First Baptist Church Elizabeth City, NC

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The Community Moravian Lovefeast

lovefeastThe Moravian Lovefeast is based on the Agape feast and the meals of the early churches described in the Bible in the Acts of the Apostles, which were partaken in unity and love. Traditionally for European, Canadian, and American Lovefeasts, servers serve a sweetened bun and coffee to the congregation in the pews.

When the Moravians traveled North Carolina in the 18th century, they brought with them this tradition.  Settling in the Piedmont region of the state, the Moravians still celebrate this occasion on the first Thursday of December with food, fellowship, and song.

Clifford and Anna Bair brought the Community Moravian Lovefeast tradition to our community many years ago.  They were wonderful musicians and were familiar with this tradition from their home town of Winston-Salem.  The service was originally held at Cann Memorial Presbyterian Church, but later moved to the First Baptist Church because the space would accommodate more people.

The Love Feast is a tradition of the Moravian Church that is designed to celebrate Christian love for one another.  During the service, the congregation is encouraged to quietly pray for each other and celebrate Christian love for each other in our community.  Attendees are served the traditional Moravian buns and coffee during the special music portion of the program.  Several ministers from area churches lead the service.  A community choir, assembled from singers in our area, and small orchestra lead the music.  There is also have a guest soloist each year.

MLF13The congregation sings many Christmas Carols during the service, and many are traditional carols, but a few are less familiar tunes that are used in the Moravian Church. The choral anthems contain mostly Christmas based themes.

Many of the carols are very familiar – O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful.  Morning Star, O Cheering Sight is less familiar, but is a Moravian carol.  The choral pieces are composed around Christmas themes with one exception – Homeward Bound by Marta Keen.  This anthem is themed more about home and returning.

The Moravian tradition calls for a lot of brass instruments and we have a brass quartet or quintet each year.  In addition, we have a wonderful string quintet, several woodwinds, and percussion pieces.  Many of the choral anthems require orchestration and that determines which instruments are used.  For the congregational carols, in addition to the organ, the string section, and/or brass section plays on each stanza.  We also try to include some stanzas sung a capella.

MLF2

You are invited to come to this wonderful and spiritual fulfilling service on the first Thursday in December.  Please see the calendar page for date and time.

The service will be broadcast LIVE.  If you would like to view it, click on the graphic in the right hand column “View our live broadcast”  

Link to 2016 Moravian Lovefeast