From the publisher | April 9, 2024

Tiny stories

Robin singing on branch

One of my favorite parts of the New York Times is Metropolitan Diary, a weekly collection of small stories that emerge from the neighborhoods of New York City. They tell of chance encounters in taxicabs and subways, on sidewalks and park benches. The subjects are dogs and music and pizza. They’re about apartments and cafes and soccer balls.

The stories are “anecdotes and memories, quirky encounters and overheard snippets that reveal the city’s spirit and heart.” These “diary” entries make you want to move to New York City (where I did live a long time ago). The heartwarming encounters are a world away from the typical news reports of politics, social issues, and other topics that are important but don’t make you smile.

What about the Brethren neighborhood where you dwell? Messenger is interested in your tiny stories—stories that reveal the spirit and heart of the Church of the Brethren. Maybe your story takes place in a church building, but it could also be at home or on the road, at a church conference or in a coffee shop.

What is a tiny story?

Well, it’s tiny. The New York Times limits their submissions to 300 words, but we are limiting yours to 100. (Actually, many of the Metropolitan Diary entries are closer to 100; it’s definitely possible to be that brief.)

Second, it’s a story. A story has a beginning, middle, and end. It’s not an opinion or a description or a little essay. It’s a narrative, an account of something that happened. So what we’re inviting is a miniature story that conveys one thing that you like about the Church of the Brethren. You don’t necessarily have to say what that thing is; it will be evident in your story.

Send your submission to and include your name, congregation, and town. If you must send it by postal service, include an email address if possible, or at least a phone number. We will contact you if we use your story. If each of our readers sends one tiny story, we will have enough to tuck them into the pages of Messenger for many years to come. We can’t wait to see what your stories reveal about the spirit and heart of the Church of the Brethren.

Wendy McFadden is publisher of Brethren Press and executive director of communications for the Church of the Brethren.