Calvary Moravian Church
Community Outreach Ministry
Calvary Moravian Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania is a member of the Lehigh Conference of Churches (LCC), which is an organization dedicated to helping the most vulnerable members in the greater Lehigh Valley with housing assistance, food, and hope. One of their longstanding programs is a Soup Kitchen which served guests lunch for three days a week before the pandemic. Another longstanding program has been a drop-in center for people in mental health treatment called Daybreak. With the COVID’s pressures of the pandemic on the poor, mentally ill, and homeless mounting in our community, LCC opened its feeding program and drop-in center to anyone, with no restrictions. It also began to serve meals five days a week instead of three, and three meals a day instead of just lunch.
Calvary heard the cry to help our hungry neighbors and began by helping to serve lunch in March 2022. We intended to only serve lunch one day per month, but we had too many volunteers interested in helping and so we took on the task of serving twice a month! After being part of this program for more than a year, we are astounded by the impact that our work has had in numerous ways.
The first impact is the most obvious. Each time we serve, over 100 guests enjoy delicious and nutritious tacos, filled with meat, beans, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, etc., which they can choose. The Conference estimates that about half of these guests are experiencing homelessness, while others are housing-insecure, residing in shared living spaces without the ability to cook, or can afford housing but often there’s not enough money left to purchase food. The location of LCC is within one of the poorest zip codes of the Lehigh Valley; the average income less than $30,000. Regardless of the reasons, the Conference welcomes all to a free hot meal three times a day.
The other impact is not on the LCC at all; it is with us. Six volunteers from Calvary, our pastor, student pastor and four volunteers from other Moravian churches in the area have all participated in the last year. We are also gratified to be working with the Bethlehem Freezer Ministry which supplies us with taco meat as part of their outreach cooking ministries. Our volunteers eagerly return every two weeks, remarking about how much the experience has given them: an opportunity to not only prepare food but also serve it, face to face, and share a smile and a hello with our hungry neighbors. The volunteers see that this is an example of living God’s love, and serving all the hungry, without exceptions.
Thanks to Linda Rapp (Lehigh Valley South regional rep. of the EDEB) for providing this article.
Eastern District Synod
Save the Dates!!!
JUNE 26 – 29, 2024
Have you ever wondered what makes the Moravian church unique?
Or, have you struggled when asked… “what is a Moravian”?
Beginning in April, over 40 members from Moravian congregations in Ohio attended a series of classes that helped answer those questions. Led by Sister Marie Couts and Brother Denny Rohn, the six-week series included zoom visits by guest speakers from across the Northern Province. Classes focused on the history, theology, missions and practices of our denomination. Through the weekly presentations, we followed the thread that connects our Moravian Unity back to the earliest days of its’ founding.
The first two weeks of the class were focused on the general history of the Moravian Church. These classes also presented information on many of the founders of our denomination. This section was a fascinating look back at the beginnings of the Moravian Unity; it gave each participant the solid background needed for the remainder of the sessions.
Weeks 3 and 4 discussed historical events, including those at Herrnhut, which are important to our identity as Moravians. The class time focused on statements of faith and doctrine which make our denomination unique. The Moravian Covenant for Christian Living and The Ground of the Unity were explored during this time. Moravian mission work, both past and present, was also a focus during the sessions.
The 5th and 6th weeks of the class were centered on the foundations of our faith and how our Moravian theology can be seen, through the Book of Worship, in our Liturgies and hymns. Denny and Marie took a detailed look at Essentials, Ministerials and Incidentals as they apply to our faith experience. They also discussed our unique method of Church governance and the important symbolism that often goes overlooked in our worship spaces and practices. The series concluded by tracing the historical thread back nearly six hundred years, from our denomination today to the founders of the Unity.
Sr. Marie Couts and Br. Denny Rohn did an amazing job condensing centuries of Moravian history, beliefs and practices into a presentation that was a blessing for all who attended. I also want to acknowledge those who joined portions of certain classes to “dig deeper” into the day’s topic. Special thanks to the presenters who joined the classes by Zoom: brothers Frank Couch, Paul Peucker, Justin Rabbach, and Riddick Weber.
