A Communication from the Chairman of the Moravian Church, E.W. I. Province.
A NEWSLETTER OF THE PROVINCE -- November - December 2001
Provincial Theme 2001 - "Challenging the Family" (Josh. 24:12-28)
Challenge for Christmas
Our Provincial Theme this year has been Challenging the Family. As we celebrate this Christmas season there is yet another challenge for us. It comes in the reaction of the shepherds and Mary to the news of the angels (Lk. 2:17_20). The angel had announced: ". . . behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord." Other angels joined in praise to God. The reaction was three-fold:
1) The shepherds shared the news they had received;
2) Mary pondered them in her heart;
3) The shepherds glorified and praised God.
As Christians we have received the good news of salvation. We have gone the further step of experiencing this salvation in our own lives. We are therefore now expected to share the same with the rest of the world. Just as we can find time to pass on the "interesting news of the world", so too can we make time to pass on the "important news for the world". And we have been commissioned to `go into all the world and make disciples'.
Like Mary, we need to reflect on the Good News. Every Christian should give serious thought to the events and activities of Christ. As we do so we also become aware of the fact that we influenced their occurrence. It was because we needed a redeemer that Christ became incarnate. It was our penalty he paid on the cross. It was our victory that he secured in resurrection. It was all to our benefit. Do we not have plenty on which to reflect and about which to marvel?!
So we have realized the significance of Christ's incarnation. And we have seen that it is "good news". We should therefore, like the shepherds, glorify and praise God. Just as we recognise and honour our associates for their contributions, we ought also to give honour to God for his great gift.
The Christmas challenge to the family, whether as a social unit or as the family of God, comes to us from the announcement of the angel. We must be challenged, like the shepherds, to glorify and praise God for the good news. We must never cease reflecting upon the significance of that good news. And we must be propelled to share the good news with others.
This Christmas let us take up this challenge and so truly celebrate Christ. This Christmas let us really focus on the reason for the season.
The PEC will meet in the Trinidad Conference during the period January 10-13, 2002. Superintendents' Conference will follow immediately, January 14-15, 2002. Please pray for these two important meetings and for these two levels of leadership in our Church.
Ballots are currently out for a lay member on PEC. This comes as a result of the resignation of Sis. Andrea Charles-Browne. All members, not only Synod delegates, are asked to pray for God's guidance in this election process.
Rev. Wellesley Ferguson will be away on furlough with effect from January 01, 2002 until April 30, 2002. Following furlough Bro. Ferguson will proceed on study leave. Please pray for the Ferguson family as they enter new situations.
A Farewell Service for Bro. and Sis. Ferguson has been planned for December 30, 2001 at Gracehill Moravian Church in Antigua.
HIV/AIDS Workshop by CCC
The Caribbean Conference of Churches recently held a workshop on HIV/AIDS. The venue was the Dominican Republic, particularly chosen because of the high prevalence of the virus there and that country's efforts at responding to the needs and crises arising out of this prevalence. In addition to the Dominican Republic, participants were drawn from Haiti, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Antigua, Guyana and Suriname. Bishop Lewis and the Chairman, Rev. Hamblin represented our Church through CCC sponsorship.
The workshop considered a theological understanding of human sexuality, reflecting on both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It considered the Christian response to homosexuality, to homosexuals and to HIV/AIDS. We then proceeded to consider ways to respond to the pandemic HIV/AIDS, and how to respond to persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Of special interest was the sharing on the programme implemented in the Bahamas, called The Samaritans, which seeks to address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of Persons Living With AIDS.
CCC is planning for further programming in relation to HIV/AIDS. Listen out for more information and see how you can become involved.
MEET YOU IN PRAYER
Where will you be on December 31, 2001 during that last hour of the year? Plan to meet other Moravians throughout the Province in special prayer for the Province. All Moravians worldwide should be at Watchnight Service then. We in the E.W.I. Province have a special appointment to meet each other in prayer. Let us together meet our Lord at that time. Let us keep that special appointment with the One who is `all-sufficient for the coming year'.
