Moravian Church in North America

In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.

Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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WD News and Notes • May 2015

Newsletter of the Moravian Church Western District • May 2015

Healthy Congregations

The Healthy Congregations Task Force is exploring ways to foster congregational health through a monthly newsletter, surveys, and a variety of resources and opportunities. Go to to see their resources. To receive their newsletter, email healthiermoravian


Moravian Women’s Conference

The 12th Moravian Women’s Conference will be held June 25th – 28th at the Sandy Cove Conference Center in North East, MD. The theme for the conference is “Walk in the Light.” Registration materials are available at your church office. For information about the event, visit The MWCEC (Moravian Western Christian Education Commission) is offering a $100 voucher for each woman attending the Women’s Conference. Please submit your congregation’s request to Rev. Jane Harberg at


Churches for Middle East Peace

Sunday, May 17th is the Interprovincial Prayer Day for Churches for Middle East Peace. Brother Bob Sawyer represents both the Southern and Northern Provinces on this group. More than ever, we lift our prayers for peace in this troubled part of the world. Materials have been sent to your local church office.


“Try Ministry” Internship

Alyssa Nelson, a student at Moravian College, will serve as a student pastor through the Western District’s “Try Ministry” Program this summer at the Lake Auburn Moravian Church in Victoria, MN. Their pastor, Rev. Brian Dixon, will be her supervisor.


Moravian Lovefeast in Milwaukee

A lovefeast welcoming Rev. Christie Melby-Gibbons and her family to Milwaukee will be held on Sunday, May 17th at 4:00 pm at the Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. Following the service there will be a potluck meal. Here are ways to participate:

  • We need lovefeast bakers for 8-9 dozen lovefeast buns.
  • We need 4 lovefeast servers.
  • There will be an offering that evening split between the Urban Renewal Center and the Tricklebee Café (please see the article later in this newsletter). To help out, please email Rev. Dawn Volpe at dawnandbobv@


Work Weekend at Mt. Morris

There will be a Spring Work Weekend at Mt. Morris May 29th – 31st. Please spread the word among your congregation about this opportunity to fellowship with others and help Mt. Morris get ready for summer. Volunteers will stay in Sandhill Center with Friday evening snack through breakfast Sunday meals will be provided (all at no charge). To register: Call 920-787-2861 Email


Mission Retreat at Mt. Morris

Looking for a chance to take part in a program exploring a call to mis¬sion, while also taking part in mis¬sion work? Join a group at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Cen¬ter in Wautoma, WI as they work on projects around the camp and community to get it ready for the church campers. Dates are Monday, June 8– Friday, June 12 for ages 18 and up. Cost is $195.

Participants should be prepared for outdoor work, as well as participation in conversations around mission discernment. Work and play outdoors, walk through the biblical call to mission, and be¬come a mission leader in your context! Register by emailing Justin Rabbach at


Barb Berg Retirement

Sunday June 14th at 9:00 am will be Sister Barb Berg’s last service in the Watertown Moravian Church as she will be retiring. Please join us in a celebration of her 15 years of service to our congregation. A pot luck dinner will be served after the church service with the main course and beverages provided. If you are planning on attending, please contact the church office at 920-261-7494.


Provincial Cup of Covenant

The Provincial Elders’ Conference is planning a Provincial Cup of Covenant on September 14-17 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. Location and more specifics will be announced as we know them.


From the Moravian Ministries Foundation

Do you enjoy writing? The Moravian Ministries Foundation is always looking for guest bloggers for our website; we would specifically love to hear from pastors who are connecting money with ministry and growing gratitude and generosity in their churches. We thank Russ Williams, Christine Johnson, Lane Sapp, John G. Rights, Rick Sides, and Justin Rabbach for allowing us to share their writings over the past months. To check out our blog, visit Please email Laura Watson, Director for Faith and Philanthropy, if you are interested in sharing something you’ve written with the MMFA. Thank you!


