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Bethel College to present German Advent service

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College German and music departments will present Deutsche Weihnachten, a German Advent service, at 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 7 in Bethel College Mennonite Church on the Bethel College campus in North Newton. Admission is free and open to the public. Presented entirely in German, the service will include candlelighting, scripture readings, a meditation, traditional German carol singing and service music by Bethel College choirs and instrumentalists. This is the 19th year for Deutsche Weihnachten at Bethel, according to German professor Merle Schlabaugh.

"Deutsche Weihnachten has become an important tradition at Bethel College," Schlabaugh says. "Every year a large audience, representing many religious and ethnic traditions, join together in celebrating the Advent season through music, readings and a meditation, all presented in German. For many participants this service is a tie to their homeland, their childhood, or some other life experience and becomes an important part of their Christmas celebration."

Allison Penner, a senior German and computer science major from West Chester, Ohio, will present the meditation. Penner studied in Germany during her junior year.

Scripture readers will include Mareen Bulert, junior from Wuppertal, Germany; Nicole Polte, junior from Breckerfeld, Germany; Susanne Karschnia, junior from Marburg, Germany; Margaret Penner, junior from West Chester, Ohio; Michael McKitrick, senior from Brandon, Fla; and Johann Reimer, sophomore from Reedley, Calif.

Bethel College Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, Men’s Ensemble and college instrumentalists will perform German Advent and Christmas works. Organist Karen Bauman Schlabaugh, professor of music, will also perform. Choir director is William Eash, professor of music.

Musical selections on the program include "Zion hört" by J.S. Bach, "Es flog ein Täublein weiße" by Johannes Brahms, "Joseph lieber, Joseph mein" by Sethus Calvisius, "Macht hoch die Tür" by Wolfgang Lüderitz, and "Rorate" by Franz Biebl.

An offering will be taken for Mennonite Central Committee hunger relief or disaster relief projects.

A reception of German Christmas goodies will follow in the church fellowship hall. The church, located at 27th and College Avenue in North Newton, is handicapped accessible.

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