Moravian Lovefeast

Serving Buns at Moravian Lovefeast - photo courtesy of By Will and Deni McIntyre.

Serving Buns at Moravian Lovefeast - photo courtesy of By Will and Deni McIntyre.

One of our most beloved traditions is the celebration of the Lovefeast. Based loosely on the Agape Meal in the early Apostolic church, it is a simple meal served during the singing of thematic hymns as a symbol of love, fellowship and trust.

The Lovefeast is not a sacrament (like communion) but a way of celebrating our connectedness in the family of God.

While there may be a meditation, the message of the service is carried in Scripture readings and carefully selected thematic hymns, a musical service known as a singstunde. During the singing of the hymns, deiners (a German word for “server”) bring out the elements of the simple meal — at Trinity, usually sweetened coffee with cream (known in the South as “Moravian coffee”) and a sweetened bun. The cups and buns are passed from person to person; when all are served a simple blessing is said and all partake, usually while listening to choral anthems also selected to tie into the theme of the service.

The specific items that are served during Lovefeast vary all over the world. In England, milky tea is served in delicate china cups. In the Caribbean, ginger beer is served with British tea biscuits. Some churches serve Moravian sugar cake, others the sweetened bun from the historic Winkler bakery.

The Lovefeast is used to celebrate any special occasion, but the most familiar form is the Christmas Eve Candle Lovefeast, where specially wrapped beeswax candles are distributed to the congregation at the end of the service to remind worshippers that Christ is the light of the world. Learn more about Christmas Candles!