Newsline for Nov. 14, 2020

Quote of the week: This prayer by Richard Bott, moderator of the United Church of Canada, was published by the World Council of Churches and shared by Cindy Sanders, district executive minister of the Church of the Brethren’s Missouri and Arkansas District, in the most recent district newsletter.

“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4, NASB).

1) EDF grants provide relief aid in the US, Nigeria, DRC, Lebanon, and Venezuela
2) Districts share updated COVID-19 guidance with churches
3) Bridgewater College issues statement about Strategic Resource Allocation plan restructuring

4) Connie Burkholder to be interim executive minister for Illinois and Wisconsin District

5) Brethren Press highlights a dozen resources for the fourth quarter of 2020

6) Brethren bits: Copies of annual report ‘Living Letters’ postcard sets are still available, a report and prayer requests from EYN’s disaster ministry in Nigeria, reminders of the next Moderator’s Town Hall and open enrollment at BBT, World Council of Churches publishes “Global Health COVID-19 Response Framework,” and more

Find our landing page of Church of the Brethren COVID-19 related resources and information at

Find Church of the Brethren congregations offering online worship at

A listing to recognize Brethren who are active in health care is at To add a person to this listing, send an email with first name, county, and state to

1) EDF grants provide relief aid in the US, Nigeria, DRC, Lebanon, and Venezuela

Flooding in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) grants to provide COVID-19 and disaster relief aid in a number of countries. The grants include an additional allocation for the domestic COVID-19 Relief Program in the United States through the end of 2020, to assist Church of the Brethren congregations and districts in providing relief activities in their own communities.

An allocation of $60,000 funds the domestic COVID-19 Relief Program in the US through the end of 2020. The program provides grants of up to $5,000 to congregations and up to $25,000 to districts. Two grants totaling $135,000 were designated for the program in April and May, providing 35 grants to congregations and districts across the denomination. Starting in October, congregations that provided adequate reporting were invited to apply for a second grant. First-time applications also are still being processed.

A grant of $15,000 was given to the COVID-19 response of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) for the remainder of 2020. This is in addition to $14,000 given previously this year. As in other developing nations with people living in deep poverty, pandemic restrictions on work and travel, supply chain disruptions, and lack of public aid has created a hunger crisis. This is further complicated by ongoing violence. The funds will be used by EYN to help some of the most vulnerable widows and students at Kulp Theological Seminary, coordinated with the Nigeria Crisis Response.

A grant of $14,000 was given to Shalom Ministries in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for a longterm flood mitigation project. The ministry is related to the Church of the Brethren in the DRC. In mid-April, flooding in Uvira destroyed many bridges and hundreds of homes, making access to the community and the local Church of the Brethren difficult. Shalom Ministries requested a grant to remove one of the collapsed bridges, reopen the original riverbed, and repair the riverbanks, in consultation with the local government and community leaders and with help from an engineer.

A grant of $6,000 went to COVID-19 response in the DRC, through Shalom Ministries. The pandemic’s effects for the poorest citizens have been further complicated by natural disasters such as the flooding in April. Shalom Ministries is helping some of the most vulnerable people in the church communities needing help with food security and nutrition. A previous grant of $12,000 for this project was made in March.

A grant of $10,000 has been given to Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health as part of the Corus International group’s response to the August port explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. The four-pronged response includes providing shelter by repairing homes; providing food and replacing kitchen appliances; repairing buildings and replacing assets of small- to medium-sized businesses; and working on health care, focusing on clinical needs and rehabilitation of damaged hospitals, moving medicines and medical supplies to suitable facilities, supporting those injured in the explosion and those with COVID-19, and psychosocial trauma recovery.

A grant of $10,000 for COVID-19 response in Venezuela supports the feeding program of the Church of the Brethren Venezuela (ASIGLEH). The program is for at-risk people affected by COVID-19 and the humanitarian crisis in the country. A previous grant of $13,500 made in June supported the provision of daily hot meals to 578 at-risk people for one month and the purchase of medical supplies. The church requested continued support for this “Good Samaritan Plan.”

A grant of $2,000 has aided the Limón River flooding response carried out by the Venezuelan church. Torrential rains in early September caused extensive flooding, including in the community where some church members live. More than 300 homes were damaged or destroyed, including household supplies, food, and furniture. The church response has included providing hot meals, basic medicines, first aid supplies, and personal protective equipment.

