We had a problem. How do we put on two Christmas Eve Lovefeast services, without the physical ability to do so? For years Macedonia Moravian has had two Christmas Eve Lovefeast services, but last year the church thought we’d need to go to one service—not because of lack of numbers, and not because of lack of interest in helping, but because of age.
Macedonia Moravian is in the same boat as a lot of other Moravian churches, in that the average age of the members is older. We were realizing that our men were not able to carry the heavy coffee trays for two services; in fact, it seemed like carrying the heavy trays for just one service was going to be a stretch.
Three months before Christmas, the joint board decided to do two Lovefeast services. How do we share Christ on Christmas Eve with the community? How do we serve the amount of people who want to come and be with us on Christmas Eve? After much consideration the joint board elected to buy carts to make it easier to carry the coffee trays.
At the same time as the “Two Christmas Eve services” decision came about, a group of people, self-named “the Sawdusters,” started to gather for the sole purpose of doing woodwork together. The suggestion was then made that instead of buying carts, the Sawdusters should make the carts. What ensued after the acceptance of that idea was two months of planning, cutting, gluing, decorating, finishing, and fellowship.
The actual carts themselves were completely designed by the Sawdusters to meet the specifications of our Lovefeast trays and the widths of our isles, between the pews. The carts, at full capacity, hold six Lovefeast trays of 28 cups each, or 168 cups. With a fleet of four carts, we can have 672 cups on the floor at one time, and the only strain on four male deiners being pushing the cart, and switching out an empty tray for a full tray.
On Christmas Eve we put them to the test. To be honest, I was a little nervous. What if they caused more confusion and problems than before? What if one of them fell apart? Needless to say I was watching those carts like a hawk during the service. Come to find out, my nervousness was unfounded; the carts did just fine. The carts took the strain off of the male dieners, helped streamline the serving process, and helped achieve our ultimate goal: to put on two Lovefeast services, and share the Good News of the birth of Jesus Christ with more people.
The carts are important because they helped us achieve a goal, and because they are a symbol for the Moravian Church in America. It is no secret to anybody that the church is changing in demographics and numbers, and if we don’t adapt to the changing nature of the church, the growing numbers of challenges, which accompany a lack of adaptation, will swallow us up.
The carts are only a small adaptation, which came about through careful planning and execution, and they had a powerful affect. The carts symbolize the fact that problems and challenges, when reframed as opportunities which are taken, can have powerful and real impacts in the church and in the church’s mission.
For more information on the Lovefeast carts, please contact the Rev. Zach Dease at Macedonia Moravian Church in Advance, N.C. (336)998-4394. Photos of the new cup carts in action during last year’s Christmas Eve service by Charles Beaman.