Newsline for Jan. 15, 2021

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

1) Intercultural Ministries sends out letter and invitation to new Racial Healing Grant Program
2) Discipleship Ministries offers opportunity to share prayers
3) ‘Hold fast to Jesus’: Office of Ministry shares letter of encouragement with ministers
4) Nursing scholarships are announced

5) Kostlevy to retire from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives

6) Brethren bits: Memorial service for John Gingrich, “Faith, Science, and COVID-19 Part Three,” Camp Blue Diamond seeks executive director, prayer requests, matching grant for Haiti Medical Project, Southern Ohio and Kentucky District urges churches to refrain from in-person meetings, Bridgewater College welcomes author Blair L. M. Kelley, and more

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

Church of the Brethren congregations offering online worship in English and other languages: of the brethren congregations worship online.html
*Spanish/bilingual; **Haitian Kreyol/bilingual; ***Arabic/bilingual
*español/bilingüe, ** kreyol haitiano/bilingüe, ***عربي / ثنائي اللغة

Lifting up Brethren who are active in health care: active in health care.html

Send information about churches to be added to the listing of online worship offerings to

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

1) Intercultural Ministries sends out letter and invitation to new Racial Healing Grant Program

Following is letter from Church of the Brethren Intercultural Ministries director LaDonna Sanders Nkosi and an invitation to Brethren to apply for a new Racial Healing Grant Program, sent out by email today, Jan. 15:

Greetings of peace to you on this day!

I write first to ask how are you doing and being? Many are still recovering from the vicarious racism trauma of what the world witnessed in the storming of the US nation’s capital and subsequent events to dismantle our nation’s government and free and fair election process. To say that many are hurting and concerned is an understatement.

One of the aspects that made an impression upon me about Brethren people when I was first meeting Brethren here in Chicago at many of the community and peace and justice events was that Brethren could be found acting out their faith and the ministry of Jesus Christ as Jesus declares in Luke 4:18-21 listed above.

Now more than ever, your voice, and your clear witness and expression of interrupting injustice, racism, and hatred, in action is needed.

When in doubt, let’s look to Jesus, his words, actions, and patterns as our guide.

For all who are dealing with post-traumatic stress from racism trauma, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If a group gathering or time of prayer is helpful or you would like to talk to someone, please let us know. You can write

Today, Jan. 15, is the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For many of us, historically and presently, the day and the King holiday weekend and days of service are days of commemoration, reflection, and taking inventory of where we are and how far we must go before the lived and experienced reality of “all persons are created equal.”

Opportunities for Racial Healing Grant Program

On Jan. 22, applications will be available for you and others to apply for funding for Racial Healing programs in your church or community, including online programs and gatherings.

Please consider a program you might propose. options could be a speaker, a Racial Healing Training for your community, and much more.

Programs must take place in February and March.

Also note Intercultural Ministries and other Church of the Brethren departments will be holding denomination-wide programs and trainings in which we hope as many people as possible will participate. These include a February series with Dr. Drew Hart on “Who Will Be a Witness,” as well as other speakers.

As soon as the application is ready, you will receive an email or Newsline announcement. Please help to spread the word.

This past year, I have been thankful for the programs, trainings, faithful actions, and gatherings that churches and communities have demonstrated.

In these pivotal times, your witness and faithfulness literally means the world.

God bless and peace, and may God’s reign be made manifest in our midst, and may there be healing in the land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Following Jesus in these times,

Rev. LaDonna Nkosi
Director of Intercultural Ministries
Church of the Brethren

2) Discipleship Ministries offers opportunity to share prayers

The Church of the Brethren Discipleship Ministries is announcing an opportunity to share prayers in response to the general secretary’s letter following the violence of Jan. 6 at the US Capitol.

Discipleship Ministries staff will be curating further prayerful responses from around the church through a social media effort called “How Shall We Pray?”

Prayers will be shared on the Discipleship Ministries Facebook page at

Recorded and written prayers may be submitted to

3) ‘Hold fast to Jesus’: Office of Ministry shares letter of encouragement with ministers

Following is letter of encouragement to ministers across the denomination from Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry. The letter in both English and Spanish was sent out to ministers by email today, Jan. 15:

(Desplácese hacia abajo para ver la versión en español.)

