Open publication – Free publishing – More moravian On the cover: A scene from the putz at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This scene is featured on the 2012 Christmas City Seal. Photo by Mike Riess.
The Rev. Ronnie Keith White
Brother Ronnie Keith White passed away on October 25, 2012 in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was born on August 1, 1953 in Ahoskie, N.C. He graduated from Southeastern Baptist Seminary with an M.Div. in 1979.
As a result of a Synod resolution passed at the 2012 Eastern District Synod in June, the Eastern District of the Moravian Church, Northern Province, is seeking a new director of Youth and Young Adult ministries.
On October 29, a most unwelcome guest visited the northeastern U.S. — a hurricane/superstorm named Sandy. As that blustery Monday wore on, we knew we were in for an event many would remember for a long time.
The wind and rain rose throughout the day and into the overnight, taking down trees and limbs all over Bethlehem. Most of the city lost power. Schools and some businesses closed for days. Thankfully, the storm took no fatalities in our area.
“As God created the heavens, the earth, and life itself, may God give birth to new life in us. May God’s love be known to us today through Jesus Christ. And as tiny pebbles thrown into a pond cause ripples to move outward in ever-widening circles, may our love move from this place outward—expanding to embrace our neighbors, our community, our human family, and our world.” (MBW, p. 47)
One day, a few women were chatting about the various ministries of the Staten Island (SI) Moravians in Mission (Great Kills, Castleton Hill, New Dorp, and Vanderbilt Avenue Moravian Churches). One of those women shared a devotion she had read. The writer spoke about the prayer shawl ministry of her denomination and the amazing undertaking that was part of their ministry. For a national church gathering, those who knit and crochet prepared enough prayer shawls for each delegate to receive one.
Where can we find God in our lives and how can we serve him? In the spring of 2009 when our church closed the sanctuary for renovations, we needed to consider other places for worship. Our Fellowship Hall was remodeled for Sunday services. We now felt comfortable and assured that God was in our presence as we gathered together on Sunday mornings. But these changes caused us to ask, “Where else do we experience God and live out our faith?”
Sunday, October 14 was a day planned and anticipated for almost a year, as the Schoeneck Moravian Church, just north of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, celebrated its 250th anniversary with a lovefeast, special anthems and a guest bishop.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s oldest community putz—a unique Moravian display of miniature scenes and figurines in a home or church, which tells the biblical story surrounding the birth of Jesus—is honored on the 2012 Christmas City Seal.
In this issue of The Moravian, we feature two stories from pastors on Staten Island. These stories were penned long before Hurricane Sandy came ashore on October 29 and 30. That storm devastated large sections of Staten Island, along with many areas in the New York metro area and Long Island.
Both churches featured—Great Kills and Castleton Hill—are working together with their sister congregations New Dorp and Vanderbilt Avenue to assist efforts to help those affected by this storm. In mid-November, the four Staten Island churches shared the following:
A large and joyful congregation gathered on Sunday, September 23, 2012 to celebrate Oak Grove Moravian Church’s 125th anniversary. The service included a lovefeast, special music by the choir and band, and an anniversary sermon preached by Bishop Graham Rights.
As we stood on the gravel tarmac next to the small building that housed a check-in counter and scale for the luggage and freight, we noticed the fog coming in closer over the village of Makkovik along the Labrador Coast. We were fearful that again the plane would turn back to Goose Bay as it had earlier that day, which might mean another four days in Makkovik until the fog was predicted to lift. And then we heard the plane and eventually saw it circle the building and land. After a quick refuel, we were on our way back to Goose Bay-Happy Valley where we would catch our flights home.
Moravians and those interested in Moravian history and music converged on Bethlehem in October for the third Bethlehem Conference on Moravian History and Music. Attendees came from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
“God bless you!” We often hear these words from the people who come to get clothing at the Staten Island Moravian Clothing Distribution. When they first come in to wait their turn or when they say goodbye with their bags full of clothing, they shower us with this simple, personal benediction.
And indeed God has blessed us. For the past nine years, the four Staten Island Moravian churches have worked together to offer clean, gently used clothing to children and adults in our community. Our efforts have grown from 2004 when we served 83 children and a few mothers to 2012 when we served 1086 children and adults.