of congregations along with the populations within those congregations.


"Mennonites." BNLSIS: Belize National Library Service and Information System. Web. 22 Sept. 2016. <http://bnlsis.org/mennonites.html>.

This site is the Belize National Library Service and Information system. It is a site that has a lot of information and articles about Belize. This article talks about the Mennonites in Belize and how they got there. It also talks about clothing food and beliefs of many Mennonites in Belize.

Archives and Libraries

Mennonite Historical Library <https://www.goshen.edu/mhl/>

Belize National Library Service and Information System <http://bnlsis.org/mennonites.html>

Global Anabaptist Mennonite Online Encyclopedia <http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Welcome_to_GAMEO>

External Links

Insert External Links Here

Sources

  1. Donald B. Kraybill, Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), 227. Translation by Daniel Moya.
  2. roessingh, Carel Henning. "7.2 Homestead Acres." Between Horse & Buggy and Four-wheel Drive: Change and Diversity among Mennonite Settlements in Belize, Central America. Amsterdam: VU Univ., 2009. 185-186. Print.
  3. "Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.
  4. "Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.
  5. "Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.
  6. "Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.
  7. "Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.
  8. "Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.
  9. "Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.
  10. "Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.
  11. "Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.
  12. "Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.
  13. "Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowship — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B435ME.html>.
  14. "Amish Mennonite Aid from a Sociological Perspective." The Beachy Amish Mennonite Churches. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.beachyam.org/librarybooks/ama.html>.
  15. Roessingh, Carel Henning. "7.2 Homestead Acres." Between Horse & Buggy and Four-wheel Drive: Change and Diversity among Mennonite Settlements in Belize, Central America. Amsterdam: VU Univ., 2009. 176. Print.
  16. "Amish Mennonite Aid — GAMEO." Welcome to — GAMEO. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/amish_mennonite_aid>.
  17. Roessingh, Carel Henning. "7.2 Homestead Acres." Between Horse & Buggy and Four-wheel Drive: Change and Diversity among Mennonite Settlements in Belize, Central America. Amsterdam: VU Univ., 2009. 176. Print.
  18. Roessingh, Carel Henning. "7.2 Homestead Acres." Between Horse & Buggy and Four-wheel Drive: Change and Diversity among Mennonite Settlements in Belize, Central America. Amsterdam: VU Univ., 2009. 171-72. Print.
  19. Roessingh, Carel Henning. "7.2 Homestead Acres." Between Horse & Buggy and Four-wheel Drive: Change and Diversity among Mennonite Settlements in Belize, Central America. Amsterdam: VU Univ., 2009. 171-73. Print.
  20. Roessingh, Carel Henning. "7.2 Homestead Acres." Between Horse & Buggy and Four-wheel Drive: Change and Diversity among Mennonite Settlements in Belize, Central America. Amsterdam: VU Univ., 2009. 171-72. Print.