Dear Church of the Brethren Ministers,

I am writing to offer my prayers for you as you provide leadership in the coming week in your varied ministry settings such as congregations, hospitals, camps, retirement centers, administrative offices, and a wide range of other places. You minister through your prophetic and caring preaching of God’s Word, creative pastoral care, courageous community outreach, faithful administration, and dedicated connections with those in your “flock.” In addition, I know that, as most of you are multi-vocational, you also are likely juggling responsibilities of additional work, family obligations, and ministerial studies. In these extraordinarily challenging times, I pray that the Holy Spirit will empower you and give you great wisdom. Your service is a precious gift to the church and the world. Thank you!

This weekend I am mindful that the Narrative Lectionary suggests a focus on Jesus’ inaugural sermon to his hometown as recorded in Luke 4:16-30. This powerful story illustrates Jesus’ display of courage and his laser focus on announcing the Reign of God in all its startling and upside-down nature. At first, Jesus’ hearers were pleased to welcome their famous millennial-aged young adult back home amidst reports of his powerful ministry. But when he challenged their prejudices that limited who was worthy of God’s grace and blessing, their anger drove him out of town. After he audaciously proclaimed that non-Jewish Syrian lives mattered as much to God as Jewish ones, the worshipers turned into a mob with intent to “hurl him off the cliff” to his death. What had he said to cause such anger? The gospel writer Luke reveals that “the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him to bring good news to the poor…. To proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

As ministers faithfully proclaiming Jesus’ good news, the reality is that you may be regarded as the bearer of good news or bad news depending on the perspective of the hearers. However, in our tradition Brethren have always held fast to the words, teaching, and saving work of Jesus. As you teach, preach, and care for your “flock” this week, may you hold fast to Jesus. Hold fast to his courage and audacious proclamation of God’s Reign with its call to repentance from sin. Hold fast to his determined focus to care for those most vulnerable and marginalized. While he ministered to the powerful religious leaders of his tradition, like a magnet he was drawn to those on the fringes of the community whose very survival and safety were threatened by their marginalized status and social location. While every life obviously mattered to Jesus, some lives were in more concrete danger and desperate need than others and his saving grace provided rescue for them.

I am mindful that while I write on behalf of the Office of Ministry, I offer my thoughts also as a former pastor and now ordinary member steeped within a Southern Ohio congregation that is thoroughly and uniquely intercultural, consisting of members from many countries, languages, and cultures. While caring for all, we try to be attuned to those most at risk, most vulnerable, and most fearful because of their non-dominant cultural identity. When they ask for prayers for their very safety and spiritual well-being in these days of national unrest and threats resulting from the effects of white supremacy, we pay particular attention. I have confidence that you will also keep your spiritual and physical ears attuned, eyes open, and hearts attentive to those most vulnerable in your communities. I trust you will speak God’s reassuring word to them and challenge those with the power to provide for their needs to do so justly.

I close with gratitude for our calling as ministers of God’s reconciliation. In the wisdom of Psalm 85 as interpreted by Mennonite conflict transformation practitioner John Paul Lederach, reconciliation is found in the center of the meeting of truth, mercy, justice, and peace. When those divine values are deeply heard and are allowed to speak, God’s true reconciliation flourishes.

May all your gifts of ministry in this season result in God’s reconciliation for the places and the people with whom God has entrusted you.

In Christ’s grace and peace,

Nancy Sollenberger Heishman
Director, Office of Ministry
Church of the Brethren

(Lederach suggests that a literal translation of Psalm 85:10 is “Truth and Mercy have met together. Justice and Peace have kissed.” The Journey toward Reconciliation by John Paul Lederach, Herald Press, 1999.)

