Newsline for May 28, 2021

1) Emergency Disaster Fund grants go to the DRC, Venezuela, Mexico
2) Bethany to welcome students for in-person classes in August
3) WCC Executive Committee sees hope for the future while making urgent calls to address global crises

4) Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership announces latest listing of courses
5) Webinar to discuss providing mutual support when people experience mental illness

6) Brethren bits: Job openings, FaithX commissioning resources, Chicago Brass Band concert at General Offices, #WelcomeWithDignity, Bible studies for the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, webinar “Remembering Past Massacres,” congregational news, and more

A note to readers: As many congregations return to in-person worship, we want to update our listing of Churches of the Brethren that will continue to offer online worship. If your church’s entry at needs to be updated, please send the new information to

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Quote of the week:

“Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church is the only standing Black-owned structure on Historic Greenwood Ave. from the Black Wall Street era and one of the only edifices that remain from the massacre. To this day, Historic Vernon A.M.E Church remains a visual reminder of the Massacre and the reconstruction process.”

— From an article about the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa (Okla.) race massacre in today’s issue of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) newsletter. During the atrocity in 1921, “mobs of white residents, many of them deputized and even given weapons by city officials, descended on the Greenwood District…. They shot Black people indiscriminately and burned more than 1,200 homes, hundreds of Black-owned businesses, churches, schools, and a Black-owned hospital. Private aircraft also dropped turpentine bombs. Over 35 square blocks of the district, at that time the wealthiest Black community in the United States known as ‘Black Wall Street,’ were destroyed.”

The NCC is recommending two new documentaries and a briefing on the event:

Tulsa Burning premieres on the History Channel this Sunday, May 30, at 8 p.m. (Eastern time). Watch a preview at

Descended from the Promised Land: The Legacy of Black Wall Street premiered this week and may be available for churches to screen in their communities. Find out more at

A Human Rights Watch briefing, titled “Failed Justice: 100 Years after Tulsa Race Massacre,” and an accompanying video detail the failures by city and state authorities. Go to

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:
*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 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) Emergency Disaster Fund grants go to the DRC, Venezuela, Mexico

Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to help Eglise des Freres au Congo (the Church of the Brethren in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC) respond to the eruption of a volcano near the city of Goma and to respond to the families displaced by violence who have fled to the city of Uvira. Grants for COVID-19 relief work also are being given to the Church of the Brethren in Venezuela and to Bittersweet Ministries in Mexico.

Democratic Republic of Congo

A grant of $5,000 is being given to Eglise des Freres au Congo to respond to the eruption of the volcano Mount Nyiragongo near the city of Goma. The eruption on May 22 has been followed by a series of earthquakes. As of May 25, the United Nations reported that at least 31 people died and at least 40 adults and 175 children were missing. Property damage has been reported in 17 surrounding villages, in Goma’s suburbs, and across the border in Rwanda around the city of Gisenyi. A coordinated response is being developed with Eglise des Freres au Congo through the leadership of Goma pastor Faraja Dieudonné and other local church leaders. The Rwandan Brethren have also been contacted to coordinate a multi-country response. Additional grants are anticipated.

A grant of $15,000 is being given for Eglise des Freres au Congo to support families displaced by violence. The DRC has a long history of war, armed conflict, and many different militia groups acting as warlords for some regions. Church leaders shared reports of Burundian rebel groups burning some 15 villages, with repeated attacks causing families to flee. The violence took many lives. Displaced families lost their homes, livestock, belongings, and food. The Uvira Church is providing aid and shelter to some of these displaced families. A program is planned to support 350 family units (about 2,800 men, women, and children) with food and clothing. Each family will receive corn, beans, vegetable oil, soap, and cloth for making clothing wraps. Each aid package will cost about $43, including all transportation costs and day laborers to help with the distribution.


In Venezuela, a grant of $7,500 continues support for the feeding program of the Church of the Brethren (ASIGLEH) for at-risk people affected by COVID-19 and the humanitarian crisis it has caused in the country. ASIGLEH reports that COVID-19 levels are “five times” higher than in September 2020 and a new variant of COVID-19 is spreading quickly. The Venezuelan churches are near a crisis due to COVID-19 infections spreading in the congregations, with the Maracay Church having the highest infection rate. Several church leaders have had bad cases of COVID-19 and some have died. Last Sunday, May 23, a missionary leader who has been one of a few female leaders among the Venezuelan Brethren died of COVID-19 complications. This grant will continue support of the church’s Good Samaritan program, with particular focus on church leadership and members of their churches who are affected.

