Diocesan Life for October 2011

You can download the 2.4 MB .pdf here: Download October2011_DiocesanLife_SMALL

September 11 Services of Remembrance in the diocese

September 11 Services of Remembrance from around the diocese in chronological order

St. Anne's, Trexlertown:  8:00 and 10:15 A.M. During both services on September 11 we will have special prayers and remembrances to commemorate the lives that were lost on this dreadful day and to seek God’s guidance and wisdom as we live with the ramifications and impact of this national tragedy on our country and on the world. Please come to church prepared to stop whatever you are doing when you hear the sound of the drum and the cymbal. It will be a sacred moment of silent prayer. When you arrive at church on September 11, the greeters will remind you about keeping silence at these significant moments of September 11.

Christ Church, Forest City: 9:00 A.M. service with special hymns, prayers, and will host "first responders" from the surrounding communities.

Church of the Good Shepherd and St. John, Milford: 10:00 A.M. "Eucharist in Remembrance of 9/11" Church bells will be rung 10 times each on the times of the four plane crashes - 8:46am, 9:03am, 9:38am, and 10:03am. After a silent processional the service with continue with special prayers, hymns, and anthem. The church will remain open from 12:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. as a sanctuary for those who wish to observe a reverent silence, hosted by the Daughters of the King.

Trinity Church, Carbondale: 11:00 A.M. service with special hymns, prayers of the people and remembrances for the victims and their families.

Providence Place Retirement Home, Drums: 1:00 P.M. Members of a Gospel Quartet will lead the hymns, members of the staff and resident will assist with the readings. Lead by Deacon Marion Meiss of St. Peter's, Hazleton

Trinity Church, Easton: 1:30 P.M. organ voluntary followed by the service at 2:00 P.M. An Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Hope  to be webcast live on Sunday, September 11. The service will be streamed live at live.trinityeaston.org. A Service of Remembrance and Hope will include interfaith prayers and hymns. In addition, music will be provided by: a double quartet of members of the Metropolitan Opera Chorus of New York City, a local Chamber Orchestra and the Easton Area High School Choir. Scheduled selections will include: Faure's "Requiem in d minor, Op 48" (Intoit and Kyrie; Sanctus; Pie Iesu; Agnus Dei and Lux Aeterna; In Paradisum.), Bach's "Cantata 106: Gottes Zeit ist dis Allerbeste Zeit" movement III a & b. Participating congregations include: B'nai Abraham Synagogue, Easton; College Hill Presbyterian Church; 1st Presbyterian Church of Easton; 1st United Church of Christ of Easton; St. John's Lutheran Church of Easton; Temple Covenant of Peace, in Easton; The Muslim Community of Easton/Phillpsburg and Trinity Episcopal Church.  Go to www.trinityeaston.org and click on the link to the webcast.. Read more about it, including compatibilities with your computer, smartphone or tablet here. You may also go to Trinity's UShare page, live.trinityeaston.org. For information, call Trinity Church at 610-253-0792

Grace Church, Honesdale: 2:00 P.M. Service of Remembrance for 9/11 Meditation, inter-faith prayers, music and sharing will all be a part of the service as we remember all who were affected by the tragedies, especially within our community.  A time to remember those who were killed in New York City, southwestern Pennsylvania and Washington DC will be an important part of the service.  Grief counselors will be on hand should anyone need to talk privately.  “It is our hope to move forward bringing God’s peace into our community,” commented Ms. Frances Hlavacek of Grace Church who has been a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem’s Peace Commission. The service will be held in the handicap-accessible Parish Hall of Grace Church, located on the corner of Church and Ninth Streets in downtown Honesdale.  For more information, you may call the parish office at (570) 253-2760.  All are welcome to attend.

Trinity, Mt. Pocono: 2:00 P.M. Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Prayer. Representatives and members of our global community, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh, will gather together to speak about our lives as one in community and to pray together as one for a world of peace and community which can only be gained through the gift of open dialogue as sisters and brothers who seek to move forward beyond the smoke and ashes and offer healing in order to embrace a renewed life together. Please contact the Parish Office at 570 839 9376 for information or go to www.tinitymtpocono.org for directions.

Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem: 5:00 P.M.  9/11 Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Reconciliation, Nativity, Bethlehem 5:00 P.M. Clergy participating are: The Rt. Rev. Paul V. Marshall, Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem; The Very Rev. Anthony R. Pompa, Cathedral Dean & Rector; Rabbi Allen Juda,  Congregation Brith Sholom; Metin Bor, Muezzin, Lehigh Dialogue Center; Mohamed Rajmohamed, Al-Ahad Islamic Center; The Rt. Rev. Hopeton Clennon, Bishop of the Moravian Church, Northern Province and Chaplain, Moravian College; The Rev. Canon Mariclair Partee, Cathedral Canon, Ministry of the Baptized; Cantor Ellen Sussman, Temple Shirat Shalom; and The Rev. Canon George Loeffler, Deacon and Bishop's Chaplain. Music provided by the Cathedral Choir under the direction of Canon Russell Jackson will present selections from Faure’s Requiem, with Naoko Cauller as soloist. A reception will follow in Sayre Hall, and all are welcome.

