— Remembrance: Curtis W. Dubble, 98, a former moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, died Dec. 28 at Brethren Village in Lititz, Pa. He was an ordained minister and pastored congregations in Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, retiring in 1998. His leadership in the Church of the Brethren denomination included service as moderator of Annual Conference in 1990, during which time he had the unique opportunity of visiting the White House to express the church’s opposition to covert operations, meeting with William Working, then senior director for the Intelligence Programs of the National Security Council. Another key event during his moderatorship was his participation in an ecumenical laying-on-of-hands service for people with AIDS and AIDS caregivers at the Washington (D.C.) Cathedral. Prior to his term as moderator, Dubble spent a term on the former General Board in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving as chair for three of the five years. He served on the Bethany Seminary board in 1973-1978. He also co-chaired the Adventure in Mission program for the denomination and participated in the Annual Conference mission philosophy study committee in the early 1980s. In 1991 with his late wife, Anna Mary, he spent a year as volunteer staff for family ministry in the former Parish Ministries Commission of the General Board. In 2011, he was one of the featured speakers for National Older Adult Conference (NOAC), interviewed onstage by Dr. David Fuchs. He was born in 1922 in rural Lebanon County, Pa., and grew up in the Heidelberg congregation near Myerstown. He was a conscientious objector during World War II, doing Civilian Public Service at Camp Kane in Pennsylvania and as a dairy tester in New Jersey. He held degrees from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College (1949) and Bethany Theological Seminary in Chicago (1952) and was granted an honorary doctor of divinity from Elizabethtown (1974). He married Anna Mary Forney in 1944. She passed away in 2003. He is survived by daughters Sharon Dubble, Cindy Dubble, and Peentz (Connie) Dubble, and granddaughters. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. Memorial gifts are received to the Good Samaritan Fund at Brethren Village. Find a full obituary at https://lancasteronline.com/obituaries/curtis-w-dubble/article_752d8dd4-d316-5f21-978e-991142e7809b.html.
— Remembrance: Fay Reese, 73, former employee of the New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center (later the Zigler Hospitality Center) on the campus of the Brethren Service Center, died Jan. 7 after an extended illness. She began her employment with the Church of the Brethren as a housekeeper at the New Windsor Conference Center in 2000. Eventually moving to a position as assistant cook, she continued working at the Zigler Hospitality Center until it closed on April 30, 2017. Her husband, W. Thomas Reese, died in 2011. She is survived by sons Marty T. (Jill) Reese, Ronald R. (Annette) Reese, and Eric D. (Michele) Reese, all of Johnsville, Md.; grandchildren and a great grandson. The family will receive friends at Hartzler Funeral Home in Union Bridge, Md., from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10. Wearing of masks and social distancing will be in effect. A full obituary is at www.hartzlerfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Fay-Ellen-Reese?obId=19563802#/celebrationWall.
— Nate Hosler, director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, has reported that he and his family and his office staff are alright and unharmed following the violent events of Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C. He also reported that Washington City Church of the Brethren is unharmed. The church, located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, hosts the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy and also a childcare center.
— Prayer is requested for Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren following a fatal police shooting of an unarmed man on its property on Dec. 29. The shooting has garnered media attention from the local newspaper, the Modesto Bee, and was picked up this week by the New York Times. The Jan. 5 article in the Modesto Bee was titled, “Man shot by officer outside Modesto church was not armed, police say” and included a police body-can video of the tragic incident. Find the Modesto Bee report at www.modbee.com/article248302845.html. Find the Jan. 7 article from the New York Times at www.nytimes.com/2021/01/07/us/modesto-church-police-shooting.html.
— Effective Jan. 4, the address and telephone number for the Church of the Brethren’s Southern Pennsylvania District has changed to 3375 Carlisle Rd, Suite A, Gardners, PA 17324; 717-778-2264. The district’s email addresses remain the same for district executive minister William Waugh and district office manager Carolyn Jones. The district will no longer have a fax number.
— A round-up of excerpts from prayers, reflections, and statements about the violent attack on the US Congress, shared by Church of the Brethren pastors and congregations, Brethren-related organizations, and ecumenical partners:
“A prayer for troubled times” by Bobbi Dykema, pastor of First Church of the Brethren, Springfield, Ill.:
“God of all humanity and all creation, you call us to ‘do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.’ Help us to remember that we must balance justice with mercy and temper mercy with justice; to hold those who do harm accountable but not seek revenge, and to always humbly seek your wisdom in discerning this balance. Help us to remember that you love both perpetrators of harm and those who have been harmed, and help us to pray for all concerned. Remind us that you are our refuge and strength, and grant us your peace that passes understanding to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Keep us free from all anxiety as we both take good care of ourselves and continue to serve you peacefully, simply, together. In the name of the Crucified One, we pray. Amen.”
From “On this night of violence” (Jan. 6), a communication from the pastoral team at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren:
“This afternoon and tonight we have seen images that have shocked us and scared us. We have seen how deep the fractures are in our country. We know the very real feelings of fear, anger, and dismay. No matter our political preference, our calls to pray and act as followers of Jesus are as clear as ever…. In these days of deep division in our land we cannot help but consider the gifts of prayer and action that we can offer to this one we know as Emmanuel. First, we come to God in prayer, asking forgiveness for our feelings of moral and intellectual superiority, courage to enter the fray, and tenderness to speak candidly and kindly. We yearn to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12), even as we lovingly seek the transformation of our enemies. Next, we continue our labor that is a life of witness so that all of God’s people may live in shalom, free of terror. This witness lives when we honor our commitments to practice peace, service, and openness to all…” (www.facebook.com/EtownCOB).
