Social Meetings

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One aspect of revivalism and Pietism in North America and Europe was the development of prayer meetings, revival services (protracted meetings), "testimony" ("experience") meetings, hymn sings, missionary conventions, and other assemblies alongside traditional Sunday morning worship services. Most early 19th-century Mennonites and Amish resisted such meetings as they resisted the revivalistic movements in general. With the acceptance of revivalism, Sunday schools, and prayer meetings among the more acculturated Mennonite groups, opposition to social meetings and evening meetings faded. Since Mennonites and Amish have acculturated at varied rates, social meetings, evening meetings, hymn sings, and Bible study groups were divisive issues for groups as diverse as the Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference (Rudnerweider Mennonites) and the Old Order Amish in the mid and late 20th century. Even as this was happening, some congregations among the more acculturated groups in North America (Mennonite Church, General Conference Mennonite Church, etc.) had begun, by the 1980s, to abandon the revival meetings, prayer meetings, and Sunday evening church services they accepted in the early 20th century. This trend gave rise to criticism from members for whom these aspects of evangelical revivalism had become part of "traditional" Mennonite life since the 19th century.


Wittlinger, Carlton O. Quest for Piety and Obedience: the Story of the Brethren in Christ. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Press, 1978: 82.

Epp, Frank H. Mennonites in Canada, 1920-1940: a People's Struggle for Survival. Toronto: Macmillan, 1982: 427-29.

Hostetler, John A. Amish Society. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1980: 280-83, 399-304, 344-45.

Author(s) Dennis D Martin
Date Published 1989

Cite This Article

MLA style

Martin, Dennis D. "Social Meetings." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 17 Nov 2018.

APA style

Martin, Dennis D. (1989). Social Meetings. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 November 2018, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 834. All rights reserved.

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