As a Province we express sympathy to the wife and other family members of the late Bro. Hilson Murdoch of Antigua. In addition to being a lay preacher in the Antigua Conference, Bro. Murdoch was a member of the PEC, serving as Vice-Chairman during the 1975-78 period. Bro. Murdoch was laid to rest in Antigua on December 07, 2001 following a Service of Thanksgiving for his life at the Spring Gardens Moravian Church where he was a member. This service was shared by Pastor of the Spring Gardens congregation, the Rev. Cortroy Jarvis, Superintendent of the Antigua Conference, the Rev. Romeo Challenger, Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Kingsley Lewis, and Chairman of the Province, the Rev. Roslyn Hamblin. Please continue to bear the Murdoch family in prayer.
SCHOOL ON EVANGELISM
WCC is just completing a workshop on Evangelism. The workshop was scheduled for December 05-16 in Cuba. Rev. Algernon Lewis of the St. Kitts Conference is the participant for this workshop. WCC has sponsored our Church's participation.
NEW BISHOPS OF THE UNITY
Two new bishops have been consecrated within the Unity. Bro. Alinikisa Cheyo of the Moravian Church in Tanzania - South West Province was consecrated as a Bishop in the Unitas Fratrum on August 12, 2001 in Mbeya. In South Africa Bro. Bernard Christian Peterson Lottring was consecrated on September 16, 2001 at Mamre Bro. Eagle Ndabambi, also of the South Africa Province, was due for consecration on October 21, 2001. Let us all pray for these new bishops that they may be strengthened for their ministry.
Continue praying for Unity Synod which will be held in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania during the period August 07-20, 2002. Information will soon be available for those who want to register as observers. Our Province will have three representatives in the persons of the Chairman, Bro. George Ramsay and Bro. Conrad Spencer.
PRAY FOR STAR MOUNTAIN
We are all encouraged to continue praying for the Moravian mission at Star Mountain as there is still much unrest in the region. Many persons have been killed in areas near Star Mountain. This unrest continues to affect the work there.
In Tanzania, there has been a serious and intentional push on "How to fulfil and obey the Great Commission" which was given to the Church. Recently, there was a consultation from many churches and specialized ministries which was held at the University of Dar es Salaam. The main push was to see how we could jointly preach the word of God to all Tanzanians regardless of our Church differences. There were also many discussions on the AIDS problem in our country. Strategies were put in place on these issues.
As you are aware, a Provincial Debt Appeal was launched at the Staff Retreat held in September. To date, the Province has received over $14,000.00 which has been allocated to several creditors. We say thank you to everyone who has given, and urge those who have not yet given to do so as soon as possible.
Moravian Memorial Dates
December 13, 1732 - Beginning of Moravian Missions with the arrival on St. Thomas in the West Indies of the first missionaries.
WCC Vacancy Notice
Position: Programme Executive for Public Issues and Team Co-ordinator for International Relations
Objective: To promote study, action and reflection on ecumenical approaches to international relations, to develop and propose WCC policy, and to engage the churches and other partners in co-ordinated ecumenical action.
Roles: Co-ordinator, Manager, Organiser, Facilitator, Initiator, Bridge-builder, Researcher and analyst, Drafter and writer, Communicator, Counsellor, Mediator,
Networker, Strategist, Fund-raiser, Contributor of theological and ethical insights, Ecumenist, Advocate, Diplomat, WCC representative, Supervisor, Trainer.
Specific Requirements: Languages: English and at least one of French, Spanish or German.
General conditions of service and application forms may be obtained from, and must be returned to:
Christina Minezac, Human Resources Manager, 150 Route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland. Fax: +41-22-791 66 34 E-mail: CHM @wcc-coe.org
Closing date for receiving applications: 31 January 2002.
