Newsline for May 5, 2015

“Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt” (Exodus 23:9, NIV).

1) Action alert: Support immigrant mothers on Mother’s Day

2) NCC calls for justice, end to violence in Baltimore

3) Office of Ministry provides forms meeting new IRS standards

4) Global Mission is renewing partnership with Prisoner Visitation and Support

5) ‘Brethren Life and Thought’ is celebrating 60 years

6) New Puerto Rico District names Jose Calleja Otero as district executive

7) Brethren bits: Jobs at Brethren Service Center and DC peace groups, Annual Conference seeks medical volunteers, webinars, BVS dinners, Cliff Kindy featured on panel, Central Church is 90, and more

1) Action alert: Support immigrant mothers on Mother’s Day

By Bryan Hanger

Image courtesy of

The biblical tradition regarding the alien guides our response as Church of the Brethren people when we deal with the immigrants in our land…. We live with the hope that we will someday have a community of justice, peace and love. This hope gives us the courage to be faithful to the One who calls us to live out that hope through love for our neighbors and our enemies. We pray for God’s help as we seek to do justice, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with God among peoples of all nations.” — From the 1982 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference Statement “Addressing the Concern of Undocumented Persons and Refugees in the United States”

Mother’s Day is almost here, and on Mother’s Day we honor the special role of motherhood in our families. Our mothers perhaps make the most impact on our childhood in shaping how we are raised and who we become. This Mother’s Day we are paying special attention to the crisis we face in regards to mothers and children held in immigration detention facilities.

In response to many people fleeing violence in Central America and seeking refuge in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) opened detention centers to hold mothers and their children facing deportation back to the countries they fled. Over 1,000 mothers and children are now held in these centers in Texas and Pennsylvania. Family detention is inhumane and inappropriate. The mothers, babies, toddlers, and teens held there face limited access to legal services, a lack of enforceable standards, insufficient oversight, and inadequate medical care. There is simply no humane way to detain families.

We have worked with our partners in the Interfaith Immigration Coalition to put together this toolkit that includes stories from mothers in detention, worship resources, and information about how to get involved. Please use this toolkit and consider highlighting the struggle of immigrant mothers and their children in detention in your worship services on Mother’s Day. Just over a week ago we had over 60 youth here in Washington, D.C., for Christian Citizenship Seminar advocating for an end to family detention and encouraging their elected officials to support policies that prioritize family unity and justice.

Take action:

— Download the Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s Toolkit (PDF) at and Additional Prayers (Word doc).

— Contact your elected officials and call upon them to support mothers by ending family detention.

— A sample script to use when calling or writing your elected officials: “My name is _______ calling from ________. I am a member of the Church of the Brethren and a constituent, and I oppose the detention of mothers and children seeking refuge in the United States. Central American families in DHS custody are seeking protection from violence, trafficking, and domestic abuse. Children require specialized medical, educational, and legal support that detention facilities cannot provide. The Obama administration has rapidly expanded family detention since June 2014, claiming that mothers and children fleeing violence should be detained to deter others from migrating because this migration is a national security threat. Today over 1,000 mothers and children are in detention in Texas and Pennsylvania. Family detention violates our most basic obligations to treat people humanely. I hope you will publicly speak out against family detention and contact the White House to express your alarm over this practice. My faith compels me to welcome the stranger, and I want to see all family detention centers closed, and the use of family detention ended. I urge you to reject any expansion to this inhumane practice of family detention and instead stand with people of faith in supporting community- based alternatives that treat our brothers and sisters with dignity and respect.”

— Bryan Hanger is advocacy assistant in the Office of Public Witness. Church of the Brethren Action Alerts are a ministry of the denomination’s Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. For more information about the public witness ministries of the Church of the Brethren, contact Nathan Hosler, Director, Office of Public Witness, 337 North Carolina Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003; ; 717-333-1649.

2) NCC calls for justice, end to violence in Baltimore

From an NCC release

The National Council of Churches (NCC) joins with the churches of Baltimore in grieving the loss of Freddie Gray. In the wake of his death and the violence that has followed, we call for sweeping changes to policing methods and procedures that will finally address the causes for the rage being expressed not only in Baltimore, but in cities across the nation. Too many young African-American men and women are dying at the hands of the police, and the nation must correct this injustice immediately. We call upon both rioters and police alike to end their violent acts toward one another.

