The Newsletter of the Eastern District Moravian Church: April 2018, David E. Bennett, President
Sacred Stories- The Gift of Holy Week Readings
There is something about the Holy Week readings that pace my life for this sacred season. Holding that small book in my hand and following along on the stories of Jesus’ journey toward cross and tomb…..singing the hymns intertwined so meaningfully….it all helps attune my life to the contemplations of this holiest of all weeks. It is something that many Moravians find essential to their Easter experience as a whole. I would argue that it’s more than a tradition for us really — it’s actually a spiritual discipline that is an integral part of our faith DNA.
Here in the office, Johanna (the Eastern District Administrative Assistant), shared a personal Holy Week story with me that warmed my heart. When she first began attending the Edgeboro Moravian congregation, she decided to attend one of the evening Holy Week services. As a newcomer, she made her way into the sanctuary and, as is so often the case when you are feeling your way into a new faith community, she found a seat off to the side where she sat by herself. As she sat alone reflecting upon the soon to begin service, a gentleman approached her with a smile and welcome….and one more thing. He offered her a Holy Week manual to follow along with the service’s readings. As the service came to a conclusion, she looked around until she found the gentleman so that she could return his book. To her surprise, he responded by saying, “No, I want you to keep it….it’s yours now.” She was delighted and touched by such an unexpected gift. Interestingly, she shared further that there was something in that gift which drew her to attend all of the other Holy Week reading nights….her new Holy Week manual in hand.
Always the consummate Christian educator, our own Marie Couts has a similar practice in the spirit of this Holy Week. Each year she purchases extra Holy Week manuals and when she sees a young child or youth at one of the Holy Week readings, she gifts them with their own book. You can imagine their delight, as well, at such an unexpected and timely gift. With a smile, Marie explains, “You would be surprised at how many parents tell me that their kids were the ones who insisted they go the next night so they could read from their own book!”
As we gather together this Holy week to hear these sacred stories once again….as we open that small book and read of the One who walked in our shoes…who healed and hoped….who dined with the least of these…..who fed both bodies and souls…..who loved us to the cross….and surprised us from a tomb…..let us consider that “the gift” is actually more than that small book. It’s a gift of faith heritage…where pausing life to gather quietly with kin in faith to hear those sacred stories is more than something we do….it’s part of who we are as Moravians.
That truly is a gift worth giving!
by Vince Holbrook
Our earthly blessings last only for a time. But, especially at this time of year, we affirm our belief in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Our obedience to God, service, and joyful communion with Him do not end.
Many members of Moravian congregations look for creative ways to support their churches and other ministries they love into perpetuity. They want the fruit of their labor during life, the joy of giving, their insights, discernment, and support for God’s work to continue until He comes.
The Moravian Ministries Foundation in America (MMFA) can help both individuals and congregations use the tools of philanthropy to continue their response to Christ’s love. Click here to learn more about how Perpetual Funds, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Donor Advised Funds and other tools can help maximize the impact of stewardship and continue God’s work.
Board of World Mission
The Board of World Mission works to promote leadership development, mission outreach and economic strengthening for our global partners. One way to do this is through our mission grant program. These grants support items like scholarships in Honduras, stewardship workshops in Tanzania, and income generating projects in Peru. These grants are meant to act as seeds, the beginnings of new ministries that can grow and prosper. Help support these ministries by donating at MoravianMission.org/MissionMeals. As a thank you for a $5 donation, you can receive a “plantable bookmark”. Yes, a bookmark with some seeds you can plant this spring as a reminder of the way you have helped a new and beautiful thing, grow!
Unitas Chorale Concert Announced
Now in its 22nd year of Moravian music-making, the Unitas Chorale is poised to hold its annual spring concert on Sunday afternoon, April 29th at 4:00 p.m. at Advent Moravian Church, Bethlehem, PA. The concert is entitled “Singing With the Spirit: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs.” The concert promises to be a joyous celebration of God’s many blessings. The Unitas Chorale of the Northern Province is a performing arm of the Moravian Music Foundation with Gwyneth Michel, Director and Donna Ambler, Accompanist. Visit www.moravianmusic.org for information. See also Facebook for details. The concert is free; donations appreciated.
IBOC Items on Sale
The Moravian Daily Texts are being offered at a 15% discount. It’s not too late to start the day with words from God, which are “new every day”. Regular edition $10.50 on Sale $8.93. Other editions on sale too. To access sale page: store.moravian.org.
“Camp Hope” Needs Your Help!
The lower camp needs to be cleaned and prepared by mid-April for the Moravian Confirmation Retreat and other rental groups. Can you give a few hours to help?
No experience or skills are necessary. We have jobs for everyone, including:
- spring clean cabins and lodges, top to bottom
- wash windows
- pick up sticks and branches left by winter storms
- minor plumbing and electrical repairs
Weekday assistance is preferred; some weekend hours may be possible. If you can help, contact Sue at 908 459-4435 or email@example.com to discuss.
Eastern Regional Confirmation Retreat Registration Deadline: April 23
The 2018 Moravian Church Eastern Region Confirmation Retreat will be held May 4-6, 2018 at the Hope Conference and Renewal Center. Registration begins on Friday evening from 7:00 – 8:00 pm and the retreat will end on Sunday at 10:00 am.
This year’s program will focus on the history of Moravian missions as well as one’s personal sense of mission.
For more information please contact your pastor. Advance registration is required with a deadline for registration of April 23, 2018.
North East Moravian Disaster Response Presents: An Introduction to Mission at Camp Hope
Listen to your call to mission. Experience the joy of being and working with others as we join together in Christian fellowship, sharing our God-given skills and talents while helping with needed projects at Camp Hope. Hear stories of how responding to the call to mission has changed lives. Take advantage of this close-at hand mission opportunity to live your faith in service to others with fellow Moravians. Tools and instruction will be provided by NEMDR.
Come joint the fun on May 11 and 12, 2018. The cost is $10.00 each day or $15.00 for the weekend. Meals and overnight accommodations provided. For information and reservations, call John Egerton at 610-217-0514 or Mike Rampulla at 610-462-7401. Become the person God knows you can be!
April Church Anniversaries
1 – 1888 – First, Easton, PA
10 -1949 – Palmer Twsp. Easton, PA
13 – 1859 – Egg Harbor City, NJ
27 – 1852 – Tremont Terrace, Bronx, NY
April 13, 1732 – The first Easter sunrise service of the Moravians was conducted in the Hutberg cemetery at Herrnhut, Germany.