by the Rev. Bruce Nelson, President, Western District Executive Board
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Psalm 19: 1 states, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (New International Version)
This verse has always had special meaning for me. However, it took on even greater meaning recently when I was flying over a mountain range and noticed the sheer beauty and the vastness of the mountains.
Many of you have probably noticed this several times but I admit that I often had not. When I took the time to look out the window and noticed the grandeur of the mountains I was struck. On the one hand I was thinking this is so beautiful and I had not really noticed it until recently. It made me wonder what other beautiful things are out there, are within my view, are things that I have passed right by, that I have failed to notice.
On the other hand, I was thinking with all of the vastness out there how can one person make any kind of a difference! But then I thought of all of the people who have made a difference in my life. I thought of the teachers and coaches who have had an impact on my life. I thought of all of the churches that have helped to shape my faith journey. I have thought of all of the camp counselors who took time off of work to be with and make a difference in lives of so many of our district’s children.
During the month of November we observe All Saints day when we remember the saints – both living and those who have moved on to life eternal – who have helped to shape our lives. We also observe Thanksgiving Day when we have an opportunity to pause and give thanks for all of the blessings that we enjoy. I have often said that I find it unfortunate that we only set aside one day to give thanks. I believe we ought to do that daily or at the very least every week.
Let me encourage you to thank those people, if you are able, who have had an influence on your lives and take time to remember the many blessings, that we are able to enjoy.
Serving Christ with you,
Pastor Bruce J. Nelson
Provincial Grant Opportunity
On behalf of the PEC and the Identity, Purpose, and Organization (IPO) Task Force, I am pleased to announce an Experimental Grant Opportunity for Moravians of the Northern Province who wish to learn more about who we are and what God is calling us to do or be. The Provincial Elders’ Conference has made available $150,000 to encourage experiments.
Grant Information and a Grant Application Form have been sent to your local church office. Appli-cation deadline is November 30th.
Grace and peace,
Betsy Miller, President, PEC
The Call Process
Please hold the Morongo, West Salem, and Lake Mills congrega-tions 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 Main Street, Grace, and Downey as they lead their congregations.
News from Mt. Morris
Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center will be looking for a new executive director. Joel Jarvis has announced he will retire on March 31st, 2017. We are very grateful for his years of service to Mt. Morris and all the associated ministries. The Mt. Morris Board has begun the process to hire a new executive director and will formally post the job opportunity in January. Any questions regarding the position can be directed to Ms. Linda Lippens (920) 253-8137 who is the chair of the Personnel Committee.
Unity Prayer Watch
The Unity Prayer Watch is designed to have at least one Moravian somewhere in the world constantly in prayer! The churches of the Western District have been assigned December 22nd – 31st. Your church’s date is listed below. More information is available in your local church office.
- Dec 22 Hope and West Salem
- Dec 23 Grace and Unionville
- Dec 24 Ebenezer, Lake Mills, and Watertown
- Dec 25 Veedum and Wisconsin Rapids
- Dec 26 Ephraim, Sister Bay, and Sturgeon Bay
- Dec 27 Christian Faith, London, Glenwood, and Lakeview
- Dec 28 Daggett, Freedom, and West Side
- Dec 29 Bethel, Goshen, Canaan, and Shepherd of the Prairie
- Dec 30 Chaska, Waconia, Lake Auburn, and Christ’s Community
- Dec 31 Berea, Our Savior’s, Downey, Morongo, and Main Street
Tour of the Holy Land
The Rev. Sanette Francis and the Rt. Rev. Hopeton Clennon are organizing a Moravian pilgrimage to the Holy Land through Education Opportunities Tours January 3rd – 12th, 2018 (please note that this is in 2018, not 2017). The price starts at $2,998 and includes roundtrip inter-national airfare from New York Kennedy airport, deluxe motor coaches, first class hotels, and daily buffet breakfast and dinner. You may register online at www.moraviantour.com.
District Clergy Retreat
The annual Western District Clergy Retreat will be held on January 23rd – 26th at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center.
