Newsline for April 22, 2022

“O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
…you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy” (Psalm 65:5-13).

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

1) Brethren Disaster Ministries directs latest EDF grants to Ukraine relief, NYC service project

2) WCC urges Patriarch Kirill: ‘Intervene and ask publicly for a ceasefire during the Resurrection service’

3) Brethren Historical Library and Archives reopens to researchers, with COVID protocols

4) Nigerian Brethren mourn deaths of denominational trustee, seminary lecturer, staff driver

5) Brethren in Dominican Republic make small but important steps toward reconciliation

6) Sending cards: A report from the Death Row Support Project

7) Bethany Theological Seminary announces new faculty member in Peace Studies

8) Sam Locke named executive director for Institutional Advancement at Bethany Seminary

9) Linetta Ballew to lead Brethren Woods

10) National Youth Conference Office hosts two book conversations in May

11) Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church to host virtual speaking events in May

12) Manchester University sets dedication of building in honor of first Black students

13) Memorial Day concert to feature Manchester University student choir, alumni

14) Brethren bits: Job openings, Material Resources shipments, no quilting at this year’s Annual Conference, celebrating volunteers, Bethany Seminary commencement date, Kingdom Advancing Grants opportunity through MAA, and more news by, for, and about Brethren

Quote of the week:

“If hope had a color, it would be the pale green of a newly sprouted seed. It would smell of pollen and damp earth. Its shape would be the swanlike arc of a stem stretching toward the sun.”

— Sarah Kaplan, a climate reporter for the Washington Post, introducing an article compiling short essays from climate scientists and conservationists about where their hope comes from. Read more at

1) Brethren Disaster Ministries directs latest EDF grants to Ukraine relief, NYC service project

Brethren Disaster Ministries is directing the latest grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to a relief response to the Russia-Ukraine war, and to support a National Youth Conference (NYC) service project making School Kits.

Russia-Ukraine war

A grant of $50,000 supports the response to the Russia-Ukraine war by partner organization the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), a US-based NGO. The grant announcement stated that “according to the United Nations more than 11 million people need assistance inside and outside of Ukraine, with over 4.6 million refugees and 7.1 million more displaced inside of Ukraine…. The United Nations has a relief plan targeting 6 million people in need with a flash appeal of $1.1 billion for just the first 3 months of this response. Many of the surrounding countries, including Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Moldova, are housing and supporting Ukrainian refugees, and most of the world’s largest nonprofit organizations are also mounting large scale relief programs.

Pencils collected for School Kits. Photo by Sarah Kovacs

“Even with this massive response there are communities and very vulnerable people not receiving enough aid. Identifying and supporting some of these groups will be the focus of the Brethren Disaster Ministries response,” the announcement said. The IOCC “has developed a meaningful response to the war through connections with the Orthodox churches and other NGOs in Ukraine, Romania, and Poland. With about 67 percent of Ukrainians identifying as Christian Orthodox, IOCC has been effective at reaching people in need that few other aid groups can reach.”

The IOCC response focuses on three key priorities:
— Support for Ukrainian displaced persons as they travel to neighboring countries.
— Support for host families and institutions providing humanitarian assistance for refugees.
— Protection for women and children.

NYC service project

A grant of $37,500 helps fund a School Kit service project at the 2022 NYC, taking place this July. Brethren Disaster Ministries is partnering to offer the service opportunity this year, as took place at the last NYC in 2018.

Participants will assemble Church World Service (CWS) School Kits, connecting to the “Foundational” theme of NYC. Conference attendees are asked to sign up through an online tool to bring a portion of the items needed in the kits as an offering at NYC. Groups of attendees will organize the materials and assemble 3,000 kits, with oversight and organization by Brethren Disaster Ministries staff, including logistical coordination of getting the completed kits back to the Materials Resources warehouse at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

CWS estimates the value of each School Kit at $15, making the value of these 3,000 kits total $45,000.

— Find out more about Brethren Disaster Ministries at Give to the Emergency Disaster Fund in support of these grants at

2) WCC urges Patriarch Kirill: ‘Intervene and ask publicly for a ceasefire during the Resurrection service’

A release from the World Council of Churches

In a letter to H.H. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia on April 19, World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Ioan Sauca urged Patriarch Kirill to “intervene and ask publicly for a ceasefire for at least few hours during the Resurrection service.”

The letter reads: “I am aware that it is not in your power and authority to stop the war or to influence those who have such powers of decisions. But the faithful are waiting for a comforting word from Your Holiness. They think that if you come out with a public statement and request, as the spiritual father of so many millions of Orthodox in both Russia and Ukraine, that might have an impact.”

This is Sauca’s second letter to Patriarch Kirill; in the first he urged the patriarch to be a voice of mediation and help stop the war.

“The Orthodox and Greek Catholic faithful in Ukraine, in Russia and all over the world are preparing to celebrate at the end of this week the most important feast of the year, the Day of Resurrection,” wrote Sauca. “It is well known that for Eastern Christianity this day has a special resonance and importance.”

Sauca’s letter touched upon the moments in history that remind us, even in the most difficult moments of persecution, wars and suffering, nobody could stop the faithful singing and proclaiming boldly the Easter hymn which affirms the victory of life over death.

“In the light of these affirmations which are the core of our very identity, I have dared to write to you, with deep respect and filial love,” Sauca wrote. “People lost their trust and hope in politicians and in a possible peaceful negotiation and a ceasefire.”

