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Resolution 14:

As we strive to live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and serve like Jesus, the Joint Board of New Philadelphia Moravian continues to uphold our mission statement: New Philadelphia seeks to be a caring congregation, worshiping God, and encouraging one another to seek a closer relationship with Jesus Christ, as we follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in Service and in Mission.

Resolution 14 of the 2018 Southern Province Synod has been the subject of much discussion in the recent months. Resolution 14 allows (not requires) for a same gender wedding to be performed in Moravian churches or officiated by Moravian pastors. It also allows for the PEC to ordain homosexual pastors who are either married or celibate.

There is some debate about Resolution 14, as approved by the 2018 Synod, being non-compliant with the Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum (the governing document of the worldwide Moravian Church). As things stand right now, the action of the Synod is valid. As a member of the Moravian Church Southern Province, our congregation falls under the authority of the Provincial Synod.

The Joint Board has discussed Resolution 14 and has agreed that it is the responsibility of the Board of Elders to determine who is married in our church (or by our pastors), who is received into the membership of the congregation, and who can participate in the rites and sacraments of the church. We will prayerfully consider each request for membership or admission to the rites and sacraments (including marriage ceremonies) as they are made by the individuals who make them. The Board of Elders is also responsible for determining the purposes for which our church buildings and properties may be used. This responsibility was affirmed by Synod.

The calling of a new pastor is a function of the Joint Board working with the Provincial Elders’ Conference. As part of this process, the members of the Joint Board will have the opportunity to share their opinions about calling a pastor who is a homosexual.

People can and do disagree about the scriptural interpretation and understanding of homosexuality; disagreement doesn’t have to cause division- division only happens when we feel that what we disagree about is more important than what we agree about. We agree about the essentials; we strive to have unity in the essentials, liberty in the non-essentials, and love in all things.

As a Joint Board we would like to communicate what we are focused on going forward, and what binds us together. Please prayerfully consider the following words, and help us all focus on the things we do agree about and our continued work in Christ’s name.

Unity:

 In Paul’s letter to the Romans he says ‘May the God who gives you endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’.

Our uniting principal as a congregation is the desire to glorify the Father and the Son. Home is New Philadelphia Moravian Church. We the congregation are New Philadelphia Moravian Church.

When we come for Sunday worship we know we are home; when we greet each other with the welcoming grace of Christ we know we are home; when we share tears of sadness and joy together we know we are home; and when we glorify God together through our missions and community outreach we know we are home. Through trials and tribulations, joy and grief, loss and celebration of new life, remembrances of generations that came before us, and the hope and anticipation of the generations to come, we all know in our hearts that this is home.

 

Going Forward:

We have a unique opportunity to chart our own course for decades to come. The Joint Board is very excited about opportunities we have as a congregation and church to shine in the eyes of God and build on the great legacy and tradition of New Philadelphia Moravian Church.

This is our focus going forward, and we ask you to join with us in these endeavors:

  • Source, consider, and hire an outstanding Intentional Interim Pastor who is trained in helping congregations like ours transition from one great Senior Pastor to another. No one will ever fill the shoes of Worth Green. But we have an opportunity to take time to understand who we are as a congregation, where we would like to go in the future, and have a trained professional guide us through a process so WE can define the type of Senior Pastor that will take this Church and our faith ‘onward and upward’ for decades to come.
  • The Joint Board is focused on building ‘Generation Next’ at New Philadelphia Moravian. While continuing to care for the current congregation, we know our viability as a church and ability to continue glorifying God rests solely on our ability to bring the next generation of Moravians to New Philadelphia. Those who have gone before us worked hard to allow our families to worship at New Philadelphia, and it’s time for us to do the same for the next generation.
  • One of the consistent hallmarks of healthy and sustaining churches is a vibrant and growing Youth Program. The Joint Board considers our investment of time, money, and talents in growing our Youth Program to be a top priority. You will see more specifics about this in coming months.

In Closing:

In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, and in all things Love

Read that to yourself multiple times. We have a motto that should appeal to all walks of life, young and old, believers and those who are seeking their faith, and most importantly it fosters a unique atmosphere of faith and family that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. It’s time to move forward as a united congregation and focus on growing this church, glorifying God the Father, and continuing to build an atmosphere of faith and family that will be the gold standard of the Moravian Church for decades to come. We need you, and most importantly we all need each other.

‘I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me’   – John 17:23

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Dear Friends:

I count myself blessed to have served this church for more than thirty years. When I consider my time here, I am reminded of Psalm 16. I am particularly fond of verse 3 which declares, “As for the saints in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight,” and of verse 6 which declares, “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.”

It was reported to me that a visitor to our Farmer’s Market said, “I think I have stumbled into a Hallmark Movie.”  Had I heard her, I would have responded, “Yes, we are a Hallmark congregation, for we know that when God sent us his son, God cared enough to send the very best.”  How does the author of the 4th gospel put it: “The law was given through Moses,” but we have all received “wave after wave of grace in Jesus Christ.” Most of us agree that grace is all we want, and all we want to give.

Despite my pleasure in your company, the time has come for me to close a long chapter and retire from this pastorate. I will do that on Sunday, October 28th, 2018. This congregation will face new challenges, but with every challenge, there is an opportunity, and I believe that your best days are ahead. 

Why am I leaving? There are a number of reasons: 1) I am leaving because I am 69, and I am confident that this is the right time for me.  2) I am leaving because I want to spend time with my wife, Elayne, and we want to spend more time with our children and grandchildren.  3) I am leaving because I want to be responsive to the needs of my mother, Henrietta, who suffers from dementia and is making the long good-by and awaits promotion to the higher service. Her illness is one of the most challenging things Elayne and I have ever faced. Finally, I am leaving because all these things—and many others besides, point to my leaving as the will of God. Though I will miss being your pastor, I look forward to new freedom in a new chapter of life. Whatever I do, I hope to do the work of a witness.

After my departure, you will have an interim to help guide you into the future. However, I still have almost three months left to set the stage for the better days that are coming. In three decades here, we have learned a few things from our successes and failures. We have a lot to talk about. If you care about your church, please make every effort to be in attendance. I would count it as a personal favor. It will certainly impress those pastors who are already starting to contemplate what it might be like to serve here with you.

Blessings,

Worth Green

Senior Pastor

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Provincial Women’s Board, Southern Province presents:
Fall Celebration at Bethania Moravian Church
Saturday, September 9 at 9 a.m. (Coffee) and 9:30 a.m. (Programming begins)

The Rev. Kelly Moore will be reviewing the Bible Study book for this Fall, “Bible Basics-Genesis” written by Sister Nancy Chandler of Hope Moravian in Indiana. The nine sessions in this book will challenge you with the study of Creation, The Fall of Adam and Eve, The Flood/ Noah, the Tower of Babel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Chapters 1 – 45 of Genesis are the targeted chapters. Plan to have a year of gaining knowledge and good discussion with this study.

The Rev. Victoria Lasley will review the Mission Study book written by John and Nancy Gilliland. (John passed away in early January.) John was a doctor and Nancy a nurse; they served in Nicaragua and Honduras starting in the mid 50’s. The book covers how they met, decided on mission work, their education, going to Central America to work in a clinic and raise their daughters.

Contact the PWB to make your group reservations today at (336) 722-4911 or pwbmcsp@gmail.com

 

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