Members of the Provincial Elders’ Conferences of the Northern and Southern Provinces gathered in Bethlehem, Pa. in October for their annual meeting. While having no legislative authority, members of the two PECs came together to share mutual joys and concerns, explore ways to collaborate to more faithfully bear witness to God’s love in the world and to listen to leaders of those agencies that serve both provinces.
As an interprovincial gathering, the 12 members in attendance received reports from church agencies that work in both provinces, including the Board of World Mission and the Moravian Music Foundation. The PEC members also met with Frank Crouch from Moravian Theological Seminary, Mike Riess from the Interprovincial Board of Communication and Paul McLaughlin from Moravian Ministries Foundation in America. The conversations were rich as we explored how we might find ways to share resources to better communicate what we do and why we do it.
Discussions with Frank centered around theological education and ways to invite people sensing a call to ministry into a process that will form them for various ministry settings in our provinces. As some congregations shrink in size, might there be ways to deploy theologically trained leaders who may not have a three-year Master of Divinity degree?
In talking with Paul, we asked, “How might the Ministries Foundation encourage interested donors to support various causes throughout the provinces, including provincial operations? And how might we use our personnel to connect donors with needs?”
And we spoke with Mike Riess about ways to tell our story in more compelling ways that will reach a wider audience. One topic included questions about what information should—and should not—be on public websites, and what information could be on a secure portal to better inform our congregational leaders of resources and opportunities?
As always, we are grateful to the leaders and staff of all of our interprovincial agencies. Without them, our capacity to do ministry would be severely limited.
When our agency heads departed, PEC members explored best practices in the areas of health care and benefits, along with pension support for our retired clergy. Might there be ways to collaborate that would enrich our capacities without diminishing our autonomy? With new administrative staff in both provinces, there may be new opportunities for shared resources that would better serve our clergy and lay staff.
Throughout our time together, we were blessed by the presence of Br. Hans Becklin, a representative of the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), one of our full communion partners. His presence both blessed and informed our work together.
During the course of our meetings, we were able to worship in various Moravian congregations in Bethlehem. We are grateful to Moravian Theological Seminary for hosting our meetings. ■
Submitted by The Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller and the Rev. David Guthrie. The Northern and Southern Province PECs meet together once each year. Photos by Mike Riess, IBOC.