What is a Moravian?
With churches in 24 organized provinces across the world, including 16 churches in Wisconsin, the Moravian denomination is small but far-reaching.
"In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love"
The Moravian Church is a Christian denomination that has stood for basic religious principles for more than 500 years. Through the years, the church has used the “Covenant for Christian Living” to put the tenants of our faith and practice into writing.
Moravians recognize the example of Christ's life and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. We believe that living the Christian life depends not only on our own effort, but upon God our Father, who in Jesus Christ accepts us as heirs of God and strengthens and sustains us. In baptism, we are united with Christ in his death and resurrection, and walk in the newness of life, regardless of our sins. We realize that our Christian faith must continually be nourished if it is to remain living and vital. Therefore, we desire to grow in our Christian lives through family devotions, personal prayer and study, and the opportunities for spiritual development offered by the Church and community.
We deem it a sacred responsibility and genuine opportunity to be faithful stewards of all God has entrusted to us: our time, our talents, and our financial resources. We view all of life as a sacred trust to be used wisely. We, therefore, believe that it is our responsibility to use these gifts to better our community. Our church places special emphasis on helping others in need through mission work, community outreach, and a renewed focus on Christ’s love in our daily lives.
Realizing that God has called us from many and varied backgrounds, we recognize the possibility of disagreements or differences. Often these differences enrich the Church, but sometimes they divide. We consider it to be our responsibility to demonstrate within congregational life the unity and togetherness created by God who made us one. How well we accomplish this will be a witness to our community as to the validity of our faith. Moravians support combined experiences with other Christian churches, and carefully avoid all disputes, respecting opinions and ceremonies different from our own. We recognize that through the grace of Christ different denominations have received many gifts and that the Church of Christ may be enriched by these many and varied contributions. It is our desire that we may learn from one another and rejoice together in the riches of the love of Christ and the wisdom of God. We welcome every step that brings us nearer the goal of unity in Him. In this fellowship we cooperate with other churches in the support of public charities or Christian enterprises, as we share in spreading our faith as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Moravian Church recognized the sacraments of baptism and of holy communion. The usual mode of baptism is sprinkling water on the forehead, and the church administers the sacrament in the name of the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). In the case of infant baptism, the sacrament carries with it the responsibility of parents, child and congregation. Through baptism, the individual receives a pledge of the forgiveness of sin and admission into the covenant of God through the blood of Christ. Children may be baptized as a sign and pledge to them of the promise of Christ that theirs "is the kingdom of Heaven." Youth and adults confirm their baptismal covenant or are received by adult baptism when they make a profession of faith.
In respect to the sacrament of holy communion, the Moravian Church does not try to define the mystery of Christ's presence in the communion elements, but recognizes that the believer participates in a unique act of covenant with Christ as Savior and with other believers in Christ. The Moravian service of holy communion is a service of praise and prayer (with hymns being sung as the elements are distributed to all communicants); of fellowship (with the right hand of fellowship extended at the beginning and close of the service); and of special covenant with Christ and with each other. The Moravian Church practices open communion which allows anyone who feels moved by their faith to partake in the sacrament of holy communion.
Our Church's History
Our own Freedom Moravian Church is over 150 years old and the Moravian religion can be traced back as early as 1457, making it one of the oldest Protestant denominations of Christianity. The Moravian Church began with the teachings of John Huss, who had some grievances with the teachings of the Catholic Church. His actions predated the Protestant Reformation and thus, some historians consider Moravians to be the first Protestant church, however our beliefs and practices differ little from modern Lutheranism.