— Annual Conference registration opens March 2 at 1 p.m. (Eastern time) at www.brethren.org/ac. The Church of the Brethren annual meeting is online-only this year. Worship services are free and open to the public, but registration and a fee are required to attend the business sessions, Bible studies, workshops, insight sessions, concerts, and more. The Annual Conference office has begun publishing a newsletter with details about the 2021 annual meeting, find the first issue at www.brethren.org/ac2021.
— Prayers are requested for pastor and evangelist Bulus Yakura of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) who was kidnapped from the village of Pemi, near Chibok in northeast Nigeria, by Boko Haram on Christmas Eve 2020. Media in Nigeria have been sharing a video threatening his execution by March 3 if ransom demands are not met. See a report originally from the Nigerian newspaper Morning Star News at www.christianheadlines.com/blog/islamist-terrorists-in-nigeria-threaten-to-execute-pastor.html. Find the Newsline article about the Christmas Eve attacks on EYN churches and communities at www.brethren.org/news/2020/boko-haram-attacks-eyn-churches.
— The Global Mission office has shared a prayer request from Ron Lubungo, a leader of the Church of the Brethren in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “We request prayers for the Eastern corner of DRCongo where people are killed day by day,” he wrote in an email. “One of them is ambassador of Italy.” News media have reported that the Italian ambassador, his Italian bodyguard, and a Congolese driver were killed in an attack while driving in a convoy of the United Nation’s World Food Program. The nation’s leadership is blaming Hutu rebels in the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda, one of many armed groups active in the area.
— The Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy signed on to a Feb. 18 letter to members of Congress from 31 faith-based organizations across the country, urging cuts to “the bloated Pentagon budget” in order to carry out the administration’s “commitment to investing in green energy and sustainable infrastructure, in affordable healthcare, and in economic support for people struggling with the effects of the pandemic. These are essential investments,” the letter said, in part. “We are called by our faith traditions to prioritize caring for people, and to turn away from violence and corruption. The Hebrew Bible calls people ‘stewards’ of the land, urges them to feed the hungry and care for the poor, and prophesies nations forging their ‘swords into ploughshares.’ …Instead of spending money on weapons and war, we need to be investing in things that address the urgency of climate change and build resilient communities–including clean energy and sustainable infrastructure. Ensuring that low-income and marginalized communities have the infrastructure they need for clean air, water, broadband, and public transportation is key. Addressing climate change and sustainable infrastructure will put the country on a path to a more equitable future–and create good jobs at the same time. We also need reductions in the Pentagon budget in order to invest in public health–an especially essential investment in this time of pandemic.”
— Pacific Southwest District is offering an all-district love feast service online on Maundy Thursday, April 1, beginning at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific time). “The same service will be offered on the PSWD YouTube channel and in Zoom at the same time,” said the announcement. The service will be in both English and Spanish, with captions in the alternate language so that all may participate. Register for the Zoom service at https://bit.ly/3pnl5UI. The district YouTube Channel is at www.youtube.com/channel/UC_9v4N-GBE6UCUENoAylf_g.
— Also from Pacific Southwest District, a weekly Bible study will be held via Zoom for district members to study the proposed compelling vision for the Church of the Brethren. The sessions will take place each Wednesday evening beginning on March 3, led by district executive minister Russ Matteson using the 13 sessions prepared by the Compelling Vision Working Group.
— “Our big 20th Annual Sounds of the Mountains Story Festival will be online on Saturday, April 17!” said an announcement from Virlina District. “Donald Davis returns to our amazing ‘all-headliners’ festival including Dolores Hydock, Kevin Kling, Bil Lepp, Barbara McBride-Smith, and Donna Washington.” This free online storytelling event is held to encourage donations to Camp Bethel. For more information go to www.SoundsoftheMountains.org.
— Juniata College is offering its faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to attend a Q&A with Ibram X. Kendi, author of the 2019 book How to Be an Antiracist. The event takes place online on March 3. The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, in cooperation with the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Juniata, are sponsoring the event. Said a release: “Professor Kendi is a National Book Award recipient and New York Times No. 1 best-selling author of seven books. He is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Kendi is a contributor writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News Racial Justice Contributor. He is also the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University. In 2020, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. His 2019 book How to Be an Antiracist was described by The New York Times as ‘the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.’ The book’s central message is that the opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ The true opposite of racist is antiracist. Kendi writes, ‘Denial is the heartbeat of racism.’” The Q&A will be moderated by Territa Poole, assistant professor of psychology, and Daniel Welliver, interim director of the Baker Institute and professor of sociology.
— McPherson (Kan.) College celebrated a combined total of more than 270 years of service to the college when it recognized faculty, staff, and board of trustee members this week. Said a release: “Faculty and staff were treated to a drive-through dinner and awards presentation on campus. This year’s event replaced the reception and dinner traditionally held honoring those who have served the college from 5 to 30 years. Members of the campus administrative team presented the honorees with their award and take-out dinners prepared by the campus food service.”
— “Thinking Beyond Resettlement: Are Complementary Pathways for Refugees the Answer?” is the title of a webinar from Church World Service (CWS) and the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) on March 3 at 12 noon (Eastern time). “Third-country resettlement is an important part of the international commitment to refugee protection and support,” said the announcement. “Yet the vast majority of refugees in need of resettlement as a durable solution in 2021 are unlikely to be resettled. In 2020, amid a global pandemic, resettlement numbers reached a record low: only 22,770 (1.6 percent) of the 1.4 million refugees in need of resettlement were resettled…. Complementary pathways represent untapped opportunities for refugees to improve their lives through other migration channels.” Panel members include Katherine Rehberg, Deputy Vice President, Immigration and Refugee Program, Church World Service; Manuel Orozco, Senior Fellow and the Director of the Migration, Remittances and Development Program at the Inter-American Dialogue and Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University; Sasha Chanoff, Founder and Executive Director, RefugePoint. Register at https://georgetown.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kbrbx_0sTBmCXrE3GJbbxA.
— The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is providing an online prayer service to mark the death of 500,000 Americans to COVID-19, called “Words of Comfort, Prayers for the People.” An invitation said, “As we grieve the milestone of over 500,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in the United States, we hope our prayer service helps to sustain and encourage you during this time of mourning and continued struggle due to the pandemic. We invite you to add your own prayer in the comments for the video or share your prayer on social media using #ATIME2MOURN.” View the service at https://youtu.be/LqDxc15uOQU.
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