Thanks for visiting First Moravian Church of Dover on the web. We realize the internet is a great way to visit and get to know a church without actually stepping through its' doors.
The First Moravian Church of Dover, Ohio, is one of several Moravian churches in Tuscarawas County. Our site contains a wealth of information for both our members and visitors alike. We welcome you to join us for weekly worship opportunities each Sunday from September-June at 8:00 & 10:30 a.m.; Sunday School for all ages is at 9:15 a.m. During the summer months of July and August, we have one worship service at 9:30 a.m. Adult Sunday School is at 8:15 a.m. Everyone is welcome!
We hope you will take the time to search through our site and check out our ministries and activities with a personal visit. We would love for you to experience and participate with us at a First Moravian Church service or event. We encourage you to spend some time exploring our vision, history, and ongoing ministry.
As you read this today, I would like you to consider your level of commitment to the Lord and this congregation. We have been on this plot of land for 172 years at the First Moravian Church of Dover, Ohio. We have dug some very deep and lasting roots. Now, it’s time for us to continue sharing our joy for the Lord with others.
Consider what you might do this spring to deepen your walk with the Lord.
Telling Our Exceptional Story
by Pastor John
Moravians have been in the Tuscarawas Valley from the very beginning as the first white missionaries in the region in 1772. Moravian's are part of our region's history. That’s one reason I have volunteered at the Schoenbrunn Village ever since I came to Dover as your pastor. I want people to know that there are still living, walking, breathing, loving, leading and laughing Moravians. When I lead school groups on tours of the village or tell about the stories that unfolded during those early years, what a joy it is for me when the tourist or even the local visitor discovers that I am a Moravian. Such a revelation of insight gives me the opportunity to speak fondly of our heritage, background and yes, current ministries in the valley. Often times, I get that quizzical look from the visitor and I smile and say to the friend traveler, “We Moravians are not dead.” (I could add “yet”, but I don’t because – the reality is, we are a declining church in North America, but a growing church in Central America and Africa.).
When I tell the Schoenbrunn story, I also tell of our current narratives in ministry in the valley. I talk about our good community work. How our congregation is sponsoring an orphanage in Kenya, sending local missionaries to Honduras or placing shoes on children’s feet through Sole Purpose; our Friday luncheons for mission work or our sweet sugar cakes for outreach, combine love and service to our neighbors near and far; our quality VBS summer program or our excellent summer church camp opportunities teach so much joy about Jesus that we must share; our fine food delivery program among all six churches distributes food out of the Dover/Phila Food Pantry to the unfortunate; our quality work helping develop the fine arts in the school district (Spring Art Show and Chalk Walk); and our love for music and bringing a quality music event to the Performing Arts Center for the whole community (Grace in the Valley).
We are not “dead”; we are an Easter people that appreciates our heritage, serves others in the present and thanks the Lord for all God’s love and mercy. So if you are given a chance to talk to someone about this little congregation on the corner of Walnut and Fourth, don’t shy away from the opportunities to lift up the goodness of God’s love working through us in this congregation. Don’t feel inferior or superior in our witness to the Lord. We are a church that cares for others. Let our actions deliver such love.
So this spring when I dress up in my colonial outfit and three-cornered hat, I will lead and speak to another 350 children and adults about our Moravian history. I will love to tell our past and our current story. Join me in telling our exceptional living story.
A Fielder’s Choice
by Pastor John
I played mostly two positions in my non-stellar baseball career. They included right field and 2nd base. Right field was mine for the first two years of my baseball career, a place a coach often placed the least skilled player. As my skills improved, the coaches moved me to 2nd base for the next four years. I must admit I had my fair share of ground balls going between my legs like a train through a tunnel.
One thing coach Martin taught us was to “get the lead runner”. A player in the infield needs to know where the runners were and who would get the out – where the “ball needs to go for the out". Otherwise, aptly put by the infielder, “Play's at second. Play's at second.”
In Luke 12:35, Jesus put it best – Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning. No I’m not going to play the purest card “that baseball was meant to be played in the daytime, not under the lights”, but I’d rather focus on the idea of “being ready – communicating – knowing where the ball needs to go”. In baseball, communicating between batters is an essential for the players on the field. Knowing where the ball needs to go, how many outs there are, and talking it up around the diamond was an essential for Coach Martin. So when the ball is hit, you are the fielder to retrieve it – you know where it has to go and throw it there. We call that a fielder’s choice.
Fielder’s choice term refers to a play in which a runner is able to advance a base due to a choice made by the defensive player. It will most often be an attempt to get another player out at a different base, or indifference to the player advancing a base. It is called a fielder’s choice because the defender, or fielder, has an option of where to throw the ball to get an out and not let a runner advance.
Over those years of playing and practicing, we instinctively learned and knew where the ball needed to go because of the base runners on the field. When our team, my U12 team, won the division, what a joy it was to finally be on a team that was a winning team. We had moved from the Bad News Bears to the Yankees.
In our semifinals game in the playoffs, our team was in the running for a trophy until we had two costly errors in one inning. I missed a ground ball – again doing my “choo choo train tunnel” look as the ball raced between my legs. Then in a clutch moment, with a runner on third and one out, our third baseman, instead of checking the runner on third, just threw the ball to first on a fielder’s choice. The batter was out but the runner scored. Our third baseman made the wrong choice. We lost.
My team, the Giants, were dressed and ready for the game and the inning, but for that one brief moment we didn’t communicate where the ball needed to go. We forgot to have enough oil for our lamps, or worse yet, we forgot to light it, to tell others where we were going.
As a congregation, where are we going? Let me communicate the good steps we will take this summer.
· We will move to one service in the summer (July/August) at 9:30 a.m. and continue our fun and epic trek through the Bible.
· We will continue to study the Word, worship the Lord, fellowship together and pray through small groups, gatherings, church camps, events and more.
· We will form a committee that will begin some vital plans and work for enhancing our sanctuary for our 175th anniversary.
· We will begin a funding campaign loan for the purchase of the Earley home this July. You will be hearing more about this project directly.
· Soon after September 1, we will be cleaning up, cleaning out and refurbishing the Earley home in preparation for renting it out. The rent proceeds from the property, after expenses, we will be using to help enhance our staff needs for the church.
· Finally, we will begin to move from a “welcoming” church to an “inviting” church this fall. We will discover ways to share our mission and ministries with others and grow our base accordingly.
Just like in life, God places us in certain positions and places to make a difference in the moment. Help us make a better choice this summer as we let the Holy Spirit infuse us with more faith, hope and love for our neighbors near and far. Embrace the Moravian experience. Remember, on a fielder’s choice, know where to throw the ball. As your summer unfolds, I hope you make the better choices on and off the field of life.
Now Available: Electronic Giving
by Dave Yoder
We are pleased to announce the introduction of an electronic option for making regular offerings. Contributions can now be debited automatically from your checking or savings account. Our new electronic giving program offers convenience for you and much-needed donation consistency for our congregation. If you are currently giving on a weekly basis, you will no longer need to write out 52 checks a year or prepare 52 envelopes. And, when travel, illness or other circumstances prevent you from attending services, this program will allow your weekly offerings to continue on an uninterrupted basis.
To become an electronic giver, stop in the church office to pick up a registration form. Thank you!