To financially support the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries, give to the Emergency Disaster Fund at

2) Districts share updated COVID-19 guidance with churches

At least three districts in the Church of the Brethren have this week shared updated COVID-19 guidance with their congregations, including Southern Ohio and Kentucky District, Middle Pennsylvania District, and Virlina District.

From Southern Ohio and Kentucky District executive minister David Shetler and board chair Todd Reish:

We are eight months into the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 is an increasing–not a decreasing–threat. In recent weeks we have seen a drastic increase in positive COVID-19 test results, hospital admissions, and deaths. While we are experiencing fatigue in keeping safety protocols, we need to continue wearing masks, staying six feet apart, washing our hands, and obeying health recommendation of the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

Meeting “online” for worship and church meetings continues to be the best practice for caring for each other’s health. There are gaps in our knowledge of COVID-19, such as the longterm effects the virus has on physical and cognitive health, how much co-infection with influenza might increase the death rate, and the air circulation filtration systems needed to limit the spread of the virus in the confined spaces of our buildings. We know that being indoors substantially elevates the risk of transmission.

We will not celebrate Christmas as we usually do. This Advent and Christmas will help us understand Mary and Joseph’s experience of Jesus’ birth away from family and friends and away from the comforts of routines and traditions. We can ponder the season without the distractions of a hectic holiday season.

As your congregation plans for winter, please remember the faces of the members of your congregation, including newcomers you’ve connected with virtually. We have the ability and responsibility to prevent needless deaths on the road toward normality. If the Ohio Department of Health rates your county at Level Three or Four, the District Board urges you not to hold or to discontinue in-person worship or other activities.

Decide about reopening in the light of scriptures we’ve been highlighting: “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4, NASB). “Love is patient…. It does not insist on its own way…. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 4-7, NRSV).

We encourage you to consult statements made by the Church of the Brethren, National Council of Churches, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Ohio Department of Health. The District Board strongly urges each congregation to have a plan in place for what you will do if someone intentionally or unintentionally fails to follow “the rules.”

We offer this recommendation through the Advent and Christmas seasons and will update it in January 2021, or as changing circumstances or new information calls for.

Unto God’s gracious mercy and protection, we commit you; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, be upon you, and remain with you always. Amen.

(We express our thanks to Mid-Atlantic District for their letter, on which we have relied and to Kathryn Jacobsen, PhD, MPH, a member of the Oakton congregation and professor of Epidemiology and Global Health at George Mason University, for generously sharing her expertise and suggestions on which we have also relied.)

From Middle Pennsylvania District executive minister David F. Banaszak:

In the last two weeks, the number of reported positive COVID cases in our state has skyrocketed to over 4,000 per day. (5,488 reported today: 11-12-20). Along with those reports, locally in our district we have had several churches report a number of positive COVID cases that have forced those congregations to postpone meeting in person and return to virtual online worship. Pastors and congregational members alike within our district have tested positive and become ill.

Infectious disease experts are attributing this burgeoning number of cases to what they call “community spread,” meaning that individuals have become infected with the virus but are uncertain how or where they contracted the virus. When that is the case, isolation and contact tracing become all but impossible and the virus is given free rein in a community because it is uncertain who carries the virus and who does not. It is a recipe for widespread illness within an individual congregation when precautions are not followed.

To that end, this advisory is being communicated to all pastors and church leadership to renew, recommit, and refocus on all of the mitigation efforts which were recommended when the pandemic started months ago. These include taping off pews for social distancing, mask wearing, elimination of multiple touching in the offering, elimination of unnecessary social events, and rigorous sanitation efforts (both hand washing and the church facility).

The reality is that for some who become ill with COVID, the effects and symptoms are relatively mild. However for others, contracting COVID becomes life threatening and deadly. There is no way to accurately predict how an individual will respond to a COVID infection. Therefore short of suspending in-person meeting, implementing the mitigation efforts described above is the best response for our churches.

In the event that persons within a congregation who have been in contact with others at worship test positive, it is advised that in-person worship be temporarily suspended for the recommended two-week quarantine period. Subsequent steps for that congregation would then be determined based on their particular situation.

