Newsline for June 25, 2021

“And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new'” (Revelation 21:5a).

1) Budget parameter for 2022, priorities for denominational ministries top agenda for Mission and Ministry Board

2) Annual Conference to feature original composition ‘All Things New!’

3) The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership celebrates its 2021 graduates
La Academia de los Hermanos para un Liderazgo Ministerial celebra sus graduandos del 2021

4) In North America, can borders become shared spaces, even amid racism and division?

5) ‘During my two years as moderator’: A pastoral letter from Annual Conference moderator Paul Mundey

6) Brethren bits: Atlantic Northeast District seeks church video streaming specialist, BVSer visa denied, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy signs letter opposing military FOIA proposal, Annual Conference virtual blood drive, and news from churches, districts, colleges, and more

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Daily coverage of the 2021 Annual Conference will be available from Wednesday, June 30, to Sunday, July 4, at Newsline also will be alerting readers to the coverage of the Conference and pre-Conference events including the Mission and Ministry Board meeting on the weekend of June 26-27, the Standing Committee of district delegates on June 27-30, and the Ministers’ Association annual meeting and continuing education event on June 29-30. For detailed information about the Conference go to

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1) Budget parameter for 2022, priorities for denominational ministries top agenda for Mission and Ministry Board

The Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board will hold its pre-Annual Conference meeting on Saturday and Sunday, June 26-27. The meeting will be a hybrid of in-person and Zoom options for attendance, with most of the board members gathering at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

Open session meetings of the full board will be broadcast via Zoom Webinar. Pre-registration is required to view the meeting. Find the meeting schedule, agenda, background documents, and registration link to attend at

Topping the board’s agenda are decisions on the budget parameter for 2022 and priorities for ministries. The board is continuing to work on aligning denominational ministries with its new strategic plan. Action also will be taken on recommendations from a Brethren Press Reimagining Team, a new communications policy, and updates to the financial policies, among other business.

This will be the closing meeting of Patrick’s Starkey’s term as chair of the board. Assisting him in leading the meeting will be chair-elect Carl Fike, who takes leadership as chair following Annual Conference 2021. At the end of this meeting, the board will recognize and say farewell to four members, in addition to Starkey, who also are completing their terms of service: Marty Barlow, Thomas Dowdy, Lois Grove, and Diane Mason.

Patrick Starkey concludes his term as chair of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board with the board’s pre-Annual Conference meeting. Photo by Glenn Riegel

2) Annual Conference to feature original composition ‘All Things New!’

“Don’t miss the original composition ‘All Things New!’” says Conference director Chris Douglas, inviting Church of the Brethren members to log in early to the Sunday morning worship service of the 2021 Annual Conference on July 4. “Worship will actually begin 10 minutes before the hour (9:50 a.m. Eastern time) with gathering music featuring an original composition by Greg Bachman of the York (Pa.) First congregation.”

In other Annual Conference news

Those who register for the Conference will receive several emails with identical access codes for the virtual Conference–“buttons” that appear as green boxes. These are personalized for each attendee. Click on the button to go to the Conference event page. If you are registered and have not received an email, check your “junk” or “spam” folder before contacting

First-time attendees and anyone who would like an overview of the Conference are invited to “New Attendee Orientation” led by the moderator-elect David Sollenberger, Annual Conference secretary Jim Beckwith, and Conference director Chris Douglas on June 30 at 3:30-5 p.m. (Eastern time). Request the link from

2020 Annual Conference Logo
The logo for Annual Conference 2021. Art by Timothy Botts

Nondelegates registered for the Conference will be assigned to virtual “tables” of 10 people for small group break-out sessions during business on July 1-3. Both delegates and nondelegates will have the option of responding to the compelling vision questions and offering their input. Only delegate “tables” will have assigned facilitators.

