Greetings to each of you as we move through the last weeks of Easter towards Pentecost! May your journey be guided by the presence of Christ’s light in your heart and confidence in His promise to send us a Helper, Advocate, Counsellor, who will be with us always! May that be a benediction to each of you and to our faith communities as we continue to be agents of God’s transforming love in our world.
Synod 2018 and IPO
At our Synod last June, Districts were charged with re-engaging our congregations about the services provided to congregations and reframing connections between the Districts and the Province. The work of that Province-wide Identity, Purpose, and Organization committee has been completed that created a consistent message and set of questions we will offer to each congregation. We are setting a time to meet with each congregation to gather input from congregational members and Joint Boards that will come before our District Synod next May, for commentary towards our next Provincial Synod of 2022. We look forward to hearing about the ways we can better serve you.
Their move is complete! The new location of Common Ground Community Café is 150, 161 Festival Way, Sherwood Park. This purpose-built facility in collaboration with Christenson Developers, and just across the street from the newly renovated Strathcona County Library, is a wonderful connecting place. Come and be part of the community!
We now have an Agency Agreement between BECD and Common Ground, where our Charity is able to direct funds to our Agent, Common Ground, who will direct activities at their new location to help fulfill our Corporate mandate to advance education and religion, charity, and benevolence through community engagement strategies that develop compassion, generosity, and goodwill as kindness offered to one another.
You have been generous in your past support for Common Ground where your donations paid for various costs associated with staffing Moravian Clergy – Pastors Eileen and Ian Edwards. With Common Ground’s new sustainability model and our Agency Agreement, BECD will continue to transfer your donations towards the objects of our Corporation using the agency and work of Common Ground. Together we continue to be agents of God’s transforming love in our world.
This slow process of resolution is moving forward with your prayers. We anticipate a time to meet with Court of Queen’s Bench Judge Graessar and continue to involve ourselves in the Judicial Disputes Resolution process to address matters between the Bruderheim Community Church and the Board of Elders of the Canadian District of the Moravian Church in America. When we have additional information and outcomes we will provide you with that information.
Rio Terrace Church
Pastor James Lavoy has been affirmed by the PEC for consecration as a presbyter. The consecration will be facilitated by Bishop Blair Couch, and it will be held at Rio Terrace Church on Sunday, May 26 at 4 pm. A picnic in the park next door to the church will follow.
Moravian Day of Service
At Synod 2018, a resolution was passed to institute an annual Moravian Day of Service. The date of September 15, 2019, or a date close to it, has been selected as the Day of Service because it is close to the date of September 16 in 1741 when Moravian church leaders appointed Jesus as the Chief Elder and true head of the Moravian Church. He is the one to whom we can take our troubles, and the one who can help overcome conflict and division within the church. Jesus teaches is to forgive and he sends us out into the world as servants. Ask your pastor or lay leaders what their plans are for recognizing the Moravian Day of Service.
Van-Es Summer Camps
Van-Es Summer Camps provide an exciting overnight outdoor experience for children and teenagers. They learn to find joy in the natural world and discover their spirituality while participating in daily activities such as swimming, hiking, arts and crafts, campfires, adventure games and sleeping in cabins. Free from outside schedules and disconnected from screens, young people leave responsibilities behind to play outside, live in an inclusive community and make new friends.
- Grades 1 – 3: July 3 – 6, 2019
- Grades 4 – 6: July 7 – 13, 2019
- Grades 7 – 9: July 14 – 20, 2019
- Grades 10 – 12: July 21 – 27, 2019
Register through “Eventbrite” where you can pay via credit card or opt to pay on the day of by cash or cheque. www.eventbrite.ca/o/camp-van-es-19818353123
or go to our Facebook page, Camp Van Es.
Any questions? Contact Rev. James Lavoy, Rio Terrace.
2019 Moravian Women’s Conference
June 20-23, 2019 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
This Conference offers an opportunity for Moravian women to learn, worship, sing and share ideas that strengthen faith and ties to the Moravian Church. General sessions and “Imagine Sessions” (workshops) with keynote speakers and workshop leaders will inform and challenge each participant to confidently live into the plan God has for her.
