Church history chronicled at Trinity
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Portraying woman throughout the history of the church during a skit titled "Katie, Anna, and Me ... So Who Are You ?" are, from left, Dr. Jean Godsall-Myers as Katharina von Bora, Linda Beck as Anna Maria Weiser Muhlenberg, and Amy Schenberger as the modern day woman. The skit was presented by the Women of the ELCA at Trinity Lutheran Church, Bowmanstown.
The Women of the ELCA, Hazleton/Lehighton Cluster presented a skit about 500 years of church history from the 1500s to the present day this past weekend at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bowmanstown.
Their presentation, titled "Katie, Anna, and Me ... So Who Are You?", chronicled the history of the church from a woman's point of view and was attended by 32 women and men.
The three characters featured in the skit were Katharina von Bora, the wife of Martin Luther; Anna Maria Weiser Muhlenberg, the wife of Henry Melcior Muhlenberg; and a modern day woman of the year 2011.
Katharina von Bora is one of the most significant women in church history who, following her mother's death, was placed in a convent school when she was 5 years old.
She took her vows at the age of 16 and escaped the cloister with 11 other nuns in fish barrels when she was 24 years old.
She met and later married Martin Luther at the age of 26 and they had six children, four lived to be adults. They also raised four orphans.
Katharina took care of the vegetable garden, orchard, fishpond, and barnyard animals, served as a nurse to her husband and family, and was a teacher.
She was portrayed by the program's author Dr. Jean Godsall-Myers.
Anna Maria Weiser Muhlenberg was a daughter of a famous Pennsylvania diplomat Conrad Weiser.
Conrad Weiser was an intermediary between colonial governors and Indians and was a key figure with treaty negotiations and land purchases.
There's a parallel to this historical figure in that the Gnaden Huetten massacre occurred Nov. 24, 1755, both Conrad and Anna were alive when this unfortunate event took place.
Anna married Henry Melcior Muhlenberg in 1745 when he was 34 years old and she was 18.
They had 11 children, four died as infants.
Their children went on to play lead roles in society.
Linda Beck portrayed Anna Maria.
The third actor was a modern-day woman, Amy Schenkenberger, a member of the host church.
Dr. Godsall-Myers is a wife, mother, and grandmother and is currently a member of Advent Lutheran Church, Old Goshenhoppen in Harleysville. She has been a college professor, instructor of German language and literature.
She and her husband have been co-directors at the Wittenberg Center, where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the Castle Church in Germany. Their positions were terminated due to budget cuts.
Officers of the Hazleton/Lehighton Cluster of the Women of the ELCA are co-coordinators Josephine Rhyder and Mary Ann Hazel, members of Trinity Lutheran Church, Lehighton.
The recorder was Kathy Heller, a member of St. John's-in-the-Heights in Jim Thorpe. The hostess was Barbara Solliday, president of the Women of the ELCA at Trinity.