History of the Board of World Mission

A deep commitment to mission has characterized the Moravian Church since its earliest days. A small 300-member Moravian community in Herrnhut, Germany sent missionaries to the Danish West Indies in 1732. Since then, God’s call to proclaim the good news of God’s saving work in Jesus Christ has taken hundreds of Moravian missionaries from the mountaintops of Ladakh, India to the savannas of La Mosquitia, Honduras. Today, Moravian churches or societies worship and minister in about forty nations and number over 700,000 believers.

The Board of World Mission is the mission sending and support agency of the Moravian Church in North America. It continues the work begun in 1745 by the Society for Propagating the Gospel, North America’s oldest Protestant mission society. Founded in 1949, the BWM acts on behalf of the Northern Province, Southern Province, and Alaskan Province of the Moravian Church and its affiliate Unity of the Brethren.

A representative Board of Directors oversees the work of the Board of World Mission, which is also accountable to the synods of the Moravian Church in America. Meeting bi-annually, the directors determine BWM’s goals, policies, and areas of mission involvement and appoint all staff and overseas personnel.

The BWM nurtures historic and vital partnerships with Moravian Churches in Costa Rica, Cuba, Eastern West Indies, Honduras, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nicaragua, Northern Tanzania, Peru, Sierra Leone, and Western Tanzania. In addition, the Board of World Mission supports Moravian ministries in India, Nepal, and Palestine.

The Moravian Church in America is a member of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA, and the World Council of Churches. The Board of World Mission currently is working in active partnership with Church World Service and Witness (CWSW), Action by Churches Together (ACT), and the Reformed Church in America.

The BWM is about the work of God in the world by walking with individuals, churches, and global partners so that together we may provide opportunities for people to be God’s instruments of grace, peace and justice in the world. Core principles of our mission engagement include building mutual relationships that promote transparency and effective communication; equipping others in discipleship, leadership development, and principles of favored practices in mission involvement; and being good stewards of the resources provided for this work. In all of this we are centered on Christ, who loves us, calls us, and transforms us to be his agents of love and grace in the world.

The Board of World Mission builds relationships through Mission Outreach and Mission Engagement to be faithful to the Great Commandment and Great Commission.