Tamera Lynn Kraft
In the 1770s, Moravian missionaries moved to Ohio from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to settle a village called Schoenbrunn which means Beautiful Spring. Their goal was to bring the Gospel to the Delaware Indians. After the Delaware would convert to Christianity, they moved into Schoenbrunn. Within a year, the village grew so large, they started another settlement and Gnadenhutten.
Schoenbrunn, in many ways, was ahead of its time. The settlers of the village, including the Delaware, created their own code of conduct and opened a school. The school taught both boys and girls when other colonial schools at the time only accepted boys. The students learned to read both English and Lenape out of a Bible that was translated in the Lenape language.
The Moravians built a church there with painting on the walls of Biblical scenes. They used these painting to teach about the Bible. They had church every morning and twice on Sunday. On special occasions they would have Lovefeasts where they served coffee, juice, and sweet buns. The Christmas Eve Lovefeasts were the most special because the Moravians were the first to have Christmas Eve candlelight services.
The settlement only lasted a few years. When the Revolutionary War broke out, British troops suspected the Moravians of giving information to the colonial army. These charges against them were true. After a time, they moved to protect themselves from reprisals.
Schoenbrunn Village is still open today for visitors and tourists to learn about some of the earliest missionaries in America.
In November, my Christmas novella called A Christmas Promise is due to be released by Harbourlight Press in e-book format as part of their Christmas Extravaganza.