In Mexico, a grant of $5,000 supports a feeding program of Bittersweet Ministries. There has been a sharp decline of cases of COVID-19 in Mexico over the last few months and the country is reducing some pandemic restrictions. However, the economic impact of the pandemic, especially on the lowest income families, continues to be devastating. Bittersweet Ministries, through Gilbert Romero’s leadership, is working with three Tijuana churches and two ministry points to provide COVID-19 relief to some of these at-risk families. The ministry is providing food and housing each day for around 350 migrants coming through Tijuana.

To financially support these grants, go to

2) Bethany to welcome students for in-person classes in August

A release from Bethany Seminary

Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., plans to offer face-to-face teaching and learning during the 2021-22 academic year. Beginning with the August intensive courses, teaching faculty will be in the classroom, offering courses that blend in-person and video conferencing options.

This change comes after more than a year without students and faculty in the classroom together, and it marks a return to Bethany’s customary approach to teaching and learning.

Students coming to campus will be expected to be vaccinated and be ready to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination prior to arriving on campus.

“Our students and faculty are looking forward to being in the classroom together,” says president Jeff Carter. “The entire Bethany community has adapted to pandemic restrictions with flexibility, resilience, and grace, and we have worked hard to offer an exceptional educational experience despite limitations. But now we are confident that we can safely return to in-person learning and welcome students to campus.”

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Carter says that the seminary’s Leadership Team is still discussing when and how other in-person community activities will resume–including common meals, chapels, meetings, and events open to the general public. “The classroom is always our first priority, but we do hope to find safe ways to gather as a community. We encourage everyone to take the steps necessary to keep themselves each other healthy and safe.”

Throughout the pandemic, Bethany has made a strong commitment to the health and safety of the campus community, including partnering with Earlham College to offer an on-campus vaccination clinic, improving the HVAC system in the Bethany Center, requiring face masks, and avoiding indoor gatherings. In March 2020, Bethany swiftly shifted in-person classes, gatherings, worship services, and meetings to Zoom. Thanks in part to these protocols, there have been very few cases of COVID-19 in the seminary community.

“I am so grateful to our students and faculty for their patience and creativity during this time of unprecedented uncertainty,” says academic dean Steve Schweitzer. “As we transition for our fall semester, I am glad we will be able to t each and learn together again both physically in the classroom and on the screen.”

3) WCC Executive Committee sees hope for the future while making urgent calls to address global crises

A release from the World Council of Churches

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee, convening May 17-20, set a tone of hope for the future while, at the same time, addressing multiple global crises with statements, pastoral messages, and calls for prayer.

Walking, praying, and working together

While the transition to online programing and prayers during COVID-19 has been a challenge for the WCC as for the rest of the world, Agnes Abuom, moderator of the WCC Central Committee, said, “Likewise, while the WCC transition has in many ways been a heavy burden to all of us, I personally feel blessed to walk, and work with each and every one of you, because of your care and willingness to pray and assist to ensure the work of WCC continues uninterrupted.”

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Photo by Albin Hillert / WCC

Hope for the future

WCC acting general secretary Ioan Sauca said he remains full of hope that the WCC 11th Assembly will be held in Karlsruhe, Germany, next year, and also expressed gratitude for those around him. “I am grateful for your devotion to the WCC,” he said. “I am grateful for the dedicated service of commission members, advisory groups, and our partners for their contributions and support. I am ever grateful to the WCC staff and staff leadership group for their tremendous dedication in serving the fellowship of WCC member churches.”

The Executive Committee received the report of the WCC Assembly Planning Committee, which focuses on the spiritual life and other details of the assembly, to be held from Aug. 31 to Sept. 8, 2022, under the theme “Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity.”

Attending to fiscal matters

In addition to planning for the assembly and preparing for the upcoming WCC Central Committee meeting, the Executive Committee also adopted the 2020 financial report and conducted financial monitoring; received the report of the audit committee and appointed auditors for 2021; and received 2020 narrative program reports and monitored previous decisions on programs. A new Jerusalem Liaison Office Advisory Committee will be established and appointed by the acting general secretary to consult and advise the general secretary on specific projects or to stimulate discussion on emerging issues.

The Executive Committee also received recommendations of the steering committee for the Green Village project. The WCC governing body also reviewed membership matters and approved nominations for action by the WCC central committee, which will meet via video conference June 23-29.

