–– Remembrance: Janet Crago, a former mission worker with the Church of the Brethren, died on Feb. 3. She and her husband, Tom Crago, worked in Nigeria for the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and also served in the Dominican Republic. The Cragos worked in Nigeria in 1968-1971, and after early retirement they returned in 2001 to serve as funding consultants for the Theological College of Northern Nigeria. They returned again in 2002 to assist the Nigerian church with a membership count. From 2003-2004 they worked as the interim mission coordinators in Nigeria. A few years later, they worked with EYN to establish a new pension plan for its church workers, which the EYN Majalisa (annual conference) implemented in April 2006. Janet Crago also helped develop an employee pension database for the EYN Pension Office and did some computer training for EYN staff. They were in the Dominican Republic in 2009-2010 as volunteers with the Church of the Brethren Global Mission program, working on a project to help improve the administration of funds within the Dominican church. In 2015 they returned to Nigeria to serve as volunteers with the Nigeria Crisis Response, a joint effort of EYN, Global Mission, and Brethren Disaster Ministries. During this time she blogged, wrote articles, and shared photographs of the experience of the Nigerian Brethren in one of the worst periods of violence during the Boko Haram insurgency. Janet and Tom Crago were married for 54 years. A memorial service was to take place Friday, Feb. 11, at Beth-El Mennonite Church in Colorado Spring, Colo. A recording of the service may be made available on the church’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/channel/UCJk1raMCh5ErmUmtYlnNZIw.
— Northern Ohio District of the Church of the Brethren is seeking a district youth coordinator to fill a non-clergy, hourly position based on a 20-hour work week. Work on evenings and weekends often will be required to meet job objectives. Responsibilities include coordinating and overseeing all district junior high and senior high group activities in cooperation with the District Connections Commission and the appointed advisors and cabinets, and developing opportunities for young adults to connect with each other on a district level for fellowship and leadership development, among others. Preferred qualifications include a bachelor’s degree, a youth ministry major or minor, and youth ministry experience. Additional qualifications include excellent communication and interpersonal skills; highly developed attention to detail; ability to work independently and prioritize multiple tasks; proficiency with Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office software, and social media; willingness to become familiar with the district organization and geography; and desire to work in a Christian organization, supporting the ministry and mission of the Church of the Brethren. The applicant shall be a member of the Church of the Brethren, committed to Brethren beliefs and values. Find the full job opening announcement at www.nohcob.org/blog/2021/08/03/position-opening-district-youth-coordinator.
–– This week’s prayer update from the Church of the Brethren Global Mission Office included a call for prayer for the You’ai (Brethren) Hospital’s new center for autistic children, led by a Christian occupational therapist who lives in the house formerly occupied by Global Mission co-executives Ruoxia Li and Eric Miller. “Quality services for these children are rare in much of China,” said the announcement. “Work began with the first student before the newly renovated center was completed.”
–– Eglise des Frères Haïtiens, a predominantly Haitian congregation of the Church of the Brethren in Miami, Fla., in Atlantic Southeast District, will be celebrating its 40th anniversary next month. The church is pastored by Ilexene Alphonse.
— Sunrise Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va., will celebrate its 20th anniversary during the 10 a.m. worship service on Feb. 20. JD Glick and Jan Orndorff will be bringing the message together. Light refreshments will follow for “eat-in” or “to go” to meet various comfort levels for gathering during the COVID-19 era.
— The New Yorker’s Emma Green, who covers cultural conflicts in academia, will headline the symposium on “Brethren and the Polarizing Pandemic: What Next?” at Bridgewater (Va.) College on March 10-11. The sponsor of the event is the Forum for Brethren Studies. The event is open to the public. Prior to working for The New Yorker, Green was a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covered religion and politics and led a series called The Atlantic Interview. Her work has been featured in outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and NPR, among other media outlets. Read more at www.brethren.org/news/2022/new-yorkers-emma-green-at-bridgewater.
— Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is offering a webinar series of discussions on Gaza in February and March. CMEP is a partner organization of the Church of the Brethren. “This program will openly and honestly present the reality of the siege, the occupation, and political leadership as well as include ways participants can advocate with their elected officials to encourage US policies that will help end the siege of Gaza and advance human rights and security for all,” said an announcement. The series is co-organized by CMEP, the Arab American Institute, and American Friends of Combatants for Peace. Each 90-minute session will present on one of these four aspects of Gaza: history and historical significance, politics, culture, and economics. For more information go to https://cmep.org/event/gaza-webinar-series.
— Also from CMEP, the organization is announcing its first in-person “Pilgrimage to Peace” tour since 2019. “This April, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon (Executive Director) and Tala AlRaheb (Ambassador Warren Clark Fellow) will travel to Colorado, California, and Washington State to host a conversation with churches and other community groups about peacebuilding and advocacy related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said an announcement. Groups interested in hosting these speakers in Colorado, California, and Washington States during the period of April 18-May 2 may contact email@example.com.
— Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT, formerly Christian Peacemaker Teams) has opened early-bird registration for congregations and individuals to participate in a special day of prayer and action this Easter season. CPT is preparing resources to be used during worship on May 8, the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The theme for this year’s prayer and action is to “explore nurturing soil for abundant and just communities to thrive. We will learn about experiences of Colombian communities resisting violence and oppression while rooted in peace, justice, and love,” said an announcement. Go to https://cpt.org/take-action/easter.
–– This summer, Lombard (Ill.) Mennonite Peace Center will offer in‐person attendance at a Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders for the first time in two years. “Grace Presbyterian Church in Fort Mill, S.C., will host this popular and practical event on June 13‐17, 2022,” said an announcement. “Clergy and other church leaders are invited to join us for this essential training. The fee is $750 for five full days of instruction and a hard copy of the MSTI manual.” Go to https://lmpeacecenter.org/all‐events. For more information contact 630‐627‐0507 or admin@LMPeaceCenter.org.
— The National Council of Churches (NCC) has congratulated the country of Liberia on its bicentennial. The letter dated Feb. 8 from Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, NCC Governing Board chair and presiding bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, was sent to Bishop Kortu K. Brown, President of the Liberia Council of Churches. “We rejoice that the voices of the Liberian churches are a part of this landmark anniversary!” the letter said. “The nation of Liberia was founded by formerly enslaved Americans seeking to escape ongoing oppression as the vestiges of American slavery continued to impact their lives. By God’s grace, the vision of freedom in their own country came to fruition and has survived for 200 years! We join in this celebration with humble hearts and acknowledging that the church in the USA did not do enough to prevent the subjugation and discrimination of black people. In many instances, people of faith actively participated in this systematic enslavement and later marginalization of human life. We join with you in celebrating God’s vision of unity for the church and a respect for all human life, regardless of race, color, creed, nationality or religion. May God strengthen us all as we strive to be voices of hope and advocates for justice.”
The NCC release also celebrated a US Presidential Delegation that has been announced to attend the Bicentennial Celebration of the Arrival of the First Free Black Americans to the Republic of Liberia. Jefferson-Snorton will be joining the delegation that will be present for the celebration on Feb. 14, as appointed by President Biden: “This marks the arrival of the first Free Black Americans to Providence Island in 1822, which led to the establishment of the City of Monrovia, and in 1847, the Republic of Liberia.” Leading the delegation will be Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the United Nations.
— The National Council of Churches has shared a prayer in memory of the 900,000 deaths to COVID-19 in the United States:
O Lord, lift our sorrow from us and comfort us. Bless the memories of our loved ones and friends who have died. Give us strength in this difficult time. Renew our spirits and lead us to love one another. Amen.
Find more Church of the Brethren news: