Newsline for Aug. 19, 2021

1) A statement of concern for Afghanistan from Church of the Brethren general secretary David Steele

2) Haitian Brethren leaders travel to earthquake zone

3) Brethren Volunteer Service holds in-person summer orientation, plans in-person fall orientation

4) Cabinet gathers in Colorado for onsite meeting preparing for National Youth Conference

5) ‘How has the pandemic changed your worship habits?’ Yearbook takes survey

6) Dana Cassell resigns from the Thriving in Ministry Initiative

7) Church of the Brethren says goodbye to three BVSers, welcomes new intern

8) New Ventures season begins with course on ‘Christ, Culture, and God-talk for the Coming Church’

9) COBYS celebrates 25th Annual Bike & Hike


10) Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren tends its community garden
11) Pleasant View Church celebrates 245 years
12) Stone Bridge Church celebrates 150 years
13) Lower Miami congregation to support Honduran family
14) Coventry and Parkerford congregations adopt families after apartment fire

Photo by Joel Brumbaugh-Cayford

15) Brethren bits: The logo for the 2022 Annual Conference is released, prayer requests from Global Mission, job opening, Calling the Called, ‘The Truth About Military Recruiting,’ Atlantic Southeast’s Family Peace Camp, McPherson record enrollment, more

A note to readers: As many congregations return to in-person worship, we want to update our listing of Churches of the Brethren at Please send new information to

Landing page of Church of the Brethren COVID 19 related resources and information:

Church of the Brethren congregations offer a variety of worship opportunities in English and other languages:

*Spanish/bilingual; **Haitian Kreyol/bilingual; ***Arabic/bilingual

*español/bilingüe, **kreyol haitiano/bilingüe, ***عربي / ثنائي اللغة

Lifting up Brethren who are active in health care:

Send information about your congregation’s worship services to

Add a person to the list of Brethren active in health care by sending first name, county, and state to

Quote of the week:

“Perhaps by the grace of God and the work of our hands, we might have hope.”

Creation Justice Ministries, which is planning a Day of Action on Aug. 27, calling on leaders “to protect God’s Creation and our communities.” Creation Justice Ministries got its start as a department of the National Council of Churches, and is an ecumenical partner organization of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy.

“Last week, the United Nations released a landmark report on the state of our climate-changing world,” said the announcement of the Day of Action. “This report shows us the reality that our actions will not be enough to prevent catastrophic climate change. Immediate action on climate can prevent climate change from worsening–but catastrophe has already happened. Catastrophes are happening all around us in the United States and abroad. What are we to do in the face of utter catastrophe? How can we possibly have hope amid the undoing of the world? We need leaders who will take action to make the necessary changes to our economy to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis. We cannot afford to wait any longer to pass legislation that makes systemic changes in our society.”

Find out how to get involved at

1) A statement of concern for Afghanistan from Church of the Brethren general secretary David Steele

“Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18a).

In the wake of the September 11th attack in 2001, the General Board of the Church of the Brethren called for the immediate cessation of military action in Afghanistan, saying: “We are deeply concerned that these strikes will cause further death and destruction, and will exacerbate the problems confronting those working to feed and care for millions of suffering Afghan people” (

Ten years later, in 2011, the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference reaffirmed that same call for the end to military action and concern for people of Afghanistan (

This week, the withdrawal of US troops was nearly complete, and the world watched in anguish as the Taliban quickly completed its takeover by capturing Kabul. In ensuing days, the evacuations escalated and the humanitarian situation deteriorated, while global and domestic leaders furiously assigned blame for the past 20 years of violence, loss, and expense.

While there is a clear biblical precedent and call for rebuke and correction of injustice and wrongdoing, there is an equally strong call for self-examination and repentance.

The Church of the Brethren stands by our conviction that “all war is sin” and “we may not participate or benefit from war” (1970 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference statement on war, but we must ask how we have been complicit in the war in Afghanistan and how we are called to turn now to repentance and right living. How have we not acted in a right manner in the past and how are we called to act in a right manner in the present, to “[put on as] shoes for your feet . . . whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).

