Moravian Church in Canada

Home button
Moravian Church link
Board of Elders link
Organizations Link
Congregations link
Related Links link


600 Acadia Drive SE

Calgary, AB  T2J 0B8   

Phone: 403 271-2700

Fax: 403 271-2810


BECD President:
Bryan Peacock

VanEs Camp and
Conference Centre

About the Moravian Church

The name Moravian identifies the fact that this historic church had its origin in ancient Bohemia and Moravia, or what is today the Czech Republic.  Born out of persecution, the Moravian Church has a long history of mission.  We believe that God has called us from varied backgrounds to live out our faith through service to those in need.

We are part of the Unitas Fratrum, the Moravian Unity of the World Wide Moravian Church.  Over the years, Moravians have developed a clear statement of faith, and a guide of the principles by which we live and bear our witness in a Brotherly Agreement entitled “The Moravian Covenant for Christian Living”.Moravian Seal image

Our faith tradition is best summarized in the statement of our core values.

The Moravian Church is a Church that:

· Has its primary focus on Jesus

· Makes disciples

· Truly loves the discipline of worship, study and prayer

· Serves

· Extends love, understanding and compassion to all people

· Develops and provides leadership

· Is led by the teaching of the Holy Spirit

 · Is open to new and exciting possibilities of mission

The Moravian Church is a worldwide church, with more than 750,000 members, organized in 19 provinces around the world.  In Canada, there are eight congregations in Alberta, as well as congregations in Ontario & Labrador.  Although our history and identity are unique, we remain deeply connected with our bothers and sisters in other congregations across the Moravian Church Northern Province.

The Moravian Church Is…   Brochure

The Moravian Covenant for Christian Living

History of the Moravians in Canada

The completion of the railway link from Calgary to Edmonton, in 1891, gave rise to an influx of settlers into the Edmonton area.  The availability of good farm land at a very favorable terms was a bid incentive for people from many European points of origin.

Among the groups of settlers who arrived in Edmonton in the spring of 1894, were a group of Germans from Russia with a particular interest.  Besides seeking land suitable for farming to sustain their families, they were keenly interested in establishing Moravian Churches.  Canada offered them not only land to meet their needs, but religious freedom to worship as they please.  These people had been connected to the Moravian Church earlier in their lives, but after they had migrated to Russia from Poland, they had encountered religious repression and the loss of promised incentives and exemptions from military service.  Canada as a result was very attractive to them and they moved again.

Immediately after the Germans from Russia got settled on their lands, they organized two congregations and they applied to the headquarters of the Moravian Church in the United States to send a pastor to serve them.  The arrival of Rev. Clement Hoyler, a young 23 year old bachelor, homeland missionary, on February 6, 1896, at Strathcona, led the official start of Moravian work.  Under Hoyler’s leadership, churches were built at Bruderheim, north east of Edmonton, and at Bruderfeld, which is now part of the Millwoods subdivision in south east Edmonton.

Hoyler would spend 28 years in service to the people in Canada.  He not only planted several churches which served the settlers, but in 1902 a Moravian Church was started in Calgary.  Three years later, a new congregation was founded in south Edmonton.

In the early years, most of the Moravian Churches were in rural areas.  In more recent times, most of the Churches are now in urban areas, with two congregations now operating in Calgary and four in the Edmonton area.  Only two other churches are in rural areas.


Moravian Insights

The Moravian Motto

Although not original to the Moravian Church, this old motto has served as a reminder that love is the real spirit of acceptance, that love is the bottom line for our life together.  We are most Moravian when we dare to make this motto our living witness.

In Essentials, Unity

Christ is the one big essential.  The reality of God’s love offered in Christ is what our life of faith is all about.  We don’t understand or experience Christ in exactly the same way, but that doesn’t matter.  Our faith in Christ and our commitments to live as his followers are what really matter.  Christ is the ground and source of our unity.