We dispute the narrative that the riots are being carried out by “criminals and thugs,” as both President Obama and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have characterized rioters and protesters alike. To engage in dismissive name-calling by political leaders who are unable to offer any reasonable justification for Gray’s death is to simply fuel the fire they seek to calm. In the spirit of Jesus’s recollection of the Great Commandment to “love God” and “love your neighbor as yourself,” we cannot abide by speech that diminishes the lives and sacred worth of the young people of communities broken by violence.

We call upon the press to act on behalf of all people, not simply those in power. We ask the press to not only echo government talking points, but to investigate the reasons for the violence seen in the streets. We call upon the press to report not only how many police are injured in the violence, but how many civilians are as well.

We also applaud the faithful, courageous actions of clergy who have taken to the streets and stood not only for calm and peace, but also for justice and fairness. We urge the clergy of Baltimore and all troubled communities to continue to be an active presence during times of distress and violence.

“For months, and indeed decades, we have seen the tragedies such as the death of Freddie Gray unfold over and over again,” said NCC general secretary Jim Winkler. “If we as a nation cannot learn from the lessons of these tragedies, we will see our problems get worse. If we can do the kind of soul searching these events call for, we have hope.”

Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC’s 37 member communions–from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American, and Living Peace churches–include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

— Steven D. Martin is the National Council of Churches news contact, 202-412-4323 or . Find this statement of the NCC online at .

3) Office of Ministry provides forms meeting new IRS standards

By Mary Jo Flory-Steury

The roller coaster ride of receiving and responding to updates regarding implications of the Affordable Care Act for support of our pastors’ medical insurance premiums continues. Thank you for your continuing care and concern as we seek to understand the situation and care for our pastors’ well-being.

The Office of Ministry has prepared additional start-up and renewal agreements that we believe meet the IRS standards related to the Affordable Care Act. They have been posted at along with the previous set of agreements. We now have a set of four start-up agreements and four renewal agreements. All eight forms are downloadable in fillable format for your convenience. Please remember that in all situations the Guidelines for Pastor’s Salaries and Benefits (also available at the above link) continues the standard of financial support for the care of our pastors.

You may recall that Brethren Benefit Trust shared a very important and helpful “alert” regarding a new ruling in February. Here it is again for your information and convenience:

IRS issues new ruling regarding the Affordable Care Act

The IRS on Wednesday, Feb. 18, issued a new ruling regarding the Affordable Care Act. Here are the highlights of that ruling, which were approved by BBT’s legal counsel–

— Employers can reimburse health insurance premiums pre-tax through June 30, 2015.

— Employers don’t have to file IRS Form 8928, even if they did have violations in 2014.

— By June 30, 2015, employers must stop paying for or reimbursing individual health insurance unless they have just one employee. After that date, ACA penalties will be incurred.

— If employers have only one employee, they can continue reimbursing healthcare premiums on a pre-tax basis.

— Employers who have more than one employee and are not in a bona fide group plan, but want to continue to help pay insurance costs, need to change the way this is done after June 30, 2015, to avoid penalties. The way to do this is to increase salaries to cover the health care premiums without stipulating the salary increase for that use.

— Employers should consider amending their 2014 payroll reports and W-2s to treat the premiums as non-taxable.

— Mary Jo Flory-Steury is associate general secretary of the Church of the Brethren and executive director of the Office of Ministry.

4) Global Mission is renewing partnership with Prisoner Visitation and Support

Through the office of Global Mission and Service, the Church of the Brethren is renewing its partnership of grant support to the organization Prisoner Visitation and Support (PVS). In addition to the denomination’s grant support, which began in 1985, PVS has benefited from Brethren serving as prison visitors and as representatives on PVS’ board of directors.

Global Mission and Service recently provided a grant of $1,000 to PVS, which previously received annual grants from the Church of the Brethren.

PVS is described as “the only nationwide, interfaith visitation program with access to all federal and military prisons and prisoners in the United States,” according to a background document relating the history of the organization. PVS was founded in 1968 by Bob Horton, a retired Methodist minister, and Fay Honey Knopp, a Quaker activist, to visit imprisoned conscientious objectors.