St. Paul's, Montrose: 5:00 P.M. Vesper Service to Remember 9/11will be held at the Second Sunday Vesper Service on Sunday, September 11, 2011 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Church Street Montrose, PA  The solemn service will provide a time of deep spiritual reflection and include scripture readings, prayers, and music prepared especially for the anniversary.  The Rev. Canon Charles Cesaretti will welcome the congregation; the greeters are Linda and George Gardner.  The Lector will be Amy Johnson.  Sarah S. Bertsch will be the organist.  MaryAnn DeWitt will be at the piano.  A buffet supper will be served immediately following the service in the Parish House.  The cooks are Ed and Barbara Schmidt and John and Sharon Siedlecki.  Gail and Doug Overfield will be the servers. All are welcome on this special day to remember the victims and those who miss them, as well as the rescue workers and all responders.

Church of the Epiphany, Clarks Summit: 7:00 P.M. Service of Remembrance with two church joint choir, psalms and prayers


Communication Strategy slide deck (in .pdf)

[From Kat Lehman]

Mike Reiss shared with me his slide deck from the recent Moravian Eastern District Training Workshops held last weekend. It's great primary information and he gave me permission to share it. Mike is the Executive Director of the Interprovincial Board of Communications for the Moravian Church in North America. If you decide to share, just let him know. His contact information is on the last page. The file is 1.5 MB.

From one slide: Clarity is the new creativity.

Download 110727MoravianCommunicationPresentation.pdf


Crossroads Lay Courses at Moravian Theological Seminary

[From Steve Simmons, Office of Continuing Education]
Please note that, although CROSSROADS is primarily designed for active lay people, church staff members, pastors, licensed lay pastors and church planters have taken courses and are certainly encouraged to participate. Also, although these courses do not carry academic credit, they do require the completion of class assignments, are almost two-thirds the length of a regular graduate-level course (at a fraction of the cost), and are taught by highly qualified instructors.  An information session on the program will be offered at the seminary on Saturday, August 20, from 10:00 a.m.  to noon; if you have questions about this or any other aspect of the program, please contact  the director,  Jill Peters, at jpeters@moravian.edu; and for more detailed information on CROSSROADS courses, please consult our website at http://seminary.moravian.edu/conted/crossroads.html.

(Courses are $200 each)

COMPASS
Saturdays, 9/10: 9am–3pm this date only.
9am–noon: 9/17, 24, 10/1, 15, 22, 29

Jill Peters

Discern your call and discover your gifts with an introduction to biblical interpretation, research and writing skills. If possible take this course first.
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Road Hazards (Congregational Ethics)
Thursdays, Sept 8, 15, 22, 29, Oct 13, 20, 27, Nov 3 9am–noon

Jill Peters

A practical introduction to congregational ethics focusing on some of those hazards. Through the use of case studies, financial indiscretions, interpersonal relationships, child sexual abuse, power struggles and other issues will be explored.
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Faith Journeys of the Old Testament
Mondays, Sept 12, 19, 26; Oct 3, 10 , 17, 24, 31 6–9pm

Walter Wagner

Trace the faith development of biblical characters. As we look at their journeys, both actual and spiritual, we can apply their stories to our lives.
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Unpacking the Scriptures II—Teaching
Thursdays, Sept 8–Oct 27 6–9pm

Nancy Azar 

Seeing church as a learning environment, explore what we wish to teach, what we do teach, across generations and through various media, as well as understanding learning styles and age appropriate teaching.
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Traveling Mercies 
9am–noon: Saturdays, Oct 22, 29, Nov 5 & 19
6–9pm: Thursdays Nov 10, 17 & Dec 1 & 8

Various Instructors

A lay approach to understanding pastoral care. Lecturers will present on their topics of expertise including Spirituality and the Care Giving Relationship, Community Resources, Ministry with Older Adults, Death & Dying, Homelessness, and Poverty and the Mental Health Population.  ________________________________________________________________________

Words and Whispers of God: A Spiritual Formation Workshop 
Saturday, December 3 • $30 (Lunch included)
9am–2pm

Kay Ward

Come and explore how we use words to speak of God and how God may use those same words to speak to us. Through written words, by our own hand, we may read the whispers of God. No previous experience is necessary. If you can write a grocery list, you are qualified for this workshop.

