The Newsletter of the Moravian Church, Western District May 2014
From The District Board: Remember Gideon?
At the April meeting of the WDEB, part of our agenda was to discuss the annual reports turned in by the district churches. Thank you for your promptness in returning the reports. They are one of the ways in which we can celebrate the blessed ministries in our church today as well as try to address the concerns and struggles each of us has.
One of the common themes we noticed was the concern of declining numbers within our congregations. We share in that frustration and don’t claim to know all the answers, but as we discussed this we were reminded of the Biblical story in Judges 7, where God charged Gideon with the task of conquering Midian. He reminds Gideon it’s not the size of the army you have, rather it’s the obedience and the trust you have in God which will give you victory. He reminds us that when our hearts are with the will of God, and we are doing ministry simply to glorify Him, we are already victorious in His eyes. I think it is sometimes easier to see God’s power and might in ministry, when we feel we are not able to accomplish the task before us with the resources we have, and yet these ministries are far more successful and reach far beyond what we ever thought possible. As God told Gideon “That Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her.”
Please be assured that you are always in our prayers, as we urge you to continue to do ministry for the sole purpose of glorifying God and being thankful for the victory He will give us.
Cindy Fahney WDEB member
50th Anniversary Celebration
You are cordially invited to the celebration of Rt. Rev. Paul Graf’s 50th year of ordained ministry on Saturday, June 14th at 4:00 pm at the Sturgeon Bay Moravian Church. This will be a service of song, scripture and reflections followed by a picnic on the patio. Please join us in honoring Paul and Jane for their service for our Savior and to the Church.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Knapp, Sturgeon Bay Moravian Church
Alaska Short-Term Mission Trips
Looking for a chance to serve? Join us! Short-term volunteers needed for teams headed to Alaska! Summer 2014 VBS Programs and Construc-tion Projects. Two short term mission teams are being filled on a first come first serve basis. Team one will serve July 12th-19th, team two will serve July 19th-26th. Projects for these teams include running VBS programs, re-roofing and finishing the inside of the Moravian Bookstore, and adding an arctic entry to the Dean’s House at the seminary. Reserve your spot today! Please email Director of Mission Engage-ment Justin Rabbach for more information: justin@moravian mission.org.
- 22nd Christ’s Community (31 years)
- 24th Goshen (136 years)
- 25th West Salem (170 years)
- 26th Ephraim (161 years)
- 26th Saratoga (51 years)
Summer Church Camps
For 1st-2nd graders
4M Camp: August 18th -20th at Mt. Morris, WI
For 2nd-5th graders
Camp Illiana: July 28th-August 1st at Bedford, IN
Camp MINDYY: July 27th-30th at Alexandria, MN
For 3rd-5th graders
Ba6 Camp: August 17th-21st at Mt. Morris, WI
Camp Bethany: August 4th-8th at Camp Bethany, OH
Junior Camp: July 7th-11th at Mt. Morris, WI
For 6th-8th graders
Camp Epworth: June 8th-14th at Camp Epworth, IN
Winmor: July 27th-August 2nd at Mt. Morris WI
For 9th grade-age 21
Chetek: July 20th-26th at Mt. Morris, WI
Tar Hollow: July 20th-26th at Tar Hollow Park, OH
For age 50+
Plus 50 Retreat: August 21st-24th at Mt. Morris, WI
(Those aged 22-49 are encouraged to go to the websites listed above and email the directors to inquire about helping on staff!)
The Call Process
Please hold Hope IN, Grace MI, and Saratoga WI in prayer as they discern God’s guidance in pastoral leading.
Please also hold Marquardt Village in prayer as they discern God’s guidance in a new chaplain.
Prayer Day for Star Mountain & Middle East Peace
Since 1867 the Moravian Church has been engaged in mission and ministry in the Holy Land. Our ministry there has long been known as Star Mountain and currently serves children with special needs and their families. The Northern and Southern Provinces have a joint membership in Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). The Provincial Elders Conferences designated Sunday, May 18th as a Prayer Day for Star Mountain and Middle East Peace. A list of prayer topics has been sent to local churches.
Mt. Morris to Celebrate 50 Years of Ministry
“The purchase of 163 acres of farmland in central Wisconsin just south of Mount Morris became the first part of a dream fulfilled. With the drawing of a Master Plan in the late 1960’s and three district-wide financial campaigns later, the Moravian Church Western District now operates a full service camp and conference center with an impacting ministry for children, youth and adults that is embodied in the camp’s mission statement and beyond.”(1)
Individuals too many to name, realizing the importance of a facility to host camps and retreats, pioneered hard work and dedication to build Mt. Morris Camp & Conference Center. Today Mt. Morris hosts not only camps sponsored by the Western District Camping Ministry Committee but also camps from other churches and organizations, retreats, conferences, and special events. In an effort to celebrate these 50 years of service the Mt. Morris Board of Directors and staff are planning an event Saturday, August 9th to commemorate this milestone. Specifics are developing but there is consensus that we will have a luncheon/picnic as well as activities, sharing of stories and pictures, and a time of worship to thank God for directing the ministry of Mt. Morris. Save the date for this important event and you will soon learn the specifics of this day of celebration August 9th.
