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News Release

Stage portrayal of religious figures will bring church history to life at Moravian

The Moravian Theological Seminary will present a day of theatrical performances that portray historic figures in the religious world. The program, "Heralds of Our Heritage Given New Voice," will be held on Monday, November 16, 1:00-9:00 p.m., at the Bahnson Center, 60 W. Locust Street in Bethlehem.

Performance artists act out scenes, putting voices and faces to names from church history. After the performances, the actors interact with the audience participants and share insight into the methods used to present historical dramas in the church.

Roberta Nobleman will present a play, "All That I Am," at 1:30 p.m. in the Bahnson Center. The play, written by Irene Mahoney, OSU, tells of five unremembered women of church history — St. Augustine’s cast-off mistress; Hilde St. Bremar, a medieval priest’s wife during the time when celibacy was enforced; Anne Donne, wife of the poet and Anglican priest; St. Peter’s unnamed wife; and Maria von Wedemeyer, fiancee of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Roberta Nobleman is an English-born actress who has spent her adult life in the theatre as a dramatist, teacher, and storyteller.

"Conversations Overheard" will provide a step back in time to a dialogue between Nicholas von Zinzendorf and Henry Melchior Muhlenberg which was pivotal for the local religious community in the 1700s. The audience will imagine a conversation about the Anglican Church between Thomas Cranmer and Richard Hooker, had they been contemporaries. They will enjoy these dramatic presentations which have been researched, written, and performed by local scholars. The performance will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Brahnson Center.

A dinner will be held in the Bahnson Center at 5:30 p.m. where participants will enjoy a meal hosted by the cast members.

The evening performance, "A View from the Underside: The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer" will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Prosser Auditorium. Al Staggs brings to the stage the life of one of the great heroes of the twentieth century. The audience is brought into the prison cell where Dietrich Bonhoeffer awaits execution and listens to his struggles with evil, injustice, and God.

In the play, Bonhoeffer tells of the profound influence of fellow Union Theological student, Frank Fisher, an African-American friend who introduced Dietrich to the blight of racism in America. Prisoner Bonhoeffer expresses moral outrage against the Nazi treatment of Jews and explains how that outrage led him to become involved in the German resistance movement, a commitment that would result in his being executed by hanging on April 9, 1945.

Al Staggs holds a M.R.E. degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary, a Th.M. from Harvard Divinity School and the Doctor of Ministry degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He was honored as a Charles E. Merrill Fellow at Harvard in 1983 with a major emphasis in Applied Theology under the direction of Harvey Cox. He served as a Baptist minister for twenty-four years prior to becoming a full-time performance artist.

The program is sponsored by the Office of Continuing Education of Moravian Theological Seminary. The Institute for Jewish/Christian Understanding is a contributing sponsor of the program.

The registration cost for the performance "All That I Am" including the dinner or "Conversations Overheard" including the dinner is $65 ($75 after 11/2/98 deadline). The registration cost for "A View from the Underside: The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer" is $10 ($15 after the deadline). The cost for all three performances and the dinner is $75 ($85 after deadline).

For registration information, contact the Office of Continuing Education at Moravian Theological Seminary at (610) 861-1519.