This fall, representatives from Moravian Provinces around the globe arrived in Herrnhut, Germany for the biennial meeting of the Unity Board of the worldwide Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum). The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Miller and The Rev. David Guthrie, presidents of the Northern and Southern Province Provincial Elders’ Conferences, travelled the Herrnhut for the occasion.
The Unity Board is the governing body of the worldwide Moravian Church for the seven years between Unity Synods (the last was held in 2009). The Board currently includes 27 people from 19 countries. It meets every two years and is lead by a four-member Executive Committee, composed of one representative each from North America, the Carribbean, Europe and Africa.
At this year’s meeting, members elected The Rev. Robert Hopcroft of the Great Britain and Ireland Province as its new Executive Committee Chair. Other Executive Committee members include The Rev. Nosigwe Buya of The Southwest Tanzania Province, The Rev. Dr. Cortroy Jarvis of the Eastern West Indies Province and The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Miller of the Northern Province (America). The executive committee will serve two-year terms, beginning in 2013.
Three New Provinces
At the meeting, three Moravian Mission Provinces were formally recognized as Unity Provinces. The Moravian Churches in Malawi, Northern Tanzania and Tanzania, Lake Taganyika are now considered full Provinces of the Unitas Fratrum.
“The Unity Board appreciates the positive developments in these three regions,” said Frieder Vollprecht of the European Continental Province Provincial Elders Conference. “The work there is stable and can stand on its own.”
The Unity Board also decided to hold a worldwide conference of bishops in Tanzania in 2015 (the 600th anniversary of the death of Jan Hus) in preparation for the next Unity Synod, scheduled for 2016 in Jamaica.
And in observance of Reformation Day (October 31) the Unity Board planted two lime trees in memory of two reformist movements important to the Moravian Church. “We remember with these two trees the importance of Martin Luther and Jan Hus,” said Vollprecht.
The Unity Board will meet next in May 2014 in Kigoma, Tanzania.
Thanks to Thomas Przyluski, editor of Herrnhuter Bote (the magazine of the German Moravian Church) for the reporting and photos. In top photo, Southern Province PEC President David Guthrie helps plant a tree during the Unity Board meeting in Herrnhut.