What’s on Your Calendar?
By Shana Angel
The Eastern District website is already pretty awesome, but we want to make sure that it is awesomely useful too. In order to make the website even better, there are a few important changes coming.
Have you ever heard about an event another congregation is hosting that you REALLY wanted to go to… except it happened last week? Or maybe you just really like to see what cool events other congregations come up with? Either way, we are working on designing the perfect solution, and we need your help. Right now, on the Eastern District website you can find the “Upcoming Events” page. You will probably notice it is pretty sparse. Here is where you come in.
I need to know about events in our district so I can put them on the website! There are a couple ways we can tackle this:
- Add [email protected] to your church e-mail list or newsletter.
- Email me all of the details of your event as soon as you plan it.
- Send a carrier pigeon with a note containing your events calendar.
- Scan me a copy of your announcements in your bulletin each week.
- Snail mail me your newsletter (send me an email to get my address!)
- Hire a town crier to come to my house and shout your events at me.
- Call me and tell me.
- Send smoke signals. (Please don’t actually do this. I can’t read smoke signals.)
Regardless of how you do it, I would love to know what is happening in your congregation. So, find a way to let me know! You never know, if there is a reliable place for people to learn about events, it might just save you from answering a couple “Hey what time does that thing start tonight?” texts.
The Eastern District is so blessed to have incredible ministry teams that are working on bringing content and programming to the congregations that will help the Moravian Church thrive. This is why we will be adding a page to the website for each of our three wonderful ministry teams. These pages will contain useful things like:
- Details on what the teams are up to
- Contact Information
- More amazing things that I’m not listing here.
Seriously though, these pages will be gold mines of useful information. Be on the lookout for them to be published in the next few weeks. We will be working hard to make sure everything gets published as soon as it is ready to go.
In conclusion, there will be a lot of changes happening on the Eastern District website so that it can be a valuable resource to you and your congregation. The more involved you are, the more useful it will be. So stay in touch and make sure to visit the site often!
The top priority for the Moravian Board of World Mission (BWM) in North America is building relationships with and supporting the mission efforts of our partner Unity Provinces (Costa Rica, Eastern West Indies, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Western Tanzania), Mission Provinces (Cuba, Labrador), and Mission Areas (Peru, Sierra Leone). We cannot accomplish this important task without generous support from individuals and congregations. As the method for funding our efforts continues to evolve, we are beginning to provide Mission Grants to help address specific needs and ministries as they are identified by our partners.
Over the last two years, more than $70,000 has been gifted to begin and sustain important ministries such as:
- A photography business in Peru
- Theological scholarships for pastors in Honduras
- Building a science lab at the Moravian Kisanji Girls School in Tanzania
- Support of a pastor in a new outreach ministry in Marshall, Alaska
During the month of November, we are asking 25 donors to sign up to provide recurring donations to the Mission Grants program of just $25 per month!
While any donations towards Mission Grants are appreciated and encouraged, the first 25 donors who sign up to donate $25 monthly will receive a gift from the BWM! (Our selection of possible gifts includes wonderful hand-made items from Peru such as Alpaca Wool Gloves or Alpaca Wool Hats).
To donate, simply go to “moravianmission.org/give” and select “Mission Grants.” If you wish to be one of our “25 for 25” recurring donors, select “Setup automated giving” and choose how often you would like to donate. Thank you for your support of the BWM and our work, and we hope you join us in growing Mission Grants to allow us to fund more tangible, life-changing programs.
By Laura Watson
At a conference I attended earlier this year, I heard a speaker say:
“The word ‘stewardship’ is like a really great sponge: it absorbs a lot of meaning wherever it’s placed.”
What has your stewardship sponge absorbed? Is there anything in it that needs to be squeezed out so that new stewardship beliefs, ideas, and practices can be soaked up?
At our recent Celebrate Stewardship conferences, we began by asking participants to share the first word that came to mind when they heard the word “stewardship.” It probably won’t surprise you that the most common responses were “time, talent, and treasure,” as well as “money.”
Yes, stewardship involves these things, but it’s so much more! It’s a way of life. Unfortunately, the association between money and the church’s need for it is very strong, so much so that many congregations avoid even using the word “stewardship.”
We think that’s a mistake. It’s time to squeeze the old “stewardship means money” idea from our sponges and soak up something new: the incredible responsibility, privilege, and joy that comes from following Christ and being God’s stewards.