As I have stated from the onset of this pandemic, our primary concern at this time as followers of Christ and as leaders of the church is the protection and safety of our members. No other agenda can take precedence. It is your responsibility as a leader of the church to protect your members. Aside from returning to virtual worship, I cannot underscore enough the importance of renewing, recommitting, and refocusing on all of the mitigation efforts recommended and implemented when the pandemic started months ago. The life of someone who calls your church home may depend on it.

From Virlina District executive minister David K. Shumate:

The following COVID-19 restrictions in Virginia were announced by Governor Northam. The announcement stated that they were effective at midnight on Sunday. It was not clear if this was Saturday/Sunday or Sunday/Monday. If your congregation has fewer than 25 inside, we believe that the reduction in public gatherings would not apply. We do not believe they would apply to parking lot services with transmitters nor to other techno methods of outreach.

— Reduction in public and private gatherings: All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings.

— Expansion of mask mandate: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29 and requires all individuals aged 10 and over to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.

Churches are not subject to the restrictions except as follows:

Individuals may attend religious services of more than 25 people subject to the following requirements:

a. Individuals attending religious services must be at least six feet apart when seated and must practice proper physical distancing at all times. Family members, as defined below, may be seated together.

b. Mark seating and common areas where attendees may congregate in six-foot increments to maintain physical distancing between persons who are not family members.

c. Any items used to distribute food or beverages must be disposable, used only once, and discarded.

d. Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently contacted surfaces must be conducted prior to and following any religious service.

e. Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 is permitted to participate in the religious service.

f. Post signage to provide public health reminders regarding physical distancing, gatherings, options for high-risk individuals, and staying home if sick.

g. Individuals attending religious services must wear cloth face coverings in accordance with Amended Executive Order 63, Order of Public Health Emergency Five.

h. If religious services cannot be conducted in compliance with the above requirements, they must not be held in-person.

3) Bridgewater College issues statement about Strategic Resource Allocation plan restructuring

The following statement was provided to Newsline by Abbie Parkhurst, associate vice president for Marketing and Communications at Bridgewater (Va.) College:

Bridgewater College’s Board of Trustees concluded its fall meeting on Nov. 6. After extensive review, the trustees voted to accept nearly all of the administration’s recommendations. This includes phasing out low-enrollment majors in Applied Chemistry, French, Mathematics, Nutritional Science, Philosophy and Religion, and Physics, as well as the restructuring of the college’s equestrian program. The decision lays the groundwork for ensuring that the college’s next 140 years will be even stronger than its first 140, as we transform academic and co-curricular opportunities to meet the needs and interests of current and future students.

It is important to understand that elimination of a major does not mean a discipline is being discontinued. The elimination of a major in mathematics, for example, does not mean math courses, including high-level courses, will not continue to be offered as electives, as part of Bridgewater’s core curriculum, or as minors. They will. It simply means the credential of a major in math will no longer be offered, although more in-demand majors in applied math disciplines are likely to be developed and introduced.

The changes are being made to better align the college’s curriculum with student needs and interests. The changes will not affect the timeless parts of the college. The college remains committed to the liberal arts and will continue to offer a full, robust curriculum that provides all the disciplines traditional to the liberal arts. We will continue to prepare our students both for professional success and for personal fulfillment, instilling in them the habits of mind required for engaged citizenship and purposeful, meaningful lives.

The world today’s students will enter upon graduation is different than it was even 10 years ago, and the pace of change is not likely to slow. By building upon the college’s strong past, we are creating a framework to educate the students of today and tomorrow. The Strategic Resource Allocation plan process allows us to refocus resources on the priorities that will allow this to happen.

The Strategic Resource Allocation plan process rapidly is becoming a “best practice” in higher education. It is what forward-thinking schools do to become even more efficient and dynamic and was adopted as part of Bridgewater’s Strategic Plan 2025, approved by the Board of Trustees in November 2018. It is something Bridgewater intends to do periodically, and it is likely that within a short span of years most colleges and universities in the country will adopt similar assessment programs.


4) Connie Burkholder to be interim executive minister for Illinois and Wisconsin District

The Illinois and Wisconsin District Leadership Team has called Connie Burkholder to serve as interim district executive minister, beginning Jan. 1, 2021. She has previous experience in district leadership in Northern Plains District, where she was district executive minister 1996-2006.

An ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren since 1983, Burkholder has filled pastorates in Northern Ohio, Western Plains, and Virlina Districts. She has written adult curriculum and has been a spiritual direction practitioner and retreat leader. For six years, she served as liturgy coordinator, program presenter, and spiritual director for the Heartland Center for Spirituality of the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Great Bend, Kan.

