Greetings to you in these early days of 2018! I hope your holiday celebrations were meaningful and spirit filled. I realize for some the holiday was the first spent without a loved one, which could have made things difficult. I enjoyed being able to see all of my children during the month of December, watching my granddaughter experience her first Christmas, and earlier in the month celebrating with family and friends my mother’s 100th birthday.
The first months of 2018 provide many activities within the life of our district. The Northern Province Synod of 2018 takes place in Bethlehem, PA from June 21-25. There will be pre-synod meetings at various areas around our district prior to synod. It is important for all delegates and alternates to attend one of these meetings. Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller will be leading these meetings but I hope to be in attendance for almost all of them. Please see the dates and locations of those pre-synod meetings below.
Also in the first few months of the New Year, Brother Chris Spaugh, who is the new president and CEO of the Moravian Ministries Foundation, will be meeting in various areas of the district with joint boards, pastors, and other interested individuals. Look for information on a meeting in your area.
In addition to the meetings with Sister Miller and Brother Spaugh, I will continue to schedule joint board check-ins where myself and usually one other member of the Western District Executive Board sits down with the local joint board just to do a check in and see how the ministry is going. I look forward to being with Joint Boards in a non-anxious time.
Finally, the Western District Clergy gather for their annual retreat. This is not something that is planned by the district board, but it is supported financially by WDEB. This year’s retreat takes place on January 22-25 at Mt. Morris. I look forward to connecting with clergy colleagues during this time. I encourage all district clergy, both those actively serving and those who are retired, to attend this gathering. I encourage local Joint Boards to affirm and encourage their pastor to attend this retreat.
As you can see, there is much to look forward to in the early months of 2018.
Serving Christ with you,
Pastor Bruce J. Nelson
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.
January Church Anniversaries
- 1 Chaska (160 years)
- 1 Waconia (103 years)
- 20 Wisconsin Rapids (129 years)
- 30 Sturgeon Bay (154 years)
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 hold-ing meetings across the province. All delegates and alternates are expected to attend.
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
Youth/Young Adult Retreats
- Mid-Winter Retreat for youth in grade 9–age 21 will be February 2 – 4 in Watertown, WI. Register at wdcamping.com.
- Young Adult Retreat for age 18–30ish will be February 16 – 18 in Mt. Morris, WI.
Online Book Study
Need a new way to connect with others? Need a new opportunity to talk about your faith? Can you commit to six weeks? An online books study opportunity is coming in the new year. We will be studying and discussing the book, “Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile” The sessions will be led by Rev. Jason Andersen, Rev. Greg Behrend, Rev. Brian Dixon, Jill Kolodziej, Dason Kurkiewicz, Rev. Dan Miller, and Justin Rabbach. We will meet for an online video chat series every Tuesday at 7pm CT / 8 pm ET through February 6th. Sign up by going to https://goo.gl/VsX4qX. Get the book at https://goo.gl/vkv81M.
The Call Process
Please hold the Christ’s Community, Glenwood, 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.
District Clergy Retreat
We’re pleased to have Dr. Audrey West as our program leader for our upcoming Western District Retreat coming up at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center January 22 – 25. Dr. West is an Adjunct Professor of New Testament at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, IL, a contributor on the Working Preacher website, and she has been published in Feasting on the Word and Christian Century. Dr. West’s program will focus on the gospel of Mark, a gospel written for people in a world consumed by wars and rumors of war, where a foreign government exerted a powerful and sometimes violent threat. Huge gaps separated the haves and the have-nots. Religious institutions were in turmoil, and people wondered how best to live out their faith. Mark is also the primary Gospel text for the 2018/Year B Lectionary cycle. Join us as we explore Mark’s particular story of Jesus (including overarching themes as well as selected passages), with an eye toward preaching “the beginning of the good news of Jesus the Christ, Son of God” (Mark 1:1) in our varying contexts today. Please mark your calendars and join us for rest, renewal, and recharging! Registration forms have been sent to local church offices. If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Mary Lou Plummer at wrmcpastor @gmail.com.
Western District Lay Ministry Conference
The District Board will be hosting a District Conference at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center on November 2 – 4, 2018. This conference will focus on Lay Ministry – fellowship, how-to’s, and encouragement. Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information in the new year!
The summer camp registration is OPEN and ready for campers to make plans to be part of something exciting! This year the Camping Committee is pleased to announce that the cost to campers have all been reduced in price thanks to the assistance of the MWCEC.
If you were not aware, there is a subsidy that is provided by a gene-rous donation that was set up many years ago to assist campers by providing a voucher reducing the costs of camp. This year, along with the voucher, the MWCEC and the Camping Committee are providing additional funds to reduce the out-of-pocket expense for campers and churches. The Camping Committee is committed to continue the strong camping ministry for our youth and hope that the additional assistance will give each camper the ability to experience this very unique Christian Community. We look forward to seeing you!
The camping dates are:
Chetek July 15-21
Winmor July 22-28
Junior Camp July 30 – August 3
Camp Minddy July 29 – August 1
4M August 13-15
To register and get more info, go to www.wdcamping.com.
Crossroads Online Lay Leadership Courses
Plan now to take a Winter-term course through Crossroads.
New Testament with Rev. Dr. Joanne Marchetto will begin on January 8 for eight Monday nights.
Compass, a good place to start and define your sense of call, will be Thursday nights starting January 4 also for eight weeks.
From the Board of World Mission
In Texas the winds have subsided, the water has receded, and now the long, hard work of restoration has begun. Through the generous donations of resources and time, homes are beginning to be made habitable again. Aaron Van Der Linden of Wisconsin is working with the Board of World Mission and the Unity of the Brethren to help assess sites for the work that needs to be accomplished as well as coordinate those that volunteer to assist with the reconstruction. One of the projects Aaron and a team of volunteers have been tasked with is a house deemed a house too far gone for renovation. The short story is that the termite damage in this house was very bad and had ruined a load-bearing wall. This wall held up the roof and the roof addition. Section by section they propped the house up, removed the rotted wall and replaced it. This house is now safe for them to make repairs to other damaged areas, and hang drywall.
This is just an example of ONE home of thousands that received damage from this year’s hurricanes. There is still much work to be done.
If you or a team are interested in assisting with the ongoing effort to rebuild the lives of the residents of Texas please contact the BWM at the Northern Province office @ 610.868.1732.
From the Moravian Ministries Foundation
The gifts weren’t cheap. And delivery wasn’t convenient. They couldn’t just email an Amazon gift card at the last minute, as I do too often. The magi carefully watched the skies for signs and they were ready when the time came to follow the star of Bethlehem. They planned and prepared for a long journey. Some believe the Christ child was somewhere between 40 days old and 2 years old by the time they arrived. Their gifts were thoughtful and indeed identified Christ — gold for a king, frankincense for a priest and intercessor, and myrrh to anoint the body of our savior.
We too can be wise like the magi and carefully plan our gifts in Christ’s name. The Moravian Ministries Foundation in America can help maximize the impact of your gifts for ministry and optimize your giving from a tax perspective. Contact us for more information: Chris Spaugh (888) 722-9723 or firstname.lastname@example.org. www.mmfa.info.
The Lake Mills Moravian Church Men’s Fellowship is hosting a Men’s Retreat at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center on February 23 – 25. The program leader will be Rev. Dave Sobek. Registration information has been sent to your local church office.