A communication from the Chairman of the Moravian Church, E.W.I. Province.
NEW SERIES VOLUME 9 NUMBER 4 - A NEWSLETTER OF THE PROVINCE
Moravians Having Vision
A few months ago, we shared with you the vision and mission of our Province. Then, we shared with you the mission of the British Province. Now, we are pleased to share with you the vision of the America Province, South.
We the people of the Moravian Church, Southern Province, shall enter the 21st century as a virtual people bound together by the grace and love of Jesus Christ (and our human condition of need) and sent to the world with the Good News of forgiveness and fullness of life in Jesus Christ.
This vision includes our being:
- a people who are spiritually alive and continually nurtured, and equipped;
- a people whose worship of God is built upon strong Biblical and Moravian foundations and is joyful, creative, vital, and relevant to people of the new century;
- a people who recognize that all that we are and have belongs to God and who offer to God, ourselves, including time, talents, and money.
- a people who have identified our gifts for ministry and are exercising those gifts;
- a people who share the Good News of Jesus Christ through ministry to the spiritual and physical needs of people;
- a people who recognize that we are a part of the universal Church and of the wider Moravian Church (the "Unity")
- a people who use our differences to enrich rather than to divide us;
- a people who will utilize the unique opportunities of our local communities, of technology, and of communications in the new century.
Sincere congratulations to Mrs. Joycelyn Piper, Office Secretary at the Headquarters on the birth of her daughter recently. Her name is Abigail, Julia. We have been assured that they are all doing well. Abigail will soon be reporting to work............ May God bless all of you.
Say a little Prayer for Provincial Synod
August 8-21, 1999 is the time set aside for the 25th Provincial Synod of our Province and as we look to this very important time of our Church, you are kindly invited to say a little prayer for the organising Committee, the Provincial Elders and for all those who will be involved in one capacity or another.
Revd Dr. Derick Forrester, Pastor of Lebanon - Newfield Congregations in Antigua reflects on the 1999 Provincial Theme: "Charting the Course"
Theme: Charting the Course in a Spirit of Community
Upon the death of that great Hebrew Leader known as Moses, the mantle of leadership fell squarely upon the shoulder of Joshua.
The leadership changed but the course remained the same.
It was necessary therefore, for this new leader to acquire a more indepth understanding of these people especially the men over whom he would now exercise authority.
Joshua gave himself to the task and came upon a marvelous discovery as a result. Not only did he discover the importance of community he also discovered that within the community were men of:
The importance of community must be emphasized as we prepare ourselves as men to chart the course - community holds the key to our success and survival.
It was community that gave to Israel its:
(b) National Identity
(c) Sense of belonging
(d) Theocratic distinctiveness
(e) Ethnic preservation
Community afforded them with numerous opportunities for personal growth and development. The men under Joshua's leadership found in community:
(a) A common interest
(b) A sense of direction
(c) Conquering courage
(d) A solidarity that was impregnable and impenetrable.
Community has always been a "Healing place" for men who are:
(a) Frustrated by repeated failures
(b) Prisoners of fear\
(c) Paralyzed by the prospect of rejection
(d) Isolated by life long insecurities
(e) Discouraged by their inability to be good enough
Community gives us immunity against disintegration. It enhances our self awareness. Community has always been a place of: accommodation, preparation, representation, mobilization, realization and activation.
I mentioned those six (6) words because they bring to the fore certain interesting realities:
-Friendship allows others to understand us and we ourselves.
-We find in friendship the sincerity and the courage to say
(a) "I love you"
(b) "I believe you"
(c) "I appreciate you"
(d) "I am not out to get you, I am with you"
(e) "You are my brother"
These are excepts taken from a paper presented to the men of the Antigua Conference during Moravian Week 1999.
