Newsline for September 26, 2007

September 26, 2007

“Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5).

1) Congregations across US, Nigeria, Puerto Rico pray for peace.
2) BBT issues alert about proposed rules on minority shareholders.
3) Council holds meeting to review Annual Conference decisions.
4) Congregations to be asked for new information about accessibility.
5) Brethren bits: Remembrances, personnel, jobs, Jena 6, and more.

6) Susanna Farahat resigns from position with On Earth Peace.

7) On Earth Peace sponsors Middle East peacemaking delegation.

8) Book offers insights on Amish forgiveness following school shooting.

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Para ver la traducción en español de este artículo, “La Consulta y Celebración Multiétnica de 2008 profundizará más en la visión de Apocalipsis 7:9,” vaya a (For a Spanish translation of the article, “Cross-Cultural Consultation in 2008 will further Revelation 7:9 vision,” from the Newsline Extra of Sept. 12, go to
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1) Congregations across US, Nigeria, Puerto Rico pray for peace.

More than 90 congregations and other communities associated with the Church of the Brethren, including groups in the US, Puerto Rico, and Nigeria, have sponsored events as part of the International Day of Prayer for Peace last Friday, Sept. 21. “This initiative has clearly tapped into a widespread desire to take action about violence,” said campaign organizer Mimi Copp.

The response within the Church of the Brethren has been tremendous to a four-month campaign initiated through the leadership of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and On Earth Peace. The initial goal of the campaign was to seek 40 congregations to plan prayer events as part of the International Day of Prayer for Peace, being observed by the World Council of Churches and coinciding with the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.

Church of the Brethren groups, including congregations, district conferences, colleges, and other institutions, planned a wide variety of events in order to raise concerns about violence in their own communities and the world. Some of the 93 participating groups and congregations were initiating such events for the first time, others have participated in previous peace efforts. Vigils or services were planned to take place on the grounds of church properties, around peace poles, along busy roads and in other public spaces, in prayer rooms, and in schools. Several congregations planted or rededicated peace poles. Events included candlelight prayer walks, fellowship meals, hymn sings, Bible studies, sermons, and worship services. One youth group met in a pizzeria to pray, another initiated a prayer walk from a park to the county courthouse.

Many events were co-planned with other Christian communities or other religious bodies including Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu-Jain. For example, Peace Covenant Fellowship Church of the Brethren in Durham, N.C., planned an ecumenical vigil at the site of the greatest number of incidents of gun violence in Durham, with an additional focus on remembering those killed in the Virginia Tech shootings.

Congregations in Puerto Rico planned prayer services to take place in the streets outside their church buildings, and a request was passed from the headquarters of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) to its 400 church councils inviting participation.

Sunday Wadzani, a member of EYN participating in prayer events, wrote, “God promised to be with us whenever we come together in His name. I have a strong belief that by coming together in prayer like this so as to bring peace in the world, God will surely hear us. This is a unique prayer that God will surely be happy of, and I cannot afford to miss the blessing that will follow.”

–Matt Guynn is coordinator of peace witness for On Earth Peace.

2) BBT issues alert about proposed rules on minority shareholders.

Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) has issued an alert about proposed rule changes by the Securities and Exchange Commission that, if implemented, would render the voice of minority shareholders silent. BBT manages $435 million for Brethren Pension Plan and Insurance members and Brethren Foundation clients. All of the funds are invested in a socially responsible manner, with investment screens and activist initiatives guided by Annual Conference statements and resolutions.

Citizen action to avert the proposed rule changes “will only take five minutes, but needs to be done no later than Oct. 2,” the alert said.

The SEC is holding a 60-day open comment period for feedback on several proposals related to shareholders. If implemented, the proposals would severely limit the capabilities of minority investors to sponsor shareholder resolutions by eliminating nonbinding resolutions, by allowing companies to opt out of receiving shareholder resolutions, or by doubling the current voting percentages needed by resolutions to be allowed to be refiled with the same companies the following year. The proposed changes would also limit or eliminate the ability of shareholders to nominate members of corporate boards.

