Newsline for Oct. 22, 2021

1) Mission and Ministry Board approves 2022 budget for denominational ministries

2) Brethren Disaster Ministries-built homes and the Church of the Brethren in Saut Mathurine

3) Brethren Benefit Trust announces open enrollment season for 2022 coverage

4) On Earth Peace board eliminates executive director position, updates bylaws, announces membership meeting

5) Manchester University board adopts anti-racism statement

6) Kim Gingerich hired as program assistant for Brethren Disaster Ministries

7) National Youth Conference workshop form is live

8) Ridgeley Church joins in worship with neighboring congregation

9) Mount Wilson Church holds its first ‘Trunk or Treat’

10) Iglesia Cristiana Nueva Vida dedicates new worship space

11) Brethren bits: CDS teams continue to serve Afghan evacuee children, prayer for Christian Aid Ministries kidnap victims, gratitude for new malaria vaccine, new longterm volunteer for Brethren Disaster Ministries, bullying prevention webinar from On Earth Peace, and much more

Quote of the week:

“We do not need to remain in that valley…. We can emerge from the desolate wasteland…as the Spirit restores…. Let these dry bones dance with the joy of redemption.”

— Tim Troyer, one of four students from Bethany Theological Seminary who led Sunday morning worship for the Mission and Ministry Board’s fall meeting on Oct. 17. The students focused worship on Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel chapter 37) and God’s promise of resurrection. The four students who led worship for the board were Phil Collins, Gabe Nelson, Hope Staton, and Tim Troyer.

1) Mission and Ministry Board approves 2022 budget for denominational ministries

At its fall meeting on Oct. 15-17, the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board approved a 2022 budget for denominational ministries. Among other actions, the board also moved the Brethren Press budget into the denomination’s Core Ministries, ending the publishing house’s status as a self-funding ministry. The board received a year-to-date financial update for 2021 and numerous reports from ministry areas, board committees, and church agencies.

The meeting was a hybrid event with in-person events held at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Chair Carl Fike, who has served previously as chair-elect, was assisted by new chair-elect Colin Scott and general secretary David Steele.

Students from Bethany Theological Seminary observed the meeting and led the board’s Sunday morning worship service on the theme of resurrection, with a focus on the Bible story of the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones. The four students who led worship for the board were Phil Collins, Gabe Nelson, Hope Staton, and Tim Troyer. Faculty member Dan Poole accompanied the group.

Bethany faculty member Dan Ulrich, Weiand Professor of New Testament Studies, led a board development training on “New Testament Models of Giving.”

Mission and Ministry Board chair Carl Fike (at right) with chair-elect Colin Scott. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

2022 budget

The board approved a total budget for all denominational ministries of $7,822,300 in income and $7,840,330 in expense, representing an anticipated net expense of $18,030 for 2022. The decision included budgets for the Church of the Brethren’s Core Ministries as well as “self-funding” budgets for Brethren Disaster Ministries, the Annual Conference Office, the Global Food Initiative (GFI), and Material Resources.

General secretary David Steele (at right) leads a recognition for Chris Douglas on her retirement as director of Annual Conference. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Following the decision on Brethren Press (see below) that budget was merged into Core Ministries for 2022.

The Core Ministries budget of $4,959,000 (income and expense) covers the General Secretary’s office, Global Mission, Service Ministries including Brethren Volunteer Service and FaithX, Discipleship Ministries, Brethren Press, the Ministry Office, the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, finance, communications, and other areas of work.

As reported by treasurer Ed Woolf, factors that went into the 2022 budget included estimated giving from congregations and individuals; departmental budget requests; draws from the Bequest Quasi-Endowment Fund and other funds; ministry enablement contributions to Core Ministries from the Emergency Disaster Fund and GFI; other transfers to Core Ministries from designated funds and some money from previous years’ unspent budgets, as needed; among other factors.

In the area of employee benefits, the 2022 budget includes a 2 percent cost-of-living increase in employee pay, continued employer contributions to health savings accounts, and a decrease in the cost of medical insurance premiums.

Brethren Press

The board approved moving Brethren Press–which is the Church of the Brethren publishing house–into the denomination’s Core Ministries, ending many decades of self-funding status. The financial situation of the publishing house has been the subject of discussion by the Mission and Ministry Board for some years, with the pandemic putting more pressure on sales figures.

In June, the board affirmed the intent of this recommendation from a Brethren Press Reimagining Team and asked staff to explore the financial implications prior to taking final action (see the Newsline report at

As an overview of the recommendation noted, immediate financial implications for Core Ministries are expected to be minimal–although the full effect will not be known for some years. All Brethren Press income and expenses will be merged into Core Ministries so that any net income will add to the Core Ministries Fund bottom line, and any net losses will be absorbed by that fund as well.