Thank you to Seth Angel for providing this article. Seth was a participant in the 6-week study, is a member of Fry’s Valley Moravian Church, tour guide at Schoenbrunn Village in New Philadelphia, Ohio and author of “Understanding Historic Schoenbrunn Village: A field Guide to the Moravian Delaware Village called Welhìk Thùppèck.”
Note: This study on Moravian history and identity is being offered to individual churches or regions as a weekend retreat. Contact Marie Couts, Director of Christian Education, for more information or to discuss how this might work for your congregation or area: [email protected]
The Debt Jubilee Project: For the Healing of the World is a collaborative effort of the Board of World Mission, the Commission on Congregational Development, the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America, and the Interprovincial Board of Communication. Based on our biblical call to care for the sick and our belief that healthcare is a fundamental human right, this project will work to offer grace and hope through the forgiveness of medical debt. Because our call is to our siblings in Christ here in North America and throughout the world, this project will forgive medical debt in the United States as well as at the Moravian medical ministry of the Clínica Evangélica Morava in Ahuas, Honduras.
Through this effort, we hope to build on the energy and witness of the recent work of Moravian congregations such as Trinity in Winston-Salem, which raised about $15,000 earlier this year to forgive over $3,000,000 in medical debt. The Debt Jubilee Project; For the Healing of the World aims to provide an opportunity for more Moravians to join in this freeing and life-changing initiative. Our goal is to raise $50,000 in 50 days with the project concluding on August 13th.
75% of your gift will support the elimination of medical debt in the U.S. through a partnership with RIP Medical Debt, an organization that purchases medical debt for pennies on the dollar and erases that debt, which would otherwise have been sold to for-profit debt collectors. RIP Medical Debt only abolishes debt for those earning less than 4x the federal poverty level and/or hold debts of 5% or more of their annual income. The Debt Jubilee Project: For the Healing of the World will specifically forgive debts for those living in U.S. counties with a Moravian presence (through a congregation or ministry). The individuals and families who owe the medical debt purchased will receive a letter informing them that their debt is forgiven. Jubilee!
25% of your gift will buy debt owed by patients of the Clínica Evangélica Morava, a Moravian medical ministry in Ahuas, Honduras, that has been serving the remote area of La Mosquitia for over 75 years. Medical debt held in this area is a burden on the indebted patients, the clinic, and the community as a whole. The individuals and families who owe the medical debt purchased will receive notice informing them that their debt is forgiven. Jubilee!
Learn more and donate at www.moravian.org/debtjubilee .
Crossroads Info Session by Zoom on Sat. Aug 5 at 10 am.
Learn more about the Crossroads Lay Leadership Program at Moravian Theological Seminary, Bethlehem PA. Our classes are always on Zoom and in person – your choice. But our Info Session will only be on Zoom! For more information and to get the Zoom link, connect with Jill Peters at [email protected]. We will talk about upcoming courses and what to expect from attending a course. Bring all of your questions to this Zoom event and you might be surprised by the answers!
We are offering Unpacking the Scriptures: Teaching on Monday nights starting Sept 11th and Compass on Thursday nights starting Sept 7th. Compass is a great place to start – build your skills in writing, research, and presenting – and at the same time explore your sense of call. Special: If you want to take both of these courses but feel that it might be too much, we can get you started this summer with the readings and a jump on the assignments. If that sounds good to you, contact Jill Peters at [email protected] and after you have registered for both courses, she will forward syllabi and instructions to you. It is very manageable.
It’s almost that time! Pre-orders for the 2024 Moravian Daily Texts will be starting soon.
Keep a look out for the flyer being mailed after July 4.
Congratulations to the
congregations who received
Eastern District Mission Grants for 2023!
- Advent Moravian for their Bible study ministry to people with intellectual disabilities, as well as their families and care givers
- Calvary Moravian for their summer family and community programming
- Great Kills Moravian for expanding their assistance for asylum seekers through a new ministry of providing slippers
- Lancaster Moravian for their plan to increase hospitality and programming for their Spanish-speaking clients and neighbors
- West Side Moravian for upgrades to their refrigerator/freezer to aid in their partnership with Essentials Café and other ministries