Newsline for Jan. 17, 2014

“And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best” (Philippians 1:9-10a).

1) Joint representative for Syria to deliver urgent call from churches to Geneva 2 talks
2) Brethren Disaster Ministries staff to evaluate state of response to Typhoon Haiyan
3) COMS meeting brings together leaders of Anabaptist denominations

4) Service Sunday 2014 will focus on serving God by serving all
5) Youth ministry webinar series continues with event on Jan. 21

6) Nigerian Brethren hold Christmas celebrations despite the threat of violence

7) Brethren bits: Heifer CEO visits Brethren in Puerto Rico, MLK Day celebrations and events, archival internship, opening for part-time project director at Bethany Seminary, BVS orientation, and more.

Melissa Wiginton (center) with Church of the Brethren clergy women at a retreat held Jan. 13-16 in Malibu, Calif. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.



Quote of the week:

“Friendship matters.”

— Melissa Wiginton’s two-word explanation of the “big idea” she wanted women to carry away from the Clergy Women’s Retreat, where she was the speaker. Wiginton is vice president for Education Beyond the Walls at Austin (Texas) Seminary. The event at Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, Calif., on Jan. 13-16 gathered more than 40 Church of the Brethren clergy women from across the country. It included sessions led by Wiginton, morning and evening worship, afternoon trips to the beach and other recreation opportunities, time for sharing personal stories, entertainment, and fellowship. The Ministry Office sponsored the retreat and some scholarships were provided with help from Womaen’s Caucus and La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. The planning team included associate general secretary Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Liz Bidgood-Enders, Dana Cassell, Dava Hensley, Wendy Noffsinger Erbaugh, Frances Townsend, and Barbara Wise Lewczak. A blog from the retreat is at . A photo album is at .

1) Joint representative for Syria to deliver urgent call from churches to Geneva 2 talks


The group of church leaders at the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Consultation on Syria included Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger. World Council of Churches / Peter Williams.


With the Geneva 2 talks on Syria scheduled for Jan. 22, some 30 church leaders from Syria and around the world gathered a week ahead of time at the headquarters of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva, Switzerland, and called for substantial action be taken at the talks to end the armed conflict. Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger was one of the American church leaders who participated.

In a message to be delivered to Geneva 2 by Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations-Arab League joint representative for Syria, the group–which is convinced there is no military solution–said that there needed to be “immediate cessation of all armed confrontation and hostility within Syria,” thus ensuring that “all vulnerable communities in Syria and refugees in neighboring countries receive appropriate humanitarian assistance” and that “a comprehensive and inclusive process toward establishing a just peace and rebuilding Syria” should be developed.

“There is no time to waste; enough people have died or had to leave their homes,” Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, said following the meeting.

‘As churches we speak with one voice’

The church leaders and representatives came from the Middle East, the Vatican, Russia, other European nations, and the United States, and included representatives from Syrian churches, the Middle East Council of Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox, Protestants, and Anglicans.

The meeting, called the Ecumenical Consultation on Syria and sponsored by the WCC, was held Jan. 15-17. It is a follow up to a similar meeting in September 2013 sponsored by the WCC which also included Brahimi and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

“We are representing the silent majority, the voice of the voiceless,” said Catholicos Aram I, head of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, to Brahimi who consulted with the group on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 15.

Church leaders gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, for an ecumenical consultation on Syria in advance of the Geneva 2 talks by world leaders hoping to address the ongoing civil conflict, violence, and refugee situation in Syria. World Council of Churches / Peter Williams.


When asked what the church and others can do now about Syria, Brahimi said, churches can “mobilize international opinion, to condemn all that is bad in this situation and to support all that is good now.””Your mission is not an easy one,” Aram continued. “It is a critical, crucial mission. You can be sure that you have our full support, the full support of all churches, the full support of the global Christian community.”

When describing the plans for the Geneva 2 talks, Brahimi said, “hopefully we will begin talking about peace and not war anymore.”

“Our aspiration is that Syrians put an end to their war and start rebuilding their country,” he said.

