Together in Christ’s Name
Update on Synod 2021
Our Eastern District congregations were recently notified by the Eastern District Executive Board that, due to the global pandemic and the unpredictable environment for next year, the 2021 (postponed from 2020) Eastern District Synod will be held online/virtually. Although the exact schedule is still being determined, the agenda will be truncated so as to focus primarily on necessary elections and review/approval of a district budget.
I can imagine that for some this is disappointing news, while for others it is welcome news as it will simplify the realities of their participation, negate travel, and allow for everyone to sleep in the comfort of their own bed! However, what is likely a disappointment for all is the assumed loss of the deep fellowship, the sacred worship, and the new friendships that are a gift of a synod experience. To this end, I want to assure you that the Synod Planning Team is working diligently to begin to revamp the synod experience, but to do so taking into account not only the challenges of an online environment, but also these gifts of a synod experience that can yet be nurtured and provided. For instance, understanding that “screen exhaustion” is a very real challenge, the Synod plenary sessions will be done in segments, allowing for periodic breaks. (There will not be committee work, given the minimal and focused agenda.) As well, opportunities will abound for people to participate in online extra-curricular program, ministry, and worship opportunities connected with and outside of the plenary sessions.
We will have the good fortune to welcome David LaMotte, internationally known author, musician, and song-writer as a keynote speaker. David is passionate about peacemaking and incorporates the gift of song and story in his messages and TEDx talks. Additionally, Dr. Audrey West and Rev. Dr. Frank Crouch, Faculty member and Dean of Moravian Theological Seminary, respectively, will be providing a presentation entitled, “Live the Darn Gospel!” In partnership with David LaMotte, Frank and Audrey will also be participating in a live panel discussion with delegates about the Gospel’s important and sacred relevance to this extraordinary day and time. When you also factor in online group spiritual direction opportunities offered by Synod Chaplain, Rev. Maggie Wellert, break-out ministry discussions, and worship experiences coordinated by the Rev. Dr. Lynnette Delbridge, this synod will offer a plethora of engagement and enrichment opportunities – all online!
Therefore, until the exact schedule is determined, we invite synod delegates to continue to reserve June 23-26, 2021. More information will be forthcoming as the exact online schedule is worked out. We hope your delegates will look forward to not only the important work of electing your new Eastern District Executive Board and district agency representatives and board members, but to also experience the gifts of fellowship, worship, ministry conversations, and renewing friendships. We may not be able to be in the same room, but we will be together in Christ’s name, experiencing the joys and partnerships which are an inherent part of the Moravian Church, Eastern District. “SEE YOU” then!
They say hindsight is 20/20, and as this unique year comes to a close, we can all agree that no one saw the events of this year coming. Even with only two months left, there is still plenty of time for our expectations to be diverted and have our plans changed. In honor of a year that has been unprecedented in the most noteworthy fashions, we have set a fundraising goal of gaining 20 new monthly donors who give at least $20 a month.
We would love to achieve this goal by the end of the year. You can help us by going to our website, moravianmission.org and clicking “give”. Be sure to set up automated giving so your gift can continue on in the new year.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we would love to extend a thank you to all of our supporters who have helped us continue our mission in this (hopefully) one-of-a-kind year.
Stewardship: A four-part harmony
By Laura Watson
Thursdays, 3:00-4:00 pm, November 5 and 12
This four-week experience will look at four familiar scripture passages in new ways as we reflect on how, as followers of Christ, we are called to care for ourselves, our stuff, one another, and the Earth.
Through a mixture of Lectio Divina and conversation, we’ll learn together and celebrate the privilege, responsibility and joy of being God’s stewards.
Co-led by Rev. Richard Sides, retired pastor in the Southern Province, and Laura Sides Watson, MMFA’s Director of Stewardship Services.
11/5: Caring for One Another
1 Peter 4:10
11/12: Caring for Creation
Resource of the Month: Take the Ancestors with You
A new curriculum, entitled Take the Ancestors with You, is now available. While intended to serve as a Moravian history supplement for confirmation instruction, this material could also be used in new member instruction programs as well as small group studies. The content examines the lives and faith journeys of the important ancestors who impacted our denomination — Jan Hus, Gregory the Patriarch, Luke of Prague, John Amos Comenius, Christian David, Count Zinzendorf, and Moravian women. Additionally, the material explores the beginning of Moravian mission work as well as our customs and practices. Various resources are included, as well as PowerPoint slides. This material is available as a free download by contacting Marie Couts – [email protected] or 330-401-1212.
Youth and Young Adult Ministry
FROZEN IN YOUR TRACKS?
When it comes to youth and young adult ministry don’t be frozen in your tracks by the illusion that only big things can make a difference. Instead, try one of the following:
Drive/Walk by prayer & candy bars: Text someone a youth or young adult and or and their families, ask them for prayer requests and tell them that you’ll be coming by to pray at their house. Make it clear in your communication — they don’t have to come out, though, tell them when you will arrive in case they want to. Honor them by wearing a mask and staying 6 feet away, respect each family’s specific social distancing needs. If you are in a car you can pray through your car window. Standing or sitting in their driveway, pray for their prayer requests, pray for them and for their families. This small act demonstrates your heart and care for them in person.
For those who were not home or don’t come out, take a picture of yourself in their driveway and text it to them to say I prayed for you and your family today. Bring your favorite candy bars and leave them at the door. There is no question that the act of praying does incredible things for others.