Queridos y queridas ministros de la Iglesia de los Hermanos,

Les escribo para ofrecer mis oraciones por ustedes mientras brindan liderazgo en la próxima semana en sus variados entornos ministeriales, como congregaciones, hospitales, campamentos, centros de jubilación, oficinas administrativas y una amplia gama de otros lugares. Ministran a través de su predicación profética y solidaria de la Palabra de Dios, cuidado pastoral creativo, alcance comunitario valiente, administración fiel y conexiones dedicadas con aquellos en su “rebaño”. Además, yo sé que, dado que la mayoría de ustedes tiene múltiples vocaciones, es probable que también estén haciendo malabarismos con las responsabilidades de trabajo adicional, obligaciones familiares y estudios ministeriales. En estos tiempos extraordinariamente desafiantes, oro para que el Espíritu Santo les dé poder y les dé gran sabiduría. Su servicio es un regalo precioso para la iglesia y el mundo. ¡Gracias!

Este fin de semana soy consciente de que el Leccionario narrativo sugiere un enfoque en el sermón inaugural de Jesús a su ciudad natal, como se registra en Lucas 4: 16-30. Esta poderosa historia ilustra la demostración de valentía de Jesús y su enfoque láser en anunciar el Reino de Dios en toda su naturaleza sorprendente y al revés. Al principio, los oyentes de Jesús se complacieron en dar la bienvenida a su famoso joven adulto de regreso a su pueblo en medio de informes de su poderoso ministerio. Pero cuando desafió sus prejuicios que limitaban quién era digno de la gracia y la bendición de Dios, su ira lo expulsó de la ciudad. Después de que proclamó audazmente que las vidas de los sirios no judíos le importaban tanto a Dios como las vidas de los judíos, los adoradores se convirtieron en una turba con la intención de arrojarlo por el precipicio hacia su muerte. ¿Qué había dicho para causar tanta ira? El escritor del evangelio Lucas revela que “el Espíritu del Señor está sobre mi para dar buenas nuevas a los pobres… Para pregonar libertad a los cautivos y vista a los ciegos, a poner libertad a los oprimidos y a predicar al año agradable del Señor” (Lucas 4:18-19).

Como ministros que proclaman fielmente las buenas nuevas de Jesús, la realidad es que ustedes pueden ser considerado portador de buenas o malas noticias según la perspectiva de los oyentes. Sin embargo, en nuestra tradición, los Hermanos siempre se han aferrado a las palabras, enseñanzas y obra salvadora de Jesús. Al enseñar, predicar y cuidar de su “rebaño” esta semana, que se aferre a Jesús. Aférrense a su valentía y a su audaz proclamación del Reino de Dios con su llamado al arrepentimiento del pecado. Manténgase firme en su enfoque decidido de cuidar a los más vulnerables y marginados. Mientras ministraba a los poderosos líderes religiosos de su tradición, como un imán se sintió atraído por aquellos que se encontraban al margen de la comunidad, cuya supervivencia y seguridad estaban amenazadas por su estatus y ubicación social. Si bien cada vida, obviamente, le importaba a Jesús, algunas vidas corrían un peligro más concreto y una necesidad desesperada que otras, y su gracia salvadora las rescató.

Soy consciente de que mientras escribo en nombre de la Oficina del Ministerio, ofrezco mis pensamientos también como ex pastor y ahora miembro ordinario de una congregación del sur de Ohio que es completa y exclusivamente intercultural, que consta de miembros de muchos países, idiomas, y culturas. Mientras nos preocupamos por todos, tratamos de estar en sintonía con los que están en mayor riesgo, los más vulnerables y los más temerosos debido a su identidad cultural no dominante. Cuando piden oraciones por su propia seguridad y bienestar espiritual en estos días de malestar nacional y amenazas resultantes del peligro de la supremacía blanca, prestamos atención especial.

Confío en que también mantendrá sus oídos espirituales y físicos en sintonía, los ojos abiertos y el corazón atento a los más vulnerables en sus comunidades. Les hablará la palabra tranquilizadora de Dios y también desafiará a aquellos con el poder de satisfacer sus necesidades tan justamente.

Termino con gratitud por nuestro llamado como ministros de la reconciliación de Dios. En la sabiduría del Salmo 85 interpretado por el practicante menonita de transformación de conflictos John Paul Lederach, la reconciliación se encuentra en el centro de donde la verdad, la misericordia, la justicia y la paz se encuentran. Cuando esos valores divinos se escuchan profundamente y se les permite hablar, la verdadera reconciliación de Dios florece. Que todos sus dones de ministerio en esta temporada resulten en la reconciliación de Dios para los lugares y las personas que Dios le ha confiado.

