Anna Maria in Bethlehem
The gospel is Good News for the poor and suppressed – this is the message of a painting that shows deceased converts from different nations gathering around the risen Christ. Among them is Anna Maria, born as the daughter of an enslaved plantation worker in the West Indies and baptised on December 29th, 1737 in St. Thomas/Virgin Islands. She holds her nephew Michael in her lap who died at the age of one. The palm leaf in her hand alludes to the Book of Revelation. The original was painted by the most important artist of the Brethren’s Congregation, J.V. Haidt, in 1747, for a synod in Herrnhaag and today hangs in the small church hall in Zeist. One of the nine other known copies is on display in the church hall of Herrnhut. Because Haidt himself moved to America in 1754 another copy can be found in Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.