Added Content January 2018

Online Resources: Purpose

  • “Rebranded ELCA church is a place of welcome for believers and nonbelievers alike”

Online Resources: Spiritual Formation

  • “We need to teach our people to pray and to weep”

Online Resources: Mission and Service

  • “Getting Comfortable with the E-word”

Online Resources: Community

  • “Beyond Hospitality to Inclusion”

General Online Resources

  • One of 3 Blog Posts on “Habits of the Heart of Healthy Congreations”
  • “Three Marks of Healthy Congregations”

Crossroads Program at Moravian Seminary for January 2018!

Crossroads courses starting in January, 2018:
   On Thursday, Jan 4 is Compass – a very good place to start.  Brush up on basic skills such as writing, presenting and research while exploring your sense of call as a layperson.  Our courses can be taken in any order but this course is a great springboard to all the other courses.  Taught by Linda Wisser, a Crossroads grad ans current Moravian M Div student at Moravian Theological Seminary and Dr. Jill Peters, director of Crossroads.
    On Monday nights starting Jan 8, we have our New Testament course with a new instructor Rev. Dr. Joanne Marchetto who will bring new insights into very familiar passages.  Don’t miss this one.  Joanne is very creative and is one of the two lead pastors at The Barn in Allentown.
As always, Crossroads is here to serve you.  We encourage participants to take the courses that are important to them.  All of our courses are offered in real time distance learning, so with a computer, camera, mike and quiet place, you can be part of the class including working in small groups, participating in discussions and seeing and hearing everyone who is in the course.  Distance Learners must be available on class dates and at class times which are listed on our website in East Coast time.
All information about the courses including dates, times, texts and online registration is available on our website at or you can contact our director, Jill Peters at
Starting March we will be offering “Mapping the Route, our theology course and Traditions, our look at world religions, Protestant denominations and American sect religions.  All info is also on our website.

Leadership Development is an Investment

I get a few emails every week from organizations that produce great, in my opinion, resources for church leaders.  This week I saw an article about developing congregational leaders on a shoe-string budget.  I have often heard from pastors and other church leaders that the reasons we don’t pursue something comes down to lack of funds in the budget.  So here is an article written for those of us who long for resources that won’t break the bank and who know that investing in our leaders will enable us to participate more fully in God’s Mission in the world.

So I hope you appreciate this article at :

Laura E. Everett: Low-budget leadership development

Full Text Article

Rebecca Craver

Healthy Congregations Task Force

New Moravian Resource Surveys

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The PEC’s of both provinces, meeting jointly last fall, authorized the formation of a committee to explore whether or not it’s time to begin work towards a new Moravian worship resource (“book of worship” and/or other sorts of resources). Towards that end, we have prepared two surveys and invite your participation.

One is designed for pastors, music directors, members of worship & music committees, those actively involved in worship planning:

The other is designed for anyone in your congregation who wishes to participate, and we fervently hope for a very large response:

Would you please do two things for us?

(1)    Choose and complete the survey appropriate for you;

(2)    Pass along these links and/or copies to others in your congregation (please make copies as needed!).

We are asking for survey responses by July 1, 2017, and again, we long for as broad a participation throughout the Northern Province as possible!

With appreciation,

–          Nola

Rev. Nola Reed Knouse

For the New Moravian Resource Exploration Committe

(Committee members: Thomas Baucom, Rebecca Craver, Brian Dixon, Chris Giesler, Aaron Linville, Lillian Shelton).


Three Decades of Ministering to the Homeless in Lake Mills, WI

submitted by Erna Kiessling

Lake Mills Moravian Church, Lake Mills, WI

Around thirty years ago the Lake Mills Moravian Church joined together with the Glenwood Moravian Church to provide meals for the men’s homeless shelter in Madison, WI.  By joining together our pair of Moravian Churches make a dinner and a breakfast happen for the guests at the men’s homeless shelter on the 2nd Tuesday of every even numbered month of the year.