“In its first five years of service, PVS volunteers visited over 2,000 conscientious objectors,” the document said. “PVS was encouraged by the war resisters to visit other prisoners and, today, PVS visits any federal or military prisoner wanting a visit. Today, PVS has 350 volunteers who visit at more than 97 federal and military prisons across the country.

It is sponsored by 35 national religious bodies and socially-concerned agencies including Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and secular organizations. “PVS seeks to meet the needs of prisoners through an alternative ministry that is separate from official prison structures,” the description said.

Brethren are invited to consider participating in this ministry of prison visitation. PVS is in especial need of volunteers for prisons in California, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, and Mississippi. More information can be found at .

— Kendra Harbeck, manager of the Global Mission and Service office, contributed to this report.

5) ‘Brethren Life and Thought’ is celebrating 60 years

By Karen Garrett

The journal “Brethren Life and Thought” is celebrating 60 years and editor Denise Kettering-Lane has planned two exciting issues to help us celebrate.

Vol. 60 No. 1 (Spring 2015) will revisit some of our popular articles from the past, offering contemporary reflections on topics such as women in ministry, the peace position, adult baptism, worship, and church leadership. Dana Cassell, Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, Christina Bucher, Scott Holland, John Ballinger, and Samuel Funkhouser will consider current positions on these topics in conversation with past “Brethren Life and Thought” articles.

Vol. 60 No. 2 (Fall 2015) is planned to honor the late Kenneth Shaffer, Brethren historian and archivist, who supported “Brethren Life and Thought” for many years and served the Journal Association board in many capacities. Articles will discuss a variety of historical topics as well as issues related to the preservation of Brethren materials. There also will be several short reflections on Shaffer’s contributions among the Brethren.

New subscribers are invited to visit where current subscribers also may renew their subscriptions online. Or subscription payments may be mailed to Brethren Life & Thought, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Rd. W., Richmond, IN  47374.

Thank you for your support over the past few years, as we redesigned the journal and as we worked diligently to get current on our publication schedule.

— Karen Garrett is managing editor of “Brethren Life and Thought.”


6) New Puerto Rico District names Jose Calleja Otero as district executive

The Puerto Rico District has announced that Jose Calleja Otero has accepted the call to serve as district executive minister. Otero already has begun his work. In July, the Puerto Rico District officially will be welcomed as the Church of the Brethren’s 24th district at Annual Conference in Tampa, Fla.

Otero was licensed Oct. 14, 2006, at Cristo El Señor Iglesia de los Hermanos in Vega Baja, P.R., and ordained Jan. 24, 2014, at Hermanos Remanente de Salvacion, Morovis, P.R. He has served as team pastor at the church in Morovis since April 6, 2011. He continues his work of 14 years for Hogar CREA Inc. as administrative assistant to the president of the organization. Hogar Crea is an international institution, founded in Puerto Rico, that helps drug addicts break their habits.

Otero has a bachelor’s degree in Communications Technology with a major in directing, screenwriting, and production, and a minor in graphic design, from Inter-American University in Bayamón, P.R. He completed the certificate in ministry training from the Theological Institute of Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Rico District office is located in Vega Baja, P.R. The district’s mailing address is P.O. Box 1353, Vega Baja, PR 00694; 787-381-0957; .

A webinar on “How Not to Fix People, Including Yourself” will help explore what is it that we may be assuming and impeding when acting to “fix” other people, said an announcement from Stan Dueck, the Church of the Brethren’s director of Transforming Practices. “We are well conditioned to believe that it is our job to fix others and solve their problems for them. If we see someone struggling or uncertain, we are quick to race in and save them from his or her challenges. We have been trained to see this as an act of care, a gift to another. However, is it really?” Presenter Ben Payne works for Remedi, one of the United Kingdom’s leading deliverers of restorative justice. The webinar is offered on Tuesday, May 12, at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time). Ministers may earn .1 continuing education unit for attending the live event. Registration and information is at .

