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Annual German Advent service set for Dec. 3 at Bethel

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Students and faculty in Bethel College’s German and music departments will present the annual Deutsche Weihnachten (German Advent) service on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. in the Bethel College Mennonite Church.

This will be the 22nd annual Deutsche Weihnachten. Professor of German Merle Schlabaugh organized the first such service in 1985. He says that a special invitation is extended to high school German teachers in the area to bring their students as well as German-speaking foreign exchange students, since the entire service takes place in the German language.

The traditional German Advent service will include candle lighting, Scripture readings, a meditation, traditional German carol singing and service music by Bethel College choirs and ensembles.

Lisa Strate, junior from Wuppertal, Germany, will present a brief meditation. German majors from various states and countries will read Scripture – Djordje Maricic, junior from Belgrade, Serbia; Miriam Friesen, senior from Paoli, Ind.; Braden Hiebner, senior from Hampton, Neb.; Miriam Regier, junior from Newton; Joshua Clinkscales, junior from Hays; Grant Hiebner, sophomore from Hampton, Neb.; and Sonja Mann, junior from Mettmann, Germany.

Members of the Bethel College Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus and Men’s Ensemble and college instrumentalists under the direction of William Eash, professor of music, will perform German Advent and Christmas works. Professor of music Karen Bauman Schlabaugh will serve as organist, with the organ prelude beginning about 15 minutes before the service.

Choral works include, among others, “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt” by Heinrich Schütz, “Heilig ist der Herr” by Franz Schubert, “Freut euch, ihr lieben Christen” by Wolfgang Luderitz, “O Heiland reiss die Himmel auf” by Arnold Mendelssohn and several selections from The Messiah by Georg Friedrich Händel.

Deutsche Weihnachten is free and open to the public. There will be an offering taken for the work of Mennonite Central Committee in hunger or war relief.

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

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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