The WCC receives daily requests from the faithful in Russia and Ukraine but also from all over the world to contact Patriarch Kirill to ask him to intervene and mediate for a peaceful solution, for dialogue rather than confrontation, for end to the fraternal blood shedding.

“We hear now worrying news that plans are to attack churches during the Easter night celebrations and to spread even more terror, fear, mutual accusations and demonization,” wrote Sauca. “We have kept asking the political leaders for a ceasefire and for return to the table of dialogue since the very beginning of hostilities but with no result.”

Sauca notes that, on the contrary, the war has intensified, and urges Patriarch Kirill to intervene to “give a chance to the soldiers and to the terrified civilians to embrace and greet one another with the paschal greeting, to silence for a moment the bombs and the missiles and to hear instead the triumphant sound of the church bells and the joyful signing of the faithful people.”

Read the full letter at

3) Brethren Historical Library and Archives reopens to researchers, with COVID protocols

By Jen Houser

The Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., is now open to researchers effective immediately. Please follow these guidelines as you plan to come to our facilities to do research:

— Please call the BHLA at 847-429-4368 (director), 847-429-4369 (intern), or email us at to make an appointment to visit us. At this point, no walk-ins are allowed.

— Researchers are expected to wear a face mask always covering their mouth and nose in the building unless physical distancing is possible. Please respect others’ boundaries by wearing a face mask within 6 feet of other humans.

— If you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you have tested positive for COVID-19, or you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please reschedule your appointment for a later date, as you will not be allowed to enter the building.

We will continue to answer your research questions and other needs via phone, email, Facebook message, or letter as well.

— Jen Houser is director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. Find out more about the archives at

The Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

4) Nigerian Brethren mourn deaths of denominational trustee, seminary lecturer, staff driver

Communications staff of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) have shared prayer concerns for the deaths of an EYN trustee, a lecturer at Kulp Theological Seminary, and a staff driver, among other losses.

“We give God the glory for a successful Annual General Church Council Meeting [Majalisa] 2022,” wrote EYN head of Media, Zakariya Musa. “It was not easy for the church because it buried one of the EYN Board of Trustees on 29th March, the very day the Majalisa started, and another burial was conducted at the same venue where the Majalisa took place on 1st April, a day the meeting ended.”

Prayer is requested for these losses:

The death of Ibrahim Dawa Ashifa Amuda, a minister on EYN’s Board of Trustees and a traditional ruler in the abandoned Bayan Dutse area, who died in an IDP camp for displaced people run by EYN in Nasarawa State.

The death of Aishatu Joseph Buduwara, from Gwoza area of Borno State, on March 31.

The death of Daniel John, a driver for EYN’s ICBDP program at the EYN headquarters, who was killed by Fulani.

The kidnapping of five staff of the EYN Brethren Health Technology program on April 7, who were later freed by community youths.

The death of Gulla Nghgyiya, a minister and lecturer at EYN’s Kulp Theological Seminary originally from Gwoza area, who was killed in an auto accident on April 10. His burial was scheduled for April 13, after a special service at the EYN Headquarters Conference Centre in Kwarhi.

“May God comfort their families, friends, and the entire Church of the Brethren in Nigeria,” wrote Musa.

5) Brethren in Dominican Republic make small but important steps toward reconciliation

By Jeff Boshart

Small, but important steps were taken this year in the life of Iglesia de los Hermanos (Church of the Brethren) in the Dominican Republic. In February of 2019, a division in the denomination began when pastors of Haitian descent walked out of the Asamblea or Annual Conference, citing discrimination among other reasons leading to a separation. An autonomous organization, La Communidad de Fe (Community of Faith), was organized and registered with the Dominican government as a nonprofit entity.

Attempts have been made by representatives from the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service Ministries since 2019 to reunite the church through visits and video calls. This year, two small, symbolic, but important steps have been made.

When Iglesia de los Hermanos held its Asamblea in February (18-20), representatives from the leadership of La Communidad de Fe were in attendance. More recently, on April 9-10, leaders from the board of Iglesia de los Hermanos attended the Asamblea of La Commnidad de Fe. A joint pastors’ retreat is in the planning stages for late May, as the two groups pursue a process of reconciliation.

The leadership of Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (Church of the Brethren in Haiti) also has made numerous visits to the Dominican Republic over the last few years and this year sent representation to both conferences. Both the Haitian and the US delegations have consistently called for the two sides in the conflict to seek peace and reconciliation.

— Jeff Boshart is manager of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative (GFI).

Above, a view of the annual conference of La Communidad de Fe in the Dominican Republic. Below, presentation of new pastors: Francisco Santo Bueno, with microphone, president of the board of Communidad de Fe, and Ariel Rosario Abreu, president of the board of directors for Iglesia de Los Hermanos. Photos by Ariel Rosario, president of the board of Iglesia de Los Hermanos (Church of the Brethren) in the Dominican Republic.

6) Sending cards: A report from the Death Row Support Project

By Rachel Gross

In the past several years, individuals and groups have chosen to send greeting cards to those on death row, in addition to or instead of exchanging letters with one individual. Some request a list before Christmas or Easter; others have asked for a list of birth dates. Manchester University (North Manchester, Ind.) students gathered once a month to send cards, using a list of names provided by the Death Row Support Project (DRSP). One year Trinity Church in Princeton, N.J., undertook the project of sending Christmas cards to every single person on death row.

Some who send cards use their own addresses and find themselves with new pen pals. Others use the DRSP address, sometimes enclosing an invitation to request a pen pal from DRSP.

