When the COVID-19 pandemic began last winter and spring, it threatened to disconnect us from each other. For many a Moravian, that disconnection manifested itself in no longer being able to be in church, missing fellowship and worship time together, singing and praying as a group…many of the things that make being a part of the Moravian Christian faith special to us.
But we are fortunate that the distance didn’t disconnect us. Thanks to virtual worship, new ways of gathering and different ways of following our faith, in some ways, Moravians are more connected today than ever before.
One exciting new way those connections have been strengthened is the development of “The Moravian Experience,” an online collection of resources and materials to help Moravians continue their spiritual formation. Developed and coordinated by the Southern Province’s Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM), the Moravian Experience can provide something for everyone seeking to strengthen their Moravian faith.
The online collection, which can be found at www.themoravianexperience. org brings together resources from many different areas of the Moravian church. Organized into areas such as spiritual growth, community, mission, Moravian doctrine, Moravian history and spiritual disciplines, The Moravian Experience shares publications, videos, doctrinal statements, historical studies, individual and group activities and much more—all to assist Moravians in staying connected to their faith. The resources within can be used both by individuals on their own journey or in community as a small group experience.”
“As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, BCM went to work providing technical support and resources for our Moravian faith communities,” wrote Ruth Cole Burcaw, BCM executive director. “We soon realized that additional useful Moravian content would be very helpful to faith leaders as they considered online ministry options.
“We appreciate the tireless work of Michael Terry, BCM convener and member of Rural Hall Moravian Church. Michael carefully reviewed and adapted some of the most appropriate elements of Gemeinschaft, an intensive small group spiritual growth initiative of the Southern Province that began in the 1970s. Heather Stevenson transcribed many of these resources, as there were no digital copies available. We then began to search our sizeable library of Moravian resources to see what could be adapted for online use. We are grateful to the Rev. Tim Byerly who spent time adapting Living Faith, a small group experience developed in 2016 and based on the prayer bands of the early Moravians.”
BCM also worked with the Interprovincial Board of Communication, Moravian Theological Seminary, Board of World Mission, Moravian Music Foundation and others to pull together materials for The Moravian Experience. They pulled from an extensive collection of recorded sessions from their Comenius Learning Series and Leadership Focus seminars, along with webinars and Zoom calls recorded since the pandemic began. BCM staffers Beth Hayes, Hanna Cheek Jackson and Austin Craver worked throughout the spring and early summer to bring these resources into one place.
“Our lives have been transformed during this global pandemic,” writes Ruth in the introduction to The Moravian Experience. “There is no road map for our journey as we adapt and discern new ways forward together in these uncertain times. But we do have some tools at our disposal which are steeped in our Moravian heritage. Our early Moravian brothers and sisters found opportunity in challenge. These bold followers of Jesus blazed forward as they grew in relationship with Christ, expressed spirituality in community, and sacrificed nearly everything for their mission.”
“Likewise, our current challenge provides modern-day Moravians opportunities to share faith, love and hope with the world in new and different ways,” continued Ruth. “Amid an overwhelming amount of online content, this collection of resources assembled for The Moravian Experience provides inspiration and challenge for our journey as Moravian Christians. We hope these resources will guide you on your inward journey to deepen your relationship with Christ, as well as your outward journey to live with each other like Christ – being relational and loving as we reach out to the world.”
To access the BCM’s The Moravian Experience collection or learn more, visit
www.themoravianexperience.org. Although developed by and for Moravians in Southern Province congregations, it is available to everyone in the Northern Province, too. When you visit the site, be sure to watch the video hosted by Michael Terry explaining what the collection offers and how to use it.
“We hope The Moravian Experience is just the beginning of your meaningful journey into what it means to be a Moravian Christian today,” says Ruth, “and that your work reaps significant rewards for you, your siblings in Christ, the larger Church and the world.”