“When you say you need something,” there is an active and eager group of women known as the Siebke Circle willing to do anything to help.
Approximately twenty or so years ago, the women of Palmyra Moravian Church in Cinnaminson, New Jersey were looking for an opportunity to gather with one another and share in common interests and fellowship. At first there was an idea that the group would do some knitting and crocheting…only most of the women didn’t knit or crochet! But that didn’t stop them from gathering and finding something they all could enjoy. They began to make felt blankets to give to others. As they gathered together, making countless blankets to be given to friends, family, and those in need, they realized they felt called to give their women’s fellowship group a name. They drew their inspiration from Mildred A. Siebke, a longtime member of Palmyra Moravian Church who went on to serve as a missionary in Alaska. Ms. Siebke served as a missionary from August 1934 to July 1974 serving Kueth Luk-Orphanage, Akiak, Clark Point and Dillingham faith communities. In honor of her ministry as a missionary, the Siebke Circle was formed.
Once a month, the current ladies of the Siebke Circle meet together at a local restaurant for breakfast fellowship. They share a prayer devotion, a meal, conversation and laughter, and the sharing of ideas for how to help others. Karen Poppert, a member of Palmyra Moravian Church and an original member of the Siebke Circle, acts as a Coordinator for the group of ladies. She maintains a text chain with the ladies and makes sure the monthly meetings are scheduled, planned and advertised to all who may want to join. The Siebke Circle consists of both members of the Palmyra congregation and friends from within the surrounding communities. The group includes 18 individuals who participate regularly at breakfast meetings throughout the year and during special occasions, such as a Thanksgiving style dinner, additional women are able to join in the fellowship.
Today, the Siebke Circle continues to be a beautiful display to the congregation of good deeds in action. A strong focus of their ministry is writing out cards to send to others. The cards are divided amongst the Siebke Circle ladies and addressed to the congregation’s shut-ins, those who may be sick, or others who may need some uplifting and encouragement. Thinking-of-you cards are sent out every month. During the Easter season and other holidays, the Siebke Circle sends cards to a local nursing home that are then distributed to the residents. When the ladies gather together, they share information about those who may need assistance, prayer or encouragement. This may include those within the congregation, but the care extends as far as it is needed. As Coordinator, Karen shared that she is always searching for ideas on how to help those in need but shared that the Siebke Circle is a very collaborative group of women. As they hear of a need, they begin to identify a way to help. This was evident when a prayer request shared that a young child would need to undergo several rounds of medical treatment in a hospital, away from home and siblings for stretches of time. Immediately the Siebke Circle thought of ways to help! The Siebke Circle collected books and small stuffed animals to fill baskets so while the child was undergoing treatment, a collection of stories and fuzzy friends would be accessible for entertainment and comfort. With the upcoming change in season and holidays ahead, there are already plans for seasonal additions for fresh baskets of goodies.
Recently, a beloved member of Palmyra Moravian Church and sister in Christ, needed continuous skilled medical care. The Siebke Circle immediately began planning on ways to help, envisioning meal preparation, feeding encouragement and assistance, and companionship. For over a month, many of the ladies provided uplifting cards, mealtime assistance, entertaining stories and laugh worthy memories, and immense love just by being present for their friend. This kindness and generosity of spirit was the ultimate gift to a cherished friend who is now in the more immediate presence of the Savior. Having known most of these women my whole life, I believe that they would have done these incredible acts of kindness regardless. However, I believe it is the kindness, generosity, determination, selflessness and joy in Christ found in these women that continues to make the Siebke Circle a vital ministry within the Palmyra Moravian congregation and the surrounding community. As Karen faithfully reflected on this great group of women, she described the Siebke Circle as “a group of church members and friends who gather with the hopes of doing good for someone else while enjoying fellowship with one another.” I am grateful to have witnessed these good works as well as the dedicated and faithful women who, like Ms. Siebke, are finding ways to share Christ and kindness with others!
Thanks to Lauren Grady (Delaware Valley rep. of the EDEB) for providing this article. A special thank you to Karen Poppert, member of Palmyra Moravian Church and Coordinator for the Siebke Circle, for sharing the history, hopes, and highlights of the Siebke Circle with Lauren for this article!