The existing Brethren Press net deficit at year-end will remain on the books for up to three years, allowing time to realign the publishing house’s ministries with the board’s Strategic Plan and the needs of other denominational ministries.

Dan Ulrich, Weiand Professor of New Testament Studies at Bethany Seminary, leads a board development session on “New Testament Models of Giving.” Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

In other business

The board made a number of changes to the denomination’s bylaws, which will be brought to the 2022 Annual Conference for approval. The changes update titles, clarify duties of various positions and groups including the Annual Conference officers and the denomination’s Leadership Team, align language with the Annual Conference minutes, remove outdated language, and make other non-substantial changes.

A Foreground Initiative #7 was approved for the board’s Strategic Plan. Titled “By This All People Will Know (Understanding Discipleship)” it will establish a common vocabulary and understanding of Christian discipleship among board members and denominational staff.

A new Stewardship of Properties Committee was called. The five-member committee includes board members Dava Hensley, who will serve as chair of the committee, and Roger Schrock, along with staff representative Shawn Flory Replogle, executive director of Organizational Resources, and two members yet to be announced pending their agreement to serve. The committee will address considerations of property stewardship and the Material Resources program. It is to report back to the board in March 2022.

Next steps in responding to the “Living Together as Christ Calls” query were approved. In 2016, this query was referred to the board by Annual Conference. The decision lifts up the recently approved priority by the board to develop a program focused on healing and reconciling relationships within the church. “Encouraging the church to embrace a commitment to focus on healing and reconciling relationships is a foundational strategy toward treating one another in a truly Christ‐like manner,” said the language adopted by the board. “Resources and support for pastors, congregational leaders, churches, and districts will come as staff develop the programmatic framework prioritized by the board.”

Chris Douglas was present in person for a recognition of her service to the church, on her retirement as director of the Annual Conference office.

A photo album of the meeting is at The full agenda, list of board members, accompanying documents, and video reports are at

Bethany Seminary students lead Sunday morning worship for the board: (from left) Hope Staton, Phil Collins, Gabe Nelson, and Tim Troyer. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Tim Troyer reads scripture for the Mission and Ministry Board worship. The main text for the worship service came from Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

2) Brethren Disaster Ministries-built homes and the Church of the Brethren in Saut Mathurine

After Hurricane Matthew in 2016 caused widespread destruction in the same area of Haiti affected by the recent earthquake, a joint project of Brethren Disaster Ministries and L’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) brought relief and recovery to the town of Saut Mathurine.

At the time of Hurricane Matthew, Ilexene Alphonse was a Church of the Brethren mission worker in Haiti. He and Haitian church leaders had never visited the far southwestern part of Haiti but felt called to go there to develop a response. After a harrowing journey, they felt led to Saut Mathurine, where they found that no one else had offered aid. Soon, a major hurricane response was underway that included relief food and supplies, distributions of goats, and the building of 11 new homes.

In a testament to the joint Church of the Brethren work, those 11 homes survived the recent earthquake, with just one sustaining very minor damage. They were some of the only buildings still standing in the community.

One of the Brethren-built homes in Saut Mathurine that survived the recent earthquake. Photo by Jenn Dorsch-Messler

After the hurricane response, the community asked that a church be started, and a temporary church building was quickly built. While that church building did not survive the recent earthquake, a firm foundation of followers of Christ did, and they are ready to rebuild the community and to build a permanent church. The Global Mission office of the Church of the Brethren in the US will be helping to collect funds for the new church building in Saut Mathurine.

In latest developments, the first 10 recipients of new Brethren-built homes have been selected by the community, from among families who lost homes in the recent earthquake. The project expects to start working on the first five homes next week.

This article was provided by Brethren Disaster Ministries staff and will appear in their upcoming newsletter.

3) Brethren Benefit Trust announces open enrollment season for 2022 coverage

A release from BBT

New this year: Brethren Insurance Services now offers the convenience of an online portal for insurance enrollment. This year’s Open Enrollment will run from Nov. 15-30. Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) has partnered with Milliman, a highly respected independent risk management, benefits, and technology firm founded in 1947, in order to bring this feature to our customers, and provide ongoing insurance administration services.

Open enrollment will begin Nov. 15 for those who work for a Church of the Brethren employer–employees of churches, districts, camps, retirement communities, and other church agencies that receive their insurance through Brethren Insurance Services. During open enrollment, those who currently use or are eligible for insurance products offered through BIS will be able to take advantage of this new online service to update, add, or change insurance coverage for 2022.

