New leadership elected for Northern Province

The 2023 Synod of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church in America elected the Provincial Elders’ Conference to serve for the next intersynodal period (2023-2026).

The Rev. David Bennett, who most recently served as chaplain of Morningstar Senior Living in Nazareth, Pa., was elected PEC President by an ecclesiastical ballot.  Brother Bennett has served the Moravian Church in many roles: as parish pastor at Millwoods Moravian Church (1988-1993), Rio Terrace Moravian Church (1993-1998), and Hope Moravian Church (1998-2002); as chaplain at Moravian University & Theological Seminary (2002-2008); and as president of the Eastern District Executive Board (2008-2021).

In this role, Dave will provide visionary leadership for the Moravian Church Northern Province in partnership with the Provincial Elders’ Conference for the next three years. For the purposes of ecumenical and interfaith relationships, he will serve as “head of communion,” however, this function does not supplant Christ as the Chief Elder of the church. He also represents the province in Unity matters and provides administrative leadership for the provincial staff.

In accepting the election, Dave highlighted many of the things discussed at Synod, like mission efforts, lay ministry, emerging ministries and much more. “In this intersynodal period, I look to partner with all of you on the district boards, the PEC and all of this body and our congregations to do together that, in the words of our chief elder to all of us: ‘Much more than this, yet, we will do.’ Thank you for the trust and the invitation to serve with you over these next years.”

PEC presidents are elected by an ecclesiastical ballot at provincial synods. In this kind of election here are no pre-Synod nominations or campaigning. Instead, Synod delegates are directed to choose from the list of all ministers in the province. Those selections are counted and shared following each ballot. Balloting continues until one candidate receives more than two-thirds of the votes cast.

Dave Bennett, (second from right), the newly-elected PEC president, meets with the PEC that will work for the next three years.

PEC Lay Elections

Synod also elected the lay members of the Provincial Elders’ Conference for the next intersynodal period (2023-2026).  The Provincial Elders’ Conference administers the governance of the church during the time between Synods and are responsible for enacting the resolutions passed by Synod.

Lay PEC members are nominated prior to Synod and are elected by a two-thirds majority of votes cast. Lay members elected include Susan Dreydoppel from Nazareth, Pa.; Ralph Wanamaker, Jr. from Bethlehem,Pa.; Ruth Ricketts from Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Keith Gohdes from Davenport, N.D.  Ralph and Sue were members of the previous PEC and re-elected; Ruth and Keith are new to the PEC. They join District Presidents the Rev. Melissa Johnson (Eastern), the Rev. Bruce Nelson (Western), and Dave Jones (Canadian) who serve on the PEC as part of their role as district presidents.

The new PEC was installed at a worship service on Sunday, June 25th. Lay members will serve until the Northern Province Synod in 2026; clergy member elections are held at district synods in 2024.

Outgoing members of the Provincial Elders’ Conference include Valerie Bean Wagner, Bruce Shoger and the Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller.

“It is not difficult to see the hand of God in the movement of our Province,” said Dave, “even in the struggles and also in the gifted provincial leadership we have been fortunate to have guide us through such an extraordinary time. Grace abounds.”

Dave began his work as PEC president in early August.