Brethren bits

Celebration of a new Church of the Brethren congregation in Tanzania, planted by the Burundian Brethren. Photo courtesy of Global Mission

— Prayer requests from the Church of the Brethren Global Mission office this week include joys and concerns shared by Brethren in a number of countries:

The gratitude expressed by Joel Billi, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) that there was no news of violence against EYN members while he and vice president Anthony Ndamsai were attending the Global Church of the Brethren Communion meeting in the Dominican Republic. Ndamsai shared that the decision to remain peaceful has prevented Nigeria from turning into “another Afghanistan,” said the Global Mission email. “Their peacefulness in the face of violence and the evident care of the US church for the Nigerian Brethren has led to continued growth in the church, which now has an estimated 800,000 to 1 million members.”

The Rwandan Church of the Brethren is requesting prayer “for the softening of the hearts of government officials that they may grant approvals to open the headquarters church that has been built and make no new demands for modifications to be made,” the email said.

For the Church of the Brethren in Spain, “we pray for the successful purchase of a new church property for one congregation that will allow them to have a place without needing to continue to rent and where worship can be held without disturbing neighbors.”

In addition, the email shared praise to God for a new Church of the Brethren congregation planted in Tanzania by the Burundian Brethren.

— Recent developments for the Brethren in Ukraine have been reported by Keith Funk, pastor of Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren, who is their main contact in the Church of the Brethren in the US. Funk wrote: “Brother Alex, pastor of the Brethren in Chernihiv, reports today [Dec. 5] that Russian rocket strikes are taking place throughout Ukraine. The purpose of the strikes is to effectively cripple Ukraine’s infrastructure. This has been taking place in recent weeks affecting cities and regions in Ukraine. As Winter approaches, more and more of Ukraine is in darkness with limited access, at best, to light and heat. The effects of the war being fought on the ground are horrific. A recent report from the Pentagon now estimates that 100,000 Russian troop casualties have been suffered. It is further estimated that Ukraine has suffered a similar casualty rate among their troops. Further estimates now report civilian casualties at 40,000, while between 15 million to 30 million have been left homeless. As the season of Advent is upon us–the season we anticipate and prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus, please pray.”

Please pray… This prayer shared by Keith Funk: “Pray for Ukraine, for Russia, and for an end to a war that is bringing untold suffering to the peoples of Ukraine and Russia, and to the landscape of Ukraine. Gracious and merciful God, may you favor the war-torn land of Ukraine, and those who suffer from this war with your peace. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.”

— Creation Justice Ministries has announced a job opening for a Theological Education and Training coordinator. This role will be responsible for managing the church-oriented and theological education programs, and building and managing Creation Justice Ministries public-facing theological education materials, trainings, and relationships with churches and seminaries. The ideal candidate will be passionate about the church, theology, and the environment; should have some formal theological education or training and a strong understanding of creation justice theology; be comfortable working in an ecumenical, multi-ethnic, and multiracial Christian environment; have a vision for the Creation Justice Ministries church engagement and theological education program and the ability to turn that vision into reality. More details including salary range can be found at

— On Earth Peace is holding an organizing meetup on Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. (Eastern time) for its gun violence organizing campaign. “We want to connect with people in churches and neighborhoods who are concerned about gun violence in the US–people who are already taking some action or who want to get involved,” said an announcement. “Come share your story or your hopes for involvement! … The goal of this campaign is to move into direct action to reduce gun violence in the United States.” At 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time), 30 minutes before the full meetup, members and friends of the Church of the Brethren are invited to a pre-meetup chat about how to work together to do something about gun violence specifically as Brethren. “How could we stimulate our beloved denomination to take a strong public stance or develop more local initiatives on gun violence?” the invitation said. The 30-minute session will be convened by Matt Guynn, director of organizing for On Earth Peace, and Mandy Park, a member of the Gun Violence Organizing Campaign of On Earth Peace who is involved with Moms Demand Action and is a member of Brownsville Church of the Brethren in Knoxville, Md. Go to

— Bethany Theological Seminary is offering a Bilingual Bible Study Workshop, open to the public, as a culminating event for the intensive course “Intercontextual Readings of James.” The course takes place Jan. 14-23, 2023, led by Bethany faculty Daniel Ulrich, Wieand Professor of New Testament Studies. The class will convene in the Los Angeles area, visiting a variety of congregations and programs “that model practical love for neighbors in Southern California,” said an announcement.

The Bilingual Bible Study Workshop is planned for Jan. 21-22 at Principe de Paz Iglesia de los Hermanos (Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren) in Santa Ana, Calif. Held in Spanish and English, the workshop will consider how to describe the context in which the letter of James was written, draw analogies with current contexts, interpret passages from James using a method in which people from different contexts share insights with one another, and envision how to love neighbors according to the teachings of James. Leaders include Ulrich; Principe de Paz pastors Richard Zapata and Becky Zapata; Alexia Salvatierra, academic dean of Centro Latino of Fuller Theological Seminary and associate professor of Mission and Global Transformation; and Fernanda Navarette, co-pastor of Conexión Pasadena, a Church of the Brethren congregation. Contact Ulrich by email at

— Latest Dunker Punks Podcasts include:

“Speak Your Peace” with Mwarianesu Makufa, the Youth and Young Adult Peace Formation Organizer at On Earth Peace and host of the bi-weekly Storyscape Spoken Word Salon.

The season finale, “My Family,” with three generations of Dunker Punks at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, who are living their faith in draft resistance, nursing, teaching, foster parenting, fire-fighting, social working, stocking shelves, and serving coffee. Listen as Anna Lisa Gross chats with Sam, Carla and Craig, and Ev and Bill to gain insights from their generational perspectives.

You can hear these episodes and many more on iTunes or Stitcher or by going to


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