I remember, as a young child, going to my grandmother’s house in South Carolina. It was a busy farming community and everyone had lots to do, but my grandmother never thought twice about stopping whatever she was doing and taking me to her big round table that held the family Bible. There she would put me in her lap and read to me. This is how much of my faith formation was passed on to me.
Families today seem to be so busy and scheduled out that this act of passing on the faith stories has been lost. That is why I feel it is so important that we make a conscious effort to relate to the young people in today’s world, whether as a parent, grandparent, Sunday School teacher, youth leader, or simply as a member of a congregation. These stories never grow old and carry so much meaning in one’s faith formation.
In the Southern Province, we provide an excellent opportunity to form these relationships and help our young people grow in their Moravian faith tradition with the annual Children’s Festival and Lovefeast. Each year for the past three we’ve held the event on the Sunday closest to August 17 to commemorate the 1727 Moravian children’s spiritual renewal in Herrnhut, and each year it has grown in attendance. This year it will be held on Sunday, August 20, 2017, at Friedberg Moravian Church, the fourth settlement of Moravians in North Carolina.
A slightly different format will be used this year. There will be a big opening at 2 p.m., illustrating how the people of the Friedberg community chose a rock house to gather for worship. Activities are planned all afternoon so that families and church groups can follow and learn the history of this community. These will include construction of a putz, a nature walk and petting zoo, painting a commemorative Moravian seal on canvas to give to the Archives, painting story rocks, a mission story and music place featuring stories from Honduras, and a chance to meet the Hanes family, whose “Moravian cookie” making tradition has been passed on for generations. The day will end with a Lovefeast at 5 p.m., where the offering will be used for a mission project in Honduras.
Families and church groups are encouraged to make it a family event for all ages, from preschool through high school and adults.
These festivals have been a wonderful way for families to learn Moravian history together. What a fun way to carry on the tradition of passing on faith stories; I’m grateful the Moravian Churches have this unique opportunity. Plan to join us.
Beth Hayes is director of congregational ministries with the Board of Cooperative Ministries, Southern Province.
From the June/July 2017 Moravian Magazine