Brahimi also recognized the ongoing work of the churches when distributing humanitarian aid in the region, saying, “we are grateful that the actual material aid that you are providing, you are providing it without asking whether it is for a man, woman, child, believers, unbelievers or Muslims.” Earlier in the meeting he thanked the group for their encouragement and prayers.

“The people of Syria crying for just peace deserve results from the upcoming Geneva 2 talks,” Tveit said. “Let us continue to work and pray for the people of Syria.”

The meeting was accompanied by an ecumenical prayer held on the evening of Jan. 16, also joined by the members of the international community to express their solidarity with the people of Syria, expressing hopes for peace in the country.

The service drew attention to the great antiquity of the Christian presence in Syria, as well as the commitment of Syria’s Christians, inspired by the New Testament to transform violence and oppression into healing and reconciliation.

The Message to the Geneva 2 talks from the WCC Ecumenical Consultation on Syria:

An urgent call to action for a just peace in Syria
WCC Ecumenical Consultation on Syria
Ecumenical Centre — Geneva — Jan. 15-17, 2014

Church leaders and representatives from Syria, the Middle East Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches and the Holy See[1] gathered in Geneva from 15–17 January 2014 for a consultation to address the forthcoming Geneva II peace conference on Syria.

Christians have maintained a continuous presence in the land of Syria since the dawn of Christianity. Today, as churches and church-related humanitarian agencies, we are present with the people of Syria on a daily basis both inside the country and amongst refugees. In this communication, we seek to raise their voice.

Our concern is for all people affected by the indiscriminate violence and humanitarian calamity in Syria. Innocent children, women and men are being killed, wounded, traumatized and driven from their homes in uncounted numbers. We hear their cries, knowing that when “one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

There will be no military solution to the crisis in the country. Endeavouring to be faithful to God’s love of all human beings, and within the context of international humanitarian law, we submit these calls for action and guidelines for building peace.

We call upon you, as participants in the Geneva II conference, to:

1. pursue an immediate cessation of all armed confrontation and hostility within Syria. We call for all parties to the conflict to release detained and kidnapped persons. We urge the UN Security Council to implement measures ending the flow of weapons and foreign fighters into Syria.

2. ensure that all vulnerable communities in Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries receive appropriate humanitarian assistance. Where such large populations are at serious risk, full humanitarian access is essential in compliance with international law and the Responsibility to Protect.

3. develop a comprehensive and inclusive process toward establishing a just peace and rebuilding Syria. All sectors of society (including government, opposition and civil society) need to be included in a Syrian solution for the Syrian people. We recognize the urgent need to integrate women and young people fully in these processes.

Geneva II must be transformed into a peace-building process, responding to the legitimate aspirations of all Syrian people. We offer these guidelines:

— Any peace-building process must be Syrian-led. It should be transparent and credible so Syrians may determine their country’s future. Such a process requires the support of the Arab League, the United Nations and the constructive engagement of all parties involved in the current crisis.

— All efforts must be made to secure the peace, territorial integrity and independence of Syria.

— The multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-confessional nature and tradition of Syrian society must be preserved. The vibrant mosaic of Syrian society entails equal rights for all of its citizens. The human rights, dignity and religious freedom for all must be promoted and protected in accordance with international norms.

As Christians we speak with one voice in calling for a just peace in Syria. To achieve this peace, we are committed to working hand-in-hand with Muslim sisters and brothers, with whom we share a common history along with spiritual and social values. We seek to work for national reconciliation and healing through building trust.

“Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).

[1] Participants came from the following countries: France, Germany, Italy, Iran, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Ecumenical partners included the ACT Alliance, the Community of Sant’Egidio, the Lutheran World Federation, Pax Christi International, Religions for Peace and the World Student Christian Federation.

— This release was provided by the World Council of Churches.

2) Brethren Disaster Ministries staff to evaluate state of response to Typhoon Haiyan

Damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Northern Iloilo, Philippines. Photo courtesy of ACT/Christian Aid.

