The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Where are you staying? …. ‘Come and See’ … Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ (John 1)
The season of Epiphany is about paying attention to the glimpses of God among us. Jesus is the Light that shines in the darkness. Our call as followers of the Incarnate One is to bear witness to the Light and invite others to “come and see.” In what ways do you point to the Light and invite others to come and see?
Provincial Watchword – The Watchword for the Moravian Church Northern Province is from I Chronicles 29:17 – I know, my God, that you search the heart, and take pleasure in uprightness. I invite you to ponder those words throughout the year as a watchword for our common life and witness.
With great joy and a clear sense of God’s leading, the Provincial Elders’ Conference is pleased to announce that we have selected Milwaukee, Wisconsin as the site for a new Emerging Ministry under the leadership of Sr. Christie Melby-Gibbons. After a thorough process of inquiry, research, on-the-ground exploration, prayer, and conversations with area colleagues in Minneapolis/St Paul and Milwaukee, both Christie and the PEC sensed God calling us to Milwaukee.
We anticipate that Christie will settle into a neighborhood and continue the deep listening that has characterized her discernment process. She has been in close communication with leaders of the Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church (ELCA) with whom our Door County, Wisconsin churches have been partnering over the past few years. While cooperating with the Lutherans is something we are considering, we remain open to God’s call as to the specific kind of ministry that will unfold under Christie’s leadership. It most likely will involve offering hope and hospitality to those in need. The shape of that ministry is still to be determined.
We invite you to be in prayer for Christie and her family as they relocate from southern California to Milwaukee at the end of March. We ask for your continued prayers as they seek housing, ministry opportunities and venues to offer that ministry, and develop relationships with their neighbors.
Provincial Cup of Covenant…Save the Date!
The Provincial Elders’ Conference is planning a Provincial Cup of Covenant, September 14-17, 2015 (yes, this year!) to bring together all clergy in the Northern Province in a time of refreshment, learning, fellowship and renewal through a Cup of Covenant. Please save the dates. Br. Jeff Van Orden, Sr. Blair Couch and Br. Steve Gohdes are making plans for this event. Location and more specifics will be announced as we know them. For now, please save those dates.
Because the work of the IPO (Restructure) team is just getting underway, the PEC has determined there will NOT be a Provincial Synod in 2016. The Provincial Synod of 2014 allowed for that possibility but did not mandate it. We have chosen to wait until our regularly scheduled synod of 2018. District Synods will be held in 2016.
Relationships with Others
May 17, 2015 has been set as the Interprovincial Prayer Day for Churches for Middle East Peace. Br. Bob Sawyer represents both the Southern Province and us on this group and will be providing resources to help observe this day. More than ever, we lift our prayers for peace in this troubled part of the world.
The Provincial Elders’ Conference has asked the Faith and Order Commission to review the current edition of The Moravian Catechism to assure its accessibility for today’s audiences.
The Unity Commission on Theology will be meeting in Miami, Florida beginning February 3. This group, chaired by Sr. Amy Gohdes-Luhman, brings together theologians representing the four regions of the worldwide Unity to reflect on and offer guidance to the Unity on matters of theology. Please be in prayer for their travel and deliberations.
The Moravian Church Northern Province has formally been named the Supervising Province for the Mission Area of Peru. Formerly under the oversight of the Board of World Mission, our province will now provide formal guidance even though the Board of World Mission will continue to offer on-the-ground encouragement and teaching. I will join Br. Sam Gray on a visit to Lima and Chiclayo in early February. Please pray for the people of this part of the worldwide Unity as they invite people to “come and see” the saving work of Jesus Christ.
The 2015 Unity Offering is designated for “South Africa – project for youth and Sunday School”. This is a project, approved by the Unity Board, for all provinces of the Unity to support. March 1, the anniversary of the founding of the Unity, is the day we observe for the Unity Offering. Gifts toward this project are received all year through the Provincial Office. Clearly note that the gift is for Unity Offering.
After much prayer and deliberation, the Saratoga Moravian Church in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin has requested, and been granted permission to close at a service of thanksgiving on May 3, 2015. They remain in conversation with area congregations about ways to continue their witness to God’s faithfulness in new ways. Please be in prayer for the saints of that congregation as they bring conclusion to a chapter of their presence in the area.
The remaining structure of the Rudolph Moravian Church in Rudolph, Wisconsin, which suffered a major fire last fall, could not be salvaged and was thus demolished. Please be in prayer for those saints as they discern their next steps as part of the wider Wisconsin Rapids area Moravians.
The Provincial Elders’ Conference has changed the Policy governing a Final Move into Retirement to allow pastors to delay their final move for up to 24 months from the date of their retirement.
In order to support adult lay participation in the 2015 Convo to Europe, the Provincial Elders’ Conference has awarded scholarship funds of $500 each to three lay adult leaders from the Minnie Uhde Fund.
Betsy Miller, Provincial Elders’ Conference – January 30, 2015