Defeating COVID-19

In a public statement, the Executive Committee urged the world to come together to “Overcome Global Injustice and Inequity, to Defeat the Global COVID-19 Pandemic.” The statement calls upon all with the power to address the lamentable injustice and inequity revealed by the pandemic–governments, agencies, religious leaders, boards and leaders of corporations with ownership of patents and materials–to exercise leadership and act together urgently to ensure broad, rapid, equitable, and affordable distribution of therapeutics and vaccines worldwide, to overcome this failure and to right this wrong.

“Since the supply of vaccines remains insufficient to meet the global need, and has been concentrated in countries able to pay a premium to ensure access, we support calls for the temporary waiver of relevant patents and other intellectual property rights, in order to remove a key obstacle to increased manufacturing and supply, especially in countries currently marginalized and excluded from adequate supply of needed vaccines,” the statement reads. “We call on all political leaders to act for the health and safety of all those living within their borders, to advance the scientific and medical remedies that will ease the pandemic in their countries and help hasten the end of the crisis globally.”

The Executive Committee also received with concern updates on Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, and Myanmar.

Praying for peace in the Holy Land

The Executive Committee, sharing a message of solidarity with people and churches in the Holy Land, expressed it is “appalled and deeply moved by the suffering inflicted as a result of the currently ongoing hostilities in the Holy Land, mindful of the history of the people of the region.”

The WCC conveyed to the churches and the people of the region a sense of close accompaniment in prayer and in solidarity. “With all those who have lost loved ones, been injured, suffered harm and fear as a result of the awful violence and destruction, we grieve,” the message reads. “We renew our fervent prayer that God will bring compassion and wisdom into the hearts and minds of those responsible for the violence, and healing and consolation to the victims of their confrontation.”

The Executive Committee also invited the ecumenical fellowship and all people of good will to join in a live-streamed prayer for the Holy Land on May 20. The prayer included a responsive psalm as well as prayers of intercession.

The WCC, in a letter signed by its leadership, is urging the UN Security Council to act now to end the ongoing violence, bloodshed, and destruction in Israel and Palestine. “We lament the heavy toll in civilian lives, especially children and women, the destruction of schools and hospitals, and the attacks on the international media during this conflict,” the letter reads. “The responsibility under international law to protect these populations and institutions is fundamental, and there must be accountability for violations thereof.”


4) Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership announces latest listing of courses

Following is the latest listing of upcoming courses offered by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, a collaboration between the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry and Bethany Theological Seminary.

Unless otherwise noted below, find more information about these upcoming courses and register at

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

June 29-30: “Interpreting 1 Corinthians for the Twenty-First Century Church” is offered as a directed independent study taught by Carrie Eikler in conjunction with the online Brethren Ministers’ Association pre-Annual Conference event. Said a description: “In response to news about divisions within the house-churches in Corinth, Paul’s efforts to heal the beloved body of Christ included an instructive letter written in the early 50s CE. The thesis of that letter is an appeal for unity and reconciliation (1 Corinthians 1:10). Its agenda is a laundry list of issues that troubled both the Corinthians and Paul. This directed independent study…is an opportunity to interpret Paul’s letter as scripture for the twenty-first century church. As we do so, we will experience the power of Paul’s gospel to inspire, guide and unite believers today.” Registration deadline: May 28.

Aug. 16-Sept. 10: “Sustain, Heal, and Move Towards Transformation: Understanding the Trauma of a Pandemic” is an online course in Spanish, offered through the Hispanic Anabaptist Biblical Seminary/Seminario Biblico Anabautista Hispano (SeBAH). To express interest in this course, contact Aida Sanchez at or 765-983-1821.

Aug. 25-Oct. 19: “Christianity in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds” is offered as an online course taught by Ken Rogers, professor at Bethany Theological Seminary. The course “provides a brief overview of the history of Christianity from the close of the New Testament era to the eve of the Reformation (approximately 150 to 1450 CE),” said a description. It will explore “issues in the study of history, early Christianity, and the beginning of Christian theology. Throughout, the course focuses on the development of Christian thought. Students will attempt to understand key Christian thinkers and their ideas in relationship to Christian ritual and practice; to familiarize ourselves with some of the major issues, events, and personalities in Christian history; and to become aware of the problems and methods of the disciplines of church history and theology.” Registration deadline: July 21.

