Kevin, I have enjoyed the Amish Cook for many years.   I grew up in Mansfield,

OH just 30+ miles from the hub of Amish life in Holmes County.   I have many

memories of traveling the back roads off Rt. 250 and eating at the wonderful

restaurants and visiting Alpine Alpa in Wilmot, OH.   I'll never forget the bread

and cookies I have eaten over the years.   I now reside in VA, but my mother

continues to send me the Amish Cook articles from the News Journal.   I have a

couple of questions that I have pondered over time and I would like for you to

answer them if you can, please.  

   1.Lovina's single sisters Why have they never married?   I have always

     thought   it is considered almost a must in Amish communities to marry

      and continue the growth of the Amish community.

Jill - Fair question. You are right that most Amish women marry. But sometimes it comes down to a simple numbers game. Amish communities are often "islands", they are much more insulated than our society. For a mate, you and I can look almost anywhere (i.e. the supermarket, the personals, the internet, a bar). For Amish women, their potential suitors come from a much smaller pool. If the demographic deck just happens to be stacked towards one gender, then dating becomes a game of musical chairs. Whomever is left standing when the music stops is left unmarried. Some Amish move to other communities just for the purpose of finding greener courtship pastures. For years, moving wasn't really an option for Susan or Verena, because they really wanted to stay with their widowed mother. I think this move to Michigan could put Susan and Verena in contact with far more single Amish men than their currently location allows. - Kevin Williams, Editor

   2.Why haven't any of the communities built churches?   The work involved

     in getting the house ready for services is unreal.   I know the philosophy   

      behind a clean house, but the work of moving dishes and   furniture and

      cleaning every surface of every room seems so stressful for women who

      already work themselves to the bone.   I would think they would build a

      simple church to accommodate the people of each district and the

      items necessary to conduct the service.   It seems Lovina has to have

      the service almost every other week and often helps other family

      members go through the constant work of cleaning for the service.   If

      Lovina's life can have some amenities, such as Rubbermaid or

      Tupperware containers, I wonder why a church building would be

      frowned upon.   Can you enlighten me?

      Jill - Virginia

These are fair but complicated questions. I answer questions like these much more indepth when I give talks at libraries about Amish culture. But a short answer is this: the Amish want the church services held in their homes and not "away" in a formal church-house. Holding them "away" would seem to remove God from the home and make religion something practiced occasionally in some remote location. Having services in the home is an important part of keeping God in their day-to-day lives. So occasional conveniences like a Tupperware dish just aren't on the same level - in their eyes - as keeping God and religion in their home. And while to you and I preparing for church would seem like such a chore, they truly view such work as a simple necessity, and sometimes even really enjoy the fellowship of working hard with family to prepare for church. - KW, Editor


I have several questions that never seem to be given in the columns.
(1) How was it that Lovina's children went to the public school and not an
Amish school?

(2) What about her husband's good job that he had in Indiana? Will he find the
same kind of work in Michigan?

We really do enjoy reading her column each week.

Wayne - Adrian, Michigan

Dear Wayne: Thank you so much for your kind words! The trend towards "Amish schools" - you know the "Little House on the Prairie" one-room style we all envision - is a relatively recent trend among the Amish. After all, if you think about it, 50 years ago a rural one-room country PUBLIC school wasn't much different than an Amish school is today. It's only been in the past couple of decades as rural schools have consolidated, computers have crept into the classroom, and evolution has seeped into the curriculum, that Amish bishops began advocating the establishment of their own schools. More and more Amish are going to their own "one-room Amish schools" and probably in a generation or two most will go, but for now there's still a sizable portion that attend public. Lovina's kids are among them.

Your second question, about Joe's job: He was getting tired of working in a factory, as many Indiana Amish men do. So he's looking forward to a new job in Michigan: outdoor construction work.

Reader Thoughts About Lovina's Move:


I read the Decatur paper on-line each day. I used to live in Decatur and
enjoy keeping updated on events. One of my favorite columns to read was
The Amish Cook. Even all the way over here in crazy California, that
column has touched my heart and the hearts of those I've shared the
column with.
I hope all goes well with their move and their whole family will be in my

Jennifer - Chico, California


Hi! I just want to let you know how much I enjoy reading Lovina's articles each
week. I read them in The News Tribune in Tacoma, WA. I look forward to the
bits of news she shares about her family, and especially about the children. I
also enjoy her recipes and have used many of them. They are great!

Moving her family, with 6 children, to a new community must be difficult.
Fortunately, she will still be near family, and also fortunately, her two sisters are
going along too. I am praying for a safe and easy move. -- Juanita - Tacoma, Washington

I have been a reader of the column for some time and being a
Michigander I want to be added to the list of readers to welcome
Lovina and her family to Michigan. I live around the Stanwood area
and know a few Amish families here so I can kind of relate to some
of her stories. I don't know exactly where they are moving to, but I'm
sure that they will make new friends quickly.
I wish them well and Pray that God will Bless their new home.
Sincerely Bernie - Stanwood, Michigan

More postings coming soon! Share your thoughts with me at [email protected]

Thanks! - Kevin Williams, Editor