Though Ephesians 6 is filled with war-like images, we are reminded that “our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh.” We are called to a struggle not characterized by war and violence but by compassion, love, and justice. We are called to proclaim the gospel of peace through word and action for all those affected by the war in Afghanistan–Afghan civilians and military and US civilians and military and all others involved over 20 years of warfare.

In the coming days, weeks, and months, may we work for the safety and well-being of our Afghan neighbors near and far, extending a hand of support to them, welcoming those who have been displaced and who have become refugees, and challenging the belief that the weapons of war will bring a future of peace.

“For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

“Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

2) Haitian Brethren leaders travel to earthquake zone

Image of earthquake destruction in southwest Haiti by Pastor Moliere Durose of Saut Mathurine Eglise des Freres d’Haiti.

Members of the National Committee of L’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) this week met and traveled to the area of southern Haiti most affected by the recent earthquake. The trip was to identify emergency needs and possible response by the church.

Said Brethren Disaster Ministries director Jenn Dorsch-Messler: “From these meetings we hope to hear more about the situation in Saut Mathurine and the Church of the Brethren community there and initial thoughts for how the Church of the Brethren in Haiti may look to support emergency response and eventually longterm recovery.”

Ilexene Alphonse, who is leading the Church of the Brethren communications with the Haitian church, has met via Zoom with the six members of the Haitian National Committee who are together this week in response to the earthquake, Dorsch-Messler said. Alphonse reported: “They are grateful and wanted me to share their appreciations for your prayers and your continuing support for the church and the Haitian people in general. They shared the joy of knowing once again the US Brethren stand with them in prayers and solidarity.”

In related news, Brethren Disaster Ministries has been in communication with ecumenical partner Church World Service (CWS), which has issued a situation report on the earthquake. “The full extent of the earthquake’s destruction is still being determined,” it said, in part, noting the complications of concurrent crises including Tropical Depression Grace, the July 7 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, gang violence, a severe fuel shortage, and communications limitations. CWS is conducting damage assessments with partners. “We anticipate that the CWS response will focus on recovery and rehabilitation,” the report said.

To financially support disaster relief in Haiti as a collaboration of Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Haitian church, go to

3) Brethren Volunteer Service holds in-person summer orientation, plans in-person fall orientation

By Pauline Liu

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) hosted an in‐person summer orientation at Inspiration Hills Camp in Burbank, Ohio, from July 18 to Aug. 6. Unit 329 had five volunteers.

BVSers and staff spent three weeks in intentional community connecting with each other through meaningful conversations, exploring different cooking techniques, living in solidarity, and serving the local community in Ohio.

With COVID‐19 guidelines in place, BVS is excited to host another upcoming in‐person orientation experience at Camp Brethren Heights in Rodney, Mich. The Fall Unit 330 will hold orientation Oct. 3-22. Applications are accepted through Sept. 3, and we encourage all applicants 18 years and older to apply.

BVS provides a number of benefits: housing and food, transportation to and from your project site, medical insurance, the option of loan deferment, valuable professional and technical experience, spiritual formation, and much more. For more about Brethren Volunteer Service and how to apply, go to

— Pauline Liu coordinates volunteers for Brethren Volunteer Service.

The new volunteers are shown here with information about their home congregations or hometowns and project site placements: (from left) Lydia DeMoss of Bolingbrook, Ill., will serve at L’Arche Syracuse, N.Y.; Malachi Nelson of McMinnville, Ore., will serve at La Puente Home in Alamosa, Colo., on an interim basis, before traveling to the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan; LeRae Wilson of Denton, Md., will serve at L’Arche Dublin, Ireland; Erika Clary of Brownsville Church of the Brethren will serve as National Youth Conference coordinator working with the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry in Elgin, Ill.; and Galen Fitzkee of Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren will serve at the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C.

