The Moravian Church British Province

in things essential, unity... in non-essentials, liberty... in all things, charity

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Moravian Messenger


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Moravian Worship

Worship in the Moravian Church, like many other aspects of the Church’s life, allows a great deal of flexibility.

Moravian Schools

The Moravian Church has always been actively involved in education and today still maintains two independent schools. Fulneck in West Yorkshire and Ockbrook in Derbyshire.

Fulneck School, West Yorkshire

Fulneck School is a historic independent school with a Christian ethos, and is based in Pudsey, West Yorkshire, England.

The school was established in 1753 by the Moravian Church in order to provide an education for the sons and daughters of the Church's ministers and missionaries.

Today it provides a modern education for the pupils of West Yorkshire, as well as attracting a small number of boarders from the United Kingdom and overseas.

  • Ages 3 to 18 years
  • Separate Nursery, Kindergarten, Junior School & Senior School
  • Fully co-educational with small teaching groups
  • Day and boarding or flexi-boarding facilities
  • Bursaries and Scholarships available
  • Learning Support Unit
  • Overseas Language Development Support
  • Extended day facilities available (8.00am - 6.00pm)

fulneck-churchFor more information please visit the school web site, or contact directly:
Fulneck School, Pudsey, Leeds
West Yorkshire, England LS28 8DS

Tel: (0113) 257 0235
Fax: (0113) 255 7316


Ockbrook School, Derbyshire

Ockbrook-Moravian-SchoolOckbrook, a School established by the Moravian Church in 1799, maintains a Christian ethos which shows itself throughout the life and work of the School... governors, teachers, pupils and parents working together in the pursuit of excellence.

The key attribute of education at Ockbrook is that of developing the individual's full potential. The pursuit of excellence is central to the School's ethos and we have high expectations of all pupils as they respond to the sense of challenge and tradition that Ockbrook offers.

Our aim is to provide pupils with the best possible education. Our task is to discover where each person's particular talents lie and to develop the self-reliance and independent thought that are so necessary for adult life.

We hope you will join us and experience the confidence and achievements that best express the spirit of Ockbrook School.
For more information please visit the school web site, or contact directly:
Ockbrook School, Ockbrook, Derby DE72 3RJ
Tel: 01332 673532
Fax: 01332 665184


Moravians today

The Moravian Church today is a community of people who, despite many changes, attempt to fulfil the words of Christ, We have but one Master, Jesus Christ; and we are all brothers and sisters in him.

Within the Moravian Church throughout the world there exists a very special relationship between the members that not even culture, politics, or war has been able to damage.

What are our services like?

The Church uses liturgy, providing orderliness similar to Anglican worship, but there is also liberty to use a free order when desired. Communion is celebrated monthly, in many congregations after the morning or evening service, a number of the older congregations hold a monthly Lovefeast, a service of shared news and light refreshments, followed by Communion. Infant Baptism followed later by Confirmation is the recognised form of entry into membership.

Where in the UK are we?

Moravians first came to Britain in the 1730s and set up congregations by invitation of local people often establishing Settlements with their own farms, industries and schools. Even today the Church has two boarding/day schools at Ockbrook, near Derby and at Fulneck, near Leeds.

About 50 years ago the Moravian Church in England was strengthened by the arrival of members from the Caribbean who gave new life to the work in this country.

Today there are six regional areas where the Church can be found; in London & Bedford (Eastern District), around Birmingham, Leicester & Derby (Midlands District), from Oxford to Bristol (Western District), around Bradford & Leeds (Yorkshire District), around Manchester (Lancashire District) and in Northern Ireland (Irish District).

A few of the 31 congregations are in country villages, but most are in urban areas. All have the same warmth of fellowship, which is a marked feature of all Moravian communities. See our Church locations map page.

A Modern ecumenical outlook

From its earliest days the Church has sought to work in harmony with other Christians. It was a Moravian who led John and Charles Wesley to their 'heart warming' experience. Whilst in the 18th century theological differences divided Methodists and Moravians the two churches now find much in common. There are a number of joint Moravian/United Reformed Church congregations and in 1998 the signing of the Fetter Lane Agreement brought the Anglican and the Moravian Communions into a close working relationship with each other.

For specific information, please contact us directly
e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Moravian Christingle

This Moravian Christmas celebration has been widely adopted by churches of other denominations and we receive many enquiries as to its origin and meaning.

