Brethren bits for Jan. 21, 2022

— Jim Winkler has completed his service as president and general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the US (NCC), having completed two terms in the position. In this week’s newsletter from the NCC, he shared his gratitude and hopes for the ecumenical movement. “As you can imagine, it is the opportunity of a lifetime to serve God as president and general secretary of the National Council of Churches,” he wrote, in part. “My goal was to leave the NCC in a better place than it was when I took over eight years ago and I believe that has been achieved.” The achievements he mentioned included completing an update of the New Revised Standard Version in partnership with the Society of Biblical Literature, quintupling the NCC’s financial reserves, raising the public profile of the NCC and having “re-established the Council as a major ecumenical entity both in the United States and around the world,” holding a major rally to end racism on the National Mall and re-focusing on the goal of eradicating racism, initiating new interreligious dialogues, advocating for peace and justice, continuing to publish the International Sunday School Lessons, and strengthening longstanding “Faith & Order” work. “All of this was done with a tiny staff of less than 10 persons and a budget of about $2 million a year,” he wrote. “I pray the NCC will thrive in the years ahead.”

— On Earth Peace is offering a two-hour “Intro to Kingian Nonviolence” webinar on Feb. 4 at 12 noon (Eastern time). The online event is for those interested in meeting others who are interested in Kingian Nonviolence, building Beloved Community, and connecting with On Earth Peace’s Kingian Nonviolence Learning Action Community. The webinar will cover “the 4 pillars of Kingian Nonviolence, initial introduction to the 6 Principles and 6 Steps–the ‘Will’ and the ‘Skill’ of Kingian Nonviolence, the Social Dynamics of Kingian Nonviolence,” said an announcement. Register at

— Northern Plains District and district moderator Susan Mack-Overla have announced monthly insight sessions hosted by the District Conference Planning Committee in preparation for the 2022 district conference to be held in August. January’s session, which took place online on Jan. 18, was titled “Jesus in the Neighborhood in Northern Plains” and explored the District Witness Commission project to bring the denomination’s vision of “Jesus in the Neighborhood” to congregations and their neighborhoods through $500 grants to be used for an event, project or activity in 2022.

Upcoming district insight sessions include:

— “Counting the Cost,” a Bible study on Luke 14 led by Dan Ulrich, Bethany Seminary Wieand Professor of New Testament Studies, planned for Feb. 15.

— “Embracing One Another as Christ Embraces Us: A Preview of Annual Conference” led by Dave Sollenberger, Annual Conference moderator, planned for April 19.

— “Counting the Cost: What the Early Brethren Were Thinking at the Time of the First Baptisms in August 1708” led by H. Kendall Rogers, Bethany Seminary Professor of Historical Studies, planned for May 10.

— Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT, formerly Christian Peacemaker Teams) has announced an opportunity to join in a conversation around the new name. “After 35 years as Christian Peacemaker Teams, CPT adopted Community Peacemaker Teams as its new name. This decision was not made lightly and is the result of a long discernment process in consultation with our teams on the ground,” said the announcement. “You may have questions about this process and this change, so we want to give you the opportunity to dialogue directly with our teams.” The online conversation takes place Jan. 27 at 12 noon (Eastern time) at

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) reports that churches from the Pacific Islands and across the world “continued to voice their prayers of support and care as Tonga copes with the aftermath of the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano.” The Jan. 14 eruption covered many areas of the islands with ash and triggered tsunami waves that hit the archipelago and also affected Fiji and other Pacific islands and Pacific Rim countries, the release said. It included a request for Christians around the world to pray for “Tonga and our Pacific household of God in these challenging times of activity in the Pacific Ring of Fire, cyclone season, COVID-19, all continuing to be exacerbated by climate change.” Find the WCC release at

— Arbie Karasek of York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., was one of the nurses at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Ill., who were interviewed in a recent Wall Street Journal article about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospital staff. She is one of the nurses taking part in a new program called “Growing Forward,” that has been created by one of the hospital chaplains to help staff deal with increased stresses as the omicron variant has again increased hospital caseloads. Find the article by Ben Kesling, titled “To Help Battle Covid-19, a Hospital Borrows Tactics from Combat Veterans,” at


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