4) Cabinet gathers in Colorado for onsite meeting preparing for National Youth Conference

The National Youth Cabinet: (front row, from left) Erika Clary, Luke Schweitzer, Becky Ullom Naugle; (back, from left) Jason Haldeman, Hayley Daubert, Bella Torres, Ben Tatum, Geo Romero, Kayla Alphonse. Not pictured: Elise Gage, who attended the meeting via Zoom.

By Erika Clary

The Church of the Brethren’s National Youth Cabinet gathered Aug. 6-10 in Fort Collins, Colo., at Colorado State University for an onsite visit preparing for National Youth Conference (NYC) 2022.

The cabinet spent a day planning and discussing ideas for NYC, explored and hiked at Rocky Mountain National Park (since they will not be able to hike during NYC), and toured the university, followed by meetings with university staff.

This is the first time the cabinet has been able to meet in person due to the coronavirus pandemic, so they were filled with anticipation and joy to form friendships and plan together. The cabinet will meet again in the spring at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., to continue planning for the conference.

The cabinet is composed of six youth who have just completed their junior or senior year of high school, and two adult advisors: Hayley Daubert of Shenandoah District, Elise Gage of Mid-Atlantic District, Geo Romero of Illinois and Wisconsin District, Luke Schweitzer of Southern Ohio and Kentucky District, Ben Tatum of Virlina District, Bella Torres of Atlantic Northeast District, and adult advisors Kayla Alphonse of Atlantic Southeast District and Jason Haldeman of Atlantic Northeast District. Staff are Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, and Erika Clary, 2022 NYC coordinator.

NYC will be held at Colorado State University on July 23-28, 2022. Registration will open in early January 2022. Youth who have completed ninth grade through one year of college at the time of NYC (or are age equivalent) and their adult advisors are invited to attend. The 2022 theme is “Foundational,” based on scripture from Colossians 2:5-7. Visit for more information.

— Erika Clary is National Youth Conference coordinator for the Church of the Brethren and a Brethren Volunteer Service worker in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

5) ‘How has the pandemic changed your worship habits?’ Yearbook takes survey

By James Deaton

COVID-19 affected the ways in which we worship. Many congregations responded by offering ways to gather online, and this shift will change how worship attendance is counted and then reported to the Church of the Brethren Yearbook Office.

All Church of the Brethren congregations–whether they offer online worship or not–are encouraged to complete this 5-minute survey.

Survey results will guide denominational staff as we improve Yearbook forms and the ways in which we collect worship attendance. We also hope to better understand how our congregations have responded to the pandemic.

Please complete the survey by Sept. 10. Results will be announced in a future report. Thanks for your participation!

Go to the survey at

If you have questions, contact Jim Miner, Yearbook specialist, at 800-323-8039 ext. 320 or

— James Deaton is managing editor of Brethren Press. Find out more about the Church of the Brethren Yearbook at Purchase a copy of the current Yearbook at


6) Dana Cassell resigns from the Thriving in Ministry Initiative

Dana Cassell has resigned as program manager of the Thriving in Ministry Initiative for the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry, effective Sept. 16. She has served in this role since Jan. 7, 2019, managing the Part-time Pastor; Full-time Church program.

The Office of Ministry will continue to support this program in the interim period, working closely with the Thriving in Ministry Advisory Committee in seeking new staffing.

Thriving in Ministry is a grant-funded initiative offering support for multivocational Church of the Brethren pastors. As a multivocational pastor herself, Cassell offered leadership that has been passionate about the value and gifts of multivocational ministry for the church in the current climate. She created a strong partnership with a team of “circuit riders” who are making significant contacts with program participants.

She also worked on a large-scale survey intended to ensure that the resources and content of the program would focus on needs as named by multivocational pastors themselves, working with the marketing firm CRANE, Atlanta. Over a period of two months, an attempt was made to contact every multivocational minister in the denomination through phone calls and emails.

Her previous work for the denomination included serving as contract staff for Ministry Formation in the Office of Ministry. She coordinated the 2014 Clergy Women’s Retreat, served in interpretation and resource development for a major revision of the Ministerial Leadership Polity of Annual Conference that was approved in 2014, and coordinated planning for Ministry Summer Service.