 


Fall Continuing Education Offerings at Moravian Theological Seminary

[From the Office of Continuing Education courtesy of Steve Simmons]
(unless otherwise noted, all are at the Bahnson Center, 60 W. Locust, Bethlehem, PA)

To register, please go to the Continuing Ed site for the Seminary found here:
http://www.moravianseminary.edu/conted/index.html

The Calling: What Is Religious Leadership Now?
Dates: September 13 and 20 (Tuesdays)    7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Fee: Free

Using segments from the PBS series “The Calling,” we will explore the character, challenges, and rewards of ordained and lay leadership in contemporary faith communities. These sessions will be co-facilitated by Deborah Appler, Steve Simmons, and Walter Wagner, who are both ordained clergy and faculty at MTS.
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Ho’oponopono: Practicing Forgiveness, Balance, and the Abundant Life
Date:  September 16-17 (Friday and Saturday)        Time: Friday, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
Program Fee: $140
Contact Hours: 9 (.9 CEU)

In this workshop, kahuna and master teacher Harry Uhane Jim will introduce traditional Hawaiian practice of managing trauma and transforming chaotic patterns of life into order and profound peace. As Harry puts it, “Live peacefully inside and out instead of exhausted outside, chaotic within. Stop negotiating and start navigating!”
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Theology, Literature and Coffee
Dates: September 19, October 3, & October 17 (3 Mondays)  2:30-4:30 p.m.
Site: Wellness Game Room, Luther Crest Retirement Community, 800 Hausman Road, AllentownProgram Fee: $25 (Early Reg. Discount: $20 by 9/12/11)

Enjoy a time of learning and fellowship as theological themes in selected literature are are presented and discussed.  Beverages will be provided. If you wish, you may buy TLC books from the Moravian Book Shop at a 10% discount.  Selections include: (9/19) The Inferno by Dante Alighieri, (10/3) Tinkers by Paul Harding, (10/17) Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott.
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Scripture Talks: Muslims and Christians Share Cherished Passages

Dates: September 27- November 1 (Tuesdays) 7 p.m. (6:30 on September 27; 7:30 on October 18)
Program Fee: $15
Contact Hours: 10 (1 CEU)

Sharing about key meaningful passages in the Qur’an and the Bible can deepen our mutual understanding of ourselves and of one another. The presenters will provide starting points for frank and respectful roundtable discussions. The Program is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Dialogue Center and Moravian Theological Seminary, and will be facilitated by Walter Wagner, Lutheran pastor, adjunct faculty member at MTS and Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, and by Muslim Scholars and Leaders from the Pennsylvania Dialogue Center
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Pastoral Counseling Retreat
Date: September 30 (Friday)     9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Site: St. Francis Center for Renewal , 395 Bridle Path Road, Bethlehem
Program Fee: $70 (incl. lunch)   [Early Reg. Discount  $60 by 9/16]
Contact Hours: 5 (.5 CEU)

The Use of Art Media in Therapeutic Environments

In the context of music, scripture and meditation, we will experience self-directed image making using art media, and also other-directed image making in therapeutic role play, exploring their use in both personal growth and counseling practice.  Studio artist and art therapist Dorothy Heine Rudolph will lead us through the day.
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Making Sense of Our Lives through Story
Date: October 5 - 26   (Wednesdays) 7-9 p.m.
Program Fee: $50 (Early Reg. Discount $40 by 9/21)

It has been said that “We don’t so much have stories. We are our stories.” Using Christina Baldwin’s book, Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story, we will explore the narrative shape of our own lives as a source of self-discovery and growth. The sessions will be led by Emily Wallace, MAPC and Spiritual Director.
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The Walter Vivian Moses Lectures in Moravian Studies

Instructions for Body and Soul:  Moravian Pastoral Care in the 18th Century
Oct. 13  (Thursday)    9:30 a.m. – 12 noon
Program Fee: Free
Contact Hours: 2 (.2 CEU)

In these lectures, Dr. Katherine Faull of Bucknell University will discuss pastoral care through the life cycle as practiced by Moravians in the 18th century in their individual and corporate life at “the intersection of care for the body and soul,” drawing out some of its implications for our own life in community.
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The Challenges of Being an Ethical Therapist
Date: October 14 (Friday)   Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Program Fee: $50 in advance; $60 at the door (All tuition monies will go to Moravian Counseling Scholarships.)
Contact Hours: 3 (.3 CEU)

 The purpose of this workshop is to enable practitioners in the caring professions to cultivate an awareness of their own need to establish clear ethical boundaries while maintaining an empathic and helpful relationship with clients. 

