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THE

HINGE INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL DIALOG

FOR THE MORAVIAN CHURCH

2014 Walter Vivian Moses Lecture

Unity in Diversity: Challenges to the Worldwide Moravian Unity by the Rev. Dr. Jørgen Bøytler

With responses by: The Rev. Patricia Garner The Rev. Wilson A. Nkumba Justin Rabbach The Rev. Carol Reifinger Dr. Neil Tomlinson

Vol. 21, No. 1: Fall 2015


THE

HINGE INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL DIALOG

FOR THE MORAVIAN CHURCH

Volume 21, Number 1: Fall 2015 The Hinge is a forum for theological discussion in the Moravian Church. Views and opinions expressed in the articles published in The Hinge are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board or the official positions of the Moravian Church and its agencies. You are welcome to submit letters and articles for consideration and publication. One of the early offices of the Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was that of the Hinge: The office of the Hinge requires that the brother who holds it look after everything and bring troublesome factors within the congregation into mutual accord without their first having to be taken up publicly in the congregational council. —September 1742, The Bethlehem Diary, vol. 1, tr. by Kenneth Hamilton, p. 80. The Hinge journal is intended also to be a mainspring in the life of the contemporary Moravian Church, causing us to move, think and grow. Above all, it is to open doors in our church.


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Notes from the Editor It may come as a surprise to Moravians in North America and Europe, but the worldwide Moravian Unity is growing rapidly. In fact, it is growing so fast in Africa that statistics are out of date as soon as they are published. More people have joined the Moravian Church in the past forty years than in the previous five hundred years combined. Almost all of this growth, though, has been in East Africa. In the Moses Lecture for 2014, the Rev. Dr. Jørgen Bøytler, business administrator for the Unity, examines the nature of the contemporary Moravian Church. He proposes that the Moravian Church entered a new period of history after the reorganization in 1957. The first period was the “Ancient Unity,” which was followed by the “Renewed” Moravian Church after the founding of Herrnhut. We are now in the period of the worldwide Unity in which Europe is no longer the center of the Church. The center of the Church began to shift after World War II, when the Moravian Church gave up its outmoded structure of “foreign mission fields” led by missionaries sent from Europe. That structure had been crumbling for decades as European colonialism collapsed, but it was finally abandoned in 1957—at that time the Church adopted a new structure with autonomous provinces linked by a common Church Order of the Unity. The Moravians in Tanzania embraced their autonomy with great vigor and launched an evangelistic campaign that has not slowed down. The rapid increase in membership in East Africa coincided with a significant decrease in membership in the Moravian Church throughout the industrialized world. Now 90 percent of Moravians are in the global South, and the membership keeps growing. If representation at Unity Synod were based purely on church membership, Moravians in the North would have almost no representation at Unity Synod. Brother Bøytler proposes a new model for determining representation at Unity Synod based on both membership and financial contribution to the Unity. Brother Bøytler highlights the challenges that the Church faces in light of the different cultural settings of Moravians around the world. The Moravian Church in Tanzania is quite different from the churches in United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the Czech Republic. For one thing, homosexual marriage is legal in many [Continued]

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Notes from the Editor [Continued from previous page] of those countries, but homosexual activity itself is outlawed in Tanzania. Likewise, polygamy is illegal in the North, but remains a common practice in East Africa. Should Moravians in one culture dictate the sexual morality for Moravians in another culture? Brother Bøytler does not provide answers to all of the questions he poses, but he does offer suggestions for moving forward. Moravian mission was born out of a millennial vision in which people in every nation of the world would welcome Christ as Savior and Lord without having to give up their culture. Our Church has tried to live with diversity in community, but this is a difficult task and we have often failed to honor cultural diversity. How will we move forward into God’s future? — Craig Atwood, Moravian Theological Seminary

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Moses Lecture—Unity in Diversity: Challenges to the Worldwide Moravian Unity The Rev. Dr. Jørgen Bøytler is Unity Business Administrator for the Unitas Fratrum. He is also pastor of the Christiansfeld congregation in Denmark. In the 1960s, when colonial times in Africa and in other parts of the world came to an end, the Moravian Unity saw a number of new developments, including a rapid increase in membership in some parts of the world. The Unitas Fratrum became globalized, and as a consequence of globalization, the Moravian Unity has developed into what it is today. Can unity prevail in the diversity of the Globalized Moravian Church? The objectives of this article are as follows: •

Discuss what happened in the renewed Moravian Church in the middle of the twentieth century.

Examine the current state of the Unity.

Discuss what is happening in the worldwide Unity today in geopolitical, economic, and theological contexts, and analyze the membership of the regions, the budget of the Unity, the economical abilities of the regions, and regional influence in the governing bodies of the Unity.

Put growth of the Moravian Church into a missiological frame of reference.

Examine some prominent identity markers of the Unitas Fratrum and examine their relation to present day Moravian reality.

Put diversity of the Unity into perspective with a summary of the challenges to the contemporary Moravian worldwide Unity; suggest factors that can support future unity within the worldwide Unity.

The third era, the Globalized Moravian Church The history of the Moravian Church is normally divided into two main parts: the Ancient Moravian Church and the Renewed Moravian Church. The Ancient Moravian Church existed in a defined period, from 1457 to approximately 1630. The official date of the founding of the Renewed Moravian Church—formed in the new settlement, Herrnhut—is August 13, 1727. The time between the disappearance of the Ancient Moravian Church and the reappearance of the church as the Renewed Moravian Church is referred to by Moravians as “the time of the Hidden Seed.” I suggest the idea of a third period of the Moravian Church—namely THE

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The inadequacy of the term Renewed Moravian Church. While this term once described the Moravian Church—and what happened to the Moravian Church in the eighteenth century—it does not communicate the immense change of the church in the twentieth century. This change is closely, but not only, related to development in Tanzania.

The democratization or distribution of Moravian Church decisionmaking authority has changed because of the independence of some southern provinces. The Moravian Church has changed shape from being a minority church into, at least in some parts of the world, a majority church. Since 1732, the Moravian Church has been present in other cultures in different parts of the world, and was in that sense global, but not globalized. Until the middle of the twentieth century, the mission areas were in a client-patron relationship to the European and American provinces.1 This structure is different in the Globalized Moravian Church, where the Unity provinces in the global South have the same degree of independence as those in the North.

The globalization of the Moravian Church is not primarily a renewal of the church, but a cultural and ecclesiological leap into global reality.2 This ontological change is due to changes in the world generally, the modern Protestant mission movement, and the general understanding of church and mission in a number of countries in the global South. Globalization brings with it theological changes, and to a majority of the members of the church, if not a change, then it means at least an adjustment of theological identity. Ecclesiology in the Globalized Moravian Church is plural, and in the process of globalization, some ecclesiologies have less distinct traditional Moravian elements.

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from the middle of the twentieth century, when the mission provinces became Unity provinces, to the present. In the twentieth century, the Moravian Church went from consisting of two Moravian provinces—the European and the American, with central leadership in Europe—to consisting of more (and more) provinces, most of them now in the former mission fields. This is a paradigm-shift; the Moravian Church has moved from being a Western church doing mission overseas to being a globalized church with a growing constituency in the global South and a stagnating group of members in the North. This is a time when the church in some areas develops into a majority church and experiences a new development of not only theological orientation, but also of leadership, membership, and self-understanding. Time will show what the consequences of these developments are. It is here that I introduce the term Globalized Moravian Church to reflect the most recent stage in the Moravian Church’s history. The reasons for this term’s introduction include the following:


Changing centers of gravity Incidentally, the Moravian Church is a majority church in some cultural settings foreign to the setting in which the theology and traditions originally developed.3 Since 1732, the Moravian Church has worked in different cultures; but until the mid-twentieth century, the pattern was that mission was a one-way traffic of missionaries, money, theology, and traditions from north to south. The traffic of money has admittedly continued the same way until this day, but the flood of co-workers is drying up. The Moravian provinces in the South take the liberty to be critical towards theological standpoints, ways of life, and priorities of the northern churches. New methods of evangelization and leadership have developed in the South. A new era in the Moravian Church is now a full-blown reality. Four to five provinces in the North, with just over five percent of the Moravian population, are fighting to keep pace with the pressure of secularization, atheism, materialism, postpostmodernism, and with the lack of interest in historical churches in the wealthy western world. The Moravian Church, which originated in Europe, has developed into a global church where more than ninety percent of the members live outside Europe and the United States, mainly settling south of the Equator in approximately 15 provinces. The Moravian Church is divided into four regions worldwide: African, North American, Caribbean, and European. The Moravian Church of today is less distinctive theologically compared to other churches; the Moravian Church is simply more mainstream. In Tanzania, the Moravian Church is not decisively different from other historical churches and it shows the same kind of development as other churches in Tanzania, namely a rapid growth in numbers, how it is shaping society, and its lack of enthusiasm about certain theological developments in the European and North American part of the church: nothing mentioned, nothing forgotten. It is, however, clear that the Moravian Church of today still bears distinctive marks of the same kinds of development in preceding centuries. Rather than add to already-existing historical literature, this paper aims to examine the contemporary situation of the Moravian Church. Gathering information from a number of different sources has yielded statistics revealing the number of Moravian members in the so-called “Homelands”—Europe and the United States—as well as statistics concerning Moravian members in areas outside the western world where Moravian mission work took place. All of that information comes together in the following table:

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Diaspora

17314 17605 17927 18348 18489 1850 186011 1870 188215 1885 190018 190620 1914 1929 194323 1945 1960 197726 200727 2013

21,000

Part of total membership (%)

100

Members outside Europe and USA

0 7,0006

Part of total membership (%)

0

20,20612 23,68914 30,000 31,31516 38,00019 42,000 45,98321 58,68922 56,000 60,76724 81,73025 89,000 78,000 63,200

21

90,000 81,55317 96,000 101,000 108,379 138,318 162,000 175,514

28 29 26 21 10 4.7

338,000 719,000 1,292,970

Total members

21,000 15,000

46,000 68,60010 75,00013

(Members outside original homeland)

64,000 79

97,000 120,000

72 71

134,000 143,000

74

218,000

79 90 95.3

427,000 797,000 1,356,170

70,000? 90,000? 100,000?

