The Newsletter of the Moravian Church, Western District July 2014
Synod is one expression of the church with its deliberations, debates and de-cisions. New Testament letters speak of “councils” where reports were received, pondered, and debated. Peter made a powerful argument regarding the inclusion of Cornelius in the community (a Gentile and military officer of the occupying forces). With Cornelius’ baptism, the emerging church is grasped by the Holy Spirit, and enters unchartered territory.
Synod can be exhausting. The days are long, with plenary beginning at 8 in the morning and often running until 9 in the evening. However, though the hours were long, facing disagreements with those you love is what is exhausting. And necessary. I am reminded that though there were divergent views expressed regarding the ordained service of gay and lesbian pastors living in committed relationships, other subjects also involved strong conflicting views. We must pay attention to how God desires the Moravian Church to model for the world how to navigate through differences and conflicts.
God’s small precious world faces enormous challenges and opportuni-ties. A church bound together with tears of elation and deep disappointment, is well positioned for the work of ministry in that world. Consider the tears of parents down the street, whose son/daughter is lost in a bottle of alcohol or vial of drugs. Consider the tears of parents watching their child receive a diploma or walk down an “aisle.” Consider the tears of parents sending their son or daughter across the US border. Moisture and salt voice both hope and fear. Consider the tears. I believe they well up from God.
May the tears of deep disappointment and elation that bind us together as church inform, instruct, and guide us through differences and conflicts into the world. May the waters of Corne-lius’ baptism stir us into unchartered territory with words and actions born of grace.
James Hicks, Western District President
Alaska Short-term Mission Trips
Looking for a chance to serve? Join us! Short-term volunteers needed for teams headed to Alaska! Summer 2014 VBS Programs and Construction Projects. Two short term mission teams are being filled on a first come first serve basis. Team one will serve July 12th-19th, team two will serve July 19th-26th. Projects for these teams include running VBS programs, re-roofing and finishing the inside of the Moravian Bookstore, and adding an arctic entry to the Dean’s House at the seminary. Reserve your spot today! Please email Director of Mission Engagement Justin Rabbach for more information: justin@moravian mission.org.
Mt. Morris to celebrate 50 years of ministry
Please help us celebrate Mt. Morris’ 50 years of service to Moravians and beyond Saturday, August 9th from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Join us for a day of:
* Games * Hayrides
* Swimming * Rock climbing
* Zip line * Scavenger Hike
* Nature Walks * Group Singing
* Gift Shop * The “Board Band!”
Lunch will be served from Noon to 1:00 pm. The lunch is a cookout of burgers & hot dogs and all the fixins! Guests are asked to pre-register but lunch can be paid at registration beginning at 10:00 am. The only charge is $5.00 per person for our lunch picnic. If you’d like to attend but need a ride, call the Mt. Morris office (920) 787-2861 – maybe we can coordinate for you. Lodging is available Friday and/or Saturday nights by calling the Mt. Morris Office Monday, Wednesday or Thursdays 9:30 am – 4:00 pm. (920-787-2861). Available Black Oak Lodge Rooms ($30/person/ night) Cabin Lodging: ($18/person/ night), and Campsites (Electric $20/ site/night and Non-Electric $15/site/ night). These are special rates approximately 40% off regular rate!
- Go to www.mt-morris.org to Programs: 50 Years of Ministry
– or –
- Call 920-787-2861 on Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday from 9:30 to 3:30 pm.
Fall District Conference Sept. 26-28
On September 26th–28th at Mt. Morris, Rev. Dr. Craig Atwood, the associate professor of Moravian Theology and Ministry at Moravian Seminary, will lead a conference entitled, “Zinzendorf’s Challenge to Moravians in the 21st Century.” Rev. Dr. Atwood offers a description of the conference: “Moravians in America often mention the name of Count Zinzendorf and tell stories about August 13 and November 13, but we rarely look at the Count’s theology and vision of the church. It is not a coincidence that the time when the Moravians were the most energetic, innovative, and expansive was also when they were the most controversial. Rather than retreating from controversy, they were bold in the face of opposition and creative in confronting the challenges of their day. The Count sought out those whom Europeans had declared not fully human or at least not worthy of human rights. Moravians took great risks to reach out to the dehumanized in order to bring a word of radical love. What would the Moravian Church today look like if we embraced a similar mission of seeking out those who have excluded or deluded those who have lost hope and are at the end of their rope? If we take Zinzendorf’s missiology seriously, we should start assessing our ministries by the transformation we make in human lives. Can we today be as innovative, engaging, exciting, and provocative as the Moravians were under Zinzendorf? Can we be as bold as our ancestors in the faith as we share the extravagant love of God for creation?”
