Friday, May 7, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010. Swiss Mennonite History Frieldtrip

Wednesday, May 5, 2010. Sandra. Swiss Mennonite History Fieldtrip. Whoever thought we'd spend this type of quality time with Sven years ago when he came to stay with us? This is a rich experience. Today we had the awesome privilege of being brought to a bridge site and a cave site where the anabaptists (Tauber) met years ago in secret. Dieter Pierre, a Mennonite historian brought us to these sites. During the afternoon we had the privilege of being hosted by Margaret and Michelle Ummel and being shown the Swiss Mennonite archives in one of their chapelles. The evening was spent with Sven at our apartment, sharing an evening meal together. The hospitality is a terrific example for us. Let me explain some highlights of the events of the day. The weather was condusive to staying indoors - 2 C and rain and snow! Our layer underwear and thicker jackets needed to come out once again - reluctantly. Oh well! C'est la Vie! (such is life!) My journal is filled with mennonite history notes, but I'll pick out a few items. In both the bridge and the cave, the Tauber would meet to support each other, to exchange notes, resources, to worship and sing. These were considered essential to the continuing of the belief of the anabaptist view of life. Presently there is a project to restore and protect the bridge. 1733 was the date inscribed in the rock. In the cave, the year 1776 was inscribed in the rock. It is a challenge to transport ones mind to the past and imagine what life might have been like. Dieter Pierre was terrific to be with. He had so much information to explain. He used German, but I think French would have been just as easy for him. He explained how a film was created a few years ago where a choir was put together to sing in the bridge site and in the cave. The beautiful sound of the choir was inspiring to him. I can only imagine. The four of us sang in the cave and it was interesting. We had a challenge finding the address for our lunch invitation. Our GPS does not understand these unique Swiss addresses, where the house address of 28 is next to 5a. But finally we found the correct address and enjoyed a meal of lasagna, salad, and fruit salad. Margaret and Michelle Ummel are so hospitable. Michelle then drove us to one of the many Mennonite chapelles to show us the archives. Two highlights include the document of 1711, declaring that all Tauber are to leave the area, and the drawing of Felix Manx (hopefully I have the correct name) from the Martyrs Mirror book. First, the document of 1711 was amazing to see. I cannot imagine the fear that this would have instilled. There were Tauberjager - anabaptist hunters - instructed to hunt down these people who were going against the Roman Catholic church. Next, the drawing of Felix Manx. He had escaped from prison, ran away from a 'police' who fell threw the ice. Felix then rescued this police from the ice. Surprisingly, Felix was still burned at the stake after this. Michelle Ummel has a way of explaining the history in a way that gives it life. He also has a sense of humour and hope that rises above the difficulties which the ancestors experienced.
We met Sven for the evening. He wanted to take us to a 'hut' and build a fire and roast an evening meal. But it was 2 C, raining and snowing and so we suggested to eat in our warm apartment. We had a terrific time together, enjoying wonderful cheese, bread, specialty duck and salmon meat that Sven bought, wine and vegetables. We talked, reminisced, and laughed together - English, German, French. This was a full day!

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