Newsline for June 3, 2022

1) CDS team continues work in Uvalde, has opportunity to meet President and Dr. Biden

2) Shipments from Material Resources send relief aid to Europe and the Caribbean

3) NCC leader scheduled to travel to Uvalde as NCC releases statement on tragic mass shooting

4) Chernihiv (Chernigov) Brethren pastor returns to city, finds meetinghouse miraculously undamaged

5) Annual Conference leaders issue COVID Protocol Announcement

6) Book study to address complex emotional landscape of family systems in churches

7) Mechanicsburg is part of a three-church team welcoming an Afghan refugee family

8) Trotwood Church is getting a Little Free Library®, grand opening includes benefit for Ukrainian refugees

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

9) Brethren bits: Remembering Gladys Naylor, congregations hold events lamenting gun violence, On Earth Peace day of celebration via Zoom, and more news by, for, and about Brethren.

The theme and logo for Annual Conference 2022

June 10 is the last day to register for Annual Conference online at The 2022 Conference is planned for July 10-14 in Omaha, Neb. Find the Conference schedule and more details at

Reflecting the new “hybrid” nature of this year’s annual meeting, there is a call for Annual Conference business volunteers. If you are not a delegate to Annual Conference, but still going to Omaha, please consider being volunteer to help those online be part of the business. Leadership is arranging for a handful of volunteers who can stand-in for virtual participants, taking a question they may have posed in the online chat up to the microphones to share on their behalf. For more information and/or to volunteer, please write to Enten Eller at

As many congregations return to in-person worship, we want to update worship opportunities at Churches of the Brethren across the country at We also lift up for prayer support Brethren who are active in health care at Please send new worship information and add health care workers (first name, county, and state) by sending an email to

1) CDS team continues work in Uvalde, has opportunity to meet President and Dr. Biden

By Lisa Crouch

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) deployed a Critical Response Childcare (CRC) team to Uvalde, Texas, on May 26 to work with the children directly affected by the school shooting that happened on Tuesday, May 24.

Six CRC-trained CDS volunteers have been in Uvalde for the past week and to date have had 157 child contacts during their time in the Family Assistance Center.

The team was honored to be present with the children on Sunday while President and Dr. Biden visited with families in the center, demonstrating first-hand what CDS does best. Due to the nature of the response, the ability to share photos and information is very protected, but the team is doing very meaningful work with the children.

The CDS CRC team plans to continue serving in Uvalde as long as there is a need in this community.

— Lisa Crouch is associate director of Children’s Disaster Services. Since 1980 CDS, a program of Brethren Disaster Ministries, has been meeting the needs of children by setting up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters. Find out more at More about CDS’s Critical Response Childcare team is at

The Children’s Disaster Services team in Uvalde. Photo courtesy of CDS

2) Shipments from Material Resources send relief aid to Europe and the Caribbean

By Loretta Wolf

Material Resource staff Scott Senseney and Jeffrey Brown loaded three 40-foot containers with a total of 1,120 bales of Lutheran World Relief Quilts, shipping them to the Republic of Georgia. The two men are on the staff of the Material Resources program based at warehouse facilities at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Another 40-foot container filled with Lutheran World Relief quilts and kits left for Poland to assist the people of Ukraine. This was the second phase of supplies being shipped to Ukraine.

Three containers are being loaded this week and next week with Brothers Brother Foundation hospital supplies and equipment destined for Eswatini, Guatemala, and Haiti.

On the receiving side, two trailers from the states of Washington and Oregon were received at the Brethren Service Center containing new Lutheran World Relief donations. This was a normal Spring gathering of donations, and a welcome sight.

— Loretta Wolf is director of Material Resources for the Church of the Brethren. Find out more about the ministry of Material Resources at

3) NCC leader scheduled to travel to Uvalde as NCC releases statement on tragic mass shooting

A release from the NCC

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) announces that Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, interim president and general secretary, will be traveling to Uvalde, Texas, this Saturday to provide a ministry of presence to this community experiencing unspeakable tragedy following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, where 19 children and 2 teachers were murdered. There are also 17 other victims who were wounded in the shooting. McKenzie will attend the morning worship service at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, June 5.

“There are no words and when there are no words, the ministry of presence is needed,” explained McKenzie. “I will go and pray with and for church members and the community. I hope that my visit motivates people to give support to the families who are experiencing this tragedy and have immediate needs that are not being met as they wait for other funds to be distributed. As I go bearing gifts, I encourage others to give their gifts and send thoughts and prayers in a tangible way.”

“Thank you for reaching out to us,” responded Michael K. Marsh, rector of St. Philip’s. “We greatly appreciate your prayers and support. We welcome your presence with us in worship and prayer.”

