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District Developments July 2021

Officers Elected at 2021 Synod

As a result of the 2021 Eastern District Synod, the Eastern District Office is pleased to introduce the newly elected officers of the Eastern District Executive Board (EDEB).

Elected as Eastern District President is Rev. Melissa Johnson.  Sister Melissa is currently pastor of Advent Moravian Church in Bethlehem, PA.  She will transition to this new position sometime in late July.

Elected as the Penn/Mar Representative to the EDEB is Sister Bonnie Robertson, who resides in Lanham, MD and is a member of the Trinity Moravian congregation.

Elected as the NY/NJ Metro/Toronto Representative to the EDEB is Sister Naomi Mercia Solomon, who resides in Branchburg, NJ and is a member of the Vanderbilt Avenue Moravian congregation.

Re-elected as the Ohio Representative to the EDEB is Sister Jackie Pasquinelli, who resides in New Philadelphia, Ohio and is a member of the Schoenbrunn Moravian congregation.

Re-elected as the Del Valley Representative to the EDEB is Sister Lauren Grady, who resides in West Deptford, NJ and is a member of the Palmyra Moravian congregation.

Re-elected as the LV North Representative to the EDEB is Sister Tammy Lavoy, who resides in Greentown, PA and is a member of the Newfoundland Moravian congregation.

Re-elected as the LV South Representative to the EDEB is Sister Linda Rapp, who resides in Hellertown, PA and is a member of the College Hill Moravian congregation.

Elected as a Pastoral Representative to the EDEB is Rev. Earl Goulbourne, who resides in Jamaica, NY and serves as the pastor of the Grace Moravian congregation.

Re-elected as a Pastoral Representative to the EDEB is Rev. Darrell Johnson, who resides in both Cinnaminson, NJ and Bethlehem, PA and serves as the pastor of the Palmyra Moravian congregation.

We welcome each of these individuals to their new offices upon the EDEB and are grateful for their willingness to offer this service to the Eastern District.  Our prayer will join those of the entire district as you navigate both the challenges and the celebrations of this important service.

The Eastern District Office would also like to offer our gratitude to the many who served tirelessly to bring this unique synod to fruition.  It could not have happened without you!

  • Synod Planning Team – Marie Couts (Chair), Jeffrey Long (Project Manager), Bishop Doug Kleintop, Sue Koenig, Cynthia Rader Geyer, Garritt Fleming, Scott Harney, Blondel Jones-Grant, Johanna Heft, David Bennett
  • Synod Officers – Rick Santee (Chair), Melida Hodgson (Vice-Chair), The Honorable Wilma Lewis (Parliamentarian), Jill Westbrook (Secretary), Paul Peucker (Asst. Secretary)
  • Synod Chaplain – Maggie Wellert
  • Synod Worship Team- Lynnette Delbridge (Coordinator), Tina Giesler, Mandy Mastros, Matt Spies, Bevon White
  • Synod Musicians
  • Synod Tech Team – Mark Santore, Mike Riess, Brenda Cahill, Tammy Curcio, Marie Cestone, Jacquie Petko
  • Synod Emcees – Cynthia Rader Geyer, Tory Reid
  • Synod Coordinator and Registrar – Johanna Heft

We are grateful for you service, your faithfulness to detail, your creativity in the midst of complicated circumstance, and your patience in helping bring about a very different, but wonderfully blessed synod.

Did you know…….

BWM staff have once again started to travel!!! With the wider availability of a vaccine, and loosening travel restrictions in some parts of the world, BWM staff members are getting on the move!

Executive Director, Justin Rabbach, was able to attend the recent Synods of both the Honduras Unity Province and Mission Province in person. This opportunity to renew contacts and discuss topics such as the ongoing theological education and medical work supported by the BWM with leaders was invaluable.
If your congregation would like a BWM staff member to offer a mission moment, lead a program, workshop or worship service, virtually or in-person, please be in touch! We would love to start receiving invitations to come share about mission and will work with you to abide by all local health and safety guidelines in place.

Pastoral Change

Sr. Sayward Lippincott, pastor of First Moravian Church in York, Pennsylvania, has accepted the call to serve as Co-Pastor of the Lititz Moravian Church in Lititz, PA. She will serve in partnership there with Br. Mark Breland. Sayward’s last Sunday at York First will be September 5; she will be installed at Lititz on September 26. Please be in prayer for Sayward, her husband Kevin and their family, along with the York First and Lititz congregations at this time of transition.

Giving Portal transaction fees are on us

The Moravian Ministries Foundation in America will begin paying the processing fees for online gifts made through the Moravian Giving Portal, beginning July 1. The Foundation itself has never charged any kind of fee. But, the backend processor, Blackbaud Merchant Services, charges a financial, processing fee similar to others who perform this service. This fee has been deducted from the gift, so the receiving congregation or agency got the net balance of the gift after the fee.

While Blackbaud Merchant Services continues to charge the fee, MMFA will pay it beginning July1. The receiving congregations, agencies, and ministries will now receive the full amount of the donor’s gift.

“Many congregations and agencies may now find the fee-free online giving service provided and maintained by MMFA more attractive than their own third party provider.  This removes the last roadblock for online gifts through our portal and we are extremely thankful to our donors and investors who make this possible,” said MMFA president and CEO Chris Spaugh.

Given that fees still get charged, we encourage donors to consider direct debits (of a checking or savings account) vs. credit card transactions whenever possible.  MMFA only absorbs a 75-cent fee for direct debits while card transactions are 2.79% of the donation amount.

Concurrent with its decision to cover the transaction fees, MMFA will also make some other changes to Giving Portal service to the Moravian Church in America:

  • MMFA will provide reports and payments to the recipients on a monthly basis, the Foundation was doing this twice monthly, during the past year.
  • MMFA will establish accounts for all the Moravian agencies, including those who have their own pre-existing online giving tools on their websites. During its first two years, the Giving Portal simply redirected visitors from the Portal to the agency’s page to make the gift there. Maintaining the redirection links has been challenging, so MMFA will now enable all gifts directly through the Portal (as it has been doing for the congregations).