On the cover: Beeswax candles burn brightly during a Christmas Eve Lovefeast. Photo by Mike Riess
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…
John 15: 16 (part)
Those were the words that gave the Rev. Bevon H. White his motivation to enter into Ministry some 25 years ago.
When John Foltz, a life-long member of Trinity Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, attended the 2013 Moravian Music Festival in Pennsylvania, he discovered a new resource that is having a big impact on the congregation’s music ministry.
A small group of women is using their passion for stitching to make a big difference to Hope Conference & Renewal Center.
The Hope Quilters have contributed over $4,000 (and counting!) to Hope Conference Center in 2013, money earned by stitching patchwork quilts, potholders, wall hangings, and anything else that can be created and quilted out of small pieces of fabric. The women (so far they are all women, but men would be welcomed, too) get together several times a year to plan, shop, and work on their quilting projects. Many of the women also stitch on their sale items at home in their spare time.
Like many, coffee is central to my morning. Sharing a cup with my wife is how we start every day. It fuels my writing, helps me on long drives and provides a conversation starter at my local donut shop.
But I never realized that coffee would be part of my religious life until I began attending Moravian services. During one weekend in early November, I found coffee to be the connection between two very different worship services; this is the tale of two coffees.
In our October issue, we shared several stories of Moravians visiting Alaska. During one of those visits, visitors met Ruth Strand Williams, a lifelong Alaskan. Ruth told visitors of her memories of the now abandoned Moravian Children’s Home. One of those visitors, Alice Mosebach, encouraged Ruth to share her remembrance of Christmas in Alaska during that time.
This September, the small town of Kralice in the Czech Republic came alive to celebrate a national treasure—the Kralice Bible.
2013 marks the 400th anniversary of the final, third edition of the Kralice Bible, the first complete translation of the Bible from the original text into the Czech language.
At the festival celebrating this anniversary, more than 2000 visitors attended exhibitions, lectures, poetry readings, films and more highlighting the importance of this book. The town, about 100 miles from Prague, was decorated with verses from the Bible for the event.
This summer, a fixture of the Labrador and Newfoundland’s Moravian community passed away. The Rev. Dr. Brigitte Schloss touched Moravians in Germany, England and for many years, Labrador. We share a remembrance from Hans Rollman, a professor of religious studies at Memorial University in Newfoundland.
On the afternoon of Aug. 24, 2013, while Brigitte Schloss’ earthly remains were buried at Nain with a memorial service in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, I attended at the Anglican Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in St. John’s, a moving celebration and thanksgiving for her life. That service was arranged according to her wishes, with many of her friends attending, including a large contingent from Labrador.
I met Brigitte in the early 1990s after she had retired from her position as coordinator of Memorial University’s (MUN) native teacher education program in Labrador.
Are you interested in learning more about the history of the Moravian Church? Here are three volumes offered by the IBOC that can teach you what you want to know, answer your questions and strengthen your connection to those who made the Moravian Church what it is today.
The fourth Bethlehem Conference on Moravian History and Music is coming to the campus of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary October 2-5, 2014. The conference explores Moravian history and music in a worldwide context from the 15th to 20th centuries.
The conference is sponsored by Moravian College, Moravian Archives, and the Center for Moravian Studies, in partnership with the Moravian Music Foundation, Moravian Historical Society, Moravian Theological Seminary, and Historic Bethlehem Partnership.
The lights are dimmed, the candles are lit, a little voice begins singing Morning Star, O Cheering Sight and the congregation responds. It’s Christmas Eve, a night full of Moravian traditions. You’re familiar with the service, but do you know the origins of the beeswax candles that you are holding during the Christmas Eve lovefeast?
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Psalm 8:3-4
It was the first Sunday in Advent, the beginning of the church year, and the preacher had begun the familiar preparation sermon. “Prepare the way of the Lord,” the preacher toned from the high pulpit. “All who have ears let them hear.” Directly over the preacher’s head was a traditional Moravian star, nearly six feet across, lit for the first time just minutes before.
Moravian Daily Texts
Friday, August 17 — Psalm 100
Joshua 24:14–Judges 1:16; Luke 18:1–17
The Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city?” Jonah 4:10–11 (NASB)
Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other. 1 Corinthians 10:24
Creating Lord—you trusted us with one of the biggest responsibilities of all time: to care for your creation and all that is in it. Creation speaks to us and cannot be pushed past its boundaries. Help us tune our ears to listen to the voices that do not sound like ours. Amen.
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