Moravians Growing in Faith, Love, and Hope

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BY BETH HAYES | 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength. These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up. Tie them on your hand as a sign. They should be on your forehead as a symbol. Write them on your house’s door frames and on your city’s gates. -Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (CEB)

These words from Deutoronomy speak volumes to me. When I get requests in the Resource Center for resources to teach our children about our Moravian heritage, I am reminded of this verse. There are several fine resources I point older youth and adults to, and soon, there will be another fine resource for Moravians of all ages.

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The Eastern District of the Moravian Church’s Northern Province saw a need for a new curriculum to guide churches in learning Moravian history and to provide meaning for today’s Moravians. They invited the Moravian Church’s Southern Province to join forces to create a multi-aged curriculum focusing on Moravian history with an emphasis of looking to the future. An interprovincial team worked to design the various elements and then contracted with Margaret Norris (now the Director of Christian Education at Home Moravian Church) to manage the project. She worked with a team of writers that included Karen Wilson, Marie Couts, Tricia Everett, Carol Foltz, Sam Gray, Justin Rabbach, and Denny Rohn. After a thorough review by several Moravian theologians, educators, and scholars, we are preparing to unveil it. Called Living Branches: Moravians Growing In Faith, Love, and Hope, this 13-week curriculum written for younger elementary, older elementary, youth, and adult groups will soon be available online. We will also, for a reasonable price, make available printed copies for congregations who need to access it this way. The Southern Province is currently developing a five-day Vacation Bible School model to supplement this curriculum.

Come step into the Moravian world! Ours is a past full of “living branches” – those faithful guiding figures who have led us since the 15th century. These witnesses to the Lamb were not only pioneers in their generations, they also provide inspiration to lead us through our present into our best future. We’ll explore the Moravian Church’s roots, starting with Hus and his peers, and travel the road to the present. We will take stops along the way, visiting Comenius and the “Hidden Seed,” Herrnhut’s revitalized church, and our bold missionaries. We will untangle different periods of history as we move into the future of the Moravian Church, with our past to inform and guide us.

The curriculum design team wanted age-appropriate as well as topically-based curriculum. Therefore, we have arranged these pieces in a 13-week Sunday School model. Additionally, we have coordinated the sessions’ topics so that a particular time period or historical figure can be studied by all ages. For example, if the Moravian Church is celebrating the birth of the Unitas Fratrum, the curriculum pieces that reflect that time in our history can be pulled out and studied by children through adult.

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We are excited this project is nearly complete. Soon churches will be able to teach this rich Moravian history to all ages. As the Deuteronomy passage emphasizes, we must never forget the importance of passing our faith through generations.

Here are a few ways you can use the Moravian curriculum:

  • in place of your regular curriculum for a quarter, (You’ll need to plan ahead and give Beth Hayes plenty of notice!)
  • with your current curriculum at the beginning or end of a session,
  • as a summer Sunday School option,
  • as a week day Kids’ Club option,
  • as Vacation Bible School curriculum,
  • for a Confirmation Class,
  • in your New Member (or Inquirers’) Class, or
  • as part of a weekly Bible study (especially the adult program).

The list could go on and on. Plan to use it to best fit your needs. Get on board and help Moravians of all ages grasp the heritage and beauty of this faith.


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). 

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Generations Learning Together

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Our church world is changing. And while the message of Good News is unchanging, we now hear the news in different ways and we are challenged to meet children, youth, and adults where they are, which is not a simple task.

In the 1970s, it was common for families to attend church together every Sunday morning. There were prizes for perfect attendance. Shopping and sports took a back seat to church. Not so in today’s world! Culture and times have changed and the old “we’ve always done it this way” programming in separate age groupings does not always work, particularly in smaller faith communities. How can we use technological advances to help us spread the Gospel more effectively? It is time to let go of our fears… fears of change, or trying something new, of failure, of backlash. Instead, let’s collaborate and innovate by using the tools and gifts God has put before us to proclaim the Good News to a new generation, a new world, a new church. Inter-generational resources allow us to be more inclusive of every age and person in the church, to communicate better, and to help families join with us in the task of faith formation. And while the responsibility requires all of us work together, there are still many ways we as church can help families take steps in faith formation.


Find our inter-generational Sunday school resource at the top of our Additional Resources & Links webpage at MoravianBCM.org. Or just click the links here below!  


In May, several Moravian educators and pastors created a model for congregations willing to take a few risks, to think outside the box, to offer something new and exciting, and to build on some energy. We chose lectionary materials for four Sundays in August as an inter-generational experience where all ages come together, share in small groups of mixed ages, do some intentional Bible Study, and create something unique for the next Sunday. We purposely worked on the passages a week ahead so that this joint creativity could be shared in corporate worship. What became apparent as we began reading these scripture readings was the theme of images of God. The four weeks focus on a different image of God presented in the Scriptures. We created a series of PowerPoint presentations, which can be found on the our website under additional resources. Simply download the files, print or project them and you are ready to go!

Mid-August, we’ll be adding a YouTube video that may be used in the last session, which focuses on the potter and the clay. We’ll film Rodney Stillwell, Forsyth Prison Chaplain, as he tells the biblical story of the potter and clay at the Children’s Festival in Salem Square on August 14. We hope this will be the first of many resources that we can create for congregations when they are ready to try inter-generational Sunday School.

Why is inter-generational ministry such an effective option for churches? The answer is very Moravian! intergenerational Doing ministry with all ages is relational, allowing us to explore Christian relationships that form life-long disciples. A fun, celebratory setting creates an inviting space for these relationships to grow – and sometimes chaos, too! Yummy food, creative decorations, a welcoming atmosphere, and a genuine spirit of loving care all create memorable Family Time. Can you name 3-5 people in the age range of children, youth, and adults that have played significant parts in faith development? Yes, it was easier when much of our social lives revolved around activities at church. These relationships just happened. Now as we look at the way things have changed in churches, we realize that we have to be intentional in planning creative ways for all ages to form lasting, meaningful bonds with each other.

I pray that you claim for your congregation its most important calling: growing followers of Christ through the intentional building up of relationships within the Body. May you find the power of the Holy Spirit during multi-generational meal times. And may you know that God is the source of it all, our help in ages past and our hope for the generations to come. Stop worrying about the way you’ve “always done it” and begin to think of new and engaging ways for all ages to intermingle and form significant relationships. You won’t be sorry.


Beth Hayes portraitIf 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)