The Newsletter of the Eastern District Moravian Church March 2018, David E. Bennett, President
Our church sanctuaries are generally considered holy ground. Some of life’s most precious moments take place within these sacred spaces – children are baptized, wedding ceremonies seal love between two people, lives that have been lost are remembered and faith is renewed. Therefore, it can be disturbing when that special reverence is broken, especially when it is done intentionally. So, you can imagine the depth of pain Riverside, New Jersey Moravians felt when their sacred space was broken into and vandalized. Organ pipes were torn down….stained glass windows broken….Christmas decorations destroyed….their sense of trust and decency wounded. One would not blame them for being angry and even desiring just retribution against the person who would inflict such damage upon their sacred space. After all, this person did not get away and was captured while in the very act of vandalism. Indeed, one would not blame them.
However, as the gentle souls of Riverside Moravian found themselves in the midst of such tragedy, it was not the brokenness of their sanctuary which ultimately captured their greatest interest. It was the brokenness of the young man’s life who did the vandalism which became the focus of their hearts. They were saddened more by a torn human spirit than the organ pipes torn off of the wall. They were appalled more by how destructive drug addiction can be on a human life than they were by the Christmas decorations which were destroyed. They were moved to tears for the brokenness of this young man’s future far more than for the broken stained glass windows. As sacred was their precious sanctuary, they came to understand that these children of God, whose lives have been destroyed by drugs, are far more sacred…precious …holy…and beloved. This tragedy had awakened them to the horrors of the opioid crisis in their very midst. Such concern became their focus and such focus became their action.
Explaining how the incident has motivated the congregation, Pastor Rebecca Sisley writes, “Currently, we are hosting an NA (narcotics anonymous) group on Thursday nights. It is the only NA group in the Triple Town Area. After the break-in, we started having conversations with the United Methodist Church in Delanco about raising money for the New Jersey Treatment Incentive Program. This is a not-for-profit program that helps non-violent offenders who are addicted and do not have insurance into rehab. If they complete the program successfully, their record is cleared. This program needs financial support, so Dobbins United Methodist and First Moravian Church are discussing programs we can do in order to raise money to get more people who are addicted help as well as help their families get the support they need…..One of the even bigger things that the congregation is working towards is continued conversation with the school just a block down. There is a recognition that most of the kids in the area are latchkey kids and this is putting them at risk for getting involved in gang activity as well as the drug culture of the area.”
In this sacred season of Lent, it is inspiring to see how the woundedness of this congregation has become now a source of healing for others…..of how anger can be transformed into grace…..of how justice is translated into merciful compassion.
Two weeks before the break-in, the First Moravian Church of Riverside, NJ drew its 2018 Watchword. “Do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor.” (Deuteronomy 15:7) I praise God for the grace and witness of these who Henri Nouwen would call, “wounded healers.”
The 2018 Synod of the Moravian Church Northern Province will be held in Bethlehem, PA on June 21-25, 2018. In order to prepare delegates for synod, we are holding meetings across the province. All delegates and alternates are expected to attend.
MD-DC- NJ south, PHL
Faith, Trinity, St Paul’s, Palmyra, Egg Harbor, Riverside, Redeemer
Graceham, Lititz, Lebanon, Lancaster, York, Covenant
10 AM – 2 PM
Board of World Mission
Did you know that the Moravian Church in Peru has been renting space for their worship services and other ministries? Their board has asked if it would be possible to obtain a one-time, larger donation that could be used to purchase some land in Chiclayo, Peru. Sunday, March 4 is the Unity Prayer Day, and the 2018 offering will go to purchase a piece of land in Peru to be the location of the Moravian office and meeting space. The income from the sustainability projects operated by the people can be used in the future development. The Unity Prayer Day Offering 2018 will help to further the mission of the Moravian Church in Peru.
Funds will be accepted in your congregation, beginning in March, and forwarded to your Provincial Financial Office to be transferred no later than June 2018 to the Unity Board Administrator, the Rev. Jørgen Bøytler.
