In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.
During ballots on Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4, delegates to the 2014 Synod of the Moravian Church, Southern Province, elected the new Provincial Elders’ Conference.
The Provincial Elders’ Conference for the Southern Province consists of three clergy and three lay people in addition to the PEC president. The PEC is elected by Synod to serve four-year terms.
When the Moravian Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) joined in a full communion relationship in 1999, both denominations saw opportunities to work together. In February, two Wilmington, N.C. churches joined in a Joint Ministry Worship Celebration that sealed a unique relationship between two congregations—and the two denominations.
“I consider S. Morgan Smith the pre-eminent industrialist in the history of York County. Five companies today can trace their roots to Smith, yet no one has ever written a biography about him. Why don’t you think about writing one?”
The 2014 Synod of the Moravian Church, Southern Province, convened on Thursday, April 3 at Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, N.C.
More than 210 delegates from Southern Province congregations, fellowships and related ministries began their work to discern and legislate for the coming four years.
I sat at the table with the delegation from the Unity: Rev. Dr. Jørgen Bøytler, Unity Business Administrator; Nicaraguan Bishop John Wilson out of Miami; and Nicaraguan Superintendent Rev. Cora Antonio. Also at the table sat members of the Honduras Province provincial board. And later that day, we would meet with the Honduras Mission Province Board.
The two churches had split in the late 1990s when a charismatic revival took hold of the province. The charismatic, or renewal faction, was the group officially in leadership at the time. The more traditional group withdrew from the province.
“MU BAA YASO I KUGBAYA MEI, A MU TO GIMA” These words are Mende, spoken in Sierra Leone when the Moravians there want to say “Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow Him.”
Since 2006, Mohamed and Safie Braima gave up life in America and have worked in the remote West African village of Ngiehun. They have ministered not only to people’s souls—they first built a church but also to their minds—they’ve now built a school.
In April, more than 220 delegates from Southern Province congregations and agencies will gather in Black Mountain, N.C. for the 2014 Synod. With inspiration from the theme of “Jesus Still Lead On,” delegates will worship and work together to discern what God is calling us to in shared ministry for the coming years.
When the Unity Women’s Desk began its work in January 2011, it was the realization of a dream that was born within a group of 40-plus women who had gathered in Kernersville, North Carolina in 1995. When those women first met, it soon became obvious that the problems women face around the world were too complex to be addressed by a one-time event and that they needed more attention than could be given in a two day, informal format. The idea of establishing a “Women’s Desk”—a central clearinghouse where information about the needs of women could be collected and addressed in a systematic way—was born.
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Many of the most quoted New Testament stories involve the message that faith manifests itself not only in our personal one-on-one relationship with God, but when we look outside ourselves during fellowship and service. In his miracles and ministry, Christ teaches us that faith is not only represented in our quiet times of prayer and reflection, but in our moments of deep fellowship with others and heartfelt service to help those in great need.
The Board of World Mission (BWM) is making changes to strengthen its work directly with congregations—and congregations’ work directly with their mission efforts.
“The Board is announcing changes in its program of Moravian Volunteer and Disaster Response due to the recent resignation of Mark Ebert as our Director of Moravian Volunteer Resources (MVR),” says Judy Ganz, executive director of BWM.
The Polly Heckewelder doll, the oldest continuously made American doll, is made in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Made and sold by the Moravian Ladies’ Sewing Society since 1872, this doll carries the memory of the real Polly around the world.
“Polly” dolls tell more than the story of Polly Heckewelder. The story of the doll includes the story of its creators, the Moravian Ladies’ Sewing Society and how she came to be.
Every four years, Moravians from each North American Province gather to “do the business of the church”—to decide, legislate, make policy, discuss doctrine and chart the way forward for the next four years.
This coming June, more than 250 delegates from across the Northern Province will meet in Bethlehem, Pa. to “covenant with hand and heart” about church practice, Provincial structure and ministries, budgets, health care, new programs and more.
The 2014 Synod of the Moravian Church in America, Northern Province, will be held June 19-23 at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa.
You may be familiar with the phrase “In Essentials Unity; In Non-Essentials Liberty; in All Things Love.” We hear this statement a lot in Moravian churches, but it is often hard for Moravians to identify just what things are essential or non-essential. Rather than being united in the essentials, as the “motto” claims, Moravians today seem to disagree over just what is “essential.”