The Office of Ministry reminds ministers of the many opportunities to gain continuing education credit (CEUs) during Annual Conference. All sessions that offer CEUs are being recorded and will be available for several weeks after the Conference. Fill out the CEU registration form on pages 191-192 of the Conference booklet and mail it to your district office for inclusion in your ministerial file.

All Things New!

Bachman composed “All Things New” especially for this Annual Conference and was able to virtually direct and record this orchestral and choral anthem. Musicians who are featured include:

— Ron Bellamy on bells

— Josh Tindall on the organ

— Jan Fisher Bachman, Anabel Ramirez Detrick, Benjamin Detrick, Matthew Detrick, Venona Detrick, William Kinzie, and Joel Staub playing violin and viola

— Sebastian Jolles and Bree Woodruff playing the cello

— Benedikt Hochwartner playing the bass and Nate DeGoede on electric bass

— Singers Joe Detrick, Emery DeWitt, Mary Ellen DeWitt, Elizabeth Tindall, and Josh Tindall

Find the free log-in to Annual Conference worship services at Registration is not required to attend worship services. More details about the 2021 Conference are at

3) The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership celebrates its 2021 graduates
La Academia de los Hermanos para un Liderazgo Ministerial celebra sus graduandos del 2021

By Janet Ober Lambert with translation by Aida L. Sánchez

Four Brethren Academy students completed their programs in the 2020-2021 academic year. All four students are currently serving churches and are listed alongside their ministry placements. Graduates of the Brethren Academy receive certificates of completion during celebrations within their districts.

Cuatro estudiantes de la Academia de los Hermanos han completado sus programas en el año académico del 2020-2021. Cada uno de los cuatro estudiantes sirven en iglesias y están enlistados juntamente en sus colocaciones ministeriales. Los Graduandos de la Academia de los Hermanos recibieron certificados de finalización durante celebraciones dentro de sus propios distritos.

Blue logo with a cross and people with their arms up on each side of it

Training in Ministry / Ministerio en Entrenamiento (TRIM)

Rita Carter
Pastor of Visitation / Pastor de Visitación
Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren / Iglesia de los Hermanos Mechanic Grove
Atlantic Northeast District / Distrito Noreste Atlántico

Jamie Nace
Pastor of Child and Elder Ministries / Pastor de Ministerios para Niños y Ancianos
Lancaster Church of the Brethren / Iglesia de los Hermanos Lancaster
Atlantic Northeast District / Distrito Noreste Atlántico

David Scott
Associate Pastor / Pastor Asociado
Woodbury Church of the Brethren / Iglesia de los Hermanos Woodbury
Middle Pennsylvania District / Distrito Pensilvania Central

Seminario Bíblico Anabautista Hispano de la Iglesia de Los Hermanos / Hispanic Anabaptist Biblical Seminary of the Church of the Brethren (SeBAH-COB)

Leonor Ochoa
Iglesia de los Hermanos Ebenezer / Ebenezer Church of the Brethren
Distrito Noreste Atlántico / Atlantic Northeast District

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, a partnership of the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Theological Seminary, coordinates non-graduate certificate level ministry training in both English and Spanish languages.

La Academia de los Hermanos está asociada con la Iglesia de los Hermanos y el Seminario Teológico de Betania, proveyendo a los no-graduados, entrenamiento en ministerio a nivel de certificado.

— Janet Ober Lambert is director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. Aida L. Sánchez is the academy’s coordinator of Spanish-Language Ministry Training Programs.

4) In North America, can borders become shared spaces, even amid racism and division?

A release from the World Council of Churches

In an ecumenical meeting for North American church leaders on June 24, prayers and discussion centered on issues that are both deeply painful and seemingly insurmountable: racism, division, vaccine hesitancy, genocide, war. But hope found a way into the virtual gathering as participants supported each other to find ways forward.

Archbishop Mark MacDonald from the Anglican Church of Canada, who moderated the discussion, sadly noted that the meeting occurred the same day that news broke of an indigenous group finding the remains of as many as 751 people, mainly children, in unmarked graves on the site of a former boarding school in Saskatchewan.

