Tell Us About Your Teaching? What do you teach? Although I have had the opportunity to teach in a couple of private schools, and I have been a teacher’s substitute and aide, I do not actually teach elementary education in a classroom. I satisfy my teaching urge in the area of sustainable agriculture skills education. My classroom is often outdoors, and I love it. It combines my need to teach with my love of farming.
What are your dating practices? Most couples meet through common acquaintances or at the Old German Baptist Annual Conference. My dad, John, noticed my mother (who lived in Indiana) for the very first time at an Annual Conference. He introduced himself and he wasted no time in getting to know her. Six months later, they married. My brother Marvin attended a cousin’s wedding in California with me, where I introduced him to my close friend Audrey. He was glad she was moving to Kansas with her family, because that made it a lot cheaper for him to see her. After eight months of dating and a year from the time they had met, Audrey and Marvin married.
CAPTION: Rosanna’s brother, Marvin, and his bride and baby…
Not everyone is as immediately sure of their relationship, so some couples date longer. Casual dating is discouraged in our Brotherhood, so most of the dating is done with the understanding that it may develop into marriage. A relationship may begin without previous correspondence. Dating (or courtship) is defined by the young man escorting the girl to church services and young folk functions and spending time with each other’s families. Some couples will decide they should just remain friends, while others will announce their engagement to be married anywhere from after six months to two years of dating.
And me? Am I dating? Not at this time (and that is all the information you’ll get right now!:)
What about the Weddings? Weddings in our church are held at the home of the bride or a community building. Average attendance is 300- 400 people. Weddings are most often held on Saturdays, sometimes on Fridays or Sundays. Some weddings are in the morning, others afternoon or evening. The minister that marries the couple is chosen by the couple, typically a friend of the family or a relative who is an ordained minister. Three of the weddings I attended last year were married by their fathers. That’s most likely a difficult sermon for their father. Last year I attended 8 weddings. Several were out of state, in California and Ohio. I was privileged to “serve” in six of them. The bride will ask from seven to 14 of her close friends and cousins to serve the food after the wedding or to perform other tasks such as gift carrier, kitchen help or guest book attendant. There are no bridesmaids and best men to stand up with the couple. The groom may choose some of his friends and relatives to help usher, park cars or assist with meal preparation. The wedding sermon is usually not much longer than 30 minutes, but the gathering lasts for about two hours after the ceremony because a light meal is eaten and gifts are penned. The couple leaves the wedding to begin their honeymoon, which lasts a couple of days or even a week.
Do You Travel Much? Because of our widely scattered Brotherhood, German Baptists do a lot of traveling. Our “Travel Fund” for church meetings is considered part of our tithing because we, and the Brethren we have visited ,are always strengthened by the fellowship. Young people are especially encouraged to travel before marriage partly because it is financially less practical after you are responsible for a family, and also to widen our circle of friends among the Brotherhood. If we can only make one trip a year families and singles make the Annual Conference their priority. We also travel to attend Communions in out-of-state church districts. These typically occur in the spring and fall. Last year I traveled more than usual due to my close friends’ marriages. I found myself on trips to California twice, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri twice, Ohio twice, and Indiana twice. I don’t get to Pennsylvania, Virginia or California that often so my visits there are close to a week in length so I can see all my friends and relatives. I really enjoy traveling of any sort, if the opportunity affords itself. I am always tickled when my work as a farm educator takes me on a road trip or plane ride.