She holds a master of divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary and a graduate certificate in spiritual direction and directed retreats from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. In addition, she is a musician and has been active in leading church choirs and piano accompanying. For four years, she was employed as accompanist by the music department of McPherson (Kan.) College.

Burkholder lives in McPherson, where she serves as a member of the ministerial team of Monitor Church of the Brethren.


5) Brethren Press highlights a dozen resources for the fourth quarter of 2020

Brethren Press is highlighting a round dozen resources for use by individuals and churches in this fourth quarter of 2020. On the list are new resources published by Brethren Press for education and enjoyment of young and old. Also recommended are new books by Brethren authors, from other publishers but available to purchase through Brethren Press.


A colorful revision of an old Brethren Press favorite, this card game features 13 people and their interesting roles in Brethren history and heritage: Mattie Dolby, Julia Gilbert, John Kline, Alexander Mack, Sarah Righter Major, Ken Morse, Anna Mow, Gladdys Muir, Christopher Sauer Jr., Ted Studebaker, Samuel Weir, Dan West, and Laura Wine. Illustrations are by Mitch Miller. $15.

A mug decorated with Forerunners illustrations is a great accompaniment to the game. $15.

Birth of JesusThe newest in the Covenant Bible Studies series, Birth of Jesus, is written by Richard Gardner, former academic dean at Bethany Theological Seminary. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke offer two different accounts of Jesus’ birth and infancy. This study looks closely at their distinctive features and then seeks meaning: What do these stories tell us about Jesus? How do they engage the world in which they were written? And what do they mean for our lives today? $10.95.

Advent devotional – The 2020 Advent devotional from Brethren Press, Give Light, is written by James Benedict. This pocket-sized paperback offers a daily scripture reading, devotional thought, and prayer through the season of Advent. $4.

Children’s Advent devotional – Originally published in 2018, 25 Days to Jesus continues as a favorite gift for children this year. The colorful, hard-cover book is written by Christy Waltersdorff with illustrations by Mitch Miller. Children will meet those whose lives were changed by the birth of Jesus through a daily scripture, story, and prayer. $18.95.

Stories from NigeriaWe Bear It in Tears: Stories from Nigeria is a full-length book of interviews with survivors of Boko Haram violence in northeast Nigeria. The interviews were carried out by Carol Mason, accompanied by photographs taken by Donna Parcell. $28.

Jigsaw puzzle – A 432 piece, 18-by-24 inch puzzle features a photograph of the Eder River in Schwarzenau, Germany, taken by Church of the Brethren photographer Glenn Riegel. Schwarzenau is the birthplace of the Brethren movement and the Eder River is where the first Brethren baptisms took place in 1708. The photo was taken in 2008 during the 300th anniversary celebration. The puzzle comes in a decorative canister. $38.99.

A Guide for Biblical Studies – “Call in the New Testament” is this quarter’s issue of A Guide for Biblical Studies, the long-running Brethren Press Bible study for adult Sunday school classes and small groups. Written by Robin Wentworth Mayer, it examines God’s call in stories from the New Testament. The greatest call came to Jesus, but other calls led to the extension of Christian ministry into the known world. The final five lessons highlight women in ministry. A Guide for Biblical Studies is issued quarterly and contains daily scriptures, lessons, and questions for use by both individuals and small groups. $6.95.

New books by Brethren authors

Who Will Be a Witness? Igniting Activism for God’s Justice, Love, and Deliverance by Drew G. I. Hart is published by Herald Press and available to order through Brethren Press. The book offers a vision for communities of faith to organize for deliverance and justice in their neighborhoods, states, and nation as an essential part of living out the call of Jesus. It provides insights into scripture and history, along with illuminating personal stories, to help identify how the witness of the church has become mangled by Christendom, white supremacy, and religious nationalism. $15.19 (internet price).

Hauerwas the Peacemaker? by Nathan Hosler is published by Wipf & Stock and available to order through Brethren Press. Written by the director of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, this book examines theologian Stanley Hauerwas’ contribution to peacemaking as part of his ecclesiology and broader theological/ethical work. “War has been abolished in Christ” was Hauerwas’ strong claim. $28 (internet price).

