Lent 2013 was an especially important season for New Philadelphia Moravian Church as it launched a new project to enhance its members’ personal and corporate Lenten journeys. A Lenten Devotion Guide was produced, with each daily entry written by a church member. Members of the Trustees and Board of Elders led the way, writing more than half of the devotions. The remainder of the submissions came from other church leaders and volunteers.
Fifty devotions made up the Guide: In addition to the 47 days of Lent, devotions for Pentecost, Ascension Day and Ascension Sunday were included. The Moravian Daily Text was used as the reference for the scripture passages. “Each writer was given a choice to use either the Old Testament or New Testament passage for the assigned day,” explains Clyde Manning, church staff member.
Some writers were tentative about the project, having never participated in a project quite like this one before. Senior pastor Worth Green’s advice was not to worry too much about historical context, but simply to answer the question, what is this text saying to you?
The Lenten Devotion Guide was designed by church member and graphic designer, Paula Chyrsson. “God has blessed me with a career that I love very much and to give back my time and talent for His good is just natural. Designing the Lenten devotional is just one of the ways I am able to offer service to New Philadelphia and beyond.”
The Guide was available on February 10, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. Of the 1,000 copies printed, about 700 copies were taken by worship attendees on that day. “We encouraged our members to take copies for themselves as well as for family members and friends who would enjoy having the book as a guide during Lent,” said Rev. Green. About two hundred copies were distributed also to local businesses, and the remaining copies were picked up by individuals attending the Ash Wednesday service.
Board of Elders member, Tom Williams, and wife, Deanna, use various guides for their daily devotions. During Lent, the New Philadelphia Guide was the one they read before breakfast. “We felt closer to it, and enjoyed reading and sometimes discussing the interpretations of the individual writers,” Tom explains. “Knowing the writers made the devotions more personal.”
Plans for Lent 2014 are already underway, and will include even more church members. “We’re involving our youth this time,” says Rev. Green. “They’ll be providing artwork to enhance the daily devotions. In this way, our Guide will touch more lives, both here inside the church doors, as well as out in our community.”
Clyde Manning is a member of New Philadelphia Moravian Church in Winston-Salem. For more information about New Philadelphia, visit www.newphilly.org
From the August 2013 Moravian Magazine