Ponderings: Being part of a worldwide church

For many of us, being part of the Moravian Church means being part of a Moravian church – that is, being a member of a local congregation, worshiping on Sunday or working directly in our communities.

But it’s months like this that remind me that we, as Moravians, are part of a much larger worldwide denomination. The Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in America make up only about 5 percent of the overall membership of the worldwide Unitas Fratrum.  Our church has a much larger presence in places like Tanzania, the Caribbean and Central America.

So why does this month bring home the fact that we’re part of something bigger? Because each year, we team up with the Board of World Mission to present their Annual Report, which highlights the incredible impact our small church is having in many parts of the world.  In the pages of this year’s report, themed “Lots to Learn,” we do just that – learn of BWM’s gathering of Moravians from many Spanish-speaking regions to share resources and build relationships; the new work going on in places like Brazil, Bolivia and Peru; the ongoing efforts in Africa, Labrador and Cuba; the generous support that Moravians provided for refugees from the war in Ukraine; and more.

In addition, the “magazine” part of this issue features stories from right here at home—a North Carolina church’s outreach to erase medical debt and a congregation in St. Paul, Minnesota that joined the Moravian Church Northern Province.

And, as I was putting this issue together, I had the opportunity to learn more about our worldwide church when I was invited to the opening of an exhibition about Herrnhut at the German Consulate in New York City. This exhibit traces the spread of the Moravian Church from Herrnhut—a small community in Saxony, Germany—around the globe.  Dignitaries from Germany, a contingent from Herrnhut itself, and a small group of Pennsylvania Moravians gathered at the consulate to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the little town where it all began. If you visit New York in the next few months, be sure to stop by and see the exhibit.

I hope you enjoy this special edition of the Moravian magazine. As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions and ideas.