Open enrollment is the time to think about what coverage you have versus what you may need. “If you are a pastor who changed employment in the past year and missed the new-hire deadline to enroll in insurance, open enrollment gives you the chance to get the coverage you need without underwriting,” said Lynnae Rodeffer, director of Employee Benefits. “Or if you missed a deadline for updating insurance following a birth, death, marriage, or divorce, again open enrollment gives you that opportunity.”

There will no longer be paper enrollment forms to fill out and mail in for any and all insurance updates or changes for 2022 coverage. These will now be made through our safe online portal at And for any customers (old or new) who have Internet access challenges, insurance issues and enrollment can be addressed via the Milliman Call Center at 800-217-0067, which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern time).

Brethren Insurance product offerings vary by employer, but may include any of the following:
Brethren Medical Plan
Vision and dental
Longterm care
Medicare supplement
Short- and longterm disability
Coverage for pets

If you have any questions prior to Nov. 15 about online enrollment, Brethren Insurance Services, or eligibility, please contact Ed Shannon at 847-622-3370 or

Jean Bednar is director of communications for Brethren Benefit Trust.

4) On Earth Peace board eliminates executive director position, updates bylaws, announces membership meeting

This board report covers the recent fall board meeting in detail, including some changes happening internally with On Earth Peace in the upcoming months along with important challenges set by its Anti-Racism Transformation Team and special events planned for the future. On Earth Peace held its two-and-a-half-day fall board meeting virtually on Oct. 7-9.

Two new members were welcomed to the board: Rudy Amaya, from Principe de Paz Church of the Brethren, Pacific Southwest District, and Alyssa Parker from Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren, Atlantic Northeast District. Tim Button-Harrison, district executive for Northern Plains District, was welcomed as the new liaison to the board appointed by the Council of District Executives. With regret, the board received notice that Ruth Aukerman, who had been elected to the board by Annual Conference, needed to resign for personal reasons. Jordan Bles, who concluded more than 10 years of service as a board member, was thanked for his many contributions in a number of capacities.

A screenshot of the fall board meeting of On Earth Peace. Image courtesy of On Earth Peace

On Earth Peace’s executive director Bill Scheurer opened the meetings with a time of worship focusing on the words of John the Baptist, who said, “He must increase but I must decrease” (John 3:30). In his devotion, Scheurer affirmed the important work of those who make space for a new generation of leaders after preparing the way for them. This set the stage for the board to have difficult conversations about how to staff with a growing cohort of interns and persistent structural deficit.

After careful consideration, including two hours of racial caucusing to explore the ways in which internalized racial superiority and inferiority play into decisions, the board decided to eliminate the position of executive director effective at the end of the year while continuing to fully support expansion of the internship program. An interim period will begin in 2022 in which the board and staff will discern what new staffing structure will best serve the On Earth Peace program and commitments. In addition, the board will consider how to create a supportive working environment for people of color and/or those who identify as LGBTQ before any future staffing hires are made. Responsibilities previously assigned to the executive director will be distributed among staff, board, and interns during the interim period. The board plans to formally recognize Bill Scheurer’s tenure and leadership in the near future.

In other business, the board approved updated bylaws in preparation for a meeting of members for final approval. The On Earth Peace membership meeting will be on Nov. 21 via Zoom. The most significant change in the bylaws is a reduction of the size of the board from 15 to 12.

An updated participant protection policy also was approved providing new preventative measures to assure the safety of persons participating in On Earth Peace programs.

A report on the conversation underway with the Standing Committee Task Team was shared. The board also discussed what purpose and goals would be a worthy basis for conversation with the Council of District Executives.

The board continues to be challenged by its Anti-Racism Transformation Team. This team has received advanced training in helping institutions transform themselves toward freedom from oppressive practices. With this capacity, the team operates to hold the board accountable to its anti-racism, anti-oppression commitments and provides recommendations to help the board continue making needed progress. The team led engagement this fall focused on a strategic plan to intentionally move the organization in its anti-racism/anti-oppression commitments in the coming year. Perhaps, the obvious should be stated. Oppression in any form is a kind of violence which undermines safety and well-being and therefore must be addressed for an authentic peace to prevail.

With anticipation, the board approved the first of what is hoped to be an annual board-organized, community-building fundraiser. Highlighting the Community Action Learning Group focusing on Palestinian Justice, On Earth Peace invites everyone to reserve the date, Dec. 5, for an online Palestinian Cooking Class. Participants will receive an ingredients list ahead of time along with an On Earth Peace Christmas Ornament made in Bethlehem of olive wood. The chef is Marcelle Zoughbi, a former On Earth Peace intern who was born in Jerusalem. Stay tuned for more information including a promo cooking class for children.

