Eastern District Blog Events Information News

District Developments September 2022

In All Things Love

My son and I arrived at Mountainview Moravian Church in Hellertown, PA, to help with their clothing distribution to the community. This ministry has been ongoing since 2013, with a brief pause during the worst of COVID-19. Even then, the congregation was able to offer a safe outdoor coat distribution to meet the needs of their neighbors. Quincy and I were amazed at how the entire day ran so smoothly. People were greeted warmly by Pastor Jodie Harney as they arrived. They received new underwear and socks. Volunteers (members and friends of Mountainview and folks from the community) were there to assist if anyone had any questions or needed help finding the items they were seeking.

Parents selected clothing for their kids who were about to return to school. Some people were picking out clothing for themselves or close friends living in care facilities. The atmosphere was relaxed and hospitable. There were many smiles and stories exchanged. It was wonderful to witness this congregation living out Christ’s call for them as they experience it in Matthew 25:35-40.

Jodie estimates that over 5,000 people have received approximately 60,000 pieces of clothing, pairs of shoes, bedding, coats, purses, and more. She says, “We do not ask for any proof of need; we don’t question people on why they came. We open our doors and welcome everyone who comes for clothing. We talk with them. We hear their stories. And, whether they know it or not, we pray for each and every one of them. Our church family has found joy in this ministry, and we hope that we have been a blessing to those whom we have served.”

As Quincy and I drove home, we reflected on this ministry and the impact it has. We also recognized that this is just one of the congregations in our district, and all the rest are also impacting their communities in similar ways. God’s love is offered in so many ways. Through the faithful actions of followers of Jesus, we are making a difference in the lives of our neighbors. I am so grateful to God for each of our congregations and agencies and the ministry you share!

Missy

From Our District President: At our last regional meetings, a question was raised about how congregations might deal with youth sports being held on Sunday mornings. We saved the response for this month, since all those fall sports and other activities are ramping as school begins. The Rev. Cynthia Rader Geyer, our Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, had a wonderful response filled with practical suggestions for congregations as we strive to offer love and hospitality to your young people and their families . . .

From Our Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries: Over the past 20 years, sports have grown to new heights, with more opportunities and greater publicity than ever before. As this has happened, it’s made it more difficult for families to figure out how to engage in sports in a healthy way amidst all the pressures, and never-ending opportunities at hand. We can’t expect to change our post-Christian culture to cater to Christians, so the question is, as Christians, how do we, navigate the ever-growing sports landscape of today?

Pray for the kids, parents, and sports teams by including them in Sunday worship.

Offer Children’s Messages or Sunday School materials that focus on the characters both sports and the Church provide to develop as a person of integrity.

Have a Sports Sunday. Invite members of sports teams to wear their jerseys to church. Talk about how the church is like a team or how the church uses teams.

Include a prayer wall near your sanctuary with the names of the sports teams, team members names, a copy of the games schedule, and the names of parents, to build community and help the kids and parents know how important they are to the church.

Pray for the team, the child and the parents:

That the Holy Spirit will guide them on a foundational level how to leverage sports as an opportunity to build relationships with people that we can engage with the gospel.

That as they live their faith others in the Sports family might experience the love of Christ.

That kids and parents might see sports as an opportunity to grow in their identity as children of God.

Be Jesus in the sports community, our kids must see that they are a priority of the local church from day one:

Go to one, or more, of the kids’ games, if they only play on Sunday, attend following worship.

Hold a shorter worship service and go to the game or commission a group to go to the game to pray for and support those involved. Remember Jesus said, ‘Go into all the world’.

For kids and parents to believe the church is important, they must feel, they must experience, they must know that they are important to our church.

Every decision we make when it comes to sports will have a lasting impact on kids, so we should start with prayer. Remember, the goal is to build a community of faithful followers of Christ. Let’s not hold up sports for our kids to bow down to but instead show them a Savior living in our community to hold on to.