Southern Wisconsin Moravians for Mission

The Southern Wisconsin Moravians for Mission will host a Lovefeast on Sunday, September 13th at 2:00 pm at the Lake Mills Moravian Church. Brother Rick Nelson will speak of his work in Ahuas, Honduras. Brother Nelson’s presentation will be followed by a luncheon hosted by the Lake Mills Church. Everyone is invited!


Groundbreaking at Marquardt

The following blessing and benediction was written by Rev. John Fritts, Chaplain at Marquardt Village in Watertown WI, at their recent groundbreaking:

“Here we are as brothers and sisters in Christ. We are servants of the living Lord ready to embark on a new adventure, trusting in the Lord to guide us on this exciting quest. We remember those who came before us, who took those first steps of faith. One of those early visionaries, Bishop Milo A. Loppnow, describes our beginnings this way, ‘The founders saw a need and dreamed the dream that is now called Marquardt Village. This story of a dream fulfilled goes on. It will continue to go on because God’s people will always be in need of caring—the kind of caring we believe our staff provides. It has been a dream in which God has led. Many caring people gave of their time, talents, and resources to help achieve this dream. BUT, we need to give to God the glory for the success of Marquardt Village. It is in His name that we worked, and the continuing work is done in His name.’

It is in the spirit of those who followed a vision for quality care and retirement living here in Water-town, that we now break ground again to meet the continuing needs of this community.

In scripture we are inspired by Paul’s testimony of his building the Lord’s church; ‘According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled builder I laid a foundation and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; the foundation of Jesus Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 3: 10-11) As we bless this ground, we set it apart for the special purpose of healing body, mind and spirit. May the Architect of our Lives: Bless those whose vision has brought us to this moment. Those who gave form to the void; who labored tirelessly to raise resources; who honed plans and laid a firm foundation. Bless this ground that gives of itself to support this structure — the earth teeming with life — and the soil that calls forth our own mortality.

May this building live lightly on this earth, using resources sparingly and respectfully. Bless those who will con¬struct this building. May they have safe working conditions and may no harm befall them. May the jobs created by this project sustain families who call this region their home. Bless future generations who will come here to work, live and receive care. Cement the past and the future with the present that we may be of one accord in our mission. Bless this ground, O God, and the mission and vision that has been laid upon it. May your glory be shown; as we continue to build community and fellowship on the foundation that is Christ. Guide us as a community to trust in you with who we are, with all that we have, and with who you have called us to be. Amen. May the Lord almighty bless you and kindly receive the desires of your hearts. May the Lord give you trust in him, so that you will do all things in his name. May the Lord regard your work with kindness and watch over your lives. Amen.

2016 District Synod

The 2016 Western District Synod will be held at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center on April 28– May 1,2016. Please put the date on your church calendar! Congregations are asked to elect your Synod Delegate(s) and Alternate(s). We anticipate a series of pre-synod meetings, so it is important to determine your delegates now.

Summer Church Camps Volunteer Database

The Camping Ministry Committee is recruiting staff and health super¬visors for a database of potential future staff. If you have served on a camp staff or are interested in serving in some capacity in the future, contact Kathy Liebenow at or go to


Moravian Young Adult Convo

Every four years Moravian young adults in North America have the opportunity to come together for a Moravian Young Adult Convocation. The next Young Adult Convo is this summer as participants will travel to the Czech Republic and Germany to see many of the historic Moravian sites and to find inspiration and vision for current ministry.

In the Czech Republic the trip includes visiting Prague (where John Hus preached), Kunwald (where the Unitas Fratrum, the early Moravian Church, first settled), and the Chalice Rocks (where members of the Unitas Frat¬rum met during their time of persecution). In Germany the trip includes visiting Herrnhut (where the Unitas Fratrum experienced a great spiritual renewal). All Moravian young adults ages 18-26 are invited to attend. The dates for the trip are July 5-13.