The idea of the Christingle began in the Moravian congregation of Marienborn, Germany, on 20th December, 1747. At a children’s service, hymns were sung and the minister, John de Watteville, read verses which the children had written to celebrate the birth of Jesus. He then explained to the children the happiness that had come to people through Jesus, “who has kindled in each little heart a flame which keeps burning to their joy and our happiness”. To make the point even clearer, each child then received a little lighted wax candle, tied round with a red ribbon. The minister ended the service with this prayer, “Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these children’s hearts, that theirs like Thine become”. The Marienborn Diary concludes, “hereupon the children went full of joy with their lighted candles to their rooms and so went glad and happy to bed”.

The Moravian Church took the custom of this service with them to Labrador and Pennsylvania, to Tibet and Suriname, to the Caribbean and South Africa, and people in each part of the world adapted it for their own use.

No one knows for certain when the word “Christingle” was first used or from what it is derived. Various suggestions have been made. One is that it comes from the old Saxon word “ingle” (fire), meaning “Christ-fire or light”. Another is that it derives from the German “engel” (angel), meaning “Christ-angel”, or it may derive from the German “kindle” (child), meaning “Christ-child”.

The symbolism gradually developed, and today in the Moravian Church in the British Province, the Christingle consists of an orange, representing the world, with a lighted candle to represent Christ, the Light of the World. Nuts, raisins and sweets on cocktail sticks around the candle represent God’s bounty and goodness in providing the fruits of the earth. Red paper, forming a frill around the base of the candle, reminds us of the blood of Christ shed for all people on the cross at Calvary.

In Moravian churches, the Christingle Service is usually held on the Sunday before Christmas or on Christmas Eve. Essentially, it is a children’s service, which reminds us that the Christ-child lies at the heart of our Christmas celebrations. The service usually includes the traditional Moravian carol:-

Morning Star, O cheering sight!
Ere thou cam’st how dark earth’s night!
Jesus mine,
In me shine;
Fill my heart with light divine.

Morning star, thy glory bright
Far excels the sun’s clear light:
Jesus be
More than thousand suns to me.

Thy glad beams, thou morning star,
Cheer the nations near and far;
Thee we own
Lord alone,
Man’s great Saviour, God’s dear Son.

Morning star, my soul’s true light,
Tarry not, dispel my night;
Jesus mine,
In me shine;
Fill my heart with the light divine.

At the climax of the service every child receives the gift of a Christingle, reminding us that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son……” (John 3:16). In this wonderful moment, in the darkened church, the visual symbol of the Christingle expresses the truth that in the darkness of the world there shines a great light.

We are glad that the Moravian Church has been able to make this contribution to the wider Christian world and we hope that this brief explanation may help to deepen and enrich the understanding of the Christingle Service, wherever it is held.

Moravian History - our past

The Moravian Church was founded in 1457 in Bohemia - the name Moravian derives from the refugees from Moravia who settled on lands of Count Zinzendorf in the 18th century, thus founding the renewed church.

Formally, we are known as the Unitas Fratrum or Unity of the Brethren. The original church suffered persecution during the counter-Reformation and survived in an underground fellowship over the next hundred years or so.


Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf

The present or Renewed Church is dated from 1727 when refugees initially from Moravia but also from other states, were granted permission to settle on lands belonging to Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf in Saxony near the present day border with Poland. The settlement was named Herrnhut - ‘under the watch of the Lord’.

The settlers lived in community and, on August 13 1727, were blessed by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that so fired them with enthusiasm for the Gospel that it was not long before men were being sent out from Herrnhut to the West Indies, to North America and to other places nearer home, to carry the Saviour’s message of redeeming grace to those who had not heard it.

A Church with a Mission

Zinzendorf’s vision was not that the ‘Moravians’ should be a separate church but should rather form societies within established churches, to encourage work already being carried on. This aim, however, was not realised for various reasons, and eventually a separate church was formed. It was never intended to set up work in England because that was the domain of the established church and missionaries only spent time in London en route for America and the West Indies.

However, as these missionaries spent time in London awaiting their sailing dates, they met and worshipped with other devout Christians in the City. As the group grew in numbers and became too large to meet in private houses, a room was rented and eventually, in 1740, a chapel off Fetter Lane, near Fleet Street.

Inspiration for the Wesleys

During this time the Society included John and Charles Wesley and there followed a period of disagreements as the members wrestled with various theological issues. Eventually there was a separation and the Wesleys went in one direction and the Moravians in another. The Fetter Lane chapel was registered under the Toleration Act in September 1742 and, following a mutually amicable visit to the Archbishop of Canterbury in October of that year, the first congregation was settled in Fetter Lane. The Society had been an important focus of what came to be seen as the 18th century evangelical revival in England.

Other congregations were settled in due course as Moravian workers moved, generally by invitation, to parts of the country that were not well served by the Church of England. You can see where our congregations are today by visiting the Church Locations page.