In July, actor Andy Griffith, best known as Andy Taylor of the Andy Griffth Show and as attorney Ben Matlock, passed away at age 86. Many have speculated that Mayberry is, in actuality Mt. Airy, N.C., home of Grace Moravian Church. But the connection goes much deeper.
“On a beautiful Spring day in May 2009, we were welcomed with generosity and kindness into the Manteo home of Mr. and Mrs. Andy Griffith,” says the Rev. Anthony Hayworth, pastor at Grace Moravian. “Andy, a member of Grace Moravian during his teenage years, had expressed a desire to reconnect with the Moravian church. Through the liturgies for the Reaffirmation of Faith and Holy Communion, Cindi and Andy became members of the Grace Moravian Congregation.
Prayer Day for Christian Education, September 9, 2012
The second Sunday in September is designated as a day of prayer for Christian education. The nurture of Christians of all ages in their faith is the responsibility of each congregation. Pray for your congregation’s Christian education program and for the personal growth in faith of each member.
The Rev. William O. Gilbert III
The Rev. William O. Gilbert III of Fergus Falls, Minn. passed away on April 15, 2012 at the age of 69.
Brother Gilbert was born in Winston-Salem, N.C. He graduated from Moravian College in 1964 and entered Moravian Theological Seminary. While attending seminary, he served Moravian churches in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Friedensfeld & Fredriksted Congregations; Memorial Congregation, St. Thomas and in Bethel, Alaska as a student intern. He graduated from Moravian Theological Seminary in 1969 and was ordained at Advent Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was consecrated a presbyter in 1975 at Hopewell Moravian Church.
This fall, Winston-Salem and Bethlehem will play host to two large gatherings, each designed to offer both Moravians and non-Moravians alike a taste of Moravian culture and heritage.
On September 8, New Philadelphia Moravian Church will host the second Moravian Festival, with traditions, food and fun. Last year’s event drew more than 5,000 people and representatives from many Southern Province congregations.
Then, October 11-14, a variety of sites in Bethlehem will host the third Bethlehem Conference on Moravian History and Music. The conference will explore Moravian history in worldwide contexts from the fifteenth through the twenty-first centuries.
Since 1974, Moravian Theological Seminary has recognized a graduate, who, through outstanding service has brought distinction to the work of ministry, by presenting him or her with The John Hus Award.
During its annual Alumni Reunion Luncheon on March 8, 2012, the Seminary honored The Rt. Rev. Dr. D. Wayne Burkette as the 38th recipient of The John Hus Award. The award is named for John Hus, one of the great leaders of the Christian Church and is regarded a founding father of the Moravian Church.
In mid-May of 2012, 11 intrepid Moravians from the Friedland and Friedberg congregations in Winston-Salem, N.C. traveled to Ocean Springs, Miss. for an assignment as a work-service team. For the leaders, Jerry and Sherry Edwards, it was their third trip to assist in aiding those damaged by Hurricane Katrina. We were a group of skilled and unskilled laborers called by faith and driven by desire to assist those in need. As most work-service teams have discovered, what we learned seemed far greater than the help we offered.
How can we forget the wrenching media images of people on rooftops in their flooded neighborhoods in New Orleans waiting for rescue? The chaos and confusion in the emergency rescue efforts of local, state and federal officials? The waste and destruction in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast communities between the Texas coast and Pensacola, Fla.? Devastated homes and businesses rotting and molding in the hot sun?
That was Hurricane Katrina, the most devastating natural disaster ever to occur in the United States, reaching the U.S. on August 29, 2005. The storm attacked a geographic area the size of Great Britain, killed over 1,800 people, caused billions of dollars of damage and displaced millions of households.
The Rev. Erwin E. Boettcher led the Holy Communion service at Lancaster Moravian Church in celebration of the John Hus Festival on Sunday, July 8th. The date was also a celebration of another sort, as it was exactly 60 years and two days after his ordination as a pastor!
One of the treasures of the Moravian Museum in Bethlehem, Pa. is the Nain-Schober House. It is the only surviving structure from an important, but little known, chapter in American history. And this month, recent renovations to help restore its original appearance will be unveiled, helping the building continue to tell its story.
A link to the past
The Nain-Schober House in Bethlehem is a direct link to the heroic and tragic history of the Moravian mission to Native Americans and serves as a reminder of a fleeting glimpse of a different possible outcome for the relationship between Native Americans and European settlers in American history.
It’s not often that a Moravian church turns 100. But it happened on July 15, 2012 when hundreds of members and friends of Trinity Moravian Church in Winston-Salem gathered to celebrate the congregation’s centennial.
In a service that included the premiere of a newly-composed anthem, meditations by two bishops, and the entire congregation signing the Moravian Covenant for Christian Living, the Trinity Centennial Celebration was an event that will be remembered for years to come.
