Amana Church Society

{uh - man' - uh}

General Information

The Amana Society is a religious group in east central Iowa, that is conservative in theology, pacifistic, and has a strong communal tradition. Its origins are to be found in German pietism of the early 1700s. Some 800 members of the group migrated to the United States in 1842, settling first in Ebenezer, NY, but moving later to Iowa. Initially the members held all property in common, but in 1932 they discarded many communal practices and formed a business corporation to take over the group's farmland and other productive properties. The Amana Society continues as a religious organization, with about 900 members; the business corporation engages in farming and manufactures kitchen appliances.

Conrad Wright

J Liffring - Zug, The Amana Colonies (1988).

The Amana Church Society

General Information

The Amana Church Society is a religious community in the United States. It began as an outgrowth of the religious reform movement Pietism begun in Germany in 1714 by Eberhard Ludwig Gruber and Johann Friedrich Rock, who withdrew from the German Lutheran Church in protest against its formalism. When the Pietists were persecuted as a religious minority, leading member Christian Metz and a number of others in search of religious freedom emigrated to the United States and purchased land there in 1842. More than 800 more Pietists followed, establishing six villages near Ebenezer, New York, and two in Canada. They set up communities specializing in agriculture and the weaving of cloth, and among the early internal rules of the group were bans forbidding members to send their children to public school, bear arms, or serve in war. No rite of baptism was observed.

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In 1854, the growing population of the city of Buffalo, New York, threatened the privacy of the Pietist's Ebenezer settlement, and the colony migrated to Iowa in 1855. There they settled in seven villages and in 1859 incorporated with the name the Amana Church Society (the term Amana, from Song of Solomon, means "remain true"). The society reorganized in 1932, when private enterprise was adopted and religious and civil governments were separated. Population growth in Iowa brought about freer communication and marriage with people outside the society, and the Amana community became more assimilated. The Amana Church Society remains a dominant force in several villages in Iowa, the oldest of which bears the name Amana.


General Information

Amana is an unincorporated village in Iowa County, east central Iowa, near the Iowa River. It is an agricultural trade center with manufacturing industries producing household appliances, furniture, woolen goods, wine, and processed food (especially meat). Amana is the oldest of seven adjacent villages established in 1855 by a communal band practicing Pietism led by Christian Metz. In search of religious freedom, they had emigrated in 1843 from Germany and settled in Ebenezer, New York (near Buffalo).

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The communities, which flourished during the late 19th century, suffered during the depression of the 1930s and were reorganized in 1932, when private enterprise was adopted and religious and civil government were separated. The Amana Church Society remains a dominating force in the community. Among the many tourist attractions in the Amana villages are the Museum of Amana History, the Amana Heim Museum, and the Amana Society Barn Museum. Population 475 (1990).


General Information

Amana, perennial. (1.) The Hebrew margin of 2 Kings 5:12 gives this as another reading of Abana (q.v.), a stream near Damascus. (2.) A mountain (Cant. 4:8), probably the southern summit of Anti-Libanus, at the base of which are the sources of the Abana.

Easton Illustrated Dictionary

The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.

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