Beachy Amish Mennonite Fellowships (Ireland)

From Anabaptistwiki

The Christian Fellowship of Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, Ireland’s only Amish-Mennonite community, is 75 people directly associated with Mennonite World Conference. In 2012 the Beachy Amish had 12,960 members in 201 congregations in the United States and Canada (2012). The Beachy Amish of Ireland have remained only in this near Dunmore East and has been growing significantly in the last 20 years as a consequence of the influence of those Amish in the Unites States.


The Beachy Amish Mennonites form part of the Anabaptist denomination with links to Old Order Amish Mennonites, which are the one of the most conservative groups between all Anabaptist-Mennonite ideologies. It was founded in 1992 by the Irish-American William McGrath, who after being involved in World War 2, started to establish Mennonite churches and fellowships worldwide.He established churches in different parts of the world such as Germany and Switzerland, but according to his faith he decided to bring the Mennonite fellowships close to his old ancestors. The only Amish presence in Ireland is found on the Dunmore Amish Beachey Fellowship were they support the 1632 Dordrecht Confession of Faith and maintained different practices and beliefs from other Mennonite groups. and also maintained a set of distinctive practices and limits on lifestyle choices. They are a very conservative modern group that is rooted in other Old Order Amish groups. The Beachy Amish Mennonites moved out of this Old stream in 1950 as a consequence of the interest in automobile ownership and other ideologies that involved the contribution to population growth Anderson (2001). Also on his visions on gender roles, way of dressing and engagement with the scripture. Service programs have maintained the Beachy Amish denomination connected with other churches such as: The Ambassadors Amish Mennonite, Marantha Amish Mennonite, Barea Amish Mennonite, Mennonite Christian fellowship and the Midwest Beachy Amish Mennonite.

Origins of Amish Beachy Fellowships in Ireland

15th Century Europe: the history of the Amish Beachey started all they way back to the 15th century, when Europe became interested in the study of the Bible and sacred texts. The Protestant Reformation started the protestant movement against the church in power at that time in Europe. Their goal was to include the New Testament principles on the people by their obedience of faith and devotion to Christ in earth. The first movement started by the Swiss Brethren believers and then moved to what we call today Anabaptists. The name ‘’Anabaptist” emerged because of their different ideologies and practices of baptism at an adult age. So people though they were being ‘’re-baptized” but they were actually being baptized for the first time.

In 1693: Jakob Amman and his followers expressed their concerns to people in power such as Hans Reist, expressing his highly conservative points of view. Ammon showed his concerns towards excommunicated people, his beliefs on foot washing and uniformity in dress. But he was just seen as the Radical figure of the Reformation and Reist as the one of the normal party. Ammon succeeded in that the practice of foot washing was introduced to the Swiss church at that time, but his group remained secluded until the post-Reformation. People followed his journey around the world and decided to come up with a name related to Jacob Amman for their sub-group and since then they were called “Amish.”

The Amish division led by Amman from 1693 to 1698: marked an important and complex event within the Anabaptist community at that time. A sub-group was emerging out of a minority group at the time of the Reformation, which created uncertainties among those practicing the faith. Amman’s separation movement responded to the concern of the“Amish” with practices taking place at that time such as the women’s head veiling and cut hair, television, and clothing items.

With the Amish division of the 1860's the Amish community produced to different types of groups:The Old Order Amish, which were very conservative and secluded to Amish Mennonites who were more active in missionary services to other countries, including the United States. The major differences between them was the views on social activism and mission.The Beachy Amish Mennonites are a third generation Amish Mennonites who came to the Americas in 1900, and had a great expansion from the 1950's to the 1990's.

1927: the Beachy Amish Mennonite faction, is known for being more open and adaptable than other Amish groups. Where some, such as the Old Order Amish, completely eschew modern technology from electricity right through to the internet, the Beachy Amish drive cars, live in modest contemporary homes and use phones and the internet. (Huber, 2014)

The history of the development of the Amish Beachy feloowships in Ireland started as a consequence of the World War 2 at that time. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Beachy Amish-Mennonites adopted an evangelical / mission orientation, appealing to ex-Amish sympathizing with this orientation.

Growth and Development

1960's: by the 1960's most of those active had moved into circles toward affiliation with other fellowships or the Beachy Amish.

1978: Mike Garde was sent to Dublin by the London Mennonite Fellowship. He was joined by two families from North America and later by Irish members.

The goal of the team was to address Irish Christians with Anabaptist and Mennonite insights in the area of peace and biblical ethics. The project was jointly supported by Mennonite Central Committee and the Mennonite Board of Missions (Mennonite Church). (Gingerich & Hochstetler, 1987)

1980’s to the 1990’s: Mission programs developed in Belgium, later expanding into Ireland. Amish missions in Ireland currently focus around a congregation in Dunmore East. The early establishment of this work from the Alsace region of France is described in James Yoder’s European Project.

1992: Mcgrath founded the first Amish Beachy church in Dunmore East, Ireland under his religious piety. He wanted to found a church close to his ancestors and his devotion led him there. Although he established churches in other places of the world, he wanted to establish a church in Ireland to follow his ancestors as part of his religious devotion.