— This release was provided to Newsline by On Earth Peace. It was written by Irv Heishman, an On Earth Peace board member, with contributions by Marie Benner-Rhoades, director of Youth and Young Adult Peace Formation for On Earth Peace. Find the release online at

5) Manchester University board adopts anti-racism statement

A release from Manchester University

The following email was sent by Manchester University president Dave McFadden to students, faculty, staff, and alumni the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 20:

Dear Students and Colleagues,

Manchester has a longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion–but, for a variety of reasons, our progress hasn’t matched our commitment.

We can–and must–do better.

In 2020, our Board of Trustees identified diversity, equity, and inclusion as one of its five strategic imperatives, and created a permanent board committee specifically to focus on these issues. This past weekend, the trustees unanimously passed an Anti-Racism Statement, which renews the University’s commitment to stand against racism and the systems that perpetuate injustice and inequity [the statement follows below].

This statement gives added weight and urgency to the work ahead. It promises real action and dismantling of any systems that stand in our way.

In addition to discussing and passing this statement, the board also heard from a panel of undergraduate students about their personal experiences at Manchester.

All of us need to hear and understand the experiences of colleagues and students who are marginalized at Manchester and in our country, in order to become a fully welcoming and inclusive community. We must acknowledge missteps of the past, and the unconscious biases built into our institutional policies and practices. We need to focus on equity–not just equality–in order to address unbalanced systems and barriers.

Fixing institutional racism means being willing to tear down existing systems at Manchester, and creating new processes that truly live up to this responsibility. Unquestionably, this work will be difficult–but it is also necessary.

Our trustees are enthused and committed to doing this hard work, and their determination aligns with other diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts the university has undertaken in recent months, including creation of the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and its collaboration with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Multicultural Affairs to develop a university-wide Strategic Diversity Plan. We’re also providing colleague education and training, and increasing our awareness through VIAs, discussion groups, book clubs, and films. On the academic side, we are focusing on “inclusive excellence” to create an environment that not only welcomes students of various backgrounds, but also enriches the collective learning experience.

Some may ask why we didn’t do this sooner, and with good reason. These values have been part of the ethos of Manchester for many years but, to date, our efforts and systems simply haven’t produced sufficient transformation. By issuing this Anti-Racism Statement, our board is challenging us to act decisively, adding new weight and urgency to our work.

Thank you to the trustees on the board’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee–co-chairs Madalyn Metzger ’99 and Mark Rosenbury ’69, who developed the statement; and Jim Colon ’74, Chris Craig ’82, Ding-Jo Currie ’75, and Lily Qi ’91–as well as trustees Jeff Carter and Cheryl Green ’82 for their contributions.

In the weeks and months ahead, students and colleagues will have opportunities to be part of building momentum for real change. Without it, we cannot discover our best selves as individuals or as a community.

Dave McFadden (’82)
President of Manchester University

Anti-Racism Statement
Board of Trustees
Manchester University

Adopted Oct. 15, 2021

The Manchester University Board of Trustees stands against racism and systems that perpetuate racial injustice, and we commit to standing against all forms of racism, discrimination, bias, privilege, abusive power, supremacy and racial/ethnic hierarchy.

In living out our mission to respect the infinite worth of every person and graduate individuals of ability and conviction who will make a positive impact on the world, it is our responsibility to recognize, understand and dismantle all the ways systemic racism and oppression impacts under-represented, underserved and marginalized students, faculty and staff. To fulfill this responsibility, we will ensure that all inequitable and unjust systems, policies, practices and institutional norms identified are replaced by those designed to cultivate a more diverse, equitable and inclusive Manchester University community.

Manchester University has long valued and respected racial, ethnic, cultural and religious differences. But, we acknowledge our missteps and complicity along our journey. More work is needed to confront inequalities and we unequivocally embrace the institutional change necessary to make the world a more just and inclusive place, as we build peace amid strife, and model lives of agape (selfless love), tikkun olam (repairing a broken world) and salam (peace).

We commit that our diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism work will be open, transparent and accountable. We will listen and learn from each other. We will hear and amplify the voices of those who have been marginalized. And we will create opportunities to generate individual and institutional transformation.

It is our responsibility to work together with intentionality and clarity and to advance true progress for the Manchester University community and our world. This work will not be easy or quick, but it is imperative for our future. We invite all who are part of our institution to join us in this call, so that – together – we are better able to improve the human condition.