Over the past 35 years, 95 percent of shareholder resolutions filed have been nonbinding, in an attempt to give shareholders the ability to advise companies on shareholder sentiment, the alert said. “Such resolutions do not force companies to run at the whim of their shareholders; rather, they allow shareholders to address a number of critical issues, such as non-responsive corporate boards, a history of pollution and/or inaction on climate change, a history of racial- or gender-based lawsuits, failure to recognize indigenous peoples rights, and other issues of sustainability.”

Faith-based investors, such as BBT, are nearly always minority investors. “Although the Church of the Brethren and other faith-based investors are small in voice, the impact our organizations have had in effecting change in corporate board rooms over the past 35 years has been remarkable,” said Nevin Dulabaum, BBT’s interim director of Socially Responsible Investing.

One recent example is a proposed resolution submitted to Aflac earlier this year that pertained to executive compensation. The resolution was filed by Boston Common Asset Management using BBT’s shares in the firm and prompted the company to agree to giving shareholders a nonbinding vote on executive compensation. The initiative, which included Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) members petitioning 50 Fortune 500 companies, proved to be a success. Not only did Aflac become the first major company in the US to agree to give its shareholders such a vote, similar resolutions with other companies also garnered a good percentage of votes.

BBT staff learned of the SEC comment period last week during the ICCR’s fall meetings. ICCR and the Social Investment Forum has established to allow organizations and individuals to quickly send such letters. The website also offers links to additional resources. For more go to

3) Council holds meeting to review Annual Conference decisions.

The Annual Conference Council held its summer meeting Aug. 23-24 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The council chose Belita Mitchell, immediate past Annual Conference moderator, to be chair until August 2008, succeeding Ron Beachley. The council reviewed the decisions of the 2007 Annual Conference, defined the role of the process committee called for by the “Doing Church Business” paper, took action to complete work on revising a paper on controversial issues, set an agenda for a retreat in November, and modified the appeals process for concerns related to Annual Conference policies.

The council spent a large block of time reviewing the decisions of the 2007 Conference and the recommendations and assignments of each business item. A communication will be sent to those agencies, groups, and congregations named in the actions to implement them. Among other communications related to 2007 Conference decisions, the council will send e-mails to the districts and to the Annual Conference agencies urging the implementation of the recommendations related to the “Reverse Membership Trend” query.

Relative to the “Doing Church Business” item, the council received a concern from the Conference officers who recognized the potential for confusion in regard to a Process Committee, and the action that called for the paper to be available for use to the officers in planning future conferences. The council formed the following refinement to the action:

“The council was asked by the Annual Conference officers to assist with determining the role of the Process Committee in light of the action of Annual Conference to make the recommendations of the report, resources, and study information available for use in planning future Annual Conferences. In consultation with the council, the officers deemed it appropriate that a committee of three be called by the Nominating Committee to be the Process Committee. The Process Committee is to work with the officers and with the Program and Arrangements Committee to help define and prioritize options to pursue the intent of the paper. The committees will be affirmed by the 2008 Annual Conference and will serve for one year. The officers will convey this action to the Standing Committee. For several years into the future, the officers and Program and Arrangements Committees will be given this prioritized report. Each year the officers will report to Standing Committee any implementation of the prioritized options.”

An inconsistency in the Intercultural Committee’s report adopted by the 2007 Conference, which calls for licensed ministers to earn continuing education credits in intercultural content, was also considered. Currently, licensed ministers are not required to have certified continuing education. The council recognized the intent is for intercultural training, which can be included in the training track without involving continuing education units. The council referred this matter to the Ministry Office of the General Board for implementation.

The policy by which the council is designated to receive appeals related to decisions made by the Program and Arrangements Committee was addressed as well. Concern has been raised about the propriety of half of the elected members of the council also being members of that committee. The council decided to refer the matter to Standing Committee, offering two possible solutions: that the Program and Arrangements Committee members recuse themselves from the discussion and decision of an appeal, or that another group be named to receive such appeals. It is also clear from denominational polity that Standing Committee is the ultimate judicial group, and any member of the church can bring a complaint to Standing Committee. Standing Committee, however, confines its deliberation to whether the process used to make a decision that is being appealed was fair and proper, not the decision itself. Standing Committee’s appeals process can be found on the Annual Conference website.

In other actions, the council gave approval to complete work on an update of the 1998 paper, “A Structural Framework for Dealing with Strongly Controversial Issues.” The council had suspended completion until the 2007 items related to conducting Conference business were answered. Council members Joan Daggett and Fred Swartz will bring a proposed revision to the paper in November. Any revision will need to be processed as new business to Annual Conference.

The council meets next in November, with a day of retreat to deal with two major items: format and financing of future Annual Conferences, and developing broad strokes for denominational envisioning. Both of these items are a part of the council’s functions, as defined by the 2001 Annual Conference. Don Kraybill of Elizabethtown, Pa., will be a facilitator for the retreat.

–Fred Swartz is the secretary of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference.

4) Congregations to be asked for new information about accessibility.

Reporting forms for Church of the Brethren congregations will have a newly revised page for information about accessibility, thanks to staff of the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC). The forms are copied to the district offices and also used to provide statistical and other information for the annual “Church of the Brethren Yearbook” published by Brethren Press.

Executive director Kathy Reid of ABC is helping revise the statistics section of the Yearbook to include more information about accessible facilities and programs of congregations and districts. Some of the resources used by the Mennonite Church USA, including icons and adaptations of descriptions, will aid in the process. These symbols will be used beginning with the 2008 Yearbook to help people identify the accessibility of congregations in various categories.

Congregations will be asked to fill out reporting related to accessibility each year. In the past, they could simply mark “same as last year.” The aim of this change is to regularly encourage churches to work at issues of accessibility for those with disabilities.

To help congregations with this self-evaluation, the Disabilities Ministries of ABC has sampled several self-assessment tools and created an online “Congregational Accessibility Survey,” with a check list and explanations of what it means to indicate that a congregation is accessible. The website also displays the icons that the Yearbook will use. Go to

5) Brethren bits: Remembrances, personnel, jobs, Jena 6, and more.