Every year for almost three centuries, printed Moravian Daily Texts books have been a staple of Moravians’ daily prayers. For 2014, the North American Daily Texts is now available for the millions of readers who use a screen instead of paper.
In our October issue, we shared several stories of Moravians visiting Alaska. During one of those visits, visitors met Ruth Strand Williams, a lifelong Alaskan. Ruth told visitors of her memories of the now abandoned Moravian Children’s Home. One of those visitors, Alice Mosebach, encouraged Ruth to share her remembrance of Christmas in Alaska during that time.
This September, the small town of Kralice in the Czech Republic came alive to celebrate a national treasure—the Kralice Bible.
2013 marks the 400th anniversary of the final, third edition of the Kralice Bible, the first complete translation of the Bible from the original text into the Czech language.
At the festival celebrating this anniversary, more than 2000 visitors attended exhibitions, lectures, poetry readings, films and more highlighting the importance of this book. The town, about 100 miles from Prague, was decorated with verses from the Bible for the event.
When John Foltz, a life-long member of Trinity Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, attended the 2013 Moravian Music Festival in Pennsylvania, he discovered a new resource that is having a big impact on the congregation’s music ministry.
The lights are dimmed, the candles are lit, a little voice begins singing Morning Star, O Cheering Sight and the congregation responds. It’s Christmas Eve, a night full of Moravian traditions. You’re familiar with the service, but do you know the origins of the beeswax candles that you are holding during the Christmas Eve lovefeast?
While the 2014 Synod may be six months away, Southern Province leaders and Synod delegates met in Winston-Salem to prepare for the upcoming event.
Delegates from across the province joined together at New Philadelphia Moravian Church on Saturday, Sept. 28 to review the purposes of Synod, the workings of the event and what it means to be a delegate to this important part of Moravian Church polity. The Southern Province Synod, whose theme is “Jesus Still Lead On,” is set for April 3-6, 2014 at the Blue Ridge Center in Black Rock, N.C.
Lanie Yaswinski is the former assistant archivist at the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, Pa. This article is a result of research comparing modern church practices with those of 18th-century Moravians presented at workshops for the Eastern District’s “Heart of Ministry” conferences in 2009 and 2011. A longer version of this article appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of The Hinge.
In 2011 I was asked by our District President, Dave Bennett, to consider what a modern Moravian choir system might look like. The result is a proposal for a new choir system that is really dependent on the revival of the small-group prayer bands that delivered pastoral care to all church members through highly active lay leadership.
Since 1997 the Moravian Ministries Foundation has been helping individuals who want to support their churches and favorite ministries through gifts from their wills and via other forms of “planned giving.” In recent years we have seen growing interest in creating what we call a Mission and Ministry Fund.
Many of us think of Moravian music as rich old hymns from hundreds of years ago. But today, there’s a creative spark alight in Moravian musicians bringing a new glimmer to the jewel of Moravian musical tradition.
To celebrate the musical gifts of today’s Moravian Church in North America, the Moravian Music Foundation and the Interprovincial Board of Communication have introduced Sing to the Lord a New Song: A New Moravian Songbook.
Nearly one thousand Lutherans, Episcopalians and Moravians gathered in Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pa. for a unique celebration of the full communion relationship among the three denominations—the first-ever of its kind.
The celebration arose out of several years of conversation among the heads of the local territories of the three denominations: the Rt. Rev. Paul V. Marshall, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, the Rev. Samuel R. Zeiser, bishop of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Rev. David Bennett, president of the Eastern District, Northern Province, of the Moravian Church. Their discussions of ways to demonstrate full communion led to the question of what the three churches have in common. One clear answer: Music.
Watchword for Good Friday — For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. John 3:16
Friday, April 18 — Psalm 50:16-23
Leviticus 13:9-46; Mark 4:21-29
You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you. Psalm 86:5
Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." Having said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:46
Lord Jesus, what a precious gift you gave to all humankind—giving up your life so that we would have eternal life. We accept your gift and pray to use our gifts and talents to bring others to know your love. Amen.
|Buy the Book|
This new Moravian songbook features 80 new songs by 51 composers and authors from across the Moravian Church. Includes music and guitar chords, plus new specialty liturgies. Celebrate the musical gifts of today's Moravian Church!