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Many of you know that, in addition to the text or watchword for the day, our Daily Texts include some Scripture readings for the day. This week I have been enjoying reading through one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 107. The psalm speaks of people who are facing many different challenges and difficult situations. Some are in deserts – geographically, spiritually or emotionally – longing to be refreshed; some are in prison – bound by forces (hatred, violence, addictions…) that hold them down and keep them from being free; some are sick and suffering because of physical ailments, crying out for health and strength and daily bread; some are facing storms that disrupt their worlds as they try to go about the business of living.

 

In the Psalm, all of these people cry out to God and God saves and redeems all of them! But it is interesting to note that God does this in different ways because their needs are different. People in deserts (like the folks in places that are being destroyed by fire and being turned into parched lands) need lots of water. But water is the last thing that people in the midst of storms (like those on the Gulf Coast) need right now. And God’s response to those who are sick and to those who are in prison is not the same, but each response serves the need that is present.

 

Now, what if all of these folks – the ones in the desert, the ones in prison, the ones facing illness, the ones in the midst of storms – what if they would start discussing and debating and arguing about how God works in the world? What if one of them would say, “God is a God who leads us to water!” and another would respond, “Huh? No way! God gets us out of the water!” And then the person who has been cured and the one who has been set free might start debating the details of God’s redemptive process. No!! The psalmist says that all of these people need to give thanks to God together and share their stories so that we can gain a greater understanding of who God is and how God works in the world. Then we all can “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good… and his love endures forever!”

 

Bishop Gray

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We are all feeling the effects of the Coronavirus and the socially distanced isolation we feel from behind our smile hiding masks.  Some are feeling it more than others.  Not everyone feels their worship needs met by a live-streamed service.  The handshakes and hugs we used to receive in Sunday School, at choir practices and before and after circle and committee meetings leave us hungry for the human contact that was part of our church experience.  Maybe you just need to sit for a time in the sacred space of our sanctuary in meditative prayer. 

Whenever something happens to cause significant changes in our lives, we find ourselves needing to deal with what are important losses in our lives.  What losses has this pandemic caused in your life?

We have no idea just when these things will be restored, but we need to try to do something to gauge the depth of our needs and to see how we might be helpful until that time comes. 

The Board of Elders offers you this opportunity to share about how you are experiencing these days by responding to a few questions.

 

GO TO QUESTIONNAIRE

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New Philadelphia Moravian Church was established on July 26, 1846 to serve the New Philadelphia Community, hence our name. The community itself is gone, long ago swallowed up by Winston-Salem; but the church remains. Today New Philadelphia is a large regional church serving western Winston-Salem, Clemmons, Lewisville and beyond. Several of our members come weekly from Kernersville, Greensboro, Mt. Airy, Advance, etc. At present we worship c. 400 people in two services each Sunday, one at 9:00 and another at 11:10 a.m. We have a Sunday School for all ages at 10:00 a.m., and an active program for Middle and Senior High Youth. Our aim is to have a quality, large church program that can meet the needs of individuals and families regardless of their age or station in life. We take pride that, though we have grown in numbers, we have maintained a personal touch. Our character is summed up in 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.

The Moravian Denomination

The Moravian Church was first known by the name “Unitas Fratrum.” It is a Latin phrase meaning, “Unity of the Brethren.” Worldwide, it is still our official name. We are called Moravians because the church got its start in Moravia and Bohemia.

The History of the Moravian Church is usually divided into the time of the Ancient Unity, and to the time of the Renewed Church.

Continue reading Who We Are

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New Philadelphia has a tradition of raising exceptional young people. Zach Wright oversees our Youth Ministry programs, with a specific focus on leading our Senior High Youth Program and working with Erin Key to continue building our strong Middle High Youth Program.

Our Youth Committee oversees both the Youth Fellowship and Sunday School Programs for Middle and Senior Highs, and each compliments the other. Weekly meetings, weekly Bible Studies, Mission Camps, and Mission Trips are all planned to educate, to grow in faith, and to challenge.

This photograph was taken during the 2018 Children|Youth Lovefeast.

