Newsletter of the Moravian Church Eastern District • The Rev. David Bennett, president
“Many Smiles and Joyful Tears…”
It didn’t just happen….it took a couple of years to get up the nerve just to do it. A phrase that at first was simply words began to take on new meaning as time after time the lay leadership of the Mission Committee became determined to put flesh upon an idea…a question really. What if Sunday morning was not just about worship? “Don’t just go to church…Be the Church,” is the statement that Pastor Melissa Johnson says became the motivating mantra as Palmer Moravian Church began what has now become a venture into mission service.
Plans began for a Sunday when the entire congregation would be challenged to move outside of the sanctuary and to declare the Gospel using something other than words. Combining their three worship services into one celebration, they sought God’s blessing for a day of mission service. Following a delicious brunch (as no good Moravian endeavor is quite complete without a shared meal!), the congregation divided itself and away they went in about twelve different directions in service to others. Understanding that the Church cares for its members and also reaches out beyond its own membership, the projects focus on both. As well, there are projects for people of all ages and abilities – even some that take these sneakered saints out of the state, while others occur right in their own building. Some head into New York City in service to the residents of Moravian Open Door….some offered a free community car wash….some prepared casseroles to give to folks who stop at the church in need of food….some made dinner for the residents of a local shelter…some visited people in care facilities and in their homes….some joined in preparing meals for “Feeding Children Everywhere” who seek to provide 5000 meals in one afternoon that would eventually be shipped to Africa. If you think about it, the possibilities are endless.
Reflecting on the endeavor, Pastor Melissa writes, “I truly believe God wanted us to pursue this idea, since members of Palmer who have served on the Mission Committee kept coming back to it time and time again. We’ve tried 2 different formats – a one-day and a month-long focus. Each had benefits. The energy and atmosphere of the one-day event was powerful, knowing that we were all ‘out’ serving at the same time. The month-long focus allowed people to participate in more than one project, and we could plan projects that couldn’t happen on a Sunday.”
On May 17th, the Palmer Moravian Church will once again not just go to church, but will BE THE CHURCH. Activities for this mission day will include clean-up at a state park, working at a local animal shelter, preparing layettes and birthing kits to be sent to Honduras, and crocheting caps and blankets for people undergoing chemotherapy. Drawn together as a congregation with a renewed sense of purpose, the congregation has been amazed at how this endeavor has helped to form new and lasting relationships in the community. Reflecting upon that blessing, Pastor Melissa concludes, “Whether visiting at Moravian Open Door or raking someone’s leaves right in Palmer Township, there is so much joy in getting to know those we’re serving…..there have been many smiles and joyful tears in this ministry.” Sounds like a great day “at Church” to me.
- Sister Sanette Francis, a December 2014 graduate of Moravian Theological Semi-nary, has accepted the call to serve at the Ebenezer Moravian Church in Water-town, Wisconsin. She will be ordained at the John Hus Moravian Church in Brooklyn, NY on May 30 at 2:00 pm. Installation date at Ebenezer has not yet been set.
- Brother Jay Petrella, currently serving the Church of the Redeemer Moravian Church in Dublin, OH, has accepted the call to serve at the MorningStar Mora-vian Church in Coopersburg, PA. He will be installed June 28.
Schedule of Events
- May 1-3 – Confirmation Retreat at Hope Center. Contact Marie Couts 330.401.1212 or Cynthia Rader Geyer 610.867.7566 x31.
- May 11-13 – Eastern District Clergy/ Staff Retreat at the Retreat and Conference Center at Bon Secours, Marriottsville, MD. Keynote speaker: Shane Claiborne, The Simple Way.
- May 16, 6 to 9 p.m., including a meal. Iglesia Esperanza for Bethlehem Youth Fundraiser Annual Fashion Show. A Night of Glitter and Glam-our. Fashion Show, Dinner, Entertainment. $7 for adults and $3 for kids. Held at St. John Windish Lutheran Church, 617 E. 4th Street, Bethlehem, PA. All proceeds will help send our kids to camp.
- May 17 – Prayer Day for Star Mountain and Middle East Peace.
- June 25-28 – The 12th Moravian Women’s Conference at Sandy Cove Conference Center at the headwaters of the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. www.moravianwomensconference.org
- July 5–13 – Moravian Young Adult Convocation to the Czech Republic and Germany to see many of the historic Moravian sites and to find inspiration and vision for current ministry. For young adults ages 18 through 26. http://convo2015.wordpress.com/.
- July 23-25 – Eastern District Conference – The HILL, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA. Keynote Address Alice Mann. Worship and Workshops, Fun and Fellowship. Contact Marie Couts: email@example.com, phone 330.401.1212
- June 22-25, 2016 – Eastern District Synod, at Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land 2016
The Rt. Rev. Hopeton Clennon is organizing a Moravian pilgrimage to the Holy Land through Education Opportunities Tours January 4-13, 2016. The price starts at $2,998 and includes roundtrip international airfare from New York Kennedy airport, deluxe motorcoaches, first class hotels, and daily buffet breakfast and dinner. You may register online or by mail. The website is: www.moraviantour.com
Moravian Ministries Foundation
Do you enjoy writing? The Moravian Ministries Foundation is always looking for guest bloggers for our website; we would specifically love to hear from pastors who are connecting money with ministry and growing gratitude and generosity in their churches. We thank Russ Williams, Christine Johnson, Lane Sapp, John G. Rights, Rick Sides, and Justin Rabbach for allowing us to share their writings over the past months.
To check out our blog, visit http://mmfa.info/blogs. Please email Laura Watson, Director for Faith and Philanthropy, if you are interested in sharing something you’ve written with the MMFA. Thank you!
How can the Moravian Ministries Foundation help your church incorporate planned giving into its year-round stew-ardship efforts? To learn more about GiftLegacy, call us at 888-722-7923 or visit our website at http://www.mmfa.info/planned_giving_churches