May marks the centennial of the legal joining of the towns of Salem and Winston in 1913. Our congregation was just a year old, Sunnyside still a bustling new suburb with Model T Fords chugging around the streets and the trolley car that ran up South Main Street was run by the Fries Manufacturing and Electric Company.

By this time, of course, “Salem” was the old town and “Winston” was the bubbling, exciting, center of business. So there is some justification in people talking about the joining of “Winston” and “Salem,” though I am sort of honor-bound to remind them that it was really the other way around, since Salem came first! Also, being a card-carrying member of the Language Police, I get a dour look whenever anyone discusses our minor league ball team, since the symbol joining the names is a hyphen, not a “dash.” And yes, there is a difference! Ask any English teacher or typesetter!

There will be a special Lovefeast celebrating the unification of the two towns into the city we know today on Mother’s Day, May 12, at 4:00 pm in May Dell the amphitheatre behind the Salem College Fine Arts Center. Special thanks to the Rt. Rev Graham Rights, who served on the planning committee, and David Shaffner and Robin Goslen, Head dieners of Home Moravian Church, for their organization of the serving of the lovefeast.

There are those who have complained to me that Moravians were not more acknowledged, or had more leadership in the planning of this centennial celebration. But just as my reminding folks that “Salem was first!” is kind of futile, this is a sort of complaint is a vain exercise on its own. As long as we “Followers of the Lamb” allow others to tell our story for us, we will be relegated to the past as a quaint footnote. Old Salem guides (unintentionally, I am sure) often leave visitors with the impression that Moravians have all died out, or that we still wear old-fashioned clothes like the Amish. Even our affiliated organizations seem as if they pay us an obligatory historical nod, but behave as if we are irrelevant today. The fact is, the City is not responsible for telling our story to outsiders, Old Salem is not responsible for telling our story to the world, Salem College and Salem Academy are not responsible for bearing the testimony of our faith to the young – WE are! We are responsible for our testimony – testimony that following the Lamb is a significant reality today, that living faithfully is something that we do now, that the community of faith is a living, viable, and significant part of life in the 21st century, not just an interesting historical footnote.

And, by the way – this sentence (and the last two) contained a real DASH. Winston-Salem is joined by a HYPHEN.

- Pastor John