Figure 1. Members in Europe and the US and outside Europe and the US at different points in time. Shows the movement of membership from inside the “Homeland� to other parts of the world.

From the previous table, we can form the following illustration of total Moravian Church membership over time. Worldwide Moravian Church Membership by year 1500000

Number of Members

1200000 Members of the Worldwide Moravian Church

900000 600000 300000 0 1700

1750

1800

1850

1900

1950

2000

Year Figure 2. Development in membership in the worldwide Moravian Church over time.

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Members in Europe and USA


The number of members in the areas in which the twentieth-century Moravian mission activities took place is increasing and constantly gaining pace. Since the late twentieth century the number of European and American members has been falling. Until about 1940, the increase in Europe and the US and in other areas is almost similar, but then the development in the global South explodes, and approximately every thirty years the number of members doubles. In 2009, I stated that if this tendency keeps on, about one and a half million Moravians will be present in the global South by 2040. This estimate has been overtaken by reality, as we count 1.3 million members total at the end of 2013. The same year, a count shows less than seventy thousand Moravians in Europe and the US, representing only five percent of the total number of Moravians worldwide. In this respect, the Moravian Church is not entirely different from many other churches. Reasons for this development also include increasing secularization in the western world and the somewhat surprising development of Christianity in Africa. From 1910 with J. R. Mott telling the Edinburgh Missionary Conference that Islam was taking over Africa to a late twentieth century steady influx of new converts in African churches, Christianity is in a new situation. An important reason for Christianity’s growth in Africa, according to Sanneh, is the fact that churches remained as the only reliable structures after the breakdown of state institutions in postcolonial Africa.28 Most of the global increase of Moravians is due to the breakdown of structures in postcolonial Africa, but the Moravian Church seems to have gained momentum in Africa a couple of decades earlier than the colonial period’s end. This growth suggests that it is not only the role of churches as a stabilizing factor in a changing political context that explains church growth in Africa—at least not in the Moravian case. The development in the number of members in the global Moravian Church should come as no surprise. The Moravian Church has had a strong identity as a church in mission since its beginning, which supports growth in the areas of mission activity. The ecumenical identity of the Moravian Church in Europe in particular will, if not prevent, at least dampen a potential numerical growth in Europe because Moravians would not necessarily ask people to join the Moravian Church, but to join any church close to them. The notion of Zinzendorf expressing the view that the Moravian Church is but a “fragmentary, visible manifestation of Christ’s universal invisible Gemeine,” continues living in the understanding, in Europe and North America at least, of the ecumenical fabric of the Moravian Church.29 Thus the goal is not to ensure numerical growth of the Moravian Church, but only to maintain the Moravian Church as an ecclesiological entity as long as necessary. This notion does not carry the same weight in the global South, where the ecumenical understanding of the church is weaker, but the result is church growth. THE

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The State of the Unity Let us take a look at the present situation in the worldwide Moravian Unity! The Unity consists of 21 Unity provinces, seven mission provinces, and 13 mission areas. Development is expected to reduce the number of mission provinces to five, including the Honduras Mission Province and the Czech Mission Province which were born out of conflicts. In the past couple of years, we have seen five mission provinces reach the status of Unity provinces, and as mentioned, two more are coming shortly; but in the coming years, this increase of new provinces is expected to slow down. However, the number of mission areas, and prospective mission areas are increasing at the moment, especially in the African region and in the Caribbean region.

Members in regions: Unity Provinces and Mission Provinces What draws attention to the Moravian Church is the number of Moravians around the world. The Moravian Church understands itself as a small church, but has suddenly become bigger than it ever was. The figures presented imminently are the latest available, most of them figures from the end of 2013. A few things to note concerning these statistics: • •

Traditionally, the Moravian Church has not overly focused on number of members; its goal has not been to become a large church, but to be a witness in the world. A well-known saying: there are small lies, big lies, and statistics. In many respects, it is difficult to compare the statistical information of the different regions, countries, and provinces because of differences in counting methods, membership registration, regularity of making census, infrastructure, etc. It is next to impossible to verify figures, since they are not counted by independent agencies.

• The nature of membership differs from place to place. Despite these notes, the figures following show to quite an extent an accurate picture of the current worldwide Moravian Church. I did this same analysis some years ago, and the development shown since then in these figures is realistic.

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In this instance, the Moravian Church’s growth indicates that at least two different dynamics meet: the ecumenical identity of the church combined with the secularized culture in the West meet in the European Moravian Church of the early twenty-first century and the result is a dwindling church. At the same time, the church in Africa grows like most other African churches and the ecumenical understanding is at least partly lost and replaced by a more mainstream Protestant ecclesiology and understanding of church. With this pattern in growth, the “classic” Moravian ecclesiology will remain only in the history books, or, in a more positive tone, the Moravian ecclesiology changes throughout history but admittedly loses distinct qualities.


From the statistics gathered from each province, we find the following: • The African region has little over 1 million Moravians (78%) • The American region has approximately 40,000 Moravians (3%) • The Caribbean region has little under 230,000 Moravians (17%) • The European region has fewer than 25,000 members (2%) 40,455; 3% 22,755; 2%

Total Number of Members in Unitas Fratrum by Region Total Members in the Unitas Fratrum: 1,356,180

North America Europe

237,941; 17%

Caribbean Africa

1,055,029; 78%

Figure 3. Total number of members in the Unitas Fratrum by region, and the percentage of the church made up by each region. These are the actual figures.

Financial responsibility (Unity Budget) After gathering statistics, the next step is to analyze them to see how the financial responsibility of the Unity budget is shared between regions. The Unity budget is agreed upon by Unity Synod and we are currently working according to the budget put down by Unity Synod 2009.30 Financial Responsibility to the Unity by Region Numbers Based on Unity Budget

19.2%

37.7%

North America 13.7%

29.4%

Europe Caribbean Africa

Figure 4. Financial responsibility to the Unity by region. Shows percentage of budget supported by each region, based on numbers in the current Unity budget.

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Unitas Fratrum: Members’ income based on GDP In order to have a balanced description of the state of the Unity in terms of membership, sharing of financial burden, and voting power, the following chart joins GDP statistics to show how much all Moravians together earn annually. In order to analyse these figures, we assume that Moravians are average citizens wherever they live, so the Moravians in a particular country will earn annually what the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita is for that country.31 GDP is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. Of course not all Moravians are producers, but neither do we have any way of estimating how many are producers and how many are not, nor do we have any figures to determine the differences of balance between producers and non-producers in particular provinces. Therefore, we assume that this balance is the same in all the countries where Moravians live. As the following calculated figures are useful only to determine the reciprocal balance of the total worldwide Moravian members’ annual earnings divided among the Moravian regions, the following graph displays what we do know based only on GDP statistics. Unitas Fratrum Members Total Income Numbers Based on GDP per capita end 2013 Source: World Bank, current USD

$2,149,347,635; 40.67%

$965,859,497; 18.27%

$1,245,572,340; 23.57%

North America Europe Caribbean Africa

$924,273,570; 17.49% Figure 5. Unitas Fratrum members’ total income. Based on GDP per capita end 2013.

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The preceding graph is comprised of statistics gathered from the Unity budget and shows that the African region pays just under twenty percent of the budget, the American region slightly under forty percent, the Caribbean region almost fourteen percent, and the European region almost thirty percent.


In analysis of this graph, we see the following figures concerning total annual earning by Moravians worldwide: • African Moravians earn just under 20 percent. • American Moravians earn just over 40 percent. • Caribbean Moravians earn a little under 25 percent. • European Moravians earn a little under 20 percent. Let us say that, roughly, Moravians in the African Region, the Caribbean Region, and the European Region each earn about 20 percent of all Moravians’ annual income, while North American Moravians earn 40 percent. All of the previous information can be summarized in the following table. Notice also the addition of the influence and votes that each region currently receives at Unity Synod, which is not currently based on contribution to the Unity budget or GDP. Africa

North America* Caribbean Europe*

Contribution toward Unity budget (%)

19.2

37.7

13.7

29.4

Income based on GDP (%)

18.3

40.7

23.6

17.5

Percentage of total worldwide Moravian membership (%)

77.8

3.0

17.5

1.7

Suggested Unity Synod influence [(membership percentage + Unity budget percentage)/2]

48.5

20.4

15.6

15.6

Current influence at Unity Synod (number of votes)

29

10

20

10

Current influence at Unity Synod (%)

42

15

29

15

*Mission organizations contribution not included Figure 6. Current and suggested contribution to Unity budget by each region of the Moravian Church.

