In October and November, the Moravian Church Northern Province consecrated its two newest bishops in services in New York and Minnesota. The Rev. Drs. Michael Johnson and Amy Gohdes-Luhman were elected at the 2023 Synod of the Northern Province in June.
On Sunday, October 1, Michael Johnson was consecrated a Bishop of the Worldwide Moravian Unity at John Hus Moravian Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. The joyous service before an overflow crowd featured music of the John Hus combined praise bands, dance ministry, Soul Survivors and the New York Metropolitan Moravian Choir. Representatives from the Moravian Churches in Jamaica, the Eastern West Indies and members of the John Hus congregation all brought greetings;, while family and board members read scripture.
The Rt. Rev. Hopeton Clennon served as the presiding bishop, joined by participating bishop the Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler; the Rt. Rev. Blair Couch also participated.
“The call of our Chief Elder has been extended to you through the work of the Holy Spirit at the Northern Province Synod,” said Chris. “I have always found you to be a dedicated caring pastor with a passion for sharing the love of Jesus Christ and a desire to do your work with excellence.”
“I go back to my mother, and how she taught me to be respectful of others and to care for others; that ministry is about caring,” said Michael during his testimony. “I’m thankful to all the congregations I’ve served because they have helped me to build on that foundation, and the different individuals along the way. It is my hope that the foundation my mother laid, and has been built and strengthened by so many, that led folks at synod to see something in me…I hope that whatever I do as bishop will vindicate that confidence that was placed in me. I thank you and thank God.”
A month later, on Nov. 5, Amy Gohdes-Luhman was consecrated in a special service at Waconia Moravian Church in Waconia, Minnesota. The congregation enjoyed powerful music led by The Berry Pickers and organist Yoko Miyamoto. Many of Amy’s friends, colleagues, and family members, including all three of her children, offered scripture readings and special music, while guests from the United Methodist Church and ELCA brought greetings.
The Rt. Rev. Paul Graf served as the presiding bishop and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Kay Ward served as the participating bishop.
In his sermon, Paul recalled Amy’s confirmation in 1980: “The text chosen for Amy that day was Joshua 1:9 from the Good News Bible: ‘Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I the Lord your God am with you wherever you go.’ Amy, that text has served you well.”
“The church has held you, taught you and nurtured you,” said Kay. “It made you who you are…pastor, scholar, crusader and preacher. You make us laugh…and you preach words so holy that we have tears in our eyes. I wholly believe the Holy Spirit was present at Synod, and knew you were what we needed.”
“I have so much faith and gratitude for being in this life with you,” said Amy. “I just want to say how thankful I am for my faith — faith that my parents taught me, faith that this Moravian church has nurtured in me, faith the Holy Spirit continues to nurture in me. God is forever faithful and mindful of my presence and yours…and this is the Good News. I am grateful, thanks be to God.”
Michael and Amy join Bishops Hopeton Clennon, Chris Giesler, Blair Couch, Doug Kleintop, Kay Ward and Paul Graf in serving the Northern Province – and the worldwide Moravian Unity.
Photos by Scott Glime and Sylvie Hauser (Minnesota) and Mike Riess (New York).