For everything there is a season…

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I’m so glad God gifts us with seasons. As the intensity of light lessens and cooler temperatures ensue, leaves begin to reveal hidden colors of red, orange and yellow. Nature speaks, autumn is here! There is a kind of redemptive renewal in creation’s natural rhythms, don’t you think? The hope-filled life of spring or the gentle letting go of autumn . . . all are necessary for growth.

The Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries recently gathered for some growth and renewal of our own during a fall planning retreat day. The Board includes representatives from each of the 12 Regional Conferences of Churches (RCCs), 12 representatives appointed by the Provincial Elders Conference (PEC), as well as the PEC President and the BCM Executive Director. The beautifully renovated fellowship hall of Calvary Moravian Church was filled with the excited murmurs of old and new members preparing for another season of ministry together. We want to extend that excitement out to you by sharing a bit of where our hearts and minds are working and resting these days.

At the core, the BCM’s mission is to provide support to congregations and RCCs by encouraging and nurturing their health and growth. We cultivate this support through synod outcomes and incentives entrusted to BCM care. For the next four years, we will be working towards:

  • Using technology to enhance ministry and learning, increase communication, network and share God’s story as Moravians!
  • Celebrating dynamic Christ-centered worship that seeks out the stranger and empowers us for mission in God’s world!
  • Educating within and out about Moravian identity- how our heritage, history and reality shapes our mission!
  • Supporting creative initiatives, new adventures and challenges at the congregation and RCC level!
  • Assisting congregations and RCCs in identifying, developing and increasing an awareness of gifts, assets, strengths and abilities in service to the Savior!
  • Inviting all of our work to flow out of the living water found only in Christ Jesus our Lord. Remembering the hymns of our heritage that guide our Christ-centered focus.

Ruth Cole Burcaw, Executive Director, closed our time together by asking us to identify one word capturing our thoughts for the future. My group of three shared: growth, harvest and prayer.

May we be guided by the Spirit in prayerful ministry of growth in this season of harvest!

-Sarah Hubbard,  BCM Communications Coordinator

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The Board of Cooperative Ministries. Top Row from left: Don Britt (Covenant), Leibia Willis (First – GA), Peggy Dodson (Home), Cat Long (Come & Worship), Joyce Vance (Peace/PEC), Marcia Mullis (Friedland), Carol Foltz (Friedland), Malissa Bumgarner (New Hope – NC), Beth Hayes (Come & Worship/BCM), Rachel Desmarais (Olivet). Bottom Row from left: Ruth Cole Burcaw (Unity/BCM), Sarah Hubbard (Hope/BCM), Michael Terry (Rural Hall), Alfred Yorks (Suriname Fellowship – FL), Hazel Hooker (New Hope – FL), Walter Bishop (Hopewell), Jerry Smith (Olivet), Doug Rights (BCM).  Not pictured: JoBeth Boyles (Bethabara), Judith Bullock (Kernersville), Charles Fishel (Mt. Bethel), John Foltz (Trinity), Heather Stevenson (Fries Memorial/BCM). 

Open to God’s Leading

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I shouldn’t be amazed at what God can do when we open ourselves up to God’s leading-but I am. Vacation Bible School at St. Philips Moravian Church was one of those times. It wasn’t that it didn’t look as if it would happen: we knew it would. It was the way it came about and what we all experienced that made this week together such a blessing!

The Salem Creek Regional Council of Churches (RCC), Home, Messiah, St. Philips and Trinity, became aware of a gap in the summer feeding program for kids in Forsyth County the week before the new school year. This presented a unique challenge and opportunity for ministry. Together we decided to offer a Vacation Bible School program, including a lunch, for the community kids surrounding St. Philips, many of whom are eligible for summer feeding programs. Planning began months before by choosing a curriculum and recruiting volunteers. St. Philips provided leadership, space, volunteers and a huge commitment of time and talent. Members worked many hours preparing the church for a week of ministry.

One of the unique components of this week was the large bag of food given to each child to take home at the end of our time together. Brothers and sisters from all four congregations worked together in gathering and preparing food. The first day began with 20 kids, and our last 49!

On the first day of lunch, I was assisting a 3 year-old, when I noticed one little fellow sharing his biscuit with his 2 younger brothers. When the kids were excused from the table, I watched him walk down the table, taking what little food the others had left, and eating it as quickly and unobtrusively as possible. I called him over and one of the cooks packed 8 extra jelly and butter biscuits to take home. He was very appreciative and assured us he would share them. I have no doubt he did.

It was a privilege to share God’s love through food and fun. Using music, crafts, puppetry, drama, Bible Study, and play-we explored our great worth and value. Many learned the Moravian Blessing, shouting “EVERYWHERE!” following “bless thy dear ones” and making joyful noises.

One of the best activities was creating a prayer wall, inviting each child to write his/her prayer on a strip of cloth applying it to the wall. One 5th grader shared that his mother worked 2 jobs. She had to explain to him and his brother that there just wasn’t enough money for school supplies right now. His prayer? Not for school supplies. He prayed his mom wouldn’t feel bad about not being able to provide them. And as God will do what God will do- Pastor Russ May and Anthony’s Plot brought over 50 bags of school supplies for every grade! I wish you could have seen this child’s face when he saw that!

The last day we invited parents and friends to a celebration to see what we had learned. The kids sang, offered presentations, the teens played handbells, and the youngest used sock puppets to share that we are all God’s children. Over 80 peopled shared a meal together that day! We all left exhausted- but blessed beyond measure! St. Philips’ leadership, willingness and love created something exceptional that week-and those of us privileged to be a part of it are grateful. As one little girl said, “I went to bed early so I could wake up and it would be time to come back here!” Our RCC does a lot of things together- but this is one of the most meaningful. What a fantastic week!

Submitted by Joyce Carter, Trinity Moravian Church