The next webinar in the After Christendom series is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, May 6, at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time). “Join us as Rev. Dr. Simon Perry presents on the topic of Atheism after Christendom,” said an invitation from Stan Dueck, the Church of the Brethren’s director of Transforming Practices. The webinar will explore the role of atheism, particularly in Western culture. Simon Perry is chaplain to Robinson College, University of Cambridge Ministry Team, and Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London. He is author of “Atheism after Christendom: Disbelief in an Age of Encounter” (2015) and “Jesus for Humanists” (2014) as well as other books. The webinar is offered by the Congregational Life Ministries in collaboration with the Anabaptist Network and the Centre for Anabaptist Studies at Bristol Baptist College in the United Kingdom. Registration and information is at .

7) Brethren bits

— The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill the part-time position of hospitality program assistant. This part-time position works directly with the manager of hospitality at the Zigler Hospitality Center on the Brethren Service Center campus in New Windsor, Md. Responsibilities include practical and administrative support of the work in hospitality for the Brethren Service Center including assistance with scheduling volunteers, guests, meetings, community events, and other activities; supervising housekeeping work groups and assisting with dining hall meal service, as needed. Some weekend work may be required. The preferred candidate will exhibit professional verbal and written communication skills, proficiency in organizational skills, strong interpersonal and customer service skills, and must effectively manage multiple simultaneous tasks while working collaboratively in a team environment with integrity and respect. The person who fills this position must be able to support and operate out of the vision, mission, and core values of the Church of the Brethren (go to ). A high school diploma or equivalent and competency in Microsoft Office Outlook, Word, and Excel is required, as is at least one year of experience in hospitality or other customer service environment. Experience with hotel reservations software is preferred. Applications will be received and reviewed beginning immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to request the application packet and complete job description by contacting: Church of the Brethren, Office of Human Resources, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; .

— The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund (NCPTF) and the Peace Tax Foundation (PTF) based in Washington, D.C., seek a qualified individual to assume the part-time position (averaging 24 hours per week) of executive director. NCPTF is a not-for-profit 501(c)(4) organization which advocates for the passage of legislation enabling conscientious objectors to legally direct their taxes to nonmilitary uses. Currently, the bill representing its efforts in the US Congress is The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act (HR 2483). PTF is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that serves to inform and educate the public about conscientious objection to military tax payment and alternatives based on moral, ethical, and religious opposition to participation in war. Decision-making in both organizations is largely consensus-based and depends on a high level of cooperation and consultation between the Executive Director and the Boards of the two organizations. The organizations are seeking an executive director who demonstrates commitment to the non-violent life, to active peacemaking, and to the missions of the NCPTF and the PTF, with a passion for conscientious objection to war; exhibits the gifts and skills to supervise a small staff, office processes, logistical and program deadlines, and budgets while adhering to the policies and practices of the two organizations; can build and organize relationships with leaders of denominations, congregations, and other compatible interest groups to increase awareness of the NCPTF and PTF goals and programs; demonstrates a solid understanding of the legislative process and is comfortable working with Representatives, Senators, their office staffs, and Congressional committee staffs to promote NCPTF and PTF goals and programs; among other requirements. For a full description, see the job posting at . To apply submit a resume and other pertinent materials including a brief (1-4 pages) writing sample (a grant application, an article, a sermon, etc.) to the chairperson of the Personnel Committee of the NCPTF/PTF Boards of Directors, Bob Macfarlane, at prior to June 1.

— “Are you a Dr., nurse practitioner, RN, LPN, or EMT?” said an invitation from the Conference Office. The First Aid Office at Annual Conference in Tampa, Fla., is looking for physicians, nurses with RN or LPN certification, and EMTs willing to volunteer a few hours during Annual Conference this summer. Kathi Horrell is coordinating the First Aid Office at the Conference in Tampa and would be glad to hear from willing volunteers. Please contact her at .

— Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community is seeking candidates for its 2015 Junior Volunteer Program. The Junior Volunteer program will begin with a mandatory orientation on June 17 and 18 and continue through the end of July. “Are you age 12-18?” said an invitation. “Do you want to make a difference in your community? Do you genuinely care about people? Do you want to learn more about the healthcare field?” For more information, please contact Laura Ipock, Director of Volunteer Services, at 828-2682 or .

— A Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) Connections dinner is scheduled for Friday, May 15, at 6:30 p.m. “Whether you’re a long-time supporter or interested in learning more about Brethren Volunteer Service, come join us at York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill.,” said an invitation from Ben Bear, BVS volunteer assistant for recruitment. The evening will include food, fellowship, and stories. BVS will provide a free simple meal of pasta (gluten-free option available) and salad, “while we gather to share stories from any current or alumni volunteers present,” the invitation said. One of the BVS staff will be present to talk about BVS, its work in our world, and how to become involved. RSVP to Ben Bear by e-mail at or call/text 703-835-3612, or “attend” the event on the BVS Facebook page.

