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Amish Mennonites are a Christian church or constituency of Anabaptist heritage, that came into existence as a result of a division which took place in the Mennonite churches of Southern Germany, eastern France, and Switzerland in the late 17th century.
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From 1862 to 1878, annual conferences were held among the Amish. The conferences produced a number of polarized groups, with two primary divisions: the Old Order Amish and the Amish Mennonites. The Amish Mennonites formed regional conferences in the late 1880s after the division. During the early 20th century, most of these original Amish Mennonite groups merged with regional Mennonite conferences.
The Conservative Mennonite Conference was born several decades after the original Amish Mennonite movement. In 1910, leaders from three unaffiliated Amish Mennonite congregations met in Michigan to discuss the formation of a conference that allowed for congregational autonomy yet would be able to assist individual churches with problems. This conference was to be more conservative than the aforementioned Amish Mennonite conferences. During its almost century-long history, the church has moved closer to mainstream Mennonite groups. In 1954, a majority vote called for the removal of the “Amish” part of the Conservative Amish Mennonite Conference (CMC) name, which was implemented in the 1957 constitution revision. Proponents suggested that “Amish Mennonite” conferences were obsolete. Beginning in the mid-1950s concern rose among some about the lax practice on issues such as the women’s head veiling and cut hair, television, and clothing items. Individual churches began to differ greatly in practice. A number of individuals withdrew and formed the Conservative Mennonite Fellowship (see Conservative Mennonites). Since the concerns in the 1960s, conference has abandoned a stand on the aforementioned practices. Today, the conference has 113 churches with about 11,000 members.
A number of other Amish Mennonite congregations exist in an independent, unaffiliated setting. Most identify themselves in name as Conservative Mennonites or conservative Amish Mennonite and may hold fellowship with various Beachy or conservative Mennonite congregations.
Two newer affiliated groups include Berea Amish Mennonite Churches and Ambassador Amish Mennonite Churches. There is also a small group of Conservative Beachy congregations which still use the German Language.
The Amish Mennonite Directory, published by Abana Books, lists Amish Mennonite congregations within Beachy, Fellowship, and unaffiliated constituencies. The directory includes detailed information, including household demographic and occupational data. The directory was published in 1993, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2008, and 2011.