  • June Adams Gibble, 70, passed away Sept. 20 at her home in Elgin, Ill., from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). She was a former denominational staff member of the Church of the Brethren, having served as director of Congregational Nurture and Worship for the General Board from 1988-97, and as program field staff with the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) from 1998-99. In her work for the denomination, she provided leadership to the deacon ministry and Christian education, edited Sunday school and small group curriculum, wrote worship resources, and provided leadership for women’s ministries, among other areas. Her volunteer work for the church included service on the steering committee for Bethany Theological Seminary’s centennial celebration in 2005 along with her husband, Jay Gibble, who is a former executive director of ABC and former staff of the General Board. Early in her career, Gibble studied elementary education and was a school teacher in Minneapolis. She was ordained to ministry in 1986–when she was almost 50–and also served as a pastor. For some years she was a chaplain with Provena St. Joseph Hospice in Elgin, Ill., where she continued her work even after her diagnosis. For the last year and a half, Gibble and her family have been active supporters of ALS research and the Les Turner ALS Foundation. She had continued to write and paint, contributing worship resources for the 300th Anniversary celebration of the Brethren, and creating poems and paintings for her 18 grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., on Sept. 29 at 12:30 p.m. (A correction to the rememberance: the dates of her service with the Church of the Brethren General Board were given incorrectly. She was employed by the General Board from 1977-1984, and then again worked for the board from 1988-97.)
  • Claire Randall, 91, general secretary of the National Council of Churches (NCC) from 1974-84, died on Sept. 9 in Sun City, Ariz. She was the fourth general secretary and the first woman to lead the organization, and was an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church USA. NCC president Michael E. Livingston said, “Claire Randall was general secretary of the NCC at a turbulent time of history, for the nation and the world as well as the church. Looking back on those days, it is especially obvious that her leadership skills and clear vision were those of a woman chosen by God ‘for a time such as this.'” Randall was general secretary during the fallout of a 1983 broadcast of CBS’ “60 Minutes” that implied the NCC and the World Council of Churches were leftist organizations that defied the conservative wishes of their membership. The following year, an article in “The Reader’s Digest” made a similar claim. Randall firmly denied the allegations and organized member communions of the NCC to inform their congregations that the reports were false. She was partially vindicated in 2002 when retiring “60 Minutes” producer Don Hewitt characterized the report as the one show he regretted in his 36-year career. Randall is remembered for insisting on a racially and ethnically diverse staff. She also gave leadership that would later culminate in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV), and was associate executive director of Church Women United before she came to the NCC. A private family memorial service will be held.
  • Beth Burnette is finishing a two-year special promotions position with the General Board’s “Messenger” magazine, as of the end of the month. She started in the position in June 2005, after she retired as administrative assistant for Illinois and Wisconsin District and as Christian education director for York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., where she is a member. Previously, Burnette also had experience in nonprofit and for-profit marketing and developing print materials for advertising in the Chicago area and in Maryland.
  • Justin Barrett began Sept. 24 as program assistant for the Global Mission Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren General Board. His career has been centered in the field of office administration since 2001, with responsibilities in all areas within a variety of organizations. Most recently, he has been office coordinator for Student Services at North Park Theological Seminary in the Chicago area. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University and North Park Theological Seminary, with a master of arts degree in Christian Ministry, and is an active member at Resurrection Covenant Church in Chicago.
  • Two new members have joined the Steering Commitee for the Church of the Brethren’s Cross-Cultural Ministries Team: Founa Augustin of the Miami (Fla.) Haitian Church of the Brethren, and Victor Olvera, from the ministry team at Bella Vista Church of the Brethren in Los Angeles.
  • Bethany Theological Seminary and the Brethren Journal Association seek a managing editor for the academic quarterly journal “Brethren Life and Thought.” The journal is a joint publication of the seminary and the association. The managing editor position is part time, about ten hours a week, and has responsibility for the operational activities of the journal including printing and mailing, promoting circulation, providing an archive, storage of back issues, and a permanent record of association minutes and related documents. Other duties may include maintainance of a computer and office, a subscription database, communications with patrons and donors, paying bills and making deposits. Minimum qualifications are: a high school diploma, with a year of previous experience in a business environment preferred. For a full job description go to Applicants are invited to contact Stephen Breck Reid, academic dean of Bethany Seminary, at
  • The Gather ’Round curriculum project of Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network is accepting applications from experienced writers. Requirements include the ability to write clearly, convey Brethren and Mennonite faith perspectives, and develop creative and meaningful activities. Teaching experience and background in Bible studies are helpful. Writers produce up to four quarters of teacher’s session plans, student material, and other resources for one age group. The next writing year begins with a writers’ conference on March 1-6, 2008. Learn more about the curriculum at Request an application from or call 847-742-5100 ext. 261. The application deadline for the next writing year is Dec. 31.
  • A Greater Gift/SERRV International seeks temporary fall staffing in warehouse picking and packing orders at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The Customer Service Department also is seeking fall staffing. Accuracy, dependability, and attention to detail are required. Hours are flexible. Contact Pam Sheedy at 410-635-8750.
