Monday, June 27, 2016

Synod Delegates Talk About Their Mission Experiences

"I was hungry and you gave me food, 
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, 
I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 
 I was naked and you gave me clothing,
 I was sick and you took care of me, 
I was in prison and you visited me." ~ Jesus

The 2016 Synod of the Eastern District was anything but a sit-still-and-listen sort of event. With its focus grounded firmly in Jesus' words from Matthew 25, The Synod sent all of its delegates into the world for a full day of serving those who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, lacking in basic necessities, sick and incarcerated. In so many cases, the experiences were moving and transforming. Here are just a couple of clips of Ohio Moravians telling about what happened last Thursday. Jill Westbrook (Sharon) talks about her time helping residents of a no-frills nursing home "go shopping" for the things that make their lives a little bit more comfortable.Sue Henriksen (Dover) discusses the day she spend serving in a soup kitchen. And Seth Angel (Fry's Valley) talks about touring a prison facility and spending time with some of the incarcerated men.

If you attend Brown Bags & Big Ideas today (noon-1:30 p.m. at Tuscora Park), I suspect you'll have a chance to debrief these and other memorable Synod experiences.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Eastern District Synod--Not Your Ordinary Kind of Meeting

Can you tell what's happening in this picture?

This is the plenary session during the first night of the Eastern District Synod. If you've ever been to a Synod or other convention-type gathering, you know that a plenary session is a meeting of the full group where presentations are made and business gets conducted. Usually during a plenary session, participants sit at tables, their agendas and important documents stacked before them, their attention directed toward the leadership personnel seated on the dais and speaking from the lecturn. 

But not this time.

This time the entire company of Synod processed from its usual meeting space to a gymnasium set up as a makeshift factory. There, each of us was handed a plastic apron and a hairnet. We were directed to work stations where we were assigned very specific tasks:
  • Open the plastic bag, insert a vitamin/flavoring packet
  • Hold the plastic bag beneath the large, yellow funnel
  • Precisely measure and dump one of 4 ingredients into the yellow funnel: soy flour, dried beans, dried vegetables or rice
  • Remove plastic bag and pass it to the weigh station for quality control
  • Seal and stack the bags
  • Pack into cardboard cartons for shipping

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

And what was the result? During our one-hour session, we packaged 32,000 servings of high protein meals destined to feed desperately hungry people in Haiti. 32,000!

Best. Meeting. Ever.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Eastern District Synod is Underway

Folks from all 7 of our Ohio congregations traveled to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania yesterday to participate in the Synod of the Moravian Church, Eastern District.I met up with some of them during breakfast this morning.

left to right: Carolyn McCoy (Gnadenhutten Moravian Church), Adelia Hobart (Dover) and Sue Henriksen (Dover).

Lynn Reichman (Sharon), Darrell Johnson (Gnadenhutten), Seth Angel (Fry's Valley), and Bob Geiger (Gnadenhutten).

Becky Canfield (Schoenbrunn)  and Denny Rohn (Schoenbrunn).

Synod officially opened in the afternoon with spirited worship introducing the theme of the whole event: "To Us, To Us This Task Is Given..." After greetings and introductions, we were quickly immersed in sensitivity training surrounding how to/how NOT to go about approaching mission and service opportunities.  Before long, we were being steeped in the challenge of doing mission! Stay tuned. We'll tell you all about what it was like to pack 32,000 meals for people in need....

Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy First Day of Summer! Celebrate by Registering for Camp!

For a week's worth of fun and a lifetime of special memories, Moravian Church Camps offer all that and more. Children, youth and young adults discover opportunities to draw close to God in natural settings, grow in spirit through worship and study, develop strong relationships with peers and mentors, and find joy through laughter and singing. For full details and registration materials for both Tar Hollow and Camp Bethany, visit,
or check with your church's office. Sign up soon!

Tar Hollow
For those who have completed 7th grade - age 21

July 17-23, 2016
(Staff Day, July 16)

Camp Bethany
For those who have completed grades 2-6

August 1-5
(Staff Day, July 31)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Live On Stage...