Resurrection Peacemaking–Plowsharing the Tools of War: 30 Years with Christian Peacemaker Teams by Clifford (Cliff) Kindy is published by Wipf & Stock and available to order through Brethren Press. Kindy draws the reader through the drama and mediocrity of his personal experience of working with CPT in many parts of the world afflicted by war and violence. “Space is provided for the reader to step into the shallows of peacemaking and then on into the depths. This book is intended to be acted into being,” said the Brethren Press description. $15.20 (internet price).

Children’s book of Bible stories – All of Us: God’s Story for You and Me is a children’s book of Bible stories from the Shine curriculum of Brethren Press and MennoMedia. It is available to purchase from and also is available to Sunday school teachers and students through the curriculum. It is suitable for use by families at home as well as serving as the Bible storybook for the primary, older elementary, and multi-age classes in Shine. Each story is told in two ways–as a cartoon and as a written story for reading together with children. A new volume is being produced each year. This year’s includes selected stories from Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Isaiah, Luke, Matthew, Mark, and Acts. $10.99.

Order these and more resources at

6) Brethren bits

How to be a living letter: “Do you need more copies of the ‘Living Letters’ postcard sets distributed earlier this fall?” said an announcement. Copies of the Church of the Brethren annual report–a booklet of 12 postcards that can be detached and mailed–are still available. “In a time when people have had to be more separated than usual, those sending the postcards can be ‘a letter of Christ’ that was written with the Spirit of the living God on tablets of human hearts (2 Corinthians 3:2 3).” Individuals and congregations may request quantities by contacting Karen Stocking at

The Disaster Relief Ministry team of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) with some orphans and family members during a scholarship presentation at Dille in Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno State, Nigeria. Pastors in the area have solicited prayers for farmers, reports EYN head of media Zakariya Musa. “A day before our visit, one widow was kidnaped and was released later in the day. Praise God that she could trace her way home from the forest. Dille is close to Sambisa Forest and many villages around are abandoned to Boko Haram. One of the villages we visited during the week is Kidlindla, the home town of Yuguda Z. Mdurvwa [leader of the EYN Disaster Relief Ministry]. Some members of the community have relocated to other areas after repeated attacks. Pray for the actualization of Borno State Governor Babagana Umara Zullum’s plan to return the displaced communities to their home lands from within and outside Nigeria. Pray for the EYN leadership as it prepares for staff transfers and promotions, an exercise considered to be tough by both the employer and the employee.”

Coming up next week Thursday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. (Eastern time), is the next Moderator’s Town Hall featuring Mark DeVries, founder and president of Ministry Architects. He will be joining Annual Conference moderator Paul Mundey to discuss “Innovative Ideas for a Hard Season.” Register at

Open enrollment for Brethren Insurance Services offered through Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) is now thru Nov. 30, for people who work for a Church of the Brethren employer. That means employees of churches, districts, camps, retirement communities, and other church agencies that receive their insurance through Brethren Insurance Services. “During Open Enrollment, you can sign up for new insurance products, add coverage for products you already use, increase limits, and make other changes. And you can do all this without medical underwriting,” said the announcement. Go to to see the array of insurance products Brethren Insurance Services makes available to people who are employed by the many different organizations of the church.

The garden project supported by Osage Church of the Brethren. Photo by James Therrien

Osage Church of the Brethren in McCune, Kan., has published pictures of its community garden project on Facebook, one of the community gardens that has received funding from the Global Food Initiative. Go to

Bridgewater (Va.) College has received a $1 million contribution from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, said a release from the school. The donation honors Dr. A. Edward “Ed” Burgess, a Bridgewater graduate from the class of 1962 who passed away in February, and will be used to lower the cost of attendance for students, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Burgess worked in public education in Virginia as a teacher and high school principal, then after earning a doctorate from Duke University he went on to teach there and at North Carolina State and St. Mary’s College in Raleigh, N.C. Burgess was a dedicated alumnus, the release noted. He served as president of the Bridgewater College Alumni Association 2003-2004, co-chaired his 50th Reunion Committee, and worked with classmates to establish the Class of 1962 Endowed Scholarship Fund, presented to the College during the class’s 50 year reunion celebration in 2012. His class set the record for the largest 50th reunion class gift at that time and established a new standard for 50th reunion class gifts. The momentum from the class of 1962 has resulted in $4.5 million raised collectively from 50th reunion class gift initiatives alone since 2012. The $1 million gift has been divided between two funds: $900,000 established the A. Edward Burgess Current Scholarship Fund, from which scholarships will be distributed over several years according to student need, and $100,000 established the A. Edward Burgess Endowed Scholarship Fund, which is permanently invested in the Bridgewater College Endowment and will award scholarships from investment earnings.

