This spring, a congregation worshipping in St. Paul, Minn., formally voted to become the Northern Province’s newest Moravian church.
After more than a year of exploration and prayerful discernment, along with extensive conversations with the Western District Executive Board (WEDB) and Provincial Elders’ Conference (PEC), the Roots Congregation in St. Paul became the Roots Moravian Church.
Led by the pastoral team of T.C. and Osheta Moore, the Roots congregation, which had been affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church, was searching for a denominational home that would be in line with their expansive welcome of all persons. They found such a home with the Moravian Church Northern Province and spent a year learning about Moravian life and witness, history, practices and polity.
“Roots is a community of ‘misfits’—people who have felt left out, pushed aside, too much, or not enough in other Christian spaces,” says T.C. and Osheta. “Though we come from a wide variety of different backgrounds and have diverse identities, we’re united in our love for God, one another and our neighbors in the Twin Cities. We’re overjoyed to join the Moravian family of churches, because it feels like a home filled with both meaningful traditions and space for our misfit-ness. Let’s follow the victorious Lamb together!”
Throughout 2022, T.C. and Osheta met (via Zoom) with the WDEB and PEC, asked thoughtful, respectful questions to help in their discernment and have been warmly and enthusiastically received by all they have met. Both Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller, president of the Northern Province Provincial Elders’ Conference and Rev. Bruce Nelson, president of the Western District Executive Board, worshiped with the Roots congregation and answered members’ questions in preparation for the Town Hall vote that unanimously approved becoming a Moravian congregation.
“It has been a delight to walk with T.C., Osheta and the congregation in their discernment process,” says Betsy. “Their curiosity and interest in joining with us is bringing fresh energy and excitement to who God is calling us to be.
Signing their charter
Sunday, April 23rd was a historic day in the life of the church as the Roots Moravian congregation signed their charter and celebrated installation of their pastoral staff.
During the service, T.C. Moore was received as a Deacon of the Moravian Church, with the Rt. Rev. Kay Ward presiding (see Kay’s piece in this month’s “Bishop’s Corner.”) T.C. was ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church and has completed a thorough credentialing process for him to transfer his credentials and be received into the ordained ministry of the Moravian Church.
Brother T. C. and his spouse Sister Osheta were then installed as pastors of Roots Moravian Church. T. C. has accepted an appointment as pastor of Roots; Osheta has been installed as a Licensed Lay Pastor after a thorough credentialing process. Bruce Nelson and Betsy Miller participated in this service of installation and celebration.
“This felt like a fulfilling culmination of the discerning and transitioning process we’ve been in for many months,” shared T. C. and Osheta. “Sisters Betsy and Kay and Brother Bruce made us feel truly welcomed into this church family and appreciated for who we are.”
The service also included a lovefeast with sugar cake provided by PEC member Valerie Wagner and special music by the Roots worship team. Osheta preached on the lectionary text for the week, 1 Peter 1:17-23, imagining what advice Peter might give to their congregation at this point in their journey together. The children of the congregation (“little misfits,” as they are affectionately called at Roots) were included in the celebration and in the signing of the charter, which featured fingerprints of the congregation’s youngest charter members.
Rejoicing in the future
All in all, this was a day of appreciating our Moravian history and rejoicing in the promise of what the future of the Church holds.
Tiffani Glime, a member of Waconia Moravian Church, describes this new Moravian congregation as an answered prayer. “More than 20 years ago, when my husband Scott and I chose to move our lives to the Twin Cities, we were determined to remain faithful to my family’s Moravian heritage, committed to furthering our own faith, and adamant in wanting to raise our family in a Moravian Church. However, that meant traveling out to the western suburbs to find a faith community to call home, which we did and have loved immensely.” The Glime family is grateful to see the Church putting down ‘roots’ in a more urban setting because, “we were desperate to experience our faith with others where we were living.”
Pastors T. C. and Osheta shared that all of the congregation members they spoke with after the service expressed that they felt “honored to host and learn from so many siblings in Christ who carry with them the precious traditions of the Moravian Church.” The Moores thank everyone who has walked alongside them in this journey and, looking ahead, they are excited to meet new Moravian siblings at Northern Province Synod in June.
To learn more about the Roots congregation and hear a series of sermons by T.C. sharing about the Moravian Church, visit https://rootsmc.org
Thanks to Sylvie Hauser, Northern Province communications consultant, for this article and accompanying photos.