The Newsletter of The Eastern District Moravian Church
David E. Bennett, President
Ministry Teams Renewed With Purpose
In an earlier article, I wrote about the restructure of district commissions toward a more effective model for supporting our district congregations and achieving the mission mandates of the 2016 Eastern District Synod. Indeed, “To us, to us, this task is given…” I am now happy to report that the new service ministry structure has been implemented and the Spiritual Formation Ministry Team, the Church in Society Ministry Team, and the Stewardship of Life Ministry Team have now launched into a whole host of ministry aspirations for our congregations. At this fall’s Leadership Summit, the following purposes and goals were established by these new ministry teams:
Spiritual Formation Ministry Team: Our purpose is to understand Spiritual Formation as a life-long journey. For the next inter-synodal period the primary focus of the Spiritual Formation Ministry Team will be to provide resources to nurture the faith of all seekers, enabling them to grow in their relationship with God, as well as assist individuals and congregations to discern God’s call to service and mission.
To satisfy these objectives, the Spiritual Formation Ministry Team seeks to:
- Make more training resources available to the District online.
- Offer a Leadership Development Conference that will be geared towards meeting the needs of members of the Joint Board, and the members of the Christian Education Committee. (Early in 2019)
- Coordinate a district-wide “Be the Church Day” focusing on mission activities for September of 2019.
Church in Society Ministry Team: In support of refugee resettlement, the Church and Society Ministry Team seeks to coordinate:
- “Telling the Stories” of Refugee Resettlement through video series. Produce one or two high-quality videos with members of churches (Central and Lititz) and others involved in refugee resettlement projects describing the process, challenges, and joys of this ministry; include interviews with persons/families who experienced resettlement. Make the videos available to congregations.
- Review Curriculum on Citizenship from the PA Council of Churches and explore distribution to congregations with suggestions for use.
In support of ministry to those incarcerated and their families, the Church in Society Ministry Team seeks to:
- Move forward with “Art for Justice” to plan an exhibit to be held in Bethlehem in 2019 at the Banana Factory art gallery. On display would be paintings by inmates around one or more themes; a speaker series and an opening event in conjunction with the two-month display will also be planned. Obtain two or three paintings from Art for Justice to place on display at the upcoming Provincial Synod to promote the event.
- During the event, provide opportunities for congregations to take part in supportive ministries for families. Suggestions for exploration were: assembling “Welcome Baskets” of varying types [Kitchen, household items, etc.]; volunteer with “Strive for Five” and “Walking Bus” [truancy-reduction programs]; etc.
Toward enhancing social media as a tool for ministry, the Church in Society Ministry Team seeks to collaborate with the Spiritual Formation and Stewardship of Life Ministry Teams to retain the services of a contractor to assist with social media notifications, updates on mission and ministry outreach; and post resources, including resources for the Opioid epidemic.
Stewardship of Life Ministry Team: Moravians have always stressed the stewardship of life – management and sharing of our spirituality, time, talents and treasures as well as the care of creation. For the next inter-synodal period the primary focus of the Stewardship of Life Ministry shall be:
- To enable congregations to discover what assets for ministries are available within their congregation [using Luther Snow’s Asset mapping as one tool] so that the congregation feels empowered to view their community and world as their mission field.
- To assist congregations in helping members discover their spiritual gifts for ministry and matching them to the ministry needs of the congregation and community.
- To encourage congregations to develop a ministry strategy where the time commitment of members to a specific ministry demonstrates sensitivity to the life-styles of members.
- For the next year the Stewardship of Life Ministry Team hopes to develop a video based tool that congregations may use to do an asset mapping exercise to identify what gifts are available in their congregation for ministry. Additionally, the team will work with the Spiritual Formation Ministry Team to assist congregations in helping members discover their spiritual gifts for ministry and matching them to the ministry needs of the congregation and community.
Indeed…TO US, TO US, “THESE TASKS” ARE GIVEN!