Stay tuned for registration infor-mation, but for now please save the date and plan on attending!
Southern Wisconsin Lovefeast
Southern Wisconsin Moravians for Mission (SWMM) will be holding a Lovefeast on Sunday, September 14th at 2:00 pm at the Christian Faith Moravian Church (805 E Holum Street, DeForest). Dr. Bruce Barrett from the University of Wisconsin will present on the work being done at a diabetes clinic in Bluefields, Nicaragua.
The Call Process
- Sister Trina Holmberg, pastor of the Unionville, Michigan Moravian Church has requested, and the Provincial Elders’ Conference has granted, a Leave of Absence from October 1, 2014-October 1, 2015. She and her husband Ken will spend a year working with the church in Nepal, helping Brother Shanti and Sister Vani Pradhan take the international kindergarten already established there into a graded school. Their hope is to establish a Mission House so people may come and serve short term in Nepal. Trina will conclude her ministry at Unionville on July 31 and then prepare for their year-long mission experience. Please be in prayer for Trina and Ken, and the Unionville congregation during this time of transition.
- Please hold Grace MI, Saratoga WI, Freedom WI, and Unionville MI in prayer as they discern God’s guidance in pastoral leading.
- Please also hold Marquardt Village in prayer as they discern God’s guidance in a new chaplain.
Summer Church Camps
For 1st-2nd graders
4M Camp: August 18th -20th at Mt. Morris, WI
For 2nd-5th graders
Camp Illiana: July 28th-August 1st at Bedford, IN
Camp MINDYY: July 27th-30th at Alexandria, MN
For 3rd-5th graders
Ba6 Camp: August 17th-21st at Mt. Morris, WI
Camp Bethany: August 4th-8th at Camp Bethany, OH
Junior Camp: July 7th-11th at Mt. Morris, WI
For 6th-8th graders
Camp Epworth: June 8th-14th at Camp Epworth, IN
Winmor: July 27th-August 2nd at Mt. Morris WI
For 9th grade-age 21
Chetek: July 20th-26th at Mt. Morris, WI
Tar Hollow: July 20th-26th at Tar Hollow Park, OH
For age 50+
Plus 50 Retreat: August 21st-24th at Mt. Morris, WI
(Those aged 22-49 are encouraged to go to the websites listed above and email the directors to inquire about helping on staff!)
Listening Sessions for Mt. Morris Building Project
The Board of Directors at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center have determined that there is a need for another building at camp to augment our ministry there.
A building planning committee (Paul Graf, Joel Jarvis, Greg Jones, Kurt Liebenow, Jim Unger, Aden Ward and Joy Witkowski) has begun meeting to determine the type and location and function for such a building.
In order to share the concern for the need of such a building and to receive feedback from the rest of the district, the committee has decided to schedule listening sessions across the district, to give everyone interested an opportunity to respond by sharing their opinions, ideas and suggestions.
In the coming weeks pastors will be contacted to determine how best to schedule a listening session for their congregation.
Aden Ward, Building Committee chair
From the Moravian Ministries Foundation
Invest Where You Believe is the Foundation’s new tagline, but it is also more than that. It speaks to what we as followers of Christ are challenged by the Gospels to do: give of ourselves as we live and spread the Good News. This is not a passive process; it requires each of us to give it our all. It is an investment, not for personal and financial benefit, but of something deeper. It is the manifestation of our calling.
The Foundation’s role, like any organization, is defined by a scope of responsibilities, and ours involves connecting money with ministry. We don’t educate pastors. We don’t do mission work in faraway places. We don’t care for the poor. Instead, we connect a vital need – money – with another vital need – ministry, with the goal of generating more financial resources to help Moravian churches and places like the Seminary, Board of World Mission, Moravian Open Door in NYC, and Sunnyside Ministry in Winston-Salem. We facilitate, but don’t direct, these connections.