Trinity Church group writes cards. Photo courtesy of Michelle Baxter

In recent years, some prisons have instituted no-card policies, i.e., greeting cards cannot be received by their residents. Other prisons are now photocopying all incoming mail so that the recipients only see a sometimes-not-so-great copy of the card sent to them. This provides an extra challenge for those who wish to send colorful messages of joy into prisons.

This year, DRSP writer Mary Elizabeth Allen, along with her mother, Jane, and her daughter, Catharine, have been sending birthday greetings to those on death row for whom we have dates of birth. Recently we received the following letter from Bobby Stone, on death row in South Carolina:

“Hi Mary, James got your card. I would like to thank you for writing to him. He is mentally ill and cannot write you back. But he loves getting mail. I take care of him so if you would like to write him, I will always try and write you back and let you know how he is doing, and what is going on with him. He is a good guy. Again, thank you for sending him the birthday card. That was very nice of you. May you have a blessed day. Bobby Stone.”

I am grateful to card-senders whose efforts expand the work of DRSP; thank you!

Names and numbers

By Mary Elizabeth Allen

When we send birthday cards to men on death row, we use lists provided by Rachel. These lists include the man’s name, his date of birth, and a number assigned by the prison system. No one can receive a card, or any mail, without this number on the envelope. When I write a letter to one of my imprisoned friends, his number must be part of the address on the envelope and first page, and put at the top of subsequent pages. A person is reduced to a series of letters and numbers.

It is the names that cause me greater sorrow. Some of the names are shared with my brothers. Some of the names could be those of first-generation arrivals, and I wonder about these men’s backgrounds. Can they speak English? Can they understand the guards’ orders? Are they even more isolated than most who wait and endure on Death Row?

My mother, who is 86, is most moved by the birthdates. Many of the men are about the age of her children. Occasionally the year of birth is in the 1950s or even the 1940s.

Each of these men was born, as was our Lord. We don’t know the circumstances of their births, but everyone was named. Some were named in hope and love by their families; some by overwhelmed and suffering mothers; some by nurses, as my daughters were; some by social workers. All were born, all were named. All are someone’s child.

— Rachel Gross is the founder and director of the Church of the Brethren-related Death Row Support Project. For more information go to


7) Bethany Theological Seminary announces new faculty member in Peace Studies

A release from Bethany Seminary

Margaret (Maggie) Elwell will join Bethany Theological Seminary this fall as assistant professor of Peace Studies. Chosen from an international search, Elwell comes to Bethany from the University of Maryland where she has been an assistant clinical professor in the University Honors program since 2019.

“I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Elwell to Bethany,” says dean Steve Schweitzer. “She comes with an educational experience that includes undergraduate work in English and Religion, an MA in Teaching, an MDiv, and a PhD in Religion and Society. Her teaching experience includes courses at the University of Maryland focused on issues of violence in stories and narrative approaches to theological concerns. She also taught middle school for four years in Baltimore City Public Schools. Maggie will bring creativity to courses in Peace Studies as well as contribute to our expanding offerings in Theopoetics. She exhibits excellent pedagogy, insightful approaches to complex topics, and a commitment to issues of social justice and peacemaking from a theologically informed perspective. I am confident that she will be a wonderful addition to Bethany’s faculty.”

Elwell, whose teaching and scholarship often makes connections between religion and literature, earned degrees from Swarthmore College, Johns Hopkins University, and Princeton Theological Seminary. Her dissertation is entitled “The Timing of Violence: A Critical-Literary Intervention.”

Drawing on a wide range of interests and methodologies, Elwell’s teaching and research examines such subjects as: frameworks of social injustice and violence; narrative ethics; creative writing and theopoetics; memoir and traumatic memory; literary theory; feminisms and gender; post-holocaust Jewish and Christian theologies; and pedagogy and the arts. She has shared her scholarship through published articles, conference presentations, invited lectures, and consultations. Her works under review, or in preparation, include scholarly articles and a novel.

While completing her graduate studies at Princeton Seminary, Elwell earned the Senior Fellowship for Best Thesis and a Doctoral Merit Fellowship. She served as director of the Center for Theology, Women, and Gender and in several other administrative roles at Princeton.

As a member of the Bethany faculty, Elwell will contribute courses in both Peace Studies and Theopoetics across Bethany’s various degree and certificate programs.

8) Sam Locke named executive director for Institutional Advancement at Bethany Seminary

A release from Bethany Seminary

Bethany Theological Seminary has named Sam Locke as executive director of institutional advancement following a national search. Locke joins the seminary from Indiana Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm based in Indianapolis that provides free legal services to low-income individuals, where he has served as director of development since 2016.

He served the Presbyterian Church (USA) as national director for special offerings and direct response fundraising from 2008-2015. Locke also has a background as a consultant, assisting Hartford (Connecticut) Seminary (now known as Hartford International University for Religion and Peace) with a successful fundraising campaign. Earlier in his career, he worked for Blackbaud, Inc., an industry leader in customer relationship management technology.

“We are thrilled to have Sam join us as the new leader of our institutional advancement team,” says president Jeff Carter. “During the interview process, Sam impressed us with his understanding of fundraising processes and his deep appreciation for the transformative potential of theological education. Sam understands both the art and science of fundraising, I know he will do a great job working with our donors and with colleagues at the seminary to help us gain the support we need to flourish.”

Originally from Connersville, Ind., Locke earned undergraduate degrees in education and political science from Indiana University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Wyoming. He also earned a master of divinity degree from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis.

