The Newsletter of The Eastern District Moravian Church, December 2017, David E. Bennett, President
To Us, To Us…This Task is Given
These words currently resonate in a very real and urgent way with Iglesia Esperanza for Bethlehem, an emerging ministry serving the south side of Bethlehem, PA. Following the hurricanes that tore their way through the Caribbean this fall, pastors Rhonda and Tracy Robinson began to notice an influx of new Puerto Rican families who were arriving in the area in desperate need. Through the help of local friends and family, they were able to escape the ravages of the hurricane upon Puerto Rico and the resulting mass destruction of the most basic of essentials.
Arriving with predominantly the ‘shirts on their backs,’ their stories are haunting. One of the families tells the story of losing both their mother and their grandmother – not from the raging winds of the hurricane – but three weeks later from contaminated drinking water that exposed them to infection. Their stories are many and heart wrenching. Many have come to find a home for their children so that they can return to care for their damaged properties. Others have nothing left to return to so they have come to Bethlehem to resettle due to the devastation of their homeland.
The local school district has reported 95 new children as a result of families from Puerto Rico seeking resettlement and they are expecting many, many more. Therefore, reaching out to care for these families has become an immediate and overwhelming ministry of the Esperanza community, as well as the area Moravian congregations. Initially, members of the Esperanza community began sending personal money and food to family and friends in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, this created even more need within the Esperanza community itself. However, with the help of our other local congregations, collaborative efforts have expanded and food, clothing, and basic toiletry items are now starting to replenish the efforts at Esperanza.
The Edgeboro congregation has been instrumental in coordinating efforts and identifying families in need through the school system. The Mountainview congregation has supplied winter clothing and Spanish Bibles. Moravian College and their food service, Sodexo, is working to supply both cooked and frozen food to be distributed by Esperanza. The Bethlehem Area Congregations (BAM) continue to support the efforts financially. The Tremont Terrace congregation and Moravian Academy have collected nonperishable food items for distribution at Esperanza. It truly has become a team effort of care for these so gravely in need. For this we are both truly grateful and truly called.
However, the need is tremendous and is growing. These resources, as abundant as they were, have already almost completely been distributed. Due to transportation limitations for these Puerto Rican families and the resourcefulness of Iglesia Esperanza for Bethlehem, this ministry location has been selected as the main distribution point for south Bethlehem. For this reason, the Eastern District Executive Board would like to invite our district congregations to consider supporting this immediate and emergency ministry need, either in your own local ministry setting, or through the current efforts of Iglesia Esperanza for Bethlehem.
In this sacred season, a very real part of our faith story is that of a Holy Family seeking both refuge and shelter in their time of need. Before us is the chance to help “make room” for those displaced by such horrible tragedy. As pastors Tracy and Rhonda remind us, “Our churches have a great opportunity to show love and care for a community that is homeless, country-less, and cannot communicate well using another language, and are afraid about their own future. Even if you are not sure, still take a step forward and God will direct your steps.”
Below is a list of items currently needed at Esperanza, but also offer a basic list that most families in this circumstance would need in your area:
Paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, dish detergent, garbage bags, sponges for dishes, towels, washcloths, pillows, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, comb, hair brush, nail clippers, $25 grocery card (Giant, Walmart, Price Rite, or C-Town), chap stick, bed sheets, bed covers, air mattresses, diapers, wipes, pharmacy gift cards (for medication), coats/jackets
Moravian Ministries Foundation
Did you know the Moravian Ministries Foundation maintains a brokerage account solely for the purpose of facilitating stock gifts for Moravian churches and agencies? Over the last twelve years, we have assisted Moravians in making over $1.5 million in stock gifts to their churches and favorite Moravian agencies. Those gifts have ranged in size from $500 to $200,000; there’s no minimum or maximum for the size of the gift, and there’s no fee charged.
If you or a member of your church is interested in making a gift of stock, please give us a call (888-722-7923). As long as the gift has been transferred into our brokerage account by December 31, it will count as a charitable contribution for the year.
Memorial Service For Bishop Edwin Sawyer
Br. Edwin Sawyer, bishop of the Unity, entered the more immediate presence of the Savior on Thursday, October 5, at Moravian Manor in Lititz, Pennsylvania. He was 103 years old. His son, Br. Bob Sawyer, expresses the deep appreciation of the family to the wider church for prayers of support. A memorial service celebrating Bishop Sawyer’s life and witness will be held on Sunday, December 10 at 2:00 pm at the Old Chapel on the campus of Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, PA. Parking should be available behind the Christian Ed building, and in the Central lot behind the Widow’s House. Please lift up Brother Sawyer’s family in prayer as they both grieve and give thanks for the life of Brother Sawyer.
