Online Synod 2021
With mounds of snow all over the place, it hardly seems right to already be talking about June, but it will be here before we know it! As the Eastern District virtual synod sneaks up on us, I want to highlight a few of the elements of this unique synod format.
Due to the limitations of a virtual format, the synod’s agenda will be focused upon three major actions – synod elections, passing an Eastern District budget, and review of the provincial report related to Identity, Purpose, and Organization (IPO). If any memorials are received for synod consideration, they will be held over for action at the next “in-person” synod. Realizing that the usual delegate committee engagement during the synod would be difficult to facilitate, the Synod Planning Committee intends to host regional virtual gatherings prior to synod to not only prepare delegates for the technological aspects of the synod, but also to review the agenda items in detail. In particular, this will allow all delegates to become familiar with the current budgetary challenges and predicaments, but also to get some initial information related to the provincial IPO work. More information in terms of timing will be forthcoming in regard to these virtual pre-synod, regional gatherings in the near future.
As well, realizing the usual work of a Finance Committee to produce a proposed budget during synod will not be possible under this virtual format, it is the intention of the Eastern District Executive Board to appoint a Finance Committee from the pool of registered synod delegates and for this committee to begin their work prior to the synod. This will allow for the committee to have adequate time to become familiar with the current budget, learn of the challenges facing the future financing of the district’s work, and work toward establishing a proposed budget for presentation at the synod itself.
A special feature of the synod will be a keynote address by author, speaker, and professional musician, David LaMotte. David’s speaking and workshop calendar has included presenting at the PC(USA) Mission to the United Nations, keynoting peace conferences in Berlin and at the Scottish Parliament, as well as offering the baccalaureate for 2016 graduates of Columbia Seminary. As a keynote speaker, and then Critical Conversations Coordinator, he has facilitated conversations about race, privilege, and positive change for thousands of college students at the Montreat College Conference. His TEDx talk on what music can teach us about peacemaking was published in 2018. David has published three books, including two illustrated children’s books. The first based on his award-winning children’s song SS Bathtub and the second, White Flour, is based on the true story of a creative, effective, and whimsical response to a Ku Klux Klan march in Knoxville, Tennessee by a group called the Coup Clutz Clowns. His most recent book, Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness, is being used as a textbook in universities in the United States and Australia.
David’s music has been honored with numerous awards and artist grants, and has been featured on dozens of artist compilations. Notably, his song Dark and Deep was included on Songs Inspired By Literature, Chapter One, a benefit CD to raise money for adult literacy. Other artists on that CD include Suzanne Vega, Grace Slick, Aimee Mann and Bruce Springsteen. Several independent films feature David’s music, and it has been heard on the Today Show and the Showtime television series This American Life.
As we continue to plan for the synod, we welcome your prayers for Christ’s leading.
Did You Know…
This June will mark the 75th anniversary of the Ahuas Clinic!
Learn more about this historic event by reading the Ahuas Spotlight, a quarterly online newsletter spotlighting the staff, patients, mission teams, history, and past missionaries. The spotlight features pictures, videos, and testimonies that help bring the work of the Clinic to life. Find links to the latest edition at MoravianMission.org or email [email protected] to be added to the email list to get it right in your inbox!
In this issue, look for information about a special fundraising effort to support the Ahuas Clinic, celebrating 75 years and preparing it for the next 75! Full endowment of the clinic’s budget is a long-term goal, but you can help with these first steps today, by making a donation to the “Ahuas Anniversary Fund” and helping us reach the special goal of $75,000 for the 75th anniversary in 2021!
An Incredible First Day of Giving
By Chris Spaugh
We are grateful for the many people who contributed to a remarkable first ever Moravian Day of Giving on February 16. Moravian agencies and churches received over 200 gifts on that day — 70 of which came from first-time users of MMFA’s Giving Portal. This exceeded our previous record for the most gifts processed on a single day by 25%. The more than $80,000 collected for Moravian congregations and agencies included the full $10,000 matching gift for our Field Of Interest Funds for future grants to various ministries. Prevention of Violence Against Women, Hunger & Thirst, and Housing & Shelter Funds were the largest recipient field of interest funds.
We extend a special thanks to our sponsoring bishops, The Rt. Rev. Lane Sapp and The Rt. Rev. Hopeton Clennon, as well as our matching donor, Sister Sallie Greenfield. We thank the Provincial Elders’ Conferences of the Northern and Southern Provinces for their support, The Rev. Lance Fox and an anonymous donor of Moravian branded clothing, the staff of MMFA for donating credit card points to acquire gift cards, and the many church and agency communicators who helped get the word out.
