Q&A about BCM 2017 Changes

You can read the full announcement here. We know there are questions, so we have taken a stab at answering a few below:

Why Doug’s position? Weren’t there other places you could cut?
In order to answer that, it helps to go back to the beginning of this process. Given our “high-touch” ministry work, our staff costs (salaries, insurance, taxes, etc.) for nearly five staff people and contract labor equal about 60% of our budget. So we knew that any major decrease in income would logically hit this area the hardest, but that it would also require cuts in many parts of our ministry budget.

Earlier in 2016, we were informed of impending 2017 budget constraints which could amount to a $40,000 to $80,000 deficit for BCM. BCM’s Executive Committee engaged a group of current and former BCM members and program participants to consider the likely 2017 budget constraints. This group met, examined the current budget, and explored a variety of options, including but not limited, to:

  • Cutting expenses.
  • Increasing income through other sources (limited due to current provincial fundraising restrictions).
  • Re-imagining staffing configurations.
  • Transforming/evolving BCM’s vision and reconfiguring around that.

The group presented the Executive Committee with some recommendations about ways to address these looming financial challenges. This group strongly suggested BCM’s ministry must flow from its priorities, which need to be realigned in light of both the recent BCM planning retreat outcomes and the dynamic, shifting landscape of church.

Parallel to that conversation, the Provincial Elders Conference (PEC) has long been considering ministry priorities, as is their mandate from Synod. Brother David Guthrie shared at BCM’s July meeting a memo from PEC outlining a shift in BCM ministry priorities, which needs to occur prior to the 2018 Synod.  Specifically, BCM is asked to focus on congregational development, leadership development, and emerging ministry efforts.

In late summer, BCM learned that the decline in our 2017 income would be approximately 16%, or roughly $64,000. After much discussion and consideration, the Executive Committee proposed the following actions in order to address the 2017 budget deficit while also working to meet PEC’s recent directive:

  • Reimagine the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries position so that ministry work is carried out primarily by volunteers, contract employees, dual call, or teams of individuals. A percentage of the funds currently designated for this full-time position would be redirected towards continuing youth, college age, and young adult ministry as well as emerging ministry.
  • Reduce elements of BCM’s program and administrative budgets.

So, after a thorough analysis of all our options, this is where we landed. It has been many months, many conversations, and a lot of prayer that has led us to this place. We didn’t get here easily.

Why didn’t you just pull money from your endowments or invested funds?
We don’t believe that is a sustainable option. BCM’s primary income source (approximately 80%) comes from congregational provincial share funds. The rest of BCM’s income comes from interest or planned disbursements from invested and designated funds, and Resource Center profits. The Executive Committee considered whether money could be used from BCM’s various funds to cover the budget shortfall, but determined that using these funds for operations would not be sustainable over any significant period of time. They believe these funds are best used either for their intended purpose (many are restricted to certain ministries), to infuse various ministries with needed resources, or to cover emergency situations.

Could you not try and raise that money through direct fundraising?
The Southern Province has used a “unified budget” approach for many years, which provides funding for its various agencies through church income and other sources. Direct fundraising requires approval by the Provincial Support Service Board, and while there may be changes in the future, direct fundraising is not currently a viable option.

What happens now? How are we going to make sure we’re still focusing our efforts on youth, who are so important to the church?
The Executive Committee already met with some of the youth and young adults who have leadership roles with the Regional Youth Council and the Young Adult Ministry Team. We explained our situation and listened to them share their frustrations, questions, and suggestions. We took lots of notes.

We’re now devising a plan of action to reimagine existing programs with new staff configuration and with greater input from those we serve. We’ll be talking more about that in the coming months.

Doug has already begun working to ensure a smooth transition of youth, college, and young adult ministries to interim and/or other volunteers or staff. He and Aaron Linville recently shared the news with the rest of the Regional Youth Council and they’ll be working to make sure that all voices are heard during the transition.

