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Being as certain men in the congregation have natural musical talent, they come to learn the melodies over the years and may emerge as one of the song leaders or "vorsingers." When a hymn is sung, one of these men will lead it, and he begins singing each line.
These Christians, hunted down by both Protestants and Catholics, were usually imprisoned if they did not recant their beliefs. Most of the melodies originated in sacred or secular folk songs and Gregorian chants of the times.
In this series, we look at these customs as they are observed among the Lancaster County Amish. The geographic area where the Amish live is divided into church districts for this purpose.
Since church services are held in homes, not in a church building, each family normally hosts church about once a year.
There are more comfortable chairs for some of the older members and the ministers. (We will devote our second article in this series to the music at church services.) There are usually three to seven preachers and bishops at a service.
These men retire to a room during the singing to decide who will be preaching the two sermons that day. Since people may be seated in different rooms, the ministers may move about somewhat as they preach.