  • On Earth Peace last week sent an e-mail alert to its Peace Witness Action List to raise awareness of the “Jena 6,” six African-American youth in Jena, La., who have been threatened with years in prison “in a spiraling situation of race-based intimidation,” the alert said. On Earth Peace called the situation in Jena to Brethren attention, and referred to the work of Color of Change on the issue ( The situation in Jena centered on racially charged incidents at the high school, in one instance nooses hung from a tree, followed by several outbreaks of white-on-black violence, according to news reports. Then, last December, the six African-American teens were accused of beating a white classmate and received what many characterize as unequal and excessive punishment by local authorities. On Earth Peace encouraged participation in a protest in Jena on Sept. 20. CNN reported that at least 15,000 people from across the country attended the protest.
  • The National Council of Churches (NCC) Governing Board this week also issued a call for “equal justice under the law” in Jena, La. “This is indeed a tragic situation and many lives, both Black and White, have been negatively impacted by the events that have taken place in Jena: the nooses hanging from a tree; a justice system and community that seemed to ignore this hate crime; violent retaliation against a white youth; excessive criminal charges against six African-American teenagers; a community torn apart; and protests and cries for justice from across the country,” said the NCC. The NCC plans to send letters to Louisiana elected officials stating this position, work collaboratively with the Louisiana Interchurch Conference, and invite Jena church leaders to its General Assembly in November for a report and guidance on ways the NCC can support their community.
  • The Ministry of Reconciliation of On Earth Peace has announced its fall practitioner workshop, “Appreciative Inquiry Workshop/Practitioner Consultation,” at Camp Alexander Mack, Milford, Ind., on Nov. 14-16. The event is for church leaders, Shalom Team members, pastors, and consultants who are interested in leading congregations through change by identifying and building upon the positive characteristics of the group. Leadership for the workshop will be provided by Marty Farahat, a Ministry of Reconciliation practitioner and congregational consultant. Following the workshop will be the Practitioner Consultation to learn more about each other’s work, share effective tools for consulting, experience a clinic where case studies are explored, and consult on practitioners’ educational needs along with the next steps for the Ministry of Reconciliation in supporting practitioners. The consultation is open to all levels of practitioners. Leadership for the consultation will be provided by Carol Waggy and Annie Clark. Cost for the entire event is $195 for tuition and lodging or $155 for commuters. The workshop and consultation begin Nov. 14, at 7 p.m., and end at 4 p.m. on Nov. 16. One continuing education credit is available for Church of the Brethren ministers. For more information or to register, visit or contact Annie Clark, Ministry of Reconciliation coordinator, at Registration closes Oct. 26.
  • Oregon-Washington District Conference is Sept. 28-30 at Wenatchee (Wash.) Brethren-Baptist Church, on the theme, “Three Hundred Years of Brethren History.” The conference will provide a weekend of worship and fellowship, beginning with Love Feast. A disaster auction will take place on Saturday afternoon. A hymn sing Saturday evening will include time for congregational sharing. Worship on Sunday will be shared with the two Wenatchee congregations.
  • Mid-Atlantic District Conference will be held Oct. 5-6 at Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren, led by moderator Gretchen Zience. The event will begin with worship and a message from Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, associate professor of Preaching and Worship at Bethany Theological Seminary. A business session and workshops will be held Saturday.
  • Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., will hold its 2007 Heritage Fair on Sept. 28-30. The event raises funds for Middle Pennsylvania District ministries including the camp, Breezewood Trucker Traveler Ministries, CentrePeace Prison Ministries, the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, the Prince Gallitzin State Park Chaplaincy Program, Heifer International, and youth workcamp scholarships. This year a fundraising goal of $35,000 has been set. Go to
  • Camp Alexander Mack near Milford, Ind., holds its ninth annual Camp Mack Festival on Saturday, Oct. 6. The event offers a variety of festival foods, demonstrations, displays, entertainment, children’s activities, horse-drawn carriage rides, hayrides, train rides, and pontoon rides on Lake Waubee. Auctions will feature quilts, theme baskets, old books, and other items. Part of the proceeds will provide scholarships for campers. Go to
  • Camp Bethel’s 23rd Heritage Festival Day also is Oct 6. Events at the fundraiser for the camp located near Fincastle, Va., include the sale of crafts, baked goods, food, and displays. More information is at, or call 540-992-2940.
  • Ronn Moyer, the first administrator of Peter Becker Retirement Community in Harleysville, Pa., has written a history of the home titled, “I Want to Go Home: A Pictorial, Anecdotal Story of the Peter Becker Community from Idea in 1960 to a Home for 500 Residents in 2007.” In addition to being the center’s first administrator, Moyer was the community’s first employee, and is a current resident. For the last 45 years, he has collected stories, history, and anecdotes of the community he once served–a continuing care retirement community that has met the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of seniors since opening in 1971. The book is illustrated by Leon Moyer. It is being sold for $15, with the proceeds benefiting those at Peter Becker Community who can no longer afford to pay for their care. For more information contact Colleen M. Hart, director of Community Relations, at 215-703-4029.
  • Professor Scott Strode is retiring after 34 years with Manchester College, as of the end of this school year–but first will take the stage in one of the lead roles in the Tony-winning “Foxfire” for the college’s Homecoming play. Strode is theater director and chair of the Communication Studies Department for more than 20 years, and is a member of Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind. Performances will take place Oct. 4-6 at 7:30 p.m., in Cordier Auditorium. Tickets are available in advance, order from 260-982-5551, or on the night of the show at $7; $6 for senior citizens. For more information visit