McKenzie’s visit to Uvalde comes just a week and a half following a trip to Buffalo, N.Y., where she met with families of those murdered at Tops Grocery Store, as well as churches, community groups, and agencies providing help and support for that community following the massacre of 11 innocent people by a gunman who targeted them because they were Black.

The NCC on June 2 released the following statement:

NCC Agonizes After the Elementary School Shooting in Texas

“They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.” Psalm 106:37-38 NRSVue

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) grieves for the 21 lives lost at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. We pray for the loved ones of the 19 children and two teachers who were killed and for the 17 who were wounded.

There are no words sufficient for the horror of this act. Our United States are covered with blood – the blood of innocent children and their teachers. We mourn these new victims as we still grieve the lives lost and traumatized during past school massacres at Columbine High School, Red Lake Senior High School, Nickle Mines schoolhouse, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Rancho Tehama Elementary School, Stoneman Douglas High School, and Santa Fe High School. This year so far, there have been 27 school shootings and over 200 mass shootings in our country. The long-term effects of these shootings exacerbate the harm and trauma experienced by those most impacted as well as our nation as a whole.

We must act to stop this from ever happening again. It is sinful to offer thoughts and prayers without taking decisive action to reform gun legislation.

An overwhelming majority of Americans want tighter gun laws. A recent survey found that 90% of registered US voters want background checks required for all gun sales. Yet, those who have made idols out of guns they sell for profit continue to be in control of national gun laws through political contributions and lobbying efforts. A false theology of “God and guns” has also seeped into too many churches giving cover for elected officials who are intent on doing nothing to stop these mass shootings. Since this horrendous shooting of elementary school children, the main gun lobby organization, the National Rifle Association, continued to promote the sale of guns at their annual meeting in Houston, just a few hundred miles from Uvalde, with the participation of the former president and current Texas elected leaders. When will there be justice?

We admonish those who assert that even more guns should be placed in our communities. Arming more people is not the solution. We know that the best way to stop bad people with guns is to prevent them from having guns. We hold the simple truth that with more guns, there are more gun deaths.

Every country has people with mental health issues and racist beliefs but only US laws make it easy to pick up a gun and kill people, easier, in fact, than it is to obtain a driver’s license. The US has more gun violence than every other developed nation in the world. This is shameful and we should not accept that we must live like this.

“We are angry,” said Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, NCC Interim President and General Secretary. “The right to bear arms is not the right to kill innocent children, teachers, or grocery store shoppers. We can’t be tempted to blame everything on mental health instability, either. No one should be able to purchase assault-style weapons, especially not someone not even old enough to buy alcoholic beverages.”

There are legislative solutions that we know will be effective. In addition to expanding Medicaid in every state in order to make mental health services available to all who need them, stricter gun laws must also be passed. The NCC continues to call for thorough background checks and the ban of assault guns and other military-grade weapons, which have no practical use in our communities beyond mass shootings. The nation should also have “red flag” laws so that law enforcement and others can stop people from buying guns and confiscate guns if they already own them.

Today, we again reaffirm, our 1967 statement calling for Firearms Control. The NCC holds that the God-given “right to life” is fundamental and sacred and that it is not possible to protect life and maintain public order when individuals have unregulated access to firearms. Then and now, the NCC calls for permit requirements that incorporate “proper identification of applicant (by the fingerprint method if possible), and a waiting period prior to issuance so that an adequate check can be made of the prospective purchaser to verify such matters as age, absence of mental illness, and lack of a felony record.” In addition, we repeat our 2010 call for local, state, and federal legislators “to enact reforms that limit access to assault weapons and handguns, including closing the so-called federal ‘gun show loophole,’ which allows for the purchase of firearms from private sellers without submitting to a background check, or providing documentation of the purchase.”

Furthermore, we challenge those who have embraced White Christian Nationalism and associate guns with their identity as Christians. We ask them to examine how unchecked use of guns reflect our Christian beliefs. Considering guns as sacred above every other right including voting, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion is immoral.

“We pray but we know that prayers are not enough,” stated Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, NCC Governing Board Chair and Presiding Bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. “The NCC calls on the members of our denominations to advocate, vote, and campaign for appropriate gun laws and elect people who will continue to put our lives, and the lives of our children, above the profit of gun companies. Over 50 years of advocacy has not brought results. We need our churches to have the tough conversations around gun laws and hope that ministers will feel compelled to bravely enter into discussions about gun safety laws in their congregations. We will not be silent and as people of faith, we must act.”

NCC’s policies adopted by the NCC Governing Board regarding gun control:

Ending Gun Violence: A Resolution and Call to Action by the National Council of Churches of Christ, U.S.A. 2010

Firearms Control Adopted by the General Board 1967

4) Chernihiv (Chernigov) Brethren pastor returns to city, finds meetinghouse miraculously undamaged

The following is an update from the Chernihiv (Chernigov) Brethren in Ukraine and their pastor Alex Zazhytko and his family, provided by Keith Funk, pastor of Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. Funk has been a key Church of the Brethren contact for the Chernihiv (Chernigov) Brethren:

“Last week Alex and I had opportunity to Facetime, something we had not done in several weeks. He and his family are back at their home in Chernihiv (Chernigov). I was able to extend greetings to all the family…. The family is doing well, particularly in light of the circumstances.

