The pandemic continues to impact our congregations in these difficult days. However, I am beginning to see a contrast based upon geography, as some congregations are beginning to move to in-person worship, while others find it still necessary to utilize online video conferencing resources. This pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we do ministry, and ironically, many congregations have found that how they functioned during this strained time has enhanced the people they could reach and the lives they could touch. Many have communicated to me an interest in maintaining their online and video conferencing presence even after the pandemic ceases to be an issue.
In that same spirit, The Board of Cooperative Ministries of the Southern Province, in partnership with the Northern Province’s Healthier Moravian Congregations Task Force, is offering a Virtual Leadership Focus Conference to aid and support congregations in navigating toward the blessings and opportunities that are interwoven in these difficult times. I would invite our Eastern District congregations to consider having key local leadership participate in this relevant and timely conference. (Important information describing the conference follows).
Leadership Focus 2021 starts February 25, 2021, with various educational workshops until March 13, 2021.
It’s been an interesting season to be the church, at times feeling like we are indeed in a wilderness. We are certainly, weary of the ongoing pandemic and the divisions that separate us, so let’s focus our energies on doing the important work to “prepare the way of the Lord.” What highways can we build? How can we prepare for the church that is even now emerging? And how can we continue to minister to others, whether in our buildings or online, or both?
Leadership Focus 2021 Virtual Conference will offer an opening series, a closing series, and a variety of standalone workshops your congregational leaders will find particularly useful right now, as we explore what it means to be Church beyond the pandemic. We are especially happy to announce that we’ll be partnering with the Northern Province’s Healthier Moravian Congregations Task Force this year to produce this event. The task force facilitates the resourcing of congregations and works on projects to inform the work of developing healthier practices in our congregations.
Register today! New this year – our church “bundles” mean that you and your ministry team colleagues can attend at a significant discount.
This virtual conference will include:
Opening Session Series with Rev. Ryan Panzer, ELCA pastor and author of Grace and Gigabytes: Being Church in a Tech-Shaped Culture.
Standalone Workshops with various presenters on a variety of topics.
Moravians have always been anxious to support missions, especially in times of great need. It was no different last November when twin category 4 hurricanes assaulted our Central American Brothers and Sisters. With aid from the worldwide Moravian community, Moravian Disaster Response (MDR) sent funds to purchase emergency food in the days immediately following the storms and floods. Additional help paid for the purchase of bean and corn seeds, the distribution of water purification/hygiene kits, well cleaning equipment and temporary emergency shelters. Generous Moravians helped to ensure that people who had lost everything had clean drinking water, seeds to plant, medicines and temporary shelter as they rebuild their lives. North American Moravians — individuals, women’s groups, mission societies, congregations and others – answered the call. Without your assistance, bean and corn seeds would not be germinating on the Patuca or Coco rivers. If it were not for your generosity, fewer people on Nicaragua’s East Coast would have clean water to drink. Were it not for your loving care, many across La Mosquitia would be without food. The same Christian faith that has supported these MDR efforts since November will enable it to continue to meet the recovery needs of a marginalized people at a particularly vulnerable time.
Moravian Ministries Foundation of America-Our First Ever Moravian Day of Giving
By Chris Spaugh
We are excited to promote the first ever Moravian Day of Giving on February 16 (Mardi Gras). The recognition has been approved by the Provincial Elders’ Conferences of both the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in America. The tithe. So many of our brothers and sisters have suffered and continue to suffer. Many have not been in a position to give as they had planned, yet the need for ministry is greater than ever. If you are in a position to make an extra gift of any amount, to any Moravian congregation, fellowship, agency, or ministry, please consider making the gift on the Moravian Giving Portal on February 16. Each donor who does will be entered into drawings for gift cards, Moravian SWAG, and more. The Moravian Ministries Foundation in America is preparing more than 100 thank you gifts for donors. In addition, Sister Sallie Greenfield will also match dollar for dollar the first $10,000 in gifts to any of the Field of Interest Funds made on that day through the Giving Portal. Field of Interest Funds include: Hunger & Thirst, Housing & Shelter, Healing & Health, Clothing, Prison Ministry, Environmental Stewardship, and Prevention of Violence Against Women.
