Author Archives: Susan Kiefner

Weekly Moravian Message: August 12, 2018

Festival of August 13 The Necessary Ingredient “Love Each Other.” Easy for Jesus to say. After all, Jesus is God and God is love. But Jesus must have known that this commandment, along with the other one, which says in effect, “Love God with everything you’ve got,” would be the hardest one for his disciples […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: August 5, 2018

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost “Give us this bread always” The book Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life begins with the story of children orphaned after bombing raids in World War II. Many were safe and cared for in refugee camps, but could not sleep because of the magnitude of what they had lost. […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: July 29, 2018

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost “Jesus took the loaves and when he had given thanks, he distributed them” For three years, the church I serve has been part of a program that provides bags of food for elementary school children to take home on the weekend.  The “Weekend Nutrition Program” started with our congregation and a […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: July 22, 2018

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost Using What God Has Given Here we find a story that many of us may have heard before, Jesus feeding the five thousand. It is easy to be amazed at Jesus’ miraculous feeding or skeptical about how something like this could ever be possible. Instead of offering a debate on the […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: July 15, 2018

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost Confronting Leadership The story of the execution of John the Baptist reminds us that the Bible is not really a book for children; rather, it is a book primarily about and for adults. But this does not mean that no parts of the Bible can be shared with children as we […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: July 8, 2018

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost Not Much to Offer? Last winter, at a congregational retreat of fifteen men aged thirty to eighty, we ate together, we skied and snowshoed together, played games together, sang together, and had hours of serious conversation together. Parents talked about how trying to raise children with healthy, respectful attitudes toward the […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: July 1, 2018

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost “Get up!” In the Hebrew Scriptures, one verb that appears over and over is קוּם, pronounced “koom.” It means “Get up.” Almost always, it is God, or God’s messenger, who says it.  The people of Israel knew loss of life, loss of home, and even loss of faith. Over and over, […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: June 24, 2018

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost The Miracle of Assurance The miracle of calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee was proof that Jesus was the Son of God, but this miracle left the disciples bewildered and confused as to who Jesus was. Who was this man who could command the wind and the waves to […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: June 17, 2018

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost Just Small Seeds The prison has a sidewalk that comes to the prison chapel front door, with an area on each side of the sidewalk for bushes and flowers. Some years those areas have looked nice; some years they haven’t. One day Andy, an inmate at the prison, stopped by the […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: June 10, 2018

Third Sunday after Pentecost A House Divided Have you ever started telling a story, and then, after starting, you inserted another story? This is a device Mark uses often. In today’s story we find Jesus being begged by his family to come home, withdraw from his mission.  They are frightened by what is being said […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: June 3, 2018

Second Sunday after Pentecost Practicing Sabbath In 1961, the North Carolina General Assembly passed “An Act to Prohibit Certain Business Activities on Sunday,” which restricted the sale and the buying of certain items (clothing, household items, clocks, luggage, office supplies, etc.) on Sunday. Anyone violating these “blue laws” was subject to a hefty fine or […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: May 27, 2018

Trinity Sunday Born of Water and Spirit It is convenient to buy an item in a grocery store in which the directions are “mix with water.” Everything that is needed is in the box—except for the water. Eating or drinking the product without water is not recommended and is not appetizing. But when mixed with […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: May 20, 2018

Pentecost Living into the Truth We usually think of “truth” in terms of how closely a statement accords with the facts, but there are other definitions of the word. While constructing shelving for a craft room, I discovered our home was not “true.” Walls did not meet squarely with each other, and the bubble in […]

Read More…

Official Provincial Elders’ News

NORTHERN PROVINCE Outdoor Ministries Sunday, June 3, 2018 The 1994 Synod of the Moravian Church–Northern Province passed legislation regarding the observance of an Outdoor Ministries Sunday. The date for this observance has been established by the Provincial Elders’ Conference as the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, which falls on June 18 this year. Pastors are encouraged […]

Read More…

Create in Me: Poetry as a source of liturgy

The idea behind “Create in Me” is to get us talking about worship. As you read this month’s reflection by Jeanne Ahlers on gardening, we offer a few questions for you to consider and explore with your worship community: In what ways do you look to worship to help you grow? What would change if […]

Read More…

Create in Me: Worship is like gardening

One of the things I enjoy most is gardening and growing food. I’m a volunteer Master Gardener with the North Dakota State University ExtensionService. I love growing plants. They amaze me. They start from seeds—sometimes tiny and small, sometimes big—but somehow, contained in that seed, are the blueprints and the nutrients needed to make life happen. But […]

