It's after 8:30 pm on a Wednesday evening in March and I'm finishing up the sixth day of interviews with King Moravian Church members, gauging their interest in and support for a capital campaign. As I walk to my car, I see that the sanctuary doors are open. As I walk closer I hear music wafting through the air - “Bethany, thou peaceful Habitation". It’s one of my all-time favorites. It’s just days before Holy Week begins and the 30-plus member choir is rehearsing for Holy Week and Easter Services.
My thoughts go back to another time, over 25 years ago, when I was the organist at King and was rehearsing with the King Moravian Choir in preparation for worship. The choir was great then; it's even better now.
Time passed and I came to work at the Moravian Ministries Foundation to begin our capital campaign service, Morning Star. Imagine my delight when King Moravian called to ask for my assistance in raising funds to purchase a pipe organ. The old electronic dinosaur of an organ was problematic in the 80's and was taking its last wheezing gasps in 2005. And, as an organist, how exciting it was for me to think of the advantages of a pipe organ to enhance an already outstanding music program.
In 2006 we began a feasibility study to gauge the support of the congregation to purchase the organ. The cost estimate we tested proved too expensive, but the will was there and commitment to the music program was strong. The church began work again to select a builder who could provide the instrument they needed at a cost they could afford. The organ committee found such an organ builder in Mark Wicks. He provided an amazing organ that fills their sanctuary with amazing sounds as well as great beauty. This campaign was successful and the organ is paid for, with a little left over and earmarked for organ maintenance and upkeep. Everybody wins. It's a good outcome for the church, for MMFA, and for me, personally.
Fast-forward 8 years to another call from King Moravian. After making a thorough assessment of their current needs and taking a look to the future, they are considering another capital campaign. This time it’s for a "Futures Fund". In recent years King Moravian had an opportunity to purchase property adjacent to the church, using endowment money that needs to be repaid. An assessment of the facilities revealed some looming maintenance issues, best described by a committee member, as "one broken pipe away from a disaster, one winter away from a sanctuary without heat". So, here I am again, honored and pleased to provide assistance to a congregation I admire and love. I'm talking with members about a capital campaign to raise funds to tackle these issues as well as funds that could provide additional support for their burgeoning children's ministries, preschool, and transportation needs.
This congregation is flourishing, with over 30 middle schoolers and 10 senior highs, not to mention dozens of junior youth. The highly regarded preschool has a waiting list. A mission outreach, Mission Blitz, which King Moravian originated as part of their stewardship and mission outreach, has grown to included 7 area churches whose members come together on a weekend in October to help their neighbors throughout their community.
Campaigns, successes, and dedicated and committed members. It's all good and continues to be a great place to work. It’s a “peaceful habitation” and so much more.