Presented by the Interprovincial Women’s Board, Moravian Church in North America and featuring best-selling author Rachel Held Evans plus Bishop Kay Ward, the Rev. Dr. Heather Vacek and the Rev. Christie Melby-Gibbons. Questions? Call 336.893.4460 or email [email protected]. Register today at www.moravianwomensconference.org.
Christ Moravian Church
Christ Moravian Church’s 50th Anniversary will be celebrated in many more ways in the coming months, we are thankful for the wonderful Celebration that was experienced on April 27 and 28, 2019. They were pleased to have in attendance the Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller, President of the Moravian Provincial Elders Conference and Greg Weir, President of the Board of Elders of the Canadian District.
The organizing committee of twelve outdid themselves, the decorations, the food, the program on Saturday, the Service on Sunday, and the lovely pictures of friends and activities from the past 50 years. A sincere thank you goes out to this committee and to all of those who helped at both events.
The program on Saturday, held at McDougall United Church, included speeches, music, singing and comedy! A middle eastern dinner was served by a local restaurant and each person present was given a lapel pin with “50” on a Moravian Star to keep as a remembrance of the occasion. Duncan McKerchar given special recognition for his 38 outstanding years of musical accompaniment and support for our music program.
We heard heartwarming and inspirational words from three of our four pastors. Rev. John Griffith and Rev. Stephen Gohdes shared their messages in person while Rev. Dr. Glen Stoudt made a video appearance. Memories of the late Rev. Lew Thomas were shared by Earla Ritz, one of the founding members of Christ Moravian Church; and Bobbie Callander shared thoughts of her father, Rev. Alan Taylor, who was instrumental in the initial planning and site selection of our church.
The Banquet on Saturday was interrupted by one of the worst prairie spring blizzards we have seen and getting home became a challenge. In spite of ice, snow and slush, more than 130 were present on Sunday morning for another inspiring “up-beat” service with wonderful music culminated by a group picture (for posterity) and a luncheon offered by our Women’s Fellowship. Thank you all for participating and making our 50th Anniversary a wonderful memory!
District Youth Activity
February Winter Camp Youth Retreat 2019
The Rev. Heather Liddell of the Anglican Church and the Rev. James Lavoy of Rio Terrace Moravian were talking and discovered that both were planning separate Youth Winter camps. Heather was looking at Jasper, and James was looking at Banff when they realized that both could join together, and host at Camp Van Es. The call went out for registrations. Perhaps it was the charm of heated cabins in a nearby wooded setting – the response was overwhelming!
Campers registered through both organizations for the weekend retreat, more than they dreamed. James put out the call for more counsellor staff. It wasn’t until both sets of lists were combined on Friday night that they realized there were 40 campers! The cook had called in sick the week leading up to camp so Heather and Dr Mark Armstrong called Deb Stevens. She stepped up to the challenge of feeding a horde of more than 50! This included serving vegetarian, gluten free, halal, lactose-free, and onion free options.
The theme for the weekend was Identity, how it changes over time, and how we are diverse and loved by God. The Chaplaincy team included Heather, James, and Rev Aaron Linville from Millwoods Moravian.
Friday was not inviting, with blowing snow and vehicles in ditches along Highway 2 and around the Edmonton area. Campers and staff dribbled in – some even making the treacherous trip from Calgary. Camp Van-Es regulars set up the 9-Square game in the hall as one of their first activities. It was organized chaos that first night, as staff sorted out roles, campers mixed with others for the first time, introductions were made, community rules were established, and cabins were assigned. (Naturally, there was some negotiation with the latter.) Everyone did their best to figure out how to fit everything in. There was nourishment (cooking hotdogs in a fireplace), a campfire in the chapel, mug up(with Smores!), and evening prayers. Through the weekend Anglicans and Moravians shared their traditions and rich music culture with each other.
