Peter Hoehnle


In 2014 the Amana Church Society will celebrate its three-hundredth anniversary. Of the large American communal societies visited by Charles Nordhoff for his book, The Communistic Societies of the United States, published in 1874, the Inspirationists of Amana are the only group besides the Shakers that still exists as a religious organization.

The Amana Church Society remains an active and vital part of the Amana community. Adult membership stands at approximately 375 people. Ten lay elders conduct regular weekly worship services and special services, and officiate at funerals and weddings. My wife, Elly, and I approach the Amana Church Society from different perspectives. She was raised a Lutheran and became a member as an adult. I was born into this tradition in 1974. I offer this brief essay as my impressions of what remains a vital faith community.

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