This follows news earlier this month that the remains of 215 children were found on the grounds of the Kamloops Residential School in the western Canadian province of British Columbia.

Bethany Theological Seminary president Jeff Carter (second from top row, at right) takes part in the World Council of Churches Central Committee meeting on June 24. On that day, committee members and WCC staff demonstrated their commitment to end sexual and gender-based violence by marking “Thursdays in Black” in their online regional meetings. Carter is representing the Church of the Brethren on the WCC Central Committee. Screenshot courtesy of the WCC

“These children’s graves are the residue of genocide, genocide that paved the way for the enslavement of millions of people, and genocide that paved the way for the destruction of the environment of the planet,” said MacDonald.

H.E. Archbishop Dr Vicken Aykazian of the Armenian Apostolic Church (Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin) USA, shared his candid lamentation and frustration with the ongoing destruction of churches as well as religious and cultural monuments amid the conflict Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh and the wider region.

“They destroyed every single Christian monument,” said Aykazian. “You may have seen coverage on BBC or on EuroNews but the US news doesn’t talk about it–yet systematically they are destroying the churches.”

He thanked the ecumenical organizations and the World Council of Churches for statements of solidarity and prayers. “Please pray for my country and please pray for my people,” he urged.

“We will we be praying fo you–I promise you that,” said MacDonald.

Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, who also serves on the WCC Central Committee, reflected on vaccine hesitancy. “It really feels a bit ironic to me that, a year later, when we have an effective vaccine, a lot our churches are having to spend so much time convincing people to get the vaccine when other parts of the world don’t even have access to the medicine,” she said. “I never expected, after the horrific pandemic, that we would be seeing this kind of resistance,” she said.

One after another, North American religious leaders also brought up the scourge of racism and the creative ways in which churches are combating it.

“We’re awash in bigotry and hatred,” lamented Pastor Peter Noteboom, general secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches, adding that, in addition to racism, the WCC Pilgrim Team Visits in North America during the past year also highlighted the effects of climate change.

Another emerging issue from Noteboom’s perspective is genetic engineering, particularly in food production. “All the changes we are making to the genome–will they be felt decades from now?”

Jim Winkler, president and general secretary of the National Council of Churches (USA), said he believes the fruits of the Pilgrim Team Visits will feed into the 11th WCC Assembly in Karlsruhe.

Winkler also said he was looking forward to a women’s Pilgrim Team Visit focused on North America. “They will examine issues that women face in the US, Canada, and Mexico, and explore how women, particularly women of color, fight for issues of justice, their families and their dreams.”

MacDonald ended the meeting by reflecting on how racism, war, and division are often exacerbated by our concept of borders. “For indigenous people, the border between Canada and the US has been a wound, not a border,” he said. “I believe we should define borders the way indigenous people did: they found that the best way to keep peace was to define borders as shared spaces.”


5) ‘During my two years as moderator’: A pastoral letter from Annual Conference moderator Paul Mundey

Will Willmon tells of an Episcopal friend committed to eradicating apartheid in South Africa. After months of intense effort, including weeks of lobbying in Washington, D.C., a breakthrough felt distant and dim. Commiserating with colleagues at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City, Willimon’s friend was discouraged along with her compatriots; all seemed for naught. But then, unexpectedly, the door to their meeting room flung open, and in walked famed anti-apartheid leader Bishop Desmond Tutu. Tutu sensed the anguish in the room but didn’t drop his customary exuberant countenance; instead, he accentuated it. “Well, chappies,” Tutu exclaimed, “Why the cast-down faces? Why are you looking so sad? Come on; we’ve got the resurrection. Let’s get busy!”

During my two years as moderator, I’ve encountered any number of cast-down faces. It’s been a difficult season, marked by an onslaught of pandemic, schism, racism, and violence. But I’m with Tutu: the heart of the gospel is a Jesus who rises above despair. Such a response doesn’t minimize strain and sorrow but keeps it in perspective; lament does not cancel resurrection.