En la gracia y la paz de Cristo,

Nancy Sollenberger Heishman
Director, Oficina del Ministerio

(El autor Lederach sugiere que una traducción literal del Salmo 85:10 es “Verdad y Misericordia se han encontrado. Justicia y Paz se han besado.” The Journey toward Reconciliation por John Paul Lederach, Herald Press, 1999.)

4) Nursing scholarships are announced

Amy Hoffman is one of the nursing students who have benefited from the Church of the Brethren nursing scholarship in past years.

By Randi Rowan

Five nursing students are recipients of Church of the Brethren Nursing Scholarships for 2020. This scholarship, made possible by the Health Education and Research Endowment, is available to members of the Church of the Brethren enrolled in LPN, RN, or nursing graduate programs.

This year’s recipients are:
Emma DeArmitt of Meyersdale (Pa.) Church of the Brethren,
Samantha Burket of Martinsburg (Pa.) Memorial Church of the Brethren,
Chelsey Dick of First Church of the Brethren in Roaring Spring, Pa.,
Julia Hoffacker of Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa., and
Peyton Leidy of Woodbury (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

Scholarships of up to $2,000 for RN and graduate nurse candidates and up to $1,000 for LPN candidates are awarded to a limited number of applicants each year.

New this year is an online application. Information on the scholarships, including the application form and instructions, is at

Applications and supporting documentation are due by April 1 of each year.

Randi Rowan is program assistant for the Church of the Brethren Discipleship Ministries.


5) Kostlevy to retire from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives

William (Bill) Kostlevy will retire as director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) effective April 17. He has worked for the Church of the Brethren for almost eight years, since March 1, 2013.

During Kostlevy’s tenure, BHLA staff have responded to more than 3,000 requests for information and hosted more than 500 researchers and more than 1,000 visitors to the archive at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. He has mentored nine archival interns and has overseen three long-term volunteers. Together they have processed more than 33 significant collections of materials and 1,300 cubic meters of archival material.

In addition to overseeing the BHLA, his work has included writing scholarly articles, participating in historical conferences, and spearheading historical displays at Annual Conference. His service to the denomination has included leadership of the Church of the Brethren Historical Committee.

Previously, his career included a teaching position in history at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan.; service as archivist at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.; and work for Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ken., as bibliographer in a Wesleyan holiness studies project and then as archivist and special collections librarian and professor of Church History.

He is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and holds degrees from Asbury College; Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.; Bethany Theological Seminary; and the University of Notre Dame, where he held the William Randolph Hearst Fellowship. He has been a fellow at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

6) Brethren bits

A reminder of the upcoming Moderator’s Town Hall on “Faith, Science, and COVID-19 Part Three,” taking place online on Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). Annual Conference moderator Paul Mundey is hosting a third conversation with Dr. Kathryn Jacobsen, professor in the Department of Global and Community Health at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va., a specialist in infectious disease epidemiology and a member of Oakton Church of the Brethren. Register at

An online memorial service has been announced for John Gingrich, for whom a remembrance appeared in Newsline on Dec. 21, 2020. The family shares an invitation to the service taking place on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 10 a.m. (Pacific time) hosted by La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren at This link will work on Jan. 23 and for a period of time afterwards.

Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., seeks a gifted and visionary individual with a passion for outdoor ministry to serve as its next executive director. The camp is a 238-acre retreat facility, summer camp, and family campground within Rothrock State Forest, affiliated with the Middle Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren. Its mission is to encourage discipleship of Jesus Christ and to facilitate growth and healing in each person’s relationship with God, others, themselves, and the created world. The duties of the executive director include but are not limited to the overall development and operation of the camp and family campground; financial management; promotion and fundraising; coordination of summer camp, retreats, rentals, and other events; hosting of Shaver’s Creek Outdoor School; and supervision of staff and volunteers. Qualifications include strong skills in administration, organization, communication, hospitality, and leadership, along with a basic knowledge of marketing, program development, computer skills, and finance. A bachelor’s degree is required, along with camp leadership experience. The applicant should be a Christian and a member of the Church of the Brethren or have an appreciation and understanding of Brethren beliefs and values. This full-time, salaried position includes health benefits, a generous PTO/holiday package, and onsite housing and utilities. Review of applicants will begin on March 1. It is expected that an appointment will be made in June with an anticipated start date in October. For a full description, and information on how to apply, visit Contact David Meadows, Search Committee Chair, at or 814-599-6017.