(1)Reprinted from “Homecoming for a Wandering Camp Ministry” – The Right Rev. Paul A. Graf, 2007
Southern Wisconsin Lovefeast
Southern Wisconsin Moravians for Mission (SWMM) will be holding a Lovefeast on Sunday, September 14th at 2:00 pm at the Christian Faith Moravian Church (805 E Holum Street, DeForest). Dr. Bruce Barrett from the University of Wisconsin will present on the work being done at a diabetes clinic in Bluefields, Nicaragua.
Fall District Conference
On September 26th–28th at Mt. Morris, Rev. Dr. Craig Atwood, the associate professor of Moravian Theology and Ministry at Moravian Seminary, will lead a conference entitled, “Zinzendorf’s Challenge to Moravians in the 21st Century.”
Rev. Dr. Atwood offers a description of the conference: “Moravians in America often mention the name of Count Zinzendorf and tell stories about August 13 and November 13, but we rarely look at the Count’s theology and vision of the church. It is not a coincidence that the time when the Moravians were the most energetic, innovative, and expansive was also when they were the most controversial. Rather than retreating from controversy, they were bold in the face of opposition and creative in confronting the challenges of their day.
The Count sought out those whom Europeans had declared not fully human or at least not worthy of human rights. Moravians took great risks to reach out to the dehumanized in order to bring a word of radical love. What would the Moravian Church today look like if we em-braced a similar mission of seeking out those who have excluded or deluded those who have lost hope and are at the end of their rope? If we take Zinzendorf’s missiology seriously, we should start assessing our ministries by the transformation we make in human lives. Can we today be as innovative, engaging, exciting, and provocative as the Moravians were under Zinzendorf? Can we be as bold as our ancestors in the faith as we share the extravagant love of God for creation?”
Stay tuned for registration information, but for now please save the date and plan on attending!
From the Moravian Ministries Foundation
Do you enjoy writing? The Moravian Ministries Foundation is looking for guest bloggers for our website; we would specifically love to hear from pastors who are growing gratitude and generosity in their churches and connecting money with ministry. We thank Rev. Russ Williams for being our first guest blogger; to read what he wrote, visit http://mmfa.info/blog/ communication-and-thanksgiving.
To read all of our blog posts, visit http://mmfa.info/blogs. Please email Laura Watson, Coordinator for Philanthropic Services, if you are interested in writing for the MMFA. Thank you!
Listening Sessions for Mt. Morris Building Project
The Board of Directors at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center have determined that there is a need for another building at camp to augment our ministry there.
A building planning committee (Paul Graf, Joel Jarvis, Greg Jones, Kurt Liebenow, Jim Unger, Aden Ward and Joy Witkowski) has begun meeting to determine the type and location and function for such a building.
In order to share the concern for the need of such a building and to receive feedback from the rest of the district, the committee has decided to schedule listening sessions across the district, to give everyone interested an opportunity to respond by sharing their opinions, ideas and suggestions.
In the coming weeks pastors will be contacted to determine how best to schedule a listening session for their congregation.
Aden Ward Building Committee chair
From the Western District Stewardship Committee
What are the first things that come to mind when you hear the word “stewardship?” Often people say they think of pledging and money and bills.
What if the first words that came to mind were “grace,” “gratitude,” and “generosity?” Those words can change the way we think about stewardship. These words help us see the abundance and sufficiency God gives each of us as individuals and as communities, rather than mire us down in images of insufficiency and scarcity.
Instead of thinking of stewardship as the church asking us for our hard earned money, they help us think of the opportunities we have to thank God for the gift of his grace in our lives. That’s a radical change in how we think about stewardship! Grace, gratitude, and generosity. H
ow can we each express gratitude for God’s grace in our lives by giving generously of our time, treasure, and talent? How can we inspire others to do the same? One way is simply to talk positively about how you have experienced God’s grace and responded with generosity. There are so many stories of these kinds of experiences out there. Share them! What other ideas do you have to live out our gratitude for God’s grace in our lives?
(Thank you to Paul McGlaughlin and the Moravian Ministries Foundation for the ideas in this article.)
Rev. Jenny Moran Western District Stewardship Committee