Author Archives: Susan Kiefner

Weekly Moravian Message: May 21, 2017

Sixth Sunday of Easter Spirit Watchers Each one of us sees the world differently. Our experience, expertise, and knowledge can sometimes sharpen what we notice about the world around us. For example, when I taste a bland dish for the first time, I might say, “This needs something, but I don’t know what.” Yet a […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: May 14, 2017

Fifth Sunday of Easter Troubled Hearts When we lived in the Midwest, a visit to distant family could at times seem like more effort and trouble than it might be worth—days away and pastor coverage, arrangements for flights and rental cars, pass-ports and time zones. However, whatever time of day or night we arrived, no […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: May 7, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Easter Listening to the Good Shepherd Jesus is our shepherd and leads to the way of life. A clear truth spoken to in John’s Gospel—a truth, however, that is sometimes hard to grasp. How often do we look for other guides for life’s ultimate answers? How often do we look to a […]

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Ponderings: Documenting the work of Moravians in mission

Welcome to one of my favorite issues of the year. Each spring since 2011, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of helping to produce the Board of World Mission’s Annual Report. This 20-page publication highlights the extensive work being done around the world by Moravians dedicated to our church’s centuries-old call to mission. And each […]

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Confessing Our Unity in Christ: Studying the historical and theological background to The Ground of the Unity

As part of our ongoing series to share information about key Moravian theology and doctrine, we will be excerpting the Rev. Dr. C. Daniel Crews’ study, Confessing Our Unity in Christ: Historical and Theological Background to The Ground of the Unity. Originally written in 2000 and updated twice, this study looks at the theological and […]

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Ohio church offers “rural immersion” mission/service experience

Based in the unoccupied parsonage of the Fry’s Valley Moravian Church in rural New Philadelphia, Ohio, The Farmhouse offers a retreat-style setting and an ambitious program that puts participants in the field, literally, to learn first-hand the joys, challenges, issues and importance of farming and of feeding the world.

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Unity Women’s Desk launches Southern Province campaign

The Unity Women’s Desk began its Standing With Our Sisters capital campaign in the Southern Province in March, with a goal of raising $250,000.

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Congregation tries new tradition with “Saturday before Easter” rounds

Steeped in tradition, we Moravians often find that if they do something twice, they just keep doing it. Sometimes we don’t even remember why it is done. Could the tradition have even become outdated? Maybe such is the case for the tradition of the Salem Congregation’s Easter Morning “rounds” in certain areas of a community. […]

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Festival to bring together many for Moravian music

The 25th Moravian Music Festival, to be held in Winston-Salem, July 23 – 29, is where dedicated church musicians convene and conference to reaffirm their work and service to the Lord. The Festival is the opportunity to connect to the larger Church and the Worldwide Unity.

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Official Provincial Elders’ News

Northern Province Union, New Jersey Brother Michael Poole, Jr. has accepted an appointment to serve as part-time pastor for Battle Hill Moravian Church, Union, New Jersey. Brother Poole was installed April 2, 2017. York, Pennsylvania Brother John Fritts, who has been serving under call to Specialized Ministry at Marquardt Village, Watertown, Wisconsin, has accepted the […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: April 30, 2017

Third Sunday of Easter Encountered by Jesus On what road is Jesus encountering you? As a few disciples walk and talk about what has happened, Jesus comes near and goes with them, but “their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (Luke 24:16). Jesus inquires about their discussion. They stand “still, looking sad.” What gives you […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: April 23, 2017

Second Sunday of Easter Jesus Is with You After revealing himself to Mary Magdalene on Easter morning, Jesus sent her to share the glad news of his resurrection with his disciples. We may never understand their state of mind when they received the news from Mary, or whether they even believed her. But later that […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday Good News The belief we share that Jesus of Nazareth was God incarnate, and that he lived, suffered, died, and lived again, is good news. We think of it as such and call it so. We declare it to be the Good News, news surpassing in goodness all other news. And it was […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday God Is in Charge Through this Lenten season (and these bulletin backs), I have asked how God dares to enter into our world, “grounding” Godself with the very ordinary stuff of our lives, in order to show how the extraordinary happens. Walking through the Gospel stories from John about the ordinary things like […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: April 2, 2017

Fifth Sunday in Lent Weeping Someone once said that there are only two things certain about life: death and taxes. Yet it is one of those certain things and one of those ordinary things about life—death itself—that Jesus challenges in our Gospel passage from John today. Lazarus, we are told, has physically died—an ordinary death, […]

