Church of the Brethren Newsline
October 16, 2007
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors and staff met Sept. 21-23 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Mindful of the On Earth Peace 2007 theme of “Building Bridges,” they worshiped together, discussed the history of On Earth Peace, reviewed goals accomplished in the last year and the directions the group wants to move towards in upcoming years.
A special welcome and orientation was extended to new board members Don Mitchell and Susan Chapman. Also in attendance was Gimbiya Kettering, a new staff member who has joined the communication team to supplement the work as former co-director Barbara Sayler has moved to a part-time position.
On Earth Peace continues to build bridges and communicate with other entities of the Church of the Brethren. Board members who participated in joint meetings with the Church of the Brethren General Board and the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) shared a report of that meeting. On Earth Peace welcomed the communication with the new General Board and ABC entity and expressed hope that there will projects to work on collaboratively together. The International Day of Prayer for Peace that brought together 101 congregations and Church of the Brethren communities was considered a successful way that On Earth Peace reached out to congregations in cooperation with the Brethren Witness/Washington Office of the General Board.
The Finance Committee reported that the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 saw a good balance between income and expenses. A budget of $488,000 was adopted for fiscal year 2008.
Much time was spent on external and internal evaluation of the work done by On Earth Peace, its sustainability, and directions of development. In the spring, On Earth peace invited input from other agencies of the Church of the Brethren and beyond. The responses brought to this meeting were overall positive and affirming. As an agency within the Church of the Brethren promoting peace between individuals, within communities, and globally, On Earth Peace seems to be having a positive and growing impact. As an antiracist organization, On Earth Peace evaluated how it actively strives to be inclusive and make choices against systemic biases. In conclusion, executive director Bob Gross stated, “We want to work with, learn from, and serve the whole church.”
A working group of staff and board members was formed to begin strategic planning. This is the fruition of an initiative that began last year and will enable On Earth Peace to steer its future development. The strategic planning committee was charged with questions about the relationship between peace and justice, how it will address civil religion, addressing the issues of On Earth Peace constituents, and how the organization’s impact can ripple beyond church congregations. These are ongoing questions that will be addressed in the next meeting of the board.
–Gimbiya Kettering is co-coordinator of communications for On Earth Peace.
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