A Communication from the Chairman of the Moravian Church, E.W. I. Province.
A NEWSLETTER OF THE PROVINCE -- April 2001
The Provincial Theme for the year, Challenging the Family, is apt for the seasons of Lent, Passion Week and Eastertide. We have come through the period of Lent thinking of trial, conflict and sacrifice. This must be a challenge to the Family. We are facing the passion of Christ and when we consider that 'He, when he was reviled, reviled not again'' the family must be similarly challenged. A great challenge comes to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as he made that great sacrifice on our behalf. Can we respond in anyway similar to Christ if we are similarly challenged?
The challenge Jesus faced throughout this period of life was to consider others before self and thus to make sacrifices all along the way, climaxing with the ultimate sacrifice of his life. The basic challenge, then, was to love to the highest degree. Every Christian family member is called to this 'Agape' love - the highest form of love which seeks only the best or highest good for the other.
Thinking of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross reminds us of the great love both He and the Father have for us. Thinking of his passion reminds us of his humility and self-forgetting love in allowing such suffering to be, saying "Not my will, but thine be done". Thinking of His trials in the wilderness and his resurrection reminds us of His power to overcome in every challenge - even in death.
Hence, when challenged by temptation we can be propelled to say, like Jesus Christ, "Get thee behind me, Satan." We, too, can approach every challenge with humility and selflessness. We, too, are challenged to love as He has loved. And we, too, can claim victory in every challenge because Jesus Christ has brought about that victory by his resurrection. Thus, the Family of God is truly challenged to share that `Agape' love, even as Christ did, and share in His victory, wrought through such love.
The PEC had to bring forward its April meeting in St. Kitts to March 20-23 since the scheduled date conflicted with another important meeting which required a PEC presence. This meeting took a long, hard look at the finances of the Province, recognizing that we continue to be in a financial crisis. Further information on our indebtedness will soon be available to you.
We are urging every member to support the $100 Appeal in an effort to help make the Province debt-free. We also urge you to identify and invite businesses to support this effort with contributions of $500 or any amount possible. We further encourage all persons to give consistently of their tithes and free-will offerings to your local congregation, who will in turn be able to honour their quota to the Conference, so that the Conference Treasurers may remit, in a timely manner, the Provincial Quota. We are urgently looking forward to your support in this area of ministry.
The next meeting of the P.E.C. is scheduled for July 05-08 in Barbados. Begin from now to pray for this meeting.
Rev. Gibbs Retires
Rev. Rudolph Gibbs and his family were fittingly honoured in an Appreciation Service marking his retirement from active pastoral ministry. Bro. Gibbs retired on March 31, 2001 after more than 16 years of service to this Province. During that period he served the Bethesda congregation and Keys Fellowship, the Estridge and Bethel congregations in St. Kitts (1984-1991); the Potters, Judges Hill and Bethany congregations in Antigua (1991-1996); and the Bethlehem and Fulnec congregations in Barbados (1997-2001).
The Bethlehem and Fulnec congregations, and the organizations within those two congregations made presentations to Bro. and Sis. Gibbs. These included Choir selections (one from each congregation) and a poem written by Sis. Janice Thompson of the Fulnec congregation. The Conference and other congregations also made presentations. The Chairman of P.E.C., the Rev. Roslyn Hamblin, represented the Province and presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Bro. Gibbs.
The Service of Appreciation in honour of Bro. Gibbs and his family was held at the Bethlehem Moravian Church on Wednesday, March 28, 2001 at 7:30pm. In command of the evening's proceedings was Superintendent of the Barbados Conference, the Rev. Errol Connor. Other members of the Barbados staff participated in the service. Retired Staff members Rev. Rudolph Holder and Rev. Dufferin Culpepper were also in attendance. Organist for the evening was the Rev. Mikie Roberts, Minister of Music in the conference. The Appreciation Service was held in the presence of a full congregation, with members drawn from the entire Conference, indicative of the esteem with which Bro. Gibbs has been held.