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A hymn makes for a happier birthday

While traveling for work remains a fun part of my job, being away from home and family on my birthday is something I typically try to avoid. I’m also a fan of quiet birthday celebrations. This year, my birthday fell the Saturday of the Southern Province’s 2017 Inter-Synodal Conference in Winston-Salem. I hoped I would […]

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GiftLegacy: remembering
 congregations and agencies in estate plans

The Moravian Ministries Foundation helps Moravian individuals, churches and agencies grow and sustain the ministries that are central to our faith. We do this through investment management, gift planning and assisting with stewardship development and capital fundraising. Our GiftLegacy planned giving service works with individuals, couples and families who want to create plans for giving […]

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Making a positive impact on the lives of women and girls around the world

The Unity Women’s Desk (UWD) is a ministry of the worldwide Moravian Church whose purpose is to positively impact the lives of women and girls by coordinating the spiritual, financial, educational and material resources that exist throughout the Moravian Unity. The UWD’s vision is to bring about global change for Moravian women around the world—women […]

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Come & Worship team “Goes & Serves” in Peru

Come & Worship, an emerging ministry in Winston-Salem, N.C., recently put together a team to serve on a mission trip to Peru. The team, which included The Rev. Brad Bennett and his wife Sue, Diane Ebert, Antoinette Brey, the Rt. Rev. Sam Gray and Sandra Dorr from Come & Worship and Emma LaBella from Christ […]

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Exploring a potential new Moravian music resource

For many years, the music that is written and sung as a part of the regular worship life of our congregations and communities has significantly reflected the Moravian Church’s witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the world. The practice of writing and collecting hymns is part of an ongoing conversation with God and […]

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The making of an Easter Putz

In January, when most people are taking down their Christmas decorations, Calvary Moravian Church in Winston-Salem just puts a curtain up to hide their Christmas Nativity Putz. It isn’t to cover it up until next year, like leaving up a Moravian star, and it isn’t because they are too lazy to take it down. It […]

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Inter-Synodal Gathering generates 
ideas and excitement for the future

Emerging ministries. Adaptive change in church structure and education. Resource sharing. Young adult and youth involvement. Focus on God’s Essentials. Bi-vocational ministry. Reintroducing Jesus to the disillusioned. At February’s 2017 Inter-Synodal Gathering, Southern Province Moravians generated and discussed more than two dozen topics in an effort to answer the question, “What will it take to […]

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Seminary students learn of Moravian life and history in Jamaica

Jamaica in January. For course credit? Sign me up! Seven of us made our way from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to Jamaica this past January for the course Jamaica: History, Culture, and the Moravians offered at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem. The Rev Dr. Craig Atwood and Bishop Hopeton Clennon led our travels; along for the ride […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: March 26, 2017

Fourth Sunday in Lent Seeing You will read this passage about light just a few weeks after our clocks have been turned ahead one hour in most of the United States to observe Daylight Savings Time. This will bring more light to our evenings, so that many of us will enjoy an extra hour of […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: March 19, 2017

Third Sunday in Lent Thirsty The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge writes, “Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink,” words from a sailor challenged to find a way to quench his thirst amid the salty sea water. Fresh water is essential to human survival, re-minding us of the ordinary nature of the story in John’s […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: March 12, 2017

Second Sunday in Lent Shining Last Sunday, as the season of Lent began, we suggested that God was present in the midst of the temptations of Jesus, that God could use the ordinary struggles that Jesus faced—of bread, mortality, and power—to do extraordinary things. Over this season of Lent, we will be walking through several […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: March 5, 2017

First Sunday in Lent Grounded   In teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus shares this: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (or as the NRSV version of Matthew 6:13 states, “And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one”). Yet in our […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: February 26, 2017

Last Sunday after the Epiphany Transfiguration of Our Lord The Rhythm of the Christian Life Why do you come to worship on a Sunday morning? Maybe you come to find a bit of peace; to get away from your problems for an hour. Or maybe you come to get motivated and empowered to face your […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: February 19, 2017

Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany Another Way It just seems too good to be true, but then again . . . Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount about nonviolence and the love of our enemies are a bit of a head-scratcher. Does he really mean what he says? “Turn the other cheek . […]

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Weekly Moravian Message: February 12, 2017

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany Understanding the Law In our text for today, Jesus does not discard the law. Instead, he interprets the law by teaching that the laws are not mere rules. They are actually the way to being in right relationship with God and with neighbor. As Jesus cuts through the people’s understanding […]

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