It all started when a bunch of Lake Mills Moravians went to a Western District Conference in 1986, called “Faith in Action”.  Gail Poppert returned from the conference wanting to make a difference.  In 1987 Gail went to New York City on a mission trip.  They volunteered/worked at the Moravian Open Door.  Upon returning home, she asked about homelessness in Lake Mills.  At that time, no one knew of any homeless folks in our small town.  Gail had been donating to the Madison homeless shelter through a payroll deduction at her work, so she looked into what was happening in Madison, and learned about the homeless shelter program there.  She requested permission from Pastor Betsy Miller and the Elders. They said, “Go for it!”, not at all sure how long it would last.  Gail gave the initial energy and leadership to the ministry.  She cooked the meals, she brought together what help she could, she made the delivery and serving of the meal happen each time.  It was really ‘her baby’ for a long time – but it slowly grew into our church’s ministry.   We took the second Tuesday of the even numbered months.  A different church/group provides meals on the second Tuesday of the odd numbered months.  When a group or church signs up for a meal/date they are committing to provide the evening meal on that date (the 2nd Tuesday) and the breakfast on the following morning.  The Lake Mills Moravian Church provides the dinner, and the Glenwood Moravian Church provides the breakfast.

After a time, Arden Piper was quite willing to take over the cooking duties from Gail when her work schedule wouldn’t allow her to give the time to this ministry that she felt it deserved.  When he started with this ministry, Arden would make the meal and be a part of the delivery/service team (as Gail had done).  While at the shelter, Arden would find time to mingle with the guests.  He told of finding himself every once in a while sitting on a bunk with one of the guests and hearing about his day/life.  Arden became very motivated to make sure these guys had something good happen to them on the Tuesday evenings when our church was providing the meal at the shelter.  Invariably over the years the delivery team heard how our church’s meal was the best meal of the month.  We were told by more than a few of the night managers that they tried to get scheduled on our Tuesdays so they could enjoy the Moravian meal with their guys.

The owner of some local food stores began donating (or selling at a greatly reduced cost) the meat/main course for the meal, and Arden planned the meal around that.  A sign-up sheet was posted in church, and food stuffs were brought in by various people from our congregation.  It was amazing how many people wanted to bake a cake, donate cans of corn, heads of lettuce, squash, milk, mayo, frozen peas, etc.   The meal was prepared in the church kitchen, and sent to the shelter in time for the evening meal.

Shortly after Gail got things rolling, Pastor Betsy Miller requested an adjustment in the requirements for the seventh and eighth grade confirmation students by adding a community service component.  This could be met by helping deliver and serve the meal at the homeless shelter, volunteer some hours at the local food pantry, or some other service out in the community that was approved by the pastor.  The Elders approved this adjustment, and it has been an integral part of this ministry ever since.  What usually happens is the delivery and serving team is a blend of youth and adults from the church.  The 7th and 8th grade confirmation students often are accompanied by their mentor, a parent, or a grandparent.  The youth seem to bond with other confirmation students and/or with their mentor and/or family member.  Upon returning to Lake Mills there seems to be a deeper connection between all the members of the delivery/serving team.  Thereafter, it is not unusual for many of the youth to wiggle their way onto multiple trips to the shelter.  The good feeling derived from serving others becomes addictive to some people.  Many adults that accompany the youths and participate in the delivery and serving the meal request to be called when a delivery/serving team is in need of extra hands.

Over the years the initial Madison Homeless Shelter has split into three shelters.  The men’s shelter stayed where it all began, at the Grace Episcopal Church next to the Capitol Square.  The women’s shelter moved to some space in the YWCA building further around the Capitol Square.  The family shelter moved into space at the Salvation Army building a few blocks away from the capitol on East Washington Ave.  After the split, the two Moravian churches decided to continue to serve the meal at the men’s shelter.

Arden would pull together several helpers from the congregation and prepare the meal.  Late Tuesday afternoon, around 6 PM, the youth and adults would gather to load the church van with all parts of the meal, pray together, and then head to Madison.  After a time, Betsy turned the organizing of the delivery/serving team over to a lay member of the congregation.  It has evolved to the point where the pastor’s involvement in this ministry is to lead the prayer before the team leaves for Madison, and encourage the discipleship youth to sign-up for this community service event.  So, three decades later, it is still a ministry of the church, and an integral part of the Lake Mills Moravian Church’s DNA.

