Every four years, delegates from Eastern District Moravian congregations meet in Bethlehem for several days of meetings, discussion, legislation and fellowship. For its 2016 Synod, to be held June 22-25 at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., the Eastern District is adding a new component: mission.
This year’s theme—“To Us, To Us, This Task is Given…”—recalls us not only to a beloved Moravian hymn, but also to the sacred task of mission. In that spirit, this year’s synod will focus predominantly upon congregational mission, collaborative regional mission and global mission.
The synod experience itself will include multiple opportunities to do “hands-on” mission in the Lehigh Valley. On the Thursday of Synod, delegate teams will visit one of more than 20 different sites in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and surrounding communities including local rescue missions, senior care ministries, youth and women’s shelters, soup kitchens and more. There delegates will have an opportunity to prepare food, visit with and help seniors, work in food pantries, work with the homeless, visit prisoners, plant gardens, work with at-risk youth and other tasks.
In addition, all delegates will work together on Wednesday night, participating in a synod-wide effort to assemble more than 30,000 simple, nutritious meals for the poor, destined for Haiti. Bethlehem Area Moravians (BAM) underwrote the cost of these meals.
Youth and young adults ages 16 to 30 will also have an opportunity to participate in the mission activities of the 2016 Synod. Through the MISSION MOB, coordinated by the District’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry team, young participants will work alongside Synod delegates at many of the locations. MISSION MOB participants will be housed at Advent Moravian Church in Bethlehem. For more information, contact Cynthia Rader-Geyer at Cynthia@mcnp.org.
The 2016 Synod will also include time to complete traditional governance role. Elections for District leadership, leaders of boards and commissions and representatives to Eastern District agencies and educational institutions are on the docket, as are sessions for legislation on Eastern District topics and opportunities to learn more about the work of the District and the wider church.
And while these legislative activities are important to the ongoing work of the Eastern District, we are reminded that the first two purposes of a District Synod are for “confirming and renewing Christian love and fellowship” and “stimulating and strengthening the work of the Lord.” This gathering of Moravian clergy, lay leaders, congregational delegates and agency representatives from New York to Ohio and from the Poconos to Washington, D.C. will offer ample opportunities for those two purposes to be met.
The Moravian magazine will be covering the Eastern District Synod in its August edition.
NOTE: The original version of this article, which was printed in the Moravian magazine, had the wrong days specified for the mission events. Delegates will be in the community on Thursday, June 23, not Friday as originally reported. We apologize for the error.