Sunday, August 03, 2008


Two Church of the Brethren youth were baptized in the Eder River in Schwarzenau in the late afternoon, following the closing worship service of the 300th Anniversary weekend. Lauren Knepp and John Michael Knepp--who are sister and brother--were part of a tour group from the United States led by Dana Statler of Lancaster, Pa., and were traveling with their family.

Through their baptisms, the two have become members of a Church of the Brethren congregation in Everett, Pa.

“They wanted to be baptized,” Statler said, adding that their families gave agreement to the ceremony prior to the trip. Statler, who is associate pastor of Brethren Village in Lititz, Pa., decided to perform the service after receiving permission from the pastor of the Everett church, and after contacting the planning committees for the Schwarzenau events.

Otto Marburger, a co-coordinator of the Schwarzenau Celebration Committee, lent his pasture along the river as the place for the baptism. Marburger even got up early this morning to mow and trim a tree in order to prepare the site.

“From my perspective as a pastor, to baptize someone in the Eder River is an honor,” Statler said.

He added, however, “The important thing is the decision, not the place. It’s not just a show in Schwarzenau, it’s a decision.”

Following the baptism of the two youth, two more men entered the water to experience re-baptism in the waters of the Eder. Standing knee deep in the water for prayer, each man then baptized the other.

An invitation to the baptisms had been issued during the afternoon Anniversary Program, and they were witnessed by a small crowd gathered on each side of the river, many with cameras in hand. As the baptismal candidates rose from the river water, after prayer, the Brethren responded with applause.

Source: 08/03/2008 Newsline Special from Schwarzenau, Germany

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