The newsletter of the Moravian Church, Western District by Western District President, Bruce Nelson.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I greet you in these final days of June as we look forward to the month of July. I have returned from a week of vacation in Branson, Missouri followed by our Northern Provincial Synod in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I left our time in Branson refreshed and rejuvenated and left our time at synod somewhat exhausted.
Synod this year was very difficult for me. I have been dealing with something personally that many of you know nothing about. I share with you now that my daughter Alyssa Nelson who had been a candidate for ministry and was attending Moravian Theological Seminary has decided after two years to “take a break from her seminary journey.” This has not been an easy decision for her. The process since arriving at seminary has been a significant challenge for her and those whom she loves. She may return to seminary at some point in the future but at this point she is weighing her options. She has moved back in with her parents temporarily.
You need to know that as the Provincial Elders Conference was voting on her continued candidacy that I was excused from the room. I would not have wanted to be a part of that vote as it is a significant conflict of interest. Just as I was not a part of her candidacy review process in the Western District even though I am a member of the Western District Candidacy review committee, I was also not a part of the Provincial Elders Conference voting on this issue. There is much that I still do not understand about the process but I am trying to be a team player.
Why do I share this with you? First of all, let me state that I am not sharing it looking for sympathy. Also, I am not sharing it trying to badmouth or drag through the mud any members of the past Provincial Elders Conference. However, I do want you to know what it going on in our district and with me.
We currently have no Western District candidates for ministry enrolled at Moravian Theological Seminary and we have no one to the best of my knowledge from the Western District planning to enroll in the fall of 2018. There are two Eastern District candidates who will continue their seminary education but none from the Western District.
So, moving forward, what can you do? First of all, understand that because of my position I can say very little about the situation with my daughter Alyssa so please understand when I cannot directly answer questions about her. I would encourage you to be praying for those whom you feel God may be calling to ordained ministry. We project a significant shortage of ordained leaders in the coming years as some of our clergy will be retiring and at this point we do not have enough candidates coming through seminary to replace them. Finally, I would appreciate your prayers as I continue to cope with this situation professionally and for Alyssa Nelson and those who love her as she discerns her next steps.
Serving Christ with you, Pastor Bruce J. Nelson
Justice Ministry Conference
The Two Feet of Justice: Friday, September 21st – Sunday, September 23rd is an opportunity to take another step for justice! One foot is direct service ministries in providing food, shelter, and other basic needs. The second foot, which is our focus for this weekend, moves us beyond charity to justice through advocacy and prophetic ministries that call for equitable and liberating change. This conference will provide tools for congregations and individuals to step into justice ministry. Issue focuses will include: Criminal Justice Reform, Civil Rights of Immigrants, Racial Equity, Housing, Gun Violence, and Health Care. Featured Speakers include recently retired CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches, the Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin, Director of the Social Justice Minor Program at UW Oshkosh, Courtney Bauder, and JOSHUA of Brown County Community Organizer Rachel Westenberg. The Conference will be held at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center. The cost is $110 for cabins and $135 for Black Oak Lodge.
Registrations after Monday, August 20th are $120 for cabins and $145 for Black Oak Lodge. Register with Rev. Marian Boyle Rohloff at 920-499-4433 or firstname.lastname@example.org or online at https://goo.gl/forms /wyMB5kF70GbPmwSx1
Summer Church Camps
Western Region Camps in WI and MN
For program and registration information, go to www.wdcamping.com
For 1st – 2nd graders
4M Camp • Mt. Morris, WI
August 13th – 15th
For 2nd – 5th graders
Camp MINDYY • Alexandria, MN
August 12th – 15th
For 3rd – 5th graders
Junior Camp • Mt. Morris, WI
July 30th – August 3rd
For 6th – 8th graders
Winmor • Mt. Morris, WI
July 22nd – 28th
For 9th grade – age 21
Chetek • Mt. Morris, WI
July 15th – 21st
Midstates Region Camps in IN and OH
For program and registration information, go to www.midstatesmoraviancamps.webs.com
For 2nd – 6th graders
Camp Illiana • Bedford, IN
July 23rd – 27th
Camp Bethany • Camp Bethany, OH
August 6th – 10th
For 7th grade – age 21
Tar Hollow • Laurelville, OH
July 22nd – 28th
3rd James Johnston (52 years)
13th Harvey Prochnau (49 years)
16th Beth Rohn-Habhegger (17 years)
17th Mike Eder (7 years)
21st Dawn Volpe (33 years)
21st Andy Kilps (11 years)
30th Bob Smith (57 years)
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 will be offering a LayMinistry Conference at Mt. Morris on November 2nd – 4th. The conference will provide fellowship and networking, specific “how-to’s,” and encouragement. Lay leaders will have the opportunity to be in conversation with other Moravian leaders from across the District regarding what their congregation does well as well as where they need training.
