Soundscape: Gnadenhütten, Pennsylvania

View of Gnadenhutten I - Mp.205.5.png

After a smallpox outbreak in Bethlehem in 1746, many Mohican and Delaware Moravians moved northwest of Bethlehem along the Lehigh River and built a new town at the confluence of the Mahoning Creek, Gnadenhütten [huts of grace]. The image above shows the physical structure of the community: two rows of wooden homes with a wooden Saal [worship building] in the middle. Further up the hill, at the edge of the forest, is the graveyard [God's acre]. Several industrial buildings and gardens are located on the flatter areas along the Mahoning Creek. The Lehigh River is shown along the right side of the drawing. In this small Moravian community, daily life would have proceeded in much the same way as in a larger settlement like Bethlehem. There would have been regular times for worship, singing and prayer, interspersed with trade work, farming and animal husbandry, child care, and cooking. Worship services and hymns would likely have been sung in multiple languages, but mainly in Mohican, Delaware, and German. In this recreated soundscape of a worship service in Gnadenhütten's Saal, an elder presents a sermon in Mohican. Through the permeable wooden walls of the building, the noises of the community and the natural environment can be heard.

Mohican Sermon (Translation)*

Brothers, Sisters!

I am telling you the words of Jesus. Jesus worked too hard, so that he then sweated his blood.

Jesus said, I have redeemed you (pl). Jesus gave us his body. So we all also give him our heart.

Jesus did very many things, he revived the dead, he healed the lame, he healed the sick. Yet he/she (the people) did not believe. 

But after that he died. Subsequently, life is his blood. He/she who will believe will live. But h/she who will disbelieve instead will truly die. Now, no one will have to die in such a way. Everyone will live if they believe in Jesus. Then he is happy that we accept him.

Mohican Sermon (Transcription)*

Neetahkunuk nxeeshmoshuk! 

Jesus kwehtumanhim kune otaptoonaawakunun. 

Jesus waasame sununahkaata, papkwuch nun ni otapaayowehnan opkahkunoom. 

Jesus oop: niyu mbaymowaannohmap maawe. Jesus maawe ohukuy kmeenkoonaanap. Ehu kiyaanuw wak maawe meenatuw ktahunuw. 

Jesus mamuxchaw unahkaap, pmawsohaap naapkopuneh keekahaap paapatkweekeecheh keekahaap weenumunseecheh. Ahchka ustu onistuwaaweep. 

Mahcheet wawtaakw mboop. Nun ni psokw pmawsowakun opkahkunoom. Uwaaneech onistuweeta pmawsow. Uwaaneech punistuweeta kahunataach mbow. Noono kaapeech ustu uwaan neewe unaaweep onipeen. Maawe uwaan oocheech pmawseen, onistuwata nahun Jesah. Oonehmbaandumin knohtnokonaanuw.


*English translation and Mohican transcription by Chris Harvey.

Mohican Sermon (Manuscript)

"Eine Rede des Indianer Bruders von Checomeko, welche er am Bettage zu Bethlehem dem 25 Aug. (old style) der Gemeine, und sonderlich seinen Indianer Geschwister wolte zu wissen thun." MissInd 331.4.4. Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA.