York Town Square

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Amishman: ‘We are making a commitment to forgive’

Donald Kraybill told Rotarians recently that though Amish forgiveness linked to Nickel Mines shocked the outside world, this is a “standard forgiveness” explained in the Lord’s Prayer that is silently said often during the day in English and German by the Amish.

Amish expert Don Kraybill addressed York Rotary recently about forgiveness and the Nickel Mines schoolhouse shooting.

Kraybill spoke about an Amish man, who said: “It is not that we do not want justice.”

The Amish believe in punishment but also in “giving up feelings of retaliation. We are making a commitment to forgive, but it is a long process,” the man said.

“Forgiveness is not forgetting, and this will be part of Amish history for a long time,” Kraybill said.

Kraybill wasn’t talking about a group – the Amish – that is unknown to York County. In fact, a considerable Amish population has settled in York County’s southeastern corner, on this side of the Norman Wood Bridge… .

As a general rule, the Amish, Mennonites and other Anabapists or “Radical Reformers” largely settled in Lancaster County, and the German group settling York County largely hailed from the “Magisterial Reformers.” This latter group consisted of Lutherans and German Reformed congregations, whose Reformation ancestors sought to reform the Roman church and broke from it with some reluctance.
Of course, York County has long been home to those from the Radical Reformation wing, and Lancaster County has a lot of Lutherans. Notice, I said “as a general rule.”
Anyway, I wrote briefly about the Amish presence and explain the area in which they’re living in a York Sunday News column last year.