Stillwater News Press


December 4, 2009

German Advent service mixes culture and faith

• Service conducted in German for more than 25 years

Culture and faith come together this weekend at the German Advent service at 7 p.m. Sunday at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 101 S. Duck.

The service is conducted entirely in German with five hymns sung from Advent and Christmas selections including Stille Nacht, the original version of Silent Night and the Advent hymn Wachet Auf (sleeper awake for the night is flying by), service coordinator Dorothy Schrader said.

A reception coordinated by Dorothy Johnson afterward will feature authentic German food.

Schrader said a lot of native Germans in the area often attend the event.

“It’s somewhat of a nostalgic trip back in time for the Germans who now live in Oklahoma and grew up in various parts of Germany or grew up in the USA listening to their parents speak German in the household,” Schrader said.

Pastor Martin Reppenhagen of Greifswald, Germany wrote the sermon, which will be read by Oklahoma State University foreign language Professor Karin Schestokat, a native German, Schrader said.

Dr. Richard Hartman will deliver the liturgy, OSU history Professor Jason Lavery will deliver the welcome address and Pastor Sally Houck will read the gospel of the day.

Other speakers include OSU foreign language Professor John te Velde, Douglas Hale and Keith Schmidt.

The German music includes performances by vocalist Valerie Kisling and organist Krystal Hennessey.

The service has an English guide for non-German speakers, and about 85 people usually attend the event, Schrader said.

She said the church has conducted the event for more than 25 years.

Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church was began by German Lutheran immigrants from Ukraine, Russia in 1892, according to the church Web site.

Schrader said that during the mid-80s, the German Advent service was resurrected and conducted ever since.

The church’s original services were in German but gradually were conducted more often in English as the congregation learned the language.

“I always tell my students about it since it’s something in German in Stillwater, which we don’t have a lot of. It also draws other German speakers in Stillwater and even from a greater radius from places around town,” Schestokat said. “For some people, it’s one of the few times to get together and speak German together. It’s fairly well-known now for Germans in town.”

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