Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The vacation continues...

Saturday night, we had another family gathering. There were cousins, and aunts and uncles, and grandparents. There was birthday cake (hooray!) and tons of delicious home cookin'. There was catching up to do, and stories to tell, and lots of laughing, and there were presents and games for the kids.

Four siblings

These are all of Grandma's granddaughters and great granddaughters. (And if you look closely, you'll see Grady standing behind me, because he insisted on being in the girls picture.)
And then all of the kids gathered together to be entranced by Ratatouille.
Sunday Best...
Sunday morning, our host family was off to church, dressed in their Sunday best. I must confess, I was totally snapping pictures through the window.
 This is the only picture of the father of the family, Steve.

Some things I have learned about their church:
-They do "home church", which means that the 25 families in their church rotate from home to home each week. (This week, they went to the farm next door, so they walked.)
-There is a "bench buggy" that brings enough benches for all the people, to the host family's house. The benches are set up to make two sides, with an aisle down the middle.
-Our friends hosted church a few weeks ago (something I would have LOVED to be here to see), and they held the service from their carriage house. (Which is what we would call a garage. It's where they keep the buggies.
-The bishop lead the service, and it is entirely spoken in German and Pennsylvania Dutch.
-When the families arrive at the host family's house, the men gather in the barn, and the women gather in the living room or in the kitchen, until everyone has arrived. At that time, the men file in to church in order of age. The eldest go first, and sit in the front, on one side of the room. After the men, the women file in, in order of age, and sit on the opposite side of the room. The children under age nine, stay with their parents (either mom or dad), and the children older than nine, file in order of age.
-The bishop is chosen by drawing lots, and then by votes. They have no formal, pastoral training.
-They enjoy singing hymns, both in English and in German. They sing in unison and acapella (with no harmonies, and no instruments).
-The entire service takes about three hours.
-After the service, they all enjoy lunch together, and play games, such as baseball.

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