#BeMoravianStars 2020 Honorees
Be the light….Be a Moravian Star!
As we enter into a new year, we are reminded that there are plenty of our fellow humans out there shining light into dark places and fulfilling the scriptural command to love your neighbor as yourself.
Starting in June 2020, the BCM created a new initiative recognizing those who are making a difference in their community through both small and big acts of kindness. We asked YOU to nominate people that you have noticed shinning a light during this time.
During 2020, we honored 20 individuals and organizations who were doing good. These individuals felt the call to help others in a variety of ways; from sewing masks and collecting food, to creating new charities and writing songs to brighten everyone’s day. Check out all of our 2020 honorees here!
We are excited to continue this initiative into 2021! Do you know someone that has brightened your day or made a difference in the lives of others? Complete this brief form to nominate someone for this recognition. We will “star” the yards of those nominated to honor them for their generosity and love for their neighbor.
Click the name below to learn more about each honoree.
- Maggie Davis | New Philadelphia Moravian Church
- Ginni Baker | Calvary Moravian Church
- Sunnyside Ministry
- Janice Ray | Hopewell Moravian Church
- Konnoak Hills Moravian Church
- Rev. Angelica Regalado Cieza | Estamos Unidos Moravian Ministry
- Sam Dowdy | Grace Moravian Church
- Grace Moravian Church
- Adrienne Polychron | Calvary Moravian Church
- Scarlett Dowdy | Laurel Ridge Camp, Conference, & Retreat Center
- Home Moravian Church Christian Education Team
- Clyde Manning | New Philadelphia Moravian Church
- Faye Bricca | Bethania Moravian Church
- Becky Surratt | Unity Moravian Church
- Interprovincial Moravian Christmas Task Force
- Dr. Robert Rominger | Konnoak Hills Moravian Church
- Ruby Gibson | Union Cross Moravian Church
- Fries Memorial Moravian Church
- Jami Vandock | Raleigh Moravian Church
- Adam Mitchell | Kernersville Moravian Church
Inspired by a youth mission trip to Alaska last year, Maggie started an organization called Friends of Tunt to support the people who live in Tuntutuliak. Maggie recognized that the people of Alaska have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused an already isolated community to become even more isolated and cut off from the world. The Friends of Tunt, under Maggie’s leadership and inspired by her passion to help others, are sending letters, friendship bracelets, craft supplies, clothing, and household items to let our brothers and sisters in Alaska know that they aren’t alone. To learn more about Friends of Tunt visit their website or Instagram account!
Ginni has handmade hundreds and hundreds of cloth face masks for people in our community and given them away for free to anyone who needs or wants one. In addition to the masks she has given to the community, she has sewn special pink face masks for patients getting mammograms at the cancer center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Ginni lost both her mother and her sister to breast cancer and has honored them in a special way during this pandemic. To get her whole family involved, she has been teaching her four young kids to help her with the project by ironing and sewing, too. To learn more about Ginni’s mask-making endeavors read this article or visit The Inspired Thread.
A global pandemic hasn’t stopped Sunnyside Ministry, it has just moved their operation outside! Since March 16th, the day they moved outside, Sunnyside has distributed 76% more food than during the same period a year ago. Over 245,325 pounds of food in a four-month period. That is more food than Sunnyside distributed during the entire year of 2008. At their current pace, they will distribute well over 500,000 pounds of food this year.
Sunnyside has provided less financial assistance than a year ago, mostly due to the fact that utilities cannot be disconnected and property managers could not evict tenants due to non-payment. Even still, they have provided households with $56,586.73 in financial assistance during this period. All of that with only three people doing financial interviews, when before Sunnyside would have had close to 25 people volunteering each week to help with interviews. Visit SunnysideMinistry.org for more information about Sunnyside and how you can help!
