Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I greet you from sunny Southern California where I am awaiting a flight back to the cold and snowy upper Midwest.
I have enjoyed the warmer temperatures and sunshine that I have experienced during my short time in southern California. But, as much as I have enjoyed the warmth and sunshine I am looking forward to getting back home to what is familiar and to my local surroundings.
The month of February is the shortest month but for me, it contains much activity. During the month I will have been to California, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and places in between.
The month of February is busy for me but it is often also very busy for our churches. We begin the Lenten season in February. This often means extra worship services and sometimes extra spiritual disciplines. There is much for us to take advantage of as Christians. I hope you will take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.
Serving Christ with you,
Pastor Bruce J. Nelson
February 2 Bethel (127 years)
February 3 Morongo (129 years)
February 13 Unionville (148 years)
Lights! Camera! Action! A Synod Video Invitation
As we look ahead to Provincial Synod, we invite every congregation to produce a quick and exciting video to tell the story of how you are caring for your neighbors! Follow the link below to find the full invitation, with guidelines.
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. (CA, Central and NE WI, and Southern WI have completed their meeting.)
1 – 4 pm
|Shepherd of the Prairie|
10 am–2 pm
|IN and IL||Mar 24th 10:30 am–2:30 pm||Hope|
|Central and NE WI||Jan 20th
10 am–2 pm
|Green Bay West|
|South WI||Jan 21st
1 – 4 pm
Young Adult Retreat
Young Adult Retreat for age 18–30ish will be February 16th – 18th in Mt. Morris, WI.
Western District Lay Ministry Conference
Your District Board has heard you and has heard your desire for lay leadership training. We are pleased to announce that we are offering a lay ministry conference at Mt. Morris on November 2-4. The conference will provide fellowship and networking, specific “how-to’s,” and encouragement.
To help us prepare for this conference, District Board Member Nancy Chandler will be calling each of the churches and asking you some questions. She will not begin her calls until the second half of February. We encourage you to talk with other leaders in your congregation and discuss the following questions:
- What would you determine to be the biggest “how-to” topics for a lay ministry conference? (What would you like to bring home with you after the conference?)
- What does your congregation do well?
- What do you believe your congregation could do better?
- What are the unmet ministry needs in your neighborhood? How can your congregation help to meet these needs?
- At your current setting, what do you need to discard? What do you need to nourish? What adaptive changes do you need to make in your ministry?
Thank you in advance for your help and plan to join us at beautiful Mt. Morris on November 2-4!
Bruce J. Nelson, on behalf of the Western District Executive Board
The Call Process
Rev. Staci Marrese-Wheeler, currently the pastor at Lakeview Moravian Church, has accepted a ½ time call to serve as pastor of the Lakeview Moravian Church and a ½ time appointment to serve as pastor of the Glenwood Moravian Church. Sister Marrese-Wheeler will be installed at Glenwood on February 18th.
Please hold the Christ’s Community and Freedom congregations in your prayers as they work in the Call Process to seek pastoral leadership.
The District Board continues to be grateful for the leadership of the Joint Boards of Grace and Main Street as they lead their congregations.
Sister Ruth Behrend, widow of Brother Will Behrend, who was a bishop, former president of both the Provincial Elders’ Conference and the Western District Executive Board, passed away peacefully on January 21, in Watertown, Wisconsin. Please keep her four children: Charlene, Jim, Jeanie, and Dan and their families in your prayers at this time of grief.
We extend our sympathy to the family of Sister Donna Bean, who passed away January 16 in Minnesota at age 90. Sister Donna was the mother of retired pastors Peg Chemberlin and Rebecca Rodriguez and the grandmother of pastor Greg Behrend (Our Savior’s Church in Minnesota) and Sister Beth Behrend, wife of pastor Dan Miller (Edgeboro in Bethlehem).
Unity Prayer Day Offering
The Unity Prayer Day Offering, to be taken on March 4th, will benefit the purchase of a piece of land for a church office, the first to be owned by the Moravian Church in Peru. The Moravian Church Peru is one of the newest mission areas in the worldwide Unity. So far, the Moravian Churches in Peru rent space for their worship services and other ministries. From a sustainability point of view, this is not the best approach. The Peru Moravian 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. That is where the headquarters is located, but presently the office is situated in the home of the president of the church. The Moravians in Peru believe that if they have a piece of land, they can slowly work toward developing it. They have said that even if they would use a tent or a tarpaulin in the early stages, at least there would be a place that could be identified as the “Moravian Church.” Four sustain-ability projects in Peru are going well — especially the “Moravian Bubbles” laundry service in Lima and the Moravian Mariachi Band in Chiclayo. The income from those projects can be used for developing the land if it is purchased. The Unity Prayer Day Offering will, therefore, support the witness of the Moravian Church in Peru and will help to further the mission of the Moravian Church in Peru.
Unity Business Administrator
Southern Wisconsin Moravians for Mission
The Southern Wisconsin Moravians for Mission invite you to an Afternoon for Mission. On Sunday, February 11th at 2 pm at the London Moravian Church, Janice Ellis will speak about her mission trip to Port Arthur, Texas. Janice heard the call to go and help work on a church that was damaged from the flooding that occurred in 2017. Please come and bring a friend, plan to stay for refreshments.
From the Moravian Ministries Foundation
Fourth Quarter 2017 results are in, and it’s good news.
2017 was a great year for the markets. We encourage you to review your fourth quarter statements and certainly let us know if there are any questions. We have also developed a one-page performance summary for each investment model. These summaries include an easy reference to the asset allocation of each model, as well as the performance of the model for the quarter. You will be able to access these, every calendar quarter, at www.mmfa.info. Please like us on Facebook and subscribe to our weekly newsletter so you can track our progress and our many activities through 2018. We are truly hoping to work with each of you to move ministries forward, together. Moravian Ministries Foundation now has over $161 million in assets under management and we continue to strive hard to provide a high-quality investment product at a low cost. In 2017 all of our allocations generated positive returns and outperformed their multi-asset benchmarks. The Growth allocation returned 16% for the year, net of fees, and ahead of the growth, multi-asset benchmark that was up 14.7%. The primary contributors to relative performance were our fixed income managers, the domestic REIT manager, and tactical adjustments made by our investment partner, TIAA Kaspick through the year. Call 888-722-7923 or email cspaugh@mmfa .info.