— Anne Gregory is staff for media relations and the office of Strategic Communications at Manchester University. The school with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., was founded by the Church of the Brethren and continues to relate to the denomination. Find this release posted online at


6) Kim Gingerich hired as program assistant for Brethren Disaster Ministries

Kim Gingerich has been hired as program assistant for the rebuilding program of Brethren Disaster Ministries, based out of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. She will begin in this position on Oct. 25.

Gingerich has served as interim program assistant since May 17, 2021. Previously, since January 2014, she had been working and living fulltime on the Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding sites as a longterm disaster project leader covering office and household management.

She is from York, Pa., where she has served as district disaster coordinator for Southern Pennsylvania District. She is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren.


7) National Youth Conference workshop form is live

By Erika Clary

Are you planning to attend National Youth Conference (NYC) 2022 as an adult advisor? Do you have knowledge or expertise in a certain area and would like to teach a workshop–to youth and advisors, or just advisors? Consider proposing a workshop by completing the NYC 2022 workshop form!

Contemplate the following questions as you think about NYC workshops:

  1. How can we equip youth and advisors to better understand and share God’s love?
  2. What resources do Brethren youth need to live in the world today?
  3. What are my unique gifts, talents, skills, or perspectives that I would love to share?

If you are interested, complete the form ASAP or by Jan. 31, 2022, at

National Youth Conference 2022 will take place July 23-28 on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Youth who have completed one year of high school through one year of college (or are age equivalent) and their advisors are invited to attend. The cost of the conference, which includes all meals, lodging, and programing, is $550. Registration opens Dec. 1 at Anyone who registers in December will receive a free NYC t-shirt.

Starting this Saturday, we will be advertising our NYC 2022 speakers. We will release one each Saturday on the NYC social media accounts (Facebook: National Youth Conference, Instagram: @cobnyc2022).

Questions? Contact coordinator Erika Clary at or 847-429-4376.

— Erika Clary is coordinator of the 2022 National Youth Conference and a Brethren Volunteer Service worker.


8) Ridgeley Church joins in worship with neighboring congregation

By Ken George

On Sunday, Sept. 26, Ridgely (Md.) Church of the Brethren walked across the street (literally!) to join the Sunday service at Jericho Faith Deliverance Church, with Brethren pastor Ken George giving the sermon. The favor was returned on Sunday, Oct. 17, with the members of the Jericho Faith Deliverance Church joining the Ridgely church in worship, where Phyllis Duckery provided the sermon.

Although we have two different styles of worship, we recognize that what’s important is who we worship. In that regard, we are of one mind, and experiencing one another’s worship service builds a bridge that connects our diversities, and helps to foster understanding and a true fellowship in Christ.

The two churches hope to repeat this service exchange sometime in Spring 2022, and to make it a regular event.

Ken George is pastor of Ridgely Church of the Brethren.

9) Mount Wilson Church holds its first ‘Trunk or Treat’

Saturday, Oct. 30, from 6-8 p.m. (Eastern time), Mount Wilson Church of the Brethren in Lebanon, Pa., is holding its very first “Trunk or Treat” event.

“Bring your children out for a fun evening of candy, games, and a craft!!” said an invitation on the Facebook event page. “Invite your neighbors, family and friends!! All are welcome!”

The church is located at 1261 Mt. Wilson Road in Lebanon. Call the church office for more information at 717-867-1433. Find the Facebook event page at

10) Iglesia Cristiana Nueva Vida dedicates new worship space

A dedication service for the new location of Iglesia Cristiana Nueva Vida, a new church development in Floyd County, Va., has been announced by Virlina District. The event takes place Sunday, Oct. 24, at 4 p.m. in the new location. A meal will follow in the church yard.

The congregation has relocated to the former Parkway Church of the Brethren near Meadows of Dan, the district reported. It formerly met at the Greasy Creek Primitive Baptist Church in Willis, Va.

11) Brethren bits

Prayer is requested for the group from Christian Aid Ministries that was kidnapped in Haiti last weekend, and for all of those affected by kidnappings and gang violence in Haiti. Continued prayer is requested for L’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) as church members contend with the security concerns in their country, endemic poverty, and the aftermath of natural disasters including the recent earthquake affecting the southwest area of the island nation.

Christian Aid Ministries is connected with the Amish, conservative Mennonites, and conservative or “old order” Brethren denominations. The organization has partnered with the Church of the Brethren and Brethren Disaster Ministries most recently in Haiti, and in the Nigeria Crisis Response, giving at least $140,000 to the effort. The meat canning project of the Church of the Brethren’s Southern Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic Districts has used the chicken canning facilities at the Christian Aid Ministries warehouse in Pennsylvania.