Roy Winter, associate executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, will travel to the Philippines to evaluate the current state of the response to Typhoon Haiyan. The trip is part of a Brethren Disaster Ministries-facilitated response in the Philippines following the destruction and loss of life caused by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.

A $5,000 allocation from the Emergency Disaster Fund has been made for the trip in which Winter, accompanied by Peter Barlow, will evaluate the current state of the response in the Philippines, observe and monitor the Church World Service (CWS) response, meet with citizens to understand local needs, and meet with potential partners for a broader Brethren Disaster Ministries response.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is planning a response that will focus Brethren resources on the areas of greatest need by partnering with organizations already active in the area. “At this point, BDM does not intend to work directly in the Philippines or send volunteer groups,” staff wrote. “The intent is to identify organizations with capacity to do more recovery with BDM support. One of the groups being visited is Heifer International who sustained considerable damage to their operations from the Typhoon.”

Larger allocations from the Emergency Disaster Fund are expected in the future as these new partnerships are developed. A separate allocation of $35,000 made in November is helping to fund the CWS response.

Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines and then Vietnam causing a wide path of destruction and loss of life. “This massive storm had sustained winds reported at 195 miles per hour and gusts much higher, equivalent to a giant F4 tornado,” Brethren Disaster Ministries reported. “The loss of life is reported to be in the thousands and may grow into the tens of thousands. The hardest hit city of Taclaban is reported to be totally flattened.”

Find out more about the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries at .

3) COMS meeting brings together leaders of Anabaptist denominations

At the beginning of December 2013, leaders of a number of Anabaptist denominations gathered for the annual Council of Moderators and Secretaries meeting. Attending from the Church of the Brethren were general secretary Stanley J. Noffsinger and Annual Conference moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman. The gathering was hosted by the Conservative Mennonite Conference at its Rosedale International Center in Columbus, Ohio.

The purpose for the annual COMS gathering is two-fold, said Noffsinger. The meeting is designed as a place for leaders of the denominations that share a common Anabaptist heritage to come together for exploration of scripture from their perspective. Also, it serves as a forum for the sharing of joys, accomplishments, and challenges of the church leaders on both personal and denominational levels.

“It has been a powerful and important gathering,” Noffsinger said, noting that it has been at COMS meetings in the past that these church leaders have done common work on the history of Anabaptist peace witness and conscientious objection, for example.

Noffsinger also expressed appreciation for the opportunity for church leaders to mentor each other and give each other support.

“As each leader shared denominational highlights and challenges of the past year, I felt a sense of great joy in the partnership we share within the Anabaptist family as we work toward realizing the vision of God¹s reign in this world,” Heishman commented, sharing from her perspective as moderator of the Church of the Brethren this year.

The COMS meeting for 2014 will take place at the new headquarters of the Mennonite Church USA in Elkhart, Ind. It will be one of the two ecumenical events that the Annual Conference moderator attends during the year, along with the annual meeting of Christian Churches Together in the USA (CCT). The next CCT annual meeting is planned for February.


4) Service Sunday 2014 will focus on serving God by serving all

The theme for the Church of the Brethren’s observance of Service Sunday 2014 is “Serving God by Serving All” inspired by John 12: 26, “If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me” (The Message version).

Recognized annually on the first Sunday in February, Service Sunday is sponsored by a number of Church of the Brethren ministries including the workcamp ministry, Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS), Brethren Disaster Ministries, and the Brethren Service Center.

Service Sunday celebrates those who serve in Church of the Brethren communities and throughout the world, and encourages church members to discover opportunities to serve through Brethren ministries and to explore possibilities to serve in local communities. The goal of the event is to “Be transformed by serving one another in the name of Christ.”

Worship resources for Service Sunday 2014 are online at .

5) Youth ministry webinar series continues with event on Jan. 21

“Call and Gifts Discernment,” is the third webinar of a series on ministry with youth and young adults. It will be offered on Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. central time (8 p.m. eastern). It will be led by Bekah Houff, Bethany Seminary’s coordinator of Outreach Programs for the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults.

