The Newsletter of the Eastern District
David E. Bennett, President
OUR CHURCH FAMILY: “The most important part of our visit…”
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense, and of myrrh….”
There were 18 of them bundled up for the trip into New York City and their arms were anything but empty. The backpacks they were taking to Moravian Open Door (MOD) –which houses and provides supportive services to New York’s homeless, distressed, and underserved older population –had been lovingly filled by the members of Palmer Moravian Church with important emergency items for MOD’s residents. However, they realized soon after their arrival with these wonderful gifts, “that this wasn’t the most important part of the visit,” reports Pastor Melissa Johnson. “Seeing our kids playing cards and BINGO and having a blast with the residents…they made connections they won’t forget anytime soon. When we left, Quincy (Pastor Melissa’s son) was talking about one of the MOD residents and said, ‘John is my new best friend!’ What an invaluable experience…”
As this group of holy travelers from Palmer Moravian Church reflected upon their journey to MOD, they came to realize that to simply give a gift without having had the opportunity to build a relationship with those you desire to serve, feels somehow less. They came to bless and to gift….yet they left feeling blessed and carrying the gift of having new names written upon their hearts. “John is my new best friend!”
In this season of Advent, Moravian Open Door once again welcomes our congregations to support their “No Room in the Inn” financial campaign. Please consider supporting this ministry, which so tangibly touches lives and makes the Gospel real in this day. Additionally, you might consider the actions of the Palmer congregation and others, who have committed themselves to building relationships with those dear brothers and sisters who MOD serves. In some ways, it is reminiscent of those Magi who so long ago came bearing gifts…but as they came into the presence of the Child, they realized oh so quickly….it wasn’t just about the gifts. It is when we find ourselves in true and lasting fellowship with those for whom there is “no room in the Inn,” that we suddenly feel the need to bow….to offer our gifts….and to look with love into the eyes of the Christ Child. I suspect the good folks at Palmer would attest that when you take the time and humility to bow….and to look into the eyes of others….one soon realizes that whatever you have in your hands…isn’t “the most important part of the visit.”
Schedule of Events
- January 16-18, 2015 -Sr. High / Post High Winter Retreat @ Camp Hope $110 ($50 deposit) Register online at http://camphope.org/youth-specialty-camps-retreat
- Jan 30-Feb 1 2015 -“You Are God’s Masterpiece,” a retreat for girls in grades 3-8 at Hope Conference & Renewal Center. Registration dead¬line is December 30th and space is limited, so please encourage early registration. For more information, please contact event coordinators Jodie Harney at 610-838-9344 or Linda Wisser at 610-965-6067. This event is sponsored by the Eastern District Christian Education Commission.
- April 16-19, 2015: men’s Cursillo weekend and the women’s weekend is April 23-26, 2015.
- June 25-28, 2015: 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, 2015: 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. All Moravian young adults ages 18 through 26 are invited to at-tend. The theme for the trip is “Make the Moravian Journey Home and Catch a Vision for Our Future!” For more information about Convo 2015, please check its website at http://convo2015.wordpress.com/ or its Facebook page at “Moravian Young Adult Convo 2015”. You can register online at http://www.planetreg.com/MoravianYoungAdultConvo2015. There are a limited number of spaces for this trip, and registrations need to be in by January 15, 2015. If you have questions, please contact Cynthia Rader Geyer, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, email@example.com, or call/text (484) 554-0102.
- July 23-26, 2015 -Eastern District Conference -The HILL, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA. Keynote Address Alice Mann. Worship and Workshops, Fun and Fellowship. Contact Marie Couts: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 330.401.1212
Mississippi Mission Trip 2015
NEMDR mission trip to Louisville, Mississippi, in Winston County, to aid in the rebuilding of homes, businesses, and lives damaged in the April 28, 2014 tornado will be leaving: January 2, 2015 from Ad-vent Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pa. at approx. 6:30 A.M., returning: January 11, 2015 to Advent Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pa. at approx. 6:30 P.M. Cost: $200.00, which covers transportation, shelter, and two meals a day while in Mississippi. Recommended: At least $100.00 for food and incidental personal expenses. Transportation will be in multi-passenger vans (12 passenger). This will be a two-day trip each way, probably staying at Rural Hall Moravian Church, near Winston-Salem, N.C. overnight while in transit.
Volunteers should bring appropriate cloth-ing, personal toiletries, a sleeping bag or blankets and sheets, a willing heart, and an open mind. These trips are life-changing and life-enhancing for all involved, an opportunity to live your faith, step out of your comfort zone, and experience other cultures. For people new to this, we will have a pre-trip meeting to discuss culture shock and the more surprising re-entry when we return.
This trip will include all types of cleaning and construction work; there will be some¬thing for every person to do. Repairing the buildings is the work; repairing lives is the mission. No previous mission or construction experience necessary. We will be working through the organization “Winstonstrong”, the volunteer coordinating entity whose webpage can be viewed at: www.winstonstrong.org.
Any other questions, call: John Egerton, Chair, NEMDR, 610-217-0514 Mike Rampulla Vice-Chair, NEMDR, 610-462-7401.
The Unitas Chorale is seeking singers for its 2015 season, featuring “Gems from the Archives of Bethlehem and Herrnhut.” The Moravian Music Foundation is pleased to announce that, in addition to the leadership provided by Gwyneth Michel (director) and Donna Ambler (accompanist), Peter Kubath (Director of Music, the Moravian Church, Herrnhut) will serve as guest conductor at next year’s concert. Rehearsals begin 3:00 pm Sunday after-noon, January 18, at College Hill Moravian Church. The Chorale’s 2015 concert will be held Sunday afternoon, April 26, at Palmer Moravian Church. All voices welcome; no audition required. For further information, please call 610-866-3340 or email email@example.com.
Moravian Ministries Foundation
When we meet with Moravians who want to include their church or a Moravian agency in their estate plans, we have the privilege of hearing their stories about what being Moravian means to them, as well as their “church memories”. These conversations often take hours as people have been blessed again and again by their Church over the course of their lives.
What is YOUR Moravian story, and what is the story of your Moravian Church? How do you tell those stories and invite others to tell theirs? Oftentimes we don’t do a good job of sharing our Church’s stories of generosity and ministry, and there are so many wonderful stories to tell. As we enter the Advent Season, we hope you will give thanks for the stories the Moravian Church has told for hundreds of years. And let us consider what kind of stories we want to tell for future generations.
(The Moravian Ministries Foundation would love to hear your Moravian story. How is your church or agency ministering to its members or the community in unique ways? Are there members whose generosity has enabled the church to strengthen existing programs or start new ones? Email Laura Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888.722.7923.)
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 27 – 1842 First, Dover, OH
31 – 1865 First, Riverside, NJ 31 – 1947 Schoenbrunn, New Phila., OH
How to Have a Visitor Friendly Christmas
Share this latest blog post from the Board of Cooperative Ministries, Moravian Church, Southern Province, http://unitasfratrum.wordpress.com/201 4/11/20/how-to-have-a-visitor-friendly-christmas/, for tips on how to make your Christmas services “the most wonderful time of the year” to welcome visitors into your community. Ruth Cole Burcaw is a member of Unity Moravian Church in Lewisville, NC. She is also the Executive Director of the Board of Cooperative Ministries for the Moravian Church, Southern Province.