Paul Green's Trumpet in the Land begins its season tonight and runs all summer long. Trumpet brings to life on stage a significant chapter in the history of Moravian Missions as well as in the development of Ohio and the expanding United States.  It offers a message of peace, unity and hopefulness that is as timely today as it was in 1772.

If you'd like to attend the outdoor historical drama but would prefer to not pay the premium admission price, here's great news.

TONIGHT, June 17, all residents of Tuscarawas County are eligible to see the show for $5 per person. Just show proof of residency to activate your discount!  The show gets underway at 8:30 p.m. at the production's amphitheater in New Philadelphia, near Buckeye Career Center and Kent State University, Tusc Campus.

TOMORROW NIGHT, June 18, all Moravian Church members and friends are eligible for special savings. Students in grades 6-12 may attend free of charge through a grant from the Ohio Moravian Ministries Commission. And all others may receive a voucher in order to purchase $10 tickets (regular price: $20). To obtain your free or reduced price tickets, look for me at the amphitheater at 8:00 p.m. I'll be near the box office, clipboard in hand.

To find out more about the show (as well as other shows being offered this summer), please go to

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Looking for something to enchant your children on a summer's day? KID-A-PALOOZA might be just the thing!

TOMORROW, June 16, Sharon Moravian Church will host the first of 3 sessions. Children in grades 2-6 are invited for a morning filled with fun, games, lessons, crafts... and lunch! Gather at 9:00 a.m. and stay until Noon.

Please pre-register by phone at 740-922-5507 or 740-922-6328, or register when you arrive.

Other KID-A-PALOOZA sessions are scheduled for July 21 and August 18.

Sharon Moravian Church is located on Moravian Church Road just outside of the Village of Tuscarawas. Look for the very tall steeple!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Moravian History EXTRAVAGANZA

UPDATE: Due to low registration, we are sorry to announce that the Moravian History Extravaganza will not be offered on June 18. However, the evening performance of Trumpet in the Land will still be offered FREE for youth in grades 6-12, and at a discounted rate for everyone else. To receive your free and/or discounted ticket vouchers, look for Chris Johnson at the Trumpet Amphitheater Box Office between 8:00 and 8:15 p.m. Saturday night. She'll have a clipboard in hand and will look forward to attending the show with you!

This Saturday, 
June 18
join us on a tour through 
Moravian History!
All young people in Grade 6-12 (including those who have just graduated from high school) are invited to meet up with the group at the entrance to 
Historic Schoenbrunn Village at 
2:00 p.m. We'll remain until closing time at 5:00 p.m.

We'll travel on foot to
Schoenbrunn Community Moravian Church 
where we'll have dinner together followed by a session on our early roots in Europe. Ministry Intern Joe Compton will introduce us to Prague, Chalice Rocks, Herrnhut and other significant sites he visited during last summer's Moravian Youth Convo. 

And finally, we'll travel up the hill to attend the evening performance of 
Trumpet in the Land.
The drama begins at 
8:30 p.m.

All admission costs for the youth will be covered by the Ohio Moravian Ministries Commission (OMMC). Participants may wish to bring their own money for snacks or gift shop purchases.

Please reserve your spot by notifying your pastor or Pastor Chris Johnson (484-894-9077) no later than noon on Friday, June 17. We must know who is coming in order to make transportation and dining arrangements!

BUT WAIT! What if you would like to attend the performance of Trumpet in the Land, but you’re not in the targeted age bracket? Please join us at a discounted rate! Meet us at the Trumpet amphitheater between 8:00 and 8:15 p.m. to get a voucher that allows you to purchase $10 tickets (regularly $20).

Praying for Peace in the Park

Yesterday's session of Brown Bags & Big Ideas seemed especially meaningful as we shared in conversation and prayer. With so much on our minds and hearts in the wake of the violence in Orlando, our noontime discussion group took on a more serious tone than would be typical, but that seemed an appropriate response. Powerfully, we utilized the "Peace and Justice" liturgy from the Moravian Book of Worship to shape our prayers.

