Religious Beliefs. The Amish conceive of their church-community ( Gemeinde ) as being composed of those who are truly repentant and duly baptized. Members are joined communally in an effort to become righteous Christians and reject worldly values. Amish moral imperatives also account for their desire to be close to the soil and to nature.
Ceremonies. The communion service to celebrate the Lord's Supper is held twice a year in the fall and spring. Preparations for communion include prayer, meditation, and fasting. As part of the service, the ceremonial foot washing, introduced by Ammann in the seventeenth century, takes place as a sign of fellowship.
Arts. Women combine quilt making and visiting as an acceptable means of artistic expression. Other forms of artistic endeavor, like photography, are forbidden. Whitewashed houses with decorative paint trim and brightly colored flowers are also evidence of artistry among the Amish.
Medicine . The Amish have access to a variety of practitioners, including folk healers as well as modern physicians and surgeons. They also consider the reputation of practitioners and, taking for granted the competency of providers, they select ones whom they feel they can trust.
Death and Afterlife. Death is a solemn occasion, but is accepted as a matter of course. The dead are usually buried on the third day after death. Respect for someone who has died is often shown in a large funeral attendance. Funeral establishments may be asked to prepare the body, but afterward, church members dress the body at home in special garments. Preparation of the grave, notification of the ministers, and selection of pallbearers are duties that are divided between more or less distant relatives, friends, and neighbors of the deceased. Amish bereaved are comforted by their belief in heaven and life after death. Although the Amish want to be ready for Judgment Day, they are not especially preoccupied with the nature of an afterlife.