The Global Mission office of the Church of the Brethren is giving thanks for the approval of a malaria vaccine. “Malaria kills nearly half a million people per year, mostly in Africa,” said the prayer request. “It impacts many of the countries with Church of the Brethren denominations, including Haiti, India, Venezuela, parts of the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and countries in Africa. The disease takes a great financial toll not only in costs for treatment, but also is a drag on local economies. We praise God that hope is in sight and pray that relief may come to God’s children around the world.”

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) continues to support the Afghan evacuee response at Fort Bliss, Texas, reports associate director Lisa Crouch. “Operation Allies Welcome,” the US government program to welcome Afghans as they resettle, continues in a process that is expected to take months. “CDS has been deploying teams for 14 days at a time, with more than 25 volunteers serving to date since early September,” Crouch reports. “The CDS teams are averaging between 200 and 300 child contacts a day and report the workdays are long, hot, and dusty, but in return, are so rewarding to have an impact on the children temporarily housed in the Dona Ana tent village. Save the Children has asked CDS to continue support of this site through mid-December.” Shown here is CDS Team 3 at Fort Bliss. Photo by Patty Henry

Brethren Disaster Ministries is welcoming Lynn Evans into a new long-term volunteer role as office manager on rebuilding sites. She starts her service with Brethren Disaster Ministries’ return to the coastal North Carolina site, where she is scheduled to serve at least through the length of the project in April 2022. She will lead the office management side of the project tracking finances, communicating with incoming groups, and supporting connections and logistics with local partners. She is from Pottstown, Pa., and has spent most of her career serving in various Christian ministries in multiple states. Her experience with Brethren Disaster Ministries includes several rebuilding trips as a weekly volunteer in South Carolina and, most recently, in Dayton, Ohio.

On Earth Peace has announced upcoming webinars:

“Bullying Prevention” is the topic of the first webinar in a new series being launched on “Children as Peacemakers: Equipping Resilient Leaders.” The event on bullying prevention takes place Saturday, Oct. 23, at 12 noon (Eastern time). Register at The seminars in this series “will invite parents and educators from all around the US to address common, and sensitive topics that their kids are exposed to now more than ever surrounding justice and inclusion,” said the announcement. “This month we will be addressing bullying prevention as part of On Earth’s Peace Bullying Prevention Month activities, equipping caregivers and educators with tools such as storytelling using On Earth Peace’s Read Aloud Program.” The series plans to address other related topics such as social justice, military recruiting, racial justice, LGBTQ+ justice, migrant justice, and more. The seminars will host speakers including psychologists who specialize in child development.

“Tools for Organizing and Community Leadership: A Four-Part Series on Kingian Nonviolence” starts Oct. 28 and will continue through November. The series will “explore tools for organizing and community leadership through the values and practices of Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation,” said the announcement. “If you are an organizer working for social change, a leader working to reduce violence in your community, or just someone who wants to learn more, join us! You are welcome to bring your own organizing project or context to the table–and you’re welcome if you’re just curious, but don’t have a specific issue in mind. We will apply Kingian tools and perspectives to the context of each organizer/participant and to specific cases. On Earth Peace’s organizing interns will bring examples from their areas of focus–which include racial justice, LGBTQ+ justice, women’s justice, environmental justice, migrant justice, and more.” No previous involvement with On Earth Peace or Kingian Nonviolence is required and participation at all sessions is not required. Go to

A new mailing address for Atlantic Southeast District has been announced, as the interim district executive minister continues to serve remotely. Send mail to the interim district office at 9112 Tansel Court, Indianapolis, IN 46234-1371. The district telephone number and email address have not changed.

Pacific Southwest District has announced that all of the events planned for its district conference week on Nov. 7-14 will be online-only. “We have moved the Friday and Saturday portions of the conference to online, to accommodate a request from Hillcrest to protect the community and staff at the retirement home (and us as well) as the pandemic continues to disrupt things,” said an announcement. “We appreciate your understanding.” The theme for the district conference is “Together” (Acts 2). The week will include a virtual social gathering and fellowship time, a variety of insight sessions, a ministers’ event, a business session on Saturday, Nov. 13, and three worship services, among others. Find the schedule and more information at