Additionally, BCM members will be conversing with college age Moravians to discover how they might want to see this ministry continue. In many ways, this provides everyone (churches, members, clergy, the province) opportunities to deepen and strengthen their relationships with young Moravians.

Our young adult leaders are confident they can provide for themselves, with staff support from the BCM coming from remaining staff.

What about next year? How will you continue your ministries with few resources?

That’s a good question and one we have been talking about for quite some time. We know that we are facing an adaptive challenge, one that will require all of us, not just provincial staff, to solve. The upcoming Synod of 2018 will provide the opportunity for us to make some bold choices about the future of our church and our ministries.

Despite the challenges facing the church, we are hopeful that working together, we can become a church that shares the faith, love, and hope of Christ in the world. We will need to be creative and persistent and faithful. We commit to creating and continuing conversations about BCM’s long-term sustainability as well as being part of the solution and not the problem.

What will happen with emerging ministries?

BCM is beginning conversations with PEC regarding the definition and implementation of emerging ministries. We’ll soon develop a working group to further explore ministry plans. We have set aside funds for the 2017 budget to provide both program and limited staff support in this area, but these plans are still emerging themselves!

Will Doug be open to call to a congregation?

Of course! Like all those who are ordained, Doug is open and eligible to receive a call. PEC actively considers all pastors for call and Doug is no exception. Doug is first and foremost a servant of God, willing to trust that God will reveal a new way for him to serve within the Moravian Church.

What are you going to do to recognize Doug’s work?
Doug has been with us since December of 2012 and we want to be sure we celebrate his time with us. We are currently consulting with those he serves most often and will let folks know of any plans as soon as they are made. In the meantime, we will take every chance we can to affirm Doug’s important ministry and to celebrate the many ways he’s made a difference in all our lives. We encourage you to do the same!



An Announcement from BCM

September 19, 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Since 2009, the Board of Cooperative Ministries, or BCM, has been engaging and supporting our Southern Province Moravian congregations in their ministries. We provide hands-on ministry support for children & families, youth, college age, young adults, clergy, lay leaders, older adults, and more – both provincially and in congregations and RCCs. It takes a lot of people, creativity, dedication and money to do this important work. Our four and half-person staff and 25-member volunteer board strive to be good stewards of the money given to us by churches through their provincial share contributions.

Nearly 80% of BCM’s income comes from church support, part of what you put in the offering plate on Sunday, and for that we are very grateful. And yet the world and the church continue to change. One consequence of this change is that, this year, income is down significantly. We must reimagine and realign ways we do ministry.

After months of study, conversation, discernment, and prayer, the BCM approved a budget acknowledging these new realities. In the next year, we’ll provide Regional Youth Council, college age, and young adult ministry support, but we’ll be doing it without a full-time staff person.

Beginning in January 2017, the Rev. Doug Rights will no longer serve as Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries for BCM. We are sad to see him go, but glad that he will continue to share his many, amazing gifts with the Moravian Church and that he will continue to be a significant advocate for our youth.

As we say goodbye to Doug, it is our priority to make sure these ministries do not end. We are developing plans for the youth and young adults in our province to have the leadership they need. We’ve answered some of the most common questions about this change in another post.

Please stay tuned for details about how we will celebrate Doug’s years of ministry with BCM as well as our plans for providing ministry during challenging times. We ask for your prayers and your continued support, and may God continue to bless all of us as together we grow in faith, love and hope, following Jesus in serving the world.