— Another BVS information session and dinner will be hosted by BVSer Jessie Houff in Roanoke, Va., this Friday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m. “We invite anyone in the Virlina District who is interested to come to Peters Creek Church of the Brethren for pizza and ice cream AND an informative question and answer session with BVSer Jessie Houff!” said the invitation. “We will meet other BVSers as well as alumni of the organization to share stories and experiences. If you are curious about BVS, this is your time to gather with other youth, young adults, and interested persons to see what it is all about!” RSVP to . For more information go to the Facebook event page at .

— Cliff Kindy, who spent some months volunteering in Nigeria with the Church of the Brethren Nigeria Crisis Response, was on an interfaith panel discussing the Nigeria crisis and how to respond. Lansing (Mich.) Church of the Brethren and the Church of the Brethren’s Michigan District were co-sponsors of the April 18 event along with the Islamic Center of East Lansing, Mich., Edgewood United Church Justice and Peace Task Force, Peace Education Center, Greater Lansing United Nations Association, Michigan Conference United Church of Christ, Haslett Community Church, MSU Muslim Studies Center, All Saints Episcopal Church, Shalom Center for Justice and Peace (Central United Methodist Church), Red Cedar Friends Meeting Peace and Social Justice Committee, People’s Church, Pax Christi Michigan, and others. The forum “presented how Americans and faith communities understand the devastating disorder and inhumanity in Nigeria and respond to it in peaceful, responsible, ethical, and caring ways,” said a description on YouTube. In addition to Kindy, panelists included Thasin Sardar, outreach coordinator at the Islamic Center of East Lansing; and Dauda Abubakar, a Nigerian scholar and assistant professor in the Departments of Africana Studies and Political Science at the University of Michigan-Flint. The moderator was Paul Brun Del Re, a board member of the Peace Education Center. Lucinda Barnum-Steggerda, a Church of the Brethren minister, offered a “Prayer for Peace and for Nigeria and Nigerians” along with Rabbi Michael Zimmerman. The event was videotaped and may be viewed at . Find Cliff Kindy’s presentation starting at .

— Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., celebrated its 90th anniversary with guest speaker former pastor David L. Rogers, according to Virlina District e-mail. May 3 marked the 90th anniversary. Rogers was pastor at Central Church from 1961-69. “During his tenure at Central, David developed inner city ministries for children and youth and cooperative ministries with other churches and community organizations,” said the e-mail announcement. “He co-chaired ‘People, Religion, and Change,’ a major conference which looked at human resources and human needs in the Roanoke area. David left Central to become the senior pastor at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., from 1969 to 1983. Then, until 1998, David was Director of EAP Services at the Otis R. Bowen Center for Human Services. His duties there also included staff development, counseling, consulting, and training. Currently, David is director of the San Raphael Health Clinic in El Salvador. He is President of the North Manchester Shepherd’s Center, Board Member Emeritus of Indiana Mental Health America, and Board Member of Wabash Mental Health America. He also serves on the Witness Commission of Manchester Church of the Brethren…. In retirement, he continues to work as a therapist, consultant, and lecturer.” Following the morning service, the church held a carry-in lunch. A short program followed the meal.

— Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., held a concert on April 17 to join the broader effort to raise funds for victims of the crisis in Nigeria. Reports Marty Keeney, choir director at the Stone Church and the primary organizer of the event: “The members of Stone Church along with others from the local community provided an evening of varied music. This included choral and bell-choir music from the Stone Church music program, keyboard duets from Loren and Donna Rhodes, humorous and inspirational music from Terry and Andy Murray, a men’s choir composed of local physicians, and energetic singing from the church’s children. About 200 generous people were in attendance. We are happy to report that over $16,000 were raised to boost the groundswell of support from the denomination at large. It is interesting to note that Harriet Beahm Kaylor and Naomi Kulp Keeney, both born in Nigeria in the early years of the Brethren mission in Nigeria, were in attendance. Also, a beautiful display of Nigerian items from the Kulp, Kaylor, and Murray families graced the worship center, and an interesting pictorial display from Harriet Kaylor offered pictures of the church in Nigeria from the early years during her childhood, as well as in a follow up visit in 1992…. There was also a great deal of support from pastors Christy and Dale Dowdy, Stone’s worship team which is chaired by Joanne Krugh, and bell director Sharon Yohn. We are all most appreciative of the generosity of the congregation of Stone Church and the broader Huntington community.”