After many many years of leading the preparation of the meals, due to medical issues, Arden had to turn over those duties to Jack Scheife.  Jack says he really enjoyed working with Arden for a few years, and then when it became necessary for Arden to step away he was quite willing to take over the total leadership role with the meal preparation ministry.  With Jack’s meal preparation leadership our meals were still the best meals of the month at the shelter.  Quite a few years later, when Jack was moving from the area, he handed-off the meal preparation duties to Matt Beckman.  After more than six years of great meals, Matt relegated leadership of the meal prep duties to Donna Hinzmann.  Currently, Donna is assembling a few cooks and getting the meals ready for the team to deliver and serve to the guests at the Madison Men’s Homeless Shelter.

There was a good deal of uncertainty and nervousness as we changed from one head cook to the next, but the meals continued to be some of the best meals the guests at the men’s shelter get each month.  Many in our church family take a good deal of pride in our involvement in this ministry.  A huge aspect of this ministry is the willingness of the church members to sign-up and donate the potatoes, celery, hamburger, beans, milk, carrots, lemonade, squash, cheese, applesauce, cakes, or whatever else might be on the menu.  Each time it’s our turn to serve the homeless, members of our congregation pull together to make this local mission project happen.  They are an essential part of this mission work through their donations of food stuffs.  This ministry does not get money through the church budget.  There is an account that members can donate money towards funding the meal, but the vast majority of the meal is donated by members of our church community and some businesses in the Lake Mills area.  It is a blessing to be a blessing to others in need.


Pastor Jane Follmer –Zekhoff received an e-mail from Brother Rick Nelson in 2015 presently serving at Clinica Evangelica Morava Ahuas, Honduras.  Rick was reaching out for financial and need of prayers to support  the clinic.

Pastor Jane then presented this mission call to the church board.  It was decided by the board to support Ahuas Medical Clinic and this would be our Lenten mission project.  Pastor Jane then presented to Janice Ellis to come up with a display for this mission.   Janice read the e-mail from Brother Rick asking for prayer and financial support.  So this is how Janice came up with connecting London with the clinic by a prayer chain.  Each link in the chain/set of praying hands represented a $10.00 gift and our goal of $800 was surpassed by raising $1100 to the clinic.  In the display you will see the spiritual giving of this small Moravian church.  The middle support was the cross to keep the connection with the clinic.

The blessings and the power of God came as a result of us giving above and beyond our goal.

By having a display helps to show and give the congregation inspiration to see each week what has been accomplished towards their mission goal in keeping the prayer chain connected.

Feel  free to contact a go-to person for any questions on our many mission projects.

A big thank you to my sister Jane Olson and my daughter  Hannah Ellis Undestad for their help, I couldn’t have completed the displays without their help.

                                                     Mission Giving 2009 – 2015

Local:  People Against Domestic Abuse, Jefferson County; PorchLight Homeless Program, Madison; YWCA, Madison; Cambridge Food Pantry; school supplies for Cambridge Elementary; Watertown Loaves and Fishes free community meal; Cambridge Library building fund; Cambridge Food Pantry Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets, Cambridge Area Resource Team, Family Promise of Jefferson County, Rock River Free Clinic, Cambridge Food Pantry Blue Jay backpack (weekend hunger) program; Lake Mills Food Pantry

National/World: Heifer International (goats); Nothing but Nets (malaria mosquito nets);  Sixty pounds of pennies for AIDS relief; Souper Bowl of Caring (food collection went to Cambridge Food Pantry); Harbor House Homeless Shelter (Superior, WI); 13 Flood buckets for Midwest flooding recovery; Mercy Ships floating hospitals; Philippine Typhoon Haiyan recovery; Children/Youth Refugees coming into US