Sept. 15-Nov. 9: “Interim/Transitional Ministry: More than Mere Maintenance” is offered as an online course taught by Tara Hornbacker, emerita faculty at Bethany Seminary. The course “is a practical exploration of the gifts and challenges specific to interim/transitional ministry,” said a description. It will explore “the necessary tasks for successful interim/transitional ministry and the personality characteristics most helpful to develop for the practice of this specialized area of congregational leadership. Students will examine the unique calling of persons to walk with congregations in both short-term and long-term intentional ministry situations.” Registration deadline: Aug. 11.

Oct. 13-Dec. 7: “Introduction to the New Testament” is offered as an online course taught by Matt Boersma. Registration deadline: Sept. 8.

Oct. 22-24 plus Oct 14 and Nov 4, from 6-8 p.m. (Eastern time): “Technology and the Church” is offered as a Zoom intensive taught by Dan Poole, faculty at Bethany Seminary. Registration deadline: Sept. 17.

Oct. 31: “Kingdom Building in Worship” is offered by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (SVMC). Currently planned to be in-person at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., it will be taught by Cindy Laprade Lattimer, Marty Keeney, and Loren Rhodes. Said a description: “Sundays are relentless. Worship happens every…single…week. It is a spiritual, cognitive, emotional, and sensory experience. But without careful planning, worship can easily become stale, unimaginative, and bland. This seminar is designed for anyone who has a role in planning worship: pastors, music leaders, lay ministers. We will use both presentations and workshop components to support attendees in developing a process for planning worship that is meaningful, Christ-centered, cohesive, thoughtful, and sensitive.” To register, go to

Winter/Spring 2022:

First two weeks of January 2022: “A Place of Refuge: Urban Ministry” is offered in Atlanta, Ga., as an intensive taught by Josh Brockway of the staff of the Church of the Brethren Discipleship Ministries. Registration deadline will be announced.

Feb. 2-March 29, 2022: “Church of the Brethren History” is offered as an online course taught by Denise Kettering-Lane of the Bethany Seminary faculty. Registration deadline: Dec. 20.

March 25-26 and April 29-30, 2022, Fridays 4-9 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (Eastern time): “Pathways for Effective Leadership, Part 1” is offered as a Zoom intensive through the SVMC, taught by Randy Yoder. Registration deadline: Feb. 25, 2022. To register, contact Karen Hodges at

April 27-June 21, 2022: “Heaven, Hell, and the Afterlife” is offered as an online course taught by Craig Gandy. Registration deadline: March 23, 2022.

5) Webinar to discuss providing mutual support when people experience mental illness

“Providing Mutual Support when People Experience Mental Illness” is the title of an upcoming webinar on June 17 at 2 p.m. (Eastern time), co-sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Discipleship Ministries and the Anabaptist Disabilities Network.

“How can we walk with people who are experiencing a mental illness in our congregations and community?” said a description of the online event. “Attend this ‘Mental Health 101’ webinar with Janelle Bitikofer. Become more aware of the prevalence of mental illnesses in our congregations and communities, their causes and symptoms, and some keys to providing mutual support.”

Bitikofer is executive director of We Rise International and lead mental health trainer for Churches Care, a mental health and addictions training program for congregations. She is author of Streetlights: Empowering Christians to Respond to Mental Illnesses and Addictions, a mental health and addictions support manual for churches.

Credentialed ministers may earn 0.1 continuing education units through the Brethren Academy.

Go to for more information and to register. For questions, contact Stan Dueck at

6) Brethren bits

The Church of the Brethren seeks an Information Technology (IT) specialist to fill a fulltime, salaried position at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Responsibilities include supporting, maintaining, and upgrading the organization’s networks and in-house servers; installing, administering, and troubleshooting security solutions to ensure network security, protect against unauthorized access, modification, or destruction, and troubleshoot any access problems at the direction of the director of IT. Required skills and knowledge 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 computers, networks, and security systems; ability to work well under pressure; working knowledge of Microsoft Azure Active Directory, current Windows operating system, Microsoft 365 Office Suite, Microsoft SharePoint, e-mail software, peripherals such as printers and scanners, network infrastructure, security infrastructure, virus protection software, desktops, laptops, tablet computers; technical troubleshooting skills; ability to provide telephone support; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board. A minimum of five years of significant information technology experience, including networks and security, are required. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, cyber security, or a related field is required. Advanced training certifications may be advantageous. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. To apply, send a resume via email to Contact the Human Resources Manager, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The FaithX office (formerly the Workcamp Ministry) has created commissioning materials for the 2021 FaithX season. Materials were created to be used by congregations as a way to send out participants with a blessing and for participants to connect their congregation with their new experiences. Commissioning resources are at and are being mailed to congregations with FaithX participants this summer. For more information contact or 847-429-4386.

The Anabaptist Disabilities Network is seeking a resource director to be responsible for print and online communications including social media, triannual Connections newsletter, and monthly Opening Doors blog. Excellent writing, networking, and project management skills are required. Familiarity with disability issues and Anabaptism is desired. This is a quarter-time position at a competitive salary. Visit for the position description and information about applying.

The Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., will host a free concert by the Chicago Brass Band on Saturday, June 19, at 3 p.m. The audience will sit on the lawn in front of the offices and are invited to bring their own lawn chairs. The concert is a “thank you” to the General Offices staff and neighbors, after the offices provided rehearsal space to the band this spring.

On Earth Peace is offering a series of trainings in Kingian Nonviolence. “You can start with a 90-minute training to get a basic intro, or jump right to a 16-hour core training!” said an announcement. “Our goal with Kingian Nonviolence training is to support vital efforts to challenge violence, undo systemic oppression, and build a reconciled world. Each training is not an ending but a starting point to developing projects in your community for justice, and On Earth Peace is interested in walking with you as you strategize, organize, and mobilize your community.” The 90-minute intro will be held twice, on June 15 at 4 p.m. and on July 15 at 12 noon (Eastern time) facilitated by Sandra Davila and Marie Benner-Rhoades; register and find out more at and The 16-hour Core Training will be held on four days next month, June 5, 12, 19, and 26, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. (Eastern time), facilitated by Sara Haldeman-Scarr, Xeo Sterling, Katie Shaw Thompson, and Esther Mangzha. Find out more at

Constance Church of the Brethren in Southern Ohio and Kentucky District has decided to formally close as a congregation, according to the district newsletter. “This decision was recognized at the District Board meeting,” the announcement said. “May we offer prayer support to the members of this congregation.”

Pleasant Hill (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is changing the date of its 50th Anniversary Celebration originally planned for June 6. The new date is Aug. 29. Said the announcement: “August 29, 1971, was the actual date of the initial dedication of the new building so it will be 50 years to the day when we celebrate the 50th anniversary.”

Some Churches of the Brethren have received donations for special projects out of members’ federal COVID-19 stimulus checks. Among them:

Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren in Quarryville, Pa., used stimulus checks to raise some $26,000 for a church in Haiti, wrote interim pastor Bob Kettering. The effort has gained media attention from a newspaper in Lancaster, Pa., and also in Anabaptist World magazine.

Buffalo Valley Church of the Brethren was inspired to a similar effort for Delmas Church of the Brethren in Haiti, receiving almost $40,000. The church gave $39,792 in April to support several mission projects including $25,000 to help the Delmas congregation purchase a building and land.

Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has been selected to receive an IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for US Students) grant from the Department of State’s Capacity Building Program for US Study Abroad. Said a release: “Juniata College is one of 26 colleges and universities from across the United States, selected from 132 applicants, to create, expand, and/or diversify American student mobility overseas in support of US foreign policy goals.” The college also has received a $34,936 Humanities Planning Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The latter will be used to develop a humanities-centered interdisciplinary program in rural poverty studies over the next year. “Stories have enormous power in fostering empathy and sparking imagination. An oral history project like this helps us understand the experience of others. I am so pleased to support this effort that demonstrates the centrality of the humanities to undergraduate education,” said Juniata’s provost Lauren Bowen. “The NEH reviewers were effusive in their unanimous praise for this innovative project.” Read the full releases at and

Brethren Voices has announced Part 2 of a short series interviewing Eric Miller and Ruoxia Li, co-executive directors of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission program. “The Introduction of Hospice in China” is the title of this second episode in the series. Li “shares about her first experience with hospice while volunteering for a nonprofit agency in Blacksburg, Va., where they attended the Good Shepherd Church of the Brethren,” said the announcement. “It was a totally new experience for her. Oddly enough, she introduces hospice to the hospital in Pinding, China, where she grew up. That same hospital, had been founded by Brethren in 1911.” Brent Carlson, host of Brethren Voices, interviewed the married couple via Zoom from their home in Pinding, Shanxi Province, China, prior to their move back to the United States. Brethren Voices programs may be viewed at

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced that it is shifting its former stipend system to implement “a living wage model in how we compensate CPTers,” said a release. “Thirty-five years ago, CPT was formed to bring nonviolent change to lethal conflicts around the world. Over the decades, CPT has grown and shifted, recognizing that violent conflict is rooted in oppression. In this spirit, CPT has dedicated itself to be an organization committed to transforming violence and oppression. This means transforming oppression not only in the places we work but also within the organization itself. In today’s world, oppression takes on many forms, including the oppression in how workers are compensated for their labor. Pivotal in bringing an end to violence is bringing an end to economic oppression experienced by so many. As we express our solidarity with workers worldwide and advocate for workers’ rights, we look within our organization to see how we can better compensate CPTers for their work….. In a capitalist society, the value of labor is expressed through financial compensation. Yet, at CPT, we want to acknowledge that the work of every CPTer is invaluable. There is no monetary amount that could represent the quality of this work. So while we do not compensate for the value of labor, we want to compensate so that CPTers can live a healthy life. Adopting such a model does have an implication on our budget. We are not anticipating reducing any of our work, but we are hoping our constituency can help make this transformation a reality.” Find out more at

Church World Service is joining dozens of other organizations and refugee advocates in a new campaign called “Welcome with Dignity,” urging the United States to build a re-imagined asylum system. The campaign invites supporters to help take action “to transform the way the United States receives and protects people forced to flee from their homes and seek safety. Now is the time for visionary action…. As the United States rebuilds its capacity to welcome and Congress considers funding for Fiscal Year 2022, it is vital that Congress invest in an effective, humane, and just immigration system that upholds the dignity of all asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, and immigrants. An important proposal has been introduced in the Senate as a significant step.” The proposal would provide case management services and legal representation for asylum seekers and offer humanitarian assistance at community-based border shelters and respite centers, shifting responsibility from ICE and immigration enforcement to the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services. A toolkit and more resources are at An action alert is at

“Knapsack for the Journey of Faith: Pilgrimage Bible Studies” are now available from the World Council of Churches (WCC) as a resource for the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. The Bible studies offer “diverse examples and stories of different pilgrimages in the Bible and dialogue between the biblical contexts and contemporary contexts” and reflect “different aspects of pilgrimage” to encourage users to “embark on their individual and community pilgrimages.” The WCC is inviting congregations to use these Bible studies as they reflect on what it means to be on such a pilgrimage in their own context. See the full collection at

The WCC also is offering a webinar on “Remembering Past Massacres: Honoring the Legacy and Resilience of Victims” to take place June 1 with a focus on North America and the Caribbean. The webinar will remember and learn from tragic events such as the Tulsa race massacre that took place in Tulsa, Okla., a century ago in 1921, and injustices meted out to Asian-American communities including the 1871 Chinese massacre in Los Angeles and the Rock Springs Riot in Wyoming in 1885. The online discussion also will address the plight of indigenous communities in the Americas that were largely devastated through successive wars, massacres, and killings, and atrocities associated with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the notorious “Middle Passage” in which untold people were killed. Panelists will explore questions such as “How do we recognize these tragedies, and celebrate the survival, resistance, resilience, and heroes of these communities?” Panelists include Robert Turner, pastor of the historic Vernon Chapel A.M.E. Church in Tulsa and academic dean at Jackson Theological Seminary; Michael McEachrane, co-founder and consultative member of the European Network of People of African Descent; Jennifer P. Martin, Education in Mission secretary for the Caribbean and North America Council for Mission; Daniel D. Lee, academic dean of the Centre for Asian American Theology and Ministry and assistant professor of theology and Asian American ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary; and Russel Burns, member of the National Indigenous Ministries and Justice Council of the Indigenous caucus of Western Mining Action Network, and of the Comprehensive Review Task Group of the United Church of Canada. Register at

Rachel Hollinger of Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, daughter of Rick and Trina Hollinger, has been crowned Lancaster County Dairy Princess. The news was announced May 16 via Facebook at and is scheduled to appear in Lancaster Farming.

Pastor Edward Kerschensteiner of Boise (Idaho) Valley Church of the Brethren has resigned after 72 years of active ministry. Said an email from Harold Kerschensteiner: “He has served our congregation for the past 34 years. Due to the pandemic we have had to postpone his retirement celebration and will hold an Open House Reception 2-4 p.m. on June 26. We thought it was noteworthy that he has held an active pastoral role for most of those years, either fulltime or part-time.”

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 James Beckwith, Jeanne Davies, Elissa Diaz, Stan Dueck, Jonathan Graham, Ed Groff, Alton Hipps, Harold Kerschensteiner, Bob Kettering, Janet Ober Lambert, Francine Massie, Clara McGilly, Nancy Miner, Paul Mundey, Meredith Owen, Roy Winter, 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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