A statement on the war in Ukraine topped the agenda of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board at its meeting on March 11-13, held in person at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and via Zoom. Chair Carl Fike led the meeting, assisted by chair-elect Colin Scott and general secretary David Steele.
The top action item was a statement on Ukraine that called for a time of concerted prayer and action for peacebuilding; renewed commitment to Annual Conference opposition to conventional and nuclear war; committed to aid and advocate for refugees and migrants regardless of national origin; and committed to renewed efforts to care for those in need in every country involved in the Ukraine conflict and affected by the global financial disruption caused by the war and sanctions.
The board also approved revisions to the Brethren Faith in Action Fund guidelines, approved hiring a consultant for a survey related to the Strategic Plan, and made an appointment to the Germantown Trust.
Numerous updates and reports were received including information about continued work on the Strategic Plan and an update from the Stewardship of Properties Committee as well as financial reports, among others.
A board development training on “Active Listening” was led by Jay Wittmeyer of the Lombard (Ill.) Mennonite Peace Center. Sunday morning worship was led by board member Christina Singh.
Revisions to the Brethren Faith in Action Fund guidelines
The eligibility of Church of the Brethren camps to apply for grants was extended through 2022, which extends for another year a measure first put in place to aid camps during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BFIA committee recommended making the congregational contribution expectation into a sliding scale proportionate to congregational income. The board asked the BFIA committee to bring a proposal of that scale for consideration at its October meeting. In the meantime, an extension through 2022 of the matching funds waiver will continue.
The board also approved a recommendation that the Executive Committee work to revise the guidelines in order to clarify appropriate uses for grants.
Survey to be carried out as part of Strategic Plan
The board approved hiring a consultant to do a survey of current and former members of the Mission and Ministry Board and its predecessor body, the General Board, and their staff, for an initiative related to the Strategic Plan’s “foreground vision” to seek God’s racial justice.
The survey “to hear the candid stories of people of color who have served in leadership in the Church of the Brethren” is understood as the first step of this foreground vision initiative.
“The goal is to hear honest accounts from people of color so that the institution, especially white people in leadership, can recognize the barriers that are invisible to them,” explained a report from the task team.
Germantown Trust appointment
The board appointed Ben Barlow of Montezuma Church of the Brethren, an attorney working in Leesburg, Va., to the Germantown Trust. The trust holds responsibility for the historic property, buildings, and cemetery of the first Brethren congregation in the Americas, located in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. Barlow was nominated by the Brethren Historical Committee.
For the meeting agenda, background documents, and video reports, go to www.brethren.org/mmb/meeting-info. Find a photo album of the meeting at www.brethren.org/photos/nggallery/photos/mission-and-ministry-board-spring-2022.
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- Church of the Brethren general secretary one of more than 20 Christian leaders urging ceasefire in Israel and Palestine