The first Moravian General Synod to be held outside of Europe met in Bethlehem, PA, in 1957, and it was historic in many ways. It was the first synod in nearly two centuries to have a woman delegate and the first synod held in English instead of German. The synod made some of the most profound changes in the structure and doctrine of the Moravian Church since the days of Zinzendorf. Former mission fields, like South Africa West and Jamaica, were made self-dependent provinces of the new Unity. Synod adopted a new structure of self-governing provinces loosely joined in the Unity, which was similar to the British Commonwealth of Nations. And the church adopted a new doctrinal statement called the Ground of the Unity. This article places the 1957 in its historical context and examines how the Moravians adapted to the end of European colonialism by adopting a new understanding of its mission to the world.

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