Blessings Flow in La Mosquitia
Waterborne illnesses are a persistent issue in many of our global partner areas, due to contamination of local water sources. In some areas, like La Mosquitia, this issue has been exacerbated by a recent increase of heavy rains and flooding. The Board of World Mission, in collaboration with a clean water organization called One Atta Time, is seeking to address the need for clean drinking water through our new Blessings Flow project, which was launched this spring in the Honduran villages of Tumtum Tara and Warunta.
The first step of the intervention in each community is to take an initial census of the population, assess water quality and determine the prevalence of waterborne illnesses. (In Tumtum Tara, 100% of families reported symptoms of waterborne illness within the past two weeks). We then offer a clinic to address any existing waterborne illnesses, before distributing water filters to each household and training community members on how to use the filters effectively. Finally, we conduct a post-intervention assessment of the project.
This project is particularly meaningful because, in an area where the church has been divided for nearly 25 years, this effort is intentionally led in collaboration with both sets of leadership of the Moravian Church in Honduras. They are working together to provide life-giving water to EVERY family in these communities, no matter what their connection is to the Moravian Church.
We are extremely grateful to MMFA for walking alongside the Blessings Flow project through a generous grant of $25,000 and to our senior high campers at Mt. Morris, Tar Hollow, and Camp Hope for assembling 750 water filters, which are now ready for distribution in Honduras. Several congregations will also be assembling water filters during this year’s Moravian Day of Service. This effort is truly made possible through the joint efforts of Moravians worldwide. Thank you!
Spotlight on Stewardship:
Thriving ministries pay attention to these four critical areas of stewardship:
- Mission and vision
- Year-round action
If your church is ready to look at its stewardship efforts with fresh eyes, let MMFA help. Together we’ll identify:
- short term goals you’d like to achieve
- long term changes you hope to see
- steps to accomplish both
Our Fall courses include:
Unpacking the Scriptures: Teaching with Rev. Roberta Kearney, Monday nights 9/11 – 10/30/2023 from 6-9 pm. This course covers teaching through the various ages and stages including how to give a Children’s Sermon.
Compass – Thursday nights 9/7 – 10/26/2023 from 6-9 pm. Participants in this course will explore their sense of call while brushing up on basic communication skills that leaders need including writing, researching, and presenting. Taught by several instructors.
All courses are taught in person at Moravian Theological Seminary or on Zoom. Participants choice. Go to our website for more information or to register. www.moravianseminary.edu/crossroads
Get ready for back-to-school with this stylish new tote. Carry your laptop, Sunday School projects, and much more, all while showing your Moravian pride. This tote has an outside slip pocket that allows for easy access to keys and cell phone, with special pockets for pen and business cards. Two side pockets hold water bottles without damaging inside items. Reinforced shoulder straps make this sturdy tote a must. Royal Blue/Black size 17”W x 14”H x 5”D. $18.95.
Order online at store.moravian.org or call Jill at 1-800-732-0591, ext. 703.
Fall Mission Camp — September 19 – 24, 2023
- Ages 18+
- Projects for all abilities
- Come for the full time, a few days, or the weekend
- No cost to attend
Rummage and Bake Sale — September 23, 2023
- Bake Sale donations are needed! If folks from your congregation are willing to donate goodies, we can arrange pick-up. Last year the sugar cakes and shoo fly pies sold out in the first FIVE MINUTES!
- Donations for the sale are also needed — please see attached flyer; we can arrange pick-up
- We need lots of people to attend! This is a GREAT opportunity to get back to visit camp. Shop the sale, have some food, walk through camp on your own schedule.
Quilt Camp (Women’s Retreat) — September 27 – 30, 2023
- Whether you know how to quilt, would like to learn how to quilt, or would prefer to work on another sewing project, Quilt Camp offers women an opportunity for stitching and fellowship.
Christmas at Camp — December 8 – 10, 2023
- Stay in a cozy cabin with your friends and family
- Swap cookies
- Participate in Hope’s Moravian Christmas Lantern Tours (with yours truly acting in one of the “porch skits”)
- Learn to fold a Moravian star
- And more!
Visit camphope.org for more information and to register for all of these events. Hope to see lots of you at camp this fall and winter!