Shenandoah District reports that its recent “Rally 4 Christ @ the Farm” event was a “big success.” The event held at 4 farms located around the district on Oct. 10 was attended by more than 300 people representing 31 congregations. “Folks from other denominations joined in, too,” said the report, shared in an email from the district. “According to Larry Aikens, the District Discipleship Team planned this new initiative ‘to call the faithful to greater faithfulness’ and ‘to strengthen the district.’” Meetings took place at the Bolton Farm in Rockingham with the Greenmount Praise Team, worship leader Scott Harris, and speaker Jon Prater; at the Turner Farm with bluegrass gospel and sermons by Doug Gochenour, Audrey King, and Archie Webster, and performances by Leah Hileman & Putter or the “LP Duo” and Brother Archie’s church choir; at Pleasant View Events with games, music, testimonies, and a time of directed sharing and brainstorming about where God may be calling the district; and at the Decker Farm with bluegrass gospel music, a time of praise, and a message from pastor Larry Hickey of Compassion Ministries. A tentative date of Oct. 9, 2022, has been set for another rally next year.

Also in Shenandoah District, Bernie Fuska led a 4-hour workshop for deacon training via Zoom. Up to 30 pastors and deacons from 9 congregations took part. “The participants learned about the basics of conducting the deacon ministry and were able to find a great deal of value in the training,” said the district e-newsletter.

— Daniel Naff is the new food services coordinator at Camp Bethel, an outdoor ministries center in Virlina District. He is a 2020 graduate of Bridgewater (Va.) College, a member of Cloverdale Church of the Brethren, and has served on the camp’s summer staff from 2016-2020. In September, he completed a year of service in AmeriCorps at Breaks Interstate Park, and is an Eagle Scout and amateur birder/naturalist.

Jenna Stacy Mehalso is leaving her role as program coordinator at Camp Bethel on Dec. 31. She has given eight years of leadership to the camp. The camp director and Outdoor Ministries Committee of the district are working to fill the program coordinator position.

A reception will be held on Jan. 7, 2022, to welcome Naff and to say goodbye to Mehalso, reported the district e-newsletter.

Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has named Mary M. White, a 1973 graduate of the college, as its first female chair of the Board of Trustees. She is vice president of resource management at HCA/HealthOne in Denver, Colo., and has served on the board since 1999. She succeeds Tim Statton (’72), who completed his term as chair on Sept. 1. Read the full Juniata release at

In more news from Juniata, two professors have grown a “ginormous pumpkin”–Vince Buonaccorsi, professor of biology, and Neil Pelkey, professor of environmental science and studies. They grew the 300-plus pound pumpkin in a garden beside the Brumbaugh Academic Center, according to a college release.

Photo courtesy of Juniata College
Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) held an annual choir conference at the EYN Headquarters in Kwarhi, Nigeria, on Oct. 14-17. Head of media Zakariya Musa reported that about 4,000 participants came from within Nigeria and from Minawao, Cameroun. Photo by Zakariya Musa

The Global Women’s Project Steering Committee held its fall meeting in September. The agenda included the 2021 Advent calendar, a new Lenten calendar coming in 2022, and additional grants made this year, according to a report by Steering Committee member Katie Heishman. Also on the Steering Committee are Sarah Neher, Barb Sayler, and Karlene Tyler. “We said thank you and good-bye for now to Kim Hill Smith for her years of service to GWP, especially as our treasurer,” said the report. Additional end-of-year grants were given to a current project’s new initiative and a new one time grant recipient: $1,000 to partner project in South Sudan, the Narus Sewing Cooperative, where the women are planning to start teaching about and growing gardens; and $1,000 to JWW “Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika,” a project in Kenya that empowers women to be economic entities within their families by raising chickens, improving agriculture, and learning tailoring as a trade.

“Think with Caucus,” said an announcement of the first-ever “Thinkers” event by the Womaen’s Caucus, to be held on Zoom on Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. (Eastern time). “Think with us as we consider new ways of nominating and electing Church of the Brethren denominational leaders and imagine effective support systems for persons elected and those who are not elected,” said the announcement. “Using both small group discussion and whole group interaction, our intent is to develop recommendations to update our leadership processes to reflect today’s family, work, and church needs. Recently, Caucus and the Annual Conference leadership team have been looking at obstacles to serving in denominational leadership positions elected at the Annual Conference. And there are a lot of obstacles! Now it is time to consider new ways of developing future leaders, electing them, and supporting them in their work on behalf of the whole church.” Go to

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) has announced that it has been granted special consultative status as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. The Church of the Brethren is a member of CMEP. The special consultative status for CMEP allows an NGO to engage with ECOSOC, the Human Rights Council, and, at times, the General Assembly and the UN Secretariat, said the announcement. “As an NGO with special consultative status, CMEP will have the privilege of designating official representatives to the UN Headquarters in New York and UN Offices at Geneva and Vienna, as well as offering expert information, advice, and statements to the Council on topics related to faith, justice, and peace in the Middle East. CMEP is grateful for the opportunity to continue its engagement in the important work of ECOSOC and offer critical resources to advance security, human rights, and a just peace in Israel, Palestine, and the broader Middle East.”

