Jun 25



“Candlelight at Christ Church,” one of Gettysburg’s best kept secrets, is a very informative and entertaining contribution to our community. This free, historical (not religious) program is offered on Saturday evenings. Visitors can sit in the building that was a Civil War hospital during the battle. They hear stories about what the soldiers and citizens experienced, and also songs from the period. This view was taken facing east at approximately 6:30 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church is the oldest structure in Gettysburg continuously used as a Church. It was founded in 1835 to be the English speaking Lutheran Church in Gettysburg (St. James Lutheran Church, in existence since 1789, conducted its services in German), and to be the primary assembly hall for the Lutheran Theological Seminary and for Pennsylvania (Gettysburg) College. In our first post, Pastor Stephen R. Herr and Dr. Conrad B. Richter showed us some exterior parts of the structure and the narthex. In our second post, we saw some of the nave, or central part of the church, and we discussed the church’s roll during the battle. In our third post we looked at a picture of West Point’s Class of 1915 sitting on the steps of Christ Lutheran, observed some stained glass windows, and stood in the church area used as an operating room during and immediately following the Battle of Gettysburg. In our fourth post we learned about the church bell. In our fifth post we showed some panoramas from the Christ Lutheran Cupola. In today’s post we give a sample of the songs and stories from the summer program “Candlelight at Christ Church, Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital.”



Paster Stephen R. Herr was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Gettysburg College, where he majored in history, and from Gettysburg’s Lutheran Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from the Seminary, he served as pastor of Hebron Evangelical Lutheran Church in Blairsville, Pennsylvania. In 1999 he became pastor at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Gettysburg. He is married and has two sons. Pastor Herr is standing in the balcony at Christ Lutheran and the performers for “Candlelight at Christ Church” are preparing in the background. This view was taken facing south at approximately 6:30 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

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In Candlelight Video #1, Pastor Stephen Herr introduces us to Candlelight at Christ Church, a program now in its 10th year. This view was taken facing east at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.



When the Christ Lutheran was used as a hospital, some of the pews had boards laid across them, covered with blankets, and the wounded were laying on them. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009. 2009.



One needs to keep in mind that during the Candlelight at Christ Church program, the electrical lights are not on in the church as they were for our picture taking and filming. This church service had much less light, lit mostly by the many candles in the church. This view was taken facing south at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

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In Candlelight Video #2, The candles are beginning to be lit. During the program the sanctuary is much darker (lit only by the candles), and the mood is much more somber than you will see in our post. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.



Ron Rock is the Master of Ceremonies for the Candlelight program. He was born and raised in the Bronx where he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in June, 1960. He received his BA from Gettysburg College in 1964 having majored in Political Science. He obtained a JD degree from Rutgers University School of Law in 1967. He worked as a trial attorney for Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. from 1967 until his retirement in March, 1998. This view was taken facing south at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

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In Candlelight Video #3, Ron Rock introduces us to the Candlelight program. We can’t show all the performances, or even the complete length of many of the performances. For instance, there are usually eight songs, and eight readings during the performance. Our goal in this post is to bring you samples of what you would see if you are able to attend. This view was taken facing south at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.



The musical performers at the Candlelight at Christ Church program include: Dr. Stephen Folkemer at the piano, and from left to right: Charles Thompson, Dr. Mark Oldenburg, Margaret “Meg” Folkemer, and Pastor Beth Folkemer. This view was taken facing south at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

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In Candlelight Video #4, the musical performers present George F. Root’s “Battle Cry of Freedom.” Meg Folkemer sings the first and third verses, and Mark Oldenburg the second verse. This view was taken facing south to a couple of other directions at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.



Dr. Paul Dende portrays Sergeant Austin Stearns of Company K of the 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Dr. Dende is a physician at Hanover Hospital where he serves as Chair of the Department of Medicine as well as Director of Hospital Services. His involvement with “Candlelight at Christ Church” includes the portrayal of Sergeant Stearns as well as being a guitarist for some of the musical portions of the performance. This view was taken facing south at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

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In Candlelight Video #5, Ron Rock introduces Dr. Dende, who reads a portion Sergeant Austin Stearns account of entering Christ Church on July 1, 1863. This view was taken facing south to a couple of other directions at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

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In Candlelight Video #6, the musical performers present Daniel Emmett’s “Dixie.” It’s probably not very often that one can enter a “northern” church and hear “Dixie” performed. Steve Folkemer is on the piano, Meg Folkemer on the flute, and Beth Folkemer on the guitar. This view was taken facing south to a couple of other directions at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.



Kathy Rock portrays nurse Martha Ehler of the Patriotic Daughters of Lancaster. Kathy Rock was raised in New Jersey, and studied nursing at Wagner College, nursing education at New York University and earned a certificate in Psychiatric/Mental Health nursing from Adelphi University. She taught nursing at Bronx Community College and Mercy College. She then supervised a Mental Health Home Care Nursing program at United Medical Center in Port Chester, NY. She was a Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist before she retired and worked part time as an administrative assistant and deacon at her church. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

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In Candlelight Video #7, Ron Rock introduces the nurses, and Kathy Rock reads a portion of Martha Ehler’s account of working at Christ Church in July, 1863. This view was taken facing south to a couple of other directions at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

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In Candlelight Video #8, the musical performers present the Stephen Foster tune, “Hard Times Come Again No More.” Charles Thompson sings the first verse, Meg Folkemer the second verse, and Mark Oldenburg the third verse. This view was taken facing south to a couple of other directions at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.



Ann Dentry has been a member of Christ Lutheran Church since coming to Gettysburg in 1992. She attended the Lutheran Theological Seminary and remembers interesting theological discussions with Christ Lutheran’s Pastor, Stephen Herr. After serving a congregation she completed a degree in spirituality at the Toronto School of Theology. Now living again in Gettysburg, she sings in the Christ Church choir and will read two Walt Whitman poems in “Candlelight” for the first time this season. This view was taken facing south at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

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In Candlelight Video #9, Ann Dentry reads a portion of Walt Whitman’s poem, “Come Up From the Fields Father.” This view was taken facing south to a couple of other directions at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.

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In Candlelight Video #10, the musical performers present Henry Washburn (lyrics) and George Root’s (tune) “Vacant Chair.” Soprano Meg Folkemer sings the solo parts. This view was taken facing south to a couple of other directions at approximately 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009.



A copy of the free program that anyone attending Candlelight can pick up at the entrance to the church. To view the full program in PDF format, click here. This program was scanned facing south at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, June 21, 2009.



The front and back sides of the color brochure advertising the Candlelight at Christ Church event. This brochure was scanned facing south at approximately 4:15 PM on Sunday, June 21, 2009.


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