The purpose of gathering these statistics is to investigate how the number of members per region and the financial burden carried by each region corresponds with the voting power at Unity Synod, assuming that the number of votes at Unity Synod is illustrating the influence and “power” of a region, or for that matter the power that a province has in the worldwide Unity. Once this measurement of power has been established, we have part of but not yet the whole background for determining to what extent unity in the diversity of the worldwide Unity can exist, and what some of the challenges are to achieving unity in diversity. In order to determine how international ecoTHE

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nomic realities have any bearing on the influence of a region in the worldwide Unity Synod, we note the GDP-based income for each region. It is a challenge that within the worldwide Unity, parts of the church are situated in the more affluent parts of the world, while other brothers and sisters reside in less affluent parts of the world and in developing countries. There is, moreover, a tendency to have Moravian provinces with fewer members in the more wealthy parts of the world, while many of the provinces rich in members are in parts of the world with lower income and even poverty. It could be argued that the influence of the worldwide Unity should somehow reflect the number of members. However, since the Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum (COUF) states that mission provinces shall have one delegate and Unity provinces shall have three delegates at Unity Synod, and since COUF makes no mention of the number of members in the provinces, it seems that there is not a representation per capita, but per province, diluting the importance of number of members within the Unity.32 Secondly, the realpolitik of the world is that money means influence. If this premise is accepted, we need to determine how much the economic input in the Unity from a region should weigh in relation to membership numbers. I suggest that fifty percent of the influence should come from how much a region contributes to the Unity budget, and fifty percent of the influence should be based on the number of members in a region. This division of money and population to calculate influence indicates a change of principle concerning governing influence, as the number of members currently holds majority importance in determining Unity influence. The African Region carries 19.2 percent of the Unity budget and has 77.8 percent of all members. Based on the proposed equal weight between money and population to determine influence of each region at Unity Synod, adding the two numbers together and dividing in two gives the African Region 48.5 percent of the votes at Unity Synod. The modified figures of the other regions show that the American region carries 37.7 percent of the budget and has 3 percent of total members, making the proposed Unity Synod influence for the American region 20.4 percent. By these same alterations, the Caribbean region and the European region should hold 15.6 percent of Unity Synod influence each. Based on the proposed weights of money and population to determine influence, we see that the African region should have between five and seven percent more votes at Unity Synod, the American region should have five percent more votes, and the European region should have five percent more votes, while the Caribbean region should give up almost half of its votes, or should increase its contribution to the Unity budget by five to ten percent. It is evident that one challenge to the worldwide Unity is how to distribute the decision-making influence in a balanced way among the Provinces. We could suggest many other models, we could increase or decrease


the influence of the number of members per region, we could increase or decrease the weight of financial support to the worldwide Unity, we could change the number of delegates from each province, etc. We have seen a church, growing out of a rather local fifteenth-century setting in Bohemia and Moravia in central Europe, become an international, globalized twenty-first century Church. The rapid growth of the church has picked up speed within the past half century. However, for the Moravian Church—born of eighteenth century Zinzendorfian philadelphic ideas; living in peace and piety in Bohemia, inspired by early Christians as the forefathers of the Ancient Unity wanted; living the ideal of ecclesiola in ecclesia; and declaring the missiological principle of seeing the First Fruits of a mission work and then leaving—it is a paradigm shift to not only see but also to give strong attention to the growth in numbers of members.

The Moravian Church growth The church growth movement is a movement within evangelical Christianity, which aims to develop methods to grow churches. The church growth movement began with the publication of Donald McGavran’s book The Bridges of God. McGavran was a third-generation Christian missionary to India, where his observations of How Churches Grow (the title of another of his books) went beyond typical theological discussion to discern sociological factors that affected receptivity to the Christian Gospel among non-Christian peoples. In 1965, he organized the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, which was the institutional home base for church growth studies until after his death.33 Although some Moravian theologians have attended courses at Fuller and may find themselves at ease in a Fuller theological setting, the church growth movement has not been an official, Unity-wide topic in the governing bodies of the Church. Yet, despite the lack of conversation, the phenomenon of church growth is clearly seen in the Moravian Church. Church growth is possible within a broad spectrum of life once the church takes a holistic responsibility in life and society—such as running hospitals, creating schools, and getting involved with social work; to some extent, this is what happened in the Tanzanian Moravian Church. Apart from churches remaining the only reliable structures after the breakdown of state institutions in postcolonial Africa, there are a number of reasons for the growth in the African regions—the fastest growing—of the Moravian Church.34 The growth can be linked to various ecclesiological, political, missiological, economic, and spiritual reasons or causes. The European THE

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Moravian Mission Societies played a strong role in a number of important areas of church life in Tanzania. They founded Moravian schools, hospitals, and Bible schools. The Gospel went hand in hand with social action. The East African Moravian provinces became Unity provinces in the 1960s, almost simultaneously with the political independence of those areas. The political enthusiasm for independence went hand in hand with the wish to see an independent church that was not European-governed, which, although being in principle non-political, still provided a solid basis in the changing times after independence. The colonial church had to change and become an African church; otherwise, it would have been difficult or even impossible for it to act in the postcolonial political climate. Political development and church development went together. At the same time, the church as a stabilising factor in the changing society did not harm the development of the Church. The wish to give the mission areas in the Moravian Church independence is rooted in the Moravian theology of mission. In his time, Zinzendorf already was aware of the fact that only if indigenous people had the responsibility of their church, would it really become a church. The basic idea of the First Fruits has remained as a background for indigenization of the Church. From early on in the twentieth century, missionaries were openly arguing for working towards independent Moravian provinces in Tanganyika, Tanzania.35 The role of the social situation in Tanzania should not escape our attention. The average human lifespan is short; the mortality among children is high; hunger and malnutrition are not uncommon; a number of diseases flourish, including malaria, tuberculosis, and in more recent years AIDS. In addition, Tanzanian citizens live on a GDP per capita of 700 USD, less than two dollars per day.36 For comparison, North Americans and Europeans earn about 70 times as much, just over 50,000 dollars per year, per capita. The church is growing in some of the poorest countries in the world. Religious awareness in Tanzania is high; spirituality is part of the worldview of most people. In this environment, the Gospel, the message of a loving God who through his Son Jesus Christ takes care of and is concerned with human beings, is something to which many people obviously pay attention; therefore, when the Gospel and a diaconical effort together form the witness of the Moravian Church, it is no wonder that the church grows. However, there are more than socio-political reasons for the growth. Indeed, in the past couple of decades the growth has not slowed down. Moravians will, therefore, in any case have the faith and courage to see it as a work of the Lord. Moravian Christianity in Tanzania has quite a few features in common with traditional Moravian pietistic spirituality, as was common since the beginning of the history of the Renewed Moravian Church until late into the twentieth century in Europe.


Whether the church growth will continue is yet to be seen. Generally, the strongest growth takes place in new areas. In areas where the church has been present for a century, growth is slowing down, even stopping. Many of the reasons for the growth observed still largely exist in East Africa; however, socio-economic development continues. The economy of Tanzania is projected to grow by around seven percent in 2014 and 2015, and one could argue that this economic growth might reduce the church growth rate.37 However, the African Development Bank Group reports that the main developmental challenge is that “despite Tanzania’s impressive macroeconomic achievements, growth is not sufficiently broad based and poverty levels remain high. [Even with] high growth averaging seven percent over the past decade, a recent household budget survey indicates that 28.2 percent of Tanzanians are poor, and poverty remains more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas.”38 As most Tanzanian Moravians reside in rural areas, we might still see continuous growth overall in the Tanzanian Moravian Church. On the other hand, an increasing number of members have been leaving the Moravian Church and going instead to Pentecostal churches. To what extent the Tanzanian Moravian Church manages to react to the changes in culture, including the evolving religious discourse in Tanzania, is an area of interest where church growth is concerned. New issues impacting Tanzanian culture include urbanization, globalization, a higher degree of education, and increasing differences between rich and poor. Political unrest, religious polarization, and a process best described as secularization, might be around the next corner, and would make the future of the Moravian Church in Tanzania less predictable.39

Moravian Identity When attempting to describe a particular Moravian identity, it is typical to draw from Moravian history. Without going fully in depth with descriptions of Moravian identity, and all facets of Moravian theology, I will venture to mention a few prominent indicators of what are traditionally seen as important Moravian identity markers: •

It is a question whether a systematic theology of the Moravian Church exists, let alone a “Moravian Creed.”40 Augustus Spangenberg states in the preface of An Exposition of Christian Doctrine that his book is not a confession or a creed, but an expression of the Moravian insight in the Gospel.41 Spangenberg says the Augsburg Confession is the confession of the Moravian Church. What in the understanding of Zinzendorf comes closest to a creed is “Ein und Zwanzig Diskurse über die Augsburgshe Confession” (21 discourses on the Augsburg Confession), but this itself is not a creed.42 According to Arthur Freeman, Zinzendorf had the view that one cannot write a systematic theology anyway. The only

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• •

It is evident that, more than a systematic theology, life as a Christian is the focus of Moravians.