Take a New Path With Crossroad Winter Courses
January is closer than you think! Plan now to take a Winter-term course through Crossroads. New Testament with Rev. Dr. Joanne Marchetto will begin on Jan 8 for eight Monday nights. Compass, a good place to start and to define your sense of call, will be Thursday nights starting Jan 4 also for eight weeks. Crossroads participants discover new skills, learn more about their faith and prepare for exciting ministries. Come join us for New Testament and Compass starting in January and watch for Theology and World Religions in spring. For more info contact Jill Peters at email@example.com or go to http://www.moravianseminary.edu/crossroads
Schedule of Events
December 1st and 8th, December 2nd & 9th, December 3rd and 10th, Moravian College Vespers – Please call Moravian College at 610-861-1300 or www.moravian.edu for tickets.
December 2nd at 1:30 pm, Sanctuary Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem PA, A Musical Christmas Extravaganza – Listen and sing along with Christmas favorites with Mainstreet Brass, Central Choir and the majestic pipe organ. Candles and sugar cake. Admission $15.
December 11th, 7 pm, Contemplative Worship Service in the Old Chapel, Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, PA –Experience an hour of quiet and reflective Christmas music with Becky Lepore on piano and John Arnold on guitar. Free.
January 12th -14th, 2018 – Post High Winter Retreat – Grade 9-age 21. Please contact Camp Hope office for more information or contact Rev. Cynthia Rader Geyer, Eastern District Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Unitas Chorale Announces 2018 Season
Join us this year as we celebrate the Savior with Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. Unitas Chorale was founded in 1996 and serves as the Northern Province performing arm of the Moravian Music Foundation. Rehearsals are held January through April on the first and third Sundays of the month at College Hill Moravian Church. All singers are welcome; no audition is required. Please contact director, Gwyn Michel, for further information: email@example.com or 610-866-3340.
Br. Garritt and Sr. Sanette Fleming have accepted the call to serve as co-pastors of the Schoeneck Moravian Church in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Br. Garritt has been serving at the Freedom Moravian Church in Appleton, Wisconsin and Sanette has been on leave of absence. They will be installed on January 21, 2018. Please be in prayer for Br. Garritt and Sr. Sanette and the Freedom and Schoeneck congregations in this time of transition.
Churches celebrating December anniversaries
- 11 – 1887 College Hill, Bethlehem, PA
- 17 – 1914 Reading, PA
- 19 – 1747 Lebanon, PA
- 25 – 1863 First, now Advent, Bethlehem, PA
- 27 – 1748 First, New York, NY
1842 First, Dover, OH
- 31 – 1865 First, Riverside, NJ
1947 Schoenbrunn, New Phila., OH
From The IBOC
Watchwords for 2018 Now Available
Watchwords for 2018 are now available for your year-end services. This downloadable file contains watchwords pulled from the 2018 Moravian Daily Texts, formatted into cards for congregational use. Many Moravian congregations use these watchwords as part of their New Year’s services to offer their members a watchword for the year.
To use, simply print the watchwords onto the paper/card stock of your choice; each page is formatted to be cut in half lengthwise and then on the dotted lines to create individual watchword cards.
For more details or to purchase, visit the “2018 Moravian Daily Texts” section of store.moravian.org
Christmas-Themed Bulletin Covers
Looking for the perfect bulletin cover for your Christmas Eve services? The IBOC now offers six different styles. Choose from candle themes, putzes, angels or stars!
These bulletin covers feature beautiful full-color images. They measure 11” x 8.5,” and fold to 8.5” x 5.5.” When folded, these covers have a blank inside and back page for printing information about your Christmas service.
Bulletin covers are 10 cents each and are sold in packs of 50 for $5.00. Visit store.moravian.org and click on the “Bulletins for Special Occasions” category for more information. Order by Dec. 11 to ensure delivery for use this Christmas.
Digital Editions of 2018 Daily Texts available early December
The digital editions of the 2018 Moravian Daily Texts are in final production and will be available for your Kindle, iPad, or Nook in early December. Visit www.amazon.com, the iTunes Store or bn.com and search for “Moravian Daily Texts 2018.” Digital editions are 7.99 each. We expect them to be approved for sale on these stores during the week of Dec. 4.