Prayers of thanksgiving are requested as Church of the Brethren retirement communities and nursing homes across the country begin to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

Prayer requests from India are shared in a CAT report by Ernest N. Thakore and Darryl Sankey. The CAT teams serve as volunteers through the Church of the Brethren Global Mission office. After a difficult year in 2020 the report said, in part, “Most of the Brethren churches have reopened and all were able to hold regular Christmas and New Year church services. During this time the First District Church of the Brethren in India resumed the publication of its magazine Brethren News which had been discontinued for the past few years…. Our Sunday School Committee took advantage of the lockdown and worked on developing Sunday school courses for children and have successfully published our own Sunday school books. There are plans to publish books for senior students as well in the near future, please pray for this project. Most of the Brethren churches plan to hold their annual meetings in the month of January where representatives will be elected for the upcoming 2021 Annual conference (Jilla Sabha) … in the month of February in Ankleshwar, please pray for the meetings, as we work to set the agenda for the coming year.” Additional prayer requests include for Elder Rev. K. S. Tandel, church president, who has been ill; for the Ankleshwar Church of the Brethren that will host the 2021 annual meeting; for the church facing continued lawsuits and legal challenges; and that the Covishield Oxford University vaccine that has been approved by regulators in India will be available soon and reach the Brethren communities.

An anonymous gift has been received by Haiti Medical Project to support the new latrine project established in 2020. The donor offers $25,000 in dollar-for-dollar matching gifts from other donors. “Latrines take about $600 to build,” said an announcement. “The project, when funded, should result in at least 80 latrines constructed this year. Nine rural communities have been the site of a successful pilot program resulting in 60 latrines built in 2020.” Send matching gifts to Haiti Medical Project, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. For more information contact volunteer staff Dale Minnich at or Dr. Paul and Sandy Brubaker at

Chicago (Ill.) First Church of the Brethren is celebrating member Christopher Crater, who has been named one of this year’s “40 Game Changers of Chicago.” In announcement in the Illinois and Wisconsin District newsletter, Joyce Cassel and Mary Scott Boria as co-chairs of the congregation’s leadership board report that Crater is “a life-long member of First Church and newly elected board member.” In the announcement, Crater writes: “As I reflect on my one-year anniversary of joining the Obama Foundation. I am beyond elated to announce that I was selected by WVON 1690AM-The Talk of Chicago and Ariel Investments as one of this year’s 40 Game Changers of Chicago! I can’t even begin to express how humbling it is to be recognized alongside so many incredible leaders including one of my mentors Cory L. Thames.” The ceremony honoring Crater and others named as the city’s game changers took place the evening of Jan. 15.

The board of Southern Ohio and Kentucky District has sent out an email urging congregations to continue to refrain from in-person meetings to prevent COVID-19 transmission. The letter continued: “Over 376,000 Americans have died in these last 11 months of COVID-19. In our district, a growing number of our congregations have been directly affected by this virus. We are sad to report that in at least two of our congregations, members of leadership have died due to the virus. At least two pastors and members of two other pastoral families have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and we have heard numerous reports of church members fighting the disease. Scripture gives us examples of times when quarantines were necessary for the sake of the community. Leprosy, for example, required quarantine and priestly inspection before rejoining society. As followers of Christ, these examples from the scriptures can guide us as we navigate this new disease. No one wants to be the reason why members of the congregation contract the disease or even die. Medical science tells us that we can spread the COVID-19 virus without showing symptoms. Long-anticipated vaccines are here, and we look forward to the time when they are widely available and administered to all within the communities of our congregations. We all miss in person worship and the fellowship that comes from a community of believers and look forward to the time when we can all safely gather in person.”

