BY REV. REBECCA CRAVER |
As we have been cleaning drawers and cupboards we have run across some gems. There have been lots of documents that reflect the discernment and work of previous generations. We’d like share some of the story with you as we reflect back on the decades of our foundation for shared provincial ministry and service in the Southern Province.
In 1884 the Provincial Sunday School Committee was begun in the Southern Province. Its work grew, so that by 1920 it became the Sunday School Board. In 1935 it was renamed the Board of Christian Education. In 2012, the gathered Moravian Church, Synod made a courageous step to restructure. The abundance of passion and resources that have throughout the years contributed to the flourishing of individual congregations is the foundation upon which the Board of Cooperative Ministries was launched. The tremendous work that has been done in the last 11 years to Build, Connect and Mobilize Moravian Christians in the Southern Province and will continue to permeate the witness of our province through the congregations we serve. With each shift the organization grew and changed to address the different needs in the province. For over one hundred years, the value of shared ministry has enhanced the lives of the congregations in the Southern Province of the Moravian Church.
It is alongside this history that provincial leaders through various PECs, Committees and Commissions have sought to follow Christ by discerning the way forward. In an announcement from the current Provincial Elders’ Conference [July 18, 2021], a new vision is emerging for how this shared ministry will move into the future.
The Provincial Elders Conference is pleased to announce the creation of a Commission on Congregational Development and the appointment of a director to lead its work.
In response to dynamics of the past two years, including decreased Provincial income and extended pandemic church closings, the PEC has focused on how best to apply reduced resources to support and enhance congregational development. After much study and consideration, PEC is creating this new Commission to provide advising and coaching for pastors and congregation leaders on specific ministry development needs, replacing our current educational programming focused model.
The new Commission will assume most of the functions of the current Board of Cooperative Ministries. It will operate similarly to the Province’s Commission on Ministry, which oversees candidacy and ordination; the Provincial Support Services Board, which oversees the finance office; and the Archives Commission. The Commission on Congregational Development will be led by pastors and laity and will assist the PEC in fulfilling the purpose of the Southern Province: “To equip Moravian Christians and congregations to be agents of God’s transforming love in the world. We will do this by providing resources for spiritual growth, community and mission.” (PEC Announcement Commission on Congregational Development, July 18, 2021)
We are in this work together and together we will discern the shape of our shared future.
We invite you to join us in prayers of gratitude for all those whose commitment to the Gospel have gotten us here and for the future to which God is calling us all to see and live.