The role of scripture in the Moravian Church calls for attention. The scripture is, according to the Moravian Church, what the Triune God has used as a vehicle for His revelation; the Holy Scripture is the sole standard of the doctrine and faith of the Unitas Fratrum.44 The Moravian Church considers “Word of the Cross” (a homiletical focus on Jesus crucified) the centre of scripture; the theology is Christocentric. The image of the fruit and the shell captures some of the understanding, not leading the Moravian Church into a Biblicist view of the Bible, not excluding historic criticism, yet maintaining a firm belief that the scripture contains necessary information for salvation.45

When describing important issues in Zinzendorf ’s theology, the impact of mysticism must be included. The role of mysticism in the life and thinking of Zinzendorf changed during his life, but he was constantly under the influence of several currents of mysticism of his time. According to Dietrich Meyer, Zinzendorf ’s mysticism was colored by his belief in the eminent importance of grace.46 He stated that his mysticism was Christ’s mysticism; only through Christ can human beings come to know the Father. Zinzendorf meant that a vision must be an intellectual vision, grasped by the soul and not necessarily by the mind. Pietism as a movement is parallel to the Enlightenment and is partly a child of it, as, putting individual personality and religious feelings in focus, it was rebelling against the church as an institution and worldly

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Christian system is Christ; however, it does not mean that a Moravian theology is absent, only that Christianity is not conceptional or creedal, but relational. Neither does it mean that creeds are unknown to Moravians. Since Zinzendorf was close to the Lutheran Church, the Augsburg Confession played an increasingly important role in the emerging Moravian movement The document The Ground of the Unity also plays an important role in some parts of the Unity, while in other parts it is next to unknown. Moravians consider it to be a doctrinal statement, but not a creed. On the contrary, COUF mentions the “creeds [that] in particular gained special importance” to the Moravian Church (the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, among others), indicating that the Moravian Church has been influenced by some creeds, despite never formally adopting any.43 Two other documents are important to mention: the first is “A Brotherly Agreement” of 1527 and the second is The Moravian Covenant for Christian Living, formerly known as The Brotherly Agreement of the Moravian Church, revised several times. The former expresses the spiritual life of the early Herrnhut community and the latter is a modernized version.


power. 47 The individual personalities of the people, not the church as an institution, were declared to be the carrier of truth. Zinzendorf had been brought up in the core of Hallensic pietism and for that reason pietism strongly influenced Zinzendorf ’s thinking; however, he developed in the early 1730s a critical attitude to Hallensic pietism. Zinzendorf gradually came to a rejection of the pietistic striving for holiness as he, in accordance with Luther, focused on the centrality of grace. Turning away from legalism and the pietistic struggle for salvation and sanctification, Zinzendorf, and together with him the developing Moravian Church, found confidence in God’s grace and forgiveness and emphasized the joy of salvation. Moravians got the label “the cheerful pietists,” indicating that their pious ways and emphasis on the importance of the individual as a Christian remained intact, but without any rigid pietistic legalism. Within the Moravian Church the “teaching of universal justification”48 became a watermark of Zinzendorf ’s theology. It developed into the concept of Heart Religion,49 and positioned Herrnhutism50 in relation to pietism.

The concept of the Heart Religion, which is relational and devotional in its own right, is important to Moravian identity. The experience of faith and life is foundational and can be an experience shared by Moravians independently of their cultural context. Historical and cultural contexts will shape the conceptional, liturgical, and institutional expressions of the visible Church. The Ancient Moravian Church offers in its theological understanding a model for understanding the relationship between relational/devotional and conceptional theology by dividing theological and ecclesial matters into essentials, ministerials, and incidentals. The Moravian Church in different parts of the world shares a number of liturgical and institutional expressions which support the unity of the worldwide Moravian Church, but on the contrary, when differences are observed between regions, calls into question the unity of the Church. Although the relational and devotional apprehension of Christianity is the fundamental understanding in Moravian theology, the conceptional, liturgical, and institutional expressions are the framework in which the Moravian Church is settled, and they developed in accordance with the Heart Religion.

Music and poetry were important to Zinzendorf and a musical tradition developed within the Moravian Church that is still strong today.

These, and perhaps other theological key issues and understandings in the renewed, but possibly not yet globalized, Moravian Church have been important factors in forming the identity of the present day Moravian Church. To what extent those factors have an impact in the Globalized Moravian Church differs from region to region. THE

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Unity in diversity, current challenges in the worldwide Moravian Church. It is not too hard to find challenges to the Unity within the diversity of the worldwide Moravian Church. It is neither true nor correct to focus on a discrepancy only between the smaller Moravian provinces in the North and the more populated Southern Hemisphere Moravian provinces. In each cultural context, the church develops and is influenced by many culturally-rooted factors; however, let us mention some of the challenges to unity given such diversity. •

The role of the worldwide Unity, one church consisting of many provinces, is a challenge with various aspects: –– Identity: how to form a common identity being a member of one worldwide church when living in different parts of the world.

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Certainly in many parts of the Unity, systematic theology does not play a strong role, while moral issues—often congruent with cultural standards—are on the agenda of the church. Additionally, the understanding of scripture is in many parts of the Unity rather conservative, if not fundamentalist, not unlike what is found in Evangelical and Pentecostal theologies around the world. The Heart Religion is not often mentioned in teaching and preaching in the worldwide Moravian Church, and while the derived notion: “in essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things love” in some parts of the present day Unity finds lots of resonance, in other parts of the Church, it is not said very often. The general understanding of this motto is that the definition of the essentials is broad, meaning that many things belong to the essentials such as worship style, gender issues, sexuality, and the role of ministry to mention a few. So, when many things are considered essentials, the area of non-essentials will be reduced and thus will the liberty of opinion be reduced. Zinzendorf ’s mysticism is hard to come across in the present day Moravian Church, while pietism is very common in the sense that many Moravians across the board can be described as pietists in a twenty-first century distillation. Often Moravians hold the ideal of a pious life with prayer and singing playing an important role. But then also in many cases a charismatic or Pentecostal influence is seen in Moravian churches/communities. I suggest that one of the stronger movements within the present-day Unity is a neo-pietistic charismatic spirituality with roots back to the August Thirteenth experience, to the spirituality of the eighteenth-century Moravians, but also to the early twentieth-century pietistic mission movement, and very much to late twentieth-century Pentecostalism51 found in all parts of the world. Music traditions dating back two centuries exist alongside modern rhythmic music, Gospel music, and other forms of contemporary music styles within the Unity.


–– Administration and structure: how can more than 20 provinces, each governed by a synod and a church constitution, be identified as one Church governed by a Unity Synod and by COUF, and act as a worldwide church which is not even a legal entity? What is the authority of Unity Board or Unity Synod? –– Theology: how should the Moravian Church deal with theological issues that are controversial?

–– Anthropology and sociology: how should the Moravian Church deal with human issues that are defined differently in different cultures?

–– Traditions: often traditions developed over centuries in particular parts of the Unity are understood as the only way to be Moravian, while new or adjusted traditions are understood as not being Moravian. How do we reconcile the impressions of traditions held by global members of the church?

As already mentioned, the structure of the Unity needs to be reviewed, including representations of provinces on Unity Board, at Unity Synod, and in committees. We already studied the proposal looking at combining a proportional representation, reflecting to some extent the membership with representation based on resource strength.

The growth of the Moravian Church in some parts of the world and stagnation in other parts of the world prompts difficulty in global unity.

The function of the structurally-based entities within the Unity, including function at the regional level, is challenging for some of the regions. The size and composition of the regions is another challenge. For example, the African region is large, counting many members, many provinces, and huge geographical areas, but is suffering from lack of resources.

The uneven distribution of resources across the Unity also contributes to challenges in unity—being one church consisting of some affluent brothers and sisters in Christ and of other brothers and sisters less affluent. The distribution of wealth brings tension to the notion of the Church as the Body of Christ, and when one member suffers, the whole body suffers. Can sharing of resources realistically be more than some provinces offering a very small part of their wealth to provinces in other parts of the world? A well-known discussion to many groups across the world can be labeled “Redistribution of Wealth,” currently a vivid discussion in the Roman Catholic Church52 and in a number of other churches. This discussion often leads to economic debates, like private ownership versus corporate ownership, group ownership, state ownership, etc. It would be more than appropriate for the worldwide Moravian Unity to engage in a fraternal conversation concerning redistribution

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• • •

• • •

Conflicts within provinces can be devastating, whether the conflicts are rooted in genuine theological differences or in personal issues. Moravians living on five different continents in more than thirty countries have very different worldviews from one another.53

Theological issues also pose issues to unity in diversity. Many have already been mentioned, but others are charismatic movement; same gender issues; various shades of theologies; understanding of baptism; understanding of Holy Communion; spirituality; political theologies, especially liberation theology, the more recent ecological theology, etc. Defining what belongs to essentials and what belongs to non-essentials is not something that all regions agree on.

