MU SPOTLIGHT 20/20
Community Partner Spotlight: Central Moravian Church
The Rev. Dr. Lynnette Delbridge, Pastor
What is your organization and your mission?
Here's a shortened version of Central's mission statement: We are an inclusive community of God's people coming together for worship, education, and fellowship as members of the worldwide Moravian Church. We are committed to meeting the needs of society and nurturing individuals on their spiritual journeys. We live our lives serving and fulfilling the mission of Christ in the world.
What is your role at your organization and what is something many may not know about the work you do?
I am one of two pastors at Central. Hopeton Clennon is the Senior Pastor. I am the pastor who assists and resources our ministries of care and concern for people in need in the community. I'm also responsible for Communication, Christian Education, and assist with Pastoral Care and Worship.
What projects were completed on Heritage Day?/How Did volunteers on Heritage Day support your work?
Students were involved in three projects. The first group helped clean our 1806 sanctuary building, dusting, vacuuming and removing scuff marks. This work has helped make our worship space, which we use for regular services and many other concerts and community events like Bach at Noon, more inviting and welcoming to our members and guests.
The second group thoroughly cleaned our Food Pantry. They moved all the shelving aside, swept and mopped the floors, wiped down the shelves, and replaced and organized all our non-perishable food items. This work has made it easier for our regular volunteers to serve our clients, approximately 60 families and seniors each month.
The third group worked in our clothing closet known as Cynthia's Boutique. They moved out all the clothing and shelving, swept and mopped the floors, assembled new shelving units, and helped sort, organize, and put clothing back on the shelves. This effort has helped our regular volunteers keep the clothing closet clean, attractive, and well-organized so our clients can easily find the clothing, shoes, and accessories they need.
What’s your favorite spot in Bethlehem?
My favorite spot in Bethlehem is Central's 1806 sanctuary because I go there as often as I can in the early mornings to meditate, breathe deeply, and pray. Being in the quiet, simple space which is filled all the prayers and hymns of the saints before me helps me prepare myself emotionally for the day or week ahead. In the spring, I also love the blooming Japanese Magnolia trees behind the main public library building and the cherry blossom trees at the foot of the library and municipal buildings across from the New Street bridge. They are a riot of glory and joy that winter has passed and spring has finally, finally come.
What is your favorite part of your job?
That's a hard question to answer. I enjoy singing hymns during worship and working with our Youth Group. Also, I am honored to work with the wonderful members of the Social Action Committee and the ministry leaders and volunteers who see that our Food Pantry, Emergency Women's Shelter, Cynthia's Boutique, Resettlement Committee and several cooking ministries go well both for our volunteers and for the people who need our care.
How does Moravian University support your mission?
Well, it's always great to have volunteers come out and help us with big projects - like the Heritage Day volunteers who came in September and another group that came in August 2016 and helped us disinfect all the cots for our homeless shelter and clean out and organize the shelter closet. We are also deeply grateful for our partnership with Moravian University in providing scholarships for two international Moravian students to attend Moravian University. And yes, it's great when college students, faculty, and staff join us for worship and community events. We draw strength and joy sharing with the college our location, Church Street, and the history of the early settlement and educational efforts of the Moravians.
How can Moravian University—and the greater community—be more involved with your organization?
Our church mantra is "Wherever you are on your faith journey, you are welcome at Central Moravian Church." We are always glad when people get involved and join us for worship, study, fellowship, and service. It's also helpful when people tell us how they experience Central. How can we be more welcoming? How can we better meet the needs we see all around us? How we find accessible and relevant ways to share the good news that God loves each of us and wants to bring health and healing to the world?
What is the biggest challenge your organization faces?
In terms of our mission, it's a big challenge in today's world to help people find meaning not just in being a "spiritual" person or a generous volunteer but to find meaning in sharing their journey toward God with others. Facing the world with all of its complexities and challenges by ourselves can be very lonely. Knowing we have the support of fellow travelers on the journey, people who really listen to us and care does help us move closer to God. From a very practical standpoint, we have many dedicated members who have been faithfully engaged in volunteering and running the ministries of Central Moravian for years. In the next 5 to 15 years, we will be seeing a real shift as many of these core leaders age out or move away. We need to be at work right now preparing new generations of members who will take their places in the leadership and mission of our congregation.
What do you hope for the future of your organization?
In general, my hope is the same as it was 275 years ago, that we will be faithful to whatever work or mission God calls us to undertake. In 1741, that work was bringing the news of God's love to the Native Americans and German immigrants. Every day is a new day to listen for God's call and to respond to it in the present. And yes, I do hope Central Moravian is still faithfully worshipping and serving God for at least another 275 years.