The key themes in Home Moravian Church’s heritage and history are missions, education, service, music, fellowship and celebration of the good news of God’s love for us all in Jesus Christ.
Home Moravian Church was established on November 13, 1771, soon after Moravian settlers from Pennsylvania and elsewhere began to build the community of Salem. Located on the 100,000-acre Wachovia tract purchased from the Earl of Granville, this was the third congregation town, following Bethabara in 1753 and Bethania in 1760.
The sanctuary building itself, with its distinctive belfry, was completed in 1800, to which the Rondthaler Building (named for a prominent bishop) was added years later. A Christian Education and Fellowship Hall building were constructed prior to World War II.
Salem was to be the industrial and administrative center for the Moravians in North Carolina. Its economy and nurturing groups would enable mission work to go forth to the Cherokees in northern Georgia and other peoples. Home Church established Sunday schools and worship places in many areas of what became Winston-Salem. Those became churches that are part of what is now called Salem Congregation.
Home Church and the Salem Congregation hold annual Easter Sunrise services in God’s Acre, the Moravian graveyard, where hundreds of band members provide antiphonal music as worshipers gather. Other special worship events include the Great Sabbath lovefeast on the Saturday after Good Friday, the Christmas Eve lovefeasts and the Watchnight service on New Year’s Eve.
The Women’s Fellowship of Home Church sponsors a Candle Tea at the Single Brothers’ House on Salem Square every December. Visitors learn about longstanding traditions of the church and hear a reading of the Christmas story.
Moravians have long held a strong belief in education. In 1772 a school was started for girls. This evolved into Salem Academy and College, just south of Home Church’s sanctuary. Members of Home Church continue to be active in outreach programs, often working with other churches and non-profit organizations.
Music is a key part of the Moravian heritage. Moravian composers, many of whom have lived in Salem, have been major contributors to the world’s sacred and classical music. The Moravian Band – mostly brass instruments – has for centuries been employed for calls to worship, special occasions and death announcements.