We talked earnestly about ways in which our churches could/should be more effective when it comes to influencing our broken world and urging one another always toward the better impulses modeled for us by your selfless Savior.

With sincere honesty, we acknowledged that our congregations are not as impactful as they may have been in the past. With energy, we raised up ideas for how we might find renewed strength for effective ministry.

We will continue the conversation each Monday throughout the summer. Join in as you're able between noon and 1:30 p.m. at Tuscora Park. (We try to meet in the shelter closest to the train-themed playground.)

By the way...

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Meet Us in the Park

Brown Bags & Big Ideas 

meets each Monday afternoon from noon until 1:30 p.m. under a picnic pavilion in Tuscora Park, and all are welcomed! Join in conversation with gathered Moravians to talk about what's going on in our churches, what could  be going on in our churches, and what God is calling us to in our communities. Bring a lunch along, or purchase something to eat from the park's concession stand.

As a special treat, the Reichmans will be bringing fruit to share tomorrow, June 13. (Thanks for your generosity!)

And that reminds me..."The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things." (Galatians 5:22-23) 

Friday, June 10, 2016

It's Strawberry Festival Time!

Schoenbrunn Community 
Moravian Church's

Annual Strawberry Festival

will get underway tomorrow,

June 11, from 4-7 p.m.

Enjoy sandwiches, baked beans, macaroni salad, drinks, and, OF COURSE, STRAWBERRIES. Get 'em with shortcake or get 'em with ice cream. It's all good, and it's all for a terrific price: your donation.

The church is located at 2200 E. High Avenue in New Philadelphia.

Meet Our Summer Ministry Intern & Hang Out With Him This Sunday

Greetings all! I am Joe Compton, and I am serving as a student Ministry Intern for the Tuscarawas County Moravian Churches this summer. I am a member of the Dover First Moravian Congregation and will be a sophomore at The Ohio State University this fall semester.

Over my 19 years of being a Moravian in the Tuscarawas Valley, I have been a part of the many program opportunities the churches have to offer, some of which include being an active camper and counselor at Camp Bethany, Epworth, and Tar Hollow.  I was also an active member of the charity Sole Purpose, which raises funds to buy shoes for youth in the local Tuscarawas area.

At Ohio State I partake in a few performing arts groups on campus including the Ohio State University Men’s Glee Club and also Off the Lake Productions, a student run musical theatre group.

This summer as part of my Internship I have put together a hand full of countywide youth and family events that are aimed towards a fun environment that I'll tell you about over the next few days. For starters....

Youth Service Project + Fun Times at Funday's
On June 12th, youth in the area are invited to a service event at The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County in which an afternoon of good CLEAN fun will take place as we help them clean up the theatre by pulling some weeds in the garden and helping organize their large collection of paints.                                                                                     After the work is done, everyone will be taken to Funday’s for a free root beer. Participants can purchase dinner at their own expanse. The event will be Sunday the 12th from 3-5pm and the theatre’s address can be found online at

Monday, June 6, 2016

Brown Bags & Big Ideas Resumes for the Summer

It's been awhile...but this BLOG is back, and we hope to fill up its pages with helpful information about what's going on in the Ohio Moravian Church World. So let's begin with something happening TODAY.

Brown Bag & Big Ideas

Today and Every Summer Monday
Tuscora Park in New Philadelphia                Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Pack up your lunch, bring it to the park, and join us for some free-flowing conversation about the things that matter to us. Some days we talk about what's happening in our congregations, some days we discuss what's happening in the world. Ideally, we figure out connections and challenges, and look for positive ways to live as people of faith in the midst of it all. We have no set agenda, so bring your ideas along with your lunch! (And if you come lunchless, you may visit the concession stand to purchase eats.)

Come for the entire time, or pop in and out as needed. Look for us under the shelter of a picnic pavilion. We try to stake out a space near the permanent buildings and playgrounds. We hope you'll join us today and/or any Summer Monday.