New book catalogs 60 Amish, Mennonite and other Anabaptist groups

Posted: Friday, July 20, 2001

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Horses and buggies clip-clopping along rural blacktops in some Amish communities are just quaint memories for other Amish and Mennonite groups, a new book says.

''Anabaptist World USA'' catalogs 60 Amish and Mennonite religious bodies with a total of 540,000 members.

Believers in the Anabaptist category range from bearded, buggy-driving Old Order Amish who speak in German dialect to urban Mennonite blacks and Hispanics.

''The social diversity among these groups is stunning,'' said co-author Donald B. Kraybill, a sociologist at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. ''Often there is this monolithic idea of the Amish, but there are at least a dozen sub-affiliates.''

Anabaptist groups vary widely in restrictions placed on technology, Kraybill said.

The survey found 5,500 Anabaptist congregations in 47 states. Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana account for 52 percent of the membership. There were 231,700 Mennonite members, 212,100 in Brethren groups, 86,900 Amish and 7,100 Hutterites.

Membership has grown from about 150,000 at the start of the 20th century, the book reports.

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On the Net: Donald B. Kraybill site: http://www.messiah.edu/hpages/facstaff/dkraybil/publications.html



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