— Church World Service (CWS) has announced that “after more than 20 years of wonderful service, the Rev. John L. McCullough has decided to step down as President and CEO of CWS. With the CEO term being four years, he decided not to stand for another term. We are so very thankful for his commitment and leadership…. New President and CEO, Rick Santos has a decade of field experience in Asia and has spent 23 years working for and with faith-based organizations, including earlier in his career, more than a decade with CWS!” The organization held a virtual “meet and greet” for Santos on Jan. 28 and published a blog post that Santos wrote to introduce himself to the ecumenical community at https://cwsglobal.org/blog/what-led-me-to-this-moment.
— Angelo Olayvar joined the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C., in January as a new intern. He is a junior at Eastern Mennonite University studying political science, accounting, and business administration, with aspirations to go to law school and pursue a career in human rights law.
— The Church of the Brethren seeks a full-time director for the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Responsibilities include promoting the history and heritage of the Church of the Brethren by administering the archive and by facilitating research and the study of Brethren history. Required skills and knowledge include extensive knowledge of Church of the Brethren history and beliefs; familiarity with Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; familiarity with library and archival disciplines; customer service skills; research and problem-solving skills; proficiency in Microsoft software; experience with OCLC products; at least 3-5 years of experience in a library or archives; a master’s degree in library science, archival studies, or a public history related program; a graduate degree in history or theology and/or certification by the Academy of Certified Archivists. Applications are received immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to COBApply@brethren.org, Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
— The Church of the Brethren seeks a full-time coordinator of short-term service to oversee and administer short-term service experiences and placements including the Faith Outreach Expeditions or FaithX (formerly the Workcamp Ministry), and support recruitment of volunteers for Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). Required skills and knowledge include grounding in Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and practices; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren; strong interpersonal skills; ability to take initiative without regular supervision; strong attention to detail; organizational skills; communication skills (verbal and written); administrative and management skills; ability to provide faith/spiritual leadership in group settings; recruitment experience in a college or equivalent volunteer service setting preferred; understanding of managing a budget required with experience of managing a budget preferred; willingness to travel extensively; ability to work well in a close team office setting; flexibility with evolving program needs. Required experience includes leading service work experiences or mission trips; working with youth; recruitment and assessment of individuals; and experience with word processing, database, and spreadsheet software. Previous BVS experience is helpful but not required. A bachelor’s degree is expected, a master’s degree or equivalent work experience is helpful but not required. This position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Applications will be received beginning immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to COBApply@brethren.org, Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
— The Church of the Brethren seeks a part-time, hourly assistant for the Buildings and Grounds department at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Responsibilities include providing support for services such as maintenance, warehouse operations, shipping, mail, supplies, equipment, and other work at the direction of the manager of Buildings and Grounds. Required skills and knowledge include ability to relate with integrity and respect within and beyond the organization; knowledge and experience in building operation and facilities management; knowledge of electrical work, plumbing, HVAC, and mechanical systems is helpful but not required; ability to bend, stoop, climb, lift 50 pounds, and work in extreme environments in or out of doors; ability to handle hazardous materials and exposure to hazardous situations; ability to access, input, and retrieve information from a computer; ability to work with minimal supervision; skills in oral and written communication; at least five years of Buildings and Grounds operations experience helpful but not required; high school diploma or equivalent required. Applications will be received beginning immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to COBApply@brethren.org, Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
— The Church of the Brethren’s Illinois and Wisconsin District seeks a district executive minister. The district includes 35 congregations and 2 fellowships ranging from southern Illinois to Wisconsin, and is theologically, geographically, and politically diverse. This is a half time position (approximately 25 hours per week). Office location is negotiable. Travel is required both within and outside of the district (once travel is again advisable). Responsibilities include direction, coordination, management, and leadership of the district ministries, as authorized by the District Conference and implemented by the District Leadership Team; work with congregations in calling and credentialing ministers, and in the placement/call and evaluation of pastoral staff; providing support and counsel for ministers and other church leaders; sharing and interpreting program resources for congregations; providing a link between congregations, district, and denomination by working collaboratively with the Council of District Executives, Annual Conference and its agencies, and their staff. Qualifications include ordination through an accredited program, with a master of divinity degree preferred; skills in organization, administration, and communication; commitment to the Church of the Brethren locally and denominationally and willingness to work ecumenically; demonstrated leadership skills; pastoral experience preferred. Apply by sending a letter of interest and resume to Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Director of Ministry, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants are requested to contact three people to provide letters of reference. Upon receipt of a resume, a Candidate Profile will be sent that must be completed and returned before an application is considered complete. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
— An updated edition of the Church of the Brethren Manual of Organization and Polity–with footnotes instead of endnotes for easier research–is now available at www.brethren.org/ac/ppg.
— The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has signed on to the following statements in recent weeks:
A letter to the Biden transition team asking for the full restoration of the State Department Office of Religion and Global Affairs.
A letter to the Armed Services Committee against the use of Armed drones in Kenya.
A letter urging President Biden to make reversing the FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) designation of Yemen’s Houthis a day-one priority for his administration. This came among warnings that the designation of Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist organization could spur a large-scale famine by “disrupting the flow of much-needed food, medicine, and aid delivery.”
