About Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving
The Schwenkfelders who now live in Pennsylvania Dutch country are the descendants of a small Protestant sect that sprang up in Germany around the time of the Reformation. They were followers of Caspar Schwenkfeld (1489-1561), a Silesian Reformation theologian who founded the movement called "Reformation by the Middle Way." He and his followers separated themselves from orthodox Protestant circles and formed the small societies and brotherhoods that still survive in the United States as the Schwenkfelder Church, or "Confessors of the Glory of Christ."In 1733, a handful of Schwenkfelder's followers arrived in Philadelphia, and a second group emigrated from Germany on September 22, 1734. The next day they swore their allegiance to the British king, then they spent the following day, September 24, expressing their gratitude to God for having delivered them from persecution. In the Pennsylvania Dutch counties where Schwenkfelders still live, this day is observed as a special Thanksgiving Day.