“At this time, utilities and services have been restored to some degree in Chernihiv. Some stores are open and humanitarian aid is getting through. Alex and his family have been blessed by prayers and giving, and he and his family continue to help in distribution of food and ministering to the needs of their neighbors and city residents.

“Alex is asking for continued prayer as Russia continues to press the war. One concern is that Russia is gathering troops at the northern border, which may mean another incursion into Ukraine from that location. This could directly involve Chernihiv again. Alex said, ‘Keith, we don’t want to flee again. If we have to, we will. But we are hoping not to.’

A pre-war photo of pastor Alaexander Zazhytko and his wife, Tonia, in their church house. Courtesy of Keith Funk

“The Zazhytko home was not damaged and the same can be said for their congregation’s meetinghouse. This is stunning in light of 70 percent of Chernihiv having been leveled by missile attack and bombing.

“To this point, many of the members of the congregation have not returned to Chernihiv. The hope is that they can and will at some point. Many answers and much work remains. Of course, much of the process of restoration will necessarily be determined only upon the war’s end. May we continue to pray for the end of this conflict.”

— Keith Funk is pastor of Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren.


5) Annual Conference leaders issue COVID Protocol Announcement

From the Program and Arrangements Committee for the 2022 Annual Conference

As we draw closer to Annual Conference, July 10-14, 2022, in Omaha, Neb., one of our top priorities remains caring for the health and well-being of all Conferencegoers, as well as those we come in contact with throughout our host city. In the highly politicized context of the ongoing pandemic, this has proven to be a challenging task. Earlier this year, the Program and Arrangements Committee developed a COVID response plan in consultation with epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Jacobsen and physician and former Program and Arrangements Committee member Dr. Emily Shonk Edwards. We recently met with Drs. Jacobsen and Shonk Edwards to assess where we are, where we are headed, and what level of the plan we will be operating in at Annual Conference.

This was not an easy decision. We know people are tired of this lingering pandemic and tired of adhering to the precautions necessary to keep everyone safe. Most congregations have resumed normal activities and dropped masking requirements. We understand all of this.

However, we also know that Annual Conference is a very different event than the Sunday service in a local congregation. Annual Conference is a multi-generational event bringing people from across the country together for a large indoor gathering during which social distancing is not always possible and activities like singing and sharing meals together are important. In that single sentence describing Annual Conference, we find a compilation of proven risk factors. We want to gather in person, but also want to do so in a way that is safe and reflects our faith-based commitment to care for the most vulnerable among us and limit unnecessary pressure on the local healthcare system. We had so hoped that the COVID numbers would allow us to gather with limited precautions and restrictions. However, that is not the case. The highly contagious Omicron BA.2 variant is surging, and current vaccines have limited effectiveness at reducing transmission of these circulating strains.However, we also know that Annual Conference is a very different event than the Sunday service in a local

The theme and logo for Annual Conference 2022

The “Community Transmission” metric upon which we built our plan is not the primary metric currently used by the CDC, but the “Community Transmission” map can still be accessed on the CDC website ( by choosing it from the bottom of the drop down menu just above the map. As of this writing, more than 85 percent of counties across the country are experiencing a high or substantial level of transmission–and because many people are no longer testing or no longer reporting test results, the transmission rate is likely much higher. We have, therefore, determined that we should follow the protocols outlined in the ORANGE level of our previously approved and announced plan.

This means the following:

Annual Conference attendees will be expected to wear N95 or KN95 masks at all times in the convention center and meeting rooms at the Hilton except when eating or drinking. Masks are the most effective tool in preventing spread against the BA.2 pathogens that hang in the air like a mist. Leadership speaking from the podium or head table may remove their masks while speaking to be better understood, but will replace their masks when they are finished speaking.

We can engage in congregational singing. All choirs will also wear their masks while singing.

Meal events will take place, but limits will be placed on numbers to allow for a bit more social distancing, and planners will be asked to present the program first. Those who feel comfortable doing so may eat in the meeting room and enjoy the table fellowship, while those who do not feel comfortable doing so will be able to request a boxed meal to take with them after the program.

Social distancing reminders will be posted in areas where people tend to congregate in lines.

In addition, although not included in our initial protocols, we will distribute small red heart stickers that can be applied to name badges by those who, for any reason, prefer to maintain at least three feet of distance from others. This will allow everyone to know how to approach and greet one another.

COVID vaccines remain effective in reducing the risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and death. We strongly encourage all Conference attendees to get fully vaccinated prior to Annual Conference.

