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Friends of Eberbach
Contact Address:
Rev. John C. Miller, OCC
115 North Maple Street
Ephrata, PA 17522
Bill Hecker, President
Bill Donecker, Vice President
Rev. John C. Miller, Secretary
Betsy Hecker, Treasurer
Mission Statement:
The Friends of Eberbach shall maintain and expand the Sister-Cities relationship established in 1976 between the Borough of Ephrata, Pennsylvania USA and the city of Eberbach, Germany. The relationship energizes our historic connection with the birthplace of Conrad Beisel, founder of the Ephrata Cloister, and fosters international understanding and friendship through exchange experiences in education, art, music, athletics, hosting and economic endeavors.
The United States of America and her allies were victorious at the end of World War II, and the supreme allied commander, General Dwight David Eisenhower, was lauded for his military leadership and victory in the European Theater of Operations.
General Eisenhower in retrospect realized that the European Theater of Operation had been ravaged by two great wars in less than a quarter century.
The General concluded that arms and suffering were not the solution, and he became instrumental in creating the organization that today is Sister Cities International.
The initial purpose of this organization was to make sure that these wars did not happen again by ensuring peace through friendships and partnerships. The organization has evolved through the years and now promotes cultural exchanges, economic exchanges, the exchange of ideas and the basic partnership and friendship activities. The organization also grew from it's European origin to encompass the entire global community during it's 50 plus years of existence.
The celebration of the bicentennial of our nation was approaching, and the federal government suggested a plethora of venues for celebrating this 200th anniversary of freedom that would be more substantial and lasting than a parade.
The Ephrata Borough Council chose the venue of the Sister City relationship. The particular Ephrata/Eberbach partnership that was formed by the passage of resolutions of both the Council of Ephrata Borough and the Council of the City of Eberbach was predicated upon history, heritage and similarities of the communities. The founder of the Ephrata Cloister was Conrad Beisel, who was a native of Eberbach, Germany. The Beisel family operated a bakery in Eberbach and currently the 14th generation is operating the bakery while training the 15th generation. Many of the local residents can trace their ancestry to this general area of Germany. This area was primarily a farming area. The community has always been progressive and is located on a water tributary. The community is a purveyor of electric energy to it's residents. The community has a great recreation center and has volunteer fire and rescue service. The community has it's own hospital. The community operates a water treatment and conveyance system for it's use and sewer for nearby communities. The community operates a waste water treatment facility that serves not only their community but surrounding communities. The community also operates a forest product enterprise through the management of the surrounding forest land. The community has its own school system.
The Ephrata/Eberbach Partnership is a shining example of what a Sister Cities International relationship should be. The past 28 years of partnership have resulted in visitations in excess of 5000. This number includes exchanges of basketball teams, musicians, volleyball teams, soccer teams, orchestras, German language students, elected officials, individual students, visitors and craftsmen.
In 1994, a devestating flood hit Eberbach causing widespread damage. The Friends of Eberbach and the Cloister Associates worked jointly with the Ephrata community and Ephrata Borough Council in an Apple Dumpling fundraiser project to supply aid to the residents of Eberbach. $17,000.00 was contributed to the flood fund.
This program was operated as a committee of the Council in the beginning. However, locating host families for visitors, students, athletes, musicians - an average of 80 per year in various groups ranging in size from 1-50 with comings and goings four to six times a year - proved to be substantial work. Making the connections and arrangements for those persons sent to Germany, providing tours, a venue for games, entertainment, annual art contests, musical concerts, call lists, visas, sponsoring trips, bilingual church services, attending Sister City International meetings, seminars, socials, ect. became a burden to the council representative. The arranging and coordinating of activities precipitated the creation of the Ephrata/Eberbach group. After operating as a governmental group for several years, this group became a separate corporate structure which maintains the partnership for the Borough.

 a cooperative project of The Ephrata Public Library and The Ephrata Senior High School Media Department
Updated 7.24.2004