“I’m excited for this opportunity to help Bethany flourish,” says Locke. “I look forward to learning more about the seminary’s rich history from its alumni and friends and am eager to look for ways to make Bethany’s world-changing mission sustainable well into the future. Now more than ever our communities need leaders with the skills Bethany grows in its students, it is an honor to be part of President Carter’s team as it works to make theological education accessible to new and diverse audiences.”

Locke’s first day in the office at Bethany will be May 2. In this role, he will be a member of the president’s leadership team and oversee the organization’s fundraising, alumni relations, communications, community relations, and marketing efforts.

9) Linetta Ballew to lead Brethren Woods

Shenandoah District has announced the call of Linetta Ballew to the role of executive director for Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center in Keezletown, Va. After the retirement from Brethren Woods of long-time executive director Doug Phillips in 2021, Ballew was hired as acting director. That role ends on Aug. 31.

Ballew has served in camping ministry for 19 years in a variety of roles, including as program director and assistant director at Brethren Woods. She also was co-administrator of Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa., from 2013 to 2018. She holds degrees from Bridgewater (Va.) College and Eastern Mennonite Seminary, where she earned a master of divinity.


10) National Youth Conference Office hosts two book conversations in May

By Erika Clary

Next month, the National Youth Conference (NYC) 2022 Office will host two book conversations for NYC participants via Zoom. These conversations are centered around books written by two NYC speakers, Osheta Moore and Drew G. I. Hart.

The first conversation will take place May 10 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) and will be about Dear White Peacemakers by Osheta Moore. Rachel Johnson will lead this conversation. She is from Lancaster, Pa., and is a student at Messiah University studying youth ministry. She works at Camp Swatara and is a licensed minister in the Church of the Brethren. Register for this conversation at and purchase the book from Brethren Press at

Rachel Johnson
Kayla Alphonse

The second conversation will be on May 24 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) and will be about Who Will Be a Witness by Drew G. I. Hart. Kayla Alphonse, one of the adult advisors for the Church of the Brethren’s National Youth Cabinet, will lead this conversation. She is pastor of Miami (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren and has spoken at NYC, Annual Conference, and National Junior High Conference. Register for this conversation at and purchase the book from Brethren Press at

Not yet registered for NYC? Do so as soon as possible using this link:

— Erika Clary is coordinator of the 2022 National Youth Conference and a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) volunteer. The 2022 NYC will take place July 23-28 in Fort Collins, Colo.

11) Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church to host virtual speaking events in May

By Jen Jensen

As we continue through a time of reflection, discernment, and hope for what the future holds, we have invited Melissa Florer-Bixler and Peter Chin to reflect on their recent respective articles addressing the challenging times as they speak openly and honestly, but with hope and gratitude.

Each event will include a question and answer portion at the end, and both will be available as a recording for later viewing. Registration is required, but the events are open to all with no fee. Questions about the events can be sent to Jen Jensen, manager for Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church, at

Melissa Florer-Bixler will speak on Tuesday, May 3, at 8 p.m. (Eastern time), sharing about her article “Why Pastors Are Joining the Great Resignation” featured in Sojourners ( Florer-Bixler is a Mennonite pastor and an author in Raleigh, N.C., who persists with her community to free people from prisons and to build a world that no longer depends on the logic of incarceration. She was educated at Duke University and Princeton Theological Seminary, and by the people of L’Arche, a community of those with and without intellectual disabilities who share the rhythms of daily life together. She’s written two books, How to Have an Enemy and Fire by Night, and articles in Sojourners, Christian Century, Geez, Image Journal, and Anabaptist World. Register at

Peter Chin will speak on Tuesday, May 17, at 8 p.m. (Eastern time), sharing about his article “I’ve Reached My Breaking Point as a Pastor,” featured in Christianity Today ( Chin is senior pastor of Rainier Avenue Church in Seattle, Wash., and a former columnist for Christianity Today. He has planted and led churches in major metropolitan cities throughout the United States, and his ministry focus on racial reconciliation has been featured in the Washington Post, CBS Sunday Morning, and National Public Radio. He is also the author of Blindsided by God, a memoir of his wife’s fight against breast cancer while pregnant with their third child. Register at

— Jen Jensen is manager of the Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church Program of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry.

Melissa Florer-Bixler
Peter Chin

12) Manchester University sets dedication of building in honor of first Black students

A release from Manchester University

Manchester University is inviting descendants of its first Black students to the formal naming ceremony of its Academic Center in honor of siblings Martha and Joseph Cunningham. It is Monday, May 2, on the North Manchester, Ind., campus.

The observance begins with a celebration paying tribute to the Cunninghams and their descendants. The program at 11 a.m. in Cordier Auditorium includes family representatives David Cunningham and Germar Reed, and a historian who has written about the Cunninghams, Nicholas Patler. The presentation, part of the Values, Ideas, and the Arts series at Manchester, is free and open to the public.

A March 1903 photo of the Lincoln Society with Joseph Cunningham at front and center, provided from the Manchester University Archives.

It will be followed immediately by a public ribbon-cutting ceremony on East Street at what is now called the Academic Center. Signage on the building will be changed to the Martha Cunningham and Joseph Cunningham Academic Center, and a new timeline inside will reflect the siblings’ life and times.

Siblings who grew up near Kokomo, Ind., the Cunninghams started at Manchester in 1900, Joseph in the preparatory school and Mattie in the Bible School.

Martha “Mattie” Cunningham Dolby spent the early part of her career working to improve the lives of impoverished Black families in the segregated South. Having spent much of her childhood in the Church of the Brethren, she worked to establish a congregation in Arkansas and reviving one in the Midwest. In 1911, she became the first woman to be installed as a minister in the denomination.

