The Newsletter of the Moravian Church, Western District by Rev. Bruce Nelson, President
Easter Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I write to you today shortly after many of us celebrated the Easter holiday. Some of us celebrated amidst snow or very cold temperatures and others enjoyed somewhat balmy temperatures as we proclaimed, “The Lord is risen indeed!”
I hope you know that Easter is not over. Oh, I realize that the Easter baskets may be put away and we may have finished all of the Easter dinner leftovers, but Easter is a season – a season that lasts until Ascension Sunday (this year on Mother’s day or May 13). It has often been said that we are an Easter people as Moravians because we gather in cemeteries on Easter Sunday and proclaim the promise of eternal life.
When I think of Easter I think of new life. It is often around Easter time in the upper Midwest that we signs of new life with flowers poking through the ground and grass getting greener and buds forming on trees and birds coming back to the area with their beautiful songs. As I write this I have many feelings as I have heard of or seen some very difficult medical news among those whom I hold dear. I have heard of or seen some dreams and hopes that have been dashed in various ways. I am aware of significant unrest in various areas of people’s lives.
And yet… we are an Easter people. We believe in new life. We believe in life eternal. We believe in new beginnings. We sometimes wonder why things happen the way they do and yet I for one am relieved that I am not in charge of what God wants to teach me next.
So, as we continue this Easter journey, I would encourage you to look for signs of new life in yourself. I would encourage you to look for news signs of new life in others. I would encourage you to make that phone call that you have been thinking of making or to do that good deed that you were planning to do. I would encourage you to be an Easter Christian, to be an example of new life.
Serving Christ with you,
Pastor Bruce J. Nelson
Western District Lay Ministry Conference
The District Board will be hosting a lay ministry conference at Mt. Morris on November 2nd – 4th. The conference will provide fellowship and networking, specific “how-to’s,” and encouragement.
The Call Process
Rev. Mary Lou Plummer, pastor of the Wisconsin Rapids Moravian Church, has requested and been granted permission to retire from pastoral ministry. Sister Plummer’s last Sunday with Wisconsin Rapids will be May 20th.
Please hold the Wisconsin Rapids, Christ’s Community and Freedom congregations in your prayers as they work in the Call Process to seek pastoral leadership.
The District Board is grateful for the ongoing leadership of the Joint Boards of Grace and Main Street as they lead their congregations.
Provincial Synod Update
Synod is fast approaching – June 21st – 25th on the campus of Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. Thank you to all who have registered and paid for delegate participation. Packets with initial information have been mailed. Included in the packet are committee selection forms and travel information forms, both of which need to be returned in a timely manner to help us plan for Synod. Those who are flying MUST purchase tickets at least 60 days in advance of Synod to receive full reimbursement. That means you have until April 20th to meet that deadline. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. All other information will be available on the Synod Portal Website; access information is included in your Synod packet.
As we look ahead to Provincial Synod, we invite every congrega-tion to produce a quick and exciting video to tell the story of how you are caring for your neighbors! Follow the link below to find the full invitation.
April Church Anniversaries
3rd Sister Bay (122 years)
7th Glenwood (89 years)
9th Veedum (101 years)
13th Christian Faith (133 years)
21st Our Savior’s (42 years)
Unity Offering Supports Work in Peru
Each year, the worldwide Unity receives an offering from every province to support a specific cause. This year, that cause is the ongoing work in the Mission Area of Peru, an area dear to us because the Northern Province has special care and oversight of the work in Peru. We have accepted a responsibility to pray for that work, to encourage the pastors and leaders who serve in that area, and to support the ministries through our presence and finances. On the Sunday closest to Mark 1st (March 4th this year), we remembered the birthday of the Moravian Unity through our Unity Offering. Thank you to those congregations that received a special offering. There is still time to give to this important cause. A video explaining the work in Peru – a great message to share in your congregation – is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoK4GDeYypk&feature=youtu.be.
From the Interprovincial Board of Communications
Zinzendorf’s Pennsylvania Journey A Collection of Sermons is on sale for 33% off! Regularly $14.95. On sale for $10 at www.store.moravian.org.
The Moravian Daily Texts are being offered at a 15% discount. It’s not too late to start the day with words from God, which are “new every day”. Regular edition $10.50. On sale $8.93. Other editions on sale too.
Justice Ministry Conference
Save the date! Moravian Justice Ministry Conference. “Two Feet of Justice: Stepping into Advocacy and Systemic Change.” September 21st – 23rd at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center.