As Glenn Packiam notes: “Lament is not our final prayer. It is a prayer in the meantime. Most of the lament psalms end with a ‘vow to praise.’… Because Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, we know that sorrow is not how the story ends. The song may be in a minor motif now, but one day it will resolve in a major chord” (“Five Things to Know About Lament,” N.T. Wright Online,

I challenge us to sound God’s major chord, even as we muddle through a minor motif. The Anabaptists, key influencers of our faith tradition, spoke of “walking in the resurrection.” Though there’s a future element to resurrection, our forerunners believed there’s also a present-tense reality–now.

The Apostle Paul concurs: “It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!” (Romans 8:11, The Message).

Our current season of life and faith is arduous, taxing us in compound ways. But Paul is on to something: God is breathing into us, nevertheless. Can you sense God’s breath moving…animating?

The classic evidence is God’s encounter with the prophet Ezekiel: “The hand of the Lord was on me…and placed me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones…. He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ I said to him, ‘Sovereign Lord, you know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones.’… So I prophesied…I heard a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone. As I watched, I saw tendons on them, then muscles appeared, and skin covered over them from above, but there was no breath in them. He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath.’… So I prophesied as I was commanded, and the breath came into them; they lived and stood on their feet” (Ezekiel 37:1-10, NET).

I challenge us to “prophesy to the breath,” believing God not only rattles but infuses with the Spirit, empowering us to stand. Jurgen Moltmann is best known for his theology of hope, a belief system advancing God’s resurrection ability today.

Among Moltmann’s resurrection convictions is a revisualization of the church as a fellowship of friends: “Friendship [in Christ] is a new relationship, which goes beyond the social roles of those involved…. The community of brethren is really the fellowship of friends who live in the friendship of Jesus and spread friendliness…by meeting the forsaken with affection and the despised with respect. Its brothers and sisters cannot choose each other” (The Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993, p. 316).

Continuing, Moltmann concludes: “The church will not overcome its present crisis through reform of…its ministries. It will overcome this crisis through the rebirth…of fellowship and friendship among the rank and file” (ibid., p. 317).

I call us to a rebirth of friendship in Christ, a resurrection of affection and respect. For as brothers and sisters in Jesus, we don’t choose each other; Christ chooses us, calling us to live together, even amid our diversity.

The Human Library ( is a European movement promoting understanding among diverse persons. The concept is bold and innovative but straightforward: “borrow” a person much like you borrow a book. The purpose: to learn from someone you normally wouldn’t engage with, especially persons you tend to minimize or normally don’t encounter. For example, you might borrow a single parent if you’ve always lived within a traditional family, or a homeless person if you’ve always had food and shelter.

This approach got me thinking: how might a Human Library be “stocked” in the church; what “books,” what categories of people would be eye-opening to have on our “shelves”? Certainly, single parents and the homeless–but I’d love for a progressive believer to be able to borrow a conservative believer; a person puzzled by women in ministry to be able to borrow a woman preacher. You catch my drift. The purpose of “borrowing” and listening is not necessarily to change our convictions but to soften harsh or indifferent hearts, becoming newly awash in understanding–even empathy–for those we don’t know or tend to disregard.

And so, I call us to walk in newness of life, in resurrection, calling forth dry bones and hearts to live! For “if all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries” (1 Corinthians 15:19-20, The Message).

Where is life deadened for you, cast down, sad? Where is your spirit eroded, thin, and limping? Christ has left the cemetery. Life can be raised. Hope is alive. Let’s get busy!

Discussion Starters / Questions

Glenn Packiam notes: “Lament is not our final prayer. It is a prayer in the meantime…. Because Jesus is risen from the dead.” How do you keep honesty (lament) and hope (resurrection) in proper balance, avoiding being either too naïve or too pessimistic?

Reread Romans 8:11. Have you experienced God bringing you alive to himself through the resurrection power of Jesus? Describe the experience and the difference it made/makes.