Crossroads Spring 2021 Semester:
On Monday nights from Mar 8 – May 3 (excluding Mar 29), will be our Unpacking the Scriptures – Preaching course. Led by the Rev. Dr. Sue Pizor Yoder, participants will be introduced to a wide variety of preaching styles, sermon construction and some basic public speaking skills. Sue is a gifted sermon crafter and she will also spend some time on generational studies and how to speak to different ages. There is a limit of 10 in this course and we are halfway filled. Contact Jill Peters at [email protected] if you want to be in this course or register through our website at www.moravian.edu/crossroads. Zoom is available for this course
Compass will be held Thursday nights from Mar 11 – May 6 excluding April 1. We encourage participants to take this introductory course as early as possible. Co-taught by Dr. Jill Peters, Crossroads and the Rev. Linda Wisser, Crossroads and MTS grad. Compass has a two-fold purpose. First we build and refine basic communication skills needed for congregational leadership: researching, writing, and speaking. Then we use those skills to help hone each participant’s sense of call. Why are you here? What does God imagine for your unique skills and gifts? What do you need to get there? Register through our website at www.moravian.edu/crossroads. Zoom is available for this course.
Camp Hope is now accepting applications for Summer Staff 2021. Here is a link to the page with all of the details: https://www.camphope.org/now-hiring-for-summer-2021
Clergy are encouraged to think about their congregants who may be a good fit for summer staff and reach out to those individuals personally to apply for a position or to contact Suzanne Curtis, Director of Camp Hope, at:
Announcement For Pastors/CE Committees/Sunday School Teachers
The future of safe gatherings during this time of COVID continues to be an unknown. In many cases, even when congregations return to in-person worship, Sunday Schools are delaying in-person classes because space limitations do not permit social distancing.
To assist our congregations in the on-going nurturing of faith formation for our children, youth and families, Beth Hayes, Director of the Southern Province Resource Center, has negotiated an agreement with GenOn Ministries for FREE online resources for 2021. The Eastern District Spiritual Formation Ministry Team financially supported this arrangement so our Eastern District Churches can participate in this special opportunity.
The first resource available is “Lent at Home in Community,” an interactive devotional resource for all ages for the six weeks of Lent. This resource can be used at home or in-person.
Additionally, the following resources / curriculum will be available free to our Eastern District congregations when they are released by GenOn:
- Vacation Bible School virtual option: All God’s Children: The Church Family Gathers for a Very Blessed Summer
- Spring Quarter Sunday School: Sunday LIFT virtual model and Virtual LIFT in Community
- Summer Quarter Sunday School: Sunday LIFT virtual model and Virtual LIFT in Community
To access the free resources, you must contact Marie Couts ([email protected] or 330.401.1212) to receive an assigned password. As part of our agreement, all requests must go through Marie so a record of uses can be reported to GenOn Ministries.
Special offer on Readings for Holy Week
With Lent beginning in just a few weeks, it’s never too soon to be thinking about Holy Week! To help you get ready, the IBOC is offering special pricing on Readings for Holy Week Music and Large Print Editions. Through March 22, 2021, Large Print Edition, reg. $11.95 is now $7.50; Music Edition reg. $13.95, now $10.50.
And remember, the IBOC offers Readings for Holy Week in an audio edition! This 5-CD set brings Readings for Holy Week alive, with complete texts and hymns, ideal for use by small groups and congregations. Also makes a great gift for those who may not be able to attend local services because of distance, infirmity, conflicts in schedule, etc. $24.95.
Special this year!
Experience the story at home, or in your small group, with these special Readings for Holy Week book and CD sets:
Audio CDs and Large Print Edition Set: $28.00 (save $8.90)
Audio CDs and Music Edition Set: $30.00 (save $8.90).
To order, visit store.moravian.org; call Jill Bruckart, 800.732.0591, ext. 38; or email Jill at [email protected].
Since much of our Lenten and Easter celebrations will likely be virtual in 2021, the IBOC will be working to enhance resources and materials for Lent and Easter available on Moravian.org. Watch for updates over the coming weeks.
2021 Synod Delegate Registrations
Send to Synod Office
1021 Center Street