The Call Process
Rev. Jane Gehler, pastor of the Unionville Moravian Church in Unionville, MI has accepted a call to specialized ministry. She will be the new chaplain at Marquardt Village in Watertown, WI. Jane’s last day at Unionville will be August 26. Her first day at Marquardt will be September 10. Please keep Jane, her husband Jon, and the Unionville congregation as well as Marquardt in your thoughts and prayers.
Please hold the Christ’s Community, Wisconsin Rapids, and Unionville 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.
Plus 50 Retreat
Thursday, August 16th – Sunday, August 19th. The theme is “Living Branches: Moravians Growing in Faith, Hope, and Love.” Plus 50 is a camp for the over 50 crowd. Fellowship, faith, food, and fun as we enjoy God’s creation. Registration begins at 4:00 pm on Thursday the 16th followed by dinner at 5:30 pm. We end with worship and brunch on Sunday the 19th. Cost per person is $190 which includes all meals and 3 nights lodging in Black Oak Lodge. Registration forms have been sent to your local church office. Feel free to contact our registrar, Myrna Peil, at 920-333-0447. Our program director is Rev. Wanda Veldman at email@example.com or 715-213-7447. Musician Jason Pues will again be with us.
Board of World Mission
Did you know… that Disaster Relief Efforts by Moravians, Methodists, and Richard Petty Motor Sports and Roush-Fenway Racing have created a “Ground Effect” in Lumberton, NC? Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 left thousands homeless and 31 killed. Participants with this collaborative effort made 28 trips to Lumberton over a 14-month period. Initially, they set to work mucking houses, piling belongings and discarded rubble on the curbs. Although a few people were lost, thousands have been saved and many have moved back into their homes. There is at least 3 years of work left since initially 660 roads and 26,000 homes were washed out. If you and/or people in your congregation are interested in helping with this relief effort, go to the Board of World Mission website www.moravianmission.org and complete the contact information under the Connect Section. You may also contact Jill Kolodziej for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moravian Disaster Response
Volunteer Teams needed on St. Thomas
Volunteers needed for rebuilding teams to help build classrooms at the Moravian Memorial School on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The estimated cost of the trip is $400 and includes airfare, meals while on site, and accommodations. The BWM is helping to heavily subsidize the trip, lowering the cost to participants to $400. Sleeping arrangements will be cots set up in the Memorial Moravian Church compound.
Dates of service:
Team 1: July 18 – 25
Team 2: July 25 – Aug 01
Team 3: August 01-08
Team 4: Aug 08 – 15
Team 5: Aug 15 – 22
Work to be done requires skills in demolition (week 1 and possibly week 2) & also reconstruction. This will be heavy-duty work. Ultimately, there will be painting of the classrooms.
The Moravians of St. Thomas have a goal of having the school open to receive students on August 27.
The nature of the work for each of the weeks will be dependent upon the work that is accomplished in the prior week. The needs will be communicated prior to departure.
A list of items for serving in this capacity will be provided. Volunteers will be asked to provide their own work gloves, masks, goggles, etc. Tools will be available on site.
Teams are limited to 6 people. Due to the urgency and timing of this service please contact us to your interest as soon as you are able.