Present Day Beachy Amish Mennonites

The Beachy Amish Mennonites today have adopted and shape an identity that takes them back to the reformulation of the Amish identity in the second half of the 20th century. They accepted elements from the Old sources of Amish faith, but it also developed new ideas and perceptions that challenged the Old Order beliefs. (Nolt, 2001.)The Beachy Amish Mennonites have maintained Old Order beliefs by practicing the Dordrecht Confession of Faith written in 1632 by Mennonite leaders in Germany. This is a guide of all the elements of the confession regarding belief and practice.

I.Of God and the Creation of all Things

II.Of the Fall of Man

III.Of the Restoration of Man through the Promise of the Coming Christ

IV.The Advent of Christ Into This World, and Reason of his Coming

V.The Law of Christ, i.e., The Holy Gospel or the New Testament

VI.Of Repentance and Reformation f life

VII.Of Holy Baptism

VIII.Of the Church of Christ

IX.Of the Election, and Offices of Teachers, Deacons and Deaconesses, In The Church

X.Of The Holy Supper

XI.Of The Washing of the Saints Feet

XII.Of The State of Matrimony

XIII.Of the Office of the Secular Authority

XIV.Of Revenge

XV.Of the Swearing of Oaths

XVI.Of the Ecclesiastical Ban, or separation from the Church

XVII. Of Shunning the Separated

XVIII. Of the Resurrection of the Dead and the Last Judgement [1]

There was a change on mission due to the challenge of evangelism with other groups, so the Beachy Amish decided to balance evangelize and preservation according to their statement of faith. (Huber, 2014). This rapid post war acculturation led them to many challenges with other Old Order Amish groups because of their interest on coming to the United States just like the Mennonites for religious liberty since they were on Switzerland. The immigration to the United states led them expand through the states an other countries with the help of the reformulation of the Amish identity in the second half of the 20th century. They prepared people that came from the World War II to study the Bible and participate in missionary service. This was the change from the Old Order identity to different groups of conservative Amish, including the Beachy Amish.

There is only one Beachy Amish fellowship active in Ireland at Dunmore East, which is an Amish Mennonite community.From the 1920's through the 1950's, Old Order Amish disagreed over two major matters: first, whether to shun members who swithch to a less conservative plain church like Mennonite, and two, whether modern conveniences such as automobiles, electricity, telephones should be permitted for members private use. "General," n.d., para. 2).

Important Figures

1.) Jakob Amman: The Mennonite elder, Jakob Ammann, was a native of Erlenbach in the Simme Valley south of Thun, canton of Bern, Switzerland. He founded the Amish branch of the Mennonites through a schism which he occasioned in 1693 in the Emmental, canton of Bern. It is possible that he was the Jakob Ammann who was born at Erlenbach on 12 February 1644, as the son of Michael and Anna Rupp Ammann. (Bender, 2005).

2.) William Mcgrath: founded the first and only Beachy Amish church in Ireland, 1992.

3. Christian Yoder: the first resident Amish bishop of Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

4.) John A. Hosteler: a sociologist that in 1954 helped to start the Amish mission movement.

5.) J.C. Wenger: Mennonite theology professor that in 1954 helped to start the Amish mission movement along with John A. Hosteller.

6.) Schweitzer Christian: father of Christian Yoder, He arrived in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 1744 and lived there until 1776. In that year he moved with his wife and four children to what is now Somerset County. (Beachy, 1954).

7.)Bishop Jacob Mast: provided spiritual ministry of the pioneer days. Mast is said to have landed at Philadelphia on the Brotherhood on November 3, 1750. He was a native of Switzerland. (Beachy, 1954)

Beachy Amish Additional Links

Here is a link to access photos of statistics in the Unted States by state [2]

Here is a link to acces the only Beachy Amish fellowship website in Ireland [3]

Electronic Resources

1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) 5.)

[Media:2006asiapacific.pdf|2006 Mennonite World Conference Directory for Asia/Pacific]]


1.) Johnson-Weiner, Karen. "The Role Of Women In Old Order Amish, Beachy Amish And Fellowship Churches." Mennonite Quarterly Review 75.2 (2001): 231-256. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials. Web. 9 Dec. 2014 2.) Beachy, A. J. (1954). The Amish settlement in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Mennonite Quarterly Review, 28(4), 263-292. 3.) Anderson, C. (2011). Retracing the blurred boundaries of twentieth-century "Amish Mennonite" identity. Mennonite Quarterly Review, 85(3), 361-411. 4.) Nolt, S. M. (2001). The Amish "mission movement" and the reformulation of Amish identity in the twentieth century. Mennonite Quarterly Review, 75(1), 7-36. 5.) Beachy, A. J. (1955). Rise and development of the Beachy Amish Mennonite churches. Mennonite Quarterly Review, 29(2), 118-140. 6.) (2014, April 16). Beachy Amish define beliefs. Beachy Amish Define Beliefs | Mennonite World Review. Retrieved from 7.) Mcgrath, W. R. (1990). Toward a Revival of the Old Irish Christian Church. Christian Printing Mission. 8.) Oral interview with Cornerstone Mennonite Church in Burgettstown, Pensylvania US. 724-947-0223 9.) 10.) 11.)Blackwell, B. (2012). Amish communities on a growth spurt.Christian Century, 129(19), 12.)Gingerich, Simon and Emory Hochstetler. (1987). Irish Mennonite Movement. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 December 2014, from

Annotated Bibliography

External Links