I will share with you a couple of examples. A faithful Moravian contacted our office and said she wanted to help one of the Moravian camps with a scholarship fund for kids to attend summer camp. She and her deceased husband did not have children; nonetheless, they saw many generations of children from their church return from summer camp each year full of excitement and more active in their faith. She also realized that some kids might not be able to attend camp because of the cost, and this was troublesome to her.
So, with our help, she gave a generous gift and asked that the fund be named after her loving husband to provide scholarship aid. In addition, because she believes so deeply, she has made “another investments”, setting aside a large portion of her eventual estate to go into the same fund. Money to ministry as more kids experience and grow closer to God through time at summer camp.
A second example: a church received a bequest which was intended to support the outreach and evangelism efforts in the church’s community. At first the church board placed the money in bank CDs that were paying 1% and 2% a year. Needless to say, the earnings were meager and not nearly adequate to support what the church was called to do. So they contacted us and inquired about the Common Fund, our pooled investment management vehicle. The church invested the funds in our Growth Portfolio, and have received an average annual rate of return of almost 15% per year over the past five years. While the church has reinvested some of the earnings, investment returns have supported a music series, aided the emergency shelter for battered women and children, been set aside to help families whose homes are damaged by fires and natural disasters, and provided meals that introduced the Moravian faith and worship to the community.
Investing Where You Believe can take many forms. If you’re ready for your money to connect with ministry, we can help. Give us a call today.
Paul McLaughlin, MMFA President
From the MWCEC
As I was on my way to my first Moravian Western Christian Education Committee (MWCEC) meeting it had dawned on me that I really did not know what the MWCEC actually did. As I read the by-laws it states that we as a corporation, plan, promote, and/or coordinate programs of Christian education for the Western District and to cooperate with other agencies of the church to Promote Christian growth. It was to my surprise to find out all the different agencies that fall under the MWCEC. Those agencies are Camping, Teacher Education Network (TEN), Cobweb, Moravian Women, and Diaspora. Also Mt. Morris and Board of World Missions have a representative at MWCEC.
At our May 2014 meeting at Mt. Morris we received all of the agencies reports. Camping was just getting under way with camp posters being sent out. Joy Witkowski had the report for Mt. Morris and told us they had implemented a new reservation program at the camp. Nan Nelson reported that Moravian Women are questioning their existing structure and are trying to find what their needs are in the future. Sheila Petroni gave the report on TEN. TEN is also looking at what their purpose it and how they go forward with a declining membership.
As you can see MWCEC has a lot of things going on. If anyone has questions for the MWCEC, feel free to get a hold of any of the Board members and we would be happy to help you in any way we can.
Peace, Lowell Hewitt, MWCEC member
From the District Stewardship Committee
The 2014 Provincial Synod is now behind us, a gathering in Bethlehem, PA of clergy, staff and lay leaders from across the Moravian Church, Northern Province. As are all Synods, this one also will be remembered for decisions, elections, and most of all the celebration that we are members of a remarkable denomination with a long history past and future filled with promise.
Each delegate received an array of stewardship related items, and each pastor a hard copy of two stewardship education curricula. One is the newest production written by Gary Marsh, Director of Stewardship, titled Meet the Stewards – An Annual Stewardship Process to Grow and Foster Discipleship, Sufficiency, Generosity, Health and Vitality in the Local Church. The Stewards, a cartoon family, teaches and gives witness to 4 key aspects of faith formation: worship – learn – serve – give. Each member of the family (Sabbatha, Chris, Holly and Buck) reflect on what drives their passion as they testify to the why’s behind each discipline, the practice of biblical stewardship that is basic and important for individuals and churches that long to grow and thrive.
Remember “Every Church Every Year”, a simple phrase practiced by churches that grow and thrive, each and every year offering an educational stewardship series during worship and Sunday School that teaches what it means to live biblical stewardship. The Western District Stewardship Committee hopes you will offer this series, or another series that best meets your unique congregational needs. We will be pleased to help in any way we can.
Marian Boyle, Seth Habhegger, Jenny Moran, and Gary Marsh