Joseph Cunningham completed the Manchester normal English program–a course designed as professional training for teachers that offered a solid base in mathematics, science, language, history and pedagogy–in 1903 and continued the following year with a program in elocution. He went on to become a physician and lived in Chicago.

The early 1900s were a time of intense racial violence and bigotry in the United States. The Cunninghams leave a legacy of tenacity, courage, and achievement in the face of systematic oppression.

“I can think of no better way for Manchester to honor the Cunninghams than to name a hall of learning for them,” said Manchester president Dave McFadden.

A luncheon for invited guests will follow the public festivities. Manchester is expecting at least 20 descendants of the Cunninghams to attend the dedication.

13) Memorial Day concert to feature Manchester University student choir, alumni

A release from Manchester University

A collection of a family’s letters from the Civil War era inspired Manchester University professor Debra Lynn to write “A Family Portrait,” which had its world premier at the school in North Manchester, Ind., in 2017.

She has been invited to conduct the oratorio at Carnegie Hall on May 30, with combined voices from Manchester’s A Cappella Choir, its alumni, and friends.

“It has wonderful educational value because much of the multi-layered musical material is derived from folk songs, hymns, and children’s songs from the Civil War era,” Lynn said. “If you’re an American history buff, you’ll be in heaven learning and performing this piece.”

“A Family Portrait” is an hour-long masterwork (10 movements) for chorus, orchestra, hammered dulcimer, and two soloists.

The lyrics for eight of the movements come from letters written by three people in the Houghtaling family line. The oldest was a soldier in the Union Army, stationed at Manassas during the Civil War. The other two movements are settings of an excerpt from Walt Whitman’s epic poem “To Think of Time.”

The May 30 performance is at 7 p.m. on the Perelman Stage in Stern Auditorium with the New England Symphonic Ensemble and includes John Rutter conducting his Requiem and Cheryl Dupont conducting a treble chorus festival. Tickets range from $20 to $150 and can be purchased at

Closer to home, there will be a performance at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 1, in Cordier Auditorium on the North Manchester campus. Admission is free.

Lynn has conducted at Carnegie Hall twice before, in 2001 and 2007. She serves as director of choral organizations and vocal studies at Manchester. Choral ensembles under her direction include the A Cappella Choir, Chamber Singers, and Cantabile. She is conductor of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, a collaboration that involves Manchester students, alumni, employees, and residents of nearby communities.

14) Brethren bits

— The Church of the Brethren seeks applicants for the position of director of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). This is a full-time salaried position. A successful candidate will be an energetic and dynamic leader who connects well with people of all ages, is skilled at leading through programmatic change, and facilitates Christian discipleship formation. Major responsibilities include directing the program, ministry, and staff of BVS and FaithX (formerly workcamps). The new director will join a review and reimagining of BVS programs that is currently in process. This position is part of the Service Ministries team and reports to the executive director of Service Ministries. Required skills and knowledge include excellent written and oral communication in English; skills in program development, management, administration, and volunteer management; effective training and presentation skills; skilled competency in Microsoft Office component applications, particularly Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, with the capability and willingness to learn new software; knowledge and experience in budget development and management; skills at supervision and mentorship of staff and staff volunteers; ability to work with minimum supervision, be a self-starter, and adapt to change; ability to act within a multicultural and multigenerational team environment; ability to articulate, support, and lead from the core values of the Church of the Brethren and to operate out of the vision of the denomination and the Mission and Ministry Board; ability to relate with integrity and respect within and beyond the organization. Full COVID-19 vaccination is a condition of employment. Five years of proven experience in social services, program development, and administration, and three years of experience in volunteer management are required, with previous international living experience preferred. A bachelor’s degree is required, with an advanced degree in a related field preferred. This position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Applications are being received and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to or to the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Material Resources this month completed shipments of hospital supplies and equipment to Guyana and to Haiti. Material Resources is a Church of the Brethren program that collects, warehouses, and ships relief goods on behalf of a number of ecumenical and humanitarian organizations, working out of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Staff member Scott Senseney loaded two containers filled with Brothers Brother Foundation donations. On April 14, one of the 40-foot containers was shipped to Guyana, filled with hospital equipment including 16 hospital beds and mattresses, exam tables, wheelchairs, pediatric scale, bedside cabinets, and patient room recliners. On April 19, the other 40-foot container was shipped to Haiti, containing hospital supplies and equipment. These shipments were from donations that had been inspected and organized on pallets by staff Winni Wanionek and Jeffrey Brown. Glenna Thompson, as with all shipments, organized and filled out the paperwork in order to get the containers on their way.

— The Church of the Brethren’s South/Central Indiana District seeks candidates for district executive minister. The district includes 40 congregations in the middle of the state of Indiana, representing a wide range of theological views. The district seeks good connections and relationships between the executive minister, pastors, and congregations. The shift to a full-time position envisions strong connections out of which congregations will be able to reach out in service and witness more effectively to Christ. The executive minister’s commitment to Jesus Christ and the scriptures is essential. This full-time position is available Sept. 5, 2022. The executive minister functions as executive officer of the District Board, facilitates the implementation of the core ministries of the district, serves as custodian of all official papers of the district, serves as an ex-officio member of the District Board (without vote), assists congregations and pastors with search and call of ministerial leadership, assists congregations and pastors with the development of wholesome relationships, and assists congregations with church growth initiatives. Qualifications include a clear commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrated by a vibrant spiritual life; commitment to the Seven Core Values of the district; commitment to Church of the Brethren faith and heritage; strong personal, communication, and mediation skills; strong administrative, management, and budget skills; respect for theological diversity; willingness and ability to travel across the district on a regular basis. A master of divinity degree is preferred, as well as a minimum of five years of pastoral experience. Apply by sending a letter of interest and a resume to Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Director of the Office of Ministry, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; Applicants will be asked to complete a candidate profile on receipt of resume. Applicants are requested to contact three or four people to provide letters of reference. Applications will be received until the position is filled.

– Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa., is posting the following job openings for the 2022 season: lifeguards, counselors, housekeeping, kitchen, grounds keepers (Building & Grounds). Applicates can visit for job description and to apply.

— The Annual Conference is sharing an announcement that there will be no onsite quilting at the 2022 Conference. “Due to some lingering hesitations about the need for people to be in close proximity to one another during the quilting, the Association for the Arts in the Church of the Brethren (AACB) will not be hosting the auction or quilting at Conference this year,” said the announcement from AACB coordinator Tara Hornbacker. “There will be a presentation to the moderator. Send your quilt blocks to Margaret Weybright, 1801 Greencroft Blvd., Apt. #125, Goshen, IN 46526. We plan to return to quilting at Conference, along with hosting the auction next year in Cincinnati. See you there!”

— Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has been highlighted in an article on the “Cool Deeds” website. The article promotes CDS as one of the “Share Good, Do Good, Feel Good” options for readers to support. Go to

– Brethren Disaster Ministries is celebrating “all the rebuild volunteers who have served in many ways to support our projects!” Said a Facebook post for this National Volunteer Week: “You have helped us to support Hurricane Matthew and Florence survivors in the Carolinas for the last five years, ending last week! You have signed up to serve on our new site in Waverly, Tenn., that opens next week and short-term responses around the country. And you have supported the Dayton, Ohio, tornado response during a pandemic for survivors like Ms. North. The work that BDM volunteers and supporters did to transform the ‘Little Marlin’ house has offered the opportunity for her to possibly go from being homeless for 10 months to owning her own house she can welcome her family to. THANK YOU!” Find an article about North and the house, rebuilt by Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers, from Spectrum News at

— Brethren Disaster Ministries also issued a reminder about the upcoming disaster relief auction in Shenandoah District: “It is time to put the Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction on your calendar: May 20 & 21!” Find the schedule and follow the Facebook page at for updated information.

— Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., has announced that its commencement this year is scheduled for Saturday, May 7. “Bethany will honor graduates from the Class of 2022 during an Academic Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m. in Nicarry Chapel,” said an announcement. “The featured speaker is Kelly Burk, MDiv, a Bethany graduate who serves as Chaplain and Director of Quaker Life at Earlham College.” The seminary will provide a live stream via Zoom.

— Dauda Gava has joined Bethany Seminary as visiting international scholar-in-residence for the Spring semester 2022. Gava is provost of Kulp Theological Seminary, the seminary of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), located near EYN’s headquarters in Kwarhi in northeast Nigeria. He is a Pauline scholar and previously collaborated with Bethany’s Dan Ulrich “to team teach a well-received course on the Book of Romans. They offered that course this year as a January intensive, with Dr. Gava teaching from the Technology center in Jos [Nigeria],” reported a Bethany release. During this Spring semester, Gava has taught a course on Paul’s letter to the Philippians and will be writing a commentary on the book of Titus. He also preached for the Bethany Seminary chapel service on April 6.

— “Join us for our seminar ‘Children as Peacebuilders: Equipping Resilient Leaders- Environmental Justice,’” invites On Earth Peace. The event is offered at 12 noon (Eastern time) on April 23. “Bring your children!” says the invitation. The agency’s Environmental Justice organizer Calum Clow, and Children’s Peace Formation organizer Hadil Alhayek, will be addressing Environmental Justice as part of On Earth Peace’s Earth Day activities, equipping caregivers and educators with tools–such as storytelling using the Read Aloud Program–to talk to children and the community about issues surrounding environmental justice. Go to

— Atlantic Northeast District is holding a special event on May 14, under the theme “The Church: Alive to Thrive,” hosted at Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Said an announcement: “Gathering from different areas within ANE District, representing ethnically and culturally diverse congregations, we will worship, fellowship, and share testimonies about The Church: Alive To Thrive. La Iglesia: viva para prosperar Encuentro de congregaciones desde diferentes lugares dentro del Distrito ANE, representando la diversidad Étnica y Cultural, adoraremos, compartiremos y proporcionaremos testimonios sobre la Iglesia: Vivo Para Prosperar. Join us in this inspirational time of connection and relationship building with the expectation to learn and return to your own congregation with renewed excitement about how God is working among us! ¡Únase a nosotros en este tiempo inspirador de conexión y construcción de relaciones con la expectativa de aprender y regresar a su propia congregación con entusiasmo renovado sobre cómo Dios está trabajando entre nosotros!” The gathering will address the questions: What is keeping your church alive? ¿Qué mantiene viva a su iglesia? How does your church thrive? ¿Cómo prospera su iglesia? How does your church call out the gifts of persons in your midst? ¿Cómo llama su iglesia a los dones de las personas entre ustedes? How are leaders called out within your church? ¿Cómo se llama a los líderes dentro de su iglesia?

