The Missional Engagement in our Neighborhoods committee at the Northern Province Synod spent some of its time sharing stories of what our churches are doing in our neighborhoods. With acts of kindness to those directly outside the doors of our church buildings, we make acquaintances that lead to opportunities to build relationships. Many of the ministries emphasize “being with” rather than “doing for” our neighbors.
The committee members covenanted to share some of their successful efforts with the wider Moravian Church. They also encourage other Moravian congregations and entities to share their own stories. In so doing, the Moravian Church can discover that though we may be far apart, we are not alone in our ministries, and that what works in another district might work in your congregation and neighborhood, too. Some of the many ministries mentioned during committee meetings were:
Lancaster Moravian Church (Pa.) partners with the Islamic Community Center of Lancaster in ministry and mission. They also do monthly prayer walks praying for and interacting with those who live, work and play in their community, with an invitation to other churches and individuals to walk with them.
Calvary Moravian Church (Pa.) has set up monthly summer gatherings called “Cool Treats, Summer Nights,” with live music, an ice cream truck, lawn games and children’s activities for low-cost gatherings intentionally geared to their neighborhood. t
Lake Mills Moravian Church (Wis.)has a plant sale in which community members connect with congregation members talking about favorite flowers and personal experiences with gardening. Then they pass their extra plants on to the London Moravian Church so that they can do the same.
Watertown and Ebenezer Moravian Churches (Wis.) serve a free meal every Monday night to address the issue of loneliness among those that do not always have another person with whom to eat.
Ephraim Moravian Church (Wis.) participates in their local Fyr Bal Festival by serving free sugar cake and offering opportunities for a tour of the church.
Lititz Moravian Church (Pa.) shows God’s love in a practical way by helping people pay to do their laundry, handing out water bottles in the summer and paying for public parking spaces for random individuals.
Nazareth and Schoeneck congregations’ partner with other local churches and organizations for a “Summer Lunch Program” to provide a free bag lunch, five days a week, to students, senior citizens, and anyone who asks for one, during the summer.
To share a ministry of your congregation, please send a brief description with a photograph, if possible, to [email protected], with the subject “Into Our Neighborhoods.”
Sue Dreydoppel is from Nazareth, Pa. She compiles and edits this column for The Moravian.