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Kauffman Amish Mennonite

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  The Kauffman Amish Mennonites, also called Sleeping Preacher Churches or Tampico Amish Mennonite Churches, are a plain, car-driving branch of the Amish Mennonites whose tradition goes back to John D. Kauffman (1847-1913) who preached while being in a state of trance and who was seen as a "sleeping preacher". In 2017 the Kauffman Amish Mennonites had some 2,000 baptized members and lived mainly in Missouri and Arkansas. In contrast to other Amish Mennonites they have retained their identity over the last hundred years and also largely the Pennsylvania German language and other Amish Mennonite traditions from the late 1800s.Sleeping Preacher Churches at Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.

History

{ align="right"
+ Tampico Amish Mennonite adherents by state and year
-
! data-sort-type="text" State
! data-sort-type="number Adherents
in 2001Donald B. Kraybill and Nelson Hostetter: Anabaptist World USA, 2001, Scottdale, PA, and Waterloo, ON, pages 147, 178, 180, 184, 192 and 207.
! data-sort-type="number Adherents
in 2010Tampico Amish Mennonite States (2010) at the Association of Religion Data Archives.
-
Arkansas align="right" 433 align="right" 883
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Colorado align="right" 57 align="right" 70
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Kentucky align="right" - align="right" 109
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Illinois align="right" 504 align="right" 378
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Iowa align="right" - align="right" 103
-
Missouri align="right" 1,159 align="right" 1,701
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Wisconsin align="right" 169 align="right" 207
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All states align="right" 2,322 align="right" 3,342

Early history

For the early history of the Amish Mennonites, see Amish: History.

The Amish division between 1862 and 1878

Mostly between 1862 and 1878 there were developments that divided the Amish into two mayor branches: the Old Order Amish and the Amish Mennonites. The Old Order faction rejected change and wanted to cling to the old teachings, whereas the Amish Mennonites embraced change.
During that time Dienerversammlungen (ministerial conferences) were held in Wayne County, Ohio, concerning how the Amish should deal with the pressures of modern society. The meetings themselves were a progressive idea, for bishops to assemble to discuss uniformity was an unprecedented notion in the Amish church. By the first several meetings, the more traditionally minded bishops agreed to boycott the conferences and then formed with their congregations the Old Order Amish. The more progressive branch, comprising approximately two-thirds of all Amish, drifted toward the Mennonite mainstream over the next decades. They first retained the name Amish Mennonite but eventually dropped the word Amish from their congregations and later united with the Mennonite Church and other Mennonite denominations, especially in the early 20th century. The Tampico Amish Mennonites are the only Amish Mennonites from the division between 1862 and 1878 who have retained their Amish Mennonite identity until now.

The sleeping preacher

John D. Kauffman, who was member of an Amish Mennonite congregation, started to preach in June 1880, but it took until 1907, when he and some of his followers moved from Elkhart County, Indiana to Shelby County, Illinois, to form their own congregation, Mt. Hermon Church. In the beginning they were without bishop, but later bishop John R. Zook from Lawrence County, Pennsylvania came and ordained Peter Zimmerman as their bishop.Pius Hostetler: The Life, Preaching, and Labors of John D. Kauffman, Shelbyville, Ill, 1915, pages 7, 29-30. Against his will, but at the instruction of the Holy Spirit, Kauffman was also ordained bishop in 1911.http://digitalcommons.ursinus.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1034&context=pafolklifemag Harry H. Hiller: The Sleeping Preacher: An Historical Study of the Role of Charisma in Amish Society in Pennsylvania Folklife 18 (Winter 1968/69), page 24.
After the death of John D. Kauffman in 1913, Joseph Reber was ordained as the leader of the church in 1914 and in 1954 he was still in this position.Kauffman, John D. (1847-1913) at Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
Their first congregation, Mt. Hermon near Shelbyville, Illinois, assimilated into the Mennonite mainstream over the years, but the Fairfield congregation in Tampico, Illinois, which broke away from the Mt. Hermon church in 1933 and moved to Henry County, Illinois in 1938 and to Tampico, Bureau County, Illinois in 1944, preserved the old ways of the Kauffman Amish Mennonite, using German in its services and emphasizing Kauffman's "Spirit preaching".Fairfield Amish Mennonite Church (Tampico, Illinois, USA) at Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
The Kauffman Amish Mennonite later moved to other states, especially to Missouri where about half of them live now and to Arkansas where about a quarter of them live now.Steven M. Nolt: A History of the Amish, Intercourse, Pennsylvania, 1992.

