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Church services, Lehr and Gebet

Church Services

Church services, which occur daily on most communities, form the core of Hutterite devotional life. They serve to refocus all things in life back on God.

Evening services, known as Gebet, is approximately half an hour in length, and takes place before the evening meal. On Sunday and on holy days, church services are held in the forenoon as well. The morning service typically lasts about 75 minutes.

All services begin with song. Most Hutterite ministers still line the words to the song for the congregation, this practice is becoming less common, especially among the Schmiedeleut. Lining the songs has been retained although originally lining was practiced because church attendees lacked individual songbooks.

Sunday Lehr at Schmiedeleut colony.

 

Lehr (Sunday morning service)

All morning services are called Lehr, which means ‘Teaching’. These occur on Sunday mornings or holy days, and begin with a song, which is followed by the Vorred, the first teaching or preface. This Vorred is a meditation on a topic, for example, the faithfulness of God towards his people. The Vorred is followed by a prayer. After the prayer, the main teaching or Lehr is read. It begins with the reading of scripture text followed by an exposition text. A final song concludes the service.

Like most other Christians, Hutterites commemorate Christmas, Easter and Pentecost as the high points of the church year. These three holy days are marked by three days of morning services. Ascension and the Annunciation of Mary are also observed. Special services (Lehren) are held for baptisms, weddings and funerals. Other special days such as thanksgiving are also celebrated.

 

Gebet (daily, evening services)

Gebet is the German word for prayer. Gebet on a Hutterite Community is really a follow-up on the teachings in the Lehr. The service is started with a song, followed by the sermon and a short prayer. The whole service usually lasts about 30 minutes.

All in all, the faith of the Hutterites is important in regulating many of their daily activities. Many decisions are made only after considering the gospel and biblical teachings.