Moravian: Marquardt Village, Watertown (stained glass window); Moravian Volunteer Response (multiple offerings for natural disasters); Alaska Mission team; Tanzania Moravian School; Ahuas Medical Clinic, Honduras; London Sunday School new curriculum and Bibles; London Church painting project; London Church special music concerts; Mount Morris barn restoration project, Colorado Summer Mission Team; Open Door Ministry (New York City);  Sierra Leone disaster relief for the Braima’s community (ebola epidemic); Lakeview Moravian community weekend backpack (school hunger) program; Pittsburgh Summer Mission Team; water project for Ahuas Clinic; Music for Mission at Lake Mills Moravian Church (TrickleeBee Café, Milwaukee), Open Door Ministry adoptee ($250 annual allowance gift)

Sturgeon Bay Congregation Connects Parents with Sunday School Curriculum

At the Sturgeon Bay Moravian Church, our Sunday School curriculum for children is a rotation-based workshop where the kids are presented with one Bible story or theme each month and rotate through Bible study, Computer, Art, and Kitchen workshops each Sunday in that month.  A few years ago, we started creating hand-outs for parents to use in order to reinforce at home what they were learning at church.  I have attached a couple of examples of the parent handouts that are intended to:

  1. Explain the rotation activities to parents
  2. Communicate the Bible verse for each theme or story
  3. Suggest discussion questions that parents can use with their kids
  4. Challenge the parents to dig deeper into the stories or themes for their own education

If you have any questions about these our rotation workshops or these parent hand-outs, give Pastor Matt Knapp a call at 920-743-6218.

Check out this Power Point for an Example


Submitted by Brian Stephens

2016 Mother’s Day at Canaan Moravian Church

What is more appropriate for a Mother’s Day Service than the children of the congregation doing a Tribute Service for their mothers?  This is what the Canaan kids decided to do.  With the help and direction of Pastor Beth Habhegger, Brigit Springer, and Janessa Smith, the children took on the task of being in charge of the entire Sunday service.

From the opening Call to Worship to concluding the service with a Christian Family Lovefeast, the Canaan Moravian Youth provided their families and especially their mothers a reason to be very proud of them.  The Liturgy for Mother’s Day was chosen from the “A New Moravian Song Book”.  Ranging from the age of 5 to 19, each of the Moravian Youth shared with the congregation what they love about their mothers.  Singing songs especially written for their moms brought smiles and appreciation from all.

The Children’s Message was prepared by Abby and Emily Cramer.  The message was to fill your heart with love.  The children joined hands in prayer with the Cramer sisters.

The youth taking part in the Mother’s Day Service:  Abby Cramer, Emily Cramer, Ben Saewert, Elizabeth Saewert, Sydnie Saewert, Emma Saewert, Ellisyn Mikkelsen, Mack Sprenger, Sayler Smith, Rhone Habhegger.

Submitted by: Ki Gohdes

Swapping Stories!

The Healthy Congregations Task Force while getting into the work of helping to support the pursuit of greater health in all our congregations has had the privilege to hear stories of how congregations have been growing in health throughout the province.  We have been encouraged, inspired and challenged to think in new ways through hearing about God’s action in the lives of these congregations.  We want to be able to share that enthusiasm with all of you!

One of our goals is to give congregations some more ways to share their stories with one another.  We are going to start collecting videos to share through our youtube channel, facebook page and E-newsletter.

This is  where you come in….

We invite you to create a simple 3-5 minute video with your computer or smartphone.  Tell us a story about your congregation and how you see God working in your midst. 

It can be a story about: vibrant and enlightening worship, deepening faith through spiritual formation, experiencing God in mission and service, developing community with all our neighbours, living out stewardship in transformative ways, affirming leadership or finding purpose and meaning as a congregation

Whatever your story we want to hear it and we hope that by sharing our stories with one another the spark of God’s fire in our hearts will burn brighter and our congregations will continue to grow in health and vitality for years to come.

For more instructions on how to make a video and get it to us check out our website under the tab “Tell me a Story

We can’t wait to hear and share your stories!


Healthy Congregations Task Force