From Our District President
“Surely, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.” Psalm 54:4
Offering baskets were full of 2015 Watchwords as we entered worship at West Green Bay last Sunday. Each worshipper was invited to receive one. Later in the service, Pastor Marian Boyle invited ministry leaders in the congregation to draw one for their endeavor (JOSHUA, Loaves & Fishes, Lay Ministry, etc.). I joined in and received the above Watchword on behalf of our 35 congregations and church plant across seven states in the Western District. Though geography separates us, watching the Word draws us together, ‘surely!’
“God is my helper.” Ponder the wonderful ways God appears, helping. During the Children’s Time several children ‘helped’ with the message. While Pastor Marian was focused on the picture of Jesus on the bulletin cover, the children pointed to pictures of Jesus in stained glass window and wood carving. The children were ‘helping’ with the message. Then one of them, looking at the stained glass window, said: “Jesus has Clay Matthew’s hair!” (Clay is a Green Bay Packer with long hair.) Laughter “upheld our lives.” I wondered about laughter across the district that morning echoing heaven.
God is our helper. God is upholding our lives. Surely. James
Spiritual Tools for the Spiritual Journey: Sabbath and Self-Care, Gratitude and Grace
A Retreat for Moravian Clergy January 26th – 29th at Mt. Morris Conference Center
Do you find yourself living in a survival mode? Do you ever feel defensive, cynical, withered, and weary? This relaxing retreat of solitude and sharing will help you to put aside be-ing all things to all people as you ask: How do I take care of myself? How do I make room for God? Our retreat leader: Rev. Holly Whitcomb has been a minister in the United Church of Christ since her graduation from Yale Divinity School in 1978 and has served churches in Connecticut, Iowa, and Wisconsin. She is also a graduate of the two-year program for spiritual directors at the Shalem Institute in Washington D.C. A widely traveled re-treat leader who directs Kettle-wood Retreats, Holly is also a spiritual director and writer who has published dozens of articles on spirituality. She is the author of four books including Practicing Your Path and Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting. To register for this event, please contact Rev. Mary Lou Plummer at mlplummer email@example.com or 715- 423-0180.
Midwinter Youth Retreat
The Midwinter Youth Retreat for grade 9 – age 21 will be January 30th – February 1st at Our Savior’s Moravian Church in Altura, MN. Registration forms have been sent to your local church office.
Annual Report forms have been mailed to your church office and are also at www.portal.mcnp.org under “public documents.” Forms are due by February 28th, 2015.
The Healthy Congregations Task Force is exploring ways to foster congregational health through surveys, the development of a monthly email newsletter, and a variety of resources and opportunities. To see their re-sources, go to www.healthymoraviancongregations.wordpress.com. To receive their newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 program, speakers, the schedule, registration, scholarship, travel, and much more, go to www.moravianwomen.wordpress.com.
Young Adult Retreat
The 2015 Young Adult Retreat (ages 18-30ish) will be held February 20th -22nd at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center, and be a great time for young adults to gather together for fun, fellowship, worship, and reflection on our faith! The retreat will cost $45 per person for the full weekend; this includes: lodging (in Black Oak Lodge or Cabins for overflow) and 5 meals (Friday Supper – Sunday Breakfast). All costs of travel will be at the expense of the attendee. Please plan to arrive at Mt. Morris by 5:00pm on Friday. The weekend will conclude Sunday morning after breakfast and worship. You can register at www.planetreg.com/E169245987289.
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 Fratrum 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 through 26 are invited to attend. The dates for the trip are July 5th – 13th. The theme for the trip is “Make the Moravian Journey Home and Catch a Vision for Our Future!” For more information, go to www.convo2015.wordpress.com or on Facebook. You can register online at www.planetreg.com/MoravianYoungAdultConvo2015. There are a limited number of spaces for this trip, and registrations need to be in by January 15th. If you have questions, please contact Cynthia Rader Geyer, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at email@example.com or call/text (484) 554-0102.
Provincial Women’s Board
The Provincial Women’s Board would like to announce the resignation of Jan Harke, administrator of the Northern Provincial Women’s Board effective December 31, 2014. We thank Jan for the last 13 plus years on the board and for work that she has done to help Moravian Women within our churches. We wish Jan continued Blessings.
Jan. 1 Chaska (157 years)
Jan. 1 Waconia (100 years)
Jan 20 Wisconsin Rapids (126 years)
Jan 30 Sturgeon Bay (152 years)
2016 District Synod
The 2016 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 Synod Delegate(s) and Alternate(s) during your upcoming annual Church Council meetings. We anticipate a series of pre-synod meetings, so it is important to determine your delegates now.
From the Moravian Ministries Foundation
Money and ministry. Our churches are able to do more when they have more resources, but faith and finances aren’t always easy to talk about. At our recent Adamson Forum, one minister shared, “Talking about money doesn’t mean you lack faith.” We all know Jesus talked about money. A lot. So why can it be hard for us to do so in our congregations?
Another pastor at the Forum said, “Things changed when we focused on what God was calling us to do, not on how much money we had.” Her church discovered they were able to fund the ministry they felt God leading them to do, even though the dollar amount associated with it was overwhelming. They had faith and God provided.
How does your church talk about money and ministry? How can the Moravian Ministries Foundation help? Our Grace, Generosity and Gratitude service assists congregations with changing their conversations about faith and finances. To learn more about it, visit www.mmfa.info/grace or call Chi-Chi Messick, MMFA Vice President, at 888-722-7923.