Understanding of the role of ministry, including the bishop’s office, also differs from region to region. Mission theology and mission strategy is also not fully agreed upon throughout the worldwide Unity.

Finding Unity in Diversity Diversity in unity is self-evident. It is unity in our diversity that is a challenge and a goal for the Moravian Church. Diversity is a gift and introduces us to many convictions, groupings, theologies, and ideas that are all part of our Moravian identity. Unity is a spiritual issue. We know that Christ is the head and the church is the body and from this understanding we see that a body is a unity of diversity! The Moravian Church can achieve this unity with effort.

Conclusion: Factors that can support and advance unity within the worldwide Moravian Unity To support a strengthening of unity in the diversity of the Globalized Moravian Church, we must recapture the basic calling of the Moravian Church— bringing the Gospel to those who are not yet Christians. This could easily mean going to new parts of the world where the Moravian Church has not yet been—like Asia, where only ten percent are Christians.54 A return to this mission will increase our diversity still further. We may also re-introduce Moravian forms of living in contemporary contexts, based on the original Moravian ideas of living in congregational fellowships. Should we form new settlements with communal living styles? In addition, we must continue dialogue concerning the Moravian identity, starting with a focus on the core values of the Moravian Church. The present, ongoing work aimed at presenting and distributing a common Moravian curriculum for Moravian theological institutions is important. We

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of wealth, but it would take courage to begin that discussion.


must also continue dialogue in earnest concerning working towards a more true redistribution of wealth. Continuous dialogue also in our cross-cultural encounters will present us with ways of increasing our understanding of the differences in opinions concerning difficult issues within the Unity. Overall the wider, deeper, and broader the ongoing contacts between the different parts of the Unity are, the more the Unity will be built up. The structure of the worldwide Moravian Unity must continuously be nourished and developed. Such nourishment can happen through regular regional meetings, holding unity in diversity a high priority at Unity Synod and Unity Board meetings, and enlisting help from functioning and active standing committees of the Unity, including Unity Committee on Theology (UCOT), Unity Mission and Development Board (UMDB), and a Unity Youth Steering Committee (UYSC). The operation of the Unity Women’s Desk (UWD) and the creation of a Unity Youth Desk (UYD) will also be helpful to nourishing the structure of the worldwide Unity. An active and easy-to-use Unity website, along with increased use of social media will join the worldwide Moravian Unity together, despite our differences and diversity. Finally, the development of staff exchange programs, both short-term and long-term, will allow all parts of the Unity staff to come together and understand each other more fully. We may draw inspiration from the August Thirteenth experience, focusing on the fact that “they learned to love,” to help us create unity. It is difficult to love people whose culture, language, worldview, theology, traditions, and lifestyles are different from one’s own. Perhaps it is time to realize that only in loving respect for otherness—the difference of fellow Moravians far away—are we able to live in unity. v — Jørgen Bøytler

Endnotes

1 This vocabulary is polemic, not normally used in this connection, but serves to clarify the fact that important decisions were made in Europe and America until the 1960s, when two new provinces were created in Tanganyika, Tanzania, and the power structure changed. 2 This statement does not exclude the possibility of one or several spiritual renewals within the Moravian Church as part of the process of globalization, but catalysts of the process include other factors as described.

3 A majority church may be a church of which the majority of a society’s population are members, or a church that is considerably larger than other churches in an area, though the majority of the population is not necessarily Christian. Majority churches often impact different spectres of an area’s political and social life. Minority churches

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are small churches in a context with or without a Christian majority. Their impacts on society are often limited, and can even be in opposition to important parts of the surrounding society.

4 Hamilton, J. Taylor and Kenneth G. Hamilton, History of the Moravian Church: The Renewed Unitas Fratrum 1722–1957 (Bethlehem, PA: Interprovincial Board of Christian Education, Moravian Church in America, 1967), 98. Hamilton differentiates between those having close fellowship with the Brethren and those belonging to the recognized settlements; the latter numbered 2,140. 5 Schulze, Adolf, Abriss Einer Geschichte Der Brüdermission: Mit Einem Anhang, Enthaltend Eine Ausfuhrliche Bibliographie Zur Geschichte Der Brüdermission (Herrnhut, Germany, 1901), 43.

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6 Hutton, J. E., A History of the Moravian Church (London: Moravian Publications Office, 1909), 520. https://archive.org/details/historyofmoravia00hutt. Hutton says 3,057 were baptized. Ibid.

8 Schulze, Abriss Einer Geschichte Der Brüdermission, 131.

9 Hutton, A History of the Moravian Church, 521. 10 Kärtchen und Statistik von den MissionsGebieten der Brüdergemeine, Herrnhut 1852. (Cards and statistics of the mission areas of the Moravian Brethren, Herrnhut, 1852.)

23 Høy, F. C., Sendebud i Kristi Sted (Christiansfeld, Denmark: Brødremenighedens Ekspedition, 1943), 151. 24 Moravian Almanach (Great Britain, Moravian Publishing Agency, 1946), 6). The numbers for the European Continental Province and the Czech Province are from 1938, due to the impossibility of collecting data in these areas by 1945. 25 Moravian Almanach (Great Britain, Moravian Publishing Agency, 1961), 3).

11 L.T. Reichel, ed., Missions-Atlas der BrüderUnitat (Herrnhut, Germany: Expedition der Missions-Verwaltung, 1860), 7.

26 Beck, Hartmut, Brür in Vielen Völkern: 250 Jahre Mission d. Brüdergemeine (Erlangen, Germany: Verlag der Evang.-Luth. Mission, 1981) 542.

13 This number includes the Native Americans (Delawares and Cherokees) in North America, but not the Moravians in the settlements (those of European stock).

28 Sanneh, Lamin, Whose Religion is Christianity?: The Gospel Beyond the West (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003), 14).

15 Hutton, J. E. A History of Moravian Missions (London: Moravian Publication Office, 1922) 488. https://archive.org/details/historyofmoravia00huttuoft.

30 See “Resolution 39” in Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum (Moravian Church) 2009 (London, 2009) 143. http://moravian.org/wp-content/ uploads/2013/01/COUF%202009.pdf.

17 This number is lower than the one given by Hutton for 1882 and is likely due to incorrect statistics. Brüder-Almanach is probably the best source; however, the variation is insignificant in this case.

32 Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum 2009, “Resolution 265(a–b),” 37.

12 Wöchentliche Nachrichten (Unity Archive, Herrnhut, Germany, 1850). Reports from Herrnhut to other congregations.

27 Daily Watchwords, Almanac (Great Britain, Moravian Publishing Agency, 2006), 8. Formerly Moravian Almanach.

14 Wöchentliche Nachrichten ( Unity Archive, Herrnhut, Germany, 1871). Reports from Herrnhut to other congregations.

29 Vogt, Peter, “The Church and Its Unity According to Zinzendorf ” in TDMK—Transatlantic Moravian Dialogue-Correspondence (Karlsruhe, Germany and Bethlehem, PA, 2001), 19.

16 Brüder-Almanach (Herrnhut, Germany, 1886), 12. Published annually by the Provincial Board in Herrnhut.

31 The World Bank Group, “GDP (Current US$)” accessed September 7, 2014, http://data. worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD.

18 Hamilton, History of the Moravian Church, 326. Further 70,000 belonged to diaspora societies. Schulze mentions the number of overseas members or rather, those “in Pflege Stehenden” to be 92,063 in 1901.

19 Brüder-Kalender (diary, Herrnhut, Germany, 1901), 88). suggests 35,315 members and is supposedly a better source. 20 Missions-Atlas der Brüdergemeine (Herrnhut, Germany: Missionsbuchhandlung, 1907), 3.

21 Brüder-Kalender (diary, Herrnhut, Germany, 1916), 117. makes mention of both 1914 numbers.

33 Wikipedia “Church Growth” https:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Growth. 34 Sanneh, Whose Religion is Christianity? 14.

35 Ibsen, Søren H., Et Tilbageblik over 40 års virke I Tanzania 1922–1962 (Christiansfeld, 1972), 91.

36 The World Bank Group, “GDP per capita (Current US$)” accessed September 17, 2014, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP. PCAP.CD. 37 African Development Bank Group, “Tanzania Economic Outlook” http://www.afdb.org/en/ countries/east-africa/tanzania/tanzania-economic-outlook/. 38 Ibid.

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22 Brüder-Kalender (diary, Herrnhut, Germany, 1931/32), 117. makes mention of both 1929 numbers.