The EWI Province in general, and the Barbados, Antigua and St. Kitts Conferences in particular, express sincere thanks to Bro. Gibbs for his contribution to the Church and wish him every blessing as he retires from active service. We assure him that his labour in the Lord has not been in vain therefore the reward is sure. May God continue to bless Bro. Gibbs and his family as they continue to serve him.
Christian Educators' Conference
The Ministers of Christian Education will meet in Trinidad during the period April 23-27, 2001. Please keep this meeting in your prayers.
Most of the Information below is reprinted in part as information reaching the Headquarters from the Chairman of the Unity Board, Bro. Angetile Musomba, through the Unity Newsletter for March 2001.
Unity Synod 2002
The Unity Board confirmed that the Unity Synod would be held in Bethlehem PA, from 7th to 20th August 2002, with the 7th being the date of arrival and the 20th the date of departure. Your prayers are requested for this very important time in the Moravian Unity and for the EWI delegation of Bro. Conrad Spencer, Bro. George Ramsay and the Chairman of P.E.C.
Malcom Healey Resigns
Bro. Malcom Healey, a member of the Moravian Church Foundation Board for many years has resigned because of his age. Both MCF and the Unity owe Bro. Healey a lot for his outstanding service.
The Chairman of the MCF, Bro. Mike Kensenhuis, will visit Antigua later this month and will make a courtesy call on the Chairman of P.E.C. during that time.
The MCF Board is scheduled to meet in July in the Netherlands. Bro. Vincent Richards of the Cana congregation is a member of the MCF Board. The MCF is our Province's major source of funding for Theological Education and for this we are very grateful.
The New World Witness
The Unity Board sent a delegation of 2 to the Congo mission in October. The Moravian Church there, which was registered about 10 years ago, continues its work and service to God and the community. This is done amidst all the political and social problems which exist. This work is under the supervision of the Tanzania Western Province. Continue to pray for peace in Congo.
The Unity Board agreed to restart the work in Malawi in a different place. This has been so agreed after a new survey carried out by the Moravian Church Tanzania Southern Province. The work will be in the Districts of Chitipa and Karonga in Northern Malawi. These districts border Tanzania.
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One of the founders of the Moravian work in Zambia, Bro. Laban Sikazwe, passed away on March 5, 2001. He was the Secretary of the work in Zambia. May God help and keep his family and the Church as we will miss his wise advice.
The situation at Star Mountain in the Holy Land is not at all promising. The political climate is very unstable. All this has affected our work there.
The Moravian Mission at Star Mountain is a Rehabilitation Centre for the physically challenged. The staff there is in need of our solidarity and prayers at this moment. We are now looking for a volunteer for this very important work of the Unity. All correspondence in relation to this matter should be directed through the European Continental Province in Bab Boll. The address is: Direktion, Bruder Unitat, Badwasen 6, 73087 Bad Boll, Germany.
In some parts of Tanzania (Chunya district) there were floods which have caused people to have no houses and crops, because they have been washed away. There have also been earthquakes which have destroyed many home. We are thankful to the Lord that lives were saved. The people in this area (Rungwe district) need support especially building material.
We ask for your prayers for the Czech and Honduras Provinces in their situations of conflict. Let us pray that revival comes without causing much difficulties.
The Guyana Province held it Provincial Synod in January. The Rev. Cicely Athill-Horsford was invited and attended as the Chaplain of the Synod.
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The Nicaragua Province had it Provincial Synod in February and elected a new Chairman in the person of Rev. Joseph Rivera John.
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The Alaska Province also held its Provincial Synod in February. The Province has elected a new Chairman in the person of Rev. Isaac B. Amik.
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Let us continue to pray for God's guidance on each other, especially the newly elected Church Leaders.
News from around the Conferences / Province
Birthday Celebrations of the Moravian Church
The Chairman of P.E.C. was the preacher at the Moravian Church's Birthday celebrations held in St. Kitts on March 04, 2001. This took the form of a Joint Service of Holy Communion at 10:00am, followed by a Fellowship Lunch, and concluding with an inter-congregational Youth Quiz. These were all held at the Bethesda Moravian Church in Cayon.