“You’re invited to our 75th celebration!” announced Church World Service (CWS), which this year is celebrating 75 years. The Church of the Brethren is a founding denomination of CWS. The virtual celebration next Wednesday, Oct. 27, will be a benefit featuring keynote speaker Rick Steves, a popular public television host, best-selling guidebook author, and outspoken humanitarian activist. “Come journey with us as we reflect on the last 75 years and, together, begin our next 75!” said the invitation. Register at

Christian Churches Together (CCT) has announced the selection of Monica Schaap Pierce as its interim executive director. The Church of the Brethren is a member denomination of the CCT. Pierce’s appointment follows the resignation of executive director Carlos Malave earlier this year. She holds a doctorate in systemic theology from Fordham University and master’s degrees from Trinity Lutheran Seminary and brings experience in managing the ecumenical portfolio of the Reformed Church in America and teaching and speaking in churches and universities. The permanent executive director is expected to be selected by mid-2022.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) on Nov. 10 is to release a new publication, Call to Discipleship: Mission in the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, compiling findings from the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism. Said a release: “Since the WCC Conference on World Mission and Evangelism held in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2018, all three of the commission’s working groups have worked on and finalized a study document, and these papers, together with a slightly earlier document from the WCC Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network, have been edited into a single volume by WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism director Rev. Dr. Risto Jukko. Each study document, preceded by a short introduction, then gives the reader an up-to-date overview and state of the missiological thinking and practice of the ecumenical mission movement at the end of the 2010s and beginning of the 2020s, and a vision of the potential beyond the 11th WCC Assembly in Karlsruhe in 2022.” Find out more at

Recent books by Brethren:

The Art of Biblical Interpretation: Visual Portrayals of Scriptural Narratives, for which Bobbi Dykema, pastor of First Church of the Brethren Springfield, Ill., served as one of the three editors, is published by the Society of Biblical Literature. This collection of essays highlights the interdisciplinary work of biblical scholars and art historians. Her co-editors are Heidi J. Hornik, professor of Art History and chair of the Department of Art & Art History at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and Ian Boxall, associate professor of New Testament at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The book’s description from the publisher notes that “for centuries Christians have engaged their sacred texts as much through the visual as through the written word. Yet until recent decades, the academic disciplines of biblical studies and art history largely worked independently. This volume bridges that gap with the interdisciplinary work of biblical scholars and art historians. Focusing on the visualization of biblical characters from both the Old and New Testaments, essays illustrate the potential of such collaboration for a deeper understanding of the Bible and its visual reception.” Go to

Pets: Getting Them, Caring for Them, and Loving Them (American Girl) by Mel Hammond received a gold award in the category of “Animals/Pets Non-Fiction” from the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for 2021. The book is illustrated by Maike Plenzke. “Creating books that inspire our children to read, to learn, and to dream is an extremely important task, and these awards were conceived to reward those efforts,” said the Moonbeam website. “Each year’s entries are judged by expert panels of youth educators, students, librarians, booksellers, and book reviewers of all ages. Award recipients receive gold, silver and bronze medals and stickers depicting a mother and child reading and silhouetted by a full moon.” Go to Hammond also has written Banana Pancakes and Love the Earth: Understanding Climate Change, Speaking Up for Solutions, and Living an Earth-Friendly Life (American Girl) (

The Bible, the Bomb, the Burden by John E. Eash (self-published through Christian Faith Publishing Inc.) is a short paperback that takes a look at “the full truth of God and how modern science came to overshadow the church; a suggested way to approach widening generation gaps.”

Esther Griffith of Floyd, Va., at age 102 recently joined in the annual apple butter making event at White Rock Church of the Brethren. The church “has made apple butter in an open copper kettle for several years, and Griffith, who is 102, has helped for the past three or four,” reported SWVA Today. The church sells apple butter for its outreach programs, and all of the proceeds benefit community members in need. Find the article and a photo of Griffith in action 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 Jean Bednar, Marie Benner-Rhoades, Shamek Cardona, Erika Clary, Lisa Crouch, Jenn Dorsch-Messler, John Eash, Ken George, Anne Gregory, Matt Guynn, Todd Hammond, Katie Heishman, Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Patty Henry, Wendy McFadden, Nancy Miner, Zakariya Musa, Mishael Nouveau, David Steele, Roy Winter, Ed Woolf, 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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