Brethren bits for Sept. 20, 2021

The future of Selective Service and the military draft may come before the House of Representatives in the US Congress this week, as part of debate on the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The Church of the Brethren has partnered with the Center on Conscience and War and other historic peace churches to oppose extension of the military draft registration requirements to young women. Such an extension would burden young women with the current burden on young men, of unnecessary and unjust legal restrictions for those who object to military registration including no access to federal loans and federal jobs among others.

The Church of the Brethren supports ending the Selective Service System altogether through the Selective Service Repeal Act (H.R. 2509 and S. 1139), which has bipartisan support.

Find out more:

“Selective Service Repeal Act receives endorsement,” Church of the Brethren Newsline, April 23, 2021,

“The time to act is now: Rights of conscientious objectors and the Selective Service System,” Church of the Brethren Newsline, July 16, 2021, by Maria Santelli of the Center on Conscience and War,

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) has had to make the very difficult decision to cancel the Fall orientation unit because there were not enough applicants. One factor is the inability for volunteers from German partner organization EIRENE to obtain visas to the US.

BVS staff are hopeful that a winter orientation may take place in January-February 2022. The staff encourage all applicants 18 years and up to apply.

BVS provides a number of benefits: housing and food, transportation to and from project sites, medical insurance, the option of loan deferment, valuable professional and technical experience, spiritual formation, and much more. Will you serve? Find out more at #AWeekAYearAYearALife

The Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry seeks a program manager for the Thriving in Ministry Program. This position is part-time, salaried-exempt, with remote location, including travel as needed to carry out program objectives. This is an immediate opening. The program manager will work with an advisory committee to implement the “Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church” program, a Lilly Endowment, Inc.-funded initiative that addresses the practical needs of multi-vocational ministers in the Church of the Brethren. This program will include recruiting and training qualified individuals to serve as “circuit riders” who assess ministers’ immediate concerns, as well as resource people providing expertise for concerns identified as most common for multi-vocational clergy. Peer groups are also formed to support pastors beyond their program participation. The program manager will manage requests for services, schedule service providers, and meet ongoing administrative needs including completion of required reports to the grant provider. Qualifications include successful completion of a ministry training program; knowledge of the Church of the Brethren structure, polity, practices, and culture; affinity with the values and mission of the Church of the Brethren; collaborative working style; strong oral and written communication skills; use of active listening and discernment skills; ability to relate with integrity and respect within and beyond the organization; excellent computer skills and familiarity with educational technology; experience with budgets and financial record-keeping; a resourceful nature. Fluency in Spanish and Kreyol is welcome. A position description and further details of the grant will be provided upon request. Applications will be reviewed when received and will continue to be accepted until the position is filled. Apply by sending a cover letter, resume, and two letters of recommendation to The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Rachelle Swe has started as an intern for the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, through December 2021. She is a senior at Eastern Mennonite University majoring in peacebuilding, development, and political science.

— Bethany Seminary has welcomed new staff:

Paul Shaver (Bethany MDiv 2015) joined the Bethany and Earlham School of Religion communities in the position of coordinator of Seminary Computer Services on Sept. 1. He earned a bachelor of science degree in computer science from Bridgewater (Va.) College. He has more than 10 years of experience in the field of technology support, and more than five years in various ministerial contexts.

Joshua Sati began Sept. 15 in the new position of academic/operations manager for the Certificate in Biblical Peacemaking in Jos, Nigeria. His role will include arranging and organizing practicums for students and assisting with admissions work in Nigeria. He is ordained by ECWA (Evangelical Church Winning All) and served for a decade as a pastor and in various denominational administrative roles. He holds a degree from JETS (the ECWA seminary), a master of arts degree in ethics and philosophy from the University of Jos, and is enrolled in a doctoral program in systematic and practical theology through the University of South Africa.

Middle Pennsylvania District’s Program and Arrangements Committee has canceled its district conference this year. “Out of an abundance of caution and care for everyone involved at this time when the COVID numbers are again skyrocketing, the Program and Arrangements Committee (affirmed by the Coordinating Team) made the difficult decision to cancel district conference for 2021,” said an announcement from district executive David Banaszak. “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.”

The West Marva District Executive Board has announced that it is necessary for all local events in the district in September and October to be canceled because of concerns regarding COVID. This affects the District Women’s Fellowship Fall Rally and the District Pastor/Spouse Banquet among others. “I hope that each and every one are praying daily that this pandemic can be removed from our world, and that we are praying for families affected by this disease and for everyone in the medical field that are tirelessly working as they struggle through this pandemic,” said the email from the district office. “Please stay safe!”

The multi-district “Calling the Called” event planned for Saturday, Sept. 25, is now virtual via Zoom, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (Eastern time). “The planning team has made the decision to host this event via Zoom in hopes that more people will be able to participate,” said an announcement. Calling the Called is being organized jointly by the Atlantic Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southern Pennsylvania, Middle Pennsylvania, and Western Pennsylvania Districts of the Church of the Brethren. It has been planned to provide an intentional time away from the routine of life for participants to discern what it means to be called by God to the set-apart ministry. “Whether you are someone actively exploring the possibility of ministry or someone unsure of God’s calling this will be a helpful time of discernment and discovery,” said the announcement. “Come and hear personal call stories, come and wrestle with biblical call stories, come and learn about the process of entering the set-apart ministry in the Church of the Brethren. Discover what it means to be a people called by God.” Contact one of the district offices of the sponsoring districts for information about how to attend.

Shenandoah District has announced the proceeds from its Disaster Auction this year. “The Disaster Auction Planning Committee announced earlier this month that the total revenues for the Disaster Auction for 2021 were $448,719.51 and the final net profit was $430,558.85,” said a district announcement. “This total includes the pledged matching funds from a generous donor who has seen the devastation disasters create in the lives of families and individuals through personal experience on rebuilding project trips. The previous record was $225,419.29 set in 2017. From the proceeds, the district was able to disburse $380,000 to Brethren Disaster Ministries and $60,000 to the local Brethren Disaster Ministries for disaster projects. Disaster Auction Coordinating Committee Chair Catherine Lantz expressed gratitude to God for creating the opportunity to hold the auction and to those who volunteered, donated items and financial resources, or came out to support the event.”

For the sixth year in a row, McPherson (Kan.) College has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report in the 2022 “Best Colleges” list for Regional Colleges in the Midwest. Additionally, McPherson was ranked on the “Best Value Schools” and “Top Performers on Social Mobility” lists, said a release from the college. “Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included on the Best Value Schools ranking list. When evaluating colleges for this list, U.S. News & World Report considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically and takes into account academic quality as well as cost. McPherson College was also recognized among colleges that are successful at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of students awarded Pell grants.” Said president Michael Schneider, “It is an honor to be included on such a well-respected list. It’s further proof that McPherson College is being recognized for the work being done by our faculty and staff to ensure quality education, excellent student experience, and value.” Initiatives such as the college’s Kansas Commitment and Student Debt Project, which support students in graduating with little or no debt, and the college’s successful career placement rate, are just a few examples of why McPherson College is recognized on the “Best Colleges” list, according to Schneider. “We have some of the highest placement rates in the country with two-thirds of our graduates having jobs or graduate school placement before they even graduate.”

Bridgewater (Va.) College has shared information about a number of upcoming events. In keeping with guidance from the CDC, Bridgewater College requires that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, properly wear face masks when indoors in public areas of campus.

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, Rebecca and Samuel Dali will speak at the college for the International Day of Peace Convocation, at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time) in the Boitnott Room. The title of their presentation is “A Peaceful Response to the Crisis in Nigeria.” Samuel Dali was president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) from 2011-2016, a time that overlapped with the Chibok kidnappings by Boko Haram, noted a release from the college. Rebecca Dali is founder of the Centre for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives, which seeks, among other efforts, to support victims of violence in Nigeria. Sponsored by the Kline-Bowman Institute for Creative Peacebuilding, the event is free and open to the public.

Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State who served in the position 1997-2001, will be on the college campus on Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time) for a special event titled “In Conversation with Madeleine Albright.” The event to be held in Cole Hall is free and open to the public, according to a release. Doors open at 7 p.m. The moderated conversation will include Bridgewater president David Bushman. “Over the course of her extraordinary life in public service, Dr. Albright has occupied multiple positions of influence, most notably as US Ambassador to the United Nations and US Secretary of State during the Clinton Administration,” said Robert Andersen, director of the college’s Kline-Bowman Institute for Creative Peacebuilding. “Her profound political and diplomatic experiences have laid the groundwork for what I anticipate will be an enlightening conversation on the prospects for peace and democracy in the contemporary global community.”

The college’s Special Collections and the Margaret Grattan Weaver Institute for Regional Culture will exhibit “A Potter’s Progress: Emanuel Suter and the Business of Craft,” according to the Augusta Free Press. This showcase of historic regional pottery and copies of associated historic records is open Sept. 6 through Oct. 8 on the lower level of the John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons. The exhibit is curated by Scott H. Suter, professor of English and American Studies and director of the Margaret Grattan Weaver Institute for Regional Culture, with Stephanie S. Gardner, Special Collections librarian, Tiffany Goodman ’20, and Meghann Burgess ’23. Lenders to the exhibit include the Reuel B. Pritchett Museum Collection at Bridgewater College, Scott Suter, Stanley H. Suter, and the Virginia Mennonite Conference Archives. Gardner said, “It is especially exciting to feature Emanuel Suter’s beautiful earthenware communion bowl, made around 1868 for Bridgewater’s Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren, in the exhibition. Lottie Thomas donated the bowl to the Reuel B. Pritchett Museum in 1988.” The exhibit is free and open to the public. Find the news report at

“Welcome to a new season of the Dunker Punks Podcast!” said an announcement of the podcast’s next season. “When has a song moved you in a meaningful way? When has one brought up feelings of pain?” The most recent episode features pastors Matt Rittle and Mandy North sharing insights on music. Go to, subscribe to the podcast at, or go to the episode page:

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is offering a webinar to learn more about Armenia and the recent war, on Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. (Eastern time). The webinar is hosted with Olesya Vartanyan, who works with Crisis Group as senior snalyst in the South Caucasus. The discussion will be led by CMEP executive director Mae Elise Cannon and will focus on providing a historical introduction to Armenia and Azerbaijan at war–specifically an introduction to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of 2020. Registration is free but donations are accepted. Go to

The World Council of Churches has released information about a “Manifesto for Communication for Social Justice in a Digital Age,” the product of an international symposium. Participants collectively offered a view of the current global context, a look at issues and challenges, principles to promote socially just communication, and a call for a “transformative movement” founded on human rights, human dignity, and democratic principles. “Digital technologies are transforming our world and the multiple spaces in which we live and move,” the manifesto begins. “These technologies offer us new ways to communicate, to advocate for our human rights and dignity, and for our voices to be heard.” Growing digital technology monopolies also threaten a diversity of voices and perspectives, the manifesto notes. “Users have become the new commodity. Private data is increasingly requested, collected, and controlled by a small number of platforms to take advantage of people for economic and political purposes.” In their work over the three-day symposium, on Sept. 13-15, participants identified surveillance, marginalization, and militarization as significant threats. Find out more at


Find more Church of the Brethren news:

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]