 

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Worship with Us

Perhaps you have shared a Christmas Eve Lovefeast with us? New Philadelphia has two worship services every Sunday morning with c. 366 persons in attendance (2017). Our 9:00 AM Worship is a large Traditional service. Our 11:10 AM Worship is a blended service. Ordinarily, the preacher of the day preaches at both services, and Mr. Steve Gray always directs the Chancel Choir at the earlier service, and the Beracah Choir at the later services.

There is a nursery for both services. Parents receive a radio-alert device, and are notified immediately if their child displays any kind of discomfort.

Both Sunday services feature frequent performances by our Band, and our Bell Choir.


Two Unique Choirs

The Chancel Choir leads worship each Sunday at 9:00 AM. and meets at 7:00 PM each Wednesday for practice. Michael Westmoreland is our Organist.

The Beracah Choir leads worship each Sunday at 11:10 AM, and practices each Monday at 7:30 PM.

A number of New Philadelphians are accomplished musicians, and we frequently enjoy the trumpet, flute, violin, or guitar in our worship services. We invite members and friends of New Philadelphia to participate in one choir, or in both.


Bells of Joy

The Bells of Joy meets every Wednesday evening to practice and enjoy fellowship with each other as we work through a variety of music to enhance the worship experience for the NPMC congregation. The members of our handbell choir come from a variety of musical backgrounds, but each of us enjoys creating music as a part of our ministry to the church. Our director, Terri Queen, is a delightful leader, always eager to guide and challenge us. Music is a wonderful way to worship our Lord and Savior, and we are so happy to be a part of the music program at New Philadelphia.


The New Philadelphia Band

The New Philadelphia Moravian Church Band meets weekly*. Check the schedule for this week’s practice. There are classes for beginning band members, and scholarships are presently available for children who wish to play an instrument**. Although the Band takes a special interest in Church Festival occasions (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Palm Sunday, Passion Week, Easter, Pentecost, 4th of July, August 13th, Church Anniversary, and Thanksgiving), the main purpose of the Band from week to week is to play a prelude for each Sunday morning worship service. During Lent and Advent, the Band plays rounds through the community and at homes of shut-ins. The Band is also committed to supporting funeral services of members within this and other Moravian congregations. Do you play an instrument? Would you like to? You are invited to participate with our band. Contact David Teague at band@newphilly.org for additional details.

Regular Band Practices are from 7 pm – 8 pm on Monday evenings; we take a break after Christmas and during the summer we have Band-Rounds in the fellowship hall.


Useful links:

MoravianChorales.Info hosts a complete green-blue chorale book in parts.

MoravianBand.Org is theSouthern Province Band Page.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NPMC_Band/ is a newsgroup for NPMC Band Members.

For additional information about our musicians, please check out the Staff page.


The Christmas Eve Lovefeasts

The Christmas Eve Lovefeasts are the apex of worship at New Philadelphia Moravian Church. Services are held at 4:30 p.m. and at 8:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, with a band prelude 30 minutes prior to each. A third lovefeast is ordinarily held at 7:30 p.m. on a Sunday night in late December. The dieners serve a simple meal of buns and coffee as the congregations sings carols and hymns of the season. We partake together as the choir sings several anthems. Then, as we sing “Morning Star” the candles are distributed to every worshipper. A wonderful scent feels the air. The warmth of the moment is palpable. The soft glow of the light from hundreds of pure beeswax candles reminds us that Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world!” Or, as St. Paul once wrote, “We have seen the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus.” Then, during the final verse of the final hymn, the congregation holds all our candles aloft to remind one another that Jesus also said, “And you are the light of the world! Let your light so show shine before people that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in heaven.”

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Moravians have long argued for the simplicity of the Christian faith, albeit a simplicity that is found on the far side of complexity. Luke of Prague, a premier theologian of the Ancient Unity, taught that the one essential (see motto above) was “a heart relationship with the Triune God that issues in faith, hope and love.” Count Zinzendorf said that all essential Christian doctrine could be written down on one large sheet of paper. We find a similar pattern of looking for the simplicity on the far side of complexity in the New Testament when Jesus says, “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) Or, when St. Paul says, “The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:9)

Continue reading What We Believe

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