Sister Rhonda Robinson, presently serving as pastor of Esperanza Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was consecrated a presbyter of the Moravian Church on May 23, 2021. Bishop J. Christian Giesler officiated at the service, which was held at Esperanza.
Brother Jay Petrella, who has been serving as pastor for MorningStar Moravian Church, Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, has accepted a call to serve as pastor for Graceham Moravian Church, Thurmont, Maryland. Brother Petrella began his new work July 5, 2021.
Brother David Bennett, who has been serving as president of the Eastern District Executive Board, has accepted a call to serve in specialized ministry as Chaplain for Morning Star Senior Living, Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Brother Bennett will begin his new work on August 30, 2021.
Elizabeth D. Miller
Provincial Elders’ Conference
Unity Moravian Church
Scott Rainey, an approved candidate for ordination, has accepted a call to become pastor of Unity Moravian Church. Scott will conclude a 24-year ministry as music director and organist at Bethania on August 1, and will be installed at Unity on September 12. A service of ordination is still being scheduled. Please pray for Scott, his wife Katy, and their children; and, the Bethania and Unity congregations during these weeks of transition and new beginnings.
Rural Hall Moravian Church
Andrew Craver has accepted a call to be pastor of the Rural Hall congregation. He concluded his ministry as co-pastor of the Bethel Moravian Church, in Alaska, in May and began his service at Rural Hall on August 1.
Commission on Congregational Development
The Provincial Elders Conference is pleased to announce the creation of a Commission on Congregational Development and the appointment of a director to lead its work.
In response to dynamics of the past two years, including decreased Provincial income and extended pandemic church closings, the PEC has focused on how best to apply reduced resources to support and enhance congregational development. After much study and consideration, PEC is creating this new Commission to provide advising and coaching for pastors and congregation leaders on specific ministry development needs, replacing our current educational programming-focused model.
The new Commission will assume most of the functions of the current Board of Cooperative Ministries. It will operate similarly to the Province’s Commission on Ministry, which oversees candidacy and ordination; the Provincial Support Services Board, which oversees the finance office; and the Archives Commission. The Commission on Congregational Development will be led by pastors and laity and will assist the PEC in fulfilling the purpose of the Southern Province: “To equip Moravian Christians and congregations to be agents of God’s transforming love in the world. We will do this by providing resources for spiritual growth, community and mission.”
We are very pleased that the Rev. Rebecca Craver has accepted a call to serve as Director of Congregational Development. In her 15 years of ordained service, Rebecca has led faith communities in reimagining their structures, practices, and traditions as they embrace Jesus’ call, supporting them through organizational change, worship creation, and adult learning curriculum. Capacity building and innovation have shaped her ministry.
Rebecca earned an undergraduate degree at UNC Asheville and Master of Divinity at Moravian Theological Seminary. Since 2012, she has served as pastor at Edmonton Moravian Church in Alberta. Her first pastorate was at Edgeboro Moravian in Pennsylvania, followed by a new church development at Zaccheus’ Tree in Indiana.
For more than seven years, she has served as the chair of the Healthier Congregations Task Force in the Northern Province, which has developed congregational tools and resources for both Provinces. She is the co-creator and co-host of Create in Me, a podcast with Rev. Brian Dixon that explores the intersection between worship and everyday life and imaginative worship experiences that prepare and cultivate vibrant practices for living out faith. Moreover, Rebecca is a lifelong member of the Southern Province Moravian community and daughter of retired pastor Steve Craver. She and her husband have two small children.
Rebecca will conclude her pastorate at Edmonton and begin her new call on Aug. 30. The PEC expects to name members of the new Commission in the coming weeks. Beth Hayes, Director of Congregational Resources & Ministries, and Heather Stevenson, Operations Coordinator, will continue in their current positions working with Rebecca. The Provincial Elders’ Conference expresses appreciation to Ruth Cole Burcaw and Hanna Cheek Jackson for their many contributions to the ministries of our Province. As previously reported, both have resigned to accept new positions in the community.
Provincial Elders’ Conference