In Anchorage, Alaska, on April 16-18, 2021 weekend, a diverse Spiritual gathering of Moravian Pastors, Elders, Young leaders, Seminary Builders, two Bishops, one Bishop-elect, and other Christian leadership happened for two days. This was two days of Pastor’s Training and three nights of Singspiration, Testimony, and worship! The event sponsored by United International Moravian Ministry Group (UIMM) and the Anchorage Moravian Church (AncMC) according to onlookers and participants was a “one-time glorious event” of true Moravian Fellowship of leadership from Pennsylvania, Texas, and Oregon. Included were participants from different cities of Alaska (Anchorage, Bethel, Big Lake, Dillingham, Wasilla, and Willow) including for the first time, two participants from the Tlingit city of Angoon near Alaska’s capital city Juneau.
Feelings were expressed that just the fact of having two Moravian Heritage bishops (one Alaska and the other Texas) together and a third bishop-elect (Pennsylvania), should have on its own brought many more excited people for the meetings. Out of the training and “living church” worship was birthed a new fire for global evangelism by Alaska’s UIMM Churches and Fellowships.
The April event’s theme for training and worship is “Fulfilling the Great Commission”. This Commissioning from our Savior is a major part of UIMM’s vision to rekindle the early pioneering missionary endeavor of the early Moravians under Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf. Each worship night, participants went forward “moved by God’s Spirit” after an altar call offered by The Rev. Dr. Doug Norwood Jr. Brother Doug is UIMM’s bishop-elect and newly installed UIMM International Outreach Director/Coordinator replacing Bishop Lauden Kangele of Seattle Washington. Each altar call, men and woman, older and young moved forward with a passion and promise all to do their part of “winning lambs” for Christ.
All in all, it was felt that heart religion or what is really close relationship with Jesus Christ energized by the Holy Spirit. It is also one of “commitment without membership” and one of explosive church planting and growth without “aggregation” – meaning no need for spirit of ownership. Taught was the example of the early Moravians that denominationalism should not be a god nor to allow the spirit of religion to control, but instead to model UIMM’s Churches and Fellowships as a Family modeled structure (German word for family under Zinzendorf was Gemeine), where family prayed and worked together.
UIMM’s stance as an Evangelical Group is that we are not a denomination made up of over 25 Churches and Fellowships, but a Moravian Heritage Ministry group – “a Living Family Living Out the Full Counsel of God’s Word”.