A Note from the Executive Director as summer comes to a close…

Summer “break” is an interesting thing to think about once you are out of school… If you, like me, live in Wisconsin, summers are short and, rather than taking a break and slowing down, summer feels more like a sprint as I try to accomplish as much as possible in these warm and long days. For BWM staff this also means fanning out and attending our different summer camping programs. BWM staff and board members will collectively serve more than a dozen weeks at our Moravian summer camps this year. Personally, at the time of writing, I have just completed back-to-back weeks at Chetek (Western District) and Camp Hope (Eastern District) for their senior high programming. It was inspiring to be able to serve as a counselor for such engaged and passionate young adults who truly live out the challenge of 1 Timothy 4:12 to “be the example” of what God calls the world to be.

In addition to staffing camps with BWM employees, we also facilitated camper exchanges, including helping two campers from Florida to attend Chetek in Wisconsin and then covering the travel expenses for a camper from the Western District to attend Camp Hope. These exchanges are invaluable as relationships are formed amongst developing leaders. At each camp, conversations were held about opportunities for mission service as part of vocational discernment and general growth. As a result, a new crop of names has been added to our list of potential mission team participants in the near future. I am excited by the passion apparent in our church for this important work.

Learn more about the Board of World Mission at:

MoravianMission.org or find us on Facebook and Instagram

 

Pastoral Updates

Br. Charles Harewood, pastor of the First Moravian Church in New York City, has requested and been granted permission from the Provincial Elders’ Conference to retire from the active ministry, effective December 31, 2022. Please keep Charles, his family, and the First congregation in your prayers in these months of transition.

A reminder that Br. Aaron Linville, pastor of the Millwoods Moravian Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta, will be consecrated a Presbyter on September 11 at 3:30 pm MT/5:30 pm ET, with Br. Sam Gray officiating. Please keep Aaron, his family, and the congregation in prayer. The service will be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP8KBX5yXBcqQyK_TpCahLQ

Staff Updates

From Sister Betsy Miller:

Dear sisters and brothers, siblings in Christ,

I write to update you on some personnel changes here at the Provincial Office.

Sr. Rachel Starmer, who has served as Executive Assistant to the PEC president for nearly a year, submitted her resignation last week so that she could devote more time to care for her family members. Her last day in the office will be September 16. During her brief tenure with us, Rachel has brought significant skills to the job. She has developed many communication and digitizing systems that have streamlined our work and made more forms and information available online to the entire province. In a time when we meet and communicate more and more in digital and virtual ways, this transition has been both monumental and transformational. Please join me in expressing deep gratitude to Rachel for the many ways she has been a blessing to the province and our shared ministry.

As I met with the Church Center staff to discuss managing the workflow upon Rachel’s departure, Sr. Johanna Heft, Administrative Assistant to the Eastern District, indicated that she felt called to apply for the position as Executive Assistant to the PEC president. After thoughtful consideration, we have formally hired Johanna to step into the PEC office position. She will begin in her new role on September 19. This is an ideal situation for the province because Johanna brings experience with our processes and systems, a considerable amount of knowledge of the position, and deep ties to the Moravian Church through her membership at Edgeboro Moravian Church in Bethlehem. We are thrilled! Please join me in welcoming Johanna to her new role. Her email address will remain the same: [email protected].

Even as Johanna steps into her new role, her departure from the Eastern District office creates a vacancy there. We are working now to develop a job description and post the position. If you know someone who might be interested in applying for this position, please contact Jacquie Petko, our Director of HR/Benefits ([email protected]).

In this time of transition, please be patient and gracious if you do not get a response to an email or other inquiry right away. We are all pulling together to continue to serve the province as best we can. Please be in prayer for the entire staff, and especially Rachel and Johanna and their families.

Improving our Relationship with Money
Sign up by 9/26.

Free classes begin 10/11.

By Laura Watson

In his book God Vs. Money, Clif Christopher writes, “I began to explore where our priorities were and whether our strivings were moving us closer or farther away from a relationship with our Creator.”

Are you also thinking about what you value, what brings you happiness, and (hopefully) what brings GOD happiness? When it comes to money, are you working to make smart decisions while also wanting to do good with it? Unfortunately, our relationship with money can be a source of real stress and tension. It’s hard to overcome our culture’s messages of hoarding, fear, and “it’s all mine and I need more.”

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