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Sunday Church for Old Order Mennonites

(MULTIPLE PHOTOS): My wife, Jane, and I were in West Montrose (north of Guelph, Ontario) this weekend at a bed & breakfast. While enjoying our breakfast, a steady stream of Old Order Mennonites passed by our place destined for Sunday morning church. Their horses made quite a clatter going over an old wooden covered bridge with the heavy clydesdales pounding along.

The Old Order split from other Mennonites in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and continue to practice plain dress, to farm for a living, and, for many groups, to eschew cars as well.

Here's part of the parking lot:

Old Order Mennonite Church on Sunday morning

You can see the church more clearly here. Hymn singing was clearly audible though they sing in high German so singing along was not an option.

Old Order Mennonites - Horses hitched at church

The church also functions as a graveyard for the community.

Old Order Mennonite church and graveyard

I don't know as much about these groups as I would like. I've heard they are numerically doing well as they have large families that offsets those who leave the tradition. In addition, I've always been strongly opposed to shunning (the practice of some religious communities whereby they cut social ties with defectors - I've always felt this was abusive, reflecting an unequal balance of power). However, I've been told that they follow this practice less and less these days, which I'm certainly glad to hear.

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