Video Introduction to a Moravian Lovefeast – Elon College,
The Moravian Church’s celebration of the Lovefeast recalls a special event in the history of this denomination on August 13, 1727. Early Moravians lived in a communal society. The church was facing difficulties. As the members met in the church they experienced spiritual renewal led by the Holy Spirit. Because of this experience they did not wish to end the service. Facing the practical need to eat they decided to continue their worship but to bring food and eat together in the service. This experience known as the renewal of the Moravian church is celebrated annually on the Sunday nearest August 13th.
This unique service traces its roots to the early centuries of Christianity when believers would share table fellowship as a way of demonstrating their love for Christ and for one another. The Moravian Lovefeast concentrates on the singing of hymns and listening to music which may come from the organ or choir. The songs and hymns chosen usually describe love and harmony. It is based on the Agape feast and the meals of the early churches
The modern Lovefeast meal consists of a Moravian bun and coffee. Celebrants sing hymns built around a scriptural theme during the serving and enjoy sacred choral music while partaking of the lovefeast. Lovefeasts are held on the following occasions during the church year:
Anniversary Sunday (date nearest April 20)
August 1 (Mission lovefeast)
Thanksgiving Lovefeast (Thanksgiving Eve)
The largest lovefeast is at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, probably the southern home of the Moravian church. The Wake Forest Lovefeast consists of a sweetened bun and creamed coffee. It is served to the participants by dieners (German for servers). During the meal, music is offered by the Wake Forest Concert Choir, Handbell Choir, Flute Choir and the Messiah Moravian Church Band. During the service of song and scripture reading, handmade beeswax candles decorated with red paper frill are distributed to each worshiper. The candles are lit while the worship space is darkened except for a large illuminated Moravian Advent Star for the singing of the final hymns. You can also watch previous year’s services here