From an invitation to a “Special Daily Prayer Gathering for the United States of America” hosted by Living Stream Church of the Brethren:
“As the crisis in the United States Capitol unfolded, the Living Stream Church of the Brethren began a time of daily prayer for the nation. We have also made a commitment to be in prayer every evening until the inauguration of the new president and vice president on Jan. 20. Join us for a half-hour of prayer beginning at 5 p.m. (Pacific time)…. Log into the Zoom prayer meeting by clicking the prayer meeting link on the Living Stream Church of the Brethren website at www.livingstreamcob.org. We are inviting people from all across the denomination to join us. Please invite everyone that you know.”
From “Response to Mob Violence in Washington, D.C.” (Jan. 8), a statement of the board of Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests:
“…The storming of the Capitol building was an unholy act not because the building itself is sacred, but because this assault on Congress was a blatant and offensive expression of white supremacy. The abundance of Confederate battle flags, as well as flags conflating Jesus and Trump, that were paraded throughout the national building reflect a dangerous ideology about power and the state that our Anabaptist tradition has historically and rightly rejected. The contrast between the police response to this attempted coup and their response to Black Lives Matter protesters just months ago was yet another disturbing reminder of how American institutions continue to serve and preserve white power.… As people who have been shaped by the history and experience of Anabaptists, we are aware of the limitations of state institutions and the need to carefully examine our complicity with structures of violence and harm. Our call in this time is to build a future that truly respects marginalized people. Thus, our plea for peace includes a serious examination of the many ways that we and our churches have been complicit with the practices of white supremacy, as well as a recommitment to the work of racial justice and healing…” (www.bmclgbt.org/post/bmc-response-to-capitol-attack).
From “NCC Statement on the Mob Attack of the US Capitol” (Jan. 6), issued by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA:
“…Chaos reigns, guns have been drawn, and our democracy is under siege. This is outrageous, unacceptable, shameful, and a disgrace…. While we support nonviolent protests, and have often organized and participated in them, demonstrators desecrating the Capitol and disrupting our fair democratic process cannot be tolerated or go unpunished. All who have been involved in today’s riots, those who participated as well as those who have incited this violence, must be held accountable. ‘NCC staff, who work across the street from the Capitol, are safe and secure, although we are outraged and heartbroken at these drastic turn of events,’ stated Jim Winkler, NCC President and General Secretary. ‘We are keenly aware from our own experience that what is taking place is a profound breakdown in security and is beyond anything we have ever seen before.’… We are particularly disturbed by and aware that the votes that are being contested are those that have been legally cast by Black and Brown people in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. These actions have proven once again that the vestiges of racism and white supremacy are still affecting and infecting our democracy. We must increase our efforts to end the scourge on our society, which not only impacts people of color but is detrimental to democracy itself. In the midst of the violent attack on the Capitol, we are grieved to learn someone lost their life. We mourn her death and we pray no one else will be injured…” (www.nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-statement-on-the-mob-attack-of-the-u-s-capitol).
From “Open Letter to Vice President Pence, Members of Congress, and the Cabinet Calling for the Removal of President Trump from Office” (Jan. 8), signed by 24 leaders of major Christian denominations across the United States including the Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), AME Zion Church, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Alliance of Baptists, Reformed Church in America, Armenian Orthodox, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Conference of National Black Churches, and more:
“Our faith instructs us to take seriously positions of leadership, not to lead others astray and to be careful about what we say and do. In Philippians 2:3-4 we are taught to, ‘Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.’… For the good of the nation, so that we might end the current horror and prepare the way for binding up the nation’s wounds, we, as leaders of the member communions of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), believe the time has come for the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, to resign his position immediately. If he is unwilling to resign, we urge you to exercise the options provided by our democratic system. In addition, we recognize the need to hold responsible not only those who invaded the Capitol, but also those who supported and/or promoted the President’s false claims about the election, or made their own false accusations. We grieve for our country at this difficult time and continue to pray for the safety and security, and ultimately the healing of our nation” (https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/open-letter-to-vice-president-pence-members-of-congress-and-the-cabinet-calling-for-the-removal-of-president-trump-from-office).
From “WCC Condemns Violence Threatening USA, Stands with Churches on Path to Peace” (Jan. 6), a statement by Ioan Sauca, interim general secretary of the World Council of Churches:
“The World Council of Churches is following the latest developments in the United States of America with grave and mounting concern. The divisive populist politics of recent years have unleashed forces that threaten the foundations of democracy in the United States and–to the extent that it represents an example to other countries–in the wider world. Accordingly, these developments have implications far beyond domestic American politics and are of serious international concern. The WCC urges those responsible for today’s violence to desist and to return to civil discourse and established democratic processes. We call on all parties to resist short-term political interests and to act in a manner responsible to others and accountable to the wider society. We pray that the churches of America be empowered with wisdom and strength to provide leadership through this crisis, and on the path of peace, reconciliation, and justice” (www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/statement-on-the-situation-in-the-united-states-of-america).
The WCC also published an online round-up of statements and reports from church leaders across the United States at www.oikoumene.org/news/religious-leaders-speak-out-against-violence-at-us-capitol-our-democracy-is-under-siege.
Find more Church of the Brethren news:
- Virtual New and Renew event is accessible for bi-vocational ministers
- Next Moderator’s Town Hall to address ‘the new normal’
- ‘If we want to find God, we need to be with the victims of this oppression and prejudice’
- Online conversation will listen and learn from Brethren leaders of Asian-American heritage
- Brethren active in health care