Newsline for Oct. 2, 2021

1) United Nations General Assembly commemorates calls for the elimination of racism

2) The idea of ‘unfolding grace’ brought awareness to the ways God works in these hard times

3) Unfolding grace digitally


5) Beth Sollenberger retires from leadership of South Central Indiana District

6) Scott Douglas retires from Brethren Benefit Trust

7) Annual Conference office and Womaen’s Caucus co-sponsor webinar ‘From Nomination to Election’

8) Westminster Church offers webinar on ‘Racism and the Christian Response’

9) Cabool Church offers workshop on ‘Who Will Be a Witness?’

10) Lafayette Church celebrates 75th anniversary

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

11) Brethren bits: Material Resources donations and shipments, Information Coffee Hour for prospective BVSers, EYN Women’s Ministry aids widows, Missouri and Arkansas District celebrates its 30th anniversary, Peace Day events at Timbercrest, and more

Photo credit: Pixabay/steph2228

Quote of the week:

“At love feast, can you taste the sun and wind of the vineyard? The labors of the generous gardener? The sweet blessing of the hands of the helpers? Can you feel the connection between Arkansas and Venezuela, between Haiti and Nigeria? Can you see the vine that connects us all? Can you drink in this mystic sweet communion?”

— This Sunday, Oct. 3, is World Communion Sunday, and many Church of the Brethren congregations will be celebrating love feast or sharing communion during worship. This quote is from a column by Wendy McFadden, publisher of Brethren Press and Church of the Brethren communications, titled “Sweet Communion,” written for Messenger magazine in 2017. Go to

1) United Nations General Assembly commemorates calls for the elimination of racism

By Doris Abdullah

“Dedicating ourselves to combating the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance fully and effectively as a matter of priority, while drawing lessons from manifestations and past experiences of racism in all parts of the world with a view to avoiding their recurrence.” — Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA)

The United Nations General Assembly opened its 76th year on Sept. 21. On day two of the opening, it commemorated the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA), which was adopted in 2001 at the world conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa. The trans-Atlantic slave trade, apartheid, and colonialism were recognized as sources of much modern-day racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance. The victims were/are: Africans and people of African descent; Indigenous people; migrants; refugees; victims of trafficking; Roma/Gypsy/Sinti/Traveller children and youth, especially girls; Asians and people of Asian descent. In addition, religious or spiritual beliefs underly forms of racism that constitute a form of multiple discrimination.

The commemoration followed up on Resolution 75/237, a global call for concrete action for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of DDPA. Recalling previous resolutions and the suffering of the victims, the states were called upon to honor the memory and redress victims of historical injustices of slavery, the slave trade, including the trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonialism, and apartheid, with adequate remedies of compensation, reparations, access to law and courts for racial justice and equity. Reparations and racial justice and equity was the theme of the commemoration.

Doris Abdullah with Rodney Leon at a discussion on the memorial for people of African descent. Leon is the architect of the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan. Abdullah notes, “We go back awhile as he is from Brooklyn and of Haitian parents.” Photo courtesy of Doris Abdullah

Previous United Nations resolutions proclaimed March 21 the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and March 25 the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The permanent memorial (Ark of Return) for the victims of slavery and the slave trade, including the trans-Atlantic slave trade, were dedicated on the plaza of the United Nations. And the International Decade for People of African Descent was declared, as was the decision to established the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, along with the appointment of independent eminent experts by the Secretary-General and the efforts made by civil society in support of the follow-up mechanism in the implementation of DDPA were welcomed.

For all too many of the 193 nations, conflicts and disputes lie in racial discrimination and their failures to respect each others’ diversity. Each nation’s president, prime minister, emir, or ambassador came to the microphone bemoaning the failures of the “others” who did not share their spiritual belief and/or racial, ethnic, nationality, cultural heritage belief. Most of the Durban discussion centered on remedies such as reparations from the former colonial powers for past offense for people of African descent.

Little attention was given to the continuous exploitation of the African continent for its natural resources and to the people of African descent in the diaspora for their cheap labor. Just as sugar, cotton, and tobacco drove the slave trade and provided racism ideology for 400 years–while creating the wealth of Europe and the United States–today the mining of minerals such as tantalum (coltan) with cheap labor fuels racist ideologies while creating wealth for multinational corporations and western nations, just as it did the sugar and cotton barons. The minerals are necessary for mobile phones, personal computers, automotive electronics, and other modern technological inventions, but the countries and people of Africa and African descent need peace and not conflict.

The seven billion people of the planet need peace without racism conflicts and hatreds in the present. However, despite the efforts made by the UN, millions continue to be victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, including contemporary forms of hate speech. Discrimination spurred by the new technologies may manifest in violence between nations and within nations.

Some nations did call for the political will to “stand up” but who will “stand up”? Standing up to eliminate racism and racial discrimination calls for bold action, as all the words are spent. The proverb says: “Death and destruction are never satisfied.” We can say the same for racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and other related intolerance, for it is never satisfied.

Coming from both the faith community and African descent, discussions of racial discrimination are always fraught with conflict for me. Conflicts in the historical role that my Christian faith community played include introducing racism based on color of skin to the world 500 years ago through–among other means–the Doctrine of Discovery; missionaries who twisted biblical scriptures to further solidify the cruelties of slavery, to the point of decoupling people of color from the human gene pool; laws designed to perpetuate inferiority for one people and superiority for another people. I am a victim of the continuing inferiority vs. superiority theory that places me in a unique position to stand up against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.

So I pray for the needed boldness to “stand up” and for my community of believers to stand with me.

— Doris Abdullah serves as the Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations. She is a minister at First Church of the Brethren in Brooklyn, N.Y.


2) The idea of ‘unfolding grace’ brought awareness to the ways God works in these hard times

By Kara Miller

Exhaustion (n.) 1. a state of extreme physical or mental fatigue. 2. the action or state of using something up or of being used up completely.

After two years of unknowns and change due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us can probably relate to the definition above. We have all had moments of exhaustion where we have reached a level of depletion that is hard to pull ourselves out of. In those times, we desperately seek for renewal and strength. We want to be replenished and ready for the day that is coming. Yet when our view is blocked by the current troubles we’re facing, what can we do? Where do we turn?

As we gathered for NYAC 2021, our theme spoke to these questions. This idea of “Unfolding Grace” is one that brought awareness to the ways God works through these hard times. In the next few days, we explored the steps in which we can identify how grace is unfolding in each of our lives.

We started by “Returning to Center,” to who we are. In finding ourselves, we were assured that God created us for these moments. God knows us so deeply and assures us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). As we remembered who we are, we were assured that we were planted into this world to do amazing things. Much like a seed, we were placed into the soil to start our journey toward growth.

Next, we sought to be “Renewed in Spirit.” We looked for strength and wished to be ignited with purpose in what we feel called to do. We were urged to “be transformed by the renewing of your (our) minds,” excited to serve God and be present. Much like a seed that is being watered, this renewal helped us stretch our roots into the excitement of what is coming.

We then wished to be “Abounding in Love.” We were called to use our gifts and talents to be “seeking justice, not just for ourselves, but for others” (Ruth Ritchey Moore). We looked for a place at the table where all are welcomed. We found that if we truly act as God’s hands and feet, we too can make a lasting impact on this earth. Much like the warmth of the sun, our seed can grow from this outreach of love extended to others.

Lastly, we became “Joyful in Hope.” Our eyes looked toward new life sprouting up, though we still may not see it. There is hope in what we can’t see, in what lies ahead of each of us. God doesn’t grow tired but “gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless” (Isaiah 40: 29). Much like a budding flower, we can grow excited at the hope of new life springing up.

The promise of grace unfolding is right before our eyes. Though our time at NYAC for this year is over, we can look to the year ahead of us. As we are told in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever” (NLT).

Unfold (v.) 1. open or spread out from a folded position. 2. reveal or disclose.

May we find ourselves willing to see what God is revealing to us. May we be open to the things that cannot be seen. We are being called to be transformed.

3) Unfolding grace digitally

By Jess Hoffert

In the Zoom grid of names and faces during this year’s NYAC worship services, one of those squares held a very special place and purpose. For each service, one young adult was assigned to create a worship center in their home and spotlight it on their Zoom screen.

As the joyful noise came to an end, the worship center was spotlighted on everyone’s screen, and the creator lit a candle placed at the heart of their center. What surrounded the candle varied based on the creativity of each participant: flowers, photos, quotes, and artwork provided thoughtful inspiration and meditation for worshipers as the candle glowed.

Each lighting only took a few seconds as Seth Hendricks played soft music in the background, but I often found it to be the most moving part of each service. There was something beautifully intimate about being invited into someone’s home and seeing a unique work of art that they created for this moment.

Perhaps it was the fact that intimacy and calm is so challenging these days, especially on a platform like Zoom. People easily talk over each other, and quiet often means there’s a technical glitch or someone’s mic is accidentally muted.

But here, in these worship services, the quiet was embraced as a moment to step back in awe and see grace unfold through the beautifully unique, God-inspired eyes of us all.

Drawing by Kara Miller


By Jessie Houff (she/her)

National Young Adult Conference 2021–it was virtual, it was graceful, it was…ON FIRE! Allow me to explain.

First of all, we had INCREDIBLE speakers. The conference started off with a bang. We heard from Reverend LaDonna Sanders Nkosi who shared her warm and delicious poetry. Then a campfire time with silly songs (very Brethren). The next day we had some workshops and Madalyn Metzger shared some quarantine realness during worship. Another day, more workshops and a service opportunity (VERY Brethren) and Eric Landram served a justice-packed message. Then there was the final day of conference.

Every year for the last several years we have carved out time in our schedule to speak with a seasoned leader in the church. We asked for this option as a group years ago because we wanted time to speak with a higher-up church member in leadership. It was the perfect opportunity to share with them how we felt about the church from our perspectives. Every year, we say very similar things: “We need more inclusion and acceptance of people across all spectrums. We have to be inclusive of those with disabilities. Why aren’t we talking about mental illness as a church?” And every year we’re told the same things: “We love young adults! We would love to have more of you in leadership! Thank you for sharing!”

Those sound like really nice answers, yes? I thought they were too until I heard them over and over year after year and saw zero action to make young adults and our values more welcome. If we keep sharing our opinions, why aren’t they being recognized seriously enough to actually make some changes in the church? Why are LGBTQ+ persons still being violently discriminated against and refused a seat at God’s table? Why aren’t more women in leadership? Why are our churches and stages still not being made handicap accessible?

After Greg Davidson Laszakovitz brought it home on the final worship with a beautiful sermon, we concluded with a spicy discussion about young adult inclusion. Those who were on the call expressed frustration because our values of appreciating persons across all spectrums are intentionally being ignored and shut down. We are always asked why there aren’t more young people in the church. Those of us who are still involved in church are here, but we are exhausted. We are sick of hearing the same things every year and seeing no action. So we are making our voices heard.

This conference lit a fire in many of us to organize and move our denomination towards the celebration of all persons in the church. We are on fire. If you are reading this and you feel that spark of fire in you, I invite you to be a part of this call for church-wide inclusivity across all spectrums–race, ability, gender, sexuality, age, etc. We are going to do what it takes to let everyone know: WE ARE HERE.

Email Jessie at if you want to be a part of it.


5) Beth Sollenberger retires from leadership of South Central Indiana District

Beth Sollenberger has announced her retirement as district executive minister of South Central Indiana District. She has served in leadership of the district for nearly 11 years, beginning on Feb. 1, 2011. She will conclude her ministry on Dec. 31.

She served as interim district executive for Michigan District during the year 2018, concurrently with her work for South Central Indiana District. Since January 2020, she was the district executive minister representative on the Michigan District Executive Interim Team.

During her years as a district executive, she has been a member of the Council of District Executives. She served on the Ministry Advisory Council, Ministry Issues Committee, and as council representative to the boards of On Earth Peace, Brethren Benefit Trust, and Bethany Theological Seminary. She was instrumental in organizing a Biblical Authority Conference for midwestern districts in 2018.

Prior to her service as a district executive minister, Sollenberger was employed on the Church of the Brethren denominational staff as director of Stewardship Education and then as Congregational Life Team coordinator for Area 2. She also has been a pastor for congregations in the districts of Atlantic Southeast, Southern Ohio and Kentucky, Mid-Atlantic, and Northern Indiana.

She was licensed and ordained by Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and holds degrees from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and Bethany Theological Seminary.

6) Scott Douglas retires from Brethren Benefit Trust

From a BBT release

Scott Douglas has announced his retirement as of Jan. 31, 2022, as Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) director of Relationships and Growth (formally Client Relations). His last working day will be Jan. 27, 2022.

He began his tenure with the Church of the Brethren when first employed by the former General Board in September 1997. In November 1998, he began serving as director for resources for the former Association of Brethren Caregivers, a position he held until May 2005. He returned Jan. 5, 2009, as director of the Brethren Pension Plan and Employee Financial Services for BBT. For the last 13 years, he has provided leadership for a multitude of projects.

In January 2014, Douglas was called to head the newly created Client Relations department for BBT. He has continued to look to the future with strategic planning foresight, possessing an ability to build strong relationships with the denomination’s members, individually and organizationally.

“Scott has shown a great ability to pivot to the changing needs of our members and react to evolving cultural dynamics,” said BBT president Nevin Dulabaum. “He is passionate about his work, the people we serve, and the mission of helping people better themselves through good discernment using sound financial principles. Scott has helped make the organization a success and that has translated into meaningful experiences to those we serve.”


7) Annual Conference office and Womaen’s Caucus co-sponsor webinar ‘From Nomination to Election’

By Anna Lisa Gross

The Church of the Brethren Annual Conference office is co-sponsoring an online workshop with Womaen’s Caucus titled “From Nomination to Election,” on Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m. (Eastern time).

Have you been nominated for an open position on the Annual Conference ballot? Have you nominated someone? (Or you’re at least thinking about it?) When Womaen’s Caucus learned that half of the people nominated never fill out their Nominee Information Form (and therefore are never considered for the ballot) we grieved all those gifted and faithful individuals who may have interest, may feel called, but found too many barriers. In conversation with representatives of the Nominating Committee, we have discovered that they also would like to better understand what barriers nominees are experiencing. Let’s work and pray together for a healthier and more diverse church!

In this session, you’ll hear from others who have been nominated, get tips on filling out those forms, and generate new ideas for this process. You’ll also find solidarity with others who know putting our hats in the ring can make us feel vulnerable! And we’ll share advice on encouraging others to follow through on Nominee Information Forms, so that our heartfelt nominations of others get to see the light of day.

Credentialed ministers may earn 0.1 continuing education units. Email to register.

— Anna Lisa Gross is a pastor from Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., and an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren.

The Annual Conference ballot is elected each year by the delegate body. The Nominating Committee of the Standing Committee of district delegates prepares the annual ballot through a process in which nominations are received from across the denomination. For more information about the nominations process, for the nomination forms, and a listing of the open positions for election in 2022, go to Photo by Glenn Riegel.


8) Westminster Church offers webinar on ‘Racism and the Christian Response’

Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren has issued an invitation to join a Zoom workshop led by Marty Kuchma, senior pastor at Westminster United Church of Christ, on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). The topic is “Racism and the Christian Response: A Candid Conversation with a Faith Leader.”

Kuchma will help explore some of the ways white supremacy has shaped the Christian church and influenced the church’s presence in the world. Register to attend this free webinar at–urzssHtRooyMHzjs7FsZEneMN-JzW.

9) Cabool Church offers workshop on ‘Who Will Be a Witness?’

Cabool (Mo.) Church of the Brethren is holding a workshop on Saturday, Oct. 30, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., titled “Who Will Be a Witness?” based on the book Who Will Be a Witness? Igniting Activism for God’s Justice, Love, and Deliverance by Drew Hart.

The workshop will be led by Roger and Carolyn Schrock, who have served on the Church of the Brethren denominational staff in the area of global mission, specifically in Sudan and South Sudan as well as Nigeria.

Drew Hart is a theologian, former pastor, professor of theology at Messiah University, and a member of Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren.

The District Ministry Task Force is granting continuing education credit to the district ministers who attend.

10) Lafayette Church celebrates 75th anniversary

Saturday, Oct. 9, is the beginning of the 75th anniversary weekend at Lafayette (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. “We will gather in our sanctuary at 6 p.m. for a time of popcorn and slides as we look back with gratitude for all the blessings and people God has provided this congregation since September, 1946,” said an announcement shared by South Central Indiana District.

On Sunday morning, Oct. 10, the 10 a.m. morning worship service will center on “looking ahead with hope” for many more years, with God, in service to the community. Bethel AME Church will be the special guests and their pastor Pamela Horne will be the guest preacher.

“We will ‘Continue the Work of Jesus; Simply, Peacefully, Together’ ‘For the Glory of God and our Neighbors’ Good’ as we strive to live out our new Church of the Brethren compelling vision,” said the article by Tom Brown, Lafayette church clerk.

11) Brethren bits

– Material Resources director Loretta Wolf has reported on recent donations of relief materials that have arrived at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., for processing, warehousing, and distribution. A first boxcar of Lutheran World Relief (LWR) donations arrived on Tuesday, Sept. 26, from Madison, Wis. “It was filled with about 50,000 pounds of quilts, school kits, personal care kits, and fabric kits,” wrote Wolf. In addition, “donations from the Midwest area have filled the trailer located at the General Offices in Elgin Ill.” Wolf thanked Material Resources drivers Ed Palsgrove and Miller Davis for doing the pick up this Sunday, Oct. 3, leaving an empty trailer at the offices to receive new donations, and thanked Buildings and Grounds director Salvador Campero for receiving the donations and loading the trailer “full to the top.” In addition, Material Resources has made a shipment of a trailer load of 1,080 Church World Service (CWS) cleanup buckets to New Orleans, La., to be used for clean up efforts following Hurricane Ida. The shipment will arrive in New Orleans on Monday, Oct. 4.

– The Women’s Ministry of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has been assisting widows, reported communications staff Zakariya Musa. EYN vice president Anthony A. Ndamsai on Sept. 22 presented grinding machines to one of five widows selected from three communities based on their need. The selections were made by district secretaries. The acting director of the Women’s Ministry, Hassana Habu, shared that the five beneficiaries were selected from the church districts of Giima, Gashala, and Kwarhi, in a continued humanitarian response to the dire need of women and girls. The distribution of grinding machines was sponsored by EYN partners through the church’s Disaster Relief Management. Ndamsai “encouraged the widows that this is not the end of their life and that we are all living under the grace of God through Jesus Christ,” said the report.

Shown at right: EYN vice president Anthony A. Ndamsai and acting director of the Women’s Ministry, Hassana Habu, present grinding machines to widows. Photo by Zakariya Musa

“Are you interested in serving with Brethren Volunteer Service, but still want to know a bit more? Then register for one of the upcoming BVS Coffee Hours!” said a recent announcement. Staff from the BVS Office will be available to answer questions and chat about serving with BVS. Register at
An online book club discussion has been announced by On Earth Peace, to read and discuss the book Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and Foundations of a Movement by Angela Davis. The event will be held in two parts, on Oct. 19 and 26 at 5:30 p.m. (Eastern time). “Davis discusses the connection between justice areas, including the Ferguson Uprising; the globalized nature of security and surveillance tactics being used by governments; the prison industrial complex; and transnational solidarity among peoples’ movements,” said the announcement. “This book is about forming a wide coalition of movements to challenge systemic racism and build equity and inclusion.” Facilitators are Annabelle Knapp, Palestine Justice Organizer; Marilyne Njuraita, Prison Justice Organizer; and Tamera Shaw, LAC Organizing Fellow. For more information contact

— Missouri and Arkansas District celebrated its 30th district conference on Sept. 24-26. The event was hybrid, both online and at Cabool Church of the Brethren. Guest speakers included Chris Douglas, who is retiring as director of Annual Conference; Wendy McFadden, publisher of Brethren Press and communications for the Church of the Brethren; and Bill Scheurer, executive director of On Earth Peace, attending online. Other guests attending in person were Scott Douglas, director of Relationships and Growth for Brethren Benefit Trust; Gaby Chacon, admissions counselor for Bethany Theological Seminary; and Monica Rice, director of Alumni and Constituent Relations for McPherson (Kan.) College. The district newsletter reported that moderator Gary Gahm preached on Saturday morning on the theme “Serving Near and Far,” sharing the history of Brethren service and service organizations. “The agenda included a time for remembering 30 years as the Missouri Arkansas District led by moderator-elect Lisa Irle,” said the report. “Ma and Pa visited and shared a skit for the celebration. At the Cabool Church, an anniversary cake was enjoyed after lunch.”

– Atlantic Southeast District has announced a decision to go virtual with its district conference this fall. Said the announcement, in part: “After wrestling back and forth for several months about this issue, the Program and Arrangements Committee has unanimously agreed to hold this year’s District Conference in a virtual format. The meeting will be held on Zoom on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 9 a.m. Among other things, this means: No travel is involved, and you can ‘attend’ from the comfort of your own home or church. No hotel costs will need to be incurred because of distance. The conference will naturally take less time this year than it normally would. We anticipate the time frame to be from 9 a.m. to around 1 p.m.” The theme is “The Multi-Colored Wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10). Ray Hileman is district moderator.

— Shenandoah District is holding “Rally 4 Christ” events on Sunday, Oct. 10, at a variety of locations. “I can scarcely imagine a better way of spending a Sunday afternoon than to engage in fellowship in a beautiful outdoor setting, listening to inspired music and preaching,” said a note from district executive minister John Jantzi, in a district email. The rallies are sponsored by the Discipleship Ministries Team of the district.

– Camp Pine Lake shared about its recent “All Ages Camp” in the Northern Plains District newsletter. Held Sept. 3-6, the camp welcomed David Radcliff of the New Community Project, who provided the program. At the highest number 30 people were on site. Two meals, prepared and hosted by Aaron Beck Brunk and Nick Paxton, raised more than $2,000 for the camp’s scholarship fund.

– In a “save the date” note from Camp Pine Lake, it will be hosting the next Song and Story Fest, an annual Church of the Brethren family camp, on July 3-9, 2022.

— The latest episode of Brethren Voices showcases the work of Doris Abdullah of Brooklyn (N.Y.) First Church of the Brethren. “The headquarters of the United Nations is located about nine miles away from the Brooklyn First Church of the Brethren,” said a description of the episode from producer Ed Groff. “It’s a trip that Doris Abdullah has made many times, serving as the Church of the Brethren Representative to the UN. The Church of the Brethren’s involvement in the United Nations began over 75 years ago, shortly after the establishment of the UN, in 1945. At that time the Brethren coordinated with the United Nations by implementing a program know as Heifer Project, to rebuild the farm animal stocks of war torn Europe, following World War II. Three years ago, we met with Doris Abdullah and produced the October 2018 Brethren Voices program. Doris discusses her representation and work in the United Nations, in the area of human rights. She has also been involved in the Palestine Committee Meeting expressing concerns about the two million Palestinians who live in the densely populated area of the Gaza Strip. Under a 13 year-blockade, the people are dependent on international humanitarian aid to survive from one day to the next, as 90 percent of the water is undrinkable. In this Brethren Voices program, the UN representative also expresses much concern about the world’s refugee problem.” The program concludes with Bill Jolliff’s “Immigration Song.” Find Brethren Voices on YouTube.

— Hannah Bentley has been named to the Womaen’s Caucus leadership group. She is Women’s Justice Organizer for On Earth Peace, where she works to build community around women’s and feminist justice-based activism, according to the announcement. She is a third-year student at Grinnell College in Iowa, where she studies English.

Timbercrest Senior Living Community in North Manchester, Ind., held a Peace Campfire and a Peace Pole Rededication Program for Peace Week last week. “Due to being in ‘outbreak mode’ because of COVID-19, we couldn’t meet inside,” reported Marie Willoughby. “So our readers/leaders stood at the chapel door and were videotaped to YouTube for showing on our internal TV channel…. The campfire was on the International Day of Prayer for Peace, Sept. 21, and included songs, stories, and S’mores. The peace pole program was on Sept. 24 and included readings, prayers, and a recording of music. This was followed by triad discussion groups led by our program director, Brian Daniels. Larry Fourman gave the dedication prayer and benediction.”

— Christian Peacemaker Teams is offering a special webinar for Church of the Brethren members on the topic “Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples,” to take place Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). Said an announcement: “Join Christian Peacemaker Teams member Cliff Kindy to learn more about what solidarity with Indigenous groups looks like in action, with stories from accompaniment work with Indigenous community members from South Dakota to Chiapas, Mexico, as well as more recent work with water protectors in Minnesota at Line 3.” Register at

— The National Council of Churches of Christ in the US (NCC) holds its annual Christian Unity Gathering as a virtual, online event on Oct. 11-12. The theme is “In New Wineskins: From Pandemics to Possibilities to Promises” (Luke 5:37-39). Said an announcement: “This year’s CUG will explore how church life has changed and what our hope is for the church as the global community struggles to emerge from its pandemics and economic crises while at the same time continuing to grapple with the racial reckoning that is happening in our nation and the world…. Will you join us to go beyond how we ‘always do it’ and get to a place of possibilities?” Main sessions include (all times given in Eastern time): Oct. 11, 3-4:15 p.m. “Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm”; Oct. 11, 7-9 p.m. “Faith Summit–Racial Reckoning in America: A Christian Response” with a panel and Q&A; Oct. 12, 2-3:30 p.m. “Panel on Christian Nationalism”; Oct. 12, 3:45-5:15 p.m. “International Briefing on the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Find out more at

— A documentary about the York Center Co-op in Lombard, Ill., is debuting on YouTube this weekend, as a film from Tim Frakes Productions and the Lombard Historical Society. The nearly hour-long film is titled “Common Good: The Story of the York Center Co-operative.” The housing cooperative was founded by a group of Church of the Brethren people and families and, when the seminary was located nearby, included faculty and staff of Bethany Theological Seminary. Said a description of the film: “This pioneering, faith-based effort provided fair housing, community, and opportunity in an era of white flight, redlining, and restrictive covenants that effectively prevented non-white Americans from fully participating in the American dream. It’s a dream that influenced the course of American history during the Civil Rights era when a young attorney for the NAACP, who would later go on to become a Justice of the US Supreme Court, wrote a legal brief to President Harry S. Truman, advocating on behalf of the co-op, just as Truman and Congress were grappling with the crisis of an epic housing shortage after World War II. Despite acts of overt racism that included a cross burning, bullet holes through windows, internal conflict, and systemic economic racism, the York Center Co-op and the white, Black, Asian, and Jewish families who lived there, demonstrated to themselves, their neighbors, and America, what results when determined people put aside racial, religious, and class differences, and work together for the common good.” Interviewees include Bill Kostlevy, who recently retired as director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. View the film at A DVD copy is available from the Lombard Historical Society, which is receiving donations toward the project. For more information see

– Dr. Elizabeth Struble, a Church of the Brethren member from North Manchester, Ind., has been elected president for 2021-22 by the Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA). The election took place at the association’s 172nd Annual Convention on Sept. 10-12, held virtually for the second year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said the report from the Times Union newspaper. Struble is a family practice physician employed by the Lutheran Health Network and medical director for the Kosciusko Medical Group in Warsaw, Ind. In addition to her medical degree, she holds a master of divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York and is an ordained minister. Find the news report at

Walt Wiltschek is taking on a new role as part-time chaplain at Illinois Wesleyan University, alongside his new position as district executive minister for the Church of the Brethren’s Illinois and Wisconsin District. “At Wesleyan, Wiltschek will be working with student multifaith ambassadors, who provide guidance and information about various faith traditions present on campus,” reported the Pantagraph newspaper of Bloomington, Ill. “At its best, the Church of the Brethren should be a denomination that embraces ecumenical and interfaith work, Wiltschek said. Wesleyan seems to be a place where he can do that and meet students where they are in their own faith journeys, no matter which path they are on.” Find the report and a video interview with Wiltschek at

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 Doris Abdullah, DTori Bateman, Tom Brown, Barbara Daté, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, Cheylyn Grant, Ed Groff, Anna Lisa Gross, Jess Hoffert, Jessie Houff, John Jantzi, Kara Miller, Nancy Miner, Zakariya Musa, Marie Willoughby, Loretta Wolf, 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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