This past weekend, St Chrysostom’s was part of English Heritage Open Days and on Sunday some church members ventured out to the Fairfield Moravian Settlement.
The Moravian Church grew out of a movement led by Jan Hus in Bohemia. Hus wanted the Roman Catholic Church in Bohemia and Moravia to adopt practices of the Eastern Orthodox Church such as worship in the people’s language, laity receiving both the body and blood of Christ at the Eucharist, and married priests. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, but the movement he began later became a church.
In the eighteenth century, settlements were begun by Moravians to support one another, enabling individual members to live out their vocations more fully. Moravians were actively involved in the evangelical revival in England and education. Fairfield Settlement was founded in 1785; they ran boarding schools for boys and girls, and Charles Hindley, a member of the settlement, was active in factory reform in the nineteenth century.
Moravians have put their faith into action over the centuries; this aspect of their community impressed the group from St Chrysostom’s so much that some of them dressed up like traditional Moravians! Toby, a new parish assistant, was surprised at its unspoilt nature, a peaceful oasis amongst Manchester’s urban noise, and Sonia was struck by the self-sufficiency of the settlement; for her, it evinced a kind of Christian spirit often not seen today.
The witness of this small community speaks to us, and challenges Christians today.