Spiritual Companioning Retreat
May 18th – 20th at Sandhill Center, Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center. Cost: $100 inculding room, and 5 meals. Registration material has been sent to your local church office. Deadline to register is May 9th. Spiritual Companioning Groups have been described as a modern day expression of the Moravian Choir System of the 18th century. In spiritual companioning groups, people explore the spiritual aspect of being human by listening for the sacredness in each other’s life stories. In spiritual companioning, God leads. The spiritual companion is not responsible for the outcome, does not try to impose an agenda, fix a problem or attempt to teach the person they are listening to. The assumption in spiritual companioning is that a relationship between each person and God already exists. The goal is to become more deeply aware of the holy presence of God in daily living. As a result, spiritual companioning helps us learn how to live in peace, with compassion, promoting justice, as humble servants of the Holy Mystery of God. Rev. Rick Beck of Good Shepherd Moravian Church, Calgary, Alberta, Canada has been facilitating spiritual companioning groups in his congregation for nine years assisting other church to start similar small groups.
Southern Wisconsin Moravians for Mission
Southern Wisconsin Moravians for Mission (SWMM) will be having an afternoon for mission at the Ebenezer Moravian Church on Sunday, April 15th at 2:00 pm. Guest speakers will be the Lake Mills mission team that was in Port Author, Texas working on post Hurricane Harvey clean up.
2019 Moravian Women’s Conference Workshop Presenters Needed
We invite you to submit an Imagine Session (workshop) pro-posal for the 2019 Moravian Women’s Conference, to be held June 20-23, 2019 in Winston-Salem, NC. This exciting confer-ence, which brings Moravian women together and offers inspir-ation, education, fellowship and worship opportunities in faith, love, and hope.
Workshop Topics: How can we as Moravian Christian women un-leash our own power in today’s world? We are particularly inter-ested in workshops that increase our understanding of what it means to live the essentials through spir-itual growth, community, and mission. What does it mean to effect change and live a life of commitment and action as a Christian today? We encourage a variety of topics, as well as discus-sion and sharing of best practices. Based on past conference eval-uations and subsequent surveys, topics of interest include: prayer, health & wellness, social concerns, leadership, Moravian history, over-coming challenges, the work of Moravians around the world, crafts, mindfulness, worship, movement/dance, etc.
Presenter Selection Criteria: We ask potential presenters to complete an online proposal by going to www.moravianwomens conference.org. You are welcome to offer more than one idea, but please submit a separate proposal for each topic. We will evaluate each proposal on the following criteria:
- Topics relevant and important to Moravian women. Topics should reflect, in some way, the overall conference theme, which for 2019 is Unleash Your Power. Our scriptural inspiration is Ephesians 3:20 – “Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us.”
- Well-defined and realistic work-shop objectives that the speaker can meet in the time indicated.
- Presenters’ speaking experience and qualifications.
- Availability and willingness of speaker to present the same material multiple times (work-shops are 75 minutes in length, and are typically offered twice, once on Friday and once on Sat-urday). We are also interested in presenters who are willing to dig more deeply into one topic area over the course of two or more workshops (called “tracks”).
If we are able to offer your workshop, we ask that you:
- Sign a presenter agreement detailing the details for your workshop (date & time, A/V & room needs, format). The Women’s Conference Steering Committee will make decisions regarding workshops in May. Notification regarding participa-tion and additional information will go out in June.
- Handouts will not be available for distribution at the event. Presenters may, if they desire, provide handouts to attendees at their own expense. We will also post PDF files of workshop notes on the conference website after the event and will notify attendees by email of their availability.
Presenter Compensation: Confirm-ed workshop presenters receive a discount of 50% off of their conference registration fee, which includes program, meals, and all conference materials. (Please note that accommodations are separate.)
Proposal Deadline: Workshop Pro-posals are due NO LATER THAN April 30, 2018. If you have problems with the online form or additional questions, please email Ruth Cole Burcaw (rburcaw@ mcsp.org) or call (336) 893-4460.
Board of World Mission
The Board of World Mission works to promote leadership development, mission outreach and economic strengthening for our global partners. One way to do this is through our mission grant program. These grants support items like scholarships in Honduras, stewardship workshops in Tanzania, and income generating projects in Peru. These grants are meant to act as seeds, the beginnings of new ministries that can grow and prosper. Help support these ministries by donating at www.moravian mission.org/missionmeals. As a thank you for a $5 donation, you can receive a “plantable bookmark”. Yes, a bookmark with some seeds you can plant this spring as a reminder of the way you have helped a new and beautiful thing, grow!
2018 Summer Church Camps
Western Region Camps in WI and MN
Grade 1-2 4M Camp Aug 13-15
Grade 2-5 Camp Mindyy Aug 12-15
Grade 3-5 Jr Camp Jul 30-Aug 3
Grade 6-8 Winmor Jul 22-28
Grade 9-age 21 Chetek Jul 15-21
Family Camps at Mt. Morris
Family & Me Camp Jul 29-Aug1
Labor Day Family Camp Aug 31-Sep 3
Midstates Region Camps in IN and OH
Grade 2-6 Iliana Jul 23-27
Grade 2-6 Bethany Aug 6-10
Grade 7-age 21 Tar Hollow Jul 22-28