Thankfully, the weather cleared and Saturday dawned with sunshine and blue skies. After a big breakfast in Harmony Centre, campers were split into BlueJays, Magpies and Whiskey Jacks. Each team spent time with the chaplaincy team; participated in crafts and small group challenges; and explored the surrounding woods on snowshoes. In the afternoon campers played 9 Square, did acrobatic diving football catches; and played catch with each other. Later the three groups spread out across the property, looking for envelopes fiendishly hidden by the staff throughout the surroundings (from Morning Star Hall to Rainbow Field). Using the envelopes they found, they rearranged the words, and put together a Bible quotation. (More difficult if one has not found all of the envelopes/words!) Then they had to find where it came from in the Bible. The race was won by the Whiskey Jacks, who received first prize later at the campfire.
Saturday evening we had an early campfire with skits, mug up (featuring banana boats!) and evening prayers, before watching a movie (Coco). The bravest, most adventuresome went for a midnight walk through the woods along narrow paths. In the dark. Without flashlights. Looking up at a broad canopy of twinkling stars was truly wondrous. Too soon we headed back to Harmony Centre, where many of the campers opted to sleep in the hall, on the floor.
Sunday was a quiet day- after a pancake breakfast there was cleaning and packing up, and then a closing Communion in the chapel. After lunch everyone had a chance to play in the pool. Too soon parents arrived to collect the tired campers. (A late evening and losing an hour of sleep due to daylight savings contributed).
It was wonderful camping on the Camp Van-Es site after so much history with Camp Come Alive. Rupert and the Moravians provided a fantastic location, snowshoes that allowed us to go out as a large group, and hospitality that made everyone feel welcome. We look forward to joining with the Moravians again, for youth events in the future!
Reverend Richard Lwali of Tanzania is extending invitations to interested individuals who would like to serve with the staff of two Moravian boarding schools, Bishop Kisanji Girls Secondary School or Lusangi Junior Seminary, (both female and male students). Volunteers will be primarily involved with the teaching of English in the classrooms but also participate in sports and games with the students and staff. If you can commit to one month or longer of service between January and November, Please contact Jill Kolodziej, Director of Mission Service, at [email protected] for more details of this service.
Sister Habona Kisamwa of Kenya requests prayer for the Ray of Hope boarding school in general and, in particular, 10 Masai children who will be joining the school. Please pray for the students and the staff as they provide a home and an education for the young people.
The Mission Grants that are provided to global partners (Mission Areas, Mission Provinces and Unity Provinces) help to support projects all around the world. Recently, funds were granted to two projects in Tanzania: The Sukuma Outreach Ministry and a workshop for Leadership Capacity Building. Grant proposals have been received for the expansion of a medical clinic in Tabora and for publication of Sunday School materials. Your gifts can help to make more funds available for more projects and ministries like these. www.moravianmission.org/give
You can receive up to date Board of World Mission newsletters and other communications by registering your interests at www.moravianmission.org/serve.
Notes from CMMS Chair:
The CMMS is not a registered charity and as such is not eligible to issue tax receipts for donations. Past practice has had the Canadian District or individual churches issue tax receipts for donations to BWM and Unity mission projects. This procedure is currently under review as part of the Governance Task Force to ensure that we are in compliance with Canadian Tax laws.
Highlights of March BWM Meeting
- Ahuas, Honduras: A new medical director was hired and shows promise of having good administrative skills. Streamlining of expenses will allow the BWM to gradually decrease funding to the clinic and a separate fundraising committee will be established.
- Labrador: A task force was established to find the best way for the BWM to support the leadership of the Moravian Church in Newfoundland and Labrador. Bishop Anglin from Jamaica will be in residence for a few months over the summer and Justin Rabbach and Chris Geisler will visit in August.
- Peru: The outreach ministry is growing. In November a two day conference was held to teach Moravian Theology and 19 groups from 17 villages were welcomed as Moravian congregations and twenty-one Aguaruna pastors and leaders became members of the Moravian Church.
Canadian District Office:
600 Acadia Dr. SE, Calgary, AB, T2B 0J8
Email: [email protected]
President: Greg Weir
[email protected], 587-288-8727
Contact through District Office:
- Rev. Matt Gillard, Heimtal
- Donna Gordon, CMMS Chair, [email protected]
- Bob Hawkesworth, Good Shepherd
- Holly Heffernan, Christ Community Church
- Rev. James Lavoy, Rio Terrace
Administrative Assistant: Andrea Stremich
Treasurer: June Sterling, [email protected]