Andrew H. Johanson, Jr., D.Min., LMFT, Adjunct Professor at Moravian Theological Seminary in the Department of Pastoral Counseling, and is a psychotherapist in private practice in Lansdale, and Bethlehem.
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Irene Marold Lectures in Biblical Studies

White Fire: Biblical Texts and Folkloric Tradition
Date: October 25 (Tuesday) 4:00 – 8:30 p.m.   (Lecture 1: 4:00 p.m.; Lecture 2: 7:00 p.m.)
Site: Prosser Aud., Haupert Union Building, Moravian College
Program Fee: Free

In these lectures, Dr. Howard Schwartz, three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award and Professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, will introduce us to a rich tradition of Jewish folklore involving biblical characters and themes, and invite us to let it broaden and deepen our own readings of the Bible.

Pastoral Care Week Lectures

Health and Wealth: A Widening Gap?
Date: October 28 (Friday)   Time: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Program Fee: $25
Contact Hours: 3.5 (.35 CEU)

  A large and growing body of evidence suggests that there is a direct and decisive correlation between one’s socioeconomic status and one’s state of health and longevity.  Using clips from the PBS documentary, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?, area health professionals and community leaders will discuss disparities in health access and outcomes across social and racial/ethnic lines, and lead us in a conversation about how we as a society can improve the health and well-being of all our citizens.
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Couillard Memorial Lectures

A New Pentecost: A Theology of the Spirit for the Third Millennium
Date: November 4 (Friday)                     Time: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Site: Prosser Aud., Haupert Union Building, Moravian College
Streaming Video Available
Program Fee: Free
Contact Hours: 3.5 (.35 CEU)

Pentecostalism has exploded in recent decades as the vanguard of a world Christian movement. These lectures will provide an overview of the pentecostal theology and pneumatology (the doctrine of the Holy Spirit) that has emerged in the last twenty years,  and discuss the nature and role of theology considered from a Pentecostal and pneumatological perspective.

Amos Yong, PhD, is J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology at Regent University School of Divinity in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
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Vital Worship in the Smaller Church
Date: November 12  (Saturday)  9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Site: Bahnson Center, Moravian Theological Seminary, 60 W. Locust, Bethlehem
Program Fee: $15 ($50 for congregational teams of 4 or more)
Contact Hours: 3.5 (.35 CEU)

In this workshop, we will look at principles and resources for worship in the smaller congregation (many of them available for free or at little cost), and share our own experiences with creative and transformative worship in the “compact” (70 or fewer in worship on a typical Sunday) church. 

David De Remer, DMin, is senior pastor of St. John’s United Church of Christ in Nazareth, and serves as an adjunct faculty member at Moravian Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary.
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Seminary Information Session
Date:  November 12 (Saturday)   10-12 a.m.
Fee: Free

Faculty, staff, and students offer an overview of our Master’s and Dual degree programs, our Graduate Certificate in Formative Spirituality, and information on the admissions process, scholarships, and financial aid.
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MAPC Professional Counseling Day
Date: November 18                  12:00 noon – 2:00 p.m.
Program Fee: Free
Contact Hours: 2  (.2 CEU) (Lunch included)

Social media are everywhere, yet their impact on personality and relationships (including therapeutic relationships) is only beginning to be understood.  Barbara Keller, Consultant for Misconduct Prevention, Vocation and Education Unit, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and a panel of area counselors will help us explore some of the possibilities and challenges that Facebook, Twitter, and other social media pose to counselors and clients.
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Words and Whispers of God: A Spiritual Formation Workshop with Bishop Kay Ward
Date: Saturday, December 3    9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Fee: $30 (Lunch included)

Come and explore how we use words to speak of God and how God may use those same words to speak to us.  Through written words, by our own hand, we may read the whispers of God.  No previous experience is necessary. If you can write a grocery list, you are qualified for this workshop.

Kay Ward, D.Min., educator and author, is a bishop in the Moravian Church and former MTS faculty member.  Her books include Of Seasons and Sparrows, Heading Home, and Hoping for Spring.

 


Diocesan Life for July/August 2011

 

You can download the .pdf version here as well: Download July-August2011_DiocesanLife_SMALL


Three Episcopal clergy take part in Moravian clergy retreat

[From Deacon Sally Bosler]

The Clergy/Staff Retreat of the Moravian Eastern District was held at the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville, PA on May 23-25, 2011. This year, The Rev. David Bennett, the President of the Eastern District of the Moravian Church, invited Bishop Paul Marshall to send three clergy persons from the Diocese of Bethlehem to attend the retreat, thereby expanding the process of exploring the full communion between the Moravian Church and the Episcopal Church.  Joining the thirty-plus Moravian pastors, gathered from New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, were The Rev. Andrea Baldyga, Church of the Redeemer, Sayre, PA., The Rev. Sally Bosler, St. Gabriel’s, Douglassville, PA., and The Rev. Terrence Wible, St. Luke’s, Lebanon, PA. The retreat, entitled “Cultivating Attentiveness” was led by Kairos: School of Spiritual Formation.
 