The focus of the webinar will be on call and vocation–what the Bible says, what it means for each of us, and how to have conversations with youth and young adults in our churches and ministries.

To join the webinar on Jan. 21 go to . The Youth and Young Adult ministry office notes that the technology used for this webinar works best with non-mobile devices. After joining the video portion, participants join the audio portion by dialing 877-204-3718 (toll free) or 303-223-9908. The access code is 8946766. To view the web portion on an iPad, download the link from the iTunes store (Level 3), and have the conference telephone number and access code available to enter. The name of the app is Level 3.

For more information about the Church of the Brethren webinar series on ministry with youth and young adults, go to .


6) Nigerian Brethren hold Christmas celebrations despite the threat of violence

This graph summarizes the losses suffered by Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in the terrorist violence experienced by northern Nigeria. EYN refers to a local congregation as an LCC, which stands for Local Church Council, and refers to a district as a DCC, which stands for District Church Council. LCB refers to a preaching point called a Local Church Branch. Markus Jauro.


The Global Mission and Service office is sharing a letter from Samuel Dali, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), about the Christmas celebrations of the Nigerian Brethren that were held despite the constant threat of violence from the Boko Haram extremist Islamist sect. Excerpts from the letter follow below.

The Global Mission and Service office expresses appreciation to Virlina District for its collection of relief for Nigerian Brethren, and appreciation to all those who contributed to an additional $15,000 for the EYN Compassion Fund through donations and gifts over the Christmas season. Jay Wittmeyer, executive director, reports that a large donation of $3,300 came from just one congregation.

For more about the ministry of the church in Nigeria go to .

A letter from EYN president Samuel Dante Dali: Christmas celebration event in EYN 2013

The deadly Bokko Haram [an extremist Islamist sect] came up with a new strategy just some few weeks to Christmas. Instead of attacking civilians in their various villages they started mounting road blocks on Maiduguri Gwoza road. They were actively doing what they call stop and search for every car on that road for some days. The government tried to stop them but they will always have their way to do what they want to do.

With the above development, Christians who are from the northeast but working in different cities like Maiduguri, Potiskum, Bauchi, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Abuja, Lago, and all the Hausa states, became indecisive about traveling for Christmas.

The attack on Ngoshe market on Monday just before they burnt down Arbokko town in the same area of Gwoza caused more fear. During that market attack they [Boko Haram] looted every foodstuff they saw, and money, and kidnapped young girls to cook for them.

Starting the 15th of December, the road leading to Yola became very busy with lots of traffic. People refused to go through Maiduguri and diverted to Yola. The assumption was that people might not travel for Christmas since the road was dangerous, but the case was really different. People traveled home to see their relations who are under attack, condole those who lost their dear ones, and also to help them with food and clothes, and to sympathize with them. Most churches in cities like Abuja, Jos, Kano, Kaduna, and other places were almost empty [because the people went to their home villages for Christmas].

Glory be to God. With His help and the effort of the government that put more security in places of worship, Christmas went well and we are hoping for successful and peaceful new celebrations to come….

We thank all brothers and sisters both within and outside Nigeria for all your encouragement, support of all kinds. As we cross over into the New Year 2013 we will sing a new song of thanksgiving to the Lord for His expected miracle of peace and healing in Nigeria.

God bless you all.

— Greetings from EYN president Samuel Dante Dali

7) Brethren bits

 “Heifer’s CEO is in Puerto Rico visiting the first recipients of Heifer’s gifts,” reported Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren in an e-mail dated Jan. 15, in which he shared these photos. Pierre Ferrari, shown with Puerto Rican Brethren above, is CEO and president of Heifer International, is visiting the Church of the Brethren in Puerto Rico as one of the places where Heifer got its start. He also visited the hospital in Castaner and viewed murals showing Puerto Rican recipients of heifers (below). Heifer International began as the Church of the Brethren’s Heifer Project, led by Dan West who was then a member of the denominational staff. Photos courtesy of Heifer International

