GRACE MORAVIAN CHURCH, NY
ANNUAL COMMUNITY DAY
Grace Moravian Church (GMC) is located in a quiet residential area in the Jamaica section of Queens, New York. Emerging from the pandemic in 2022 and still with some lingering fears of COVID-19, GMC decided to launch the first annual community day to provide back to school supplies for the children in the community. This was a project established by the 41st Anniversary Committee as part of the congregation’s year of celebration.
The vision the Joint Board, in collaboration with the 41st Anniversary Committee, was to be “real, relevant and ready” to meet the challenges of ministry. The church must be relevant to the community by promoting positive change that could result in improved community engagement and provide outreach opportunities for the growth of the church. The objective is to fulfil our Statement of Purpose, which states: “By the grace of God to make disciples of all people, both local and global. To enhance the deeper experiences with our Lord Jesus Christ through prayer, Bible Study, witnessing and the worship hour.
The second Annual Community Day at Grace Moravian Church took place on August 5th, 2023. The main goal was to provide book bags for at least 100 children returning for the new school year. These bags will be packed with notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, hand sanitizers and other essentials. In addition, this would be a fun day for the children with a bouncy house, face painting, food, music, and other giveaways. There were plans for health screening, such as blood pressure check, mammograms, and prostate screenings, health education and an opportunity to introduce the community of the life and ministry of the local Moravian Church.
The event would take place on the church grounds on August 5, 2023, starting at 10:00a.m. and ending at 3:00 p.m. If the weather did not cooperate, then some activities would be moved to the church hall. Planning for the event began 3 months ahead of time.
A 12-member planning committee was established, and quickly kicked into gear to bring the vision into focus. The first order or business was to prepare a budget for the event detailing all associated costs for food, entertainment, permits, supplies, marketing (flyers and banner), and contingencies. Volunteers from the congregation were recruited to assist with various tasks. Community partners were also identified. Permits were not required because of the small size and scope of the event.
Two months before the big day, members of the congregation, their families, and friends of the church were asked to donate money, school supplies and bookbags. Receptacles were placed in strategic positions to accommodate the donations.
During this time, community partners (supermarkets, banks, big-box stores, pizzerias, hardware store and bakeries) were contacted to request donations in cash and or kind. The committee met bi-weekly initially and then weekly as the event drew closer. The committee was unable to secure the Mount Sinai Robert F. Smith Mobile Prostate Cancer Screening or the Mobile Breast Cancer screening unit for the event. This was disappointing because there is a need to highlight the importance of early detection of these treatable health conditions through proactive screenings in the community.
Promoting the event
The event was announced in the church bulletin and notices every week. The church community was encouraged to share information with friends, families, and everyone with whom they came in contact. Banners were posted outside the church building and flyers printed. The Sunday prior to the event, volunteers could be seen going door-to-door in the community dropping off flyers promoting the event.
The Big Day
Volunteers were decked out in bright orange T-shirts so that they could easily be identified by visitors. Tents were erected at least an hour before the start of the event, giving vendors and participants sufficient time to set up their displays prior to the arrival of the visitors at 10:00 a.m.
Representatives from the neighborhood Walgreen’s pharmacy were in attendance. They offered flu vaccines, blood pressure screenings and useful giveaways to the visitors. This is their second year in partnership.
The church’s Health Ministry Team was on hand to provide teaching and educational material on various chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, prostate cancer to name a few. Through our partnership with the Queens Interfaith Advisory Committee, PPE including masks, hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, COVID-19 test kits and other giveaways were distributed.
The face painting tent was very busy as the younger children all wanted to get their temporary makeover.
The ‘food court’ was also very busy as the volunteers worked feverishly to keep up with the demand for hot dogs, hamburgers, and fresh fruit, water, and other refreshments.
There was a steady flow of visitors to the “back-to-school supplies” tent. At the end of the day 120 bags had been distributed exceeding the target that was set. Both parents and children were extremely satisfied with the gifts that they received. The parents were relieved because the financial burden for back-to- school supplies was eliminated.
Grace Moravian Church is grateful to the eleven local venders who provided contributions of food and gift cards which provided the opportunity to focus on providing the supplies. Entertainment was provided by one of our own members. We are grateful to the members of the congregation who showed up to provide support and assistance.
In the spirit of the Moravian Day of Service, Community Day, by the grace of God will become one of our mission projects here at Grace. Our desire that next year, it will on a larger scale reaching more children and families within the community as we live out Matthew 25:35 and the making of disciples of all people.
Thanks to Naomi Solomon (New York region rep. of the EDEB) for providing this article. A special thank you to Sr. Marilyn Pryce and Sr. Patsy Walker, Community Day Committee Members for sharing the highlights with Naomi for this article!
Unity Synod, the constitutional body of the Unitas Fratrum, convenes representatives from all Provinces and Mission Provinces every seven years to make decisions about the worship, witness, and work of the Worldwide Moravian Church. This gathering took place in Cape Town, South Africa, from September 4-10, 2023.
One Synod action that was particularly noteworthy as it relates to the work of the Board of World Mission was the approval of Brazil and Bolivia as Prospective Mission Areas. The BWM has walked with both of these areas in their initial discernment process as they explored the idea of joining the Moravian Unity and we look forward to their continued mission and ministry.
Additionally, the Unity Mission Agreement written at the 2017 Unity Mission Conference was officially accepted by the Synod and will be included in the Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum (COUF), which is the Book of Order for the Unity as a whole. This agreement helps us understand our call to mission as a church in a globalized world.
More generally, resolutions were adopted to direct the future work of the church in our collective goals to confront climate change and to understand the historical complicity of the Moravian Church in the institution of slavery and work toward racial justice.
Improved Technology Coming Soon to MMFA
by Chris Spaugh
Technology changes are coming to MMFA. In late October we are converting to a new system called CommunitySuite by the technology firm Foundant. For years we have needed one system that fully integrates the ministry work of MMFA and now we have that solution. This new system will integrate our accounting with the Giving Portal. It will also enable us to both track communications with Moravians while performing the complex accounting required by the Common Fund, and to take online grant applications starting in 2024.
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Moravian Daily Texts!
The IBOC is offering congregations FREE 2023 Moravian Daily Texts to share this uniquely Moravian tradition in their outreach and ministry efforts. Through this offer, you can help deepen the faith of new members, visitors, and guests with a gift of the “World’s oldest daily devotional…that is new every morning!”
The only cost to churches is the cost of shipping via USPS Media Mail.
Contact Jill Bruckart for this great offer at 610.867.0593 ext. 703, or via email at [email protected]. This offer is not available through our online store.
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 this event. Hope to see lots of you at camp this fall and winter!