Saturday, September 27, 2014

Road Scholar: Lifestyles of Faith in Lancaster County

Note:  This travelog is presented in four parts.  Two posts are about the Road Scholar courses we attended.  One post is about the travel discoveries before, between, and after those courses. One post is about family history.  

Lancaster Market 
Here is the official description of the second Road Scholar course on our fall trip. 

The course of study was learning about the faith groups who settled in central Pennsylvania.  Prof. Brinton Rutherford provided an excellent overview of the Anabaptists (Amish, Mennonites, Brethren, and Hutterites) and other Protestants and dissenters (Moravians and Quakers).  Brinton teaches theology at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and University.  He kept the historical roots untangled so we could keep the denominations straight.
·         Anabaptist means “rebaptized,” meaning that the early believers (who were baptized as infants) had to be baptized as adults to be church members. (The German and Swiss governments wanted infant baptisms as a way to document citizens and thus to levy taxes.) Nowadays Anabaptist denominations practice believer-baptism (age 12/13 and up).
·         The Mennonites came to the colonies in 1683. The Amish arrived in 1693.
·         Most Amish are Old Order.  There are varieties of Mennonites, from Old Order (fewest) to conservative (more) to progressive (most).
·         The Amish are in the world, but not of the world.

Ephrata Cloister 
We had field trips each day in glorious early autumn weather.  

·         Ephrata, site of the Ephrata Cloister.   Founded in 1732, the original members were celibate pacifists who anticipated the imminent Second Coming.  In the 19th century married members could join and the church became known as German Seventh-Day Baptists.  The Cloister consists of the restored buildings of the original colony. 
·         Lititz, founded by Moravians. The denomination was established by Jan Hus in the early 15th century in what is now the Czech Republic.  Moravians came to the colonies in the early 18th century (1735 in Savannah; 1741 in Bethlehem, PA).  The church building in Lititz was consecrated in 1787.  The congregation is active today, with over 600 members. (There are 65,000 Moravians in 162 US congregatioins, and 650,000 Moravians worldwide.)
·         A guided walking tour of historic downtown Lancaster (pop. 60,000).
·         A shopping trip in the heart of Pa. Dutch tourist kitsch.  [I went to Zook’s and bought fabric. But not much. ]
·         A tour of Lancaster County farmland with a Mennonite (born Old Order Amish) guide.
quilt display at Family Farm Quilts 
·         Dinner at an Old Order Amish farmhouse.   Chicken and dressing, mashed potatoes, creamed corn and lima beans, egg noodles, and pie for dessert.  The daughter and granddaughters served us.  The house was big and, well, plain. All the furniture was utilitarian.  The Amish do have electricity, provided by diesel generators.  I had to use the bathroom and it was just….a bathroom.  [One telephone serves several families and is kept in a phone booth at the end of a driveway.]  The grandchildren sang for us after dinner – in English.  (This Little Light of Mine; If You’re Happy and You know It; I’ve Got the Joy Joy Joy Joy.)   We got up close to a buggy – with brake lights, emergency flashers, and windshield wipers (and a pricetag of $6000).  We could take pictures of the children but not the adults.
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!


Amish big wheels

Hans Herr House
·         A tour of the Hans Herr House, built in 1719 and the oldest Mennonite house in Lancaster Co.
Stevens and Stevens
·         Underground Railroad sites in Lancaster Co., including Thaddeus Stevens’ house in downtown Lancaster.  (Thaddeus was a cousin several times removed.) 

·         Wheatlands, the home of President James Buchanan.  We did not know much about him but after seeing his house we are much better informed.  He was a career statesman (representative, senator, ambassador) criticized for a too-soft stance on secession (Lincoln was elected in 1860 but Buchanan was in office until March, 1861). He never married. His niece was his hostess and the term “first lady” was coined for her.
Black Rock Retreat is a Christian camp and conference center in the small town of Quarryville southeast of Lancaster, PA.   Our quarters were modern, motel-style, though the room had a double bed and two twin beds.  There was no television on the premises. (We did not miss it, but I did notice its absence.) Our meals were served cafeteria-style in the dining hall. The food was bountiful and very good.

There were 39 people in the group from as far as southern California and Nova Scotia and as close Pittsburgh.  One man had attended more than 90 RS/Elderhostels and there were a couple of newbies. This was our 30th Road Scholar program and we enjoyed it very much.  We say that about each RS, and we mean it!  RS provides expert-led instruction to enhance touring. Even as we reflect on what we learned in Lancaster Co. we are already considering what trip to take next.

 We twisted pretzels one evening!

Black Rock Retreat sunrise 

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