The first Moravian Lovefeast was served in Germany on August 13, 1727, following the Renewal of the Moravian Church. Lovefeast is styled after the common meal partaken in love and fellowship by the early Church (as described in the Book of Acts).
The first lovefeast in North Carolina was held on the evening of the arrival of the Moravians at Bethabara in 1753. Warm mugs of sweetened coffee, prepared in the Moravian tradition, and authentic Moravian buns are served to the congregation. Seasonal music and Christmas carols set a festive tone while the congregation enjoys the “feast.” The candle portion of the service began as a Moravian children’s service. Handmade beeswax candles decorated with a red paper frill are distributed to each worshiper. The beeswax candles have been variously described as symbolizing the purity of Christ and the sacrifice of Christ as the light of the world. The candles are lit while the worship space is darkened except for a large illuminated Moravian Advent Star. Often led by a child, worshipers sing the antiphonal hymn, Morning Star, O Cheering Sight. In some congregations, after the last hymn, the worshipers carry their lighted candles out into the world.
Note: For the 2018 listings, most services have a brass band prelude beginning thirty (30) minutes prior to the start time. Most churches do provide a nursery, but you may want to visit their website or call the church for more specific information.
This information has been gathered by the Board of Cooperative Ministries of the Moravian Church, Southern Province. The Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM) engages and supports congregations and RCCs in their ministries as together we grow in faith, love and hope, following Jesus in serving the world.
*Churches marked with an asterisk: the information provided is from 2017 – please call this church directly to confirm times.
Photos by Andrew David Cox, BCM and Mike Riess, IBOC