I was intrigued about an innovative ministry currently happening at Calvary Moravian Church in Allentown, PA. After reading a bit about it in their annual report, I invited Pastor Janel Rice to share this very “transferable” ministry with our congregations through this article. Thank you, Janel!
A recent study called “Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation,” by the Annie E. Casey foundation found that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers. Poverty compounds the problem: Students who have lived in poverty are three times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate on time than their more affluent peers. Calvary Moravian Church is located within the Allentown School District, the third largest school district in PA, where 89% of students are classified as low-income. We are also neighbors to a local elementary school within the district, Muhlenberg Elementary. After talking among our congregation and also learning about our neighborhood demographics through Mission Developer, Jill Peters, who introduced the MissionInsite program, we were encouraged to talk with our local elementary school to see if we could partner with them in helping to encourage more kids not only to read, but to own their own books and make reading an exciting adventure.
We are not a large congregation, nor do we have much space, but it was our dream of providing a Reading Room to our community in the West End of Allentown, that would have books for babies, toddlers, early readers – middle schoolers. We spent some time learning about a much larger Reading Room in Bethlehem (Cop N’ Kids Reading Room at the Fowler Center) and realized that something on a smaller scale could be possible. We also identified several of our members who have been involved in early childhood education and others who simply love being around children. With this start, we reached out to our congregation, surrounding churches, etc. and asked for new or gently used children’s books – and we were amazed by the wonderful quality and quantity we received. Many people were thrilled to see their beloved children’s books being shared with others. With the closest library quite a distance for our neighborhood children, we also hoped that our Reading Room would simply get more books into homes that didn’t need to be returned or worried about damaging.
Our Reading Room at Calvary opened in October 2018 and is open every Thursday from 2-6 p.m. during the school year. A story time and crafts were available around 3:30 p.m. for children. Our summer hours will begin on June 20 from 9:30 – 12 p.m. Every week, children are able to come anytime during our open hours, browse the books, ask for recommendations from our volunteers and take home two free books. Our website and name are inside the book, and our volunteers write the child’s name inside to remind them that this is their book to keep and enjoy.
Another goal of our Reading Room is to take books to places where they are needed. We held a story-time with the 1st graders of our local elementary school and gave two free “I Can Read” level books to each child – over 300! We held several of these story-times with our local family shelter and hope to continue. As we continue to build relationships with other schools and community partners in Allentown, we hope to take our Reading Room on the road, increasing the number of children we serve.
We would be happy to accept children’s books, in particular the Level 1, 2, 3 etc. “I can read” books that are gently used or new. Bilingual or Spanish books are especially desired. (Please contact Pastor Janel Rice at [email protected] if you would be interested in contributing books.) With more books in each home, we hope to encourage the love of reading and the literacy rate of children to stay on grade level, improving future lives and chances of academic success.
Board of World Mission of the Moravian Church North America
Listed below are opportunities to serve, to pray and to give this month.
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 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
Be The Church Workshop Schedule & Sites:
Metro NYC held at John Hus on 9/14/19.
Staten Island held at Castleton Hill on 10/12/19.
Questions? Email: Marie Couts- [email protected]
Moravian Camp Dates for 2019
Primary Conference Grades 3-4:
June 30 – July 6
Leaders: Kerrian Simpson, Rev. Bevon White, Faith Moravian Church, Washington, DC
Pre-Primary Conference Grades 1-2:
Leaders: Shannon Swingle, Edgeboro Moravian & Rev. Rebecca Sisley, First Moravian Church, Riverside NJ
Middler Conference Grades 5-6:
Leaders: Rt. Rev. Blair Couch, Allentown, PA; Rev. Sayward Lippincott, First Moravian, York, PA
Jr. High Conference Grades 7-8:
July 21 – July 27
Leader: Rev. Jodie Harney, Mountainview Moravian, Hellertown, PA
Senior High Conference Grades 9-age 21:
July 28 – August 3
Leaders: Chelsey Mancuso, Keyport, NJ; Maddie Brader, Advent Moravian, Bethlehem, PA
Fishing Camp Grades 6-10:
Leaders: Bob Wingrove, East Hills Moravian & Jack Boyd, Advent Moravian, Bethlehem, PA
Swimming Camp Grades 3-6:
July 14 – 20
Leader: Rev. Tammie Rinker, Trinity Moravian, Lanham, MD
Musical Theater Camp Grades 5-9:
July 14 – 20
Leaders: Sarah Hriniak, Schoeneck Moravian, Nazareth, PA; Rev. Otto Dreydoppel, Chaplain, Moravian Hall Square, Nazareth, PA.
Sugar Cake Bake-Off, Part of the Camp Hope Fall Festival
Saturday, October 5, 2019
For more information on camps or bake-off, see your church office
or contact Hope Conference Center at 908 459-4435 or [email protected]
Moravian College Seminary- Crossroads Summer Book Club
June 18, July 23 & August 20
Price: $10 per night or $25 for all three
Mark your calendars now for this valuable one-day conference!
All Moravian clergy and lay leaders who want to discover, strengthen, and renew their stewardship ministries.
A one-day conference that will focus on a holistic view of stewardship by delving into:
- The 4Ts (time, talent, treasure, and testimony)
- What a “stewardship church” looks like
- How to develop a sustainable year-round stewardship ministry
Where & When?
Konnoak Hills Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, NC – September 27 & 28
East Hills Moravian Church, Bethlehem, PA – October 4 & 5
The same content will be offered each session, so you only need to sign up for one. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is provided.
It costs you nothing!
MMFA is able to offer our stewardship services at no cost, thanks to the churches, agencies, provinces, districts, and others who invest in the Moravian Common Fund, our pooled investment and endowment management vehicle.
Br. David Geyer, pastor of the College Hill Moravian Church in Bethlehem, PA, has accepted a call to serve the yoked ministry consisting of the John Heckewelder Memorial Moravian Church in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, the Fry’s Valley Moravian Church in New Philadelphia, Ohio, and the First Moravian Church of Uhrichsville, Ohio. He will conclude his ministry at College Hill on August 4 and begin in Ohio later that month.