39 http://www.hewett.norfolk.sch.uk/curric/ soc/religion/sec.htm. I use the concept of “secularization” with a degree of reluctance in connection with African countries, in this case Tanzania, as I am conscious of secularization as a phenomenon found in Protestant countries, and the historical meanings of the government seizing church property; but I am also conscious of the criticism of secularization theory. Social theorists rely on the concept of a secular state: one that separates governmental and religious institutions, and bases its authority on man-made law rather than religious doctrine. In 1966, Bryan Wilson defined secularization as “the process whereby religious thinking, practises and institutions lose social significance.” Bryan Wilson points out that “it is perhaps no accident that the world’s first secular societies as generally recognized should be societies in the Christian Protestant tradition, but it is increasingly clear . . . in societies outside that tradition.” Wilson argues that secularization also takes place in other countries. It is, therefore, theoretically possible to imagine a secularization of Tanzanian society as well. Notably, the Tanzanian state is theoretically a secular state. Dictionary of African Christian Biography, “Julius Kambarage Nyerere, 1922 to 1999, Roman Catholic Church, Tanzania” accessed September 29, 2008, http://www.dacb.org/ stories/tanzania/nyerere.html. Former president Julius Nyerere stated that the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), later Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), has no religion. For a number of years it was the only party in Tanzania, and is still the dominant party, meaning de facto the state has no religion. But all supporters of the party, which would be most Tanzanians anyway, adhere to their respective religions. “[Nyerere] emphasized that the African socialism practiced in Tanzania necessarily included religion. A communistic and purely secular system would be against the interests of the country and would not work.” The Ujamaa political system gave religious freedom, but did also legislate that people of all religions should be allowed into mission schools. The government took over many schools and hospitals, which were the property of churches. In short, in the first decades of independence, secularization was on the increase, but later decreased. 40 Freeman, Arthur J. An Ecumenical Theology of the Heart: the Theology of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (Bethlehem, PA: Board of Communication, Moravian Church in America, 1998), 9. A modification to this statement is proper: the Easter Morning Liturgy is under strong influence from the creeds, and we can well understand it

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as a creed in its own right. Many Moravians do so. Handbuch für Versammlungen in der Brüdergemeinde: eine Arbeitshilfe für Liturgen und Kirchenmusiker (Herrnhut, Germany: Direktion der Brüder-Unität, 1990), 53. Zinzendorf saw the Easter Morning celebration in connection to the Orthodox Church. Originally, the creedal part had a Christological focus, but was later extended to a Trinitarian creed. The Moravian Covenant for Christian Living (Bethlehem, PA: Interprovincial Board of Communication, Moravian Church in North America, 2001), 5. The Moravian Covenant for Christian Living states that “a Moravian confession of faith is to be found in the Easter Dawn Liturgy.” The liturgy is, in substance, mainly Luther’s Small Catechism modified over the years. It can, therefore, be maintained that no specific Moravian creed is available, but a desire to present such a one, or at least be able to express a creed of the Moravian Church, can to some degree be recognized. 41 Spangenberg, Augustus Gottlieb, An Exposition of Christian Doctrine, as Taught in the Protestant Church of the United Brethren, or Unitas Fratrum (Winston-Salem, NC: Board of Christian Education, 1959), iv. 42 Freeman, Ecumenical Theology, 6–7.

43 Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum 2009, “Creeds and Confessions,” 14.

44 Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum 2009, “God’s Word and Doctrine,” 14, is quoting The Ground of Unity: a Doctrinal Statement Adopted by the Unity Synod of the Unitas Fratrum, or Moravian Church, held at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania August 13 to 25, 1995, “God’s Word and Doctrine” (Bethlehem, PA: Interprovincial Board of Communication, Moravian Church in America, 2014), 1–2. 45 Freeman, Ecumenical Theology, 127. According to Freeman, Hermann Plitt, in his work Zinzendorf ’s Theologie, quoted Zinzendorf ’s words from the Herrnhut Diary, where he quoted August H. Francke, saying, “In the book which one calls the Bible the whole fruit is together with the shell, as it originated in various times, and as men wrote it, of whom several would never have dreamed that it would sometime be called God’s Word.” 46 Freeman, Ecumenical Theology, 58–60.

47 Spener, Philipp, Pia Desideria (1675) marks the outset of pietism. 48 First found in the late sixteenth century by Samuel Huber.

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50 Herrnhutism and Herrnhutian are used here deliberately in a direct translation from German (and Danish), although the use of these words is not common in the English language; they would rather be Moravianism and Moravian. The word Herrnhutism indicates the sum of what originated from Herrnhut, and is a concept especially in continental Europe. 51 The largest and fastest-growing segment of Christianity today is Pentecostalism. It’s estimated that the movement has 500 million adherents worldwide. While the modern expression of Pentecostal Christianity began in North America in the early twentieth century, by the beginning of the twenty-first century the movement gained significant strength in Africa, Asia, and South America as well.

52 Amazing Discoveries, “The Roman Catholic Church-State and Wealth Redistribution” accessed September 28, 2014, http://amazingdiscoveries.org/Sdeception-sustainable_UN_redistribution_wealth. For example, “John Robbins sums up the Papacy’s views on wealth redistribution this way: ‘Whoever needs property ought to possess it. Need makes another’s goods one’s own. Need is the ultimate and only moral title to property. Neither possession, nor creation, nor production, nor gift, nor inheritance, nor divine commandment (with the exception of Roman Church-State property) grants title to property that is immune to the prior claim of need.’”

53 American Scientific Affiliation, “What is a Worldview?—Definition & Introduction,” accessed September 20, 2014, http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/ views/. One of the better definitions of worldview says, “a worldview is a theory of the world, used for living in the world. A worldview is a mental model of reality—a framework of ideas and attitudes about the world, ourselves, and life, a comprehensive system of beliefs—with answers for a wide range of questions.

54 Pew Research Center, “Global Christianity—a Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population,” accessed on September 29, 2014, http://www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-exec/.

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49 The individuals having Christ in his/ her Heart belonged to the Heart Religion and were in principle found within all denominations.


Response to Br. Bøytler’s Moses Lecture Patricia Garner The Rev. Patricia Garner is Coordinator of the Unity Women’s Desk of the Moravian Church. My first response to the Rev. Dr. Bøytler’s lecture was, “This should be required listening or reading for every Moravian minister, who should then communicate it to all of our American congregations!” While I felt somewhat knowledgeable about the Moravian world because I have been working internationally with the Unity Women’s Desk for the last four years, there was so much information in this article that I had not considered in a total context of the Church. To say that we have had a paradigm shift in the Moravian Church since 1960 is a huge understatement. Tragically, many of us, especially in America, are unaware of this shift and seem content to go about preserving the church as we have known it since the early twentieth century. We are mostly unprepared—especially here in the Southern Province—to accept changes within our own country, much less the changes that have taken place globally. We pay a certain amount of lip-service to the fact that the church is growing fastest in Tanzania, but we rarely take into account how that growth is changing the theology and practices of the worldwide Moravian Church. The information in this lecture would be a revelation to most of our members in the pews. In my travels, I have learned that understanding of theology and practices varies widely from region to region. I have been able to accept differences in theology and practices more easily in faraway places like Tanzania because I have seen the deep spirituality that accompanies and informs these differences. Frankly, it is harder to accept differences in the church around town! In part, this difficulty is because the changes closer to home seem to be brought about by personal preferences without the deeper spirituality and cultural context that goes with the changes in other regions. Most of my experiences have been with women’s groups. I can honestly say that the faith and faithfulness of my sisters in places like Tanzania and the Caribbean put me to shame. The complete faith of these sisters that God will provide for their daily needs, and their willingness to live in poverty without complaint but with joyful spirits, makes my own heart sing with them—makes me want to learn how they became as dependent on God as they truly are. I believe the worship services in various parts of the world would have the same effect on others who might observe them as they have had on me. THE

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Without learning to know the people in our fastest-growing areas first, we might not recognize the Moravian Church in many foreign countries. One sometimes has to look for the similarities, but they are definitely there: the Heart Religion, the reverence in worship, the centrality of scripture to their belief systems, the absolute devotion to Christ—discernible even in the way they say the name of Jesus—sometimes imitated but rarely achieved in our American charismatic churches. It is humbling to be in worship with Moravians in other parts of the world after living with them for a week or so: to see them bring their offerings—sometimes in livestock or prized possessions when currency is not available, to hear their testimonies that the Lord has provided for them when the provision may only have been enough to get them through one day. All of these expressions of faith renew my desire to remain in unity with the worldwide Moravian Church despite our differences. To talk about redistribution of wealth in the northern Moravian churches is a difficult task. The American mindset convinces us that we have worked hard for our money and possessions and leaves us with little to no intention of sharing any more with others—even our Moravian sisters and brothers—than we are already sharing from our abundance. While we live in abundance, Moravian brothers and sisters in the Southern Hemisphere survive on less than two dollars a day. One of the obvious omissions in Brother Bøytler’s statistics is the prevalence of women as members of and in service to the Unity. Even in our own provincial statistics in America we are not asked to break down the membership numbers by gender—by age groups, but not by gender. The problem with leaving out this statistic is that from 60 to 75 percent of our worldwide membership is composed of women. Although these numbers are not verifiable with current record-keeping procedures, I have done a selective study in the Southern Province, and the 75 percent figure came from the guesstimate of the former President of the Moravian Church in Western Tanzania. When we consider the prevalence of women in the giving patterns, we need to remember that many of these women are deprived of education and employment opportunities. If we expect our majority provinces to become self-sufficient and more representative in monetary support, we need to attend to the needs—material as well as spiritual—of the women who live there. The Unity Women’s Desk is attending to these needs to the best of its ability, but the larger church needs to be aware of and intentional in working on this situation as well. We, as a Church, need to encourage our girls and women to get an education, and we need to use resources to develop leadership skills amongst our women who are often the majority of members in our churches.