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE TO ALL PASTORS AND CONGREGATIONS
Christmas Greetings, Sisters and Brothers, in the name of Christ, our Chief Elder!
As we celebrate this Christmas season, let us reflect once more on the many messages of the first Christmas. To Joseph the angel introduced Jesus as Emmanuel, which means "God with us". Mary's Magnificat spoke of deliverance. The angels' announcement to the shepherds was of "good news of great joy" to all people. The Wise Men asked for the one born as King. Simeon's song spoke of a revealed salvation. All in all the messages delivered spoke of HOPE. Jesus Christ came as the Hope of the world. And we, as Christians, have experienced that Hope again and again in our lives.
This Hope of Christmas is yet alive today, and especially needs to be invoked at this critical time in the experience of our Church and our world. With the current financial crisis of our Church we need to be confident of the Hope that the Christ of Christmas offers. Still fresh in our minds are the world events of September 11 and their aftermath. Indeed the world hardly looks like enjoying peace at this time. However, the Hope of the Christ Child must still impact our spirits and propel us to overcome the pain, anguish and uncertainty of that day and those to come.
As Christians we stand at a strategic place in understanding this Hope, the basis for which must be faith in God.
We therefore need to exercise our faith so as to make this Hope incarnate. There are still "good tidings of great joy" for the world today. There are "good tidings of great joy" for our Church. Let us use the power of faith to unleash this good news.
I therefore call on all Moravians to exercise your faith in the power of prayer to quicken this Hope. In the traditional Watchnight Service this year I ask that we all, at that crucial midnight hour, lift up our Church, its leaders and the entire membership to God. We will not be able to solve either financial or other problems until we take our approach from the spiritual standpoint. Let us, in an united effort as we approach midnight on December 31, 2001, give to God all the baggage that obscures our vision of that Hope. Then let us, in faith, accept the healing and health that Christ offers, and so claim the Hope that only He can give.
Sisters and Brothers, this is a call for all Moravians to unite in prayer for your Church on December 31, 2001. This is a challenge to realise the Hope of the Christ Child in our lives. This must be a commitment on every member's part, to live thenceforth our Provincial Theme for 2002: Attaining Wholeness Through Christ.
May God bless you richly, and prosper our Church spiritually, as we together claim His Hope for His world and His Church. And may "Good tidings of great joy" be yours always!
Yours in Christ,
Roslyn Hamblin (Rev.)
Chairman of PEC
PROVINCIAL MEN'S CONFERENCE
The Provincial Men's Conference was held in Barbados 11-15 July, 2001. Eighty six brothers of the province attended the Conference, ten of whom were from the Antigua Conference. Other men's groups from Barbados were also represented. The theme of the Conference was Men in Christ: Forgiven, Free , Focussed.
The Opening Service was at Calvary. Daily Worship was held in the morning and the evening. Special events included a Barbecue and a Cultural exchange. Participants worshipped in various congregations on Sunday and the Closing Service was held at Sharon.
The keynote speaker was Rev. Gary Harriott of the United Church of Jamaica and Cayman Islands. He presented the topics Men in Christ: New Creations and Men in Christ: Healing the Wounds. A panel of medical doctors presented the topic Men in Christ: A Picture of Health.
Other lectures were as follows:
- Men in Christ: Caribbean Male Sexuality - Rev. Neilson Waithe
- Men in Christ: Building Godly Families - Rev. Hainsley Griffith
- Men in Christ: My Brother's Keeper - Dr. Winston Crookendale (Medical doctor)
- Men in Christ: Strong Men in Tough Times .
There were two group work sessions called Man to Man where we broke into small groups.
The Conference was a richly reward- ing one and the participants of the Antigua Conference are glad to have been a part of it. A poem written by Sis. Janice Thompson of the Fulnec Congregation in Barbados was shared with the men of the Conference. We are sharing this poem with the rest of the Province. May we continue to be Men in Christ: Forgiven, Free, Focussed.
