September 27 & 28

September 28 – Bethlehem to Allentown

We gathered for a meaningful Send-off at 7:00 am in front of Single Sisters’ House and received well wishes from the Bethlehem Mayor’s Office, Moravian U President Bryon Grigsby, and Dean of Moravian Seminary (and former Salem Chaplain) Craig Atwood. The Trombone Choir played the Alma Mater (thanks, Salem archivist Donna Rothrock, for providing that music to our Bethlehem friends). A group of 38 set off enthusiastically led by our Fab Four carrying the Journey banner and President McGee waving our flag!

The first picturesque moment happened quickly as we crossed the beautiful Lehigh River. Our walk took us through neighborhoods, commercial areas, a wooded park by a stream and across a historic covered bridge.

The “story of the day” occurred at mile 11.5 around lunchtime when we spotted a Wendy’s on the horizon like an oasis. Imagine our despair when we discovered the dining room was closed. But never to be deterred, Salem alumna Marcia Wood Shawler A’75 marched right up to the drive-thru window and convinced them to open the dining room for us. A Wendy’s single has never tasted so good! At pivotal moments, the van with Lisa Bankoff C’73 and Holt Morris C’88 showed up to honk and wave and cheer us on. At mile 14 when our feet started to ache a bit, a playlist of walking songs (“Walk of Life,” “Walking on Sunshine,” “Walk the Line,” and others) provided levity and inspiration to push on. The last half mile was especially joyful as we felt tremendous pride and connection to our Salem Sisters, past and present, as we concluded 18+ miles at the Allentown Fairfield Inn. Hooray for us! “We are the Champions!”

Katherine Knapp Watts C’80

Several volunteers from the 250th Journey Planning Committee were recognized before the Celebratory Send Off at Single Sisters’ in Bethlehem, PA. From left: Jim Manning; Martha Johnston Manning A’73; Deana Bass Williams C’95, chair; Holt Long Morris C’88; Annie McLeod Jenkins C’70; and Marilyn Turner Hedgpeth, C’76
Strava Map – Day One

September 27 – Bethlehem

Day Zero.  September 27, 2021 Bethlehem, PA

More than forty out-of-towners, including members of Salem’s administration, alumnae, spouses, and friends, checked into the historic Hotel Bethlehem to begin the 250th Journey send off celebration with a look at where Salem’s story began. Hotel and dinner arrangements were handled by Lynn Timberlake Sakmann A’75 and Dail Mahood Richie C’72. Dail also prepared gift bags filled with goodies provided by Lehigh Valley area businesses, which were presented at check-in to all overnight guests. 

The afternoon was filled with special activities, including:

Anna Rosina Boeckel’s Grave

A presentation from Salem for Moravian Academy students at The Old Chapel at 1:30 PM. A lesson about the journeys of 1766 and 2021 was written by Martha Johnston Manning A’73 and presented by Martha and Katherine Knapp Watts C’80, VP Strategic Initiatives and Chair of the 250th Anniversary. Chaplain Jenny Nichols welcomed us to Moravian Academy. The students were so well-behaved and interested. We chuckled at their honest answers. We suggested that the girls might come to Salem Academy and College to further their education. The program concluded in God’s Acre, where the 2nd graders placed flowers on the headstone of the sole original walker buried in Bethlehem. Sweetest thing! We left the children writing pens with Salem Academy logos procured for us by Jessica Cecil Rogers C’04, Salem Academy Director of Enrollment Management.

Following the ceremony in God’s Acre, the group enjoyed a tour of Historic Bethlehem, including the Single Sisters’ House and the Saal of the Gemeinhaus, where we were separated into choirs.  Every building was reminiscent of our beloved Salem campus. It felt like home.  Arrangements for the tour were coordinated by Krispin Barr, former Dean of Students at Salem College.

Single Sisters’ House

At 4 pm out-of-town visitors joined those from Bethlehem-area congregations for a moving service of worship entitled “Where Journeys Take Us,” created by Lynnette Delbridge C’80, pastor of Central Moravian Church. All gathered to give thanks for the Sisters’ migration to Bethabara in 1766 and to bless the upcoming journey of the modern day sisters heading off the next morning. 

Dr. Bryon Grigsby, President of Moravian University, provided a warm greeting. We all loved meeting his wife Lea at dinner later that evening.

Lynnette struck just the right chord in incorporating appropriate words and music into this service. 

Organ music written by Salem’s cherished Margaret Vardell Sandresky A’38, C’42 was performed by Lou Carol Brown Fix C’77. Deana Bass Williams C‘95 and Chair of the 250th Journey Committee read from Hebrews 11 and 12, the passage that appeared in the “Daily Text” for October 1, 1766. The bulletin from the service provided us with historical context.

Much of the music used in the service came from Salem Manuscript Books of the Moravian Music Foundation Archives in Winston-Salem, which had been transcribed by Mary Lynnette Delbridge while she was a student at Salem College’s School of Music in 1980.

Upon exiting the Old Chapel, walkers and attendees were presented with gifts of a small writing journal and the 2021 edition of “Moravian Daily Texts.” Yet another expression of thoughtfulness by our Salem sister, Lynnette Delbridge.

Many thanks to Becky LePore and Central Moravian Church of Bethlehem for donating these generous gifts of music.

The day of honoring our history was concluded with a dinner at the Hotel Bethlehem, complete with centerpieces provided by Lynn Timberlake Sakmann.  Lynnette Delbridge led us in the Moravian Blessing. Lucy Rose C’76 and a through walker(!) served as emcee for the evening. Dr. Summer McGee, President of Salem Academy and College and Jeff Zemsky, Head of School of Moravian Academy, shared remarks.

A special thanks to Ashley Tomlin C’05, Director of Alumnae Engagement for handling registration for all September 27 events in Bethlehem.

– Martha Johnston Manning A’73

Tomorrow morning at 7:00 I will join hundreds of other Salem alumnae in recreating the 500 mile walk by 18 Moravian women and girls (and 2 men) from Bethlehem, PA to Winston-Salem, NC in 1766 that resulted in the founding of Salem Academy and College. Around 40 alumnae will set off in the morning on the first leg of our 29 day journey, sent off by a rousing celebration of 250 years of educating girls and women. I am honored to join three alumnae in walking the full 500 miles, joined by literally hundreds of alums along the way. All of us are excited beyond words! Join me here as I share photos, videos, and reflections along the way. So many thanks to every single person who worked tirelessly to make this possibility a reality. Salem alums, and all friends of Salem, please join us in this huge celebration of educating and empowering women and girls to make an impact on our world. Honor the past. Ignite the future. Let the journey begin!

Lucy Rose C’76