A different kind of synod…

Under normal circumstances, pastors, delegates and representatives from congregations across the district would travel to Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., to discuss important business and matters pertaining to the Church at large. During that time, we would have been fellowshipping, worshiping and eating meals together in Johnston Hall and the HUB in person. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Planning Committee suddenly had to rethink how we would convene Synod in a safe and productive way, so the thought of conducting a virtual synod was going to be the obvious and logical plan.

It was a pleasure and distinct honor to serve a co-host with Rev. Cynthia Rader Geyer, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries during the virtual Eastern District Synod 2021.

The theme for this year’s Eastern District Synod was Into the World-–This is the challenge of our mission. The scripture passage centered on Paul’s letter to the Philippians; worship services throughout the event were based on the themes from this letter as well. Worship was such a reflective and meaningful time for me because I had some time to read Paul’s letters from his situation while he was in prison, his appreciation for his fellow Christians in Philippi, and the words of encouragement he shares with them to spread the gospel with others. This form of evangelism was extremely important to Paul, because he believed that those who already established a personal relationship with the Lord should share testimonies with those who had not and share how they overcame various obstacles in their lives. Eventually, from those conversations and encounters with others they met, they would be eager to become active members of a church and develop their own relationship with the Lord.

Throughout Synod, the section that resonated with me the most was from our guest presenter David LaMotte, who is an award-winning songwriter, speaker and writer from Montreat, N.C. During his presentation, he spoke to us about how we can all use our God-given talents and abilities to change the world for the better, not only for ourselves, but for future generations to come. He discussed two types of narratives that we as Christians often find ourselves in when an opportunity to help someone or a group of people arises. Those narratives are either classified as the Hero or a Movement narrative. For individuals like myself, who have a passion and zeal for participating in mission engagements both locally and globally, Bro. LaMotte’s message has given us a new sense of purpose and calling to be actively involved with mission and outreach in our local congregations and the wider community at large.

The theme Into the World- This is the challenge of our mission has been the hallmark of the Moravian Church over the years. Both lay members and clergy alike have decided to offer their time, talent and financial contributions to travel to the ends of the earth to serve the least of these in the community, build and strengthen relationships with our brothers and sisters from the various provinces, and proclaim the gospel about the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once mentioned that “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” I strongly encourage everyone, no matter how young or advanced in age you are, to find what you are truly passionate about doing and use that platform to serve people without seeking any accolades, awards or high praise because that is the definition of humility and servanthood. Lastly, Philippians 2:3-4 indicates to “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Go and do likewise!!

Tory Reid is a member of John Hus Moravian Church in Brooklyn, N.Y.