Churches Uniting In Christ

Reconciling the baptized, seeking unity with justice

Moravian “Mother Church” Names Black Pastor

Rev. Hopeton Clennon Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, begun in 1741 and considered the “mother church” of Moravians in this country, has named the Rev. Hopeton Clennon as its head pastor, beginning in January 2013. Clennon, 51, has been serving as chaplain at Moravian College and Theological Seminary in Bethlehem. Previously he served in his native Jamaica and then as pastor of three different congregations in the United States.


In 1998 Clennon was elected a bishop of the Moravian Church. In the Moravian Church a bishop, elected without nomination at a national gathering, is not necessarily an administrator. Rather, in addition to his or her other responsibilities, a bishop is expected to pray for the worldwide church and serve as a pastor to pastors.

The Moravian Church in the United States includes about 12 percent people of color, most with Moravian roots in the Caribbean or Latin America. The membership of the worldwide Moravian Church is about 80 percent black, the majority on the continent of Africa.

Clennon was part of the Moravian delegation at the Churches Uniting in Christ 2008 Plenary.