For more information regarding the Moravian Church in Peru, please contact the Board of World Mission office. 610.868.1732 or 336.773.1732.
From the IBOC
Enjoy a 25% discount off Readings for Holy Week. Order by March 14 to ensure your receive before Holy Week. Regular edition $9.95 on Sale $7.50. Other editions on sale too. To access sale page: store.moravian.org.
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.
Schedule of Events
Shared Ministry of the Tuscarawas Valley, OH:
“Lent and Lunch” March 5, 12 & 19 12:00 – 1:15 pm, Schoenbrunn Community Moravian Church.
“Mid-Lent Movie Night” March 11, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Schoenbrunn Community Moravian Church.
Unity Brass Festival- July 19 -22, 2018. Wait Chapel, Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC. For more information: http://moravianmusic.org/unity-brass-festival/
Crossroads Spring courses include Mapping the Route (Theology) with the Rev. Dr. Bill Falla on Monday nights beginning Mar 12 and Traditions (Denominations and World Religions) with the Rev. Dr. Walter Wagner on Thursday nights beginning Mar 8. All courses are held at Moravian Seminary, Bethlehem PA. Exact dates, course descriptions and registration info is at www.moravianseminary.edu/crossroads or contact Jill Peters at email@example.com.
Church March Anniversaries
5 – 1939 – Calvary, Allentown, PA
14 – 1886 – Great Kills, Staten Island, NY
14 – 1951 – Mountainview, Hellertown, PA
25 – 1752 – First, York, PA
27 – 1966 – John Hus, Brooklyn, NY
Moravian Music Foundation Congregational Ambassadors
The Moravian Music Foundation recognizes that, no matter how many emails we send out, no matter how many letters in the mail, no matter how many announcements we send to churches and provincial and district newsletters, there is just no substitute for personal contact.
With that in mind, we’re initiating an effort to identify an Ambassador for MMF in every congregation of the Moravian Church in America! In a conversation about the title, we agreed that an ambassador is a representative, often at a long distance, whose task it is to build relationships and communicate in both directions – and that’s exactly what we’re looking for. We have already invited a number of people to serve, and many have already accepted and begun their work.
What does a Moravian Music Foundation Ambassador do? There are three primary things:
- Read MMF’s monthly email newsletter to stay aware of MMF’s activities.
- Send specifics to the church secretary and/or pastor to include in bulletins and newsletters: announcements of new publications and recordings, Festivals, Moravian Music Weekends, nearby concerts.
- Make sure MMF’s materials (brochures, newsletters) are in the church’s information racks.
- When Moravian Music Sunday materials are available, remind the pastor and music director of their availability and encourage them to use them.
- Make sure MMF knows the name and address of the church’s musicians – organist, choir director, band director, children’s choir director, and so on.
- Give a copy of each new MMF anthem publication to the music director (sent from the MMF office to the Ambassador for that purpose).
- On Moravian Music Sunday (or any other time that’s appropriate!), do a “moment for mission” for the Moravian Music Foundation, or enlist someone else to do it. Invite others to become supporters of MMF.
- Consider the possibility of the congregation hosting a dinner or Singstunde or some other event as a fund-raiser for MMF.
When you hear from MMF’s Ambassador in your congregation, thank them for their work! Or if you would like to join the growing ambassador corps, contact Nola Knouse – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nola Reed Knouse, Director
Giving is Good! Moravian Ministries Foundation
During Lent, many of us think about giving something up. Fasting. Doing without. Suffering. Sacrifice. But what if we focused on the more positive aspects of giving. After all, giving is good for the recipient. If I fast, but give the money I would have used for my own lunch to someone who really needs it, then the result is positive. Yes, I may feel hunger — but someone else’s hunger is satisfied. Lent is the perfect time to think about the positive aspects of giving and the many ways we can make a plan to give.
Check out these interesting ways to give through MMFA.
Donor Advised Funds
Charitable Remainder Trusts