BY RUTH COLE BURCAW |
I’m just going to say it: gift-giving is one of the best things about the Advent and Christmas season. I love to knit a soft, warm pair of fingerless gloves and then decide which friend will wear them best. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to come across THE perfect gift for one of my children. Sharing a small token of my appreciation with my staff gives me warm fuzzies. Giving IS satisfying and a reflection of the gift of love given to all of us in the form of Jesus Christ by our Creator God.
But let’s be honest, there is a LOT of mindless consumerism these days. It’s so easy to grab a few random things at the local mall or order some Chinese import from Amazon.com. What we miss when we do that, though, is the knowledge that our gifts could mean even more — for the giver, the receiver, and the seller. We Moravians strive to do so much good in the world ourselves… is there a gift guide out there for us? Can there be? The answer is YES, my friend, because I’m going to put it together right now.
All of the gifts described below are offered for sale by an agency or entity affiliated with the Moravian Church in North America. Ultimately, these groups are working on behalf of you, our brothers and sisters in Christ, to preserve our history and continue the music, traditions, and collective, powerful action of Moravians in the world today. They tell the gospel story, empower our brothers and sisters throughout the world, create joy and meaning through music and history, innovate new ways of doing and being church, and develop resources for the next generation of Moravians. Why wouldn’t we support their good work when we shop?
It is definitely not as cheap and convenient as Amazon, and there may even be shipping costs, but what is better than finding a meaningful gift for a friend, helping a Moravian ministry thrive, and feeling good while you do it? Also, please forward this list to a friend or acquaintance so that they too, might benefit from giving good Moravian gifts. Let’s get going and put some more Moravian good out there in the world!!
Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM)
(I decided to list the agencies in alphabetical order before I realized that my own agency, Board of Cooperative Ministries or BCM would be listed first. Note I didn’t change the order!)
My Pick: Custom Star Mosaic Puzzle ($30.00)
This amazing puzzle is a creation of our former communications manager, Andrew Cox. It’s a compilation of the various submissions for our #MoravianStar2015 social media campaign. If you look closely, you’ll likely spot your own congregation’s star (and maybe even your own porch star).
This challenging, 500-piece puzzle makes a beautiful gift and is also a great activity for rainy beach vacations. Though we were a tad nervous when we made the investment in creating this, it has proven to be one of our best selling items. Extra bonus: non-Moravians can appreciate this gift also!
Other Stuff I Like: Of course I think everything in our Moravian SWAG store is great. But there is a little something for everyone – playing cards for the bridge players in your life, a Moravian seal car or window decal, Tervis tumblers, assorted notecards, fancy coasters, and our ever-popular Pop Socket (it’s tough to keep these in stock)!
How They Do Good: Chances are, you’ve benefited from BCM’s work without even knowing it. Maybe you’ve attended a Comenius Learning Series event, enjoyed the Children’s Festival with your family, borrowed a book from our lending library, watched a Moravian history lecture on our YouTube channel, read Simply Moravian or Loving Hearts United, or been part of one of our many ministry groups (Regional Youth Council, the Aging Well team, the Environment Stewardship Task Force, etc.). There’s so much more but I’ll summarize with this: BCM helps Moravian Christians live the Essentials in their daily lives.
Give Directly to BCM: Visit our Support page to learn how you can help us advance our work, especially in leadership, youth, and resource development.
Board of World Mission (BWM)
My Pick: Moravian Mission T-Shirt ($20.00)
The back of this awesome Moravian Mission t-shirt features the official Moravian Motto (“Our Lamb has Conquered – Let Us Follow Him”) in 13 different languages spoken in the Moravian world. The Moravians in your life need one of these.
Other Stuff I Like: The whole Moravian Mission store is just chock full of great items, much of which has been procured by BWM staff on their trips around the Worldwide Unity. Pick up some authentic alpaca wool scarves and gloves made by local artisans in Peru. Proceeds from the Mission Store benefit BWM’s mission grant program, which helps Moravians in other parts of the world start and sustain their ministries.
How They Do Good: The BWM builds relationships through Mission Outreach and Mission Engagement to be faithful to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. This means their dedicated staff are working hard to involve more Moravians (and others) in mission, both here in North America and by partnering with and empowering Moravians all across the globe.
Give Directly to BWM: Sometimes the best gift is one that directly impacts a worthy cause and makes a real difference. Visit the Board’s Giving Page and you can give in honor or memory of a loved one or friend.
Interprovincial Board of Communication (IBOC)
My Pick: The Moravian Essentials Mug ($9.00)
This mug is so awesome, they keep magically disappearing from our offices! Microwave and dishwasher safe, the mug features the Moravian Seal on one side and “God Creates, God Redeems, God Blesses/We Respond In Faith, Hope and Love” — the core Moravian Essentials — on the other. And, it’s pretty and big enough to make you feel like you’re drinking a real cup of coffee.
Other Stuff I Like: There’s so much available on the IBOC online store, it’s hard to know where to start. They’ve got car magnets, seal lapel pins, and beautiful gifts like these great Moravian star suncatchers. I haven’t even started on the great array of books and other Moravian resources you can pick up here.
How They Do Good: These folks are telling the Moravian story, not just to Moravians, but others as well. They not only produce the Moravian Magazine that lands in your mailbox 8 times each year, they also publish the Moravian Daily Texts, the world’s oldest daily devotional read by 1.5 million believers in more than 50 languages around the globe.
