(From The Episcopal Church, Office of Public Affairs)
Following a day of Sabbath, the House of Bishops gathered for a Moravian Service of Holy Communion in the Kanuga Chapel.
The Liturgy for Christian Unity was taken from the Moravian Book of Worship. The Bishops of the Moravian Church participating in the service were:
The Rt. Rev. Dr. D. Wayne Burkette, who welcomed HOB to the service, thanking HOB “for the invitation to be part of the meeting of HOB and for the opportunity to worship,” noting that he looks forward to “future times of worship and fellowship and common mission as expressions of our full communion.”
The Rt. Rev. Graham H. Rights, who provided the meditation. “I hope you will seek out Moravian partnership wherever you are,” he said, bringing greetings from the 17 Moravian bishops (10 bishops in the Northern Province and 7 in the Southern Province).
He continued, “The Eucharist is a service of thanksgiving and tonight our thanksgiving is for this coming together. We have taken a step to answer the Lord’s prayer that we all may be one.”
He talked about an early bishop of the Unitas Fratrum, John Comenius, whose birthday was March 28, 1592. Comenius proposed a world assembly, and his early writings included those about the Anglican Church.
Bishop Rights pointed out that now, three different reformation churches are in communion with each other: the Episcopal Church, the Moravian Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. “It is an exciting time in the history of our communions,” he said. “It is an exciting time for the universal church.”
The Rt. Rev. Lane A. Sapp presided at the service. Moravian Daily Text for March 27 was read:
Malachi 4:2: For you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.
Romans 13:12: The night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16: I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
John 15:12-17 ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
Music was prepared by the Director of Moravian Service Foundation Nola Knouse; organist was Paul F. Knouse. Among the hymns and festive music at the Service were: The Church’s one foundation; Holy Spirit, still creating; Join we all with one accord; Is this our high calling; Highly favored congregation; Christ is our Master, Lord and God.
Note: Full communion between the Episcopal Church and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in North America was celebrated in February. The relationship of full communion was approved by the Episcopal Church General Convention in 2009 and by the 2010 Provincial Synods of the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in North America.