From our District President
With District Synod around the corner, the District Board recently invited leaders (Joint Boards, Agency Members, Pastors, MWCEC and Synod Delegates) to complete an assessment of the District. We were guided by Holy Cow Consult-ing and utilized Landscape, an assessment tool designed to “gather data and information about the health, well-being and effectiveness of the work of the District with its constituent groups.” 173 of a possible 330 persons responded. Statistically, that is a very high response rate – thank you!
Five priorities were identified indicating where you would like the District to put additional attention, energy and resources. They are:
- Develop a discernment process to rethink how to be vital Moravian churches in our various regions.
- Take a leadership role in working with churches that are struggling.
- Improve the programmatic resources the District makes available to congregations to ensure that they are the most effective ways to do ministry in the church today.
- Equip pastors and other leaders in congregations to help members become growing, vital disciples.
- Equip pastors and other leaders in congregations with strategies that enable them to reach new members.
[Comments in “italics” are from Holy Cow Consulting’s report.]
Later this fall, District Board members will visit leaders to share an in-depth report of what we have discovered. Synod is being planned to focus on these five priorities. As you consider them, we invite your prayers for the synod delegates as they prepare to gather, and to lead.
The call process
In consultation with the District Board and Provincial Elders, Rudolph Moravian Church has decided to close as of the end of October. As you can imagine this was a difficult decision for them. Sister Christine Stack has provided faithful pastoral leadership as they came to this decision and as they ad-dressed a myriad of issues stemming from the fire that destroyed their building a year ago. Please hold Christine and the congregation in prayer as they anticipate giving thanks for the blessings that have been theirs. Following is an invita-tion from Rudolph to join them for their closing worship: “After 120 years of faithful ministry and mission (1895-2015), the Rudolph Moravian Church of Rudolph Wisconsin will officially close as a congregation on October 31. On Sunday, October 25, you are invited to gather with us for a time of worship, remembering, and thanksgiving. This worship will be held at 2:00 PM (in a heated tent with folding chairs) on the site of the former Rudolph Church Building at 1490 Main Street in Rudolph. That service will be followed at 3:30 with a time of fellowship at the Legion Hall also on Main Street in Rudolph. We ask that if you are coming you please RSVP by calling Lorrayne Voight at 715-652-2276 by Oct 17.
Brother Kurt Liebenow, pastor at Christian Faith Moravian Church in DeForest, WI, has accepted the call to serve as pastor of the Watertown Moravian Church in Watertown, WI. Brother Kurt will conclude his ministry at Christian Faith on November 1 and will be installed at Watertown on November 22.
Please hold the Christian Faith congregation in your prayers as they work in the Call Process to seek pastoral leadership.
Please hold the Downey, Grace, and Main Street congregations in your prayers. All three congregations are being led by their Joint Boards.
The Healthy Congregations Task Force is exploring ways to foster congregational health through a newsletter, surveys, and a variety of opportunities and resources. Visit them at www.healthymoravian congregations.wordpress.com. To get their newsletter, email healthier firstname.lastname@example.org
Western District Synod
Western District Synod will be held at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center on April 28th – May 1st, 2016. Please put the date on your church calendar! Congregations are asked to elect your Delegate(s) and Alternate(s) now. The District Board will host a series of regional pre-synod meetings designed to prepare delegates and alternates for informed and effective participation in Synod. Joint Board members are also invited. Stay tuned for dates and locations.
- 6th London (126 years)
- 23rd Canaan (134 years)
- 31st Lake Auburn (157 years)
District youth attend BWM “FIT First” event
Last month, a group of Western District youth attended the Board of World Mission’s “FIT” (Focused Intensity over Time) Event at Laurel Ridge Moravian Camp and Conference Center in Laurel Springs, NC. This event was designed for young adults who either are considering participating in missions or have recently had a mission experience. Below are responses from some of the District youth who attended.
- Taylor Piper: I got a better idea about what mission work was all about and what I feel I am called to do in the future. Had so much fun at this event and I grew in my faith.
- Gregory Behrend: I learned that there is a great deal that young Christians can be doing and leading in this world right now!
- Ben Lippert: I have a much clearer understanding of the many awesome missions our youth and Board of World Missions are involved in. I also find I have a lot less anxiety towards local and global mission now that I have a better understanding that this is God’s mission. God isn’t asking us to save the world just serve it!
- Johanna Dertinger: I learned that faith is the only essential you need to fulfill Gods work. It was awesome to see all these people come together with one common goal to help others. The leadership I saw this weekend was awesome. Seeing how many people my age are taking charge and wanting to take on the challenge of mission work was truly a blessing.