Schedule of Events
October 31, 2017 9:00-1:30 pm –Ecumenical Celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation to be held at Moravian Theological Seminary. Full-Communion Celebration of Eucharist. Lunch will be provided. This is a free event, but registration is required. Register at:
Grow Deep Live Thankful – 2018 Girls’ Retreat at Camp Hope — Girls in 3rd through 8th grades are invited to come to Camp Hope for a weekend of fun-filled learning, sharing, singing and crafting. We will focus on who we are in God’s eyes, what helps us to grow deeper in our faith, what we can do to help others and why it’s important to be a good friend. Cost for the weekend is $75 which includes housing, food, many craft projects and fun!
The retreat will be held Friday, January 26th 7:00 pm – Sunday, January 28th 1:00 pm. Registration forms and health forms are available by contacting Rev. Jodie Harney at Mountainview Moravian Church, email@example.com or 610-838-9344.
Churches celebrating October anniversaries:
3 – 1762 – Schoeneck, Nazareth, PA
8 – 1758 – Graceham, Maryland
18 – 1889 – Stapleton, now Vanderbilt Ave., Staten Island, NY
20 – 1985 – Church of the Redeemer, Dublin, OH
24 – 1874 – Uhrichsville, Ohio
25 – 1914 – Edgeboro, Bethlehem, PA
- Sr. Christine Johnson, currently pastor of the Fry’s Valley Moravian Church in Ohio, has accepted an appointment to also serve the First Moravian Church of Uhrichsville, OH. She will serve both congregations part-time. She will be installed at Uhrichsville on October 15th.
- Br. Ron Rice, a retired Moravian pastor who recently served at the Reading Moravian congregation, has accepted an appointment to serve as the pastor of the Lebanon Moravian Church in Lebanon, PA.
Moravian Ministries Foundation
Faith-based and wholly committed to the highest financial integrity, the Moravian Ministries Foundation is a one-of-a-kind resource for connecting Moravian values to charitable giving and investing. Serving church administrations, agencies, and any individual who wants to support the health and growth of Moravian ministry, we offer an array of services- including consultation, education, and access to quality investment vehicles for long-term financial planning. Please contact Foundation President Chris Spaugh ( HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com or 336-725-2589) for more information, like us on Facebook, sign up for our weekly eNewsletter, and visit our website www.mmfa.info to join the conversation. We look forward to helping you and Moravians everywhere to “Invest Where You Believe”.
From the IBOC
Living Branches Curriculum
The Moravian Church in America has a brand new resource for teaching our Moravian heritage! This new curriculum, called Living Branches: Moravians Growing in Faith, Love & Hope, is a flexible, 13-week Sunday School program focused on sharing the story of our Moravian heritage from Jan Hus to the present day. It includes lower elementary, upper elementary, youth and adult components.
In an effort to ensure all Moravian congregations have access to Living Branches, the curriculum is available as a free-of-charge download for all Moravian congregations in the Northern and Southern Provinces. To request the digital download, please contact Marie Couts (firstname.lastname@example.org).
High-quality printed versions of the Living Branches curriculum guides are now available from the IBOC for $25 each. Visit https://store.moravian.org/product-category/livingbranches/ for more information and to order.
Free 2017 Daily Texts available
As we prepare for the arrival of the 2018 Moravian Daily Texts in late October/early November, we would like to offer our 2017 editions to congregations and agencies for use in their ministries free of charge. Daily Texts are perfect for outreach, new member introductions, study classes and community events. We have a limited supply of 2017 large print, journal, hardcover and paperback editions available; all we ask is that you either pick up at the Church Center in Bethlehem or pay for shipping to your location. To obtain these free editions, please contact Jill Bruckart email@example.com, or call 1.800.732.0591, ext. 38.
New Moravian Desk Calendars are in!
The annual Moravian Church Desk Calendar & Plan Book provides a convenient, useful planning tool for Moravians. Each edition features a large-block format, 19-month calendar with plenty of space to write meetings, appointments, services and other planning information. It also includes upcoming events, holidays, prayer days and lectionary Sunday readings specific to the Moravian Church in North America, along with Provincial and Interprovincial directory information and space for important contacts. The current issue covers October 2017-April 2019. Spiral bound, 8.5×11. To place your order, call the store at 1-800-732-0591, ext. 38 or online at http://store.moravian.org.