“Celebrating the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary in 2008″
(April 14, 2008) — On April 4-5, the board of directors of On Earth Peace met at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Each session of the meeting opened with devotions and prayer, led by members of the board. On Earth Peace continues to conduct discussion and decision-making by consensus, led by board chair Verdena Lee.
The primary focus of the two-day meeting was program planning and prioritizing areas of work. The board received a preliminary report from a six-member strategic planning work group, and approved the basic directions of the plan which is emerging from the group’s work. At its meeting in September, the board will consider the complete strategic plan.
The board was pleased to learn that in 2007, On Earth Peace provided direct programs and services in all 23 districts of the denomination.
Staff reports included news of recent work in the churches in Florida and Puerto Rico; continuing interest in the Welcome Home Project; conversations with First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., regarding partnership in youth education; reconciliation workshops and youth retreats planned for many locations throughout the Church of the Brethren this year; and local meetings with constituents and congregations.
A process of discerning how On Earth Peace will respond to questions and requests related to sexual orientation and inclusion in the life of the church concluded, after several unifying and clarifying discussions, with a decision to support all efforts for greater justice.
New board member Jim Replogle of Bridgewater, Va., and new staff members Gimbiya Kettering, coordinator of Development and Communications, and Marie Rhoades, coordinator of Peace Education, were welcomed.
Information updates were received from three members of the board who represent On Earth Peace in liaison relationships with other groups: Doris Abdullah, who serves on the United Nations NGO Subcommitttee on the Elimination of Racism; Phil Miller, serving on the steering committee of Christian Peacemaker Teams; and Madalyn Metzger, who serves on the board of the New Community Project.
–Bob Gross is executive director of On Earth Peace.
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