By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
BALTIMORE—This is an exciting time for the Maryland Bible Society (MBS). The Baltimore institution celebrated its 200th anniversary. The National Bible Association has declared Baltimore as its site for national Bible week with a huge ecumenical celebration in November. MBS now has a new executive director. David Moyer, a member of Long Green Church, assumed that leadership role on July 1, replacing Raymond Moreland, who served and, in many ways was the face of, the society.
Moreland, an ordained United Methodist minister, retired from the Baltimore Washington Conference after serving for 43 years, 29 of those were pastoring UMC congregations in Baltimore, Washington and West Virginia.
“In my 14 years here we’ve distributed 33 million pieces of scripture. This has been very rewarding,” Moreland reflected. “This is one of the most ecumenical interdenominational ministries I’ve ever been involved in.”
Moreland said he often felt like John Wesley. “The world is my parish,” he said, smiling as he paraphrased the Wesleyan quote.
The former director said there are now 22 English translations of the Bible, but there is still a great need for contemporary translations that people can read and understand. There’s also a need for more language translations. Moreland said there are about 3,000 translated language New Testaments, but there are 6,800 languages in the world.
Moreland sees two major challenges the MBS faces: continued illiteracy and the absence of actual Bible reading. According to USA Today, as of January 2009, one in every seven people in the United States cannot read past the level of a child’s picture book. George Barna polls show only 37 percent of American families say they read their Bibles outside of church.
David Moyer agrees with Moreland’s concerns. “It’s not a victory if someone receives a Bible, but does not read, study and meditate on it,” he said. Moyer wants to develop education programs through seminars and conferences to increase readership.
The new director believes God has been preparing him for this position for over 20 years. Moyer is the former vice-president of the Shepherd’s Guide, an international organization that advertises Christian ministries and businesses. He directed North American operations for the past decade. He left the position last year and began consulting for Christian ministries.
Moyer grew up attending Perry Hall Christian School, studied scripture and attended chapel, but it was after graduation that God began to change him.
“I actually feel the Lord used that moment to change my life and give me a passion for God’s word and for our Lord and Savior. After all of those years in Christian school, at the age of 18, God was preparing me to understand what it means to be a follower of Christ.”
The young Moyer married his high school sweetheart, Cindi, and focused on business and sales. The couple has six children: Addyson, 4; Joshua, 6; Jamie, 9; McKenzie 13; Kelsie, 18 and Jordan, 20.
Moyer continues to serve at Long Green Church teaching Sunday school and Bible studies. He serves on the board of directors for Beachmont Christian Camp and for the prolife Center for Pregnancy Concerns in Baltimore (formerly the Greater Baltimore Crisis Pregnancy Center). He continues to be Adjunct Professor at Frederick Community College in Frederick, Md.
Moreland plans to spend more time working on his music. He plays guitar, piano and sings. He’s working now on a Christmas album. Moreland continues to be an adjunct professor at Frederick Community College in Frederick, Md.
He’s also looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Sandy and, he said he’ll continue to preach and teach and do whatever it is that God calls him to do.
Maryland Bible Society, 9 E Franklin St, Baltimore, MD 21202-2291, (410) 685-4040, http://www.marylandbible.org/