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Glen Marshall, left, and Karin Marshall help each other get ready for rehearsal of the German-American Club of Lawton’s annual “German Christmas.” For the first time in almost 40 years the service will be held in Lawton instead of on Fort Sill.

German Christmas play will be given on Friday

For the first time in almost 40 years, the German Christmas hosted by the German-American Club of Lawton will be presented off post.

This year's service will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Dayspring Church, 8612 Cache Road.

Rose Lepien, director, said the organization will have its annual event in Lawton is because there were no German ministers through Fort Sill or other bases available and it has become increasingly difficult to travel onto post. The celebrants at this year's service include Tim Evans, senior pastor of Dayspring Church; Bill Schneider, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church; and Rob Kraft, Lutheran Chaplin to Fort Sill. The service will be in German and will include a nativity play (Krippenspiel).

"When I was a child in Germany, we always did the Christmas play the day after Christmas Day in the churches," said Lepien, who plays the angel Gabriel. "It is the feeling that you get from having a custom that reminds you of hope that you are able to sing the German Christmas songs, hear the Christmas story in German and then still be part of it."

Trumpeters to perform

The service will include trumpeters from the 77th Army Band led by German Army Command Sgt. Maj. Andreas Br¸ck and accompanied by his wife Annelie on keyboard. After the service, there will be a reception with cookies and Christmas punch. Even though the service will be in German, Lepien assured that the audience will still enjoy it because of the timeless Christmas story.

"The excitement of being part of the real meaning of Christmas  that's the most wonderful thing," Lepien said. "As the German-American Club to uphold some of our customs that we had in Germany and still get out there and share our common language in a country where we're all immigrants, became naturalized and citizens  that's just something to celebrate."

Lepien came to Lawton in 1976 and has been a part of the German-American Club and its German Christmas ever since. The service was started by the late Betty Bochantin. Lepien said Bochantin was an instrumental part of the Christmas service, and she plans to continue Bochantin's legacy.

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