Give Directly to IBOC: While there is no DONATE NOW button on Moravian.org, I don’t think they’d turn you away! Visit this page or ask Executive Director Mike Riess how you can get involved with your time and/or talent.
The Moravian Archives – Northern Province
My Pick: Bracelet with Moravian Seal Pendant ($15.00)
You might be sensing a theme here, but these beautiful bracelets are inscribed with our official motto and available in copper or silver. Other bracelets feature stars, which are also really cool and look a bit like the actual star of Bethlehem sitting on the top of South Mountain in Bethlehem, PA, where this archives office is located.
Other Stuff I Like: The folks with the Northern Province Archives have put together a varied and interesting collection of souvenirs, jewelry, books, and other items to sell online. I’m thrilled to see that they are offering authentic Herrnhut Moravian stars in a variety of sizes and colors. I’ve been to the Star Factory in Herrnhut, Germany and it truly is a sight to behold all those stars.
How They Do Good: These folks are the primary source for Moravian history in North America. They collect, preserve, expand, organize, and digitize hundreds of years worth of our traditions and heritage.
Give Directly to the Northern Province Archives: There are many ways to support the important work of the Archives.
The Moravian Archives – Southern Province
My Pick: Records of the Moravians Among the Cherokee V. 9 March to Removal, Pt 4: ‘They Shall Not Be Forsaken,’ 1830-1833 ($40)
The history buffs in your family will no doubt appreciate this book, the latest in the series that recounts the earliest, longest-running account of daily life in the Cherokee Nation. The series spans from 1801—the beginning of the Moravian mission in today’s Georgia— through the Trail of Tears in 1838, and up until the Civil War and beyond. Volume 9 will definitely NOT be enough – you might have to invest in the entire series, for which you’d get a great discount!
Other Stuff I Like: Interested in the Herrnhut stars but want to save on shipping? The archives office in Winston-Salem also carries a variety of these beautiful stars.
How They Do Good: The Archives certainly serves the Moravian Church in the collecting, cataloging, and safekeeping of our history, but they also make many records available for genealogists, academics, cultural institutions, and the general public.
Give Directly to the Southern Province Archives: Join Friends of the Archives or give the gift of membership to the history enthusiast in your family!
Moravian Music Foundation (MMF)
My Pick: Once He Came in Blessing Christmas CD ($16.00)
If you love the sound of a Moravian band, you’ll really love this CD, which features the mellow sounds of the lower brass ensemble playing traditional Advent and Christmas music. It’s the kind of thing you play on Christmas Eve while you hang the stockings with care by candlelight.
Other Stuff I Like: The Music Foundation carries loads of outstanding musical CDs and their latest one is sure to be a favorite too. Sing Hallelujah! Moravian Music for Organ is their latest release, and it features the talented Mary Lou Kapp Peebles (organist at Calvary Moravian Church in Winston-Salem) playing pieces on several notable organs in the Winston-Salem area. Their store features anthems, music, and gifts for all music lovers.
How They Do Good: The effervescent and wildly creative Nola Knouse leads a staff team in both Northern and Southern provinces, who work to preserve and share the Moravians’ incredible legacy of musical composition and performance, which holds an important place in American history and culture. MMF celebrates and cultivates Moravian music through events such as the Moravian Music Festival, Unity Brass Festival, and Moravian music weekends like Music on the Mountain at Laurel Ridge, NC. And that is just the tip of the iceberg – visit their website to learn more.
Give Directly to MMF: The Music Foundation makes it easy to donate to them, in honor or memory of that special musician in your life.
Unity Women’s Desk (UWD)
My Pick: Nativity Ornament ($10)
This whimsical depiction of the Holy family was crafted by Lynn Waggoner, well known for her unique Moravian craft items.
Other Stuff I Like: It’s hard to know where to begin when you visit the UWD’s online store, but the beautiful Tanzania fabric bags would be my first stop. Every item being sold by the Women’s Desk has been handcrafted by a Moravian woman from across the Worldwide Unity.
How They Do Good: The Unity Women’s Desk is a ministry of the worldwide Moravian Church. They work to improve the lives of women and girls everywhere, focusing on the pressing issues of education, health, economics, and violence against women. UWD raises awareness about these issues, creates innovative solutions, and harnesses the incredible energy of Moravians around the globe to make a difference for all women.
While most of these items can be procured online, we do have a great local resource for all things Moravian as well. Sunnyside Ministry serves, educates, and empowers those in need in the 27107, 27127 area of Forsyth County or Northern Davidson County, NC. This is the second year they are operating a Dewey’s Holiday Store at 5070 Styers Ferry Road, in the Lewisville Crossing Shopping Center in Lewisville, NC (the old Farm Bureau location). In addition to selling Dewey’s cookies, sugar cake, and other holiday items, you’ll also be able to find many of the items described in this gift guide.
May this holiest of seasons be filled with joy, peace, and satisfying gift giving!
About the Author
Ruth Cole Burcaw is the Executive Director of the Board of Cooperative Ministries for the Moravian Church, Southern Province and a member of Unity Moravian Church. She’s pictured above with her father, the Rev. Dr. Hal Cole.