Amer­sham Evening Townswomen’s Guild

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

OUR meet­ing be­gan with the usual busi­ness and sub sec­tion news, and was then fol­lowed by three mem­bers pre­sent­ing their ideas for our char­ity for next year 2016. Each per­son gave a short talk on their rea­sons for their choice and a pa­per vote was taken to choose the most pop­u­lar. Amer­sham Mu­seum was cho­sen, and fundrais­ing will be­gin early next year.

Our two main speak­ers this month were on vary­ing forms of be­lief, for the So­cial Stud­ies it was a visit from Steve West who is chair­man of the lo­cal Hu­man­ist group. He ex­plained he had be­come a Hu­man­ist in later life hav­ing re­jected the idea of a su­pe­rior be­ing, af­ter­life and su­per­nat­u­ral events.

He said he was also a paci­fist and many of his ideas were more about the way his life was led than against Chris­tian­ity or other older re­li­gions, his views caused much dis­cus­sion.

The sec­ond speaker at our main meet­ing was Jenny Thorne, a TG mem­ber of an­other guild and Mem­ber of the Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee, her sub­ject was The Amish, a very strict re­li­gious sect. They broke away from the Men­non­ites who came from Switzer­land to fol­low a man called Joseph Amon who wanted stricter rules than those in the Men­non­ites.

He asked them to fol­low ‘The Ord­nung’ a new set of ideas to live by, in­clud­ing wear­ing very plain home­made clothes, with no or­na­men­ta­tion, not even but­tons, ex­cept for the men’s work­ing jack­ets.

In later years they have been al­lowed to use Vel­cro for fas­ten­ings. They are not al­lowed to cut their hair, and must cover their heads in pub­lic, men are al­lowed to have beards but not mous­taches as they are deemed to be too mil­i­tary, and they are paci­fist.

Their main liveli­hood is farming, and they have no trac­tors and use horses to plough, many have large dairy herds and a few have hand op­er­ated gen­er­a­tors for the milk­ing par­lour. There is no reg­u­lar ed­u­ca­tion, and when the girls are in their teens they have to learn to all the house­hold chores, the boys stay in classes longer and then be­come farm hands.

The com­mu­nity goes to bed from dusk‘til dawn, so it is not sur­pris­ing they have very large fam­i­lies! The young peo­ple can only get mar­ried in Novem­ber, a quiet time on farms, and move into their own houses in the fol­low­ing spring, the wives are ex­pected to be com­pletely sub­mis­sive to their hus­bands.

The whole regime of the Amish is around com­plete hu­mil­ity, no one bet­ter than an­other, no use of mir­rors or pho­to­graphs is al­lowed and even their dolls have no fa­cial fea­tures, it is all a far cry from our idea of life, but main­tains a lot of mem­bers even to­day, about 250,000 in the USA alone.

We will be hav­ing our fes­tive eats and drinks event for the char­ity on De­cem­ber 6, the choir will be singing in the Fed­er­a­tion Carol Con­cert in Maiden­head on De­cem­ber 12 fol­lowed by our Christ­mas party on De­cem­ber 15 at the Free Church, this is a mem­ber’s only evening.

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