I arrived tired, still burdened by unfinished work, half relishing the promise of retreat and half begrudging the time set aside from my busy schedule. I was immediately welcomed by our Moravian brothers and sisters, who were also tired, but eager to journey together. My heart, mind and body all reacted to the deceleration, the conscious letting go of distractions advised by the team from Kairos. Cell phones, computers, books, unwritten sermons, etc. were to be left in our parked cars! I was invited to ‘simply be’, to rest and allow myself to be refreshed. I began to approach and then to practice silence, often awkwardly and imperfectly. Our shared “speaking” times together were rich with insight and the comments shared were often accompanied by nods born of common experience.  It was a time for listening to God, to self and to others, both when we were together and when alone. The retreat was a constant invitation to draw near. I embraced the diversity of people and experiences. With distractions at a minimum, conversation progressed past social convention into dialogue and relationship. It was a blessing to have the opportunity to greet several former classmates and to begin additional new friendships among the Moravian clergy. Deacon Sally


Diocesan Life for May 2011

You can download the .pdf version if you like below:

A photo of a first

[From Bishop Paul]

Alleluia. Christ is risen!



An edited keepsake Here is a cropped  version of Kat Lehman's excellent photo of a first. Moravians (Rev David Bennet), Lutherans (Bishop Samuel Zeiser) and Episcopalians (me and Bp Jack) at one altar. A wonderful step toward NE Pennsylvanians becoming one in practice as well as theology. It is my deepest prayer that the next time this photo is taken, we will have a bishop of the United Methodist Church in the picture! (That would also add a woman bishop!)

My own Phantasie [sic] at this moment is a gigantic Share the Bread-type celebration of the four bodies that will fill a great space and give a strong witness to the area and a solidifying opportunity for celebration among the churches. Stay tuned.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Easter blessings,

+Paul


Asset Mapping: Strong Together, Mobilizing our Assets in Tough Times

At Moravian Theological Seminary ... Friday, March 25: Luther Snow will work with pastors, judicatory staff, and faith-based agency staff. The fo­cus of the full-day workshop will be The Macro View: Building Partnerships. Saturday, March 26: The focus will be The Micro View: Strength­ening Congregations. This full-day workshop (9:30 AM – 3:30 PM) is for the leadership of local congre­gations – lay and clergy leadership teams. More at http://www.moravianseminary.edu/conted/Spring11/assetmapping.html

By Charles Cesaretti

“Congregations, parishes, and other faith communities face daily challenges to our leadership, orga­nization, and finances,” writes Lu­ther Snow. “But we can choose to focus on God’s blessings. Empow­ering Congregations is a strategy that builds on our strengths, gifts, and assets. From appreciation and thankfulness for these gifts, we are led to connect our gifts with each other to get things done together we could not get done on our own. In the process, we experience the pow­er of being part of something bigger than all of us.”At workshops on March 25 and 26, Luther Snow, the creator of Asset Map­ping, will introduce the pro­cess of asset mapping and train congregational leaders. The Diocese of Bethlehem in partnership with other denominations, institutions, and agencies across north­east Pennsylvania is one of the sponsors of the event.

Snow has 35 years expe­rience in community and group leadership. He’s led grass roots social and eco­nomic development efforts in inner city Chicago, and he’s sparked positive rural development approaches across the nation. He has published three bestsell­ing books, including The Power of Asset Mapping and The Organization of Hope. In faith-based work, Luther has trained leaders of six national denominations and strengthened hundreds of congregations. Luther’s expertise includes community part­nerships, financial strategy, univer­sity engagement, and social enter­prise. He has a BA from Harvard and an MBA from the University of Chica­go. He lives in Decorah, Iowa, with his wife and two sons.

“There are three immediate and general benefits of Asset Mapping that I have seen,” explains Snow.

“First, Asset Mapping helps us to recognize assets, strengths and gifts all around us – assets that are oth­erwise overlooked, taken for grant­ed, unappreciated, or outside our vision.

“Second, Asset Mapping propels us to identify beneficial relationships and build on them in collaborative action. We “connect the dots” and find ways that we can get things done together that we could not get done on our own. We build on af­finities of difference as well as af­finities of similarity, and we build relationships outside our group as well as within it.

“Third, Asset Mapping opens up opportunities for action toward the greater good. As we ‘vote with our feet,’ we give each other permission to follow our own interests as part of the group, and experience an un­folding sense of a larger whole and a greater good. Because we are act­ing together, we shift perspectives, away from ‘us and them’ and toward ‘all of us.’ This wider perspective, in turn, illuminates new assets and op­portunities and encourages us to in­vest further in the group, feeding the positive cycle anew.”

