Provincial Update, November 2019

On or about November 13 we celebrate the Festival of Jesus Christ as Chief Elder of the Moravian Church. On this day we recall the faithful decision of our forebears to name Jesus as head of the church – and head of our lives. How does your life and witness reflect the affirmation that Jesus Christ is the head of your life – the decisions, the actions, the attitudes of your daily living?

How do you give thanks for God’s presence in your life and in God’s world?

-Betsy Miller

Emerging Ministries Put Down Roots – and Soar!

Ten months after the province purchased a church at 1240 E. 4th St. in Bethlehem, PA, Esperanza for Bethlehem has started worshipping in a portion of the building. Significant remediation and renovation work have been needed to bring both the church and adjacent parsonage up to code and to make it suitable for their ministry needs. Once completed, pastors Tracy and Rhonda Robinson will move into the parsonage; children from the elementary school just a block away will come to after-school programs, and families will worship in the renovated space. Thanks to the many volunteers from the congregation and beyond, along with Jeffrey Long, Provincial Project Manager, for all of the improvements. Stay tuned for a grand opening and the reinvigoration of the many ministries for which we will need volunteers and donations.

In September, the Provincial Elders’ Conference approved the purchase of the building in which Tricklebee Café is located at 4424 W. North Ave. in Milwaukee, WI. Negotiations are underway to buy the whole building, which will allow Tricklebee Café, under the leadership of Sr. Christie Melby-Gibbons, to determine how the other areas of the building are used. The rear apartment unit is already being renovated for office, storage, and meeting space. Stay tuned for developments in this exciting ministry.

There was a celebration at the dedication of the new location of Common Ground Community Café in Sherwood Park, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. On September 23, Betsy Miller and Greg Weir joined Common Ground Board Chair Bobbie O’Connor, and several local dignitaries and area clergy to formally dedicate the new space on Festival Way.


Considering a Call to Ministry?

Has God been nudging you to consider ministry – either ordained or in some lay ministry capacity? Moravian Theological Seminary, in Bethlehem, PA, offers an opportunity to ‘put your toe in the water’ through the Crossroads Program, designed specifically for people exploring service in the church. Classes are available online. Learn more at https://www.moravianseminary.edu/academics/crossroads.

If you are sensing a call to ordained ministry and think you can’t uproot your life and move to Bethlehem, PA for three years, consider taking some classes online. In order to remove as many financial barriers as possible, the Provincial Elders’ Conference has extended the amount of time the church will loan tuition support to approved candidates from three years to five years. This allows candidates to study part-time and still work part-time. The church also provides health care to approved candidates during seminary studies, for up to five years. Both the tuition and health care support are offered in the form of a loan that is paid back over years of service. If you are ordained and serve a church, your loan is forgiven through service in the church. Talk with your pastor, a bishop, your District or PEC president to learn how you might respond to God’s call!


Racial Justice Team Plans Event

Following the 2018 Provincial Synod, the Provincial Elders’ Conference called together a group of clergy to work toward fulfilling synod legislation to provide anti-racist training for all clergy, and to develop a culture in our province to dismantle racism. Plans are underway for a pilgrimage for active clergy September 21-25, 2020. To prepare for this significant event, members of the Racial Justice Team, the Provincial Elders’ Conference, and our Bishops will travel to Montgomery, Alabama in January 2020 to experience the Equal Justice Museum and Memorial and learn from Dr. Catherine Meeks, Founding Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, and tour other significant sites in Selma and Montgomery.


For Us and For Others: Interprovincial Ministers Convocation/Retreat

Start looking forward with anticipation now! The Northern and Southern Provinces are sponsoring an Interprovincial Ministers Convocation in May of 2021, and we want all our active minsters to be present! The planning committee is meeting monthly and will send periodic progress reports. Major expenses of the event are supported by the Thriving in Ministry grant: Moravian Clergy Connections, awarded by the Lilly Endowment Inc. last year.

The committee is still exploring dates, location, speakers, theme, and worship. As far as location, don’t think of a college dorm with bathroom down the hall; the intent of the grant writers is to give us all a more peaceful experience, so that we might even feel a bit “pampered”!

Please begin praying for the committee and its work: Nola Reed Knouse, chair; Adriana Craver, Rebecca Craver, James Heroux, Michael Johnson, Fran Saylor, Craig Troutman, and Audrey West. Contact Nola ([email protected]) or any of the other committee members with thoughts or suggestions.


2022 Northern Provincial Synod

Mark your calendars now and save the dates for the 2022 Provincial Synod of the Moravian Church Northern Province. Synod will be held on the campus of Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA from Thursday, June 23 – Monday, June 27, 2022. More information will be available as we approach this time.


Province Sells Former Midway Manor

Within the past year, the Provincial Elders’ Conference once again took possession of the former Midway Manor Moravian Church building located in Allentown, PA. The church that purchased the building from us many years ago defaulted on their loan payments. We were pleased to sell the church to the New Christian Harvest Church, led by pastor Paul Watson. They are eager to connect with people in the church neighborhood. We were thrilled to sell to a church that will continue to proclaim the gospel. The picture, from the closing, shows the pastor and his wife in the center.


IPO Update

Members of the Provincial Elders’ Conference and all three District Boards will meet in mid-November to review results from the Identity, Purpose, and Organization Survey that each congregation was asked to complete. Following presentations by District Board members, congregations offered feedback regarding the effectiveness of our current structure and suggestions for changes. At the gathering, led by consultant Lyn Chynoweth, participants will prepare for next steps at the 2020 District Synods.