The spirited service in the morning had the participation of all members of staff and a Conference Choir. The sumptuous lunch was prepared with input from all congregation, the Superintendent being the `Fish Chef'. The annual Sunday School Quiz was managed by Rev. June James of the Methodist Church and won by the Keys Fellowship Sunday School. Congratulations to the Quiz team, Sunday School Students and staff of this congregation.
Whilst in St. Kitts the Chairman met with the Executive Board of the Conference. Members shared of their bee-hive project to be sited at Profits and assured that honey would soon be on the market from that project. They have also resumed training in the Music Ministry and are on the lookout for teachers of music.
Meanwhile the Antigua Conference celebrated the Birthday of the Moravian Church with the Annual March of Witness from Westerby Memorial in St. John's to the Spring Gardens Moravian Church. Bishop Neville Brown was the preacher at the Lovefeast Service which followed the March. The Spring Gardens Steel Orchestra was one of the accompanying bands for the March, performing for the first time as `Steel on Wheels'. Congratulations Spring Gardens!
As the period of transition comes to an end, The new Chairman of P.E.C., Rev. Roslyn Hamblin, has taken up residence in the Chairman's Manse at Cashew Hill as of March 15.
At the same time, the Rev. Joseph Nicholas, has accepted a call to serve in the Pastorate of Cedar Hall/Grace Bay/Urlings with Pastor Erflin Browne as the Associate. This Call became effective as of March 15.
The P.E.C. would like to take this opportunity to thank Rev. Nicholas, for his four years of dedicated work at the Provincial Headquarters as Chairman of the P.E.C. and wish him and his family God's continued blessings as he takes up his new assignment.
CCC Sunday School Week
We congratulate Lebanon and Spring Gardens who captured the first two places in the Junior division of the CCC Sunday School Quiz held during the annual CCC Sunday School Week of Activities in Antigua from March 25 to April 01. The Salvation Army Sunday School finished in third position
Bishop Brown Celebrates!
Let us celebrate with Bishop Neville Brown as he marks 50 years of ordained ministry (April 11, 2001) in a Service of Thanksgiving on his 75th birthday (April 27, 2001) at Spring Gardens Moravian Church in Antigua. Congratulations, Bishop Brown as you mark these anniversaries under the theme 'Celebrating Life In His Service'!
Ministers in Training Retreat
The annual Ministers in Training Retreat is scheduled to take place next month at the Provincial Headquarters.
The main purpose of the Retreat is to give the Students an opportunity to share on the more practical side of the ministry.
Immediately following the Retreat the Students will depart to their various summer assignments.
Provincial Men's Conference
"Men In Christ: Forgiven, Free, Focused" is the theme for the 2001 Provincial Men's Conference scheduled for July 11-15 in Barbados.
The Registration fee is US$100.00 which includes conference material, transportation and all events.
Contact your Superintendent, Pastor or Rev. Mikie Roberts for further information. Have you registered yet?
Birthdays This Month!
Revd. Elroy Christopher -- 4th
Sis Gwendolyn Jacobs -- 8th
Sis. Valarie Ferguson -- 20th
Sis. Rosalind Prince -- 26th
Sis. Megan Gibbs -- 22nd
Bishop Neville Brown -- 27th
Revd. Mikie Roberts -- 27th
Anniversaries This Month!
Mr. Calvin & Mrs. Florence Isaac -- 16th
Mr. Rudolph & Rev. Esther Moore-Roberts -- 22nd
The Cedar Hall congregation in Antigua, will celebrate its 179th birthday this month. The Minister is the Rev. Joseph Nicholas with Pastor Erflin Browne as the Associate and the congregation has a total membership of 688.
The Rosehill Moravian Church in Trinidad will celebrate its 111th birthday on April 26. The Minister is the Rev. Cicely Athill-Horsford and the congregation has a total membership of 532.
From the desk of the Caribbean Conference of Church's General Secretary, Gerard Granado.
At a consultation of the leadership of CCC member churches and Christian Councils held in Trinidad last September, the church and council representatives present challenged one another to a more realistic and reasonable stewardship of the CCC. This was especially with regard to financial support for their organization.
