Brethren bits for Oct. 8, 2021

There is still time to sign up for volunteer training with Children’s Disaster Services this fall. CDS has two volunteer trainings coming up, on Oct. 22-23 in Byron Center, Mich., and on Nov. 5-6 in Roaring Spring, Pa. “Have you signed up? Shared the information with a friend?” said an invitation. “We look forward to meeting you! If you have a heart for children, interest in serving, and want to learn more about the CDS mission, sign up today!” Go to

Brethren Disaster Ministries this week has celebrated successes in disaster relief with two international partners. Above: the ministry has shared photos of houses being built near Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, as part of the joint effort with the Brethren in the DRC to rebuild following a volcanic eruption. (Photo by Dieudonne Faraja Chris Mkangya.)

And the ministry has shared a video from the Disaster Relief Management ministry of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) of people celebrating the distribution of food on Oct. 7 to vulnerable residents of the Shuwari IDP (internally displaced people) camp in Maiduguri, Borno State. The distribution is one of those supported through the Nigeria Crisis Response, a joint effort of EYN and the Church of the Brethren. View the video at

The latest issue of the Global Food Initiative (GFI) newsletter is available to download in full-color pdf format. Included in the two-page, front-and-back newsletter are short articles about Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren’s community garden, aid to Capstone 118’s urban farm in New Orleans following Hurricane Ida, GFI manager Jeff Boshart’s trip to the Dominican Republic at the invitation of leaders of Iglesia de los Hermanos (the Church of the Brethren in the DR), and more. Click the “E-News Fall 2021” link to download a copy of the newsletter to read and share with your church family or friends, go to

National Junior High Sunday is scheduled for Nov. 7 as a time for congregations to celebrate junior high youth and invite them into leadership of Sunday morning worship services. Worship planning resources are online at

A webinar with Christian Peacemaker Teams’ Cliff Kindy is set for Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time), co-hosted by the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy. Kindy, a Church of the Brethren member, will lead a conversation to learn more about what solidarity with Indigenous groups looks like in action, with stories from accompaniment work with Indigenous community members from South Dakota to Chiapas, Mexico, as well as more recent work with water protectors in Minnesota at Line 3. Watch live on Facebook at or register for the Zoom link at

In more news from EYN, provost Dauda A. Gava of Kulp Theological Seminary sent photos to Newsline of the seminary’s observance of love feast for World Communion Sunday (above). “We observed Holy Communion today at Kulp Theological Seminary chapel,” he wrote. “Brethren tradition was observed through footwashing, agape meal, and communion of cup and bread.”

This August, On Earth Peace’s Stop Recruiting Kids organizer Sebastian Muñoz-McDonald organized “The Truth About Military Recruiting: A Dialogue with Veterans,” featuring sharing from Rosa Del Duca, Ian Littau, and Eddie Falcon. “The event had four purposes,” said a note to Newsline from Matt Guynn, director of organizing for On Earth Peace, “to give veterans a platform to speak about their experiences with recruitment and enlistment; to provide info about military recruiting practices that target youth, especially those in vulnerable communities; to explain the realities of enlisting that military recruiters may gloss over, and to connect communities with information on career and service alternatives to joining the military.” The video recording of the event is now available online at

On Earth Peace also is offering a two-hour “Intro to Kingian Nonviolence” online event on Oct. 19 starting at 3 p.m. (Eastern time). “Register below to meet others interested in Kingian Nonviolence, build Beloved Community, and connect with On Earth Peace’s Kingian Nonviolence Learning Action Community,” said an invitation. The event will review the four pillars, introduce the six principles and six steps, and review the social dynamics of Kingian Nonviolence. It will be co-facilitated by Pam Smith, a public historian and long-time Chicago consultant for nonprofit organizations, currently living in Richmond, Va. “Her team conducted the feasibility study that set the stage for the Chicago Freedom School,” said the invitation. “Pam has worked with many youth groups in the city and served as a senior press aide to Jesse Jackson in his 1988 presidential bid and to Barack Obama in his primary campaign for US Senate. Pam is coeditor of The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights Activism in the North.” Co-facilitator is Clara McGilly, Kingian Nonviolence intern at On Earth Peace. Go to

Middle Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren has announced the cancellation of its district conference this year. “The District Conference Program and Arrangements Committee had a lengthy meeting with the District Coordinating Team…discussing whether or not to continue with plans for an in-person district conference this year,” said the announcement. “Out of an abundance of caution and care for everyone involved at this time when the COVID numbers are again sky-rocketing, the Program and Arrangements Committee (affirmed by the Coordinating Team) made the difficult decision to cancel district conference for 2021. We believe that our planned conference theme for this year, ‘Bearing Fruit, Being Disciples’ is lived out in our tender care and love for each other’s spiritual and physical well-being, even when difficult decisions have to be made. Our desire is not to compromise anyone’s health. Various business items such as affirmation of district slate and mission plan, approval of minutes and reports, as well as all Camp Blue Diamond business items will be handled via postal snail mail. Congregations will be receiving information regarding this process in the near future. The hope of district leadership is to gather all our churches together for a grand worship celebration in the spring of 2022.”

Shenandoah District has announced that its district conference this year is going “back to barn roots.” The 2021 Shenandoah District Conference will be for delegates only and will be held at the Rockingham County (Va.) Fairgrounds in the display barn on the morning of Nov. 6. Find out more at

Sunrise Church of the Brethren in Shenandoah District is hosting the Brethren & Mennonite Heritage Center event “This Is My Story: Personal Stories of People of Faith” on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. “This year’s storytellers are Regina Cysick Harlow of the Church of the Brethren and Harvey Yoder of the Mennonite Church USA,” said an announcement from the district. “The format for the evening is four distinct 5-minute personal stories from each storyteller, without interruption or comment, with time for fellowship and connection over the stories at the conclusion of the event. The storytellers are invited to share stories connecting to any of the four themes of the Heritage Center: Peace, Covenant Community, Alienness-Non-citizenship, Neighborliness. A free-will offering will be received to support the mission and programming of the Brethren & Mennonite Heritage Center.”

McPherson (Kan.) College has announced recipients of the 2021-22 Teaching Awards: Shane Kirchner and Matt Porter. The college presents the awards each year at the annual Honors Convocation to one tenured and one non-tenured faculty member. Kirchner, professor and chair of teacher education, received the tenured award. “Described in one nomination as ‘definitely leads by example,’ Dr. Kirchner models the mission of the program he leads, which is to develop service-oriented educators,” said a release. “Nominations from his students included appreciation for the interest he takes in them and comments about his contagious, positive attitude. One student’s most memorable class session was when Dr. Kirchner, in dress pants, suit coat, and tie, turned a cartwheel in front of the class. ‘He deserves this award for the dedication, passion, and enthusiasm he brings to every class,’ one nomination said.” Porter, an assistant professor of business, received the non-tenured award. “The selection committee identified three consistent themes seen in the nominations for Professor Porter,” said the release. “His students appreciate the quality of their classroom experience, his interest in their success, and are grateful for the lengths to which he has gone to accommodate them during the pandemic. One nomination stated, ‘He has gone above and beyond to support students all the way through COVID. Professor Porter has paid for things like cameras and boards that work online so that students can experience the same learning at home or in quarantine as they would in class.’”

The Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, is seeking help to locate video recordings of the late Anna Mow, who was a well known and beloved leader in the Church of the Brethren. Wrote Neal Fitze, volunteer staff at the center: “I received an email from Becky Copenhaver of the Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Plymouth, Mich. Becky has taken on an interesting project. She wishes to develop a tribute performance of Anna Mow, in looks, sound, and gestures. She had been directed to our organization, the Brethren Heritage Center, thinking we might be able to locate sound and video recordings. She was told that the videos of Anna Mow had been destroyed in a fire. After an exhaustive search I found sound files but no video. If anyone might have a home movie of her from Annual Conference or any other of her speaking events please contact the Brethren Heritage Center by calling 937-833-5222 or by email at” Find out more about the Brethren Heritage Center at

With World Food Day soon approaching on Oct. 16, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and ecumenical organizations and other partners are inviting churches around the globe to pray and act for an end to hunger. “Although we live in a world of abundant resources globally, 41 million people are currently at risk of starvation, and around half of them children,” said a WCC release. “This is happening in a context where 811 million people worldwide go to bed hungry each night and hunger increased globally by 25% in 2020,” reflected WCC acting general secretary Ioan Sauca. Contributing factors include “a set of converging crises, including conflict, the impacts of climate change, and COVID-19’s devastating economic impacts, adding to the deep injustices the pandemic has revealed and exacerbated,” the release said.

A weekend of prayer for hunger is set for Oct. 16-17. A variety of resources ranging from liturgical material and fact sheets to social media resources are available at

Mikayla Davis of Mohrsville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren has been crowned Pennsylvania State Dairy Princess, reported Lancaster Farming. The pageant was held Sept. 25 at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, Pa. Davis is 20 years old, daughter of Mike and Angie Davis of Leesport, Pa., a junior at Penn State majoring in ag-business management, and an office assistant at the Leesport Farmers Market. “The Davis family operates a small farm where Mikayla Davis helps to raise Holstein heifers for local and state competitions, along with her three younger siblings, Tanner, Alexa, and Bryce,” the report said. Find it at

The WCC also has congratulated 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov. WCC acting general secretary Ioan Sauca said, “This award underscores the critical importance of freedom of expression and information as pillars for democracy, justice, and peace.” The awards were announced at a ceremony in Oslo today, Oct. 8. The two journalists were given the award “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” The WCC release noted that in September, the WCC, World Association for Christian Communication, and other partners organized a symposium on “Communication for Social Justice in a Digital Age.” A manifesto that came out of that meeting said, in part: “We need principles that allow all people to engage in transparent, informed, and democratic debate, where people have unfettered access to the information and knowledge essential to peaceful coexistence, empowerment, responsible civic engagement, and mutual accountability.”


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