In addition to his role as one of the 17th century bishops of the Moravian Church, John Amos Comenius was also a ground-breaking scholar and advocate in educational reform. In his important work on education, “The Great Didactic,” Comenius wrote, “If, in each hour, a man could learn a single fragment of some branch of knowledge, a single rule of some mechanical art, a single pleasing story or proverb (the acquisition of which would require no effort), what a vast stock of learning he might lay by. Seneca is therefore right when he says: ‘Life is long, if we know how to use it.’ It is consequently of importance that we understand the art of making the very best use of our lives.”
After considering this call for life-long learning, lay leaders and members of Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem worked with the church’s pastors to develop a way of helping others in this very Moravian quest for the expansion of the mind.
“Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise.”
With Psalm 84:4 as its theme and inspiration, the Eastern District of the Moravian Church, Northern Province came together in June for work and worship at the 2012 Eastern District Synod in Bethlehem, Pa.
The Eastern District Synod, which convenes every four years, brings together delegates from more than 50 Moravian congregations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Washington, D.C. and Ontario, Canada. More than 230 delegates attended, including District clergy and lay members from each congregation. A number of ecumenical partners from the Episcopal Church, The Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church USA and other denominations were also on hand as guests.
In late April, more than 200 church leaders from across the Southern Province gathered at Friedland Moravian Church in North Carolina for the 2012 Intersynodal Gathering. Participants included Regional Conference of Churches representatives from eight of our ten Moravian fellowships and 50 of our 56 congregations.
Members of the Board of Cooperative Ministries, the Provincial Elders’ Conference, bishops, and representatives from the Provincial Support Services Board, the Archives Commission, the Implementation Steering Committee and provincial staff rounded out the group. We were blessed by the presence and worship leadership from our seminarians and recent graduates, and by the wonderful hospitality of the Friedland congregation.
Mrs. Clement E. Semper
Sister Dorothy E. Semper died in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, May 12, 2012 at age 96. She was born August 4, 1917 in Altura, Minn., a daughter of Paul G. and Stella (Scherffius) Simon.
Sister Semper graduated from Catholic High School, Rollingstone, Minn. and Teachers College, Winona, Minn. She was united in marriage to Brother Clement E. Semper on June 11, 1941 at Hebron Moravian Church, Altura, Minn.
As the executive director of the Interprovincial Board of Communication, I rely on a solid team to make our office run smoothly and efficiently. This month, I am pleased to welcome a new member of that team who will be helping to keep the “business side” of the IBOC moving forward.
Jodi Bortz of Bethlehem, Pa., joined as our new customer relations/business assistant. Jodi replaces Deb Swanson, who left in April to pursue a new career opportunity.
Peace is what I felt as I walked under the welcoming trees and heard the birds sing out praises on the church grounds of Friedland Moravian Church. The roots of these giant old trees run deep, like our Moravian Faith. I and others walked quietly among the flat stones of those who are asleep in Jesus. How many of these souls gone before had attended Synod and had the spiritual responsibility entrusted to us gathering today?
I prayed that we would honor our Father with our thoughts and actions and that a spirit of peace and joy would prevail! That He would help us deepen our personal relationship with Christ as a result of 200 or so coming together.
Prayer Day for World Peace
and Nuclear Disarmament
August 5, 2012
In accordance with legislation enacted at the 1982 Synod of the Northern Province and affirmed by the 1990 Synod, the first Sunday in August has been designated as a day of prayer for world peace and nuclear disarmament.
The Interprovincial Board of Communication has a new way to reach Moravians and non-Moravians alike—the newly redesigned www.moravian.org web site!
“We’re excited to introduce this enhanced resource for the Moravian Church in North America and all who are interested in learning more about our faith,” says Mike Riess, executive director, Interprovincial Board of Communication (IBOC). “We’ve been working to create a more useful and engaging web presence for the church, and we think this new site is a strong start.”
The 24th Moravian Music Festival is now only a year away…and it will be here before we know it!
The Festival, to be held July 14-20, 2013 on the campus of Central Moravian Church and Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is sponsored by the Moravian Music Foundation. The Festivals, which are held every four years, are opportunities for music lovers to gather and enjoy learning music new to them, hearing and presenting concerts and worshipping together in an atmosphere of warm fellowship surrounded by music.
The “Wings of Mercy” are prepared to serve Honduras even better, thanks to a new hangar in Ahuas.
Brother George Goff maintains an active aviation ministry in Ahuas, Honduras. More than 20 years ago he was recruited to this ministry by Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). This organization sent him to the U.S. to learn airplane mechanics and to become a pilot.
Commencement ceremonies marking the conclusion of the 205th academic year of Moravian Theological Seminary were held on Saturday, May 12, 2012. Nineteen students received degrees and certificates in front of several hundred of their friends and family at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pa.