Please contact Jill Kolodziej, Director of Antioch of the BWM, at jill@moravian mission.org or call at 920.256.9472
North Dakota Moravian Mission Society
The North Dakota Moravian Mission Society is pleased to announce that they have committed to providing a new tractor for the Ahuas Hospital in Honduras. The new tractor will replace the current mid-sixties tractor that has served the hospital well but is rapidly nearing the end of its useful life. The significance of having an operating tractor is that the tractor is the only source of motive power for the hospital. The tractor along with its trailer is the only means of moving supplies and personnel to or from the hospital including moving supplies and personnel for the infant feeding program to surrounding communities. The tractor is necessary for maintaining the hospital grounds such as mowing and grading. It is envisioned that the new tractor will not only fulfill the duties of the current tractor but will assist in expanding the current agricultural program that is being developed to provide food security and sustainability. There is currently a matching grant that will match the first $15,000 of donations. If you or any organization would like to participate in this exciting endeavor to replace the existing tractor, please contact the North Dakota Moravian Mission Society (NDMMS) , 4055 153 Ave SE, Durbin, ND 58059 or call Carolyn or Loren Jendro at 701-347-0216.
Moravian Ministries Foundation
Many Moravian congregations begin thinking about their Fall Stewardship Campaigns about this time of year. But, did you know the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America offers free and low-cost Stewardship Development Services for Moravian congregations? Here are some free resources for pastors, trustees and laity you can download from our website:
- Best Practices for Year-Round Stewardship
- Stewardship Scriptures
- Suggested Readings
- Reflections on Stewardship
MMFA’s Laura Watson also talks about the foundation’s free and low-cost Stewardship Development Services in this new video.
Southern Wisconsin Moravians for Mission
Southern Wisconsin Moravians for Mission, or SWMM, is excited to welcome John and JoAnn Munsell to speak at the SWMM Annual Lovefeast at the Lake Mills Moravian Church located at 301 College Street on Sunday, September 16th at 2:00 pm. John flies for Mission Aviation Fellowship in Haiti. Mission Aviation Fellowship, MAF, mission statement communicates their world-wide work: “Sharing the love of Jesus Christ through aviation and technology so that isolated people may be physically and spiritually transformed.” John and JoAnn are blessed to be a blessing to others and they share the MAF vision: “That every person on earth will experience the love of Jesus Christ and respond to the Gospel.” All are welcome and invited to bring a friend to hear about the important work John and JoAnn are doing. There will be food and refreshments served.
Moravian Young Adult Convo
June 25-July 3, 2019
Exploring Moravian Mission Roots. U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas.
Walk in the steps of the first Moravian missionaries and experience out “roots,” spend time in hands-on mission work and enjoy island hospitality! Experience this opportunity with young adults from across the Northern and Southern Province ages 16-26 years.
Save the Date! Watch for more details…
Moravians at Six Flags Great America
The RYC (Regional Youth Conference) is coordinating a youth event at Great America in Gurnee Illinois (between Milwaukee and Chicago) for youth who have completed 7th grade through age 21 (friends are welcome too!).
Date: Thurs., August 16th from 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM
Please note this is time at the park, not travel.
Cost: $25 for admission ticket and parking. Get contact info and money to Watertown Moravian Church by August 9th. (510 Cole St., Watertown, WI 53094). You can also sign up on campdoc.com
A completed permission slip will be needed for everyone under the age of 18. This will be emailed to you when you register and can be found on campdoc.com.
Transportation: We will be coordinating a carpool (drivers needed) from Watertown MC so please let us know if you’d like to participate in it. Parking fee is covered if carpooling from WMC leaves at 8:30 AM.
Transportation to Watertown MC or directly to Great America are your responsibility.
Are you over the age of 21 and want to come too? Please do! We will need people to help keep the day running well.
Please bring: a bag lunch or money to buy food/beverage, spending money for extra food and “stuff” and sunscreen
The Watertown Moravian Church will host evening activities and an overnight on Wednesday, August 15th starting at 7:00 PM for those who are going to Great America. Just bring sleeping bags, tolietries and such. Bring a snack if you like. Breakfast provided. No extra cost.
Rev. Kurt Liebenow: email@example.com or (920) 261-7494