1 History of the Moravian Church
The Moravian Church received its name because it got its start in the countries of Moravian and Bohemia. It is “an ancient Protestant Episcopal Church” that grew up out of the ashes of John Hus. Hus was a Pre-Reformation reformer who was martyred on July 6, 1415. From his position as rector of the University of Prague, Hus spoke, “in the language of the people.” He was condemned for his stand against the abuses of the Catholic Church in his day and his stand for the “simple gospel of Christ,” as found in the New Testament.
Inspired by the life and death of Hus, the Moravian Church was founded on or about March 1, 1457, and its history may be traced from that date through the time of Jan Amos Komensky in the 17th Century and Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf in the 18th Century, to the present day.
Under his Latin name of John Amos Comenius, Komensky is still known as “the Father of Modern Education.” He was the last Bishop of the Ancient Unity and he prayed that God would preserve a “hidden seed” of the church that might be someday be planted and flower in a time and place known only to God.
Count Zinzendorf (1700-1760) became a partial answer to the prayer of Komensky when he offered a small band of Moravian refugees sanctuary on his land in Herrnhut, Germany. Herrnhut soon attracted devout people from all over Europe, who came in search of religious liberty. These pilgrims represented all the denominations of Christendom, and there was conflict. However, the church was renewed in a dramatic revival on August 13, 1727, when the Herrnhutters came to agree not in what they believed, but in Whom they believed, Jesus Christ.
The renewed Moravian Church became a pioneer in the Protestant Missions Movement, and it was among the first to seek interdenominational fellowship and partnership with the other churches. Two Centuries later that interdenominational fellowship flowered into the Ecumenical Movement of the 20th Century. Today, the “Unitas Fratrum,” is a worldwide church with more than 1,000,000 members, most of them located in the Developing World, the site of former mission provinces. Likewise, it continues to be a leader in the Ecumenical movement, maintaining a full partnership with the Episcopal Church U.S.A., the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the United Methodist Church. It also has a Covenant relationship with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. A Short History of the Moravian Church can be found here.
2 Our Congregational History
Fries Memorial Moravian Church was founded on 4th Street in “old Winston” in 1877 but it has been a fixture in the West Highlands neighborhood of Winston-Salem since 1949. Our congregation’s size has waxed and waned, but we have always looked to the future with confidence in God. At present, we are a small but dedicated group, ranging from elementary-aged children to senior adults.
Sunday visitors remark on our friendliness, the excellence of our music, and the 23-rank pipe organ built by the men of the church. Members and friends also appreciate various public concerts, the annual “Antiques Road Show,” weekly Yoga Classes, various small group Bible studies, and our commitment to outreach. In 2020, while joining with community leaders to raise more than $20,000.00 to fund a playground at Piedmont Park Community Center, we also sponsored an annual scholarship for an R.J. Reynolds High School senior headed to trade school or college.
Then there are the lovefeasts. Year after year, the Christmas Candlelight Lovefeasts have added color, warmth, and hope to the lives of many. In 2020, the Covid-19 Pandemic made the traditional lovefeast inadvisable, so we assembled all the fixings into “a lovefest in a box” so that individuals and “individuals in bubbles” could participate in a virtual lovefeast at http://www.frieschurch.org/Lovefeast2020
We invited our members and friends to join us online as we remembered once more the time when a heavenly chorus announced, “Glad tidings of Great Joy,” and a young woman named Mary brought forth her firstborn son, Jesus, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. Of course, Mary’s son grew up to become the central figure of the human race. The death he died, he died for us and with us to assure us of God’s love. His resurrection is the massive sign that God has not abandoned us in our little world of time and space but has entered it, shattered it, and begun its transformation. According to the Apostle:
“It is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has taught all of us to be flexible. At present, we gather each Sunday via Zoom for “Fries at 5:00.” The program is a blend of conversation and celebration. It features an appropriate liturgy, special music, and a message from the pastor. If you wish to participate, email email@example.com, and we will send you a link. We hope to reopen the doors of our sanctuary soon. In the meantime, our hearts remain open to everyone. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, or, if you wish to explore that possibility, you are welcome to join us, online for now, and, someday, soon, in person.
3 Our Beliefs
Since the beginning, it has been the goal of the Moravian Church to accent our relationship with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, not what we believe about Him.
We subscribe to the earliest confession of the church, as defined by the apostle in Romans 10:9:
“If you confess with your lips that ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in you heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Likewise, we subscribe to the confession of the Ancient Unity which declared the one essential of belief to be:
“… a heart relationship with the Triune God who reveals Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that issues in a life of faith, love and hope.”
The Official Theology of the Moravian Church was adopted in the Unity Synod of 1957, the 500th Anniversary of our Church. It is contained in a document entitled, “The Ground of the Unity,” a document of fewer than 1,700 words. The Ground of the Unity can be found online here.
Moravians are also asked to subscribe to a minimum of rules for practical and ethical living. These imperatives are found in a document entitled, “The Moravian Covenant for Christian Living.” This document dates back to “The Brotherly Agreement of 172?). The Covenant for Christian Living can be found online here
4 Our Practices
The worship and practices of the Moravian Church are rooted in the Bible. It is a liturgical church that follows the near-universally recognized Lectionary of readings from the Old and New Testaments that are simultaneously published and followed by denominations and churches around the world. Moravian Church worship is built around the Preaching of the Word and will always feature a sermon or homily by the pastor or other member of the congregation. The service is infused with song, and Moravians have long been pioneers in the world of sacred music. Today, you will still hear chorales by Bach, and hymns by Moravians from around the world.
5 Our Mottoes
The Moravian Church has two mottoes:
“Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow Him.”
“In Essentials, Unity;
In Non-Essentials, Liberty;
In All Things, Love.”
6 Our Vision
Our Vision grows from deep roots to produce new fruits. Fries Memorial Moravian Church will be a congregation that:
- Serves the community around us.
- Offers worship services that bring people closer to God.
- Communicates opportunities for growing in faith and serving our church and neighbors.
- Ensures our facility is prepared to serve.
This statement was the result of a two-year visioning process in which we examined our gifts, values, and dreams — and sought God’s will for using them to His glory as a congregation. Each year during our annual Stewardship Program, we review our accomplishments, re-evaluate our goals, and renew our commitment to this vision.
7 Our Staff Contact Information
Please do not hesitate to contact our staff with any questions you may have about our church:
- The Rev. Dr. Worth Green, Inter. Pastor firstname.lastname@example.org
- Heather Doty, Administrative Asst. email@example.com
- Michael Westmoreland, Director of Music firstname.lastname@example.org
- Julie Hartness, Asst. Director of Music email@example.com
- Cameron Snyder, Band Director firstname.lastname@example.org
- Harmon Carson, Custodian email@example.com “Attn: Mr. Carson”
Office Phone: (336) 722-2847
251 N. Hawthorne Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27104