Our program will be centered around preaching and public address. Our speaker will be Rev. Greg Renstrom, a retired Methodist pastor who served congregations in Michigan and Minnesota, and also as President of the Minnesota Council of Churches. In addition he has worked for more than thirty-five years with Alcoholics Anonymous and helped create “The Fosdick Lectures in Preaching” at Augsburg College. He is an active participant in various social and comm.-unity agencies and continues to speak and preach at churches, treatment centers, and AA meetings. Stay tuned for registration information. If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Mary Lou Plummer.
From the Moravian Ministries Foundation
When we think of giving to our churches, especially at year’s end, we often think of making a cash gift; however, there are other ways to support our Moravian congregations and agencies. Gift annuities, charitable trusts, and gifts of real estate, stock and life insurance are all options and the Moravian Ministries Foundation is happy to assist donors and church leaders with them. For more information about our planned giving services, which are free of charge, please contact Paul McLaughlin, Foundation president, at 888.722.7923 or email@example.com. You can also visit our planned giving website at www.mmfagift legacy.org; it features videos, donor stories, gift calculators, and more.
Conversations on Identity, Purpose and Organization
Beginning in 2017, members of the IPO Task Force will host conversations about our identity and purpose as a province. Gatherings will be held in regions throughout the province. Dates and locations are being scheduled now. Stay tuned for an opportunity near you to share your thoughts and seek God’s guidance together.
Board of World Mission
Did you know that the Board of World Mission has received an invitation for interested persons to join Moravians in Nepal and provide instruction to the young students of their kindergarten in Kathmandu?
These children benefit from visitors who speak English and are willing to chip in where needed. All level of skills are welcome. Volunteers are requested for a 3-or-more week period during their school year that runs through April. 2017. If you would like some more information about this opportunity please contact Jill Kolodziej, Director of Antioch of the Board of World Mission, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 920.256.9472. We look forward to hearing from YOU!
Each month we send out a news-letter on our ministries around the world. If you’d like to be included please email Justin Rabbach at justin@moravian mission.org.
Provincial Staff Update
It is with great joy that I announce that we have hired a new Provincial Controller!
Brenda Cahill brings twenty two years of financial experience to this position. She comes to us most recently from the Easton, PA public library, where she served as Business Manager. In addition to her professional career in finance, Brenda served as her local church treasurer for many years.
Brenda began her service to the Moravian Church on October 26. She will be in training with Tina Giesler for about two weeks. Please join me in welcoming Brenda to the Church Center – and to the Province as a whole!
You will be able to welcome her at her new email: email@example.com, or 610.867.7566 ext. 11.
I invite you to pray for Brenda in this time of transition, as well as for Tina as she starts a new chapter in her journey.
During this in-between time, I offer a special word of thanks and appreciation to Tammy Curcio, Assistant to the Controller for all of her hard work and team spirit.
Please be patient during this time while Brenda learns the job and gets settled into this new position. If you have a question or need something from the Finance Office, we will respond, but it may take us a bit longer than usual. Thanks in advance for your understanding.
With joy and thanksgiving,
The Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller
President, Provincial Elders’ Conference
Common Ministries and Health Care Assessments
By now, congregational leaders have been notified of their 2017 Common Ministries Commitments.
The PEC is awaiting the final numbers for the 2017 health care assessment and will send out this information as soon as it is available so that you many finalize your congregational budgets for the coming year. Please be sensitive to the fact that both our Finance and Benefits Departments are going through significant personnel transitions; answers to your questions may not be available as quickly as you are used to. Thanks in advance for your patience!
Honduras Mission News
Brother Rick Nelson from Ahuas, Honduras sends the Western District greetings and an invitation. Brother Nelson will be in the United States from approximately
November 16th until early January 2017. During his visit he is eager to spread the good news about what the Lord is doing in the 70 year old medical ministry of the Clinica Evangelica Morava. He can preach a sermon or do a “Moment for Mission” during a worship service, speak at potluck, participate in a regional mission society meeting or talk with a Sunday School Class. Brother Nelson would like to tell you about his vital medical ministry where he feels God has called him to serve. If you would like to have Brother Nelson visit your group, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.