In Non-Essentials, Liberty

Here we go beyond mere tolerance to acceptance of diversity.  It is not only okay to have a variety of worship forms, musical selections, clergy styles, program offerings and service opportunities; it is good and healthy for the life of the church.  Tolerance is too easy; acceptance is our real challenge.

In All Things, Love

Love affirms our unity rather than our divisions.  Love has the power to make of our differences no difference.  We believe we all have much more in common than we will ever have in difference.  Love not only brings us together in God’s family but keeps us together as a community of faith.


Moravian Motto

The Moravian Star

Originating in the Moravian boarding schools in Germany in the nineteenth century as an exercise in geometry, the star was carried throughout the world by missionaries and other church workers.  Now, from the Himalayas to the Caribbean, the star proclaims the hope of Advent.

The star reminds us of God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness and of the light which is the life of humanity.  It reminds us of the promise of Abraham that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars; we are reminded of the star that pointed to the "great and heavenly light from Bethlehem's manger shining bright."  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  This is the message of the Advent star, which also points to Jesus, who said, "I am the bright and Morning Star."  It is the star of promise, the star of fulfillment, and the star of hope.

moravian star picture

The Moravian Candle

From the beginning, the small, lighted candles distributed to Moravians in America were made from beeswax.  Beeswax, considered the purest of all animal or vegetable waxes, suggested the purity of Christ.  The candle, giving its life as it burned, suggested the sacrifice of the sinless Christ for sinful humanity.

Over time greater emphasis came to be placed upon the candle as representing Christ, the Light of the world and the light shed by the burning candle suggesting our Lord's command, "Let your light shine."

The candle is the symbol of Christ as the light of the world.  The red and white paper is a reminder of the blood of the Lamb, which "washes us and makes us whiter than snow."

Moravian Candle

Jesus Christ—The Chief Elder

On September 11, 1741, a synodical conference convened in Count Zinzendorf’s apartments on Red Lion Street in London.  Ten persons attended it, all selected by lot and all prominent in the activities of the church.  Since Leonhard Dober, the Chief Elder, remained firm in his determination to resign his office, those present found themselves in no little perplexity.

Various brethren were nominated as chief elder, but the lot negated each.  It was on September 16 when, to quote Zinzendorf’s words, the idea came to them “to accept the Saviour in this office.”  Immediately all those gathered reached the decision not to appoint anyone but Jesus Christ as the Chief Elder of our church.

Deeply moved, the conference now submitted the following question to the Lord by lot: “Whether this signified that the Savior would himself undertake the office.”  The answer of the lot was affirmative.  Since that day no member of our church has filled this office because Jesus Christ Himself is acknowledged as our Chief Elder.

Excerpt from the J. Hamilton & K. Hamilton’s  History of the Moravian Church

picture of Christ on the Cross

The Moravian Seal

The seal of the Moravian Church represents Jesus Christ as the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) carrying a staff, from which waves a banner of victory.  On the banner, a cross is clearly displayed, signifying Christ’s victory over sin and death.  The words “Our Lamb Has Conquered, Let Us Follow Him” encircle the image.  The ancient motif symbolizes that the victory was achieved not by force, nor deception, but through sacrificial death and resurrection of the Lamb.

This historic emblem goes back to the 16th century, and was a favourite symbol of the early Moravian believers.

modern moravian seal

Moravian Daily Texts

First published in 1731 in Saxony (now Germany), this little book grew out of a spiritual renewal of a Moravian congregation in Herrnhut.  In those days, Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf handed out a Losung, or "watchword," for the next day to each member of the congregation.  Thereafter one or more persons in the congregation went daily to each of the thirty-two houses in Herrnhut to bring them the watchword for the day.


Today, more than 1.5 million believers around the world use the Moravian Daily Texts.  The fact that the watchwords continue to be selected in Germany and used in over 50 languages and dialects is a symbol of our worldwide Moravian Unity.

Picture of Daily Text