— Bethany Theological Seminary, a graduate school of the Church of the Brethren located in Richmond, Ind., seeks a part-time project director with education and experience in financial planning and program implementation to fulfill the aims of a grant received from Lilly Endowment Inc. This appointment will be renewed annually for up to three years. The grant will fund research to identify the unique financial challenges for Bethany students in the local and distance programs and to design and implement ways Bethany can better prepare and support students and alumni/ae to face the economic challenges of pastoral ministry. Duties will include overseeing the collection of new data outlined in the grant narrative; presenting research findings to Bethany staff and faculty (and others, as needed); introducing students to new ideas about “simple living”; connecting students with career counseling resources; increasing student awareness of available outside financial aid and sources of funding for seminary; exploring bivocational ministry preparation at Bethany and throughout the denomination; facilitating financial education for Bethany staff and faculty; establishing new programs to strengthen the financial literacy of students; informing alumni/ae of financial stewardship resources available to them; compiling grant reports; assessing grant initiatives. Candidates should have strong organizational abilities, good interpersonal skills, and excellent financial expertise. A bachelor’s degree is required. Additional education and familiarity with the values of the Church of the Brethren is preferred. Copies of the grant can be requested from Brenda Reish at . Mail a letter of interest and resume to Project Director Search, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374 or . The application deadline is Jan. 31, 2014, or until the position is filled. Bethany Seminary does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. Find this full announcement online at .

— The Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., has posted an opening for an archival intern. The Archival Internship Program develops interest in vocations related to archives and libraries and/or Brethren history. The program will provide the intern with work assignments in BHLA and with opportunities to develop professional contacts. Work assignments will include processing archival materials, writing descriptive inventories, preparing books for cataloging, responding to reference requests, and assisting researchers in the library. Professional contacts may include attending archival and library conferences and workshops, visits to libraries and archives in the Chicago area, and participation in a Brethren Historical Committee meeting. BHLA is the official repository for Church of the Brethren publications and records. The collection consists of over 10,000 volumes, over 3,500 linear feet of manuscripts and records, over 40,000 photographs, plus videos, films, DVDs, and recordings. The term of service is one year, beginning July 2014 (preferred). Compensation includes housing, a stipend of $540 every two weeks, health insurance. A graduate student is preferred, or an undergraduate with at least two years of college. Requirements include an interest in history and/or library and archival work, willingness to work with detail, accurate word processing skills, ability to lift 30-pound boxes. Request an application packet from the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; ; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. All submissions must be completed by May 1.

— The district executive ministers of the 23 districts in the Church of the Brethren are holding an annual winter meeting in Cocoa Beach, Fla., from Jan. 19-23.

— Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) announces the starts of the 2014 Winter Orientation held Jan. 26-Feb. 14 at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla. This will be the 304th unit for Brethren Volunteer Service and will consist of 13 volunteers from across the United States and Germany. Several Church of the Brethren members will attend, and the remaining volunteers come from varied faith backgrounds, adding a healthy diversity to the group’s orientation experience. A BVS potluck is open to all those who are interested on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. at Camp Ithiel. “Please feel free to come and welcome the new BVS volunteers and to share your own experiences. An evening of contra dancing will follow,” said an invitation from the BVS staff. “As always your thoughts and prayers are welcome and needed. Please remember this new unit and the people they will touch during their year of service through BVS.” For more information contact the BVS office at 847-429-4384 or go to .

— Online registration for the 2014 Young Adult Conference opens Jan. 24 at . The conference will be held May 23-25 at Camp Brethren Woods in Keezletown, Va. Find out more at .

— The Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., is again hosting the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day food drive held by the city of Elgin. The food drive will be utilizing the denomination’s warehouse to accept, sort, and deliver donations of food over the holiday weekend. Donations will be accepted Sunday, Jan. 19, and groups of high school students from Elgin will help sort the food on Monday, Jan. 20. The church staff have been invited to participate by dropping off donations of food.

