District Developments August 2018

Synod Election Brings Vacancy to Eastern District Board

Synod always brings about some level of change for us. That change comes sometimes from mandates regarding important issues facing our Province, but also sometimes from those selected to serve through election. For the Eastern District Executive Board, the election of our new Provincial Elders’ Conference members is somewhat bitter sweet. We celebrate all those elected to serve as PEC members in this coming inter-synodal period, though we do so with some degree of sadness, as we see one of our own, Brother Ralph Wanamaker, bringing closure to the faithful partnership he has offered to the EDEB over the last 10 years. I, in particular, will especially miss Ralph’s service on the EDEB, as my full experience as District President has included Ralph being around the table. I can also confidently speak on behalf of the rest of the EDEB, that Ralph’s presence in our deliberations and decision-making will be sorely missed. Ralph’s deep faith and solid wisdom is coupled with his insatiable ability to bring us to laughter at just the right moments. We know his leadership will be a tremendous asset now to the work of the Provincial Elders’ Conference, however we will miss the kinship we shared with him which was a gift of our district service together. Thank you, Brother Ralph, for the dedicated leadership you offered the Eastern District, especially the Lehigh Valley South congregations, over these last 10 years and may God bless your service to the wider Province moving forward.

It now becomes the task of the current EDEB to host the process for filling the position of the Lehigh Valley South Lay Representative to the district board. The Book of Order defines a process which can take place through a mail ballot in which each Joint Board, Pastor, and Bishop in the Eastern District receives a vote. Prior to that election, however, the EDEB (who serves as the nominations committee in the process) is seeking recommendations for nomination for this vacant district board position. An email has already gone out to all Pastors, Joint Boards, and Bishops in the district requesting that they prayerfully reflect upon possible candidates for nominations from any of the Lehigh Valley South congregations (MorningStar, Emmaus, Mountainview, Calvary, West Side, College Hill, or Central).

Although a more detailed job description can be found with your Pastor, nominees for the Lehigh Valley South Lay Representative to the Eastern District Executive Board will be expected to have knowledge of the life of the Moravian Church in general and of the district, specifically. Each nominee will need to be a member of a Lehigh Valley South Moravian congregation and will be expected to have a commitment to Christ and a keen sense of love for those at work in the life of the Church. He/she will be open and sensitive to the opinions and feelings of others and will have discerning vision for the work of the church. She/he will be willing to travel to and allocate time for the ministry in support of our district congregations.

As you reflect upon individuals who might serve effectively in this capacity, please feel free to speak to either your pastor or a Joint Board member. Thank you for your help in this important and sacred task.

What can YOU do to help a child?

Fred Rogers once said: “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.” 
For 71 years, the Moravian hospital in Ahuas, Honduras, has been easing suffering, saving lives and winning souls. Having seen malnutrition, sickness and even death at the Ahuas Clinic’s Well Baby Program, the staff felt the need to do something for these children. In February of 2016, they started an Infant Feeding Program for malnourished children under the age of five. The need is great but limited resources keep them from achieving the goal of similar feeding stations in every village. It costs approximately $30 to feed one child for one month. There are currently 100 children in this program.  
We are most grateful for our volunteers, your prayers and your financial support.

For more information about the Clinica Evangelica Morava, please contact Rick Nelson at [email protected], or the Board of World Mission office at 1021 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018. Phone: 610.868.1732


Moravian Ministries Foundation: How One Couple’s Gift of Land Is Educating Children In Jamaica

Gene & Lenore Handwerk feel very blessed in their retirement. They wanted to spend their retirement years helping children and perhaps travel a bit more. They are especially passionate about educating children and saw the chance to make a difference.

The Handwerks own several tracks of farmland in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. The land has been in Gene’s family for many generations. The Handwerks donated 62-acres to fund their Donor Advised Fund (DAF) through the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America (MMFA).

They can claim an income tax charitable deduction (up to 30% of adjusted gross income) in the tax year of the gift – unused deductions can be carried forward for five additional years.

The Handwerks make grant recommendations during their lives and make provisions for the work to continue after they enter the Lord’s presence.

For more information about a Moravian Donor Advised Fund, contact Chris Spaugh at 888-722-7923 or email him at [email protected]

Pastoral Updates

Br. Chris Giesler, pastor of the Emmaus Moravian Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, has accepted a call to serve on the staff of the Board of World Mission as Director of Mission Engagement. He will conclude his ministry at Emmaus on August 26 and begin serving on the Board of World Mission staff on September 8. Please keep Chris, his wife Tina, and the Emmaus congregation and the Board of World Mission in your prayers during this transition.

Br. Michael Poole, an ELCA pastor who has been serving the Battle Hill Moravian Church in Union, New Jersey under appointment, will conclude his ministry at Battle Hill on July 31st. Please keep Br. Michael, his spouse Sr. Tracy Pryor (pastor of the Great Kills Moravian Church in Staten Island, NY), and the Battle Hill congregation in your prayers at this time of transition.

Crossroads Lay Leadership Program

Crossroads Lay Leadership Program at Moravian Theological Seminary has two Info Sessions in early August, both with remote attendance possible through Zoom. Registration is highly recommended; link is:, look for the Info Session Registration link.

Wednesday, August 1 at 7 – 8 pm Eastern Time -or-

Saturday, August 4 at 10 -11 am Eastern Time

Attend either session in person or if you are outside the Lehigh Valley, through Zoom which is our real time, distance option.  After registering, the Zoom info and link will be emailed to you.

Learn about the program and the courses for the 2018/2019 Academic Year.  We are committed to helping lay people discover their sense of call and then equipping them for it.  For more info, contact Jill Peters at:
[email protected]