Overall, Brother Bøytler’s article is very informative and challenging. I hope our church will accept the challenge to discuss the difficult issues he raises and to move forward in seeking the unity necessary to keep us connected around the world. v

Rev. Wilson A. Nkumba Rev. Wilson A. Nkumba is a pastor and teacher in the Moravian Church in Western Tanzania. He was a participant in the 2014 Bethlehem Conference on Moravian Music and History and is a consultant for the Common Moravian Curriculum Project of the Unitas Fratrum. First of all, I would like to congratulate Rev. Dr. Jørgen Bøytler for a very impressive and instructive presentation which brings about the generally unknown current situation of the Unity into known statistical reality. After reading the whole of Brother Bøytler’s paper, I came to realize that the Moravian Unity is confronted with the danger of being wiped away from the world map. This danger reveals itself in three ways. The first is division between northern and southern parts of the world due to tremendous increases in differences between them and specifically between regions as time goes. The second is loosing of the classic features of Moravian identity of the global South; although there is growth in numbers, the church is immersing itself into other denominations’ cultures and absorbing those cultures. Gradually the church will die for loss of all distinctive Moravian features, and will instead be something else. The last revelation is the stagnation of the Church in the US and Europe, which is caused by believers’ behavior of being so faithful to Zinzendorf ’s theology of ecclesiology as well as secularization of the northern societies. Out of awareness of these challenges, during the whole period of reading, meditating upon and writing my response to his presentation, my mind was absorbed in Brother Bøytler’s first question: “can unity prevail in the diversity of the Globalized Moravian Church?” I think this is very important question which we need to focus on. To be honest, it is a very tough job for all of us to predict the future of the Unity, since it is true that the future of the Unity will not rely on what we verbalize concerning our well wishes about the future of the Globalized Moravian Church. Various complicated reasons make up the nature of this hardship to predict the future of the Unity. For instance, Brother Bøytler told us that one of the reasons for the growth of the Church in the global South, and the decline of it in North, depends on how much the region in which the Church exists tends to abide in or leave Zinzendorf ’s theology of ecclesiology. For example, those who

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choose to abide in Zinzendorf ’s theology declined in number or remained stagnant, and those who decided to leave this theology, either knowingly or unknowingly, increased in number. He said, “The ecumenical identity of the Moravian Church in Europe in particular will, if not prevent, at least dampen a potential numerical growth in Europe because Moravians would not necessarily ask people to join the Moravian Church.” Then he also added that “the goal is not to ensure numerical growth of the Moravian Church, but only to maintain the Moravian Church as an ecclesiological entity as long as necessary. This notion does not carry the same weight in the global South, where the ecumenical understanding of the church is weaker, but the result is church growth.” According to the above paragraph, I understand that Brother Bøytler is saying—though not directly—that we differ in our understandings of the ecumenical identity of the Moravian Church, but we are all challenged with almost the same results, and we are left at a crossroads and are being forced to decide again either to remain faithful to the ecumenical identity of the Moravian Church and remain stagnant, or to leave it and grow as is happening in the South. In general, when Brother Bøytler says the Church grows as a result of weaker understanding of the ecumenical identity of the Moravian Church, it is true, but this is only one side of the coin; the other side of it represents fewer people in the global South, particularly in Tanzania, who know the ecumenical identity of the Moravian Church, but count the Zinzendorfian theology as one of our faults towards ecclesiology. Brothers and sisters in the southern regions believe that it is better to ask people to join the Moravian Church as much as possible, rather than allowing them to join other Christian denominations. So, the ecumenical identity of the Moravian Church acts to us as a standard measure on one side, and on the other side as a stumbling block. Because of that, I have two questions for Brother Bøytler, as well as to all readers of this article: do we think that there is a need of remaining faithful to Zinzendorf ’s theology of ecclesiology? and, is now the proper time for us to find a new direction concerning ecclesiological teachings? Under the subtitle, “Changing centers of gravity,” Brother Bøytler succeeded to disclose to us another sensitive issue, as one of our challenges. He clearly has shown how big our differences are between Moravians in the northern and southern parts of the world. There are differences in traditions, theological standpoints, ways of life, and evangelization as in well as priorities. In fact, our differences are not such big issues because they have already been present for a long period of time, and yet we live and work together. The Unity cannot be destroyed by our differences alone, but can be destroyed by our responses toward those differences. The prevalence of the Unity will depend upon how we respond to those areas where we differ from each other, be it theological standpoints or economic issues, etc. The way


we respond to our differences and deal with them will either grant us the prevalence or collapse of the Unity. Basically, I think we need to ask ourselves how we perceive and respond to our differences. It is very important to think about our perception because it always affects our responses. Here, again, I have some questions for both Brother Bøytler and our readers: how do we Moravians from the North and South perceive and respond to our differences? Are we ready to speak about them? How far are we ready to come together in free discussion? To what extent are we accepting of others who do or understand things differently than us? Do we love and accept our fellow Moravians with whom we differ in any aspect of life? Another important thing to note about our differences is that we must accept that we come from different societal backgrounds; for this reason it is inevitable that we differ in various aspects of life. Despite, or because of, these differences we must always be ready to come together to discuss anything about our differences. The last controversy concerning the reality of the Moravian Church, as the findings show, is the issue of living standards between the North and the South, and the responses to the gospel by people in those regions. Brother Bøytler tells us that one of the reasons for the growth of the Church in Tanzania is the presence of poverty and diseases. While the situation in the western world is contrary to Tanzania—high standards of living—people are more attracted to atheism, secularization, materialism, etc. This means that poverty in one region brings people closer to God and in another region prosperity brings people further from God. In general, I’m puzzled with this contrast and I ask myself what we can say about poverty and prosperity. What can we say to poor people? Is it a blessing to be poor? What can we say about richness? Is it a curse/problem to be a rich? Is there any need to address the issue of overcoming poverty when it seems to be God’s instrument to bring people closer to him? Was Bishop John Augusta right to preach against richness? It is true that the worldwide Moravian Unity is in various challenges, but I think these challenges are attributed to either uncontrolled or unexpected growth of the Moravian Church. Nevertheless, the Unity will prevail because it is a divine institute. All those things which are happening are because of time, but a seed of classic Moravianism still exists and will never cease. v

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Justin Rabbach

As a staff member for the Board of World Mission of the Moravian Church in North America, my first reaction to Rev. Dr. Jørgen Bøytler’s Moses Lecture is that members of all Moravian Congregations should read and become acquainted with the information that he provided regarding the historical and present context of the worldwide Moravian Unity. As the term unity implies the idea of being brought together as one, I believe we will find it very difficult to come together in unity if all are not aware of the large body of which they are a part. If we are to view the social stratifications listed in the piece as ways that the worldwide Unity is divided up like puzzle pieces, then I believe theoretically there should be little challenge in all pieces coming together regardless of the differences of size, geography, available resources, or cultural context. However, this theory can only become reality when all pieces—parts of the Unity—are working from the same larger picture and can agree on a correct arrangement to make up the whole. Brother Bøytler suggests a formula of representation at the Unity level based on an average of membership and budgetary contribution. While I cannot suggest a specific model that must be in place to handle the business of governing this globalized body, I think some underlying issues must be addressed for the actions of this body to be representative of a communal affirmation of the Spirit’s leading, rather than representative of whichever group benefitted most from winning the debate of relative importance of people vs. money. To live as a communal group reflective of the church in the book of Acts, we must live the example found in chapter two, verses 44–47. Here we are reminded that “all believers met together and shared everything they had.” Certainly this and subsequent verses seem to support Brother Bøytler’s call for redistribution of wealth. My argument, however, in the use of these verses is to implore a greater effort at the Unity level to define and act on communal priorities, rather than a struggle for definition of representation which would imply one province’s or region’s dominance over another. To achieve this increased effort at the Unity level, I support the growth of “functioning and active standing committees of the Unity,” and specifically the Unity Mission and Development Board (UMDB). The UMDB provides an opportunity for Moravians to live out the early community found in Acts. We must be aware of the shift in missions from being a flow of people from one place to another to a more long-term approach more focused on the flow of resources from areas of affluence to areas of less affluence. The Unity would do well to avoid a system of decision-making about global mission

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Justin Rabbach is Director of Mission Engagement for the Board of World Mission of the Moravian Church in North America.