— Pacific Northwest District has begun holding special times of prayer led by the Envisioning Team of Peggy Liley, John Jones, Howard Ullery, and Colleen Michael. The evening online events are held on the first and third Thursdays of the month via Zoom, according to an announcement. The intent is “for a time of prayerfully discerning how best to encourage our congregations and faith communities to reconnect and stay connected in intentional community so we can explore together what God might have in mind for us…. We anticipate this being a time of sharing and prayer concerns for our congregations and thoughtful discernment about the direction our District will be heading specifically in terms of ministry and organization.”

— Virlina District has announced that its Kentucky tornado offering is complete. “District congregations and individual members contributed $12,404.50…. The Disaster Response Committee of the district matched this amount. As a result, we have sent $24,809.00 to Brethren Disaster Ministries. We appreciate the generosity of our people and congregations in giving to this effort!”

— Cross Keys Village: The Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa., is offering educational events for those living with or caring for people with memory loss and dementia. “Making a Difference in the Lives of People with Dementia in the Adams & York Area” is offered in person and online on May 13 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Eastern time) led by author and speaker Loretta Woodward Veney. Register at “Memory Care Basics,” an interactive three-part series, begins on May 11. Memory care coach Kim Korge will present three afternoon sessions, providing a thorough orientation for family caregivers and professionals who need a better understanding of neurocognitive disorders. Register at

— McPherson (Kan.) College has announced its Spring Horizon Fund Grant recipients. “For more than a decade, McPherson College has been encouraging the entrepreneurial ideas of its students by awarding mini-grants that help students develop innovative solutions to common problems,” said a release. “This spring, the Horizon Fund is providing grants to 15 students with ideas ranging from a car rental service to daycare to fitness training. The individual grants range from $100 to $500 and students have the option to reapply for continued funding of existing Horizon Fund Grant projects.” Abbey Archer-Rierson, chief of staff and head of the entrepreneurship program at McPherson, said, “The grants have supported a variety of wildly creative ideas and this most recent round of funding is no exception.” Find the full release at

— Mutual Aid Agency (MAA) is announcing the Kingdom Advancing Grant program from the Brotherhood Mutual Foundation for congregations carrying out innovative church programs. MAA is an independent insurance agency based near Abilene, Kan., providing property insurance to the Church of the Brethren and its members and beyond, and is an agency partner of the Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. The Kingdom Advancing Grants “will be awarded to innovative Christian church programs that are transforming local communities through ministry,” said a release. “The goal is to support sustainable initiatives that then can be replicated by other Christian churches by awarding up to $100,000 in grants. Grant recipients will be announced July 2022.” Criteria for the grant includes church teams and programs focused on planning a new initiative or revitalizing a recent initiative that addresses at least one of the following objectives: increasing community engagement; meeting real and practical human needs; establishing creative, transformative, or collaborative revenue streams to help the church expand its impact. In order for an initiative or program to be considered for a grant, it must be directly overseen by a Christian church that meets each of the following requirements: a tax-exempt charitable organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; in good standing with the IRS; if the 501(c)(3) tax exemption was previously revoked by the IRS, it must have been reinstated for at least one full year prior to applying for the Kingdom Advancing Grant; based in the United States. Each grant recipient will be paired with an experienced ministry leader who can provide guidance and assistance. Applications are open through May 1 at MAA’s Church of the Brethren Ministry Partner landing page is at Find the MAA website at

— Anabaptist Disabilities Network is the recipient of the 2022 Mennonite Health Services’ Innovation Grant, which will go towards the development of an Anabaptist membership curriculum for youth and adults with intellectual disabilities. A release from the network reported that “ADN’s membership curriculum will include an overview of the biblical story, a brief history of the Anabaptists, an exploration of Anabaptist beliefs and practices, and a detailed explanation of the practice of baptism in Anabaptist tradition. The curriculum will be written for adults, easy to read and illustrated. The teacher’s book will help teachers accompany their students as they consider a choice for baptism. Membership curriculum and Bible studies for youth/adults with intellectual disabilities are some of our most frequently requested resources.”

— Global Scholars Canada is hosting a talk by Rebecca Dali titled “Women in the Cross-Fire: The Girls of Chibok and the Long Road to Healing,” with respondent Elaine Storkey, author of Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women. Dali is a member of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) who has been a leader in responding to and aiding women and children, particularly widows and orphans, affected by violence in northeast Nigeria. Dali completed a master’s thesis as well as a doctoral thesis with Global Scholar’s Wendy Helleman, and “in both she dealt with the effect of violence on women, children and the family in the context of ethnic unrest/riots,” said the announcement. She has been recognized for her work through the NGO she founded called the Center for Caring, Empowerment and Peace Initiative (CCEPI), in 2017 receiving the Sergio Vieira de Mello United Nations Humanitarian Award. The Zoom event takes place on Saturday, May 14, at 11a.m. (Eastern time). To receive the link for this event, email Global Scholars Canada at or go to the website

— The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is mourning the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya at the hands of the police in Grand Rapids, Mich. The NCC is sharing a prayer by its chief operating officer Leslie Copeland Tune, written for the NCC’s Holy Week of Prayer series: “We are triggered by yet another unnecessary death by police of an unarmed Black man, this time in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We are weary of the ways in which racial hatred and vitriol continue to erode the fabric of this nation, making the promise of America seem to be a dream deferred for far too many. We pray for the loved ones of Patrick Lyoya and all those who know the pain they are experiencing right now. We pray for our nation to break this confluence of systemic racism, inhumanity and violence by police who are supposed to protect and serve. We pray for Black and Brown communities, too often plagued by violence and many of whom believe we are not safe, including and especially with law enforcement. Lord, have mercy.”

