On the cover: The Brethren’s House, built in 1748, housed the single men of the Bethlehem community.
Brother Leon H. Matthias died at Silver Spring, Maryland, September 23, 2013, at the age of 66 years.
Born December 8, 1946 in Antigua he was the son of George and Ethel Matthias. Brother Matthias received degrees from United Theological College of the West Indies, the Presbyterian School of Christian Education and Catholic University of America. He was ordained a Deacon in the Moravian ministry August 24, 1975 and consecrated a Presbyter August 18, 1981.
The Moravian Church has experienced spiritual renewal and strength through a covenant of prayer. In 1727, the church in Herrnhut, Germany, covenanted for an “Hourly Intercession” which continued for one hundred years with a great blessing to the entire Moravian Church. The Unity Prayer Watch established in 1957 (the quincentenary of the Unitas Fratrum) has continued to bless us. The 1988 Unity Synod affirmed the importance of this experience for the worldwide Moravian Church.
Under the schedule adopted by the 2009 Unity Synod, December 1-31 is assigned to the Northern Province and January 1-18 to the Southern Province. Each Provincial Board will supply assignment of specific dates to individual congregations, with suggestions for prayer topics.
On May 19, 2013, Scot Fortescue began a 360 mile charity run that would span from the Blue Ridge Mountains at the Tennessee state line, to end at the flatlands of the eastern coast at Emerald Isle, N.C. three months later.
The Fishladder Run evolved from an idea that popped into Scot’s head to give back to the community that had blessed his fish business for 22 years in Winston-Salem, N.C. After being unsure of whether this was something he should try or not, he asked God to let him know if the idea come from Him. For weeks God sent little answers, such as giving him his favorite verse in the Bible from a fishbowl at the YMCA. It was Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” I continued to encourage him to listen to what God was telling him. Scot decided to follow God’s direction to commit to the run and make the Scholarship Fund at Sunnyside Ministry in Winston-Salem the recipient of all donations. The scholarship would be in memory of his father, William Fortescue.
In July, the Moravian Music Foundation and Interprovincial Board of Communication introduced Sing to the Lord A New Song: A New Moravian Songbook. This new songbook contains 80 brand new songs, written by and for Moravians, as a celebration of the vivacity and diversity of music in the modern Moravian Church in America.
As part of the submission process, songwriters were asked to share what led them to create these new works. In this and future issues of The Moravian, we share some of those stories to inspire others to try a new song, or put their hand to creating their own new works.
When the Rev. Cynthia Geyer left College Hill Moravian Church to assume the new role of Eastern District Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, the congregation was faced with what to do to keep programs moving, fill the pulpit every other Sunday and assist Rev. David Geyer. Mostly they needed some time and space in order to sort out a long-term staffing plan.
“Get along little doggie” isn’t something you hear very often in church. But when the Daggett Moravian Congregation gathered on September 8 for their third annual “Cowboy Church” observance, it’s certain that visions of the Way Out West were on member’s minds.
With attendance three times the normal, folks gathered in their western attire for a western lifestyle worship experience. The community was invited to join with members in a relaxed atmosphere.
The Board of World Mission in North America (BWM) met from October 3-5, 2013 at the Christian Springs Retreat Center in Bethlehem, Pa. for a strategic planning session, followed by a business meeting.
In August, a group of young Moravians from the Northern and Southern Provinces joined counterparts from across the Moravian Unity for the 2013 Unity Youth Heritage Tour. The Tour, which traced the roots of the Ancient Unity and renewed Moravian Church in Europe, offered an opportunity to visit the cradle of the Moravian Church.
We asked those who attended to share their perspective and insights into the meaning of this opportunity to them.
Lanie Yaswinski is the former assistant archivist at the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, Pa. This article is a result of research comparing modern church practices with those of 18th-century Moravians presented at workshops for the Eastern District’s “Heart of Ministry” conferences in 2009 and 2011. A longer version of this article appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of The Hinge.
In 2011 I was asked by our District President, Dave Bennett, to consider what a modern Moravian choir system might look like. The result is a proposal for a new choir system that is really dependent on the revival of the small-group prayer bands that delivered pastoral care to all church members through highly active lay leadership.
Members of the Unity Executive Committee met in Bethlehem, Pa., in September to pray for and conduct business on behalf of the Unity Board of the Worldwide Moravian Church. The three days of meetings focused on matters that pertain to the Unity provinces, mission provinces and mission areas around the Moravian world.
Since joining the staff of the IBOC, I’ve been fascinated (and sometimes confused) by the history and theology of the Moravian Church. Whether it’s the Ancient Unity, the work of Comenius, the church of Zinzendorf’s time or the modern-day Unitas Fratrum, I’m still trying to get my arms around what it means to be Moravian.