Virlina District has announced that in lieu of its usual FaithQuest event for senior high youth, this year it is offering “Quest for Faith: A Self-Led Exploration of Faith for Youth” on March 11-12. “Due to the continuing pandemic, we believe that FaithQuest cannot be held in the normal manner in order to keep people safe,” said the announcement. “As we pondered what to do we realized that the continuing true purpose of FaithQuest is to help youth connect with God and with one another. God can connect with us wherever we are. Therefore, we developed ‘FaithQuest in a Box.’ This ‘Quest for Faith’ in 2021 will come packed with devotionals, fun activities, as well as spiritually reflective information for youth to complete on their own or with their small youth groups.” For more information, contact Joy Murray, coordinator of Children, Youth, and Young Adult Ministries at or by private message on the Virlina Young Facebook page.

Bridgewater (Va.) College will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of virtual events, “BC Honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” on Monday, Jan. 18.

The Department of Student Life will be hosting a virtual Facebook event at 11 a.m. (Eastern time).

From noon to 3 p.m., faculty members will host virtual teach-ins that explore different aspects of the civil rights movement and its era.

At noon, associate professor of Music and department chair Christine Carrillo will lead “The Soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement–A Jazz Listening Session.”

At 1 p.m., Dr. Steve Longenecker, Professor of History and Political Science, will host “History of the Civil Rights Movement.”

At 2 p.m., Alice Trupe, professor of English, will lead “Young Adult Literature on the Civil Rights Movement.”

The teach-ins are free and open to the public. Visit for links to the virtual events.

At 7 p.m., Blair L. M. Kelley, winner of the prestigious Letitia Woods Brown Best Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians for her book Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson, will present a virtual endowed lecture. Kelley has produced and hosted her own podcast and has been a guest on MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris Perry Show,” NPR’s “Here and Now,” and WUNC’s “The State of Things.” She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post,,,, Ebony and Jet magazines. This endowed lecture, sponsored by the W. Harold Row Symposium, is free and open to the public; register at

“In Search of Joy” is the theme for Camp Mack’s Winter Spiritual Retreat. “These days, joy can feel elusive and hidden behind pain and isolation. Somewhere amid God’s blessing and our daily reality, I hope there is joy. Let us search for joy together,” said district executive minister Beth Sollenberger who is in leadership of the retreat scheduled for the weekend of Feb 5-7. The weekend will include Bible study, outdoor activities, camp programing, reflection, active sharing, worship, and prayer, all in a safe space. Participants will stay in Ulrich House with private rooms for singles or couples. Bathrooms in Ulrich House are shared. Cost is $125 per person or $225 per couple. Linens can be provided for an additional $10 per person. There are limited spaces available to provide appropriate physical distancing. Register at or call Camp Mack at 574-658-4831.

The Anabaptist Disabilities Network is welcoming Hannah Thompson as program director with responsibilities for the organization’s newsletter, assisting with communications, resource development, creating community, and strengthening the network. She holds a master’s degree in social justice and an undergraduate degree in communication from Elmhurst University. “She is a motivational speaker as well as an advocate for individuals who have disabilities. Her highest achievements include being on the Federal Communications Commission Disability Advisory Committee (2014-16), being involved in her sorority, advocating for dystonia research, and simply being involved in her community,” said the announcement. The Church of the Brethren is a member denomination of ADN.

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is announcing a series of celebrations for its 35th anniversary in 2021. The organization was started by the historic peace churches, including the Church of the Brethren, with a focus on accompanying people living in places of violence around the world. “In honor of 35 years of accompaniment, we are inviting you to take part in our year of action for peace,” said an announcement. “Every month we will focus on a different aspect of our peacemaking work, and we would love if you could join us.” The focus for January is a campaign inviting supporters to take the Water Is Life pledge. “In every place that CPT works–Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, Turtle Island, Lesvos, the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and elsewhere–water is a prime issue. For water is life, and those who wish to control life will seek to monopolize and abuse water.” Find the pledge at

The Lombard (Ill.) Mennonite Peace Center is offering opportunities for education in conflict resolution for church leaders. “Destructive conflict and chronic anxiety are pervasive in society today; unfortunately, the church is not immune,” said an invitation. “Follow through now on that “New Year’s Resolution” to learn how to deal more effectively with conflict that threatens to damage relationships and derail the mission of your church! Upcoming sessions of our most popular training events are Conflict Transformation Skills for Churches on Feb. 13; Healthy Congregations on Feb. 18; Leadership and Anxiety in the Church on March 10; and our signature 5-day event, Mediation Skills Training Institute on March 1-5. Additional sessions are available for all four events, as well as significant group discounts for the one-day events.” Register at

