The first three legs of this journey took me to three centers of Moravian life here in North America. With two years under my belt with the church, I’m still meeting new Moravians with welcoming hearts, interesting stories to tell and gracious assistance in understanding their Moravian faith.
In North Carolina, I worked with a team of people interested in learning more about communicating with their congregations and their communities. Through an interactive session, we discussed ways to view communications strategically and improve communication skills and outlets.
Then it was on to Wisconsin, where Moravians from the midwest and California were meeting at the Western District Synod. I was invited to work with the communications committee there, which yielded great discussions and opportunities to strengthen communication in the District. I also experienced worship services, spiritual refreshment, meeting new people and re-connecting with others I already knew. Through it all was the blue glow of computer screens as the Western District Synod went “all digital” with their Synod planning and document distribution efforts. Great work was done by all and I think everyone left renewed.
After three days home, it was off to Calgary, Alberta for the Canadian District Synod — my first trip to Western Canada and a blessing on so many fronts. Seeing firsthand the beauty of God’s creation in the Canadian Rockies west of the city; working and worshipping with Calgary and Edmonton-area Moravians at Good Shepherd Moravian Church; being invited (and heartily accepting) the opportunity to play Pastor Rick Beck’s back-up 12-string guitar during worship; and seeing the Moravian governing system in full action made for a moving, rewarding weekend all around. Read more about the Canadian District Synod in our July/August issue.
And my travel blessings continued, as I left five hours after arriving home from Calgary to pick up my younger daughter after successfully completing her first year at Syracuse University. The oil paintings, ceramics and sketchbooks she brought home made me proud of my young art student, and the seven hours on the road well worth it.
Then four days later, years of work, worry, prayer and best wishes paid off when my older daughter, Gracie, received her degree from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In two ceremonies, Gracie’s mom and I were snapping photos and trying to fight back tears. Then we moved her out of her apartment, brought her home, and are now helping her with the transition to her new post-baccalaureate life.
So after five weeks, six airports, three different rental cars, 7,000-plus miles in the air and 1,100-plus miles behind the wheel, I’m pretty tired. But I will look back on this past month with fond memories, lots of photos and a keener sense of the blessing that my Moravian life is to me. Meeting, learning from, worshipping with, photographing and working among our Church’s pastors, lay leaders and Synod delegates was a rewarding experience that has broadened my view — and strengthened my optimism — about the Moravian Church here in North America. At the same time, I am constantly in awe of the strength, resiliency and brilliance with which my daughters have been gifted.
I hope you enjoy this month’s issue of the Moravian. There’s much to share about Environmental Stewardship, events in both Provinces, the future of the Moravian Daily Texts and the great work at Moravian Open Door. You’ll find all of this — and more — in our June edition.
Mike Riess, Editor