Belief and practice

As descendants from the Amish, the Kauffman Amish Mennonites are an Anabaptist Christian group in the tradition of the Radical Reformation of the early 16th century. In contrast to other Amish Mennonites they have retained the Pennsylvania German language, which they also use for church service. The Pennsylvania German language is seen as a "neat wall" against the evil influence of the "world".Edwin Blosser: History of Tampico Amish & Modern Technology – Part 1 at the Anabaptist Identity Conference, February 15, 2014, minute 17:00-20.
Sermons make frequent mention of Kauffman's teachings, referring to his statements as the preaching with the words "The Spirit taught us . . ." According to Pius Hostetler, the followers of Kauffman saw his preaching as "Spirit preaching", therefore regarded as an authoritative interpretation of the Bible and binding upon his followers.
The dress of the Kauffman Amish Mennonites is similar to the Beachy Amish in many respects although the men normally wear longer beards, and lapel coats are with buttons instead of hooks and eyes.Dress at Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. In the mid-1980s men still wore Amish-like beards, hats and suspenders while women wore head coverings, bonnets, capes, aprons and black stockings.Stephen Scott (writer)Stephen Scott: Why Do They Dress That Way? Intercourse, PA, 1986.
The practice of avoidance (German: Bann und Meidung) was supported by the spirit preaching of John Kauffman. It is still practiced today but should be done in a spirit of love and according to Matthew 18:15-17.Edwin Blosser: History of Tampico Amish & Modern Technology – Part 1 at the Anabaptist Identity Conference, February 15, 2014, minute 17:30-50.

Members and congregations


{ align="right"
+ Tampico Amish Mennonite members by year
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! Year Congre-
gations Members
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align="right" 1953 align="right" 1 align="right" 143
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align="right" ~1995 align="right" 11 align="right" ~900
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align="right" 2001 align="right" ? align="right" 1,222
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align="right" 2008 align="right" 16 align="right" 1,450
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align="right" 2017 align="right" 18 align="right" 2,011
The vast majority of members are descending from followers of John Kauffman, thus of old Amish Mennonite stock, and the number of members from a non-Mennonite background is very small.Edwin Blosser: History of Tampico Amish & Modern Technology – Part 1 at the Anabaptist Identity Conference, February 15, 2014, minute 37:10-25.
In 1957 the "Sleeping Preacher Churches" had six congregations with a total membership of 540, but only the Fairfield congregation, four miles south of Tampico, Illinois, which had 143 members in 1953, did not assimilate into the Mennonite mainstream.Harry H. Hiller: The Sleeping Preacher: An Historical Study of the Role of Charisma in Amish Society in Pennsylvania Folklife 18 (Winter 1968/69), page 26. In the mid 1990s the Tampico Amish Mennonites had eleven congregations with about 900 church members.Stephen Scott: An Introduction to Old Order: and Conservative Mennonite Groups, Intercourse, PA 1996, page 196. In 2008 they had 1,450 baptized members.Donald B. Kraybill: Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites and Mennonites, Baltimore, 2010, page 239. In 2010 the "Tampico Amish Mennonite Churches" had 3,342 adherents, including children and young adults who are not yet baptized.http://www.thearda.com/ql2010/QL_S_2010_2_1172c.asp Tampico Amish Mennonite States (2010) at the Association of Religion Data Archives. In 2017 there were 18 congregations with 2011 baptized members.https://www.mwc-cmm.org/mwc_map/country/1228# Membership: Tampico Amish Mennonite Churches at Mennonite World Conference.
In 1938 the Tampico Amish Mennonites had one church, 17 households and 130 souls, in 2014 they had 18 churches, 714 households and more than 3,500 souls.Edwin Blosser: History of Tampico Amish & Modern Technology – Part 1 at the Anabaptist Identity Conference, February 15, 2014, minute 13:30-45.

Literature

John D. Kauffman and his followers inspired Julia Kasdorf to write her poetry book "Sleeping Preacher", which was published in 1992 and for which she won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize.Penn State: The Department of English: Julia Spicher Kasdorf has published her third collection of poems, retrieved 22 May, 2017.

Further reading

  • Pius Hostetler: The Life, Preaching, and Labors of John D. Kauffman, Shelbyville, Illinois, 1915.
  • Jacob Christner: Kauffman's Sermons, Tampico, Illinois: Tornado Print, no date, 24 pages. (First edition, 1915; second edition, 1948).
  • Aarni Voipio: Sleeping Preachers: a Study in Ecstatic Religiosity, Helsinki, 1951.
  • Harry H. Hiller: The Sleeping Preacher: An Historical Study of the Role of Charisma in Amish Society in Pennsylvania Folklife 18 (Winter 1968/69), pages 19-31.
  • Don Yoder: Trance-Preaching in the United States in Pennsylvania Folklife 18 (Winter 1968/69), pages 12-18.
  • Phoebe A. Brubaker: Possession Trance and Plain Coats : The Lives, Times, and Trances of Amish Mennonite "Sleeping" Preachers Noah Troyer and John D. Kauffman, 1878-1920, manuscript at Goshen College, History Senior Seminar, 2003.
  • Gary Eugene Blosser: 2016 Church Directory of the "Tampico" Amish-Mennonite Churches, 2016, 568 pages.

See also

  • Subgroups of Amish

  • Category:Anabaptism
    Category:Mennonitism
    Sub
     
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