Moravian Church in North America

In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.

Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Obituary: The Rt. Rev. Edwin Sawyer

Brother Edwin A. Sawyer died in Lititz, Pennsylvania, October 5, 2017. He was 103 years old.

Born July 20, 1914 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, he was the son of Otto and Sarah (Ziegler) Sawyer. Brother Sawyer attended Moravian Preparatory School in Bethlehem, and graduated from Lehigh University in 1935 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He received a Bachelor of Divinity from Moravian Seminary in 1938, a Master of Arts from Lehigh University in 1948, a Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia University in 1956 and an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Moravian Theological Seminary in 1968. He was ordained a deacon in the Moravian ministry June 6, 1938, and consecrated a presbyter October 21, 1945. He was elected Bishop of the Moravian Unity and consecrated on September 14, 1986.

He was united in marriage to Elizabeth Stempel on June 18, 1938, at the Old Chapel of Central Moravian Church, in Bethlehem. Together they served pastorates in Pennsylvania (Coopersburg, Allentown, Nazareth, Philadelphia), North Carolina (Fries in Winston-Salem), Maryland (St. Paul’s) and Alberta (Edmonton). He served the Moravian Church Southern Province at Salem College (1951-1957) as professor of Religion and Philosophy and college chaplain. He served the Moravian Church Northern Province as member of the Eastern District Executive Board (1960-1961) and president of the Eastern District Executive Board and vice-president of the Provincial Elders’ Conference (1961-1970). He also served as executive head of Moravian Preparatory School and Moravian Seminary for Girls (1970-1973), and director of Stewardship and Deferred Giving (1974-1979).

He entered into retirement January 1, 1980. In 1999 he received the John Hus Alumni Award from Moravian Theological Seminary.

He was predeceased by his wife, Elizabeth in 2014. Son, Robert; daughters, Jean and Marilyn; five grandsons and seven great-grandchildren survive Brother Sawyer.

A memorial service will be held December 10, 2017 at the Old Chapel of Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with the Rt. Rev. C. Hopeton Clennon officiating. Burial was in Nisky Hill Cemetery, Bethlehem, Pa.

Memorials are welcomed for the Lehigh County Conference of Churches or a charity of the donor’s choice. n

Moravian Daily Texts


Friday, March 23 — Psalm 38:9–16
Exodus 29:1–30; Matthew 26:1–13

The commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes. Psalm 19:8

Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” John 6:63

Dear Lord, we ask your blessing upon our churches today. The week ahead is a special one that provides the opportunity to remember the story of Holy Week—the journey Jesus took to the cross. Help us draw close to you to remember. Amen.

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