The Differences Between Quakers and Amish

“You’re a Quaker? You mean, like, Amish?” It’s something every Quaker has heard. Max Carter educates us on the differences between the two.

Jon Watts

Jon Watts launched and directed the QuakerSpeak project for its first 6 seasons. Keep up to date with Jon’s work at his website.

17 thoughts on “The Differences Between Quakers and Amish

  1. I found Max Carter’s video about the Amish and Quakers interesting.
    Perhaps there could be a similar discussion about the Mennonites and Quakers.
    Where I live there are both Amish and Mennonite communities.
    Thank you from Pat

  2. Strikes me funny to see this as I just had this happen. Seems alot of conversations where I mention I am a Quaker include: “Horse and buggy?” No that’s the Amish. “White mesh caps and Ten Thousand Villages?” That’d be the Mennonites. “Buckle shoes and the Mayflower? ” You’re thinking of the pilgrims. “Oh like the oatmeal?” Um, yeah. Like the oatmeal. But not really.

  3. Thank you for this wonderfully succinct and clear explanation of the roots of the Amish vs. that of Quakers, as well as some of the theological differences. I was surprised to learn that the Amish got the idea of plain dress from the Quakers in the US! These videos are providing such a service of education and enlightenment — for the public as well as for our own Quaker meetings. Much gratitude!

  4. I find this series very enlightening. My heritage is Quaker, I was raised Episcopal. I find myself searching and this series is very good. I wish my relatives were alive to help me help myself but these videos are a great step forward.

    As an aside, a relative was instrumental in founding Guildford College!

  5. I admire Max Carter as well. I too Graduated from Guilford College. I majored in Psychology & minored in Women’s Studies. I must say that I also attended friends meetings throughout my life, and even went to Yearly meeting @ Guilford as a 16 yr. old teenager. I always wanted to grow up & go to Guilford College. Graduated in December, 2008. I loved going to the “Hut” and for me I know I am a friend. This is so indescribably important 2 my daily life. 4 me. it is knowing that I have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit & listening 2 the stillness and the warmth of nature that has been gifted to us for our pleasure & our compassion for all living things.

  6. This is an interesting essay, but a great oversimplification of the topic. Many important differences between Friends (which group?) and the Amish (which group?) are left unmentioned and unexplored.

    I have lived and worshipped with Mennonites and German Baptists for much of my life, and have Amish friends. I am an Orthodox/Conservative Friend.

    A preliminary attempt to do this topic justice would call for an issue of *Quaker Religious Thought* or some other medium, with Friends and Anabaptists as the theme. I think we have a lot to learn from the Anabaptists about how to function as a Christian faith community. And they could learn much from us. Their relative success and enormous growth in numbers would probably make them less interested in what Friends, a declining movement hereabouts, have to offer. But, in our more honest and humble moments, we might be able to open ourselves to their insights!

    1. Hi Bill! Thanks for your comment. I agree that the format of a 3 minute YouTube video allows for only a superficial exploration. I will certainly pass on your suggestion to my colleagues at Friends Journal. I think the topic would be an interesting one.


  7. I don’t know. I was with the Amish and salvation was a very heavily discussed topic and the teachings of Jesus were as well. And some sermons, if there was someone visiting that did not speak German they would have it in English. Otherwise it was a good comparison. Thank you

  8. Carol: *Quaker Sloopers: From the Fjords to the Prairies* by Wilmer Tjossem. Friends United Press, 1984.

  9. If the followers of a particular way of life refrain from emphasising their differences and instead focus on our common humanity and shared destiny – the world will be a better place.

  10. Ralph Rau: I understand and agree with your general point, but understanding the differences among various groups, be they religious, political, or other, is an invaluable part of the process of finding common ground. The presentation was without any hint of animosity or judgement and serves to foster effective communication.

  11. I dove headfirst into my Quaker roots at Earlham College, my parents’ alma mater. I fell in love with a Quaker girl my first week, and my interest in the faith of 3 of 4 grandfathers escalated from there. My father was birthright, as were both of my grandfathers. But I was not, and became an “official” Quaker in 1969, my first year at Earlham. The peace testimony and an escalating war (under a Quaker president no less!) made my decision clear and easy. I am very proud to say I am a Quaker.

  12. My great grandfather maternal side was a
    Quaker. My mother said he was very strict
    And tough on my grandmother growing up. My mother said we were part Pennsylvania Dutch but insisted we were holland Dutch. I know there’s a lot of French on both sides of my family so all I know is my great grandfather was a Quaker

  13. “STUDY to show thyself approved unto God”. I’m better for having followed that scriptural directive to discover the difference between Amish and Quaker, rather than remaining in ignorance. I, too, had wrongly assumed the two were merely slight variants of the same People, and I apologize. Thank you for explaining this.

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