-The Board of Cooperative Ministries

Don Britt (Covenant, appointed by PEC)
Malissa Bumgarner (New Hope, representing the Yadkin View RCC)
Elaine Cockerham (Trinity, representing the Salem Creek RCC)
Rachel Desmarais, Vice Chair (Trinity, appointed by PEC)*
Peggy Dodson (Home, appointed by PEC)
Heidi Everhart (Friedberg, appointed by PEC)
Carol Foltz, Chair (Moravia, appointed by PEC)*
John Foltz (Trinity, appointed by PEC)
Marsha Fowler (Konnoak Hills, representing the South Branch RCC)
David Guthrie, At-Large PEC Rep (serving ex-officio, President of PEC)*
LeaAnn Haynes (Friedland, representing the South Wachovia RCC)
Criss Hiatt (Kernersville, representing the Sunrise RCC)
Rhonda Hiatt (Mt. Bethel, representing the Mount Ararat RCC)
Hazel Hooker (New Hope – FL, appointed by PEC)
Tanya Kimel (Friedberg, representing the Salisbury Road RCC)
Aaron Linville, At-Large RCC Rep (Rural Hall, representing the North Branch RCC)*
Cat Long (Bethabara, representing the Pilot Mountain RCC)
Sabrina Maksi (Christ, appointed by PEC)
Michael Terry, Secretary (Rural Hall, appointed by PEC)*
Shanda Trogdon (Moravia, representing the Dan Springs RCC)
Joyce Vance (Peace, appointed as PEC representative)
Leibia Willis (First – GA, appointed by PEC)
Alfred Yorks (Suriname Fellowship, representing the Florida District RCC)

Ruth Cole Burcaw, Executive Director*
Beth Hayes, Director of Congregational Resources and Ministry
Doug Rights, Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries
Heather Stevenson, Administrative Assistant

*members of BCM’s Executive Committee

Vacant – Petersbrook RCC Representative
Vacant – Youth Representative (appointed by PEC on recommendation of RYC)

Questions? Visit our Q&A post.

Confirmation… An Ever Changing Process

Spotlight graphic

APRIL 18, 2016

Growing up in the Presbyterian Church and being confirmed as a teenager is not so vastly different from the process that Moravians take in their confirmation practices. Those memories of confirmation for me are everlasting. I developed relationships with adult mentors who cared enough about me to help me in this step in my faith. I truly felt like a worthy member of a congregation when given tasks during confirmation, such as baking communion bread with my family, and preparing the elements for a communion Sunday. Even the small task of making sure there was a glass of water in the pulpit each Sunday for the pastor… it may seem meaningless, but it is far from that. I learned the importance of even the smallest of tasks and made those next steps in my faith journey. It truly made me feel like a member of a congregation that could contribute something.

Book Cover

Click above image to see more about this book at our online Resource Center library!

As I was fortunate enough to spend some time this year reflecting on my faith journey and what each step meant to me, I ran across a new book, 100 Things Every Child Should Know Before Confirmation: A Guide for Parents and Youth Leaders. It was written by Rebeccca Kirkpatrick and published by Westminister John Knox Press in 2015. What a read it is! Not only for parents, but Sunday School teachers and youth leaders, as we strive to make confirmation be the most meaningful experience it can be. Drop by the Resource Center and borrow it for an excellent read about planting, feeding, watching growth, and understanding an experience such as confirmation.

In Bill Gramley’s piece for Moravian confirmation, Confirmation: A Graceful Step, he refers to confirmation as an opportunity for young people to make a public profession of their faith in Jesus Christ. It is a time when they confirm the steps that have already been taken for them by their parents or guardians, usually by virtue of infant baptism. It allows them to become more aware of the meaning of Christianity and be more deliberate in their response to God’s purpose for their lives. Confirmation is one of the milestones of faith that congregations can celebrate with a young person. It is truly an important step as it gives the opportunity to learn more about the Bible, theology, and what it means to be a member of a Moravian church.

Rev. Matthew Allen leading confirmation on Palm Sunday this year at Olivet Moravian.

Rev. Matthew Allen leading confirmation on Palm Sunday this year at Olivet Moravian.

