“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
This is the message the world hungers for and needs to hear, and the Moravian Northwest Fellowship in Seattle, Washington is spreading God’s Word to people all around the world.
The late Rev. Clarence Henkleman started the Fellowship in the 1980s and the meetings and worships services were held in his Seattle, Washington home. Rev. Henkleman saw the need of a support system and meeting place for fellow Moravians who had moved to the Northwest and for the Moravian Alaskans and Moravian Canadians who traveled to and from Seattle to obtain supplies, for medical reasons, or educational purposes.
For those Moravians who were new to Washington and away from a Moravian Church, family and friends, and for the Moravian Alaskans and Moravian Canadians connecting with other Moravians and attending the meetings and services was a joyful event. Worshiping together, participating in the Christmas Candlelight Service and Lovefeast, and singing old, beloved Moravian hymns were times to be treasured. Some members still recall those early services, and then after the meetings gathering together to share stories about their Moravian roots.
In the 1990s Ralph and Donna Reilly, now living in Minnesota, opened their home to the Northwest Fellowship and Maxine Simmons served as coordinator.
Today, Joan and Dick Thomas in Des Moines, Washington are the coordinators. The services/meetings are held three times a year: A Christmas Candlelight Service and Lovefeast, an Easter Service and a Summer Picnic meeting. The Services and meetings are either held at Seattle Churches or the home of Joan and Dick Thomas.
The Fellowship is a community of Christians who serve on mission projects in the Northwest and throughout the world, and the Fellowship always has visitors at their services who want to learn more about the Moravians. One of the Fellowship’s projects was collecting and shipping warm clothing to the children in Alaska.
The Fellowship’s greatest challenges are physical limitations of members, transportation and distance. But the members keep in touch with one another by email, letters and phone and the Fellowship continues to thrive. The Northwest Fellowship is unique in that members include Moravians, retired pastors, educators, missionaries, authors, health care
providers, folks with Moravian affiliations and those of other denominations; and that the members look for ways in their community and throughout the world to share God’s message.
Joan Thomas and her husband, Richard, who both grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and attended the Edgeboro Moravian Church, are coordinators for the Northwest Fellowship in Washington state. With Joan’s great love for Moravian traditions, she tells the story of the Moravians through her children’s books, Mimi’s Gift and Mimi’s Sunrise Surprise.More information about the Moravian Northwest Fellowship can be found by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 253.315.9280. Photo at right: The Rev. Dic Lawson addresses the Fellowship.
From the May 2014 Moravian Magazine