On Friday, March 25, Snow will work with pastors, judicatory staff, and faith-based agency staff. The fo­cus of the full-day workshop will be: The Macro View: Building Partnerships.

On Saturday, March 26, at Mora­vian Theological Seminary, the focus will be: The Micro View: Strength­ening Congregations. This full-day workshop (9:30 AM – 3:30 PM) is for the leadership of local congre­gations – lay and clergy leadership teams. Registration is $20, and in­cludes lunch and snacks.

On Sunday, March 27, Snow will preach at the 8:30 AM service at East Hills Moravian Church in Bethlehem.

See Moravian Seminary Continuing Ed, http://www.moravianseminary.edu/conted/Spring11/assetmapping.html, for more information and registration.


Episcopalians and Moravians celebrate Full Communion

Churches in full communion formally recognize that they share essential doctrines, including baptism and Eucharist; agree to accept the service of each other's clergy; and pledge to work together in evangelism and mission. The churches become interdependent while remaining autonomous. In an explanation read during the Eucharist, the two denominations said that full communion is a "significant expression of the full visible unity of all Christians, which we do not yet discern but for which we pray."

[Diocese of Bethlehem Bishop Paul V. Marshall] In the 1780s, the Episcopal Church's leadership chose not to receive episcopal orders at the hands of Moravians, so our kneeling before each other tonight for the laying-on of hands and the right hand of fellowship was more than symbolic--it was a moment of healing. Ghosts can indeed become ancestors.

[Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori] The visible witness of two different traditions coming together is a profound sign of the possibility of reconciliation to the world around us.

[Kat Lehman, Moravian, serves as IT coordinator and editor of Diocesan Life for the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem] As a Moravian and a person who was there, let me tell you it was profoundly moving. I'm very excited about this historical moment in both our churches.

[The Rev. T. Scott Allen, rector, St. Andrew's Allentown] I was glad to be there and witness this historic service.  The highlight for me was The Reconciliation of Episcopal Ministries with the Episcopal Bishops kneeling and receiving the laying on of hands and "Right Hand of Fellowship" from Unitas Fratrum Bishops.   And then the Unitas Fratrum Bishops kneeling and receiving the Laying On of Hands from Episcopal Bishops. Very moving! The sermon was spot on as well.  Thanks to all who made it a most holy evening....I consider it a blessing to have been there.

[The Rev. Canon Ginny Rex Day, Diocese of Bethlehem, retired] As one of those who studied at Moravian Seminary in Bethlehem, this milestone in our relationship with one another has a particular significance. The scholarship, the inclusiveness, and the welcome I enjoyed during those years were formative at a spiritual level beyond the obvious.  Ecumenical study at this level is a unique and most valued blessing. What a gift it is to live in the region of Bethlehem and to be part of this answer to the years of prayer for Christian Unity. The Reconciliation among our bishops was particularly poignant. What's so hard about this kind of relationship restoration?

Amid music and prayer ...
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Episcopal News Service
February 11, 2011
 
With an evening Eucharist Feb. 10 that blended elements of the liturgical and musical practices of both traditions, representatives of the Episcopal Church and the two provinces of the Moravian Church in North America formally inaugurated a full-communion relationship between the denominations. More here.

Episcopalians, Moravians celebrate Common Cup
By Dave Howell (of Trinity Bethlehem) for The Living Church

The sanctuary of Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pa., is both simple and majestic. It is completely white, except for natural wood trim on the pews and gas lamp fixtures on the side walls. As befits Moravian tradition, there are no stained-glass windows, or a cross above the altar. Yet there is majesty in its soaring height, supported by two Corinthian columns and an arch at its front. And there is the treasured Moravian music, from a magnificent Moller organ and a choir of sterling voices. About 500 people gathered at Central Moravian Feb. 10 to celebrate the full communion of the Episcopal Church and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church. The Episcopal Church approved the full-communion agreement at General Convention in 2009, and the two Moravian provinces approved it in 2010. The churches had practiced interim eucharistic sharing since 2003. This historic occasion featured a prelude with music by the Central Moravian Brass Ensemble, and opened with a procession of nearly a dozen Episcopal and Moravian bishops. For this event, the Central Moravian choir merged with those of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity and Trinity Church, Bethlehem. More here.

Gallery of Photos from ENS, including two good photos of Bishop Paul during the laying on of hands ... here.

Photos taken by Kat Lehman ... here.

Video of the service ... here.

