BLUFFTON – The Bluffton/Pandora Swiss Community Historical Society Christmas Open House, “Christmas at the Homestead” will be on December 12, from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the Schumacher Homestead. The public is invited to tour the decorated 1843 house while snacking on homemade treats and listening to songs of the season. Guests can watch food being prepared in the fireplace, hand dip a candle, play a game of checkers, shop in the gift shop and chat with staff about the history of the house and typical life in the 1840’s. Guests arriving at dusk will be able to see the house lit by candles much as it would have been in the 1843.
Local holiday musical heritage includes the legacy of David Rothen, the Swiss settlement’s German schoolteacher who arrived in the Bluffton/ Pandora area in 1838 with his wife Barbara. Rothen was a well-known composer, and he wrote two New Year songs in Swiss that people in Mennonite and UCC churches still remember. At 3:00 at the open house Professor Gerald Mast will give an introduction to this unique historical gem by telling the story of the life and work of David Rothen. Following Mast’s introduction, there will be a sing-along rehearsal for New Year’s caroling that happens each year at the Mennonite Memorial Home. Sheet music will be provided. The Swiss Community Historical Society will go New Year’s caroling, at 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31), starting in the lobby of Mennonite Memorial Home, 410 W. Elm Street in Bluffton. All are welcome to join in.
Author Perry Bush will do a reading and sign copies of his newly released book Peace, Progress, and the Professor: The Mennonite History of C. Henry Smith at 4 p.m. Bush chronicles Smith’s childhood in an Illinois farming community, his youthful turn toward intellectual inquiry, and his confidence that Anabaptist faith and life offer gifts to the wider world. Bush argues that Smith’s body of historical writing furnished a new generation of Mennonites with both an understanding of their shared past and the tools to navigate an ever-shifting present. The society will feature its display of local history and Anabaptist resource books, DVDs and T-Shirts for sale at the open house.
Schedule of programs in the parlor:
- 1 p.m. Bluffton High School Fiddlers
- 2 p.m. Dulcimer concert
- 3 p.m. New Years Carols
- 4 p.m. Reading and Book signing by Perry Bush
- 5 p.m. The Conkers; carols from the old world by candlelight
The event is free to the public, but donations will be gratefully accepted. The Schumacher Homestead is located at 8350 Bixel Road, Bluffton.