6) Susanna Farahat resigns from position with On Earth Peace.

Susanna Farahat, On Earth Peace coordinator of peace education, has announced her resignation effective in February 2008. Farahat joined the staff of On Earth Peace in August 2005.

She has coordinated the youth peace retreat program, the Peace Basket project, and provided primary staff support for the Youth Peace Travel Team, a project shared by the Church of the Brethren General Board and Outdoor Ministries Association. Farahat is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, and brought teaching experience and understanding of the educational process, along with a wide variety of community service experiences, to the position.

“She has provided excellent program leadership, expanding our capacity for offering peace retreats to the youth of the church, and has contributed significantly in several other areas, as well,” said Bob Gross, On Earth Peace executive director. Farahat’s work was based at the New Windsor (Md.) office of On Earth Peace, on the campus of the Brethren Service Center.

7) On Earth Peace sponsors Middle East peacemaking delegation.

On Earth Peace has extended a special invitation to Church of the Brethren peacemakers to join a delegation to the Middle East (Israel/Palestine) led by executive director Bob Gross on Jan. 8-21, 2008. The group will travel to the cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron. There they will have the unique opportunity to meet with Israeli and Palestinian peace and human rights workers.

In addition, delegation members will join Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Hebron and the village of At-Tuwani in a limited amount of accompaniment and documentation, and in a public witness. The trip is being led in conjunction with CPT, which since June 1995 has maintained a team of trained peacemakers in Hebron.

On Earth Peace will assist Church of the Brethren members in raising funds for the cost of the trip by offering ideas, networking, and limited scholarships. Applications are available through the On Earth Peace website ( and are due in November. Contact On Earth Peace executive director Bob Gross at 260-982-7751 or; or Claire Evans at Christian Peacemaker Teams (, 773-277-0253 or

8) Book offers insights on Amish forgiveness following school shooting.

Oct. 2 marks the first anniversary of the Amish school shooting at Nickel Mines, Pa. A new book, “Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy” (Jossey-Bass, 2007, hardcover, 254 pages) by Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, and David L. Weaver-Zercher, offers a study of how the Amish could demonstrate radical forgiveness in the face of their sorrow and grief.

Kraybill is senior fellow at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Nolt is a professor of history at Goshen (Ind.) College. Weaver-Zercher is associate professor of American religious history and chair of the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa.

In a short report of their research, the authors explained how they explored the Amish response in the wake of the shooting that killed five schoolgirls and wounded five others. They also highlighted several particular findings, including in part:

  • Numerous Amish people expressed forgiveness to the killer’s widow, her parents, and the killer’s parents. The expressions of forgiveness were spontaneous. There were no meetings within the Amish community to decide when and how to express forgiveness. Amish leaders did not offer formal expressions of forgiveness on behalf of the Amish community. Amish forgiveness involved not only words, but behavior–giving food, flowers, and money to the widow and her family, attending the burial of the killer, and participating in reconciliation events with the family of the killer.
  • The investigators found no instances of rage, revenge, or retaliation toward the killer’s family. Feelings of anger were muted by cultural and religious restraints.
  • The parents of the murdered girls experienced deep grief, but they were aided in processing their grief by distinctive Amish rituals of grieving. Amish families reached out to professional counselors to assist them in processing their grief.
  • Forgiveness for the Amish is a religious imperative based on the teachings of Jesus, and encouraged by communal practices (e.g., twice-yearly worship services that emphasize forgiveness and reconciliation) and sustained by communal memory (e.g., reciting stories of 16th-century Christian martyrs who readily forgave their persecutors).
  • The immediate decision to forgive, inspired by their religious faith, started an emotional and spiritual process of forgiving that remains ongoing. For the Amish, forgiveness means letting go of grudges and ill will toward those who wrong them. It does not mean condoning, pardoning, or forgoing punishment.

Order “Amish Grace” from Brethren Press (800-441-3712) for $20 plus shipping and handling, a special sale price that is available through the end of the month. For more information and a free discussion guide to accompany the book, go to All author royalties are going to Mennonite Central Committee for ministries to children.

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Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Annie Clark, Mary Dulabaum, Nevin Dulabaum, Cyndi Fecher, Duane Grady, Bob Gross, Kathy Harley, Gimbiya Kettering, Jeri S. Kornegay, Don Kraybill, Karin Krog, Wendy McFadden, and Walt Wiltschek contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with the next regularly scheduled issue set for Oct. 10. Other special issues may be sent as needed. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine, call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

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