The Newsletter of The Eastern District Moravian Church
David E. Bennett, President
The Divine Whispers of Leftovers!
It all started with too much food! The Lebanon congregation had planned a special “Take a Friend to Church Sunday,” which included a nice luncheon following the service. Certainly being the amazing hosts they are, the congregation worked hard to ensure there would be plenty of food for all since they were uncertain of their numbers. They succeeded…even to the point that there was a clear bounty left over which now needed a home and table. As Pastor Lloyd Gooden put it, “The Parable of the Great Dinner came to mind,” so they took the feast out into the streets….literally.
Wanting to be good stewards of the leftovers, congregational leaders decided to take the food to the local Rescue Mission where they were certain it would eventually go to good use – they just didn’t realize how soon! Upon arriving with the food, they made a grand discovery. Unbeknownst to them Sundays are a very busy day for the Lebanon Rescue Mission. They found themselves in the midst of other local church members who come together on Sunday afternoons to provide a meal for those in Lebanon who can benefit from a shared table, a free meal, a compassionate hand.
Not realizing this ministry opportunity even existed, the “Lebanon Leftover Crew” quickly learned that there were currently unfilled slots in the coming year…and that’s all it took. Lebanon Moravian Church’s name quickly found itself upon the servants list of the Lebanon Rescue Mission… something that would not have happened had it not been for those leftovers!
“What we didn’t know is that sending the food to the rescue mission would give birth to a new ministry opportunity for our congregation…..There were still three Sundays remaining for this year that no church had signed up for, so we signed up for one of them. Going forward, we hope to sign up for two Sundays in 2017. Already we have members who are willing to be a part of this new ministry,” reports Pastor Gooden.
At the start of 2014, the Lebanon congregation heard God’s call to start a food pantry where members can donate non-perishable food which is delivered to the Lebanon County Christian Ministry Food Bank. In two and a half years the congregation donated approximately two thousand-five hundred pounds of food items to the food bank. Now, they rejoice to expand this feeding ministry in a very tangible way into the streets of Lebanon. Indeed….God’s voice was heard yet again….but who would have ever guessed that God’s whispers would come through the simple gift of leftovers!
An Expression of Gratitude
As the 2016 Synod soon arrives, the work of the Eastern District Executive Board comes to a close. On their behalf, I would like to thank everyone for the partnership we have shared with each congregation, with district staff, with the district commissions, and with the PEC over the last inter-synodal period. It has been a labor of love and service with you in Christ’s name. I wish to acknowledge, with gratitude and admiration, the service of three EDEB members who will not be available for re-election. Brother Rich Winans (12 years), Sister Sue Dreydoppel (14 years), and Sister Peg Greiner (6 years) have served faithfully and inspired all of us with their wisdom, dedication, and love for the Moravian Church. We wish them well as God directs their paths to new ministries. Your fingerprints are clearly found upon the Eastern District and its Common Ministries together. Thank you and God bless you for your faithful service.
Moravian Ministries Foundation
Does your church or agency invite members/supporters to include it in their estate plans? If not, the Moravian Ministries Foundation can help. We offer a free planned giving service to congregations and agencies; it focuses on establishing endowment policies, identifying second mile ministries, and educating people on the importance of planned giving. Planned giving is a ministry. It invites people to reflect on the role the church has had in their lives, how they view what they have and what they’ve accumulated over their lifetimes, what they want to say to their families, and what will happen in the future.
We are working with a church who recently invited members to include it in their wills, and a couple immediately came forward to learn more about how they could use their assets to one day benefit the church. They are excited to know they will support God’s work through their congregation even beyond their lifetimes.
What could your church or ministry do differently if you learned one of your members left it a $1 million bequest? It happens!
To learn more about how we can help with planned giving, please visit our website at http://www.mmfa.info or call us at 888-722-7923.
Band Instrument Collection
The Moravian Music Foundation continues to collect instruments for its 60th Anniversary Challenge. They are halfway to sixty! Any instrument, in decent working order, may be donated to MMF. They will then coordinate with the Board of World Missions to find a home for each instrument. In May, nine brass and woodwind instruments were sent to Sierra Leone. Also in May, participants in Raleigh Moravian’s Community Sing donated funds that will purchase many more instruments. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange donations or pick-ups.
Schedule of Events
- June 22-25, 2016: Eastern District Synod at Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA.
- July 23-29, 2017: Moravian Music Festival in Winston Salem, NC
Churches celebrating June anniversaries
- June 9 – 1957 – East Hills, Bethlehem, PA
- June 11 – 1857 – Fry’s Valley, New Philadelphia, OH
- June 12 – 1955 – Battle Hill, Union, NJ
- June 25 – 1742 – Central, Bethlehem, PA
- June 1747 – Nazareth, PA
- June 26 – 1988 – Fellowship, Brooklyn, NY