— Truck drivers from the Church of the Brethren Material Resources department have been traveling the country picking up relief materials on behalf of Lutheran World Relief, a partner organization in the warehousing and shipping work at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. “We were asked by Lutheran World Relief to make some pickups of quilts and kits (school, personal care, and baby kits) in four locations,” reported Glenna Thompson, Material Resources office assistant. “Ed and Brenda Palsgrove started out in Raleigh, N.C., Arden, N.C., then headed to Waterloo, Ill., and Crystal Falls, Mich. Three of the locations were at Lutheran Camps.” The truck also made a stop at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., to pick up donations. “The trailer was filled out with donations,” Thompson said. “A note from the four locations, they were excited to see the tractor/trailer and expressed their appreciation to the Brethren Service Center for making these pickups.”
— “Archives Live: 19th Century Notables” is the title of the next virtual tour hosted by the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The event takes place on Facebook on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 10 a.m. (Central time). “During this edition of Archives Live, we will be diving into the 1800s with special focus on people and events that impacted the church,” said an announcement. “This time period was one of westward expansion and increasing emphasis on publications and education. We will explore antebellum Brethren historical sources such as the writings of Peter Nead, John Kline, and Henry Kurtz. We will discuss the founding of denominational magazines that are still being published and the figures involved, especially the Messenger.” For more information go to www.facebook.com/events/705814510093607.
— Find the latest Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) newsletter with stories from the work of volunteers around the world and an “alumni corner” at www.brethren.org/bvs/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2021/01/Volunteer-winter-2021.pdf.
— The Death Row Support Project has announced a collaboration with a group of Northwestern University students during their 2021 winter and spring quarters, in an announcement from DRSP director Rachel Gross. As part of working toward a Certificate in Civic Engagement, seven students have chosen to work at building the capacity of DRSP by building connections between DRSP correspondents and state abolition groups, exploring ways that the experiences of writers can contribute to the abolition of the death penalty, and evaluating DRSP’s use of social media and web presence.
In another development, DRSP has a new brochure for use in introducing people to the project, in collaboration with the Church of the Brethren’s Mission Advancement office. For copies, contact Gross at email@example.com.
— Pacific Northwest District has announced that Salkum (Wash.) Church of the Brethren closed this year as the district “mourned the death of one of its last members, Glenn Keenan.” The district assumed responsibility for the building and grounds in June and renegotiated the contract with East Lewis County’s Headstart program, which is housed in the building’s basement, said the district newsletter. On behalf of the district, Carol Mason is interviewing interested congregations “in search of a building home” and other potential users. She plans to continue through Lent an “open-door Sunday” to welcome anyone wanting to be in the church building for meditation or worship.
— Lafayette (Ind.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a “Grieving Garden” for COVID-19 victims in Tippecanoe County, according to a report from WLFI Channel 18. The display of flags for those who have died from the virus in the county was put together by members of the Poor People’s Campaign Lafayette-Kokomo region. “When you enter the garden you’ll find upwards of 140 flags on display with the month and day of each Tippecanoe County COVID-19 death since the first one in March 2020,” the report said. It quoted Anna Lisa Gross, a Church of the Brethren pastor and a member of the campaign: “It starts to put into perspective how the deaths have increased…. Churches aren’t meeting in person, or if funerals have been delayed or if they’d been held on Zoom, we all need a place to go that feels holy, where we feel like our lives are sacred and this place is available for you to come.” Find the WLFI news piece at www.wlfi.com/content/news/Covid-19-Grieving-Garden-helping-families-heal-573670291.html. Find additional media coverage at www.jconline.com/story/news/2021/01/26/grieving-garden-memorializing-covid-19-deaths-dedicated-lafayette-indiana/6675381002 and www.jconline.com/story/news/2021/01/22/lafayette-church-plans-grieving-garden-dedicated-covid-19-deaths/6660188002. Find the project’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/covidgrievinggarden.
— Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren has started a new Community Arts Ministry. Jessie Houff, community arts minister for the congregation, has created an art gallery and blog on the church’s website, highlighting all the artists, creators, and makers in the congregation. “This is a place folks can go to see all the talents we have in our church and celebrate their accomplishments as a creator for God,” Houff said in a report to Newsline. “We’ve made it accessible so that folks who may not consider themselves an artist can still be highlighted by calling them creators and/or makers. For example, we are highlighting not just visual artists but writers, bakers, musicians, and more.” Houff is particularly interested in getting in contact with quilters, dancers, and people with other varieties of creativity. The art gallery displays photos of works accompanied by a blog to get to know each artist. The blog posts reflect on their creative process, especially during the pandemic. Houff plans to post a new artist every other week, beginning with the Washington City congregation and then in a couple of months branching out to other artists and makers in the wider Church of the Brethren community. Interested artists and creators may contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive details. Find the art gallery and blog at https://washingtoncitycob.org/art.