The COVID-19 pandemic has just put Janice in to hyper-drive! Janice, a member of Hopewell Moravian Church, has been a huge supporter of Forsyth Jail Ministry, collecting hundreds of books! She continues collecting donations for Sunnyside Ministry during this difficult time. Using her seamstress knowledge to sew over 150 masks that she has given away! To continue the fellowship at Hopewell by leading a Bible study with another member.
Konnoak Hills Moravian Church has collected over 8,000 pounds of food for Sunnyside Ministry since March 22nd. Each Sunday morning from 10:00 until noon, a drive-thru offering is received from members, neighbors, nearby congregations, and area Moravians. It’s been a wonderful way for the congregation to live into its mission statement: Called by Christ to be a neighbor. Food offerings can be made each Sunday in the foreseeable future. The church gathers at 3401 Konnoak Drive, Winston-Salem. To learn more about Konnoak Hill’s food drive visit Moravian.org.
Angelica has been steadfastly working to build a beloved community of Latinx sisters and brothers for several years. During this pandemic, her work and love for this community hasn’t stopped! She has been fielding many extra calls from the Hispanic community for food and help, providing over 30 gift cards to families. To equip the Hispanic community during this difficult time, she has hand-delivered over 700 masks to those in need, while educating families on this virus. Angelica has moved her worship and meetings to a virtual platform, continuing to serve the community she has built of over 30 families. To learn more about Estamos Unidos Moravian Ministry, visit Moravian.org or their Facebook Page. To make a financial contribution, visit MMFA.info.
Sam is a humble servant of God and is committed to being the hands and feet of Christ, even during this pandemic. Sam is the Senior High Sunday School teacher, the Senior High Youth leader, a Stephen Minister, and assists with the delivery of community meals on a monthly basis. Sam is the primary caregiver of his aging mother but has not let that stop him from continuing his various ministries at Grace Moravian Church. During this uncertain time, Sam has had constant contact with his Stephen Ministry client and worked to keep the youth group connected! While the youth group did take a break for several weeks during the complete shutdown, Sam stayed in contact with the kids. Once restrictions lifted he began youth meetings on the lawn of the church. It is such a blessing on Sunday afternoons to see a group of young people sitting in chairs on the lawn talking and praying, all while social distancing. Using the paper from old Daily Texts books, he will craft Moravian stars to give to the youth on special occasions! On Sunday mornings, Sam is often sitting in the sanctuary while the staff is recording the service praying for the staff and members of the church. Sam is a wonderful asset to our church family!
For many years, Grace Moravian has provided a monthly community meal to the Mount Airy community. It is a free meal the congregation shares with the community or neighbors, friends – some of which who experience food insecurity. Since the beginning of June, a core team has partnered with local restaurants to provide meal delivery twice a month – serving 60+ meals. Three groups shuttle the food around the Mount Airy area. Grace Moravian has been able to partner with local restaurants, supporting small businesses while continuing its community meal. Visit GraceMoravian.org to learn more about the community meal program and how you can help!
City with Dwellings (CwD) is a non-profit organization in Winston-Salem that strives to end homelessness. Adrienne has been a volunteer there for the past five years. Not only does she assist with the CwD winter overflow shelters, but is at their Community First Center on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. CwD arranged hotel rooms for high-risk homeless individuals during the pandemic. But out of necessity, the clients could not leave the rooms. To make their lock-down more bearable Adrienne, along with others, collected books, puzzles, snacks, games, and other activities to help them pass the time and keep busy. Visit CityWithDwellings.org to learn more about the organization and how you can help!
Scarlett has worked extremely hard to make sure Laurel Ridge campers have a positive virtual camp experience this summer. She has always done an amazing job at creating memorable camp experiences, but this year she really went above and beyond. Because of the pandemic, we were unable to have face to face camp so Scarlett didn’t hesitate to make a unique virtual camp experience with the Laurel Ridge Camp Crates. Kids seemed to enjoy it and came back day after day to learn and grow in their love for God. Visit LaurelRidge.org to learn more about Laurel Ridge and the programs available!
Margaret Norris, Gigi Goslen, Toni Kapp, Steve Strawsburg, and Erica Sorenson, and the Christian Education Committee planned for two wonderful virtual camps for local youth this summer. The Virtual Vacation Bible School connected children around town. The Virtual Summer of Service engaged middle and high school youth in service projects; creating and dispersing kindness rocks, harvesting a garden for the food bank, collecting non-perishables for Sunnyside Ministry, and creating goodie bags for shut-ins. This group’s creative thinking and planning allowed for local youth to serve our greater community. To learn more about Home Moravian Church click here!
Clyde Manning is one of the many stars at New Philadelphia that make up a constellation of “stars.” As a Pastoral Assistant, her position is varied and includes many aspects of church life, and this current period of crisis has challenged all of us as we strive to “be” the church. It’s been important to stay in touch with homebound church members in new ways since being together isn’t an option. Working with the Elders and others at New Philly, Clyde has been in communicating through notes, texts, telephone calls, and distant porch visits, finding cheerfulness and hopefulness with each interaction. Active church members continue to “be” the church through good work. In recent months, New Philly has responded generously to several “drives” including: diapers for struggling families; art supplies for those confined to nursing homes; and non-perishable food for our Blessing Box which was constructed and installed early this summer. Recently, New Philly provided scholarship funds for South Fork students, allowing them to receive academic support as their parents returned to work. Clyde’s tasks usually center on the coordination of these projects as we build bridges from church to community. Clyde and the members of New Philadelphia strive daily to answer the call of the one who said of Himself, “I am the light of the world.” Click here to learn more about what is happening at New Philadelphia Moravian Church.
When COVID hit the question of “what do I do now” was asked a lot. Faye is the full-time caretaker of her mother AND she found time to make over 500 masks herself (and counting). She has made masks alongside some other women at Bethania who have sent masks to children’s groups, families, health care facilities, and kept the blessing box full for those who may not have access. She even made some for children’s stuffed animals to help ease the fear of masks in toddlers and children. Faye has gone above and beyond to serve her community. Click here to learn more about what is happening at Bethania Moravian Church.
Becky works year-round on crafting with members of Unity Moravian Church for the Christmas Bazaar and selling items to benefit church projects. Since COVID-19 she has set up the Holiday Bazaar room at Unity. Through her continuing efforts, people are able to come in and make purchases. She is also involved in helping families when a need arises, such as making meals or physically showing up and doing what is needed around a member’s house. She is also working to collect clothing and toys for God’s Grace Ministry in West Virginia. Becky is a shining light during this difficult time!
In August, an interprovincial group of pastors, church musicians, and agency leaders began imagining what a Moravian Christmas might look like in this age of physical distancing, virtual worship and limited singing options. Since then, they’ve worked tirelessly to gather and create a variety of Advent and Christmas resources for Moravian congregations and families. They’ve done this on top of the additional responsibilities of a very challenging year and are even now continuing to develop amazing, creative experiences for the fast-approaching holiday season. Visit MoravianChristmas.org to see the culmination of their hard work. They didn’t do it alone! Collaborative groups of Moravian pastors and ministry leaders from across North America have worked to develop special programs and activities. When you see these Moravian stars, whether in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, or Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, be sure to thank them for their hard work to ensure that Christmas 2020 is a spiritual, memorable, surprising, and Moravian experience for all of us. Visit MoravianChristmas.org to see the resources and activities currently available (more will be added every day)!
