Eve of the 150th Anniversary, 100th of the Peace Portico
PRESIDING BISHOP TO OFFER EVENING PRAYERS ON THE EVE OF 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF BATTLE AT LUTHERAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY’S PEACE PORTICO
June 18, 2013 (Gettysburg, PA) Prayers for peace will echo from the Schmucker Hall Peace Portico on June 30th, the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Seminary building becoming the sight of violent conflict and pressed into Field Hospital duty.
Led by the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the brief service will feature the lighting of luminaria for each of the 70 plus soldiers who died in the building while it served as a field hospital. Seminary President Michael Cooper-White will share in the vespers service as well, marking the 100th anniversary of the Peace Portico itself. The Vespers service will begin at 9pm at the Portico, on the west side of the building. In 1913, the portico created an appropriate front door for the building in its original rear side, with the new roadway across Seminary Ridge being constructed anticipating visitation to the battlefield. Prayers will include the voices of those who observed the conflict and left reflections for future generations.
The Peace Portico was named for its construction following the 1913 reunion of soldiers north and south, many staying in the building for the 50th anniversary of the battle. The Portico was restored last year as a part of the rehabilitation of the building and its adaptive reuse as a museum interpreting the battle’s first day, the hospital it became, and the struggles of faith, slavery and freedom for north and south, white and black Americans.
The field hospital treated more than 600 soldiers in one of the largest venues in the Gettysburg theatre of battle according to historians of the war. Colonel James McFarland was the last soldier to be released on September 16th 1863, ending more than two months of hospital duty. Seminary president Samuel Simon Schmucker, anxious to begin the fall term, began classes September 19th of that year.
Bishop Hanson is the chief pastor of the 4 million member ELCA.
The service will be conducted by candlelight and is open to the public. Parking is suggested on the western side of the campus. A full array of living history encampment and concerts will be taking place earlier in the day and evening. Dearest Home band will play from 5pm to 7pm on the platform in Schmucker Grove in a free concert. The Seminary Ridge Museum will hold its grand opening Monday morning, July 1st beginning at 9am. A full schedule of events may be found at the seminary’s website: www.LTSG.edu or www.seminaryridgemuseum.org .