— Southern Pennsylvania District’s Witness Commission “is sending out a hearty thanks and God bless you to all who participated in this year’s Carlisle Truck Stop Ministry cookie distribution,” said the district newsletter. The ministry distributed 11,000 bags of cookies through the work of two truck stop chaplains. “The truckers are always grateful for the home-baked goodness,” said the newsletter. “Your outreach and witness to the men and women that transport our goods is noticed!”
— The Southern Pennsylvania District newsletter also shared a letter of appreciation for the district’s financial support from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. The letter announced that the college’s “Be More Inspired” fundraising campaign raised $74.5 million, surpassing its goal of $60 million. “We are truly grateful for the impact so many have made on our campus through their generous gifts,” wrote college president Cecilia M. McCormick. The campaign launched in March 2016.
— Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies is announcing two upcoming online events:
“The Complicated Spirituality of Pietist Conversion” will feature Jonathan Strom on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. (Eastern time), via Zoom. Strom, recipient of the 2019 Dale Brown Book Award for German Pietism and the Problem of Conversion, is senior associate dean of faculty and academic affairs and professor of church history at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He will explore how the desire to determine “true conversion” distorted the understanding of conversion experiences and worked at cross purposes to the spirituality Pietists hoped to instill.
“Responding with Compassion to the Crisis in Northeastern Nigeria” will feature Samuel and Rebecca Dali on March 4 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) via Zoom. Samuel Dali will give an update on Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in the context of ongoing violence and reflect on the church’s constructive engagement around sociopolitical, economic, and environmental issues. Rebecca Dali will review the recent humanitarian work of the Centre for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives and discuss the suffering and resilience of women in situations of war and related trauma.
Go to www.etown.edu/youngctr/events or call 717-361-1470.
— McPherson (Kan.) College has announced a Carolyn Beach Endowed Scholarship Fund that will provide approximately 10 health science scholarships. The estate gift of nearly $1.7 million creates “a permanent fund to award scholarships annually to students, especially women–pursuing careers in the health science field,” said a release. Beach attended McPherson from 1958 to 1960. She passed away on Aug. 20, 2020. “As a student at McPherson College, Beach fondly remembered several science professors, specifically, Dr. John Burkholder and Dr. Wesley DeCoursey, who laid a solid foundation for her future career in health care,” the release said. “She also competed in basketball and softball. She was influenced by Dr. Doris Coppock, a long-time former teacher and coach. Beach chose to attend McPherson College because of its strong connection to the Church of the Brethren. She later transferred to the University of Iowa to follow her dream of earning a degree in medical technology. She lived most of her adult life in California where she enjoyed a rewarding career as a medical technologist with Kaiser Permanente.” The release also noted that Beach was impressed that $1 million in local support had been committed to the college’s new Health Science program, which offers majors in health science and health care management. Partnerships with local and regional health care agencies provide students with hands-on educational opportunities in a variety of health care settings. Find the full release at www.mcpherson.edu/2021/01/gift-funds-scholarships-for-future-women-leaders-in-health-care.
— In a 2020 financial wrap-up, the Brethren World Mission group announced its giving to Church of the Brethren denominations around the world. “Though giving was down somewhat in 2020, a significant impact was made in the lives of our brothers and sisters,” the group’s newsletter said. It announced that a total of $40,154 was shared in this past year: Venezuela $18,145, Haiti leadership training $5,500, Africa Great Lakes church building projects $4,400, Rwanda $3,795, Democratic Republic of Congo $3,300, Haiti health care $2,200, Mexico $1,100, South Sudan $1,100, and Dominican Republic church building project $550.
— The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced the theme for its upcoming 11th assembly to take place in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 2022: “Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity.” A reflection on the theme is available in English, French, German, and Spanish at www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/a-reflection-on-the-theme-of-the-11th-assembly-of-the-wcc-karlsruhe-2022. Said the announcement: WCC assemblies “are moments when the churches within the fellowship of the WCC, responding to Christ’s prayer ‘that they may become completely one’ (John 17:23), call one another to visible unity for the sake of the world that God loves and for the sake of the creation that God declares good.”
— “Religious leaders in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are welcoming the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, even as Japan’s Christian council ‘regrets’ that the government has not supported or ratified the treaty,” said a release from the WCC. “We ask the government of Japan to sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty as soon as possible,” the National Christian Council in Japan said in Jan. 27 statement, saying that the treaty “collects the wisdom of humanity” and is “a major step in humanity’s long walk toward hope and ideal.” Religious leaders in Hiroshima and Nagasaki expressed both a sense of encouragement and determination to move forward for a world free from nuclear weapons. “I have been encouraged by the fact that wishes of the hibakusha have become a global public opinion and the nuclear weapons ban treaty was adopted and has come into force,” said Yoshitaka Tsukishita, board chair of the Hiroshima Religious Federation. “But there is still a long way to the total ban. I hope that more countries will ratify it.”
Find more Church of the Brethren news:
- Budget parameter for 2022, priorities for denominational ministries top agenda for Mission and Ministry Board
- Newsline for June 18, 2021
- Brethren bits for June 18, 2021
- ‘We celebrate and give thanks to God’: NCC shares Juneteenth responsive reading
- Church of the Brethren congregations offer a variety of worship opportunities