What exactly does that mean?
I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, I wanted more and more responsibility. I was delighted when a teacher allowed me to look after the class pet for a weekend or gave me the task of overseeing the class library; it meant I was viewed as capable, trustworthy, and responsible.
God knows we are capable, trustworthy, and responsible as well. As stewards, we thoughtfully care for all God has entrusted to us; moreover, through that care, we don’t hoard for ourselves, but give to others. As author Charles Lane wrote, “We are responsible to the rest of creation to manage what is God’s for the benefit of others, being a serving steward.”
God loves us so much that God entrusts a portion of His creation to us. What a privilege! Think of it this way: “God is always working on my behalf. God loves and trusts me so much that I get to steward time, talent, treasure, and more to make the world more like how God wants it to be for me and for everyone.” How do we, then, as faithful stewards, respond as we work on God’s behalf?
God is doing a new thing, again and again and again, and we’re a part of it. This calls for much rejoicing! We will sing “Joy to the World” in a few months as we celebrate the greatest gift of all: our Lord, Jesus Christ. More joy! How can that joy, the Christmastime light of the world transformative joy, not be a part of our stewardship?! We get to share that light with the whole world through how we use the time, talent, treasure, and testimony God has entrusted to us. I imagine if you think of a recent way you gave of one of those “t’s”, you would feel joy. I once read the following: “God’s passion for giving culminated in the gift of His son, Jesus Christ. As God’s creation, we too must have a passion to give!” There is much joy to be found through passionate stewardship.
Give your stewardship sponge a squeeze. Let any water that equates “stewardship” only with “money for my church” go down the drain. Now let your sponge soak up a holistic definition of stewardship: all you do with your life. Feel the responsibility, privilege and joy that comes from that new stewardship water. Is it easy to be a faithful steward? No. It’s a journey we are all on together and as we travel, we celebrate and give thanks for all God created, for all God entrusted to us, and for all we can do through Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
2020 Daily Texts have arrived!
The 2020 Moravian Daily Texts are now in stock at the IBOC! We are currently preparing preorders for shipment or pickup, depending on location. Local congregations will receive notification that their orders are ready for pickup via e-mail; those outside of the Lehigh Valley should receive tracking information for their orders in the next few weeks.
If you haven’t ordered your 2020 Moravian Daily Texts or would like to obtain additional copies, please visit store.moravian.org or contact Jill Bruckart at [email protected], or call 1.800.732.0591, ext. 38.
And with the arrival of the 2020 editions, we would like to offer our remaining 2019 editions to congregations and agencies for use in their ministries free of charge. Daily Texts are perfect for outreach, new member introductions, study classes and community events. We have a limited supply of 2019 large print, journal, hardcover and paperback editions available; all we ask is that you either pick up at the Church Center in Bethlehem or pay for shipping to your location. To obtain these free editions, please contact& Sunday School Curriculum
January 11, 2020 – VBS Kit Preview & SS Curriculum Review. (Snow date is January 18). College Hill Moravian Church. 9am to Noon is VBS Preview. 1:30 -3:30 pm SS Curriculum Review. Attend one or both sessions with lunch on your own. Register no later than January 8 by contacting Marie Couts at [email protected]
January 24-26, 2020 – Girls’ Retreat at Camp Hope. Girls in 3rd through 8th grade. Cost is $95 which includes housing, food, many craft projects and fun. Registration forms and health forms are available by contacting: Rev. Jodie Harney at [email protected]
May 15-17, 2020 – Eastern District Confirmation Retreat, Hope Conference Center.
District Synod June 24-27, 2020
The Call to Synod has been sent and members of the Eastern District 2020 Synod Planning Committee are busy planning for the 2020 District Synod which will be held on the North Campus of Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. The theme of this synod is, “Into the World…This is the Challenge of Our Mission”. Members of the Eastern District 2020 Synod Planning Committee include: Marie Couts, Chairperson, Doug Kleintop, Scott Harney, Cynthia Rader Geyer, Blondel Jones Grant, Sue Koenig, Garritt Fleming, Jeff Long, Dave Bennett and Johanna Heft. The Chairperson for the Nominating Committee is Christine Johnson and additional members include: Blondel Jones-Grant, Tammie Rinker, Bruce Weaknecht, Carolyn Menapace and Nicholas Noel. Please mark your calendars and save these important dates!