Who Would Have Thought?

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It has been almost two months since I received some not-so-good news. This news finds me saying to myself, “Who would have thought?”

Who would have thought that the membership of our Southern Province would have declined as it has? Especially since the Moravian Church has so much to offer, including our rich and wonderful history, our special and meaningful traditions, our emphasis on God’s love than on God’s judgment, our value of community, our desire to serve others, and our willingness to accept people with different opinions.

Who would have thought that the financial giving from our Southern Province churches to our province would have declined so much these past several years? Certainly part of this is due to our decline in membership. Yet sometimes I wonder how many of us Southern Province Moravians prayerfully consider what God wants us to give and give that amount. How many of us consider God’s guideline of tithing and tithe or try to work toward tithing? How many of us see the importance of giving not only to our church families, but also the importance of how our giving goes to ministries in our province and ministry to the world?

Young Adult Moravians

Young Adult Moravians (YAMs) at a recent cookout/bonfire event.

And who would have thought our province would be at a point when we could not support a person working full-time with the youth and young adults of our province? Our Board of Cooperative Ministries shared the recent news of a shortfall in our next year’s budget. I think it is really more of a “big-fall.” Our board had to make the very tough decision that it could no longer support a full-time person to serve as Director of Youth, College and Young Adult Ministries.

This decision is my not-so-good news. I am sad I will not be able to continue to serve in a capacity that I have loved these past four years. It has been a joy and a privilege to serve our youth, college age and young adults of the province. Now I look forward to the next step God has for me.

But the greater sadness I feel, along with many others, is that of not having someone in this position. The members and staff of the Board of Cooperative Ministries will do all they can to keep our youth, college, and young adult ministries going. We hope this will also be a time when people will step up and help our youth and young adults feel even more wanted, more loved, and more connected to our churches.

My hope and prayer is that the day will come when I can say: Who would have thought that despite the lack of funds and a full-time staff person, our youth, college, and young adult ministries continue to be strong? That these ministries will thrive in even greater ways, and that our youth, college age and young adults will help bring renewal to our churches and our province!

Read the original announcement about the discontinuation of the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries position here.

Read the questions and answers post regarding that announcement here.

If you have questions or need additional information, email (drightsATmcsp.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.

The Rev. Doug Rights is the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). 

Doug with wife Kathy

Let’s Remember Our Moravian College Students

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MAY 11, 2016

As our province’s Director of Youth, College and Young Adult Ministries, it’s my pleasure to spend a lot of time with our college-age Moravians, those eighteen-years-old to their early twenties. Many of our college-age Moravians are in college, while some work, and some do both.

And even though the school year is winding down, let me tell you about our Moravians who are in college. As best we can determine, we have around 300 Moravians from the Southern Province in college. Some attend schools in Florida, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania, but most of them attend North Carolina colleges and universities.

College picture for blog 5-10-16

Since our college students are often away at school, they can sometimes be forgotten. It is part of my job to always remember them, and I urge you to remember them as well. Stop by the office and check out my collection of college mugs (as seen in the picture with this article) which represent the schools where our Moravians attend. My job also includes doing all I can to help our students feel connected to the Lord and to the Moravian Church. Some of the ways I keep connections are through correspondences (Facebook messages, emails, texts), visits, offering spring break mission trips, and hosting cookouts during Christmas and summer breaks.

It’s important we do all we can to help our students feel connected to our church families. Here are a few simple ways to remember our college-age Moravians:

  • Know who your college students are and where they attend.
  • Send them church mailings.
  • Send care packages, especially during exam times. This is a great activity for circles and Sunday School classes.
  • Have someone in your church visit them and take them out for a meal.
  • When many of them are home this summer, make the extra effort to let them know you are glad to see them back.
  • Offer opportunities for your college students to get together.
  • When some of them feel called to serve on mission trips, provide prayer support and financial support.

If we do not forget our college students and we are faithful in our service to them, no matter where God’s plan and purpose for their lives take them, they will not forget their church homes! They will not forget our Moravian Church!

If you have questions or need additional information, email (drightsATmcsp.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.

The Rev. Doug Rights is the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). 

From The Resource Center: What You Need for Advent

Advent - mug and candle

It’s November. The Halloween candy is being taken off the shelf… many stores skipping Thanksgiving and going straight to Christmas. At this point in the year, it is getting easier to start fathoming the cold winds and many Moravian traditions that often accompany the Advent season, but at the risk of being like that store that puts out Christmas decorations just a little too early, we are asking you to think about the Advent season now. Not the shopping, the decorations, or even all of the great food–think of the spiritual journey of Advent. What do you want to experience during this season in your family, with your friends, and by yourself ? So now, before you get caught up in everything else,, think about some of the many books and studies in our Resource Center that can help get you where you truly want to be this Advent…

Group Studies:


Finding Bethlehem in the Midst of Bedlam (James Moore) Christmas or confusion, Bethlehem or bedlam . . . Which will you choose this year? The truth is, we don’t have to choose, because Christmas always happens right in the midst of our chaos. God breaks into our noisy disorder and is made known in Jesus Christ. Christmas and confusion—weren’t they intimately related at the first Christmas when Jesus was born? Sometimes we forget that. That’s what this study is about—how Christ breaks into our chaos and confusion and brings Christmas—how Bethlehem always happens in the midst of bedlam. The re-introduction of this all-church Advent study, which features a new Leader Guide and DVD, has five sessions—one for each Sunday of Advent and one for Christmas. Each chapter includes questions for reflection and discussion, a brief prayer, a focus for the week, and six daily Bible readings for personal devotional time during the week.

The Journey: Walking The Road to Bethlehem (Adam Hamilton) Using historical information, archaeological data, and a personal look at some of the stories surrounding the birth, the most amazing moment in history will become more real as you walk along this road. This study includes a DVD and a devotional book.

A Different Kind of Christmas (Mike Slaughter) This will empower your family and your church to reclaim the broader missional meaning of Jesus’ birth, and A different kind of Christmas - bookexperience a Christmas season with more peace and joy than any toy or gadget could ever bring. Discover how Christians can experience the true joy of living and giving like Jesus, beginning with the Christmas season and continuing as a lifestyle. There is a DVD component as well as a devotional book.

Children’s Studies:

The Christmas Shoppe - bookThe Christmas Shoppe: An Advent Experience for Children (Daphna Flegal and Marcia Stoner) Children explore the story and the symbols of Jesus’ birth, peruse the Bible, and create symbols of Advent as special gifts. This book helps children prepare to be a part of the presentation of the Christmas story. It comes with an inter-generational worship model.The Story of Christmas. Inside this Advent calendar you will find 25 small numbered books. As you open the gates, the Christmas story will start to unfold. It teaches children the amazing story of the first Christmas on earth.

Unwrapping the Christmas Crèche (Lisa Flinn and Barbara Younger) This engaging and delightful book follows a child’s thoughts and actions as the Christmas crèche is unwrapped. Each figure comes to life in this Advent adventure! Share Unwrapping the Christmas Crèche with your children as you create memories and traditions of your own.

Individual Studies:sent

Sent: Delivering The Gift of Hope (Jorge Acevedo) “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them . . .” —John 17:18 God sent Christ at Christmas. In turn, Christ sends us into the world to be his hands and feet, head and heart. Dynamic pastor Jorge Acevedo leads us on a 5-week Advent journey to discover how, where, and why we are sent. Joining him on the journey are four young clergy including Jacob Armstrong, Rachel Billups, Justin LaRosa, and Lanecia Rouse, who challenge us through story, art, and Bible study. This devotional, offering four weeks of daily reflections, functions beautifully on its own or as part of the church-wide experience. The reflections are ideal for use during Advent and include Scripture, personal insights, daily challenges, and prayers.

Embodied Light: Advent Reflections on the Incarnation (Melissa Tidwell) The book’s penetrating reflections for Advent reveal how to follow this fully human, fully divine Jesus with our full selves – mind, spirit, and body.

The Uncluttered Heart: Making Room for God During Advent and Christmas (Beth Richardson) Advent is the season when we prepare our lives – hearts, minds, and spirits – for the coming of the Christ child. We sweep out the corners of our hearts, cleaning up the clutter, to make space for God’s hope, peace, joy, love, and presence.

God is IGod is in the manger - bookn The Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) These stirring words are devotions that guide and inspire readers as they move thematically through the weeks of Advent and Christmas, from waiting and mystery to redemption, incarnation, and joy.

Waiting For the Wonder: Voices of Advent (Katerina Katsarka Whitley) You are placed in the hearts and minds of the biblical characters – both real and imagined – who played a part in the Christmas narrative. The voices lead us closer to the Christ child and deepen the meaning of the season of Advent.

Family Studies:
Christmas at our house

Creating Christmas Memories: Family Traditions For a Lifetime (Cheri Fuller) The traditions we share together each year remind us of who we are and where we have been as a family. Christmas is a wonderful time to establish new traditions, enhance old ones, and build special memories.

Christmas At Our House: Family Holiday Traditions (Donna Green) This keepsake book preserves the special holiday traditions and memories that bind families together for your children and grandchildren. It is a joyous celebration of the uniqueness of every family.

The Resource Center’s hours are 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday (evenings and weekends by appointments.) Email bhayes@mcsp.org if you have questions or need more information. You can view our Advent catalog here, or search “Advent” on Resource.Moravian.org.