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September 2019

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A Traveling History Museum Comes to Marion Mennonite Church

Wednesday September 11, 2019
(One Day Only)
Doors Open at 6:00 pm

The normal admission charge of $25 will be waived for the first 500 entrants!

An Invitation to the congregation of Marion Mennonite Church, the supporters of the Mennonite Historical Association of the Cumberland Valley, and others (all are welcome),

Come and see what your church historian and your local church historical organization have been doing lately. And let me tell you, this is not ho-hum, business as usual. Some of these things are very rare and blow-your-mind old! New accessions include:

1. The largest book printed in colonial America – 1748 Ephrata Martyrs Mirror. The combined effort of 15 men for 3 years.

2. The most beautiful Bible, loved by Anabaptists – 1545 Froschauer/Zrich/Zwingli Bible, illustrated by tons of woodcut drawings. This Bible has a long, unique, and very interesting story.

3. Real paper money printed by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia in 1764, complete with the warning “TO COUNTERFEIT IS DEATH”!

4. A 1702 original map of the Beautiful Rhine Valley, produced by Italian mapmakers. Framed and in excellent condition. We’ll look for ancestral villages for some of the old Cumberland Valley Mennonite families.

5. An 1800 fraktur (folk art) drawing of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Does any Bible story communicate so deeply the heart of God? (This is only a reproduction. Sorry, I tried to buy the original, but couldn’t come up with $22,500 on the spot!)

6. A real 1800’s beaverskin top hat (the kind worn by A. Lincoln). This one was worn by a Mennonite man, possibly on his wedding day.

7. Two pages from the Book of Hours - a drawing of King David playing the harp and some Latin text, hand drawn/written/decorated in gold leaf by a scribe in the late 1400s or early 1500s

8. A rare 1790s decorated blanket chest, with probable Marion Mennonite connections

9. Two printings (1821 and 1830) of the Franklin Harmony, a singing school songbook printed in Chambersburg, similar to the Harmonia Sacra from Virginia. These rare books have been forgotten locally, but have recently caught the attention of some scholarly researchers.

10. A nail and splinter from Jesus’ cross (Whoops, sorry, I got a little carried away with this one.)

In addition to these “new” items, I will bring some old treasures:

11. Beautiful fraktur (folk art) drawings from the 1850s by Maria Lesher, a Marion Mennonite artist and ancestor of some 2019 Marion Mennonites.

12. A floorplan drawing of the 1820 Browns Mill Mennonite Meetinghouse, the predecessor of Marion Mennonite Church. This is the oldest floorplan drawing of any Mennonite meetinghouse/church building in North America. (Yes! – we finally got one over on Franconia and Lancaster!)

13. The Civil War exemption letter for Frederick Shank, written by Bishop Peter Eshleman. Both Frederick Shank and Peter Eshleman have numerous descendants in Marion Mennonite Church today.

14. An original vorschrift (handwriting sampler) written by Michael Hege, Marion Mennonite deacon in the mid-latter 1800s.

15. A coverlet made by Rebecca Weaver, before she married Michael Hege, in the mid-1800s.

I plan to introduce these items one-by-one, giving explanation and background story. You will be able to see each item up-close and in-person. Allow about one to one and a half hours.

I hope to see you on the 11th.
​​​​​​​​Linden A. Showalter
​​​​​​​​Historian for Marion Mennonite Church
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"God, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You called us into being and have shaped us by your hand. Through the circumstances of life, times of long dryness, times if intense fire, times if immeasurable blessing, you have been at work in many amazing ways. Thank you that we are your workmanship.
Lord l, help us to be faithful to the work you are calling us to do, today and everyday and throughout all seasons of our lives. Here we are, made by you, ready for your use. Amen."

Several weeks back, a group of our ladies gathered together to for a day retreat "We are Clay in the Potter's Hands". While watching clay being worked with and creating their own pieces, the ladies learned about the parallels between the physical workings of pottery making with God's faithfulness in shaping our lives.

Check out some sneak peaks of their finished products! Ladies your pieces will be available for pickup at church on Sunday!
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