New Professor for Moravian Seminary
The Revd Deborah A. Appler has accepted an appointment to teach Old Testament at Moravian Theological Seminary beginning in August 1999. She is currently Assistant to the Director of the Carpenter Program on Religion, Gender and Sexuality at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, where she is also completing doctoral studies in Hebrew Bible. Until recently she was also Development Editor, Bible and Reference, at the United Methodist Publishing House in Nashville, where her projects included work on the New Interpreter's Bible and the Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation.
Appler is a graduate of Western Maryland College with a B.A. in Chemistry and earned the M.Div. degree at Perkins School of Theology of Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX.
While at Vanderbilt, Appler has participated in four archaeological expeditions in Israel, most recently serving as a staff member for the Megiddo Expedition in 1998. She has taught in the undergrade program at vanderbilt and also in the Graduate Department of Religion and the Divinity School. She has also been a Master Teaching Fellow in the Graduate department of Religion, supervising and training teaching assistants, and an Instructor in the Graduate Colloquium on Teaching in the Graduate Department of Religion.
This appointment brings to a conclusion a five-month search progress by the Seminary. The faculty opening was first advertised in the fall of 1998. The search Committee received sixty-one applications in response.
Let's not Forget
- April 1, 1756 -- Arrival of Samuel Isles on Antigua. He was the first Moravian Missionary here.
- April 13, 1732 -- The first Easter Sunrise Service of the Moravians was conducted at the cemetery at Herrnhut, Germany.
- April 25, 1890 -- Arrival of Samuel Thaeler and John Holmes on Trinidad to organise Moravian work. Many Moravians from neighbouring Islands had migrated to Trinidad.
- April 27 1790 -- Arrival of John and Mary Montgomery on Tobago to begin Moravian work.
Please Pray For:
Sis Sonia Spencer as she continues to recover in the U.S.A.
Bro. Cortroy Jarvis who is recovering in the U.S.A.
Our Ministers in training at the UTCWI and our Ministers doing specialised studies in the U.S.A. as we come to the end of the academic year with the pressure of assignments and exams.
Superintendent Holder greets Sharon at 200th Anniversary
At the launching Service on February 7, 1999 for the 200th anniversary of the construction of the Sharon building, Bro. Holder greets the congregation at Sharon in his capacity as Superintendent on behalf of the conference.
Here are some of his comments:
"I am overwhelmed with joy to be so privileged to extend to the Ministers, Officers and members of Sharon, on behalf of the Barbados Conference of the Moravian Church, felicitous greetings and warmest congratulations on this memorable occasion."
"You have achieved, with great distinction, and proudly too, the 200th anniversary of the construction and existence of this sacred building for worship of Almighty God. It stands as a landmark in the history of Barbados, and so acknowledge, by the denomination that was built for the religious enlightenment and education of the slaves.
Sharon, for them as for us, is holy ground for like Moses of Old Testament reverence, many who have had a vision of God in this place have been lifted from their state of hopelessness and fear to exalted heights of spiritual experience in Jesus Christ. "Multitudes, through the years have benefited from social and even medical care in the epidemic crises, of the past when many died. Here, through the centuries, thousands have been comforted and blessed within these hallowed walls. On their way they went rejoicing and praising God.
"The Barbados Conference which embraces the family of Moravians shares with you, the joy that this wonderful occasion generates and is extremely happy to be associated with these bi - centenary celebrations.
"Personally, this place brings happy recollection to me. After my ordination as a Deacon on 13th August, 1959 at Calvary, Roebuck Street, I was appointed to Sharon as Assistant to the Chairman of the Provincial Board, (P.E.C.) the late Revd D . C. Moore. It was then a period of significant transition in our Privincial Church. He was the first West Indian Clergy to have been elected to that office.
"May the theme you have chosen of worship, witness and service to God be vigorously pursued with greater devotion, love and commitment into the new millennium and to the second Advent.
Happy Anniversary! God bless you all."