prioritization and resource allocation where those distributing the resources almost unilaterally make decisions. In this proposed model, not only does the Unity retain an outdated model of interaction with inherent power of the global North being held over the global South, but communication flows only between the grantor and grantees, and thus does not include all in the conversation of how to act communally as a globalized church. Under this proposed model, two areas requesting assistance would never be in communication with each other. The UMDB allows for representation of both donors and recipients in the same conversation, and a single request for funds is not viewed in a vacuum, but rather against the backdrop of a common mission held by the Unity. Rather than animosity growing against an affluent area for refusal to fund one effort in favor of another, decisions can be made together. This would require a recipient area to willingly forgo funds in favor of another area, and would require donors to cede control of funds to the will of the collective body. If the Moravian Church desires to be a relational body, in which the gospel and social action go hand-in-hand, then we must be willing to fully commit ourselves, especially in the case of the Moravian Church in North America, to a system in which we relinquish much of the inherent power we carry based on resource availability. We must trust in the guidance of the Spirit present in all members of the body. Finally, for those still concerned about the number of members in the Church rather than the reflection of the Gospel being lived by those who are members, may I once again return to the reminder from the book of Acts that when people are living in tune with the Spirit, the Lord will “add daily to those who are being saved.� We must first be faithful with the resources and members that we have. v

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Carol Reifinger

The Moravian Church owes a debt of gratitude to the Rev. Dr. Jørgen Bøytler for his timely assessment of the challenges to the ideal of unity in diversity within the Moravian Church. No doubt, his insights come about as the result of his many years of fruitful experience in the Church, especially in Tanzania, East Africa. In the conclusion to his article, Brother Bøytler writes, “Overall, the wider, deeper, and broader the ongoing contacts between the different parts of the Unity are, the more the Unity will be built up.” One specific example of an ongoing contact is Central Moravian Church’s twenty-plus year relationship with the people of Sikonge, Tanzania. The Rev. Eliah Kategile, a pastor and Moravian Theological Seminary student at the time, had already been living among us in Bethlehem with his wife Mary and their young daughters when he approached Central Moravian Church’s Senior Pastor, the late Rev. Dr. Doug Caldwell, about the possibility of Central helping to construct a new church building in Sikonge. What followed that not-so-simple request helped to shape, quite dramatically, the understanding by our congregation and by many within the Northern Province of the life, needs, faith and ministry of people in a remote African community. We managed to learn a few words of Kiswahili and of course, we shared letters and photos. But more significantly, we had to live through a painful period of our own naïveté as we tried to decide if we had the right to decide what Sikonge needed versus what it wanted. We had to give up on setting deadlines and completion dates. We had to deal with the effects of both governmental and church politics. In the end, we were able to work with the people of Sikonge to support them in building their own church, designed and constructed by members of the Sikonge community. A good deal of our learning about the Sikonge region in more recent years has come about through the work of two exceptional volunteers, physicians from our congregation, Drs. Bill and Peg Hoffman. They continue to encourage a group of women, the “Mamas,” who administer the Adopta-Village program through the Board of World Mission. The “Mamas” provide supplies for orphaned children within the context of their own extended families and villages and make scholarships available for young people who qualify for secondary school and beyond. With financial resources provided by individuals and congregations across North America, Brother and Sister Hoffman, when invited to do so, have also been facilitating the construction of new churches and community wells within the wider Sikonge area, and beyond.

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The Rev. Carol Reifinger served as pastor of Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem and is now enjoying retirement. She is the author of the recent book The Body in the Vat, an historical mystery set in Bethlehem.


Brother Bøytler looks at an even bigger picture, of course, and asks us to consider the very real difficulties that our Unity as a whole faces: how to fund the work of the Unity; how to distribute voting power among diverse provinces in the Unity; and how to define ourselves as Moravians are all basic concerns. Ultimately, genuine hospitality demands that we first sit patiently and learn to listen to our sisters and brothers around the world with respect for how the Spirit of Christ is working in their lives. Any hope for solutions to the problematic issues of a diverse, globalized Church would seem to begin with understanding and respecting the globalized diversity in our Moravian community. v

Neil Thomlinson Neil Thomlinson, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I read Rev. Dr. Bøytler’s Moses Lecture with a great deal of interest. It raised many questions for me, as I’m sure it will for many Moravians who, like me, are not completely familiar with the worldwide situation facing the Moravian Unity. I came away feeling that Brother Bøytler’s Moses Lecture glossed over several difficult issues in the modern Unity. For one thing, I’d like to know more about the conditions under which the sudden surge of membership in Africa took place. Reading the lecture brought back some troubling memories of early 2003, when ten people connected to our Board of World Mission resigned, citing opposition to the Northern Province’s handling (in 2002) of homosexuality and the Southern Province’s rejection (also in 2002) of a synod resolution on “Affirming Jesus Christ as the only way to Salvation.” Because these resignations were concentrated in the area of global outreach, I wondered at the time whether the North American Moravian Church had allowed our world missions to be taken over by people who represented conservative or even fundamentalist elements of the Moravian Church rather than the mainstream of the Church. If that were the case, how did it affect the mission in Africa? Was the “face” of the Moravian Church that was put forward in missions more conservative theologically than the Church actually is in Europe and America? If so, it might explain a lot about the meteoric rise in membership numbers in certain parts of the world, especially regions that are very patriarchal. I wonder whether those newer members in Africa would have “signed up” in such numbers to join the Moravian Church if they had known that the Unity as a whole has a more balanced theological view than may have been presented by missionaries.

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Brother Bøytler hints at theological differences in the Moses Lecture, but he does not really address head-on the “great divide” in the Moravian Church, nor does he have much to say about whether or how the worldwide Moravian Church membership has been skewed in one direction by the sudden influx of new members. While he does offer some explanations for the growth in membership, he doesn’t do so in the broader context of the mission strategy of Protestant churches, which has encouraged conservative theology worldwide. The information in the lecture about the financial contributions adds, in some sense, insult to injury by confirming that “liberal” North American Moravians have probably financed—and continue to finance—the “realignment” of their own church into a much more conservative and fundamentalist mode. v


Letter to the Editor Dear Editors: I thank you for the recent wonderful issue of The Hinge. Everything in it from Alpha to Omega—Addams to O Manna—brought back wonderful memories of my seven years at First Moravian Church of NYC and its “Coffee Pot” ministry. I offer the following correction because I think it says something significant about the willingness of a congregation to open up and compassionately offer itself—building and all—to the needs of its neighborhood. The article on Moravian Open Door indicated that the church “used funds from its endowment to purchase the building next to the church … the top floor serv(ing) as an apartment for the pastor and the first two floors were converted for the Coffee Pot Community Center.” Actually, the congregation used its own fellowship hall for the “Coffee Pot,” weathering clogged drains, accidentally broken stained glass windows which were replaced with Plexiglas, and more. The pastors lived in two renovated apartments in a tenement building given to the church by a friend. About 1977, the congregation found the means to buy the next door building, and moved the “Coffee Pot” to its first floor and turned the second floor into an apartment for Pastor Stedman Bent and his family when he succeeded me as pastor. (The top two floors remained rental apartments which helped finance the project.) This was indeed a risk that the congregation originally took and for which I believe they deserve a lot of credit. —David Henkelmann Dear Editors: You might wish to inform your (Moravian) readers that the Rev. Dr. Peter Gubi is a non-stipendiary minister in the British Province (serving the Dukinfield congregation).  He has also been appointed Professor of Counseling and Spiritual Accompaniment at the University of Chester in the United Kingdom and is scheduled to be a visiting scholar at Moravian Theological Seminary in 2016. This information might clarify the Moravian connection and the reason why his book was reviewed in the previous issue of the Hinge. —Rev. Dr. David Schattschneider Editors’ note: the Rev. Dr. Peter Gubi will be publishing an article on his research in the Hinge in the near future. THE

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The Hinge is published with the assistance of the Center for Moravian Studies of Moravian Theological Seminary and the Interprovincial Board of Communication of the Moravian Church in America. All rights are reserved. Co-Editors: Craig Atwood and Janel Rice Send letters to the editor, articles, book reviews, and other contributions to Craig at atwoodc@moravian.edu The Hinge Editorial Board: Zachary Dease, Laura Gordon, Sam Gray, Sarah Groves, Hans-Beat Motel, Joe Nicholas, Janel Rice, Justin Rabbach, David Schattschneider, Neil Thomlinson, Livingstone Thompson, Volker Schulz, Peter Vogt, Jane Weber Copy Editor: Layout/Design: Renee Schoeller, IBOC Mike Riess, IBOC Hinge illustration by Todd Tyson of Kernersville, N.C. Wood cover design by Colleen Marsh, Bethlehem, Pa. The cost for subscribing to The Hinge is $30. Send checks payable to: The Hinge c/o Jane Weber Moravian Theological Seminary 1200 Main Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 Contact Jane (jweber@moravian.edu) to change your subscription information or to request additional copies of The Hinge. Single issue rate: $7 The Hinge is provided free of charge to Moravian clergy, thanks to the generosity of the Center for Moravian Studies at Moravian Theological Seminary. Recent issues of The Hinge are available online at www.moravianseminary.edu/center/hinge.htm. Articles in The Hinge may not be republished or posted on the Internet without the express permission of the author and the editor of The Hinge. Articles may be duplicated according to “Fair Use� rules, which allow for discussion in church classes and similar forums.


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Hinge 21.1: Unity in Diversity: Challenges to the Worldwide Moravian Unity  

featuring Rev. Dr. Jørgen Bøytler

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