Brethren bits for Nov. 12, 2021

— Two additional members have been confirmed to the Stewardship of Property Committee recently created by the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board. The two new members of the committee are Miller Davis and Brian Messler.

— The Global Mission staff have shared prayers of praise and prayer requests for concerns in an email this week. Among them:

Prayers of praise included the “100 new congregations in Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) since 2016, even in the face of challenges” and the visit of EYN president Joel Billi to the Church of the Brethren in Rwanda.

Concerns included a prayer request for a team from the United States that is traveling to the Dominican Republic this weekend to facilitate a meeting “in hopes of reconciling a split in the church that has occurred in recent years, partly along ethnic lines.” The team includes Global Mission co-executive director Eric Miller, Global Food Initiative manager Jeff Boshart, and three church leaders originally from the DR: Arelis and Alix Sable, who is associate pastor of Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and Eric Ramirez, a church planter in Atlantic Northeast District.

— “Start this Christmas tradition on December 1,” said an invitation from Brethren Press. “Get a copy of 25 Days to Jesus, an Advent devotional for children, for the little ones in your family circle.” Order by visiting Find a fun YouTube video about the book at

— The story of the Brethren Service Commission is the focus of the next Facebook Live events from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. A two-part series of online webinars begins next Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 10 a.m., detailing the beginning of the Brethren Service Commission that guided the Church of the Brethren’s service ministries, its origins, and the individuals that championed its formation and success. Go to

Marie Benner-Rhoades has completed her service as co-chair of Christian Peacemaker Teams, as of the completion of CPT’s bi-annual meetings on Oct. 16, 18, and 20. She will continue to serve on the steering committee as a representative of On Earth Peace, which is one of the sponsoring bodies for CPT.

“Children as Peacebuilders: Equipping Resilient Leaders–Native American Rights” is an online event offered by On Earth Peace at 12 noon (Eastern time) on Saturday, Nov. 20. Said an announcement: “The seminar will invite parents and educators from all around the US to talk about Native American rights in the US and equip them with the tools needed to raise awareness of this issue amongst children.” The speaker is Georgia Esperanza Adams, of Myaamia (Miami) descent and married into the Mingo (Onkweonwe) community, who has worked on language revitalization efforts through Bowling Green State University to revive the Mingo language. She has run children’s camps and language revitalization camps in northwest Ohio for the Mingo community over the years, in an effort to bring back a nearly extinct language and many cultural traditions. She is an activist for Native American sovereignty rights, and for the preservation and restoration of native habitats. Find out more at

The Church of the Brethren Annual Conference office is calling for nominations for the ballot to come before the 2022 Conference. “You can help shape the future of the church! Each member of the Church of the Brethren is invited to recommend possible nominees,” said announcements on Facebook for the various open positions on the ballot. For more information and to make a nomination go to Submit all nominations by Dec. 1. “The earlier, the better!” said the announcements.
Photo by Glenn Riegel

The 2021 Virlina District Conference takes place this weekend, Nov. 12-13, in Roanoke, Va. The theme is “Wait on the Lord” from Isaiah 40:31: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall rise up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Friday night’s featured speaker is Annual Conference moderator David Sollenberger.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is joining with Mid-Atlantic District to promote the district’s 40th annual Disaster Response Auction this Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Shipley Arena at the Carroll County Agricultural Center in Westminster, Md. Auction proceeds support disaster relief and Brethren Disaster Ministries. Find out more at

“Alive in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) is the theme for the Roundtable regional youth conference to be held Feb. 25-27, 2022, at Bridgewater (Va.) College. The speaker will be Chris Michael.

The Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio, is seeking volunteers, as the community “is working to get back to more normal activity!” said an announcement from Southern Ohio and Kentucky District. Volunteers must be vaccinated and willing to wear a mask/face shield. Volunteer opportunities include pushing residents in wheelchairs to activities, therapy, the Beauty Shop, and Senior Fit exercise; serving as a clerk in the Gift Shop and in the This-n-That Shop; doing Christmas decorating; and assisting with activities. Contact 937-547-7682 or

The National Council of Churches is reminding churches to share with families the deadline of Monday, Nov. 15, at 11:59 p.m. for non-filers to sign up for the Child Tax Credit. “The White House digital toolkit provides ways for faith groups to spread the word on how families with kids can get a monthly payment,” said the NCC newsletter. “Low-income families with children are eligible for this crucial tax relief even if they have not made enough money to be required to file taxes.” Find the online toolkit at

Religion News Service has published results of a study by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected churches in the US. The study surveyed 2,074 churches from 38 denominations, showing that “the pandemic has had a profound impact across the religious spectrum, and that some churches are faring better than others,” according to scholar Scott Thumma. A few of the findings: 8 in 10 churches now provide hybrid services both in person and online; almost a quarter have “moderate to severe conflicts about pandemic restrictions”; and “67 percent of clergy said 2020 was the hardest year of their ministry.” Perhaps most crucial: “The mode of delivery of worship services was a major factor in whether median attendance increased or fell. For example, the 15 percent of churches that met solely in person saw the steepest decline in attendance–15.7 percent. The 5 percent of congregations that offered only online worship had a decline of 7.3 percent. But the 80 percent of congregations offering hybrid worship experienced an overall growth of 4.5 percent.” Find the article at

Dena Ross Jennings, former board chair of On Earth Peace and a physician and musician in Virginia, was one of those speaking and performing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 6. The event titled “My Light, My Story: Inspiration Is Everywhere!” was livestreamed from the Millennium Stage as part of a “Livestream: Celebrating Culture and Lights: Diwali at the Kennedy Center” series. The description of the event noted that “musician Dena Jennings used her Rangoli book as her Advent wreath and created music for it. Make a Rangoli Book of your own and take it home to remember that inspiration is everywhere!” Go to


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