The Kämmerli (or in some Pennsylvania-German congregations "Schtüvli," and known in English as the "anteroom") is the small room inside and near the entrance to many Mennonite or Amish Mennonite meetinghouses, formerly more common than now since the change from a plural to single ministry makes the room now unnecessary. It is usually the room at the right, another at the left being reserved for mothers caring for their infants. The Kämmerli provides a meeting place for the ministers before the opening of the regular worship service. Here they plan for the morning service—who is to read the Scripture, who is to preach. On occasion they also discuss disciplinary problems before entering the auditorium to begin the service. Another function of the Kämmerli is to serve as a place for taking the counsel of the congregation. After explaining the matter on which the ministers desire the counsel, advice, or opinion of the members, they retire to this room while the members come in one by one to report their wishes. The Kämmerli also is used for the half-hour instruction period for the class being prepared for baptism. The instruction periods usually begin in late winter and continue until summer. In Old Order Amish congregations which hold their services in a private home the ministers usually use an upstairs room for these purposes. The use of the Kämmerli gradually declined at the turn of the century in those congregations which adopted the open counsel. It then became a cloakroom and Sunday-school classroom. A similar function was performed by the Ohm Stübchen in the Dutch, North German, and Russian Mennonite groups.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 141. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Umble, John S. "Kämmerli." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K355.html.
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