Today, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), in partnership with the Washington Interfaith Staff Community, held an “Interfaith Prayer Service of Reflection, Lament, and Hope” for members of Congress, their staffs, and all who work at and protect the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C. “The Prayer Service was organized to bear witness to the trauma and destruction caused by the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and, through compassionate interfaith sharing and mutual support, to bring comfort and hope to all who work at the Capitol complex,” said the NCC e-newsletter. “Those attending commented that it was comforting to be together and, when hearing the words spoken, they realized how much they needed to pray and connect during this troubling time for our nation.” The public portion of the prayer service was streamed on NCC’s Facebook and YouTube channels this morning at 11:30 a.m. (Eastern time). A recording is available at

Also from the NCC is information and a link to the King Center’s 2021 “Beloved Community Commemorative Service” to be held virtually on Monday, Jan. 18, at 10:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. (Eastern time). The keynote speaker is Bishop T. D. Jakes, bishop of the Potter’s House. Remarks also will be offered by Kirk Franklin, Grammy Award-winning gospel music artist and author, and Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary general of the United Nations. This is the culminating program for the center’s weeklong celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy. Go to

A prayer vigil titled “Pray for Our Nation-Oremos por Nuestra Nación” has been announced for Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 8 p.m. (Eastern time) by Christian Churches Together (CCT), an ecumenical organization of which the Church of the Brethren is a member communion. The event will be broadcast and the public is invited to join in via the CCT Facebook page. The prayers will be primarily in Spanish. Said the announcement: “We are experiencing one of the most dangerous times in our country’s history. The forces of division are trying to tear apart our nation. As followers of the Prince of Peace, we are called to witness the reconciling love of Christ. We must pray for peace and healing. We must also reach out to our neighbors in a spirit of unity.” Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Historic Protestant Latino leaders will be in leadership of the event that will join the CCT Latino Network, ANCLA, and others.

“Christians worldwide prepare to gather in prayer for unity–even if distanced,” said the World Council of Churches (WCC) in a release about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. “Even as nations continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, final preparations are under way for one of the world’s largest annual prayer observances, traditionally celebrated Jan. 18-25. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity involves Christian communities from many traditions and all parts of the globe. At a time when public health concerns put a limit on physical gatherings, it provides an opportunity for churches to come together by means of a typically Christian practice that long predates modern transport: prayer.” The annual event is jointly organized by the WCC and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church, since 1968. Tasked with preparing the 2021 edition, the Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland chose the theme “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (John 15:5-9). “This allowed the community’s 50 sisters from diverse confessions and countries to share the wisdom of their contemplative life abiding in the love of God,” said the release. Worship and background material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021 are online at

In more from the WCC, the worldwide ecumenical organization has shared a warning that returning locusts in East Africa threaten food security, in a report by Kenya-based freelance journalist Fredrick Nzwili. “A return of desert locusts in East Africa is a major threat to food security in the region, church leaders warned, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause severe disruptions,” said a release this week. “In 2020, huge swarms of biblical proportions struck the region, destroying food crops and animal pastures, and pushed hunger and economic hardship to new levels. And as though that is not enough, the United Nations warned in January 2021 that a new invasion has started spreading in East Africa…. Scientists have linked East Africa’s locust infestation to the unusual weather and climate conditions in East Africa–including widespread and heavy rains since October 2019.” In Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Somalia, the locust invasion has resulted in food insecurity for 35 million people, a number that could rise to 38 million according to the United Nations.

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 Mary Scott Boria, Josh Brockway, Shamek Cardona, Joyce Cassel, Pamela B. Eiten, Mary Kay Heatwole, Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Dale Minnich, LaDonna Sanders Nkosi, Fredrick Nzwili, Shawn Flory Replogle, Randi Rowan, Darryl Sankey, Ernest N. Thakore, Norm and Carol Spicher Waggy, 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, make subscription changes, or unsubscribe at .

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