— La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren helped host the 8th annual La Verne Celebration of the Arts this past weekend, according to an article in the “Daily Bulletin” newspaper. The celebration of visual and performing arts included a performance by the Hillcrest Choir, made up of member of the Church of the Brethren-related Hillcrest retirement community, among other groups. Also part of the celebration were displays of art by Church of the Brethren members Eric Davis and Gerald Pence, who is a resident of Hillcrest. Find the newspaper report at

— Penn Run (Pa.) Church of the Brethren was the subject of an “In the Spotlight” feature in the “Indiana Gazette” newspaper. Find the article and a photo of pastor Jeff A. Fackler photographed in the sanctuary at,21839229 .

— As the situation of conflict in South Sudan moves into its 17th month, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is inviting member churches to a special day of prayer  for those affected by the South Sudanese conflict, for the revival of fruitful peace talks, and for new ways ahead on Sunday, May 10. “The WCC has accompanied the churches in South Sudan for more than 40 years,” said a WCC release. “In April this year, the WCC in collaboration with the South Sudan Council of Churches convened 20 church leaders and representatives from South Sudan and Ethiopia, along with related agencies, in Addis Ababa, to reflect on the tragic situation of conflict in South Sudan, the recent collapse of peace talks among the parties to the conflict, and fresh ways forward.” Said WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit, in the release, “The South Sudanese are waiting in excruciating pain for the return of peace…. The church leaders are playing a significant role to bring peace to South Sudan. The churches are representing the people and the civil society and could unite the country. Therefore, the WCC invites its member churches and Christians worldwide to offer special prayers, to restore hope to all people affected by this situation of conflict, and to strengthen all well-intended initiatives.” Worship materials including a prayer, hymn, and photo slideshow on the theme of life in South Sudan are made available on the WCC website at .

— In more news from the WCC, an interfaith initiative at the United Nations has called on governments to ban nuclear weapons. “Nuclear weapons are incompatible with the values upheld by our respective faith traditions,” representatives of some 50 Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish organizations said on May 1. “The inter-religious statement came in a joint call to the 191 governments participating in the world’s largest disarmament treaty,” the WCC release said. “The call, co-sponsored by the World Council of Churches, was made during civil society presentations to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York City.” The statement delivered at the UN by Emily Welty, vice-moderator of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, said in part: “We raise our voices in the name of the shared values of humanity. We reject the immorality of holding whole populations hostage…. There is no countervailing imperative that justifies the continued existence [of nuclear weapons], much less their use.” The signatories, from Europe, Asia, and North America, pledged to make their respective faith communities more aware of the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons, urged governments to heed the voices of atomic bomb survivors, and to begin negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons “in a forum open to all states and blockable by none.”
The 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki loomed over this year’s NPT conference, the release noted. “Aging survivors of the atomic attacks–most already in their 80s–reiterated their calls for nuclear abolition. Many may not be able to attend the next NPT review conference in 2020.” The call to NPT statement, “Faith Communities Concerned about the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons,” may be viewed at .

— Dave Hubner of Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren, was featured in a “Frederick News Post” article about the Frederick Running Festival. “For Dave Hubner, finishing the Frederick Running Festival half marathon meant far more than miles logged or new ‘PR.’” the newspaper reported. “With every step taken, every corner rounded, Hubner…was contributing to a cause near and dear to his heart: Food for the children and staff in the orphanage from which he and his wife adopted their 8-year-old daughter, Ila. ‘It felt like something I was called to do,’ Hubner said.” Find the full article at .

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Ben Bear, Deborah Brehm, Stan Dueck, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Karen Garrett, Bryan Hanger, Kendra Harbeck, Marty Keeney, Kim McDowell, Donna M. Rhodes, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. The next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is set for May 12. Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at . Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

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