Comprised of green rolling hills and abundant farmland, Lancaster County sits in south central Pennsylvania just a few counties west of Philadelphia. This area is famous for its Amish and Mennonite inhabitants. Arriving in the early 1700s, the Amish settled in Lancaster County, an immigration initiated by William Penn, to test the bounds of religious tolerance.
The Amish are a part of what was known as the Anabaptist movement which is based on the principals of simplicity, community, non-resistance and a conscious and educated choice to accept God. Unlike other religions, the Anabaptists believe that only adults should be baptized for in their maturity they possess the ability to make a conscience choice to do so.
Alongside the Amish, the Mennonites and the Brethren also live within the Anabaptist principles. Simplicity is stressed among the communities. Most members chose not to indulge in modern day conveniences such as electricity or forms of telecommunications. Worship services are conducted in the home or meetinghouse rather than a large and extravagant church.
The Anabaptists also practice humility, patience, obedience and conformity. Amish can be seen riding in black buggies pulled by a horse as to blend in with the countryside. Vanity and pride are avoided and forbidden in the community. Therefore the Amish, Mennonites and Brethern tend to isolate themselves from outsiders and the modern and technologically advanced world. This isolation further strengthens the harmony and sense of belonging and community within each group.
Today there are over 30,000 Amish inhabitants in Lancaster County. Known to tourists as “Pennsylvania Dutch Country” or “Amish Country,” Lancaster is a unique and inspiring vacation destination by many families who wish to witness firsthand the simple and basic lifestyle of the Anabaptist people.