What is a ‘Circle Letter’?

Do you know what a 'Circle Letter' is?

The Amish tend to have very large families because they believe a large family is a divine blessing. As the Amish grow older and marry, it is likely that in order to find enough land to farm and jobs for that many new church members, many of your siblings will be scattered across the country. There are settlements in many more states than most people think. At last count, we had provided healthcare supplies to Amish in at least 23 states and Canada. Most Amish, however not all, still have no telephone in their home so they depend heavily on the US Postal Service for routine and recreational communications with family members in distant places.

Many Amish families have ongoing chain letters called ‘circle letters’. Circle letters have no remembered beginning or end. We witnessed tremendous excitement and hours of reading pleasure when the circle letter would return to its Amish participant. You tear off the last page, which is the last edition you contributed, and read 7-14 new letters added by your far-flung siblings. Once you have enjoyed all of the news and familiar humor from their homes, you get out your pen and write a new page or two about the current events in your home. Your letter goes on top and heads to the person who is now at the back of the stack so that the ‘circle’ is completed once more. Many of these circle letters continue throughout the life of the siblings and just shrink a little at a time the older they get. I once witnessed a circle letter between 2 remaining 80 plus year old sisters!!! They had once been part of a nine-member circle, and yet they kept it going as one after another passed into eternity. Nothing replaces the printed word. I don’t think anything ever will. Thus, explains the phenomenon known as texting in our current culture. Why would we enjoy typing little notes to each other when it would save so much time to just make a phone call?



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