Jurgen Moltmann believes we must reimagine the church as a fellowship of friends meeting “the forsaken with affection and the despised with respect.” What steps can your congregation take to become a fuller fellowship of friends?

Moderator Paul tells of the Human Library. Imagine such a library existed in your congregation, district, denomination. Who’s a person you’d be open to “borrowing” and learning from? Who would be difficult for you to “borrow” and learn from? Why?

To dig deeper:
Timothy Keller. Hope in Times of Fear. New York: Viking, 2021.
N.T. Wright. Surprised by Hope. New York: Harper One, 2008.

— Paul Mundey is serving as moderator of the Church of the Brethren’s 2021 Annual Conference. Find this and other “Trail Thoughts” from the moderator at

6) Brethren bits

Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren seeks applicants for the fulltime salaried position of church video streaming specialist, assisting congregations and church leaders with implementing online and hybrid church services. Primary responsibilities include helping local leaders evaluate strategies for streaming, suggesting specific hardware and configurations solutions, assisting with installations, configuring setups, training church members to use the equipment, being available for questions and requests, and coordinating volunteers to assist with all the above. Secondary responsibilities include presenting monthly workshops on tech topics and best practices, assisting with streaming district events, responding to tech requests, and more. These consultation and technical services are provided to all congregations in the district—large and small—along with limited availability for congregations and events outside of ANE, as the hope is that these services (and staffing) will expand to other districts and the denomination. As such, this position is breaking new ground, giving the opportunity and responsibility to help shape this ministry and how it is grown. Qualifications include experience with live video production and live streaming; knowledge of and familiarity with video, audio, and computer systems, especially streaming video methods, protocols, and best practices; experience with worship and various worship styles; ability to teach technology to non-techies (lay people); ability to work independently; communication skills, including the ability to listen; help desk tech support and troubleshooting skills; ability to envision, create, shape, and implement new programs and initiatives; ability to work with, encourage, and organize volunteers and other staff; ability to understand and embrace the unique dynamics and needs of worship while utilizing technology; familiarity with the Church of the Brethren. To apply, submit a résumé and a letter of interest describing what attracts you to this position, your qualifications, and your salary requirements to Atlantic Northeast District at Applications will be received until the position is filled.

Brethren Press is offering a virtual bookstore for the virtual Annual Conference. Usually, the bookstore is a highlight of the exhibit hall at in-person Conferences, but this year the bookstore is going online. Among the new offerings: advance sales of Hoosier Prophet, a collection of essays, letters, and speeches from Dan West, founder of Heifer Project (now Heifer International). Edited by Bill Kostlevy and Jay Wittmeyer, it is a joint project of Brethren Press, the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, and the denomination’s Office of Global Mission. Also new is this year’s Annual Conference mug, reimagined as a travel mug. A jigsaw puzzle of a photo of beautiful Lake Junaluska (taken by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford), arrives in time for participants in this year’s virtual National Older Adult Conference to remember meeting around the lake at previous NOACs. Go to

Brethren Volunteer Service staff have shared the news that a volunteer who was part of orientation this past winter has had her visa denied and will unfortunately not be able to continue with the program. Ronah Kavumba of Kampala, Uganda, had been waiting for her pending project placement since her participation in training with BVS Unit 328.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is Facebooking photos of people donating blood as part of the Annual Conference Virtual Blood Drive, starting with the oldest donor so far, 96-year-old Ivan Patterson. “Ivan first donated in 1945 and with his June donation reached 553 pints with a goal of 600 (or more!),” said the post, encouraging potential donors to “Be like Ivan!” Join the Virtual Blood Drive by making a pledge at or contact and then donate at a blood drive near you. The goal for the virtual drive this year is 150 pints. The blood drive ends at the end of July.

The Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy is one of 45 organizations that have sent a letter urging Congress, via the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, to oppose the Department of Defense’s proposal to alter the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) through the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022. “The Pentagon’s proposed language would undermine FOIA by creating an unnecessary and overbroad secrecy provision at odds with the law’s goal of transparency and accountability to the public,” the letter said, in part. “The department’s proposal to exempt from disclosure unclassified information on ‘military tactic, technique, or procedure,’ and on military ‘rule of engagement or rule for the use of force’ would create an unnecessary and broad carve-out to public disclosure laws. Accountability and transparency are particularly important for the Pentagon, the largest executive branch agency with the largest discretionary budget. Because of the potential long-lasting effects on the public’s access to information, we urge you to reject this proposal.” The letter noted that this is the seventh time the Pentagon has attempted to include this exemption, in various forms, since 2011, and each time the faith-based and humanitarian community “has sounded the alarm and pointed out that the department’s justification for the exemption does not include any indication that the language is necessary or that existing limits on disclosure have not sufficiently protected the effectiveness of military operations.” The letter also noted that “FOIA already exempts ‘properly classified’ national defense information from disclosure, which addresses concerns from the Department of Defense that it would be required to disclose information that would give potential adversaries advance knowledge of certain military tactics, techniques, and procedures. When pressed by congressional staffers and members of the open government community in years past, Pentagon representatives admitted that the department has never had to release information pursuant to a FOIA request that it would be able to withhold under this proposed exemption.” Read the full letter at

A blogpost from Office of Peacebuilding and Policy intern Angelo Olayvar highlights “The Saudi Arabia-Iran cold war and the looming nuclear arms race in the Middle East.” The post cited the Church of the Brethren 1975 “Resolution: Concern for Peace in the Middle East,” and warned that “the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran is stirring up events that could lead to a nuclear arms race between the two countries. Furthermore, US involvement in the Middle East via military engagement, weapons sales, defense transfers, and security assistance is fueling the instability of the already volatile region. The rivalry…has plunged the region into a cold-war style conflict that is complex, fueled not only by political differences but religious ones. It elicited events that cast the region into a state of geopolitical instability defined by despair, countless deaths, endless wars, worsening humanitarian crises, and a looming nuclear arms race. Read the blogpost at

Following the EF3 tornado that touched down in Naperville, Ill., and other towns in the west and southwest of the metro Chicago region last Sunday night, Newsline received word that no Brethren churches or families were affected. The two congregations in that general area are Naperville Church of the Brethren, pastored by Dennis Webb, and Neighborhood Church of the Brethren, pastored by Purvi Satvedi.

Chicago (Ill.) First Church of the Brethren partnered in a unique Juneteenth Celebration with Front Door, a West Side organization, and the Old Town School of Folk Music, which gave a drumming class in the garden next to the church. Go to for a short video from the drumming class.

Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren was part of a food giveaway celebration for Dairy Month. “Last year’s food giveaway in New Holland, Pa., was in response to milk being dumped during the early stage of the pandemic,” said a report by Art Petrosemolo in Lancaster Farming. “This year’s return of the event–revamped as a community lunch to celebrate Dairy Month–was a response to last year’s community spirit.” Brothers Karl and Mike Sensenig, third-generation operators of Sensenig’s Feed Mill, initiated with event in 2020 and decided to organize it again on June 9 this year, teaming up with a number of local businesses and organizations. “The milkshake trailer from the Ephrata Church of the Brethren was a big hit.” Sensenig said. “Who doesn’t like a cold vanilla milkshake on a summer day?” Find the article at

Shenandoah District released an update on outcomes of its Disaster Ministries Auction. Chair Catherine Lantz thanked “those who gave very generously of their time, talents, donations, etc. Through your dedicated time and work, many individuals are touched in some of their roughest times.” Director of finance Gary Higgs reported a rough figure of $160,000 for the possible proceeds from this year’s auction, with monetary donations still arriving at the district office. Some $144,000 came in during the auction.