Many of your churches may be at the end of this process with confirmation taking place during Holy Week or Pentecost. I challenge you not to stop here. We are offering a wonderful opportunity this summer for you to take this process one step further. At the August 14, 2016 Moravian Children’s Festival and Lovefeast, attendees will have the unique opportunity to visit many of the provincial agencies and learn about the work that they do for the church. This event is open to Moravians of all ages! The street will be closed and groups will be able to walk from the square, up Church Street to God’s Acre, stopping at the Board of Cooperative Ministries offices and Resource Center, Board of World Mission, and more. Make your plans now to bring your confirmation group even if you have ended the process. What a wonderful opportunity to continue those treasured relationships you have developed by showing the workings of the Moravian Church.Beth Hayes portrait

It is truly a graceful step, but just one of the first steps of following Jesus. It is not the end of one’s faith journey, but a gift that is received by our faith and proven through discoveries yet to be revealed. Help your young people continue this journey! Bring them to the Children’s Festival and use the opportunity to enrich their faith journey, as well as see the buildings and people that make up the Moravian Church today.

If you have questions or need additional information, email (bhayesATmcsp.org) or call the Resource Center (336) 722-8126.


Beth Hayes is the Director of Congregational Ministries and Resources, Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM) 

Truth is the Way

DSC02626Around 500 Moravians and guests from around the province gathered together on Sunday, July 19, at Home Moravian Church, for a service of Word and Sacrament in commemoration of the Legacy of John Hus. Another 100 people joined us through the live internet feed. Approximately $1500 was raised to support the BCM’s multicultural translation project. We give thanks for this meaningful service of worship and time shared together.

Truth Prevails 

I searched for the truth from all of the people who passed me by.

I looked through the Scriptures to follow your footsteps until I die.

I served as a pastor at Bethlehem Chapel to spread your light.

I challenged corruption and spoke up for what was right.

Though they take my life away

I will speak the truth each day.

Jesus is truth;

Truth is the way.DSC02614

I stand in the Council and listen to all that they have to say –

The harsh accusations and fierce allegations that come my way.

But I must be faithful and keep my convictions, I cannot fail,

For though they stop me I know God’s truth will prevail.

Though they take my life away

I will speak the truth each day.

Jesus is truth;

Truth is the way.DSC02716

Lord I wonder in all that is and all of time,

Will faith and love and hope be known to humankind?

Will the mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers ever know –

Under the violence and greed the truth will still grow?

Though they take my life away

I will speak the truth each day.

Jesus is truth;

Truth is the way.



MR2_2351Jesus is truth:

The way.

My way.

Our way.

Written by Senior High Campers during Senior High Camp – July 11-18, 2015
In tribute to John Hus
Music by Rick Sides and Jim Newsom, Jr.
Pictures by: Mike Reiss

Leadership Focus 2015


Register now for Be the Church: Living Faith in a New Generation on Saturday, February 28, from 9:00am-3:30pm at Trinity Moravian Church, Winston-Salem. From fall 2014 through fall 2015 the Comenius Learning Series is focusing on ways to be the church in a new generation, using the 600th celebration of the legacy of John Hus as inspiration. Leadership Focus 2015 will include morning workshops followed by a mission blitz that will provide persons of all ages to partner with community organizations on a special afternoon project. Come as a youth group, small group or someone excited about mission!

God gives us life, our gifts and talents, the earth and all that is in it. In response to God’s grace, we live our lives in faith, love, and hope. During the mission blitz portion of the day, we have a chance to go out into our community and use God’s gifts to share the good news. These projects represent just a few ways we can live out Jesus’ mandate to love our neighbor.

Mission Blitz Projects Include: 

  • Bless Inmates, Families & Volunteers (Friends of Moravian Prison Ministry)
  • Serve Our Neighbor in Need at Sunnyside
  • Spruce Up the Shepherd’s Center
  • Practice Laundry Love with Anthony’s Plot
  • Share the Good News: Multi-Media Mission
  • Sew the Solution: Warmth for the World
  • Help Congregations SHIFT into More Effective Ministry
  • From Heart to Hand: Moravian Families Serving Together to Make a Difference (for families and children’s groups)

Register using this mail-in Leadership Focus 2015 Registration Form or use our online registration. You’ll find detailed descriptions for the morning workshop options and afternoon mission blitz in our printed registration.

We look forward to seeing you soon!