Inspirationism, the belief God still speaks to his followers through Werkzeuge’s. Werkzeuge’s were people whom God spoke through (“Amana Colonies Most Frequently Asked Questions”). This was the belief of the German-speaking European settlers who came to the United States and created the Amana Colony (United States). The Amana Colony like many minorities faced an abundant amount of hardship getting to where they are today. To begin, the Amana Colony was a group of German settlers who belonged to a religious group known as the Community of True Inspiration.
The Community of True Inspiration dates back to Himbach, Germany in 1714. Johann Friedrich Rock and Eberhard Ludwig Gruber, who were seeking a more meaningful religious experience than they thought the church of that day provided, created the group. In creating the group, they started the movement known as Pietism, which was the increasing desire to return to the basics of Christianity. Rock and Gruber believed that religion was a personal experience, and they emphasized sincere humility and the earnest study of the Bible. The two also believed that God spoke through the Old Testament and through Werkzeuge’s (United States).
Werkzeuge’s were the people who were instruments that God spoke through (“Amana Colonies Most Frequently Asked Questions”). The first two Werkzeuge’s were Rock and Gruber; however, once the two passed away there were no longer any Werkzeuge’s. The Inspirationists declined to perform any type of military duty, take state-required oaths, or to send their children to church schools. This caused the congregations to be in almost constant conflict with the Protestant church and government. The members were often punished with fines, imprisonment, and public beatings (United States).
Next, the deaths of Rock and Gruber caused an extreme decline in the Community of True Inspiration. In 1817; however, Michael Krauset, Barbara Heinenmann, and Christian Metz revived the Community. They revived the Community in Hesse- Darmstadt in Germany. The group continued to face adversity, so in Septamber1842 Christian Metz led the groups relocation to America. The group’s first settlement was in western New York, near Buffalo. The settlement was called the Ebenezer settlement, which means, “Hitherto hath the lord helped us. ”
Later in 1846 the group established a permanent communal system. Wanting mo ore land the group headed west to lowa in 1854, where they created six villages (United States). A seventh village was created in 1861 in order to gain access to the railroad (“History of Amana Colonies – Towa Tourist Attractions”). Following the successful creation of the colonies, a great change came upon the group in 1932. A large fire burned down many buildings in the community. The fire caused people to leave the community to find jobs and to get a higher education. Finally on June 1, 1932, the community abandoned the communal life, which was later known as, “The Great Change” (“Amana Colonies Most Frequently Asked Questions”).
That same year the community established the Amana Society, Inc. to help bring in income to the community. The profit-sharing corporation helped manage the farmland, the mills, and the larger enterprises (“History of Amana Colonies – lowa Tourist Attractions”). Later in 1965 the US Department of the Interior declared the Amana Colonies as National Historic Landmarks, with over 475 historic buildings and sites (“Amana Colonies Most Frequently Asked Questions”). Next, the structure of each village is the same for each of the Amana Colonies.
First the word Amana comes from the Bible and means “remain true” or “believe faithfully. ” When the Community came over there was approximately 800 people. The seven different villages were Amana, West Amana, South Amana, High Amana East Amana, Middle Amana, and Homestead (“Amana Colonies Most Frequently Asked Questions”). Each village originally contained mills, shops, homes, communal kitchens, schools, and churches (United States). Today there is also one main road used for shops, farm building at the edge of villages, and large residences that house severl families in apartments.
The daycare in each village was called “Kindserschule” (“Amana Colonies Most Frequently Asked Questions”). Churches in the community were located in the center of each village. The churches had no stained glass windows, no steeple, or spires (“History of Amana Colonies – lowa Tourist Attractions”). Furthermore, the culture of the Amana Colonies is similar and different to the normal American culture. For example, the community would supply housing, food, education, job, and medical care to each of its members. Both boys and girls go to school; however Amana Colonist children only go through 8th grade.
If the community needs a doctor, pharmacist, dentist, or teacher, the elders of the community will pay for the student to study outside of the community. Another fact on the schools in the Amana Colony is that their schools are a part of the lowa public school system. They do, however have an extra school day on Saturday so that religion can be taught (“Amana Colonies Most Frequently Asked Questions”). After the children finish their schooling boys usually assigned jobs on a farm or in craft shops, and women were assigned a job in the communal kitchen or garden (“History of Amana Colonies – Iowa Tourist Attractions”).
An adult in the community would receive a certain amount of credit each year to purchase items that are not supplied by the community (“Amana Colonies Most Frequently Asked Questions”). The community made its money mainly by farming and from the production of wool and calico (“History of Amana Colonies – Iowa Tourist Attractions”). Finally, the only major factor that separated the Community of True Inspiration from the regular Christian church was that they believed in inspirationism. Besides the major difference, there are little things they do differently. For example men and women sit on different sides of the church.
Women also wear black shawls and aprons as signs of humility and equality. The church is also not run by a priest or a pastor, instead elders ran it. The elders of the church were people who were asked or chosen to lead the spiritual community (“Amana Colonies Most Frequently Asked Questions”). Another example of a little thing the church does differently is that the church is not decked out in fancy items such as stain glass windows, spires, etc. , instead the church is plain to represent simplicity and humility (“History of Amana Colonies – lowa Tourist Attractions”).