By Wendy McFadden
In a partial-day meeting on July 2, the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board approved a resolution on Afghanistan, sharply reduced the budget for 2012, heard several reports, and participated in presentation of this year’s Open Roof Award.
The resolution on Afghanistan was forwarded to Standing Committee for Annual Conference consideration. The last time the Church of the Brethren spoke on Afghanistan was when the General Board (now called the Mission and Ministry Board) issued a resolution after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The resolution calls on the President and members of Congress to began an immediate withdrawal of all combat troops, and instead to invest resources into the development of the Afghan people and infrastructure. Six other recommendations urge the Church of the Brethren to become more engaged in areas such as humanitarian aid, alternatives to violence, ministry to those affected by the war, interfaith and intercultural dialogue, and study, prayer, and action related to just peacemaking.
The board approved a parameter for the 2012 budget that requires reductions of $638,000 to achieve a balanced budget in the Core Ministries Fund. Approval of the detailed, line-item budget of $4.9 million will be delayed beyond the usual October timeline in order to accomplish the reductions. A need to reduce the 2012 budget had been anticipated by staff and board doing financial planning over the past year.
Among other business items, the board:
— heard reports from Ruthann Knechel Johansen, who represented the Church of the Brethren at the International Ecumenical Peace Conference in Kingston, Jamaica; and board member Andy Hamilton, who participated in a delegation to celebrate the completion of 100 homes in Haiti;
— received an update on development of the Ministerial Leadership paper;
— participated in honoring Oakton (Va.) Church of the Brethren, which received this year’s Open Roof Award for its efforts in the area of disabilities.
Ben Barlow is beginning a two-year term as board chair, with Becky Ball-Miller serving as chair-elect. Other members selected for the Executive Committee were Andy Hamilton and Pam Reist.