What It Really Means To Be Excommunicated From The Amish

Excommunicated members of the Amish are also shunned, which limits their interactions with their family and former community.

As reported by Exploring Amish Country, the Amish’s practice of shunning is based on their religious beliefs, more specifically 1 Corinthians 5:9-12, which states believers should separate themselves from nonbelievers and should not share meals with them. However, the degree of shunning is different in each community.

Communities that permit more mild forms of shunning allow excommunicated members to attend Amish community gatherings, including weddings and funerals. However, they are not allowed to share meals at the same table with members in good standing.

In more liberal communities, excommunicated members are also allowed to interact socially with current members, but they are not allowed to do business with each other. Exploring Amish Country reports members in good standing are allowed to give excommunicated members money or gifts, but they cannot receive money or gifts from those who are excommunicated.

In more conservative communities, members who are excommunicated, and therefore shunned, are not permitted any contact with members of their former community, including their family.

Exploring Amish Communities reports shunning and excommunication are both directly linked with baptism, and therefore do not apply to people who leave the community before they are baptized. Members of the Amish community who have not yet been baptized, who are usually children and teens, are also allowed to interact with shunned members.

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