The theme for the trip is “Make the Moravian Journey Home and Catch a Vision for Our Future!” For more information, go to convo or find us on Facebook. You can register online at YoungAdultConvo2015 If you have questions, please contact Rev. Cynthia Rader Geyer at cynthia or call/text (484) 554¬0102.

Emerging Ministry in Milwaukee

Rev. Christie and David Melby-Gibbons and their daughter Debonne (DEH-buh-knee), have recently relocated to Milwaukee, WI. Chris¬tie is an approved Emerging Ministry Developer of the MCNP. The ministry she is currently developing is Tricklebee Cafe.

The purpose of Tricklebee Cafe is to indulge Milwaukeeans with a safe, colorful, pay-what-you-will cafe centered on joy, sustainable / healthy eating, and spiritual renewal. The cafe will be situated in an area which provides little access to healthy, local, and affordable food options. There is also a high school in the neighborhood, so Tricklebee will provide a safe gathering place for teens. (The hope is to offer free WIFI & charging stations, too.)

There are many empty, somewhat dilapidated storefronts nearby that are for rent. The hope is to help revitalize the neighbor-hood by occupying one of those empty spaces with Tricklebee Cafe. The aim of Tricklebee Cafe is to be a place for people of all backgrounds to gather and enjoy delicious, nutritious, local, creatively-prepared, delightfully-named food and drink.

As a member of the One World Everybody Eats (OWEE) Network, all items on the menu will be pay-what-you-will, which allows neighbors who cannot afford to pay much to pay little or barter, and neighbors who can afford to pay more to do just that. Tricklebee Cafe will be both a cafe and a chapel, to allow for continual feasting and sacred encounters with neighbors and the divine. The Tricklebee values are: Authenticity. Cheerfulness. Generosity. Gratitude. Hospitality. Sustain-ability. Tricklebee Cafe will strive to be a sustainable cafe, relying on the seasonal harvests of local farmers, beekeepers, and gardeners to compose its menu. It is so important to offer real food to all, especially in food deserts. Christie understands that God’s kin(g)dom is revealed when we give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty and welcome to the stranger (Matthew 25: 35). At Tricklebee, the aim will be to promote cheerfulness and companionship through continual feasts, frequent celebration, and communion with God.

Christie says: “In an age of post-church sentiments, we — who still consider ourselves church — hear: The trick’ll be getting new church members. We know, however, that the real trick’ll be freeing ourselves up to follow where God’s Spirit is already at work: in people’s hearts, around the table, and where love is genuine.

“This is no easy task, but we do so remembering that the life¬time output of 12 bees is just 1 ounce of honey. The resulting sweetness trumps the smallness of the amount.” Christie is spending her days working to form partnerships with local gardeners, artists, and just neighbors in general, to begin visioning how to make Tricklebee Cafe a reality. This includes putting together a steering committee (aka: Board of Directors), submitting articles of incorporation, seeking out a physical space to occupy, and seeking various funding streams. Thanks in advance for considering supporting this emerging ministry financially. If you’d like to donate money to support this endeavor, you may do so in one of two ways:

  • Send a check to the Provincial office (Moravian Church Northern Province, P.O. Box 1245, Bethlehem, PA 18016) made out to “Moravian Church Northern Province,” with “Melby-Gibbons Emerging Ministry” in the memo
  • Donate safely online by going to Please keep Christie and her family in your prayers as they learn their neighborhood, continue to do some good earthy networking, and seek adequate funding.

Moravian Daily Texts


Monday, July 23 — Psalm 88:13–18
Deuteronomy 32:10–43; Luke 11:1–13

The Lord said to Isaac, “Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.” Genesis 26:4 (NIV)

Many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 8:11

God of our ancestors, we are grateful for the blessings upon blessings that you bestowed upon Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and also upon us. Thank you for the promise of your unending faithfulness. Amen.

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