— The annual World Hunger Auction-sponsored winter musical will be held at Germantown Brick Church of the Brethren in Virlina District on Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. Performing will be two groups from Franklin County, Va.–Haw Patch and After Jack. “It will be an inspiring afternoon filled with great music and fellowship,” said the district newsletter.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College has announced that although the observance of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. is Jan. 20, the college will celebrate the day and King’s legacy on Jan. 29 when Wil Haygood, author of “The Butler: A Witness to History,” will speak in Cole Hall at 7:30 p.m. Haygood is an acclaimed Washington Post reporter, spent 17 years as a national and foreign correspondent for The Boston Globe where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. His appearance at Bridgewater is part of the college’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, which is held after the official birthday observation so that all staff and students–some of whom are absent from campus in January–may participate, said a release. Haygood’s lecture is free and open to the public, sponsored by the Anna B. Mow Lecture Series and the Center for Cultural Engagement at Bridgewater College.

— At Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., the Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation will feature Ericka Huggins, a professor of women’s studies at California State University, East Bay and a former leader of the Black Panther Party. She will speak on how love can be used as a tool to reclaim and sustain civil and human rights in a lecture at 4 p.m., Monday, Jan. 20, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. The lecture, “The Intersection of Love and Power: Women in the Human Rights Movement,” is free and open to the public, sponsored by Juniata’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Huggins will use her experience serving as a leader of the Black Panther Party in New Haven, Conn., and in California, as well as her experience serving time in jail as a political prisoner as she awaited a trial on conspiracy charges, as a mirror to show how love for oppressed women, men and children inspired activism from women in revolutionary movements,” said a release. She is currently a professor of sociology at Laney and Berkeley City College and at California State University.

— McPherson (Kan.) College, in conjunction with the community-wide MAC Diversity Team, will celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 20. The celebration will include a screening of “The Loving Story” at 1 p.m. in Melhorn Hall in connection with the Lincoln County Historical Society. “The Loving Story” documents the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, who were arrested in Virginia in July 1958 for breaking a state law banning marriage between people of different races. It was nominated for three Emmy Awards in 2013 and received a Peabody Award. Justin Echols, of Oklahoma City, Okla., will also be the guest speaker and performer for the evening event at 7 p.m. in Brown Auditorium. Echols is an internationally known jazz musician, mentored by jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and Antonio Ciacca, Juilliard professor and director of programming at Jazz at Lincoln Center. He was the youngest inductee to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2012. Also performing will be the McPherson High School Jazz Band, under direction of Joel Wagoner. The events are free and open to the public.

— The “first fruits” of World Council of Churches 10th Assembly have been published in the newest issue of “The Ecumenical Review,” according to a release from the WCC. This issue of the quarterly journal published by the WCC includes “chief contributions and highlights” of the WCC 10th Assembly held in the Republic of South Korea from Oct. 30-Nov. 8 last year. under the theme, “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.” The 14 pieces in the journal include the full reports of the WCC general secretary and moderator, the official “Message” of the assembly, a list of the other public statements with links to full texts online, the assembly’s unity statement, and several notable presentations from the plenary sessions and the closing worship service. “The pieces convey something of the spirit and tone of the gathering, along with analysis of the current work and prospects of the WCC and the larger ecumenical movement,” said the release. Find out more at .

— Brethren are being invited to a public meeting in which historic peace church pastors from Mennonite and Brethren in Christ traditions will speak on war taxes. The event is Saturday, Feb. 8, from 9-10:30 a.m., at Akron (Pa.) Mennonite Church.  Three pastors will speak: Susan Gascho-Cooke, Community Mennonite Church; Barry Kreider, Pilgrims Mennonite Church; and John Yeatts, Grantham Brethren in Christ Church. The presentations will be followed by time for discussion. All are welcome, with a special invitation to pastors. The event is sponsored by . Drinks, fruit, and pastries will be available. For more information call John Stoner at 717-859-3388.

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Mark Beach, Deb Brehm, Mary Kay Heatwole, Don Knieriem, Nancy Miner, Harold A. Penner, Callie Surber, Becky Ullom Naugle, John Wall, Roy Winter, Jay Wittmeyer, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. The next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is planned for Jan. 24.

Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at . Newsline appears at the end of every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences go to .

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