India's Loss is the Unity's Loss
Brother Obed Kundan, director of the Rajpur Moravian Institute from 1972 to 1994 died on January 25th. Bro. Kundan grew up in Ladakh and before coming to work at Rajpur with his father-in-law, Bro. Eliyah Thsetan Phunthsog, founder of the Institute, in 1967, Bro. Kundan had been a building contractor, and most of the buildings at Rajpur were designed by him and constructed under his supervision.
But while his practical skills were important, his service to the Institute went far beyond building construction. With his wife, Zhidey, he had a real concern for the children at the Institute and for the development of the Moravian Church in India. To so many children, Bro. and Sis. Kundan were 'Uncle' and 'Auntie', who had made the Institute a secure and happy home for them. Anyone who saw the children running to greet them when they returned from a journey could have no doubt about that.
Bro. Kundan was ordained at Hornsey (London) in 1979 and served as co - pastor of the Rajpur congregation, as well as Director of the Institute. In spite of many health problems, Bro. Kundan seemed to thrive on hard work and much traveling. Some of my own fund memories of Obeb are of occasions when we got held up while traveling. He would deal with some of the practicalities of the delay and then, invariably bring out the flask he always carried with the invitation: "In the meantime, let us have a cup of tea". Tea drinking seemed to be part of his strategy for survival.
In an interview for the Rajpur Silver Jubilee magazine, Bro. Kundan spoke freely of some of the struggles he had in trying to make real Bro. Phunthsog's vision for the Institute and, in his own life, in trying to become a mature Christian. But he says, ".....each step towards progress lowers my head to God in gratitude for having used me in ways that I never thought possible."
The Moravian Church also gives thanks for Bro. Obeb Kundan, and to Sr Zhidey Kundan and the family we offer our sympathy and prayers.
From Moravian Messenger of the British Province March 1999
C C C Appoints New General Secretary
The Caribbean Conference of Churches has announced the appointment of Mr. Gerard Granado as General Secretary as of March 1, 1999. Mr. Granado is the former Associate General Secretary and had been acting as
General Secretary since early in 1998.
Mr. Granado, a layman, is a citizen of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and a Roman Catholic. He is no stranger to the ecumenical movement in the Caribbean and beyond, his ecumenical involvement spanning the last twenty years.
In the early 1980s Mr. granado was a staff member of the CCC's theological department. During this stint with the CCC, Mr. Granado was also one of the main editors and writers for the CCC's religious education curriculum - Fashion Me A People, and served as a lecturer in Theology and Religious Education for both lay students and candidates for the ministry.
Over the years Mr. Granado has also been involved extensively in community development, and has been instrumental in the formation of a couple of Caribbean Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) which are now well established entities serving the region.
Mr. Granado holds the Batchelor of Arts (B.A.) in Theology and Masters in Theology (M.Th) in Theology and Development Studies.
Gerry, you can count on the prayers and support of your Moravian brothers and sisters. May God bless you.
April 15-18: P.E.C. meets in the USVI
April 22-25: Provincial Music Workshopin Barbados
May 1-27: Prayer Watch in our Province
May 13: Ascension Day
May 16-19: Annual retreat and Orientation for Ministers in training
May 23: Pentecost or Whit Sunday
May 30: Trinity Sunday
Happy Anniversary To: Cedar Hall Moravian Church in Antigua
The Cedar Hall Moravian Church in Antigua celebrates its 177th anniversary on April 4 . There are 690 members and the pastor is Revd Ezra Parris. Congratulations to all of you!!!
Happy Anniversary To: Rose Hill Moravian Church in Trinidad
The Rose Hill Moravian Church in Trinidad celebrates its 109th anniversary on April 26. There are 528 members and the pastor is Revd Cicely Athill-Horsford. Congratulations to all of you!!!
The World Council of Churches sends out Message to the Churches
In last month's issue of "The Information", we carried the first part of the text of the message of the 8th assembly of the W.C.C. to the churches. Now, we are pleased to continue that message.
Being Together Under the Cross in Africa.
