A Ministry for the Lonely
By Johanna Heft
When I found out that Edgeboro Moravian Church along with other Moravian Churches were looking for pen pals for lonely residents of Moravian Village and Moravian House, I took the request personally!
In times before COVID-19, I had the joy of volunteering along with several other musicians as a piano player for the Moravian Village church services. Although I enjoy playing the piano and being part of the church service, getting to know the residents and being part of their church family is what makes my heart soar with happiness. I know when I share my deep concerns during prayer time, that they are praying for me and keep praying and will express concern and care each time I return. For me it was the joy of seeing that older folks are rich in faith and giving in love and have an energy and love for each other beyond any physical limitation. So as the pandemic stretched endlessly, I worried about my friends at Moravian Village.
While I was busy worrying, the administration at BAM had asked the BAM Ministries Committee for assistance out of concern for the residents of Moravian Village and the Moravian Houses downtown. With necessary COVID-19 restrictions in place, visiting has been limited. Some are feeling isolated and lonely. In order to help the staff care for the lonely, the BAM congregations began a ministry of pairing church members with the residents. Volunteers will write notes, letters, and cards to let people know they aren’t alone. They are hoping that some of these pairs might develop into pen pals, but the actual goal is simply to reach out in care and concern. At this point they have created 91 pairs!
Very quickly after learning of this program I shared the information on Facebook. I was flooded with responses from family, friends, young adults that I taught in Sunday School, former piano students, former coworkers, and a friend’s grandchild just 15 years old that all wanted to help. I have no doubt that their hearts are filled with compassion and concern. I was overwhelmed with how many in my circle of relationships have this kind and caring heart. It spoke to me louder than any of the chaos, violence, division, hate and sickness of our recent times. It filled me with a hope I had not felt in many months. It reminded me that as we let Christ flow into our hearts and act on His love, we have the power to heal. I have a deep gratitude to BAM, Melissa Johnson and the pastors, and volunteers making this program happen.
Would you like to be a pen pal to a lonely senior? Although Bethlehem Area Moravians have successfully filled the pen pal slots needed, I would encourage you to consider the other agencies in our district who serve elder populations who may be experiencing extreme loneliness and isolation in this time of pandemic. (Contact Richard Thierolf at Moravian Manor in Lititz, PA at: [email protected]; contact Otto Dreydoppel Jr. at Morningstar Living in Nazareth, PA [email protected]; contact Susan Attzs-Mendoza at Moravian Open Door in New York City at: [email protected] and other senior care facilities in or near your own hometown.)
As we begin a New Year, may you hear His love speaking loudly with hope and share in the abundance of His healing love.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Melissa Johnson for providing the details concerning this program.
Mondays, 6-9 pm
January 4 – February 22
Instructor: Rev. Maggie Wellert
Real-time Distance Learning via Zoom
MAPPING THE ROUTE (THEOLOGY)
Thursdays, 6-9 pm
January 7 – February 25
Instructor: Rev. Dr. Bill Falla
Real-time Distance Learning via Zoom
DID YOU KNOW..
That each year the Board of World Mission draws a “Watchword”, the same way each of you draw your own watchwords for the coming year?
The watchword that was drawn for the BWM for 2021 is:
“Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16.”
This is an amazingly appropriate text for us!
We see three movements to the text. First, we approach God (the throne of grace) not with a sense of fear or timidity but with boldness. With a cheerful voice, we exalt God with one accord. It is God’s good pleasure to see us arrive, and God welcomes us with open arms. While we approach God with boldness, we also approach knowing that we have not always done what is good and acceptable in God’s eyes. We have all fallen short of our call, we have missed the mark, we have left undone things that should have been completed. We come boldly but knowing that we need God’s mercy and grace. The good news is that for us, for us, the Lamb was slain. Praise the Lord; our God is a merciful God who forgives our sins and shortcomings and calls us to begin anew. Finally, we go into all the world full of grace, knowing that this good news is not for us alone but meant for all the world to hear and know. This is the amazing grace we receive, and the task given to us to spread God’s word. Amen.
Please follow us on our website, www.moravianmission.org and on Facebook to see where this year takes us to help those in need.
Happy New Year from the BWM Staff!
Forming faithful stewards, together.
By Laura Watson
“For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” Ephesians 2:10
Stewardship is about much more than money, and it’s more than what we do through our church. It’s a way of life; it’s our identity. God created us to be stewards, to care for all God has entrusted to us; as God’s stewards we use our lives to reflect God’s love and generosity in who we are and all we do.
Your Moravian Ministries Foundation is pleased to offer stewardship services to help you form and nurture faithful and generous stewards in your ministry setting. We do this by partnering with you to discern your community of faith’s unique culture and core rhythms, and then together we create a multi-year plan that encompasses all aspects of church life.
To learn more, please join Chris Spaugh, MMFA President and CEO, and me for “Forming Faithful Stewards, Together,” on Thursday, January 21, at 11:00 am. During the webinar we’ll share more about what’s new for MMFA’s stewardship services, including tools such as a health assessment and year-round planning template, our partnerships with three different money management courses, and more.
Please also join us for a new stewardship bible study in 2021; on the last Tuesday of every month, at 11 am EST, we’ll gather via Zoom for a one-hour conversation about a chosen passage of scripture. I’m excited to co-lead our January session (1/26/21) with the Rev. Melissa Johnson, pastor of Advent Moravian Church in Bethlehem, PA. Stay tuned for more details, but please go ahead and register today!
How will your community of faith be a part of God’s work in our world in 2021? And how can MMFA walk with you as you form, educate, and nurture generous and faithful stewards? Please reach out to me ([email protected]; 336-725-2589) with any questions or to learn more about MMFA’s services; you can also visit us online at www.mmfa.info.
I look forward to hearing from you and to moving ministries forward, together.