- Jessica Stangret: I learned what the main goal of mission work through the Moravian church, what it is all about. I learned about the many amazing people from all over the country that are leading mission trips in the near future! I was inspired by everyone who attended, each one of them had an amazing story to tell. I can’t wait to go back!
- Holland Griffin: I have made connections with people from all over the U.S. and Canada who are exited and passionate about missions. This weekend has given me the tools to create a meaningful and fulfilling mission experience, therefore giving me the confidence I need to take on a leadership role one day in the future.
- Sami Petit: This weekend helped me define what I want to with missions, and even better how to accomplish my mission plan. It also gave me so many connections to go to in the future for anything I need. Was a wonderful weekend.
- Caitlyn Mischnick: This weekend has allowed me to make more connections with Moravian’s from both the northern and southern province. I plan to keep in touch with them for future mission trips as we all walk together with Christ. I absolutely loved to see that there are other people who are willing to stand up and be the change that needs to be made in our world. I am very thankful I was able to go and strongly recommend others to attend.
Mt. Morris Woodcutters’ Day
Over the past ten years Moravians and others around the District have been instrumental in assisting Mt. Morris with one of its major tasks – supplying firewood for the many fireplaces throughout the Camp. With that in mind, we’d like to ann-ounce that Saturday, October 31st will be Woodcutter’s Day 2015! Lodging will be available Friday evening. Saturday breakfast and lunch will be served in Arrowhead Center. Woodcutters are asked to bring chain saws, gloves, and miscellaneous hand tools. Preregistration is necessary so that we have a meal count and can assign lodging. If you can help out please email us at email@example.com. Thanks so much for your past help and help with this year’s woodcutting event.
Unity Prayer Watch
The Unity Prayer Watch is designed to have at least one Moravian somewhere in the world constantly in prayer! The churches of the Western District have been assigned December 1st – 10th. Your church’s date is listed below. More information is available in your local church office.
- Dec 1 Berea, Our Savior’s, Downey, Morongo, and Main Street
- Dec 2 Chaska, Waconia, Lake Auburn, and Christ’s Community
- Dec 3 Bethel, Goshen, Canaan, and Shepherd of the Prairie
- Dec 4 Daggett, Freedom, and West Side
- Dec 5 Christian Faith, London, Glenwood, and Lakeview
- Dec 6 Ephraim, Sister Bay, and Sturgeon Bay
- Dec 7 Kellner, Veedum, and Wisconsin Rapids
- Dec 8 Ebenezer, Lake Mills, and Watertown
- Dec 9 Grace and Unionville
- Dec 10 Hope and West Salem
From the Moravian Ministries Foundation
During a recent conversation with a Moravian who has included her church in her will, I was told, “I’ve been giving to my church my whole life. Why wouldn’t I do the same when I die?” This is precisely why the Moravian Ministries Foundation offers a free church-based planned giving program; we want all our congregations to be encouraging their members to give beyond their lifetimes. We work with church leadership to draft gift guidelines, identify ministries which would benefit from planned gifts, and create materials which explain the importance of planned giving as part of the church’s stewardship ministry. To learn more about the service, please visit our website at www.mmfa.info/planned_giving_churches or contact Paul McLaughlin, MMFA president, at 888-722-7923 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western District Clergy Retreat
Save January 25th – 28th, 2016 for our Western District Clergy Retreat at Mt. Morris. Our pro-gram leader will be the Rev. Dr. Steve Simmons, Assistant Professor of Theology at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, PA. Steve will focus our attention on creative ways to in-corporate scripture into worship, education, and congregational life. More program information and registration materials will be coming your way in October.
2015 Camp Report
In 2015, the Western District saw 275 campers (up two from last year) attend camps across both the Western District and Mid-States Camping Regions. A total of $18,455 was paid out in youth camp vouchers to help kids attend camp. Thank you for your support of the Moravian Church’s camping ministry program through your generosity and your time!
New Administrative Assistant at Mt. Morris
I wanted to formally share with you that Mt. Morris has a new Administrative Assistant: Crystal Abler. Crystal’s email address is: email@example.com. I would appreciate if you could take a few moments to update your phone and/or computer address books to remove Nancy Vistain’s contact information and replace it with Crystal’s. After eleven summers at Mt. Morris Nancy retired. We all wish Nancy well as she begins a new chapter in her life. Thank you for your leadership to the Western District.
– Joel Jarvis, Executive Director
Tour of the Holy Land
The Rt. Rev. Hopeton Clennon is organizing a Moravian pilgrimage to the Holy Land through Education Opportunities Tours January 4th-13th, 2016. The price starts at $2,998 and includes roundtrip international airfare from New York Kennedy airport, deluxe motor coaches, first class hotels, and daily buffet breakfast and dinner. You may register online at www.moraviantour.com.