Pictured here from a recent task force meeting:
- Top Row (l-r): Mike Riess, Executive Director, Interprovincial Board of Communication; Ruth Cole Burcaw, Executive Director, Board of Cooperative Ministries; Rev. Rebecca Craver, Pastor, Edmonton Moravian Church
- Middle Row (l-r): Justin Rabbach, Executive Director, Board of World Mission; David Blum, Research Librarian, Moravian Music Foundation; Gwyneth Michel, Assistant Director, Moravian Music Foundation
- Bottom Row (l-r): Sarah Durham, Program Associate, Moravian Music Foundation; Rev. Dr. Riddick Weber, Associate Professor, Moravian Theological Seminary; Rev. Dan Miller, Pastor, Edgeboro Moravian Church
Not Pictured: Rev. Brian Dixon, Pastor, Emmaus Moravian Church; Hanna Jackson, Special Projects Manager, Board of Cooperative Ministries. Special thanks to Beth Hayes, Director of Congregational Ministries and Resources, Board of Cooperative Ministries; Marie Couts, Director of Christian Education, Eastern District.
In addition to his teaching and counseling mission with Wake Forest Baptist Health, Dr. Robert Rominger has increased the life of many through his extraordinary gifts as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Bobby’s original anthem, “A Light Shines in Darkness” has spoken to many in these pandemic times, and his light-hearted take on COVID, “Corona, Corona,” has had a longer shelf-life than what we had hoped. Over the past six months, he has played non-stop for two hours each Sunday morning at the Konnoak Hills Congregation’s weekly food offering for Sunnyside Ministry. Bobby, along with his daughters Lilly and Nina, transformed the congregation’s annual Neighborhood Music Festival into an online virtual event in May. And through these months Bobby has continued his important advocacy work with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, where he just completed his tenure as a founding board member of the North Carolina chapter.
Ruby’s commitment to service is deep-rooted, serving in a variety of capacities. She hasn’t let her age stop her from doing what she loves, helping others! Prior to the pandemic, Ruby could be found volunteering at Union Cross Moravian Church’s Thrift Store. During the summer months, she takes pride in working in her garden that she then gives to her community. Ruby is an inspiration to many within her church and community! During this time of COVID and sheltering at home, Ruby has spent her time sewing over 75 lap quilts that she had donated to Sunnyside and other organizations.
Fries Memorial Moravian Church continues to be active, while not physically gathering in a group. While hosting drive-through communions, Fries has taken the opportunity to ask the church family to provide groceries for Sunnyside Ministry, books and bottled water for Forsyth Prison Ministry, school supplies for a local school, and donations to support CWS/CROP Walk. During a recent drive through communion, they once again collected food but they also gave folks the opportunity to collect a child’s name from an angel tree to provide Christmas gifts as they have traditionally done in the past. One church member describes Fries so well in these words, “ Fries works so much bigger than we are!”
Jami has kept the families and kids in her congregation connected in spite of a new way of doing church. She’s developed innovative ideas for activities and programs and shared her innovation with others. The 5-church partnership for Fall Sunday School and beyond is largely driven by Jami’s technology know-how, creativity, flexibility, and dedication to education. She shines like a minister of the Gospel living out her vocation with courage and new ideas! Click here to learn more about what Raleigh Moravian Church is doing during this unusual time.
Adam Mitchell, music teacher at Cash Elementary School and member of Kernersville Moravian Church, coordinated a group of almost two hundred singers to sing a new music video. The video, including students from five Kernersville schools, will debut an original song, “We Rise,” written by Adam. The song is about how the community of musicians has come together to support each other during the pandemic.
The Kernersville Virtual Choir Project was organized by Adam and includes students from Cash, Piney Grove, and Sedge Garden elementary schools as well as East Forsyth and Glenn high schools and the Heart of the Triad Choral Society. Singers range in age from 9 to 80 years old.
“This project took over 600 hours to write, arrange, learn, record, mix, master, and produce,” said Adam. “Each singer learned and rehearsed the song during virtual rehearsals with their director. They then recorded audio and video on their own. After all of the recordings were complete, I compiled, mixed, and mastered the audio before sending on to the video production team to complete the video.”
Click here to view the video, in addition, the audio track is available to download or stream on iTunes, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Pandora, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and Spotify. All download and streaming revenue goes to support the groups who participated in the project.