Read More…

Moravian Camping in Mid-States

The goal of the Middle States Youth Ministry Council is to ensure that the youth and young adults of Moravian churches in Ohio, lower Michigan, Indiana and Illinois are able to participate in interchurch activities and further their relationships with Christ. We strive to provide appropriate, safe, and challenging programs for participants of all ages. […]

Read More…

Summer at Camp Van-Es

Our goal at Camp Van-Es is to help children explore faith in Jesus Christ in a natural setting. We offer a safe environment to experience God, to grow spiritually and, of course, to have fun! Van-Es will host four weeks of summer camp for Moravain youth (and others!) on the shores of South Cooking Lake […]

Read More…

Crossroads: Traveling the Journey of Faith

Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Sometimes the guidance we receive about our own life’s discernments seems just as helpful. We’ve all known seasons when we have pondered life’s questions. Where is God? What is my purpose? Why am I here? What should I do?  Moravian […]

Read More…

Doing mission at “Camp Hope”

No one is too young to do mission, especially as part of a team. That is what campers will be learning and living at the Eastern District’s outdoor ministry site, Hope Conference & Renewal Center, this summer.  Campers will be helping to feed the hungry, clothe the needy, and participate in other ministry projects while […]

Read More…

Laurel Ridge: A season of growing and learning

Summer at Laurel Ridge for 2018 will be a wonderful and action-packed season of growing and learning together!  In addition to the faith, fun and learning of the Moravian camp in the mountains, campers will focus on themes of unity. Based on Ephesians 4:3, “Make every effort to keep the ​unity of the Spirit through the […]

Read More…

Southern Province elects new leadership

Delegates to the 2018 Synod of the Moravian Church, Southern Province, elected the new Provincial Elders’ Conference during sessions on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21. The Provincial Elders’ Conference for the Southern Province consists of three clergy and three lay people in addition to the PEC president. The PEC is elected by Synod […]

Read More…

Southern Province approves full communion with United Methodist Church

The 2018 Synod of the Moravian Church Southern Province approved a relationship of full communion with the United Methodist Church (UMC) on Friday, April 20. The full communion agreement, which was initially approved by the UMC at their General Conference in Portland, Ore., in May 2016, recognizes each other’s ministries, and encourages witness and mission […]

Read More…

Southern Province elects two new bishops

On the same day in 1978, the Revs. Carol Foltz and Tom Shelton graduated from Moravian Theological Seminary. A short time later, they were ordained pastors of the Moravian Church—again, both on the same day. And on Saturday, April 21, 2018, they both took another huge step on their pastoral path–they were both elected bishops […]

Read More…

Southern Province Synod charts courageous path forward

In April, more than 230 delegates to the 2018 Southern Province Synod developed, discussed, debated and passed more than 20 resolutions that will guide the core of the Province over the next four years. Synod is the highest governing body within the polity of the Moravian Church Southern Province. These every-four-year gatherings bring together clergy […]

Read More…

Northern Province Synod prepares to gather, grow and go

Every four years, Moravians from each North American Province gather to “do the business of the church”—to decide, legislate, make policy, discuss doctrine, and chart the way forward for the next four years. In April, Southern Province Moravians convened in Black Mountain, N.C. for their Synod (see stories beginning on page 7). Now it’s the […]

Read More…

Living in my “intersynodal period”

One of the things I love about my work is learning—and using—new words. Before joining the IBOC, I had never used words like “hymnody” or “Lovefeast” or even “Interprovincial.” My word for today? “Intersynodal.” It’s a term used to describe the time between major provincial synods, which in the Moravian Church happen every four years. […]

Read More…

Western District News & Notes: May 2018

The newsletter of the Moravian Church, Western District by Western District President, Bruce Nelson. Bruces Babblings I find it hard to believe that it is already May and that we are already one third of the way through the calendar year. Time marches on. May is often a time of college graduations, being able to […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: May 13, 2018

Seventh Sunday of Easter Circles of Nurture Mother’s Day is and has been many different things in the lives of families through the years. Our growing awareness of the variety of family dynamics and the many different mothering roles, both within families and beyond them, may be calling us to return to some of the […]

Read More…

Weekly Moravian Message: May 6, 2018

Sixth Sunday of Easter “Abide in My Love” Life in Christ is the wellspring of the joy of living, regardless of what we encounter in life. That is why Jesus’ request, “Abide in my love,” is so important for us. In the context of those words, Jesus was fully aware that his followers, beginning with […]

Read More…