Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and with gratitude in your hearts sing praises, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. Colossians 3:16
Few passages of scripture offer a better picture of the collaborative ministry of Rick Sides, Brad Bennett, Lisa Mullen, Beth Hayes, Judy Knopf, and Heather Stevenson, who completed their shared service to the Southern Province in May. As staff members of the Board of Christian Education and its succeeding board, the Board of Cooperative Ministries, this ministerial team lifted the life of our two provinces and a grateful church for the better portion of two decades.
In 1992, the Board of Christian Education called Rick Sides to the position of Executive Director. Several years earlier Beth Hayes had brought her expertise to the Board as the Director of the Resource Center. Brad Bennett’s call to serve as Director of Youth and College Ministries came in 1996, and in the last decade, Lisa Mullen and Judy Knopf joined the Board’s mission as the Director of Children and Family Ministries and the Coordinator of Gemeinschaft and Spiritual Formation respectively. In recent years, the work of this staff has been well-supported and enriched by Heather Stevenson as Office Coordinator. The restructuring of provincial ministries has resulted in the creation of new positions to be filled, thus providing an occasion to appreciate the many accomplishments of the Board, its commissions, and its task forces under this passing generation of leadership.
Throughout the tenure of these staff members, the Word of Christ has found expression in a vast number of programs, projects, and experiences sponsored by the Board.
Remembering how Jesus opened his arms to children, we’ve seen in these years the faith of our youngest members enriched through camps at Laurel Ridge, children’s rallies, educational materials acquired through the Resource Center, and activities from the Loving Hearts United resource for Moravian families.
Remembering how Jesus extended the call to young men and women to follow him as disciples, we’ve witnessed how this same invitation has continued to penetrate the hearts of our youth at summer camps, Regional Youth Council events, college-age retreats, and inter-provincial youth Convos.
Remembering how Jesus educated adults in the ways of the kingdom of God, we’ve experienced his teaching through the Gemeinschaft spiritual formation experience, BibleQuest and other curricula, a Church and Society Commission, congregational visioning, and the identification of gifts and assets enabling us to live more fully into God’s reign.
And remembering how in the beginning, the Word revealed in Christ created everything that was made, our stewardship has been enlarged through an EcoCamp for children, an annual Environmental Stewardship Conference, the planting of a garden, a quiet retreat in the Gemein House, and ecumenical relationships developed for the greater care of Creation.
To accomplish this great catalogue of ministry and more, the gifts of well over a thousand volunteer servants were coordinated by the Board’s staff members. Their leadership has been nothing less than incarnational as they brought out the best in our church through a comprehensive ministry of education. We give our thanks to God for the Word to which they gave witness and service, for their wise teaching and admonition, for the songs we sang together, and for the relationships they shared with one another and with us.
Much of their work will continue under the direction of the Board of Cooperative Ministries and the Laurel Ridge Board. As new positions are filled, Beth Hayes will expand her work with the Board as the Director of Congregational Ministries and Resources. Heather Stevenson will continue her service as Administrative Assistant. Rick Sides has been called to the pastorate at Home Moravian Church in Winston-Salem. And we look forward to seeing how Christ will create future opportunities for Judy Knopf, Lisa Mullen and Brad Bennett to increase the life of his church.
The Rev. John D. Rights is pastor of Konnoak Hills Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.
From the October 2013 Moravian Magazine