Our two newest churches signify yet another aspect of growth.
In our 250 years, the Southern Province has seen several ways of church expansion. First was planting of settlements in the wilderness. Bethabara, Bethania, Salem (Home), Friedberg, Friedland, and Hope still thrive today, two centuries and more after founding. St. Philips, Mount Bethel, Willow Hill, and Crooked Oak represent mission work, whether next door or in the mountains. The blossoming of the Sunday school movement doubled, then tripled the size of the Province in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Quincentennial celebration in 1957 led directly to the movement into Florida, which faltered, then gained renewed strength as many Moravians immigrated there from lands to the south. Then in the 1970s the “fellowship” concept led to groups of worshipers as far flung as Kentucky, South Carolina, and the “Crystal Coast” of North Carolina.
Now the Southern Province has embarked on yet another avenue of church growth — deliberate church planting in areas of high growth where there already may — or may not — be Moravians.
New Beginnings in Huntersville, a fast-growing northern suburb of fast-growing Charlotte, was the first church developed this way.
In June 2000 PEC called Chris Thore to oversee the new work, and more than 70 people attended the first worship service that October 1. Early on, the upbeat name New Beginnings was chosen. By the following spring 38 members came together to make a “first trip” to the Easter Sunrise services in Salem. The charter was opened on February 17, 2002, and closed on Pentecost, May 19, 2002, with New Beginnings now officially a full congregation of the Southern Province.
So far services were generally held in the chapel of a funeral home, but progress has been made to secure a permanent home for New Beginnings. A Baptist church, complete with pews, chairs, pulpit furniture, choir robes, and baptistery, was made available to the congregation in the spring of 2003. Meanwhile, on December 11, 2002, a 12-acre site was purchased for construction in the future. It’s a superb location, on a corner with access from three different directions. That and the enthusiasm of its members have New Beginnings bidding fair to become a regional church, building “something wonderful in that part of North Carolina.”