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Amish Church Building?


One of the defining characteristics that separates the Old Order Amish from other "plain" groups is the practice of "home worship."  They do not have a formal church building, services are instead  rotated among members who hold them in their homes, outbuildings, or even outside in nice weather.  There is at least one exception to this rule and that can be found in Pinecraft, Florida, the Amish winter enclave in Sarasota.  Homes in this community are simply too small to accomodate the 200 people or so that might show up for Sunday worship.  So some Amish attend the Mennonite Travelers Church in Pinecraft or the Sunnyside Mennonite Church nearby.  Conservative Old Order Amish who want a very traditional home worship experience, though, do have another option: Pinecraft Amish church.  This is a home, an actual house, that has been hollowed out and converted into a church structure.  From the outside, it looks just like any house, except it is a bit larger than other homes in Pinecraft (which, I'm sure, is why it was selected as worship site).  Inside, it looks just like any Amish home except the church benches are always set up and ready and maybe a wall or two has been removed to make it nice and open.  Just another one of Pinecraft's fascinating quirks.  Pinecraft will be enjoying a few more quiet weeks before the throngs of Amish snowbirds really descend on the area around Christmas and stay through early April.  Large Greyhound-sized charter buses run regular weekly or more routes from large Amish settlements in the Midwest to bring Amish sun-seekers to Pinecraft.  "They are always so excited to get off the bus," says Mary Lou Emrich, one of the owner's of Yoder's Restaurant which is across the street from the bus depot.


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