Brethren bits for July 23, 2022

— Emily Bowdle has joined the Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) team as orientation assistant, serving as a BVS volunteer. She already has served in BVS as a member of BVS Unit 324. Her previous project sites were Camp Myrtlewood in Myrtle Point, Ore., and the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) in Tochii-ken, Japan. She is affiliated with Denton (Md.) Church of the Brethren.

— Virlina District seeks a full-time time district executive minister. The position will be available beginning December 2022. The district office is in Roanoke, Va. The district covers portions of three states with the majority of congregations located in Virginia. The district consists of very diverse theological perspectives and congregations in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Virlina has intentional programs that allow people to discern God’s call to set apart ministry. There is enthusiasm to be together, for spiritual growth through retreats (for youth and adults), for disaster response trips, for District Conference, and for new church development. The district is blessed to have three Spanish-speaking congregations. The district camp, Camp Bethel, covers a vast 470 acres and continues to develop infrastructure and program to provide year-round ministry. The district resource center has multiple staff as well as volunteers to assist in the ministry of the district. Responsibilities of the district executive minister include direction, coordination, management, and leadership of the district ministries, as authorized by the District Conference and implemented by the District Board; work with the congregations in calling and credentialing ministers, and in the placement/call and evaluation of pastoral staff; provide support and counsel for ministers and other church leaders; share and interpret program resources for congregations; provide an important link between the congregations and the district and denomination by working collaboratively with the Council of District Executives, the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and its agencies, and their staff. Qualifications and experience include ordination through an accredited program, with a master of divinity degree preferred; personal skills in organization, administration, and communication; commitment to the Church of the Brethren locally and denominationally and willingness to work ecumenically; demonstrated leadership skills; pastoral experience preferred. Apply by sending a letter of interest and resume to Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Director of Ministry for the Church of the Brethren, via email at Applicants are requested to contact three people to provide letters of reference. Upon receipt of the resume, a candidate profile will be sent that must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

A two-page wrap up of the 2022 Annual Conference is available to download and print. The wrap up may be helpful to delegates reporting to their congregations and districts, for inclusion in church and district newsletters and worship bulletins, and more. Find it at

As of the end of the workday on July 19, the Annual Conference offering total was $39,295.61 including offerings received onsite in Omaha, offerings received online, and additional donations since the close of the Conference. This total includes $6,598.55 received to support the ministry of Annual Conference; $8,609.46 for the Church of the Brethren denomination’s Core Ministries; $7,467.48 to support ministerial training for international Church of the Brethren leaders; $3,907.41 to support transportation for international guests attending Annual Conference; and $12,712.71 for Girls, Inc. of Omaha, which was this year’s “Witness to the Host City” project.

In an update to the Annual Conference Blood Drive, Brethren Disaster Ministries staff shared that “the Red Cross has actually credited us with 105 pints of blood, including 9 double reds.” The blood drive also is a hybrid event, with church members invited to participate from their own areas of the country. The virtual blood drive runs through July 31. Go to

— On Earth Peace is starting an organizing campaign around gun violence. An online “meet up” of people already active on gun violence and those looking to get involved is scheduled for July 29 at 3 p.m. (Eastern time). “What are you already doing? We need to hear your story! How do you hope to get involved?” said an announcement. Participants will learn possible actions to take, get connected with others, and be part of collective efforts for safer communities where all can thrive. “The goal of this initiative is to move our constituency into action to reduce gun violence in the United States,” said the announcement. “If you have been active, we want to hear your stories so others can learn from your experience; if you are recently fired up we want to offer the community a place to connect. For all of us, we want to build capacity and commitment and see the way forward.” Register at

– A gathering for information and conversation about the possibilities of starting a Church of the Brethren group in the Madison, Wis., area will take place Sunday, Aug. 21, at 6 p.m. at the Goodman Community Center Ironworks Building in Madison. A light meal will be served. If you or someone you know might be interested in attending, please contact Illinois/Wisconsin District executive minister Walt Wiltschek at for more details.

— A webinar titled “End the Selective Service for All” on July 27 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) is sponsored jointly by the Center on Conscience and War–a longterm partner organization of the Church of the Brethren–along with the American Friends Service Committee, and WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions), along with former draft resisters. Said an announcement: “Last year, Congress narrowly avoided expanding the Selective Service registration requirement to women–a provision that would require all U.S. residents aged 18-25 to register for a potential military draft. This year, members of the Senate are attempting to expand this unjust system again. We believe that no one, regardless of gender, should be forced to serve in the military, and support efforts to instead repeal the Selective Service registration requirement altogether.” The webinar will provide updates on the latest Congressional efforts to expand Selective Service and provide advocacy opportunities for those interested in ending the system, not its expansion. The event will be moderated by Tori Bateman of the American Friends Service Committee, who formerly worked for the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy. Speakers include Mac Hamilton of WAND, Maria Santelli of the Center on Conscience and War, and Edward Hasbrouck of Register at

— “Accountability Matters: Advocate for Palestinian Children & Families” is the title of a series of events sponsored by Churches for Middle East Peace this August. CMEP is a partner organization of the Church of the Brethren, connecting through the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy. “This summit will feature flexible scheduling to join parts live or watch recordings plus the opportunity to meet others in your local community for a virtual congressional meeting,” said an announcement. “Accountability Matters will focus on the importance of Human Rights, specifically via the support of HR 2590: Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum.” Registration fees are donation based and optional. The webinar takes place Aug. 9 at 1 p.m. (Eastern time), or watch a recording on your own time. The advocacy training takes place on Aug. 11 at 1 p.m. (Eastern time), or watch a recording on your own time. If you join live you can meet others in your advocacy group. Congressional meetings take place the week of Aug. 15 or 22, scheduled according to the group schedule. Find out more and register by July 31 at

– Patriarch Theophilos III had an opportunity to relay the concerns of Christians living in the Holy Land during the recent visit to Israel and Palestine by President Biden. “After being received by representatives of the churches managing the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem on 15 July, President Joseph Biden was accompanied on a short tour to the site of the birth of Christ, where he was awaited by Patriarch Theophilos III, the Custos Father Patton, and the Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Norahan Manugian, all of whom took Biden on a tour and exchanged discussion with him in the presence of a number of Palestinian officials,” said a release from the World Council of Churches (WCC). The Patriarch “stressed the need for an active intervention from the United States to protect the Christian heritage and presence in the Holy Land, especially in the city of Jerusalem, which is witnessing unprecedented attacks by Israeli radical groups. Heads of churches in Jerusalem, as well as the World Council of Churches, have expressed grave concerns that those perpetrating the attacks are not held accountable, which in turn creates an environment that repels Christians from their own city of Jerusalem.” Read the full release at

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