Office of Public Witness
“Seeking to Live the Peace of Jesus Publicly”
Our public witness is larger than legislative advocacy. Public witness points to working to find coherence between congregation life, service, advocating on policy, and questioning the values that undergird our politics.
We have been reconciled and have been given a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). As disciples of Jesus called to go out and make disciples we are called to embodied reconciliation.
In Romans 12 we see the call to be personally transformed and embody and bear witness to the peace we have received. The Church of the Brethren’s Office of Public witness is “seeking to live the peace of Jesus publicly by educating on issues and peace theology, organizing Church of the Brethren members and congregations to take action, and advocating on Capitol Hill around issues of concern for the denomination.
Church of the Brethren members invited to Oregon Senate for key vote
(February 25, 2017)
Florence Daté Smith and her daughter Barbara Daté on Feb. 16 were among at least 17 Japanese-Americans invited to sit on the chamber floor of the Oregon State Senate for a vote unanimously approving Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 14. The resolution recognizes the historical significance of Feb. 19, 1942, the date President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 setting in motion the internment of some 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Intercultural Ministry seeks to connect with churches in ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions
(February 25, 2017)
A letter from the Church of the Brethren Intercultural Ministry, signed by director Gimbiya Kettering, is part of a new effort to connect with congregations located in areas considered to be “sanctuary” jurisdictions across the country.
Nigeria Crisis Response volunteers visit rebuilt church, IDP camp in Maiduguri
(February 18, 2017)
On Feb. 9, John and I visited the Wulari EYN Maiduguri church of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in the large northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. We met the EYN HIV/AIDS Project staff, and met the new pastor Joseph T. Kwaha. The church was rebuilt in 2015 after it was bombed by Boko Haram and totally destroyed in June 2009. We also visited the EYN IDP camp of 8,000 displaced persons located nearby on an old church compound.
Christianity was on trial: The Smeltzers stand with Japanese-Americans
(February 11, 2017)
The following is an excerpt of the late Mary Blocher Smeltzer’s story about how she and her husband, Ralph Smeltzer, aided Japanese-American families who were interned by the US government during World War II. The Smeltzers began teaching at the Manzanar internment camp and then worked to relocate Japanese-American families to Chicago and New York with help from the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Seminary. This story was included in the chapter titled “Japanese-American Resettlement Work” in the book “To Serve the Present Age: The Brethren Service Story,” edited by Donald F. Durnbaugh and published by Brethren Press in 1975:
Remember when: The Brethren Service Committee finds its charter
(February 4, 2017)
This week’s Newsline "remember when" moment from Brethren history is the decision that created the Brethren Service Committee, the forerunner of the Brethren Service Commission. The BSC went on to become the main implement for the Church of the Brethren’s extensive service activities and witness for peace in Europe and elsewhere following World War II. From the minutes of the 1941 Annual Conference: