In quiet observances throughout the Northern and Southern Provinces, Moravian pastors both current and retired gathered on September 16 to recommit themselves to their work, to each other and to the Moravian Church.
The Moravian observance of the Cup of Covenant began in the early years of the renewal, and for more than 200 years, Sept. 16 has been observed as a Covenanting Day for Moravian church leaders around the world.
However, according to Customs and Practices of the Moravian Church by Adelaide Fries, The Cup of Covenant, or Cup of Thanksgiving, was used for the first time in Herrnhut in 1728 to “prepare the heart for the communion which could not be held just then.”
In the early years of the renewed Moravian Church, the Cup was used frequently “to give thanks for special manifestations of grace and to covenant together for new faithfulness in the service of Jesus.”
While the Cup of Covenant somewhat resembles communion, it should not be confused with the Sacrament. Instead, the Cup is considered an expression of unity and dedication, as well as a commitment to continue to work in Christ’s service.
The General Synod of 1775 adopted Cup of Covenant as a formal institution. September 16 commemorates the day in 1741, when during a synodal conference in London, leaders of the Moravian Church recognized Jesus Christ as Chief Elder of the Moravian Church.
For example, Winston-Salem, N.C. area ministers in the Moravian Ministers Association came together for a special service on the evening of Sept. 16th. In Central Wisconsin, pastors gathered for an outdoor service on the front lawn of Wisconsin Rapids Moravian Church. Pastors in southern Pennsylvania and Maryland also met outdoors at Graceham Moravian Church in a celebration that included potting new plants as part of the reflection. And in Bethlehem, pastors from area churches met at College Hill Moravian for a prayer and music service, preceded by a talk by Bishop Doug Kleintop sharing his insights as a recently-retired pastor.