Each edition of The Moravian Magazine will now feature words from one of our Moravian bishops. This new feature, called The Bishop’s Corner, will offer the spiritual leaders of the Moravian Church an opportunity to share their thoughts. This month, we hear from the Rt. Rev. Kay Ward.
There is always joy when we ordain a new pastor or recognize a lay appointed pastor or install pastors to a new congregation. All three of those events, and so much more, were part of the worship on Sunday, April 23, in St. Paul, Minn. It was with complete joy that I participated in the welcome of our newest congregation, the Roots Moravian Church.
TC Moore was received as a deacon with prayers and the laying-on of hands. His wife, Osheta Moore was received as a Licensed Lay Pastor and both TC and Osheta were installed as pastors of the Roots Moravian Church.
I came to worship with the Roots congregation as a person who has always cared deeply about children’s ministry. As a current pew sitter, I have been warmed by the sun streaming through the beautiful stained glassed windows of the Watertown Moravian Church. And I slowly warmed to the wonders of video projection and the gifts technology offered us during the pandemic.
So, in addition to being honored to be part of this historic day, I was surprised and delighted by the worship in so many ways. I watched and sang and listened and learned about this newest congregation of the Moravian Church. The worship felt relaxed, almost casual but was meticulously planned. The worship was lively and lovely and long—at least it was long to me who likes to have Sunday morning worship tidied up in an hour or so. (I will confess that the official business of receiving and installing took up a major portion of the time.) Here is what I experienced from my corner of the room.
The Roots congregation gathers around tables with chairs that provide places for families and lots of “Littles” (that is what the pastors call the children). On the tables are snacks, crafts, books and worship objects which the Littles were asked to hold up during the liturgy for Earth Day.
I don’t think the Littles in the Roots Church are aware that they are a program or something separate from what the adults are experiencing in worship. They seemed to assume that worship was a family thing – children played, read, colored and fell asleep, waking to a room full of grownups who were glad that they were there.
Roots Moravian rents a TV studio for Sunday morning worship. It is a dark room with no windows, stained glass or otherwise and no pictures on the wall. There are two small rugs where the Littles can sit to be close to watch the animated video gospel lesson. On Sundays, everything is set up and moved back to storage with little fuss.
This new Moravian congregation uses video projection the way most of us use bulletins to follow the service of worship with hymnals providing words and accompaniment for the singing. The large screen offers reminders of upcoming events and starts the service with preludes and postludes where many of us might use a keyboard or an organ.
These good folks are eager to settle into the Moravian way of being church. They look forward to connecting with nearby Moravian congregations and meeting many of us in Bethlehem at our 2023 Synod. Give a welcome to the Roots Moravian Church!