At that consultation — "CCC at the Crossroads" Dean Knolly Clarke of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port-of -Spain issued a sobering challenge to the representatives present. This was the delivery of a paper entitled "Christian Stewardship and the Ecumenical Sharing of Resources" which can only be described as soundly theological in character.
Also coming out of the discussions at that consultation were various ideas and proposals as regards ways and models of our member churches sharing their resources for mutual benefit, and for the support of their organization — the CCC — and its work. The idea of the CCC's member churches becoming a company of churches was introduced and gripped the attention of all. The idea indeed has much merit to it, but requires quite a deal of work in terms of developing an appropriate model to be proposed to the churches. This job is to be undertaken by a specially established task force. The realization of this idea is therefore a long-term one.
In view of the situation as outlined above, we thought that we would ask all our member churches to show their support for their organization and its work, by taking up, on our behalf, a special collection in their churches throughout the Caribbean during this Lenten season of renewal.
For the purpose of sending your contribution to us, please be so kind as to mail a Bank Draft to us at our Barbados office. The envelope should be addressed to:
The General Secretary
ATTN: Ms Fay Cottle, Caribbean Conference of Churches, P. 0. Box 616, Bridgetown, Barbados.
From the Desk of the World Council of Churches Youth Internships Programme 2001-2002
In November 2001 the World Council of Churches and the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) will organize a joint Ecumenical Leadership Training Seminar in Cuba. We will gather around 40 young people for 3 weeks of ecumenical leadership training. The young people will commit themselves to be part of a 3 year process where they will implement ecumenical projects in their local communities. The participants will also assist the WCC and the WSCF in developing a resource material for churches and movements on ecumenical leadership development of young people.
September 2001 to September 2002
1. PROGRAMME TO COMBAT RACISM
The intern will work with WCC's Programme to Combat Racism on a survey on Church related programme against Racism, on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ethnic minorities and Dalits. The internship will also focus on the follow up of the UN World Conference Against Racism.
Qualifications: Open personality being able to relate to colleagues in the WCC and in the Churches. Capacity and willingness to handle administrative tasks (which at times will be the majority of the workload) will also be needed. Young people of African-descent and ethnic minority communities are encouraged to apply.
The Intern will work with the WCC Youth staff and assist in developing the WCC internet site for young people. The "youth area" should include expanded descriptions of WCC youth activities and resources; an "ecumenical youth links" page. The "youth area" is designed to promote ecumenism among youth via the World Wide Web. This will include research work, administrative work and editing.
Qualifications: Experience in working with the Internet; communication and editing skills (with a focus on writing); computer skills, research ability and capacity to work in a team. The ability to write HTML code or a strong willingness to learn is essential.
3. BEING CHURCH
The intern (a young woman) will work with the WCC Women's Programme accompanying the "Being Church, Women's Voices and Visions" process. The intern will assist in publicizing information about the process and in encouraging women to respond. The intern will manage a "chat page" on the internet and respond to enquiries. The internship will also include assisting in preparations of consultations related to the theme.
Qualifications: This Internship is open only to young women. Experience in working with the Internet; communication skills, computer skills, research ability and capacity to work in a team are necessary qualifications.
4. SARAH CHAKKO FUND
Open only to women from South East Asia.
5. ORTHODOX INTERN
Open to active members in Orthodox Churches.
NB! Please note that `youth' in the WCC is defined as young people between 18 and 30 years.
More information about this will soon be posted on the WCC internet site: www.wcc-coe.org
Closing date for receiving applications for the five internships is 10 May 2001.
Please note that there is no application form for the Youth Internships Programme. Please write a letter to us describing yourself, and why you want to undertake the Internship, and why you think you are qualified to do so. You should include a short Curriculum Vitae (maximum 2 pages). Apart from information on your studies and work experience, include also your date of birth, the name of your Church, and the languages you speak and write. Please include a fax number and e-mail address for quick communication. Indicate clearly which Internship is of interest to you.