Amish Mennonite Conference Line

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The Amish Mennonite Conference Line has been a new form of communication media for the Old Order Mennonites, Amish, and other conservative Mennonite groups. It has been especially used by Pennsylvania German speakers in the eastern half of the United States and Ontario. It has primarily been used as a news reporting by Anabaptist groups who previously had no faster contacts other than the weekly Budget or Botschaft. It has been tolerated as it is much more controlled than the radio or the Internet. By 2010 participants in the Conference Line were required to be approved by the Conference Line manager, with active participation moderated through a password system.

Since most conversations have been carried on in the Pennsylvania German dialect, dozens of shades of German have been in common use. Even though many English words have crept in, the Conference Line may well extend and improve the life of the dialects. Most of the speakers have remained very fluent in the dialect, but when resorting to writing in a weekly paper, the writers have invariably resorted to English and thereby lost the Pennsylvania German expressions.

This form of an Amish and Mennonite communication media was primarily conceived by Gary Blosser of the Fairfield Amish Mennonite Church of Tampico, Illinois. Blosser had 20 years of experience in using telephone conference calls. He visualized a phone conference that provided good inspiring programs and shielded users from morally unsuitable language and information. The vision of wholesome programs has continued, but since January 2006, the Pennsylvania German dialect line has been open 24 hours a day and 6 1/2 days per week, mostly for informal visiting. On week-day evenings in 2010 an average of 700 people called in for news reports. As of 2010 the highest number of callers in an evening was 2 October 2006, when 1037 were on the line simultaneously to listen to reports on the West Nickel Mines Amish schoolhouse tragedy. The reports given by Amish ministers were faster and more reliable than the regular news media. In November 2010 there were an average of 6000 calls per day to the Amish Mennonite Conference Line.

Author(s) Amos B Hoover
Date Published November 2010

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hoover, Amos B. "Amish Mennonite Conference Line." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2010. Web. 21 May 2022.

APA style

Hoover, Amos B. (November 2010). Amish Mennonite Conference Line. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2022, from

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