The story behind the Moravian church is such a remarkable one and one of the most interesting pieces of Winston-Salem’s history. Those involved in the Moravian church are proud of its heritage and are always eager to share the story. This year marks the fourth-annual Moravian Children’s Festival & Lovefeast.
“Our goal is to teach families the paths that Moravians followed in settling in this area,” said Beth Hayes, director of Congregational Ministries and Resources –Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries. “We began with the first settlement in Bethabara, moved to Bethania, and last year it was in Salem Square. This year we are happy to go to the fourth settlement, which was Friedberg community. Each festival has had unique activities that blend with the particular community.”
The festival will begin at 2 pm with children’s activities. At 4:45 pm, there will be a Lovefeast, complete with church bells and a Moravian band. The festival is an exciting way for children to learn about the Moravian church, while also providing educational opportunities for adults.
“A group of laypeople and educators in the Moravian Church formed the Children and Family Task Force,” said Hayes. “One person had experienced being a part of a children’s festival in the Moravian Church when she grew up. Her memories made her push us to think about starting the tradition again. Our goal was for families to experience Moravian history in an experiential way, and these families might be mother, father, other children, grandparents or Sunday School leaders. My role as the director of Congregational Ministries and Resources for the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries was to serve as a guide with others from various areas to be sure that this tradition continues each year and that the focus is very clear.”
This year’s children’s activities were thoughtfully planned to be educational and interesting! “We will begin with an opening, and then families will travel in one of five groups to various activities, changing up every 20 minutes,” said Hayes. “The activities this year include a tour of the history room at Friedberg and making of a putz of the Friedberg community; a walking trail to experience how early settlers came here, culminating with a visit to a petting zoo; a creative art center where families will have the opportunity to make a Moravian seal on canvas that will be given to the Moravian Archives to commemorate this year’s event; and story-rock bags where families will get rocks to paint and depict their families; a mission and game center, where families will learn from missionaries, plus participate in games and a photoshoot, complete in Moravian costume; and finally, a Moravian cookie station where the Hanes Family will talk about their family tradition. It will all end with a Lovefeast in the sanctuary, where chocolate milk and Moravian cookies will be used in the traditional service. Each person is served the drink in a miniature Lovefeast mug, and cookies are wrapped in commemorative napkins.”
No matter what your religious background, there is something for everyone at the Moravian Children’s Festival & Lovefeast. “I do feel that people of all faiths will learn from this festival,” said Hayes. “The Winston-Salem area is rich with Moravian connections from the very beginning. This is one way that people can learn a little about this faith and why it is so important to the beginning of Winston-Salem. My hope is that the festival will continue each year. I have witnessed all ages having fun in an afternoon of learning that has been exciting and meaningful each year. We began with about 150 participants the first year, and it has grown each year. Last year, we had 260 participating from 22 different churches. This year, we would love to go past the 300 mark.”
The Moravian Children’s Festival & Lovefeast will be held on August 20th from 2-5:30 pm at Friedberg Moravian Church, 2178 Friedberg Church Road in Winston-Salem. For more information, e-mail Beth Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.