"Blessed is our God always, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen"
Drawn by the power of the cross, we have been reminded that the cross is the most holy ground before which the very sandals of God are removed. we have seen all around us the suffering and pain of humankind. We encountered the alarming problems of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness which are here as they are everywhere. We have heard of the devastating effects of globalization and structural adjustments as those who are weak and powerless find themselves becoming increasingly 'invisible'. We have listened as our sisters and brothers have shared with us the grim reality of the debt crisis in the developing world. We call for the cancellation of debt in a manner which benefits the poor and marginalized, and respects their human rights.
We have longed to touch those suffering from HIV/AIDS. We have stood alongside our brothers and sisters with disabilities, who bring a gift to those who are handicapped in relating to them. We have heard the voice of the indigenous peoples among us, claiming the place that is theirs by right. We have heard from women, children, refugees and displaced persons whose lives have been ravaged by violence. We have been challenged to express our solidarity with them, and commit ourselves to overcome violence and to promote the full human dignity of all. By going to those at the periphery God causes commotion, making this periphery the center. As churches, we are called to make these sons and daughters of God truly visible.
With the symbol of life giving water, we marked the completion of the Ecumenical Decade of the Churches in Solidarity with women, listening to the all-too-often painful reality revealed in the Living Letter and hearing the call that solidarity be followed by accountability. As it follows on parched ground, water is essential to life. Jesus offered to the woman at the well the living water, the healing and new life she so desperately needed. The call of God was presented again and again in the use of water. We were invited to drink the water of salvation, and to affirm our unitzwith all those incorporated into Christ. We were called to help and comfort the lonely, the bereaved, orphans, and the destitute, and to keep thirsting until the wounds of the world are healed.
We have wrestled with how we might foster greater participation at every level of the ecumenical movement, and the way in which decision-making can reflect the needs and expectations of those coming from many and varied traditions and cultures. We celebrated the leadership shown by young people which has been so apparent in the life of this Assembly. We urge the churches to ensure space for the involvement of young people in every aspect of the life and ministries of the church.
Drawn together by God's love, we have sought to understand more what it is to be together. We have explored how we understand the World Council of Churches and the ways in which God has called us to look forward together. We have rejoiced in the developing koinonia (communion) between Christians in many parts of the world, and we affirm once again that God has called us to continue to grow in that communion together, that it may be truly visible. We rejoice in signs of this growth such as the hope for a common date of Easter.
(The third and final part will appear in next month's issue of "The Information.")
Birthdays this month!!!
Happy birthday to:
- Bro. E. Elroy Christopher 4
- Sis. Gwendolyn Jacobs 8
- Sis. Valarie Ferguson 20
- Sis. Rosalind Prince 26
- Bishop Neville Brown 27
- Bro. Mikie Roberts 27
- Bro. Aldwin John 28
Anniversaries this month!!!
Happy anniversary to:
- Mr. Calvin & Mrs Florence Isaac 16
- Revd Esther & Mr. Rudolph Roberts 22
There was a large gathering in the attorney's office to hear the reading of the will. The attorney announced, "This is one of the shortest will you've ever heard."
Then, he lifted the paper before his eyes and read, "Being of sound mind, I spent every last cent before I died!"
A pastor who had been having difficulties with his church accepted a chaplaincy at the state penitentiary. When he preached his farewell sermon at the church, he told his members why he was leaving.
"You don't love me, he moaned. "You haven't paid my salary. You don't love one another. I haven't had a wedding since I've been here. We haven't had a funeral in this church since I've been here. I'm going to be chaplain at the penitentiary. Now I will preach this morning on a text from John 14."
He cleared his throat and read, "I go to prepare a place for you."
Then he announced the special number - "Meet Me There."
MORAVIAN CHURCH EASTERN WEST INDIES PROVINCE
Cashew Hill, P.O. Box 504, St. John's, Antigua, West Indies.