– Church World Service (CWS) is calling for people of faith “to welcome vulnerable people with warmth and open arms, and urge Members of Congress to do the same. We invite faith leaders and faith organizations to sign onto this important faith letter” about the Biden administration’s “planned end to the inhumane Title 42 policy by May 23rd, 2022.” CWS explained, “Since the announcement to end the policy, new anti-asylum measures have been introduced in an attempt to keep Title 42 in place, including the Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022. This bill would make it difficult or impossible to rescind Title 42 and would force the CDC and DHS to keep border expulsions in place–contradicting the CDC’s scientific analysis which found that the expulsion policy is not necessary to protect public health.” The sign-on letter is available through April 25 at

— Church agencies are urging action for those threatened by famine in eastern Africa. An estimated 15.5-16 million people are in urgent need of food assistance in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, according to the Intergovernmental Government Authority on Development. Reported in a release from the World Council of Churches (WCC), of these numbers, 6 to 6.5 million are in Ethiopia, 3.5 in Kenya, and 6 million in Somalia. “It is also anticipated that floods and insecurity in South Sudan will push another 8 people into acute food insecurity. In the region, 29 million are facing high food insecurity.” Read the full release at

— The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is requesting letters from people of faith to members of Congress urging them “to vote to end the restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees are now beginning to draft their respective versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In the past, this bill has been used by Congress to place restrictions on transferring Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. for any reason, even for trial or for necessary medical treatment. Congress has also used the NDAA to place limits on transfers to other countries with bureaucratic hurdles that make transfers unnecessarily complicated. For the past three years, the U.S. House has voted to lift the restrictions on transfers to the United States in their version of the NDAA, but the Senate has not,” explained the NRCAT action alert. Find out more at View an NRCAT Facebook post and webinar recording about the Guantanamo Bay detention center, first posted in January of this year, at

— Creation Justice Ministries is sharing an Earth Day Sunday website with numerous resources for congregations to use in worship and other settings. “The last five years have shown that the climate crisis is no longer something to worry about in the future–it is affecting our communities right now,” says the introduction, in part. “It has become clear that climate change is not merely a problem for the church to prepare for in ten or twenty years; it is time for the church to prepare right now. Around us, God’s people and planet are facing the impacts of the climate crisis. As the world groans in travail, the church ought to partner with God in cultivating a redeemed, restored, and resilient creation. It is time for Christians to be agents of ‘Faithful Resilience.’” The theme for the 2022 resources is “Weathering the Storm: Faithful Resilience.” The webpage includes links to free worship resources, Bible studies, sermon starters, a church crisis map, faithful resilience videos, and action steps. Go to

— Dawn Blackman, outreach pastor at Champaign (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, is one of the speakers for the YWCA of the University of Illinois’ virtual event titled “We Can’t Wait to Close the Digital Divide” scheduled for April 28. The event is part of the YWCA USA’s annual Stand Against Racism campaign that happens every April to “raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism in our communities and to build community among those who work for racial justice,” said an announcement on the “Smile Politely” blogsite. The 2022 theme is “We Can’t Wait.” Blackman will be part of a panel discussion on the “impact of racism on access to technology and the subsequent inequities in education, healthcare, employment,” moderated by Lemond Peppers, community engagement coordinator for the city of Urbana. Also on the panel are Sam Hall III, program director with DREAAM, and Stephanie Burnett, Move to Work and Community Program Manager for the Housing Authority of Champaign County. Go to

— Tim and Byron Joseph, who have been part of Onekama (Mich.) Church of the Brethren, were highlighted by the Manistee News Advocate recently as “two-thirds of popular singing group The Nephews…. The cousins grew up next door to each other as part of a larger family that was music oriented. Some of their earliest recollections are attending church on Sunday with the family at Church of the Brethren in Onekama where music played a big role in their services. Both Tim and Byron Joseph couldn’t help but smiling a little when they recalled the debut performance of The Nephews when they played together 62 years ago for the Junior Clio Club in Onekama. Many songs later, they still are entertaining audiences with their smooth harmony. They possibly are the longest-performing musical group in Manistee County.” Read the articlee titled “The Nephews Spread Joy Through Music” at

— Marci Frederick, director of libraries at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., is researching Brethren communion bread practices, including recipes, spiritual practices while making bread, purchased bread, and how the bread is used. In an announcement of a survey for this research, she requests “your personal and congregational stories as she attempts to track how recipes spread and changed.” The survey is open through June 30 at For more information on this Eastern Mennonite University sabbatical project, feel free to contact Ms. Frederick at

— Mary Dulabaum of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., who works as director of marketing and communications at Judson University, will receive the Marguerite Henry Award for Communications and Technology at the YWCA Elgin 38th annual Leader Luncheon on May 12. She is among 28 women to be honored in a number of categories.

Newsline is the email news service of the Church of the Brethren. Inclusion in Newsline does not necessarily convey endorsement by the Church of the Brethren. All submissions are subject to editing. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contributors to this issue include Dina Al Bayati, Mary Elizabeth Allen, Erika Clary, Marci Frederick, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, Tina Goodwin, Anne Gregory, Rachel Gross, Wendy Helleman, Tara Hornbacker, Jen Houser, John Jantzi, Jen Jensen, Nancy Miner, Zakariya Musa, Frank Ramirez, Janelle Rebman, Howard Royer, Kimberly Rutter, Ron Stief, Loretta Wolf, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Please send news tips and submissions to . Find the Newsline archive at . Sign up for Newsline and other Church of the Brethren email newsletters and make subscription changes at . Unsubscribe by using the link at the top of any Newsline email.

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