McPherson (Kan.) College president Michael Schneider has had an opinion piece published in the Wichita Eagle newspaper titled “How to Pay as You Go and Graduate Debt Free.” Writes Schneider: “Roughly, one out of every six Americans owe student debt. Even more alarming, about 20 percent of those in debt are over 50–parents and grandparents spending their retirement nest egg to pay off their families’ college loans. Student debt permeates generations.” The piece shares stories of students benefiting from McPherson College’s innovative Student Debt Project as a way to get through college on a pay-as-you-go basis. About 170 students are in the program and on a path to graduate with little to no student debt. “And it’s working–even amidst a pandemic,” Schneider writes. “Despite COVID-19 cutting short their work schedules this spring, the students participating in the 2019-2020 Student Debt Project were able to reduce their projected student loan debt, on average, by $10,000 each. That’s more than a 30 percent reduction in anticipated debt at graduation in just a few months in the project.” Read the full piece on the college website at

The latest episode of the Dunker Punks Podcast discusses dismantling injustice and deconstructing racism. “Classism, racism, sexism all are intertwined and [undoing] the thread of one will loosen the whole. Educate yourself and spread the word,” said an announcement. In this episode, Naomi Yilma from the Church of Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy discusses these struggles with the LaDonna Sanders Nkosi, director of Intercultural Ministries for the Church of the Brethren. Listen online at or subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app.

The Brethren Voices television show produced by Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., is announcing its episode for November and December on “Alternative Christmas Gift Suggestions.” The producers are encouraging alternative giving to three Church of the Brethren-related programs: Brethren Disaster Ministries and its Rebuild Program that engages volunteers to repair and rebuild homes that have been damaged in disasters; the New Community Project’s Give A Girl A Chance project aiding girls who need assistance to gain access to schooling and other opportunities in countries like Malawi, where the project is providing girls with bicycles to get to high school; and Heifer International’s gifts of animals providing families in need with a hand-up, increasing access to medicine, school, food, and a sustainable livelihood. Find Brethren Voices episodes on YouTube.

“Imagine! God’s Earth and People Restored” is the theme for next year’s Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) to be held as a virtual gathering on April 18-21, 2021. Said an announcement: “This annual event of Christian advocates and activists will delve deeply into the pressing issues of the day and speak truth to power on Capitol Hill…. EAD 2021 is an opportunity to support this global movement centered on and led by the people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts due to historic racial and colonial inequities.” Registration details will be announced soon.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has published a “Global Health COVID-19 Response Framework” as a four-page full color document of guidance for church communions around the world. The document was put together out of “ongoing consultations between church and healthcare leaders from many countries…the product of collaboration by more than 40 organizations,” said a release. It “provides practical ways to translate the church’s prophetic voice into action in ways that demonstrate love and compassion.” Said Dr. Mwai Makoka, program executive for Health and Healing: “Many church partners are in the forefront dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and are keen to collaborate with governmental and other stakeholders, especially to re-imagine a better post-COVID world.” An encapsulation of faith engagement with the pandemic, the framework focuses on short- to medium-term responses to protect and preserve lives and livelihoods. It also creates a context for accelerating progress toward longterm goals for resilience, human sustenance, and development. The vision behind the framework embraces a holistic approach to health through mechanisms that provide accurate information, resources to promote resilience, and possibilities to assess and respond to health needs in integrated ways. In a table format, the framework identifies core challenges and response strategies, and also recommends specific actions to advocates, practitioners, researchers, and others. Download the publication at

Newsline is the email news service of the Church of the Brethren. Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jacob Crouse, Tina Goodwin, Ed Groff, Mary Kay Heatwole, Irv Heishman, Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Jeff Lennard, Wendy McFadden, Nancy Miner, Zakariya Musa, Abbie Parkhurst, Roy Winter, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Please send news tips and submissions to . Find the Newsline archive at . Sign up for Newsline and other Church of the Brethren email newsletters or make subscription changes at . All submissions are subject to editing. Inclusion in Newsline does not necessarily convey endorsement by the Church of the Brethren.

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