Go Postal: This may not be as “satisfying” to you personally, but everyone is feeling fatigued. Put something in the mail to a youth or young adult – make a world of difference to their day! Send out prizes and gift cards, or postcards and notes. Youth and Young Adults rarely get things through the actual mail. This can be a huge encouragement to them. Send a $3.03 Walmart gift card, just because. Send a postcard with a Scripture on it. Send them each a note and tell them how much they mean to you.
And though you do not get to see the reactions, taking a couple of hours and writing some things out can be a great break from your screen.
Use your phone to…call!: Many of us never use the actual “phone” part of our phones. Think how incredibly surprised others might be to see your name and number come up as a voice connection!
Perhaps think of a funny question – like “Do you believe in bigfoot?” and while you are asking them that, check in and see how they are doing too.
During this time, we prefer video to be able to see non-verbal cues, changing it up and doing a voice call to just say hello can be a welcome connection for you and others.
One-on-Ones: As restrictions lift, it is okay in many places to actually go spend time with one or two of your teens. Do it! Make sure you understand your state’s rules, the comfortability of the teen’s parents or the young adults themselves, and practice good youth and young adult ministry safety protocols (i.e.: a guy leader doesn’t take out a girl student). And though maybe you can’t dine-in somewhere, going for a walk is a great way I have found to help teens open up.
Questions, concerns, or youth and young adults you might like to see included in District wide youth and young adult virtual activities? Contact Rev. Cynthia Rader Geyer, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at [email protected] or 484-554-0102.
Sr. Sue Koenig, pastor of the Graceham Moravian Church in Thurmont, Maryland, has accepted a ¾ time call to serve as pastor of the First Moravian Church of Easton, PA
Sr. Sue Koenig has also accepted a ¼ time call to assist the Provincial Elders’ Conference and the Racial Justice Team in the implementation of the provincial action plan toward racial justice and healing. As the PEC began the work to fulfill the initiatives that were approved by the 2018 Provincial Synod, they recognized the critical nature of the work and the need to invest in a position; they prayerfully decided to call an individual to shepherd this work toward a more faithful response. In this position, Sr. Sue will work under the leadership of the President of the Provincial Elders’ Conference, and in coordination with the Racial Justice Team. She will conclude her ministry at Graceham on January 31, 2021 and begin both calls on February 15, 2021. Please be in prayer for Sue, her husband Mike, and the Graceham and Easton congregations, along with the Provincial Racial Justice Team, in this time of transition.
Sr. Tracy Pryor, pastor of the Great Kills Moravian Church on Staten Island, New York, has accepted a bi-vocational ½ time call to serve Church of the Redeemer Moravian Church in Dublin, Ohio. Tracy and her husband Michael hope to also advance their ministry, Earth & Cup at the location of the congregation. She will conclude her ministry at Great Kills on January 31, 2021 and begin service in Ohio on February 15, 2021. Please be in prayer for Tracy, her husband Michael Poole, and the Great Kills and Church of the Redeemer congregations in this time of transition.
CROSSROADS UPCOMING CLASS-CULTURE AND CHANGE
Mondays & Thursdays, 6-9 pm
November 5 – December 3
For many Moravians, celebrating Christmas means a packed church, beautiful music, joyous singing, beeswax candles, sharing a Lovefeast and more – all things that are difficult, if not impossible, in this very challenging year. Now more than ever, our Moravian traditions provide grounding and comfort during an uncertain season.
Earlier this year, a group began imagining what a Moravian Christmas might look like in this age of physical distancing, virtual worship, and limited singing options. This interprovincial collaboration is bringing together events, ideas, and resources to ensure that Christmas 2020 is a spiritual, memorable, uniquely Moravian experience!
Visit www.MoravianChristmas.org throughout the Advent and Christmas season as we reimagine our traditional worship and programming. Note that this site is still developing and new content is being added daily!
Materials to be added throughout the next few weeks include:
- Worship Resources: music, liturgies, images and videos
- Family Resources: at-home spiritual formation and fun
- Special digital content and events: Moravian “stuff” to watch and share, Advent readings online services, Moravian Advent Trivia, centralized event calendar of services being hosted by Moravians throughout Advent
Additional resources: “offline” options, outdoor events, and other special services, such as Blue Christmas (for those struggling during the Christmas season).
These resources will be shared interprovincially and may be accessed at www.MoravianChristmas.org
Check back often as new resources will be added as soon as they are available! If you have any questions, contact Mike Riess at [email protected].
CAMP HOPE 2021 CALENDAR
Camp Hope is selling 2021 calendars featuring beautiful 12″x12″ pictures taken around camp. Makes a great gift for your favorite camper(s) or for yourself. There will also be space each month to honor your loved ones’ birthdays and anniversaries. Deadline for birthday/anniversary submissions is November 1. Deadline for calendar orders is November 8. For more information, please contact Suzanne Curtis at (908) 459-4435 or [email protected].
CHRISTMAS AT CAMP HOPE
Spend Christmas at Camp the weekend of December 11, 12, and 13. Package includes cabin rental for two nights; all “Moravian Christmas in Hope” events taking place in town that weekend; discounts at local eateries, shops, and more; Moravian worship service in Hassler Hall (Lower Lodge) Sunday morning. For more information, please contact Suzanne Curtis at (908) 459-4435 or [email protected].