Remembering Moravian bishop and educator Jon Amos Comenius’ philosophy of educating, “not the children of the rich or of the powerful only, but of all alike, boys and girls, both noble and ignoble, rich and poor, in all cities and towns, villages and hamlets,” the seminary awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree to Father John P. Foley, Chair Emeritus of Cristo Rey Schools.
As information began to come in about the Southern Province Intersynodal Gathering for this April, I struggled with why we were referring to this particular halfway point between Synods as a “Gathering” instead of a “conference” as we typically did. I even found myself having to correct myself mid-sentence to stop from referring to it as a conference.
Earlier in the year, churches received a bulletin insert to help with education about the Gathering and about the changes the Southern Province was experiencing. The bulletin insert was titled “We Gather together to ask the Lord’s Blessing.” This changed my perception of what exactly was going to happen during this proposed Gathering.
At the age of 80, George Kiorpes plays water volleyball three times a week, tends over 50 rose bushes and a large fruit and vegetable garden and teaches piano students in his home. He also plays the organ and directs the choir every week at First Moravian Church in Greensboro, N.C.—and has for over 50 years. That is almost half of the church’s 103 year history!
On June 3, his 50th anniversary as Director of Music, Dr. Kiorpes was honored during a worship service that featured several of his musical compositions and arrangements. He sat in the audience, for once, as others took his place playing the organ and directing the choir and the handbells. A pianist played two of his compositions, and the congregation sang one hymn composed by him and another with a verse added, by Morgan Owen, that paid tribute to him.
Chuck Nienow and Esther Tesh, Coordinators for the Clean Water Project, traveled to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua in January of this year and again in March. The project to bring clean water to remote areas of Nicaragua continues: a well-drilling machine will be replaced with a new one; plans are in place to drill new wells in more remote areas and into villages along the Rio Coco and soon rope pumps will be used on wells in the rural areas.
Alberta, Canada has a long and storied Moravian tradition. But it was a focus on the future that drove the 2012 Canadian District Synod, held in Calgary, Alberta May 4 through 6.
Meeting at Good Shepherd Moravian Church, nearly 80 delegates helped shape the next four years—and beyond—for the Canadian District. The District includes eight congregations and a new church plant in the Calgary and Edmonton areas of Alberta.
The Moravian Church Canadian District Synod of 2012 elected the District’s Board of Elders (BECD) to serve four-year terms. The Board of Elders serves as the administrative leadership of the District.
Bryan Peacock, a member of Rio Terrace Moravian Church in Edmonton, was elected president of the BECD. Unlike the other districts of the Moravian Church Northern Province, the president of the BECD can be either a pastor or lay member of the Church. Outgoing BECD president The Rev. Stephen Gohdes, pastor of Christ Moravian Church in Calgary, Alberta, served for the past eight years.
Every year for almost three centuries, printed Moravian Daily Texts books have been a staple of Moravians’ daily prayers. For 2013, the North American Daily Texts will be entering a whole new realm when they are made available for the first time as a digital book for the Kindle.
“We are hard at work on the printed editions, which we will continue to offer,” says Mike Riess, executive director of the Interprovincial Board of Communication, the agency charged with producing the North American versions of the Daily Texts. “We do know, however, that many people have grown accustomed to the convenience of carrying an e-reader like the Kindle. We are working to make it possible to expand the printed version into the digital realm.
“The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it!” — Psalm 24:1
Following those words — and looking for ways to put them into action — brought more than 40 Moravians together for the third annual Environmental Stewardship Conference in March.
Held amongst the natural surroundings of Laurel Ridge Camp and Conference Center in North Carolina, the Stewardship Conference invited Southern Province Moravians to discover, learn and share best practices of caring for the environment. The Conference featured speakers, group discussions and resource-sharing, all aimed to put environmental concerns at the forefront and raise awareness of the importance of caring for nature, especially within the context of the church.
In November, 2011, the Interprovincial Faith and Order Commission of the Moravian Church developed a statement of Guiding Principles of Biblical Interpretation. This statement, which includes an extensive historical review of how the Church has viewed biblical interpretation, “offers some guiding principles of scriptural interpretation” to guide clergy, lay members and agencies of the Church in North America.
The statement was amended and adopted by the Southern Province Provincial Elders’ Conference on March 5, 2012 and the Northern Province Provincial Elders’ Conference on April 12, 2012.
Moravian Music Sunday, May 6, 2012
The fifth Sunday of Easter, May 6, 2012, has been designated as Moravian Music Sunday. The purpose of this observance is to help all congregations become more familiar with our rich heritage of Moravian music. Music is an expression of faith, and thus continuing creativity is to be encouraged.
Christ Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Brother David Marcus has accepted the call to serve as pastor at Christ Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, N.C. He has served as associate pastor at New Philadelphia Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, NC for the past eleven years. Brother Marcus was installed at Christ on May 13, 2012.