In addition, among many others her numerous leadership contributions have included writing for Messenger magazine, preaching for National Youth Conference, teaching a course for Ventures at McPherson (Kan.) College, presenting at the New and Renew Conference and Annual Conference and other denominational venues and events. Her involvement at the denominational level included service as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker working in the BVS office at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

Cassell continues as pastor of Peace Covenant Church of the Brethren in Durham, N.C., where she plans to increase her engagement with local community ministries as she continues to serve multi‐vocationally.

Dana Cassell preaches the Sunday morning sermon for NYC 2018. Photo by Glenn Riegel.

7) Church of the Brethren says goodbye to three BVSers, welcomes new intern

Three Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) workers who have served at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., over the past year are finishing their terms of service this month:

Kara Miller has served through BVS for the last two years, first as assistant coordinator for the former Workcamp Ministry (now FaithX) and most recently as assistant orientation coordinator in the BVS office. Her last day at work was Aug. 12.

Alton Hipps and Chad Whitzel have served as assistant coordinators for FaithX, ending their work in the BVS office on Aug. 13.

Galen Fitzkee has begun as an intern at the denomination’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, also working through Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). He recently graduated from Messiah University with a degree in peace and conflict studies and minors in politics and Spanish. He hopes to use these strengths to engage on issues related to Latin America policy and immigration, among other work. He is a member of Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.


8) New Ventures season begins with course on ‘Christ, Culture, and God-talk for the Coming Church’

By Kendra Flory

The Ventures in Christian Discipleship program at McPherson (Kan.) College begins its 2021-2022 season with an evening course on “Christ, Culture, and God-talk for the Coming Church.” The course will be held online on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 5:30-7:30 p.m. (Central time) presented by Scott Holland of the Bethany Seminary faculty.

The statistics cannot be disputed about our shifting religious demographics in North America. We are not only witnessing the end of “white Christian America,” but a numerical spike of those who identify as “Nones”–those who no longer identify with a religious institution or denomination yet still profess faith, and the “Dones”–those who are finished with religion. At the same time, some sociologists of religion suggest the number of persons who confess they are “spiritual but not religious” is the fastest growing “religious” demographic in the United States.

Many are looking for new ways to name themselves and render God’s name in history. Our Anabaptist forebears composed a compelling theology for the 16th century as they exited the organized church. Our Pietist spiritual ancestors offered a creative corrective to Anabaptist visions and voices in the 17th and 18th centuries. Do we have an equally engaging God-talk for our 21st century cultural and spiritual contexts and possible coming church? We will explore this question together as we also ponder a meta-question that begs to be addressed in this season of church and culture wars: “What is the purpose of religion?”

Scott Holland is the Slabaugh Professor of Theology and Culture and director of Peace Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. He also directs Bethany’s growing programs in theopoetics and writing. He has pastored Church of the Brethren and Mennonite congregations in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He writes and speaks about public theology in ecumenical and interfaith classrooms, congregations, and conferences.

Continuing education credit is available for $10 per course. During the registration process, you will have the opportunity to pay for CEUs and give an optional donation to the Ventures program.

To learn more about Ventures in Christian Discipleship and to register for courses, visit

Kendra Flory is advancement assistant at McPherson (Kan.) College.

9) COBYS celebrates 25th Annual Bike & Hike

A release from COBYS, provided to Newsline by Douglas May

COBYS Family Services will hold its 25th annual Bike & Hike fundraising event on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 12, at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The signature components of walking and riding bicycles or motorcycles continue.

Group starts return this year and an updated route for the walkers, who will stroll through the Lititz business district on Main and Broad Streets, is being introduced. Families, friends, church groups, and riding clubs are encouraged to attend, line up sponsors to support their efforts or donate to the event.

People who have not participated before or heard about COBYS and its ministries of foster care, adoption, counseling, and family life education, are encouraged to attend. COBYS is affiliated with Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren.

