600 Acadia Drive SE
Phone: 403 271-2700
Fax: 403 271-2810
VanEs Camp and
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”.
Our faith tradition is best summarized in the statement of our
The Moravian Church is a Church that:
its primary focus on Jesus
loves the discipline of worship, study and prayer
love, understanding and compassion to all people
and provides leadership
led by the teaching of the Holy Spirit
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 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
Among the groups of settlers who arrived in Edmonton in the
spring of 1894, were a group of Germans from Russia with a
Besides seeking land suitable for farming to sustain
their families, they were keenly interested in establishing
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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."
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
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
Excerpt from the J. Hamilton & K. Hamilton’s
History of the Moravian
The Moravian Seal
The seal of the Moravian Church represents Jesus Christ as the
(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.
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
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.