Amish church services are held every other Sunday in the homes of church members. Many homes have movable partitions in the lower levels to accomodate the services. Shops and barns also may be used and sometimes the service is held outdoors during nice weather.
a member hosts the services, the house is scrubbed inside and out. A
member might host more than one time in a row to help other members
that cannot host services themselves. A "bench wagon" brings the
benches to the home where church is being held.
in the Amish Church are chosen by lot. Male members are nominated and
on the chosen Sunday each nominated man chooses a Bible from a table at
the front. One of the Bibles contains a verse of scripture. The man
who chooses this Bible becomes a minister. No formal training is
given, but counsel from other ministers and Bishops is freely given.
Services usually start around 9:00 am and break around twelve for lunch. Lunch is served family style, with adult men eating first and then the women and small children. Older youths eat last. Serving the meal is usually done by younger adults. Food is provided by the host family and neighbors.
A typical sunday meal might include homemade breads, cold meat and cheeses for sandwiches, cold chicken, pickles, in season produce, Amish "Church Spread", pies and desserts. Coffee, lemonade and milk round out the menu.
afternoon is spent visiting. It is common for members to travel to
another church district to attend services on the Sundays that church
isn't held at the home district. Singings for the young folks are held
in the evenings. This is a time for potential mates to get to know
members from other church districts.
This is a rare exception in Iowa. This Amish Church district holds their services in an old schoolhouse instead of member homes. The school is unused the rest of the week. The benches stay here all the time. No meal is served and keeping the schoolhouse clean is a group effort. The men and women are seated separately and leave through different exits.