Moravians? Who are they? Here.
The Moravian Church, which celebrated its 550th anniversary in 2007, is one of the oldest Protestant denominations, dating back to 1457 in Europe and first coming to America in 1735. The Moravian Church, whose motto is, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things love,” has strong traditions of ecumenical work, missionary endeavors and creativity in music and worship.  The Moravian Church in North America includes more than 150 congregations in the U.S. and Canada.  The Unitas Fratrum -- the worldwide Moravian Church -- counts nearly 795,000 members. Website of The Moravian Church in North America: www.moravian.org

The final report of full communion, “Finding Our Delight in the Lord: A Proposal for Full Communion Between The Episcopal Church, the Moravian Church-Northern Province and the Moravian Church-Southern Province” is located here:  http://www.episcopalchurch.org/110055_111526_ENG_HTM.htm or  http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/Finding_Our_Delight_Official_Text__2_.pdf

Sermon by Milwaukee Bishop Steven Miller
at the Feb. 10, 2011, Celebration of Full Communion

Now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near in the Blood of Christ. For he is our peace who has made us both one and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility. (Eph: 2:13)
 
We hear these words in our reading this evening from the letter to the Ephesians. The apostolic message to the letter’s first recipients and to us is that in Christ God brings together that which had been separate.
 
In the case of the Church at Ephesus, the apostle is writing to a community living after the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem, after the Church’s first wrestling with implications of God’s act in Christ Jesus and for whom that act was accomplished, in a time in which the word Christian had become the primary label for believers. The Apostle wanted those who heard and read this letter to know that the distinctions of the past were no more. Echoing the letter to the Galatians with its proclamation that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female (Gal 3:28), the apostle  reminded the church in Ephesus that in Christ Jesus what was separate is now united. He, Jesus, is our peace who has made both Jew and Gentile one. The author goes on to build an ecclesiology that shapes and challenges us today.
 
Jesus is our peace who has made us both one.
 
This is the apostolic word to us tonight as we gather to celebrate and inaugurate the full communion relationship between the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in the United States of America and of The Episcopal Church. They are to us reminder, comfort, and challenge. Reminder, in that what we celebrate tonight is God’s action at work in us. That the impetus to begin the conversation 17 years ago that resulted in first interim Eucharistic sharing and now a full communion agreement is the activity of the unifying spirit of God at work in Christ in his incarnation and his Body the Church today. It is comfort, in that we are strengthened and our hearts are warmed in that God continues to work his promise in us, God continues to be the God who breaks down walls and who brings together.
 
But these words are also a challenge: for we know that the strength of this full communion relationship depends not on the document and the synodical resolutions that have made this day possible, but upon our continuing to discover what God is calling us to as his people, allowing God’s Uniting Spirit to work in us, not just those gathered here but every member of our communions, as we seek to discover and live into the full communion we inaugurate this night.
 
We were reminded earlier in this liturgy that a part of our brokenness and sin is our tendency to make “idols of our achievements” (Moravian Unity Liturgy). It is important for us to remember that this liturgy is not an end but a beginning. My fear is that unless we are attentive and intentional we will miss the opportunities before us.
 
As I was reflecting on all this, words from my first spiritual director echoed in my ears. “The question is, Steven,” she said, “Jesus is Lord, what are you going to do about it.”
 
We are here tonight because we have found our delight in the Lord who has found his delight in us and sent his only Son to be our Savior. We have discovered through our dialogue and proclaimed in our synods and convention that difference does not mean division. And so the question before us tonight is: We’re in full communion, what are we going to do about it? Or better yet, we are full communion partners, what does God want it do in and through us. As I prayed and pondered this question three words came to mind: Transfigure, Transform, Send. And it is each of these that I want to focus on tonight.
 
Transfigure:
In just a few weeks the Epiphany season will come to a close and we will hear again on the last Sunday after the Epiphany the story of the Transfiguration. The story of how Jesus, after the prediction of his passion, took with him Peter, James, and John, the inner circle of the twelve, up on a mountain to pray. And while he was praying, he was transfigured before them, his face shone like the sun, his garments became dazzling white, and there appeared with him Moses and Elijah. And a voice came from heaven, “This is my Son. Listen to Him.”
 
In each of our churches we sing of this event in the life of Jesus with these words:
O wondrous type, O vision fair, of glory that the church may share
Which Christ upon the Mountain shows, where brighter than the sun He glows
 
In the Transfiguration we get a glimpse of our destiny and calling that “we may shine with radiance of Christ’s glory that he may be known, worshipped and obeyed to the ends of the earth.” (BCP collect for 3 Epiphany). My prayer and hope is that in this new relationship for our two churches we will gain insights into who Christ Jesus is and what he calls us to do. We will discover a deeper and fuller sense of the meaning of Christian discipleship. If that is to happen it will require of us intentionality and effort. Taking this intentionality, to be in the presence of one another, to listen and learn, and discover. Together in the light of the transfigured Christ we can discover new songs to sing to the Lord.
 