Shenandoah District also reported on the donations it has received of Church World Service disaster relief goods. Disaster Ministries coordinator Jerry Ruff reported picking up 272 clean-up buckets; 47 boxes of health and school kits each weighing between 49-82 pounds, representing approximately 1,000 school kits and 400 health kits; 10 boxes of comfort care kits for children donated from the Virlina District; and 63 buckets from other churches including Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian. About 10 volunteers helped load the truck to deliver the donations to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The District Disaster Ministries team is still working towards its goal of 400 clean-up buckets.

“Visit us and like us,” said an announcement from Missouri and Arkansas District, which has a newly revamped webpage at The district also is publicizing its Facebook page at

Also from Missouri and Arkansas District, the Discipleship Task Force has decided to cancel church camp again this year “due to a lack of volunteers and the rise in positive COVID-19 cases in Missouri,” said the district newsletter. “As the coronavirus pandemic continues and is still a threat to children who would be attending camp, the lack of a camp nurse was a major factor in this decision. It is the hope of the DTF that congregations will be creative in finding alternative ways to provide some sort of special experience for their youth this summer.” The district newsletter also named Renee Staab as the new district camp manager.

“Embodiments of Peacebuilding” is the title of a networking session from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, Kevin Shorner-Johnson, who also is an associate professor of music education, during the virtual Annual Conference. Those who register for the full Conference will have access to participate in this networking session on July 3 at 12:30 p.m. (Eastern time). Said an announcement: “The richness of our Anabaptist heritage has been in putting our feet into paths of peace and love. The very essence that makes an Anabaptist heritage so beautiful is that it is a fully embodied faith, one where we place our lives and our actions into the model of Christ.” The session will explore scholarship and the new Master of Music Education degree at the college, “the first of its kind in the nation, is focused on the study of peacebuilding, social-emotional learning, and world music drumming. Through this program, graduate students understand that the essence of peacebuilding comes through bringing a lived presence of humble love, and committing to practices of intentional community, empowered voice, and prophetic imagination.” Shorner-Johnson’s work focuses on the intersection of peacebuilding and music education. His work has been published in the Philosophy of Music Education Reiew, Music Educators Journal, International Journal of Music
Education, and Advances in Music Education Research, and his most recent scholarship in the international book, Humane Education for the Common Good, approaches and critiques the United Nations’ temporal constructions in education policy.

The Death Row Support Project has announced that seven students from Northwestern University completed a capacity-building project with DRSP earlier this month. “Thanks to these students, many of you received information in the last few months about abolition groups working in your state; the connections made by the students have given DRSP stronger ties with many of those groups,” said a recent newsletter. “You’ve seen glimpses of the students’ work in DRSP’s social media. In addition to a few changes already made, they created an extensive social media guide with several recommendations.” For Instagram, the students designed a template to display information about the death penalty in individual states, go to For Twitter, the project will be shifting its focus to following state abolition groups, highlighting their events and efforts, go to

“We are living in a Nehemiah moment,” said an announcement of new resources from Creation Justice Ministries. Citing Nehemiah’s response to his critics on returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and temple, “Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble–burned as they are?” (4:2), the announcement said: “Now is the time for us to work shoulder to shoulder. Now is the time for us to work with all our heart. It is clear that the climate crisis has arrived. We are standing in the rubble of climate breakdown. All around us, our communities are being affected by climate disasters on a physical, spiritual, and social level. Like Nehemiah, it is time for our faith communities to respond not only with words, but with actions.”

The new resources are designed to help congregations find “faithful resilience” during the climate crisis. The Faithful Resilience Guide for congregations is a six-part guide providing theological reflections, educational materials, and practical steps for building climate resilience in your faith community. Also, Faithful Resilience workshops are available to view online, along with a Climate-Church Crisis Map. Go to

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 Chris Douglas, Sharon Franzén, Rachel Gross, Janet Ober Lambert, Pauline Liu, Nancy Miner, Paul Mundey, Angelo Olayvar, Aida L. Sánchez, 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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