Motivated by Christian faith, it educates, supports, and empowers children and adults to reach their full potential. Located in Lancaster County, Pa., COBYS Family Services provides a range of foster care, adoption, permanency, family life education, and counseling services throughout the region.

Participants can choose from three modes of transportation and four routes:
— 3-mile walk through Lititz
— 10- or 25-mile bicycle ride through Lancaster County scenery
— 65-mile motorcycle ride through beautiful northern Lancaster County

There are three ways to participate in the Bike & Hike. First, people can attend the in-person event on Sept. 12. The second option is to “Walk or Ride Where You Are.” Choosing their own date, participants walk or ride on their own time, on the COBYS course or their own course. The third way is to donate to the 25th anniversary Kickstart Fund. In honor of the 25th year, COBYS has set a goal to raise $25,000 prior to the event on Sept. 12.

To raise awareness of this goal and get people excited to participate, executive director Mark Cunningham has competed in friendly competitions with some COBYS staff members. Videos of these events are being presented through email and Facebook posts and include background on the essential services provided by the organization. Videos, registration, fundraising progress information, and how to contribute to the Bike & Hike Kickstart Fund can be found at

Schedule for the event on Sept. 12:
12:30 p.m. – 65-mile Motorcycle Registration begins
1:30 p.m. – 65-mile Motorcycle Ride begins
1:30 p.m. – Walk & Bicycle Registration begins
2:00 p.m. – 25-mile Bike Ride begins
2:30 p.m. – Walk & 10-mile Bike Ride begin
Around 3:15 p.m. – Ice Cream Sundae Bar and Celebration

According to Cunningham, “Milestones like celebrating this event for 25 years allow us to reflect on the work we’ve done, the services we’ve provided and the lives we’ve positively impacted throughout the agency’s existence. Reflecting on the Bike & Hike event allows us to gratefully thank everyone who is participating this year, as well as all who have participated since we started this fundraiser a quarter century ago. Over $1.8 million has been raised through the Bike & Hike over that time span.”

Pre-registration for Bike & Hike is encouraged but not required. It can be done online at, with a minimum donation of $25 before Sept. 5 or $30 after. Full event information is available on the website and participants can create their own online fundraising page to gain support from friends and family.

To learn more visit

– Douglas May is communications and development manager for COBYS Family Services.


10) Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren tends its community garden

By Marianne Fitzkee

The Harrisburg (Pa) First congregation has been tending to their community garden for about five years now, thanks to the original initiative of former pastor Belita Mitchell. The current garden coordinator, Waneta Benson, cites this year as the best year yet! She came to Harrisburg First as the church’s second Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker and has been serving faithfully ever since through developing the children’s ministry, playing organ for worship, and now spearheading the gardening effort along with her son–a role she’s very qualified for, having lived around gardens for 80-plus years.

The garden, which can be found tucked behind a garage in the church’s back parking lot, is home to six raised beds growing tomatoes, greens, cauliflower, peppers, herbs, berries, and more. This year, the gardeners–mostly church members who live in the surrounding Allison Hill community–will enjoy their harvest with their families. Pre-COVID, the church had hosted a baked potato dinner using their own potatoes to share the bounty.

In addition to the raised beds, there also is a bench with some decorative flower boxes located in the garden, where people can relax and soak up the scenery. “Grandma Waneta,” as she is called by some of this year’s gardeners, loves to see children get involved with the garden and notes how community gardens are a great way to utilize vacant lots to create green space in the city.

In future years, she hopes to relinquish some responsibility for the garden but looks forward to seeing how it continues to evolve. Future projects may include painting a mural on a wall adjacent to the garden or growing vines and flowers on the surrounding fence to add beauty and attract pollinators. Along with fruits and vegetables, this garden cultivates relationships, peace, and love in Allison Hill–that will surely continue to grow.

– Marianne Fitzkee just completed a summer internship with Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren.

11) Pleasant View Church celebrates 245 years

Pleasant View Church of the Brethren near Burkittsville, Md., celebrated its 245th anniversary on Aug. 15, according to an article in the Frederick News Post. Tim May is the congregation’s pastor. A Sunday service was planned to initiate festivities leading up to the church’s 250th anniversary in 2026, with descendants of the founding members as special guests. The news article reviewed the congregation’s history, tracing the movement of the congregation’s ancestors “from Pennsylvania into Middletown Valley by 1740. The valley reminded them of their German homeland, and they settled at Big Oak Spring, which is now Burkittsville. Wanting to organize a church, about 20 families met on Aug. 15, 1776, under a large white oak on the Daniel Arnold farm just south of Burkittsville. They formed the Broad Run German Baptist Church, named for the everflowing stream, Broad Run…. About 150 years ago, the ancestors of the Broad Run congregation built a church and named it Pleasant View.” Find the full article at

12) Stone Bridge Church celebrates 150 years

Stone Bridge Church of the Brethren in Hancock, Md., will host its 150th anniversary celebration on Sunday, Sept. 12. In a notice from Mid-Atlantic District, the church shared that the celebration will “commemorate what God has already done and what He will continue to do through the ministry of Stone Bridge Church of the Brethren” under the title, “Yesterday’s Tomorrow Is Today.” The event will include live music from a four-part harmony group, “Old School Vocal Quartet,” and organist Nathan Strite. At the 10:30 a.m. worship service, guest speaker Roger Truax will preach. A luncheon will follow with food and beverages to be provided by the church. At the 1:30 p.m. worship service, the guest speaker will be Garnet Myers. Said an invitation: “We would love to have you join us in praising the Lord for all that He has done and is going to do in the future.”

13) Lower Miami congregation to support Honduran family

Lower Miami Church of the Brethren in Southern Ohio and Kentucky District has been matched with a family of four from Honduras–parents and two sons, ages 7 and 12. The district newsletter announced that the family could arrive within a few weeks. “They were in the citizenship process in the US more than a year ago and even had a sponsor in Michigan when the government changed the policy and sent them back to Mexico to wait,” said the newsletter. “The new administration has changed the policy back, so they are working their way through the system again.” The congregation is seeking other congregations or Sunday school classes to help support the family with pledges for monthly amounts or one-time gifts to aid the church in providing food, clothing, cleaning supplies, school supplies, and toiletries. Contact pastor Nan Erbaugh at 937-336-0207 or

14) Coventry and Parkerford congregations adopt families after apartment fire

Coventry Church of the Brethren and Parkerford Church of the Brethren were among 15 area churches that adopted families after the Ashwood Apartments fire of July 30, 2020, in North Coventry Township, Pa. Chester County has thanked the congregations among the wide variety of organizations assisting those affected by the devastating fire, according to an article in the Times of Chester County. The churches are supporting families with physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, said the news report. The fire completely destroyed “45 homes, displacing 50 families and leaving 100 men, women, and children with only the clothes on their backs,” said the article. “Though four residents and two first responders were injured, thanks to the heroic effort of neighbors, the North Coventry firefighters and police department, everyone survived. The immediate and subsequent outpouring of support from the entire community has helped to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of all who lost their home.” Read the full article at

15) Brethren bits

Global Mission staff continue to request prayers for Haiti following the earthquake and tropical storm. Additional prayer requests shared today include:

Please pray for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) as they face the demolition of churches in Borno State, most recently in Maduganari in the Maiduguri area. Protests have followed the demolition, which occurred despite the church having a valid permit, and during which security forces fired shots into the air reportedly killing one church member and injuring others. There are also reports of increased tensions in and around Jos recently with Jos North under a 24-hour curfew, creating great hardship for residents there.

EYN also has shared a request for prayer following the death of the chairman of the EYN Board of Trustees, Rev. Maina Mamman, who died Wednesday last week, and the death of a wife of a student at Kulp Theological Seminary. “May God comfort the church and the entire relatives,” said an email from communications staff Zakariya Musa.

Global Mission continues to express gratitude for the release of Athanasus Ungang from prison in South Sudan, but requests continued prayer for his safety and that his passport may be returned so he can travel back to the United States to be with his family. Prayer also continues to be needed for Utang James, a colleague of Ungang’s who remains in custody.

— The Church of the Brethren seeks a database support specialist to fill a fulltime hourly position based either at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., or at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The major responsibility is to oversee and supervise the use of the organization’s database system and to enter and edit data that is collected across the whole organization, in consultation with the director of Information Technology. Skills and knowledge required include a positive customer service attitude, ability to work collaboratively, excellent communication skills, strong analytical critical thinking and problem-solving skills, strong understanding and knowledge of relational databases, and a working knowledge of Raiser’s Edge or comparable software, database infrastructure, Microsoft 365 Office Suite, Microsoft Access and Excel, among others. A minimum of two years of significant relational database experience and a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, database administration, or related field are required. Advanced training certifications may be advantageous. Applications are being received and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The Annual Conference office has released the logo for the 2022 annual meeting of the Church of the Brethren. “After not meeting the past two summers, we are looking forward to the time we can all be together again in person in Omaha, Neb., July 10-14, 2022,” said an announcement, which included some information about the city of Omaha and the price for the conference hotel rates: $106 (plus tax and parking) per night. Registration fees will be announced in September.
Annual Conference next year will begin with opening worship on Sunday evening and closing worship on Thursday morning. Go to for more information.
On Earth Peace’s Stop Recruiting Kids Campaign is hosting a virtual panel event this Friday, Aug. 20, at 4 p.m. (Eastern time) titled “The Truth about Youth Recruiting: A Dialogue with Veterans.” Said Irv Heishman, a Church of the Brethren pastor and co-chair of the On Earth Peace board: “The military is actively recruiting youth in our local high schools. I’m thankful to have this opportunity to remind parents and youth that war is not a game, a reality that should give Christians pause.” The online panel will discuss the realities of youth recruiting and will screen a video from the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY) called “Before You Enlist!” Panelists Rosa del Duca, Eddie Falcon, and Ian Littau will talk about their experiences, troubling aspects of the military recruiting and enlistment process, reflections on systemic issues, and advice for potential recruits. The event will conclude with a Q&A open to audience questions. For more information and to register, go to

“Here I Am; You Called Me” is title of a Calling the Called event organized by several Church of the Brethren districts including Atlantic Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southern Pennsylvania, Middle Pennsylvania, and Western Pennsylvania. The event is planned as “an intentional time away from the routine of life to discern what it means to be called by God to the set-apart ministry,” said an announcement. It takes place Sept. 25 at Chambersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For questions or to register, contact one of the sponsoring districts. Registration deadline is Sept. 15.

Atlantic Southeast District’s annual Family Peace Camp is virtual again this year, said an announcement. The event takes place Saturday, Sept. 4, 12 noon to 5:30 p.m. (Eastern time) on the theme, “Tools for Compassion–The Foreign Language of Caring.” The leaders are Barbara Daté, a Church of the Brethren member from the Pacific Northwest District and a member of the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board, and Linda Williams, a Church of the Brethren educator and singer/songwriter from Pacific Southwest District. For registration and Zoom access contact Aaron Neff at

Virlina District holds its annual Prayer for Peace Service on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 3 p.m., outdoors at the Hollins Road Church of the Brethren picnic shelter. The featured speaker will be Eric Landram, pastor of Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, who has spoken at National Youth Conference, Roundtable, National Young Adult Conference, and other Church of the Brethren events. The 2021 theme is “Weltschmerz,” a German word meaning “world-pain.” Said the announcement: “Many of us have spent the past 18 months in a state of weariness. This is related to how we hope the world would be as opposed to how we see it differ from our ideals. Participants will gain a better understanding of how Jesus leads us to peace even in the midst of grief over world events and difficult circumstances.” Fellowship and refreshments will be offered based on the safety protocols in effect in September. For more information contact 540-352-1816 or

— West Marva District is holding a district revival event at Camp Galilee in Terra Alta, W.Va., on Sept. 9-11 at 7 p.m. each evening, sponsored by the district’s Mission and Evangelism Team. There will be special music each night as well. The topic is “The Future” with a specific topic for each evening: Sept. 9, “The Future for Non-Believers” with speaker Rodney Durst; Sept. 10, “The Future for Believers” with speaker Dennis Durst; and Sept. 11, “The Future for Religion” with speaker Rodney Durst.

– McPherson (Kan.) College is continuing an upward enrollment trend established over the past seven years, said a release. When it welcomed the class of 2025 to campus on Aug. 17 for the start of fall semester classes, freshmen and transfer students comprised the largest group of new students in school history at 350. “As classes get underway, full-time degree-seeking enrollment is again over 800,” said the release. “At 282 students, the class of 2025 is 35 percent larger than last year’s freshman class. The class comes to McPherson from 36 states and 12 countries.” The college began the fall semester without social distancing restrictions in its classrooms but for the first two weeks is asking everyone to wear a mask while inside campus facilities. The college is among schools from across the country joining the White House COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge and agreeing to take action in encouraging students, faculty, and staff members to be vaccinated. For more about McPherson College go to

The Bittersweet Gospel Band has just released “When Grandma Prays,” a new album of songs, on Spotify, Itunes, Amazon, and most any streaming site. The band is mostly made up of Church of the Brethren pastors: Gilbert Romero, Scott Duffey, Leah Hileman, Dan Shaffer, Andy Duffey, with Trey Curry and with David Sollenberger, moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, on lead guitar. “The music was recorded in the fall of 2019, but then delayed by COVID and our studio burning down,” said a release sent to Newsline by Duffey. “Finally, it was all remixed and mastered this spring and available to inspire and enjoy. A limited number of CDs are also being printed.” The title song for the album is available in English and Spanish and was a hit on the band’s last Puerto Rico tour. The song “Beans and Rice and Jesus Christ” is a Bittersweet classic that was re-recorded for the new album. Also featured: “From Fear to Freedom,” a faith response to 9/11; “Mary’s Glory,” a Christmas song with a special cello solo; “We Kneel Together,” a prayer of solidarity with the persecuted Brethren in Nigeria, with the 2019 Bridgewater (Va.) College Chorale.

– Christopher Carroll of Speedway, Ind., a student at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., has won first place in a 2021 Peace Essay Contest of the West Suburban Peace Coalition (WSPC) in the Chicago area. He is majoring in political science with minors in international relations and philosophy. Contestants submitted essays answering the question, “How can we obey the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, the law that outlawed war?” Taking second place was Ella Gregory of London, England, and in third place was JanStephen Cavanaugh of Columbia, Pa. Said the announcement: “WSPC sponsors the contest annually as a way to commemorate and to promote awareness of the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact, an international agreement that outlawed war. Representing their respective countries, US Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand signed the pact on Aug. 27, 1928. A total of 63 nations joined the pact, making it the most ratified treaty in history at that time. The Pact served as the modal for war crime trials following WWII. It also ended the legality of any territory seized in illegal war.”

Newsline is the email news service of the Church of the Brethren. Inclusion in Newsline does not necessarily convey endorsement by the Church of the Brethren. All submissions are subject to editing. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contributors to this issue include Jeff Boshart, Josh Brockway, Shamek Cardona, Erika Clary, James Deaton, Jenn Dorsch-Messler, Scott Duffey, Victoria Ehret, Marianne Fitzkee, Kendra Flory, Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Nathan Hosler, Pauline Liu, Douglas May, Sebastian Muñoz-McDonald, Zakariya Musa, Kristine Shunk, David Steele, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Please send news tips and submissions to . Find the Newsline archive at . Sign up for Newsline and other Church of the Brethren email newsletters and make subscription changes at . Unsubscribe by using the link at the top of any Newsline email.

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