But visions are not enough, the purpose of vision is to transform.
 
I can witness, as I know can all of us who have labored to make this day possible, sisters and brothers with whom I shared this journey, that our work together has given us a greater vision of what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ and made us more the people he has called us to be. Bishops of both churches have testified to experiences like that of another famous Anglican in which our hearts were “strangely warmed” through our fellowship one with another. Our walk of faith is enriched by the daily devotional strength of each of our traditions.
 
However, we are now in the second century of the Ecumenical Movement. I am fearful someday historians will be writing about the second and third centuries of the ecumenical movement unless we embrace the vision God puts before us and truly bring it into being.
 
We say in our full communion document that full communion is not merger. And so it is.  But can it not be something more than advancing the ecumenical ball a little bit further down the field? God does not call us to stop here and build three booths, one for the Moravian Southern province, one for the Northern Province, and one for the Episcopal Church, particularly in an age when such identities matter very little to those who are outside them. Is perhaps part of the call that our denominational structures and boundaries be transformed to a new reality and new life? The call is still there to be one church on earth as it is in heaven.
 
Here I am reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King’s words on the night before his assassination, “I have seen the promised land.” We know how sweet and pleasent it is when sisters and brothers live together in unity. We know God’s will is that all may be one as Christ and the Father are one. May that unity be revealed in us. We have seen the promise of Ecumenism. Let us enter that promised land.
 
Seeing God’s vision and transformed by his work in us God sends us. Each of our traditions has a rich missional heritage. The introduction to the Moravian Daily Texts of 1739, just 17 years after the establishment of Hernhut on the estate of Count Zinzendorf, is addressed to congregations and missions throughout the world including South Africa, Surinam, Guyana, Ceylon, Ethiopia, and Persia.
 
The Episcopal Church is incorporated as the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, giving birth to new provinces of our communion in the Phillipines, Japan, and South America and other places through our missionary efforts. The diocese which I serve was born of our commitment to domestic mission and the efforts of the first missionary bishop, Jackson Kemper. Another of those missionary bishops, Ethelbert Talbot, later served this community as Bishop of Bethlehem and Presiding Bishop.
 
That Mission field is as ripe for harvest today as it was then. Our Gospel lesson tonight reminds us and proclaims to us the harvest is plentiful. The harvest is plentiful. And to each servant the master says, go work today.
 
The penultimate paragraph of the full communion document, Finding our Delight in the Lord, states:
 
44. We do not know to what new, recovered, or continuing tasks of mission this agreement will lead our churches, but we give thanks to God for leading us to this point. We entrust ourselves to that leading in the future, confident that our full communion will be a witness to the gift and goal already present in Christ, “so that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). Entering full communion and thus removing limitations through mutual recognition of faith, sacraments, and ministries will bring new opportunities and levels of shared evangelism, witness, and service. It is the gift of Christ that we are sent as he has been sent (John 17:17–26), that our unity will be received and perceived as we participate together in the mission of the Son in obedience to the Father through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
 
Tonight God calls us to discover what those new, recovered, and continuing acts of mission are: Together, each with its purpose “to restore all people to unity with God in Christ.” My sense is that mission has at least something to do with the ability to embrace difference while working for the common good and discovering God’s mission of reconciliation not just as for the Church but for the world.
 
May God bless our witness. May the God who makes us one, Make all one, that Christ may be all in all.

 

 


Episcopal-Moravian Full Communion celebration, Feb. 10

[From Maria Tjeltveit]

One of the privileges and joys of my ministry has been serving on the Moravian-Episcopal Dialogue for our national Church, which drafted the full communion proposal for our two Churches. So I am delighted to invite you to join in the celebration service inaugurating our full communion relationship on Thursday, February 10, at 6:00 p.m. at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem. Our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori will be the celebrant, joined by the heads of the Provincial Elders’ Conference of the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in America.

It’s not often that a historical event happens right here in our back yard. And even though it’s a service for the whole of both our denominations, having a midweek service in February may reduce the number of people who come from a great distance. So that means that we who are local are encouraged to come and bring our friends. It will be great to celebrate this service right in the heart of the Moravian Church and in our diocese.

What is full communion? It is a way for denominations to come together without merging; acknowledging the fullness of the church in each other, working together for mission and ministry, and exchanging clergy. We have been in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for 10 years, and the Lutherans and Moravians are also in full communion, so this kind of completes a triangle of full communion relationships. Especially in our area, where there are plenty of Lutherans and Moravians, it will be good to see how we can live into full communion in substantial way.

I hope you will join me on February 10 for this celebration.

Maria Tjeltveit, Canon for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations