February 2009A Communication from the Chairman of the PEC, The Moravian Church — EWI Province
VISION STATEMENT: A Church - Transformed, United, Victorious in Christ
MISSION STATEMENT: By the grace of God, we seek to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ; without distinction, we use all that we possess to call all peoples to the truth of the Gospel through worship, evangelism, discipleship and service.
Blessed to Bless - A posture of Forgiveness
Our Provincial theme for 2009 is a continuation of the 2008 focus, Blessed to Bless with an added feature—a posture of forgiveness. During 2008, there was the posture of Faithfulness and Fruitfulness. The theme called upon us to be faithful to God’s promises for and to us. As we understand and come to grips with God’s faithfulness then this leads to fruitfulness. Faithfulness is the foundation of anyone who would follow Jesus Christ. To be faithful means to be: loyal, devoted, trustworthy, stanch, dependable, reliable, dedicated, committed, truthful and believable. It calls upon us to abide in the God of our salvation.
Fruitfulness comes as we abide in God’s faithfulness. God’s fruitfulness challenges us to dig deep; to search our hearts; to examine our lives; to see where God has brought us from to where we are today. Our fruitfulness is not so much of our doing, but God’s. It is John who puts it best when he writes:
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15: 4-8).
The level of fruitfulness that we experience is not for us to decide, but for God to determine. Repentance brings blessings. It is the Prophet Hosea who had the opportunity to share the good news to his people when he challenged them to repent:
4 "I will heal their waywardness
and love them freely,
for my anger has turned away from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he will blossom like a lily.
Like a cedar of Lebanon
he will send down his roots;
6 his young shoots will grow.
His splendor will be like an olive tree,
his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
7 Men will dwell again in his
shade. He will flourish like the
grain. He will blossom like a vine,
and his fame will be like the wine
8 O Ephraim, what more have I to
do with idols? I will answer him
and care for him. I am like a
green pine tree; your fruitfulness
comes from me." (Hosea 14: 4-8).
The word Forgiveness means: pardon, excuse, let off, absolve and exonerate. You and I are alive today, only because Christ Jesus has forgiven us. He has forgiven us, not because of our goodness, but out of his grace and mercy. He took the initiative and pardon our transgressions long before we recognized that our lives were messed up and we needed His help. Indeed, He came on a rescue mission to redeem and reclaim us as His own. The hymn writer C. Frances Alexander brings us face to face with the reality of what that forgiveness means when she wrote in her hymn:
He died that we might be forgiven,
He died to make us good,
That we might go at last to heaven,
Saved by His precious blood.
There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven and let us in.
She wrote this hymn at a time when her daughter lay seriously ill and as she reflected on what Jesus has done on our behalf.
Having experienced the forgiveness of God, the theme challenges us to reach out the hand of forgiveness and touch the lives of others. The people of God ought to be the first ones to reach out in the spirit of forgiveness, but alas, the people of God who make up the Church sometimes are the last ones to forgive. Someone has said that, the Church is a hospital for sinners and not a museum for Saints. The saying is true for many times persons forget the real reason for the Church. The Church should be there as a beacon of hope to win souls for the Master, however, no one will be won or converted until and unless there is real forgiveness. It is the key that unlocks the gate to bitterness, anger, hatred, malice, revenge, disrespect, fear and Joylessness.
There is an evil spirit of un-forgiveness that pervades the atmosphere. This spirit robs the child of God of the blessings He has in store for us. Unforgiveness cripples us. It imprisons us. It makes us angry. It makes us bitter. It robs us of Joy and happiness. It robs us of freedom. Un-forgiveness puts a stumbling block between us and our deliverer, Jesus Christ.
As we focus on the posture of Forgiveness, we need to be assured of what it means and what it does for us and how it helps us in our daily walk with God. Forgiveness delivers us. It brings freedom. It drives away fear from our hearts. It takes away anger and bitterness. Above all, forgiveness HEALS mind, soul and body, and makes us healthy. This I consider to be resurrection power. The Bible describes resurrection power as the power to Cancel the past, the power to Conquer our problems and the power to Change our personality.
It is in the Scripture that we find the power of forgiveness. The book of Genesis carries one of the most powerful stories of forgiveness. It is the story of how Joseph forgave his brothers after all the evil, wicked, immoral things they had done to him. Joseph still had the strength, the love, the will power and a forgiving spirit to reach out to them, now that they were in a crisis of major proportion. He finally said to them as he was overwhelmed by his emotions and moved to tears, You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50: 20).
Let this passage from Genesis 50: 15-21 close this article on forgiveness.
15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?"
16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, "Your father left these instructions before he died:
17 'This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.' Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father." When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said.
19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God?
20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
As we seek to forgive, may we be reassured of our own forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
Sis. Movelle Kellman was ordained a Deacon in the Moravian Church, on Tuesday February 03, 2009 at 7:30p.m. at the Sharon Moravian Church in Barbados.
The 29th Provincial Synod will convene in St. Kitts on July 10, 2009 and will conclude on July 18, 2009. All Synod Proposals should reach the Provincial office on or before February 15, 2009.
Unity Synod will convene in London, England on July 27 and will conclude on August 07, 2009. The following will represent the Eastern West Indies Province at the Synod:
¨ Sis. Winelle Kirton-Roberts
¨ Sis. Jeanette Smith-Barry
¨ Bro. Cortroy Jarvis
The Rev Neilson Waithe has been re-admitted into the Ministry of the Moravian Church, Eastern West Indies Province, on a Supplementary basis. Rev. Waithe has accepted a Call to the Barbados Conference, to serve as Associate Pastor on a Team Ministry, in the Calvary and Grace hill Moravian Congregations, with special responsibility at Gracehill, with effect from January 01, 2009.
The Rev. Oscar Fallanga and the Rev. Sylvester Katikaza have terminated their service with the Eastern West Indies Province with effect from January 01, 2009. In the Interim, the PEC has asked the Superintendent of the Tobago Conference the Rev. Esther Moore-Roberts to assume responsibility of the Spring Gardens/Bethesda pastorate, while the Rev. Adelyn Mgonella, the Superintendent of the Trinidad Conference, will assume responsibility for the Lanse Noire' congregation.
We thank Rev. Fallanga and Rev. Katikaza for their five (5) months service in the EWIP and wish them well as they return to Tanzania.
- ¨ The Rev. Romeo Challenger has been appointed Chaplain for the 29th Provincial Synod of the EWI Province, to be held in St. Kitts, July 10-18, 2009.
- ¨ The Rev. Dr. Wycherley Gumbs, Superintendent of the Methodist Church in St. Kitts will lead the Synod Retreat.
- ¨ The Rev. Dr. Calvin Hazel of the Calvary Baptist Church in St. Kitts will be a featured guest speaker at the Synod. He will lead us into the Visioning sector of our Synod, as we seek to understand the way ahead for our Church as God would have us.
- ¨ All Staff members are required to wear either PREACHING or ACADEMIC GOWN for the opening service of Synod. Lay Delegates and Observers are required to wear Black.
- ¨ The Synod Communion service will take place at the Estridge Moravian Church. The NEW PRESBYTERS are being asked to bring along their Surplice, as they will serve the elements during the communion.
- ¨ The Frigate Bay Beach Hotel which is relatively close by will be used as a spill over location for the Synod, at no extra charge. The goal is to put the observers at the Frigate Bay. Day passes are also being put in place to cater to persons who are observers, accommodated at a private residence and want to spend time at synod. The daily cost will be EC$ 150.00 per person.
The Synod Registration fee being paid by Delegates and Observers is an all inclusive fee, to include, accommodation, meals, transportation and the like.
All Synod Reports are due on or before February 15, 2009.
1. The Rev Dr. Dion Christopher has been appointed Provincial Director of Mission and Evangelism. He heads a committee comprising of the following persons:
- Rev. Andrew Roberts - Disaster response/Evangelism
- Rev. Hilton Joseph - Disaster response/Evangelism
- Rev. Devon Mannix - Mission
- Rev. Vankys Isaac - Mission
- Rev. Adrian Smith -Youth
- Rev. Eulencine Christopher- Education
- Rev. Georgette John - Health Ministries
- Rev. Angella Roberts - Health Ministries
2. The Rev. Winelle Kirton-Roberts and the Rev. Hilton Joseph have been appointed Superintendents of the Virgin Islands and St. Kitts Conferences, respectively with effect from January 19, 2009. We ask that you bear our Sisters and Brothers in your prayers as they seek to lead at such a time as this.
Provincial Theme 2010 - 2012
The PEC invites proposals for the Provincial theme for the inter-synodal period, 2010-2012, from Staff and Members of our congregations. This proposal should encompass one theme, with three sub-themes. For example: Blessed to Bless—A posture of
We invite you to submit your theme to the Provincial Headquarters with supporting Scripture passages by March 31, 2009. We believe that it is important to involve the total membership in the forward movement of our Church. We ask you therefore to seek God’s guidance to reveal to you the direction He would have us to go.
Unity Prayer Watch
The EWI Province will participate in the Unity Prayer Watch from 12:01 a.m. April 01, 2009 – Midnight April 14, 2009. The Schedule is as follows:
- Antigua -12:01a.m. April 01 – Midnight April 04
- Barbados - 12:01a.m. April 05 – Midnight April 07
- St. Kitts -12:01a.m. April 08 – Midnight April 08
- Tobago -12:01a.m. April 09 – Midday April 10
- Trinidad -12:01a.m. April 10 – Midday April 11
- Virgin Island—12:01p.m. April 11 – Midnight April 14
Conferences are asked to observe the time allotted for our members to engage in the unbroken prayer chain. This prayer meeting developed on August 13, 1727 when the Moravian Church had its Pentecostal experience. The Church was so much on fire that the Prayer meeting lasted for 100 unbroken years. Let us therefore encourage our members to be in prayer, as we continue to seek God’s guidance and direction for our Church and indeed our lives.
Anniversary Greetings for the month of February is extended to:
- Bro. Ray & Sis. Shirley Joseph 7
- Bro. Kingsley & Sis. Maureen Lewis 19
Birthday Greetings for the month of February is extended to:
- Bro. Dufferin Culpepper 1
- Sis. Jeanette Smith-Barry 2
- Sis. Binta Mgonella 3
- Bro. Cortroy Jarvis 7
- Sis. Shirley Joseph 8
- Bro. Willard Prout 10
- Bro. Sean Roberts 10
- Sis. June McMillan 17
- Bro. Errol Connor 21
- Bro. Adrian Smith 21
- Sis. Esther Moore-Roberts 24
The EWI Province congratulates Mr. Clifford Thomas, a member and Acolyte of the Estridge Moravian Church in St. Kitts, who was honoured by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, during her New Year’s Day message. Mr. Thomas was one of Two (2) persons from St. Kitts honored by the Queen. He is now a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Mr. Thomas was honored for his service and contribution to Trade Unions in St. Kitts.
We wish him God’s blessings as he continues to do service in His name.
We express condolences to the Rev. Anique Elmes Matthew and Bro. Colin Matthew, on the passing of Bro. Colin’s Mother, Sis. Daisy Francis Matthew in St. Kitts. Sister Francis Matthew passed away on January 01, 2009.
Funeral arrangements took place in St. Kitts.
Let us remember the family in our prayers as they mourn the loss of their loved one.
The EWIP express sympathy to the Rev. Sylvester Katikaza on the death of his mother in Tanzania. The PEC received word from Bishop Isaac Nicodemo on January 13, 2009, indicating that she went to be in the nearer presence of God.
We pray that God will grant peace and comfort to the family.
Copyright 2009 The Moravian Church Eastern West Indies Province P.O. Box 504, Cashew Hill, St. John's, Antigua, Caribbean.