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News Release

Moravian College Chaplain elected President of the Eastern District of Moravian Church

Bethlehem, Pa., June 26, 2008—Moravian College and Seminary Chaplain Rev. David E. Bennett of Bethlehem, Pa. was recently elected president of the Eastern District of the Moravian Church in North America during the 41st Eastern District Synod.  Bennett will serve a four year term as president of the Eastern District which consists of 54 recognized Moravian Congregations throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada.

Bennett has served as Chaplain for both Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary since 2002.  “Dave has made incredible contributions to College and Seminary life,” said Beverly Kochard, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “He will be greatly missed.  We congratulate him and wish him well as he moves into this new position and all the opportunities that accompany such service.”

Upon his acceptance to the new position, Bennett stated, “I will greatly miss the campus of Moravian College and Theological Seminary, but feel a great sense of privilege in being able to join in the work and mission of serving Christ, the many communities where our churches call home, and the global village of the worldwide Moravian Church.”

 Along with an executive board of elected lay and clergy, Bennett will have supervisory responsibility for the congregations and clergy of the District, work with congregations in calling pastors, addressing conflict, establishing quotas, managing finances, and determining budgets for the various ministries. “It was a humbling and unexpected honor to be entrusted with this leadership position.” Bennett said,  “I take great comfort in knowing I will be working in partnership with such experienced and dedicated lay and clergy leaders as are found on the Eastern District Executive Board. Together with them, I look forward to working in support of the ministry efforts of the many congregations.”

Raised in West Salem, Illinois, Bennett graduated from Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois, in 1985, and received a Master’s of Divinity degree from Moravian Theological Seminary in 1988. He was ordained a Deacon of the Moravian Church in 1988. He has served as the pastoral leader at Millwoods Moravian Church, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (1988-1993); Rio Terrace Moravian Church, also in Edmonton (1993-1998); and Hope Moravian Church, Hope, Indiana (1998-2002).

In conjunction with the time that he served as pastor of various congregations, he was a member of 2004 and 2008 Synod Planning Committee, program director for Tar Hallow Camp, Ohio, in 2008, and is the chair of the Provincial New Church Strategy Committee, 2020 Vision, whose goal is to have 20 new church plants in the Moravian Church, Northern Province by 2020.

The Moravian Church was founded in Germany more than 550 years ago and at that time was officially called the Unitas Fratrum, or Unity of the Brethren, which remains the church’s official name today. The Moravian Church in North America is comprised of the Northern and Southern Provinces. The Northern Province has approximately 28,000 members in 102 congregations in 13 states in the U.S. and two Canadian provinces. The Southern Province includes nearly 20,000 members in 58 congregations, which are located primarily throughout the Southeast. Moravians now number more than 789,000 worldwide and are spread across five continents and more than 20 jurisdictional provinces.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.