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The Next

Updated: Mar 28



Last evening I had the opportunity to share vision and strategy with our local foundation. I sensed a transitional moment, a legacy in the making.


The Shallow Ford Foundation was recently renamed from its founding name, the Clemmons Community Foundation. Given its growing reach, now well beyond Clemmons, local leaders felt better that it be titled after a shallow area in the Yadkin River, once used for the crossing of wagons passing along the Great Wagon Road.


The road was a narrow, rough, and muddy route (sounds like life). Most people walked the road, but some traveled by wagon or horse. The road was primarily used by Scot-Irish migrants, and later by Pennsylvania Germans.


Life, particularly deep spiritual impact, that which rights injustice and impacts quality of life for generations, is best defined as legacy.


One's life individually is quite brief. Thus legacy is a multi-generational process, but without understanding one's life purpose, days ordained for legacy can be lost. Your life matters!


Each morning now for several days, I have worked my way through a historical summary of those known for settling the famous Wachovia Tract.


Though myself and family are of an other denomination than Moravian, I have always sensed a connection with these pioneers in the faith. Actually, I am told of blood kin, through my mothers family, the Earnhardts of Faith, N.C.


Though now spelled differently, it seems that one, Jacob Ehrenhardt was born near Worms, Germany to Johannes Ehrenhardt and Anna Margaretha Funck in 1716.


He would later board the Ship Glasgow from Rotterdam on September 9, 1738, then marrying Barbara Andreas, and later granted warrant for 126 acres of land in the Maguntschi area of Pennsylvania. He describes himself as "a blind man groping in the dark," his prayer, "that God would lead him and his people to someone who could lead then to salvation."


Can I ever relate!


He would later engage with the Unitas Fratrum, a Protestant denomination dating to the Bohemian Reformation of the 15th century, we know them as Moravians.


Here I sit, just a few yards from Spangenberg Avenue in Clemmons, named for August Gottlieb Spangenberg, 1704 – 1792, who would through Nikolaus Ludwig, Reichsgraf von Zinzendorf be sent to America as

a German theologian and a bishop of the Moravian Church.


After an interval in Europe (1749–51), Spangenberg extended Moravian missionary work to North Carolina and in 1762 went back to Germany for the last time, assuming leadership of the Unitas Fratrum as a member of its governing body.


They of course would have traversed the Great Wagon Trail at some point.


I was in fact privileged as mayor, to honor their work and passage by way of an historical marker, given that the first stake in the ground for the famous 100,000 acre Wachovia Tract was on the Clemmons' side of Muddy Creek.


So, what's next for this descendent of folk who have spiritual history as far back as Jan Hus, (1369 - 1415), he though burned at the stake on July 6, 1415 for heresy against the Catholic Church.


As I said earlier, legacy is multi-generational, given as James 4:14 reminds us, comparing our life to a "vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."


Over these past few weeks, I have spent my early morning hours ruminating over years spent praying for this greater Winston-Salem area, thus all this seems relevant. Especially given this transformational moment in our nation, one so gifted with Christian heritage, yet so stained with a history quite unjust toward many.


Quite the paradox, yet a scarlet thread seems captured most prophetically when one retraces our history.


An awakening is under way, though words like deconstruction are now prevalent among younger generations.


Chaos always precedes change, yet truth marches on.


I find myself in somewhat of a cusp moment, daily living for "the next", with an anticipation rightfully my own, though quite progessive relative to those who for centuries have passed forward their spiritual DNA!




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Mr. W.D. Warner told me when I was a child his grandfather use to cross the Yadkin River with a wagon and a team of mules from Hampton to Forsyth County.

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