MEN IN CHRIST
Everywhere I go
I hear them making 'nough noise -
The girls performing and not the boys.
Everywhere I go there is much furore
That we men lost we manhood -
We ain't real men no more.
I read my Bible daily,
I digest every word:
In the beginning You created a real he-man Lord
So what has happened between now and then?
Yes, You created an earth beautiful and large,
And then You were so pleased with him You put the man in charge.
Daily in the garden You and man walked.
Them days were real good;
You and man talked.
That garden was peaceful and man knew no sin,
And you God were pleased with every single thing.
Then one day in your wisdom Lord,
You came to man and say
You are good, you always obey me
But it is not right for you to be alone down here.
So in His great wisdom He went into man's side
Took out his rib and made for him a beautiful bride
Woman you called her, made to keep man's company
And be his mate and partner and keep him happy.
But one day when man was not looking
The woman got away;
And Lord, you and the angels knew it was one big sorry day
She mind the serpent, pick that fruit and give man piece to eat;
And from that day till now poor man was put in the hot seat.
But in your mercy and your love
Lord you poor man forgave.
Then you sent another man - from damnation man to save
Another man that look like me
To make men, men again.
Now today some men are walking 'bout making all men shame
They give up their responsibility
Give away their birthright
Now to get back to their rightful place
They must the woman fight.
The women taking over LORD,
They call it women's lib -
`Cause some men out there won't
even buy their boys a bib.
That is real grief Lord, that is so very sad
That them out there doing things to
make all men look bad.
Man must be man once more and be head of his own house,
`Cause some of them don't know if
They are man or mouse.
We Christian men of valour Lord, could never be considered mice -
For when we chose to be like you
We became men mighty in Christ.
The women want to model us -
They throw away blouse and skirt
wearing pants and shirt
We Christian men will not give up, You have made the sacrifice
So men will not in crisis be
But valiant men in Christ.
By: Janice Thompson
Birthdays for November
- Sis. Florence Isaac 7
- Sis. Edna Knight 13
- Bro. Rowan Simmons 15
- Rev. Ezra Parris 21
- Sis. Myrtle Miller 21
- Sis. Jacqulin Christopher 23
- Sis. Geraldine Roberts 23
- Sis. Joyce Walters 24
Birthdays for December
- Sis. Eloise Stephen 2
- Rev. Alban St.Hill 2
- Sis. Sadie Harry 10
- Sis. Cicely Athill-Horsford 12
- Bro. Hilton Joseph 18
- Sis. Maureen Lewis 23
- Bro. Matthew Crooks 25
- Bro. Rudolph Holder 31
Anniversaries for December
- Rev. & Mrs. Cortroy Jarvis 7
- Mr. & Mrs. George Ramsay 18
- Rev. & Mrs. Algernon Lewis 20
- Rev. & Mrs. Errol Connor 22
- Rev. & Mrs. Samuel Jacobs 31
The Dunscombe congregation celebrated its 142nd birthday in November. The Minister is Rev. Errol Connor with supplementary Minister Sis. Movelle Kellman. The congregation currently has a membership of 126.
New Herrnhut congregation celebrated its 264th birthday in December. The Minister is the Rev. Glenvil Gregory and the congregation currently has a memberhip of 633.
Fulnec congregation in Barbados also celebrated its 107th birthday in December. The Minister is Pastor Nasel Ephraim and the congregation currently has a membership of 83.
Barbados celebrated its 35th anniversary of Independence on November 30, 2001. Congratulations to Barbados and all Barbadians. The National Independence Anniversary Service was held at the Sharon Moravian Church on Sunday, November 25, 2001.
Have you made your contributions to the Widows' Offering as yet? Please remember to do so as soon as possible so that the Province can show some appreciation in a tangible way.
We encourage you to continue supporting your pastor in his/her effort to raise $1,000.00 towards the financial situation of the Province.