This event was certainly a lot of fun in a time when so many are still hurting. These gifts will go directly to support ministries as the donor intended and may God Bless each gift. I continue to be amazed at how we can rally together even in pandemic times for the cause of Christ. As your foundation, we will continue to work to provide solutions and meet needs as we all move ministry forward, together.
On behalf of all the Moravian congregations, agencies, ministries and individual recipients of these generous gifts, we thank each donor who made a contribution above and beyond the tithe or pledge on our first Moravian Day of Giving. We look forward to repeating this special call again next year on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 (which also happens to be the anniversary of the beginning of the Unity of the Brethren, Shrove Tuesday, and Mardi Gras).
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. 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.
Baptism is a Gift of God, As Such, It is More than Water
Joseph Emanuel Nicholas
This book is an invitation for us to come to the conversation about Christian Baptism with a willingness to teach and to learn. It is not a focus on the right or wrong way but rather it suggests that there is much more involved than the earthly and the temporal. There is a careful review of Holy Scripture that takes us beyond our favorite passages for whatever our conviction on the subject might be. The book seeks to show that the Bible says much more about the subject than is reflected in many of our conversations. The hope is that it will allow more people of faith to find their place in this gift of God. Written and published by the Rev. Joseph E. Nicholas, a Moravian pastor who has served in Antigua, Barbados and Miami. He currently lives in Washington, DC.
Readings for Holy Week CD/Large Print Edition Bundle
In this special offer bundle, enjoy the Readings for Holy Week Audio CD’s while following along in the book. This bundle is a $8.90 savings.
Readings for Holy Week CD/Music Edition Bundle $30.00
This special bundle includes the Holy Week Audio CD’s and the Music Edition book. This bundle is a $8.90 savings.
Coming soon: The New Moravian Catechism
The IBOC has begun to distribute the new Moravian Catechism to each congregation in the Northern and Southern Provinces. Following more than four years of research, discernment, writing and revising, the Interprovincial Faith & Order Commission developed this updated Catechism for the Moravian Church in America. Approved by the Provincial Elders’ Conferences of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the catechism is now printed and ready for distribution and use throughout the church.
Following this initial distribution, additional copies will be available for purchase from the IBOC. The booklet is also formatted to be printed on standard letter-size paper in congregations, so downloadable versions will also be available. If your congregation does not receive its initial supply of the catechism by March 5, please e-mail [email protected]
News From the Racial Justice Team
Below is an announcement of a program with Lisa Sharon Harper, author of The Very Good Gospel to be held virtually on March 18, 2021. Ms. Harper’s faith-filled book is excellent, and she presents a most helpful biblical model for the work of racial justice in congregations. https://lehighchurches.org/event/robert-campbell-lecture-with-lisa-sharon-harper-good-news-for-our-soul/
New Way of Being: From Confession to Hope
Wednesday Lenten Series Featuring Moravian Stories and Racial Justice
The Provincial Racial Justice Team is pleased to announce a 2021 Lenten Series called “A New Way of Being: From Confession to Hope”. This series builds on the Advent material offered last year. Each session will include a reflection on the lectionary texts for the preceding Sunday, conversations among Moravians as they discuss their journey toward a growing awareness of racial justice and healing, and discussion questions.
The series is offered on five Wednesday evenings in Lent, starting after Ash Wednesday and concluding before Holy Week.
All sessions begin at 7 pm ET/ 6 pm CT/ 5 pm MT/ 4 pm PT and will be led by:
March 17:Amy Gohdes-Luhman and Tim Berry
March 24: Bruce Nelson and Riddick Weber
Participants may participate live, via Zoom, or access the recordings of the material that will be posted at https://www.moravian.org/northern/category/racial-justice-and-healing/
The Zoom link for all five sessions is the same:
Meeting ID: 856 2960 0721 Passcode: 734018
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The Board of Management has decided that we will not be able to have our traditional weeklong summer camps again this year. With Covid restrictions, the experience would not be what we all expect a week at camp to be.
We will be offering weekend cabin rentals for families again for Memorial Day Weekend as well as the last two weekends of June and the month of July. Information for these rentals will be coming out shortly. We are planning on having a full summer long staff to lead activities, games and campfires as well as providing meals and cleaning the camp. If you are 16 or older and would love to spend a summer at camp, please contact the camp office to apply: 908- 459-4435 or [email protected]