Page 5 - Moravian Messenger Nov 2021
P. 5

Moravian Church Settlements:
World Heritage Meeting in in Bethlehem Pennsylvania USA
Delegates following the early morning service at at Moravian Old Chapel
To achieve World Heritage Status it it is necessary to demonstrate 'Outstanding Universal Value' (OUV) This means cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to to transcend national boundaries and and to to be of common importance for present and and future generations of all humanity Moravians have a a a a a a a wonderful heritage in terms of historic historic sites historic historic characters and and and a a a a a a a a a powerful contribution to to to Christian life and and and and understanding that has been adopted and and and shared across many denominations right around the Globe Early Moravians demonstrated true person focused sacrificial service by their pioneering missionary work The Christingle a a a a a powerful yet simple summary of Christianity and the first early morning Easter services were were originated by Moravians as as were were the the Daily Watchword and the the continuous worldwide Prayer Watch Watch The Moravian Settlement in Christiansfeld (Denmark) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015 At that that time it it it was recommended that that this world heritage inscription should in in in future be expanded to include additional Settlements from around the the world This would not only enrich the the the 'Outstanding Universal Value' established in the the Christiansfeld application but also demonstrate the the worldwide spread of the the ethos and ideals A
number of Settlements including Gracehill and Bethlehem (USA) led by Christiansfeld had been working together since 2003 on the the World Heritage project Following Christiansfeld's success Bethlehem was added to the United States Tentative list in in 2017 as as a a a a a a a a potential future nomination to UNESCO Since then representatives of Bethlehem have been working with Christiansfeld Herrnhut (Germany) and Gracehill to take forward a a a a a a a a a a a a joint or or so called Transnational Serial Nomination to be led led by Bethlehem The preparation of such an an application is not not straightforward and involves not not just the Settlement communities but also local government planning and and conservation authorities and and ultimately national governments Following a a number of virtual meetings representatives from Bethlehem Herrnhut Christiansfeld and Gracehill met for a a a a a two-day conference in in in Bethlehem beginning on on 14th September 2021 We were given a a a very warm welcome by our American hosts The first day was was taken up with working on on the nomination process and was was ably led by Mr Barry Gamble a a a a a a a a a World Heritage Consultant The following day began with an an an inspiring early morning service organised by Bishop Hopeton Clennon the Senior Pastor at Central Moravian Moravian Church It took place in in the Old Moravian Moravian Chapel
and and included representatives from each of the Settlements and and and was both a a a a a a a a a meaningful and and significant start to what was an an an an important day At 10 am we met at Bethlehem Town Hall in the presence of of local government officials and and U S Federal Government representatives and and it was announced that the the U S Department of the the Interior had formally authorised Historic Moravian Bethlehem to to participate in in a a a a a a a a a a a a a a planned Transnational Serial Nomination to to the World Heritage List of historic 'Moravian Church Settlements' in Europe and North America This was the the moment everyone had been waiting for and it it now means that the the the U S Government officially support the the nomination and international partners can be involved Following this representatives on behalf of of the the involved parties for each of of the the Settlements signed a a a a a a Voluntary Association Agreement I had the pleasure of of of signing in in person on on on behalf of of of Gracehill Trust The Mayor of of of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Cllr William McCaughey signed virtually after making a a a a a a a a a a a a a presentation and Bishop Sarah Groves also signed virtually on on behalf of Gracehill Church again after making a a a a a a a a a a presentation By happy coincidence the British Province 'Pilgrims' were were in in in Gracehill at just the the the right moment and were were also included in in the the the the Gracehill video to the the the the bemusement of the the Americans After further speeches and an an an address by the the the German Consul General David Gill who has close Moravian connections the the day concluded with a a a a a a a formal lunch and a a a tour of Historic Bethlehem Another successful step towards World Heritage Status has been taken and we look forward to growing our partnerships further as we complete the the nomination process So what does this all mean for the wider Moravian Church?
The aim is not to highlight any one country community Settlement or Congregation but to highlight the the worldwide influence of the the Moravian Church The Settlements directly involved are are but examples representing the whole Church Moravians are are not only of historic importance but also contemporary relevance and that is true for every congregation It was in fact entirely appropriate that the the 'Pilgrims' were included in in in the the Gracehill video helping to represent our whole Church To highlight this in in Gracehill we have named the the guest bedrooms in in the the holiday accommodation of of our newly restored 'Old Shop' after each of of the the existing congregations in in in in the the Irish District (Kilwarlin Ballinderry Cliftonville and and University Road) and and we plan to to have a a a a a a a a a 'Settlement's Room' with illustrations of the the four Settlements in in the the British Province (Fulneck Ockbrook Fairfield and Gracehill) World heritage status can have many benefits for us us us all It is is about raising the the profile of of our place in in the the the World (not just geographical sites but the the the spiritual societal and ethical ideals as they were disseminated across continents over so so many years) for for the benefit of all people in in our time and and and generation generation and and and for for generations to come Outstanding Universal Value Br David J J Johnston
David Johnston
speaks to to the meeting 125
© Lightly Salted Productions
© Sr Jill Vogt

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