We also encourage all Conference attendees to test for COVID before coming to Annual Conference. If you test positive–or if someone in your household tests positive within five days prior to Annual Conference (whether or not they were planning to come to Annual Conference)–please, please, please stay home. We will refund your registration fee. Finally, if you begin to feel ill at Annual Conference, we ask that you get tested and then isolate until you have a test result. If you test positive, you should not return to in-person activities.

We know that a variety of feelings may be evoked by our decision to adhere to recent CDC guidance recommending a return to mask wearing when traveling and attending large gatherings. For some of you, this plan may cause frustration, anxiety, or even anger that we are taking these precautions at a time when many Americans have decided to live like the pandemic is over. We call on all Conference attendees to remember that scripture and tradition challenge us to love one another and not to conform to the world. As members of a community of faith, we must be willing to adhere to precautions that protect the lives and health of our brothers and sisters within the community of faith and the people of Omaha who will be welcoming us into their community. We expect that all Conference attendees will honor this decision and adhere to the protocols outlined above.

— The Program and Arrangements Committee: Annual Conference moderator David Sollenberger, moderator-elect Tim McElwee, secretary Jim Beckwith; elected members Carol Hipps Elmore, Beth Jarrett, and Nathan Hollenberg; director Rhonda Pittman Gingrich; in consultation with Dr. Kate Jacobsen and Dr. Emily Shonk Edwards

6) Book study to address complex emotional landscape of family systems in churches

By Jen Jensen

“And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother’” (Mark 3:34-35).

Jesus radically reorients our perspective on family by reframing the Christian family as those who do the will of God. Yet as the church we continue to exhibit all the faults and foibles of human families. Learning how to navigate the dynamic landscape of family systems as they apply to the Christian community can help church leaders engage with more compassion and understanding.

Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church is hosting a 10-week discussion centered on the book How Your 21st Century Church Family Works by Peter Steinke. Based on Family Systems Theory pioneered by Murray Bowen and further developed and applied in the religious context by Edwin Friedman, Steinke discusses emotional systems, anxiety, generational transfer, and the forces that draw us together and keep us apart.

Learning to navigate the complex emotional landscape of our church families can contribute to a more vital and healthy pastoral ministry. The discussion will be facilitated by John Fillmore, a “circuit rider” with Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church. Continuing education credit will be available for participants and books are provided to participants. Registration is required and group size is limited so sign up soon!

Sessions will be at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) on Tuesdays beginning on June 14 through Aug. 23, not meeting the week of Annual Conference. Please contact with questions. Register at

— Jen Jensen is program manager for Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church, a program of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry. Find out more at


7) Mechanicsburg is part of a three-church team welcoming an Afghan refugee family

When Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in August 2021, Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren member Sherri Kimmel worried about the family of a student she’d met through her work at Bucknell University. Her efforts to help that family led her to Church World Service (CWS), one of nine national organizations working with the US government to resettle the 76,000 Afghans lucky enough to reach the United States. Although the exiles did not include the student’s family, Kimmel wanted to aid other Afghans in building new lives in America.

Another Bucknell connection, professor Brantley Gasaway–an Anabaptist neighbor–helped Kimmel forge a partnership between his church, Grantham Brethren in Christ, and hers.

Kimmel enlisted one more congregation, Mechanicsburg Presbyterian Church, and soon found herself leading a 10-member, 3-church welcome team, working with CWS to resettle a young Afghan family of four in Carlisle, Pa.

On May 22, the Church of the Brethren sponsored a picnic in honor of the family and, with members of the welcome team watching, presented a generous check to help with the family’s expenses.

The welcome team, formed in September, spent its first few months gathering household goods and furniture, forming a transportation team, and completing clearances that would enable them to interact with the family they would be supporting. The team initially met with Andrew Mashas of CWS Lancaster. He informed them that the nearly unprecedented number of refugees arriving had led CWS to add a new office in Harrisburg, Pa.

Members of the welcome team, including people from Mechanicsburg Church of the Brethren, with the Afghan family they are helping to resettle in Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of Sherri Kimmel.
Afghan and American children enjoy getting to know each other. Photo courtesy of Sherri Kimmel.

Once the new site director was hired in December, the team began meeting regularly with Alex Swan. As he worked to hire his office staff, team members took on the challenge of helping Swan prepare for the anticipated early 2022 arrival of the Harrisburg office’s first family.

In early February, the team learned they would be welcoming a young couple with two small children. Team members joined Swan to meet the family at Harrisburg International Airport and drive them to their new home in Carlisle. The family had arrived in the US on Sept. 8, 2021, and had been confined to the base at Fort Dix. The team delighted in seeing the family’s first real glimpse of America as they commented on the cornfields lining the road on their way to Carlisle.

While the family settled into temporary quarters in a Carlisle Airbnb, the team visited them regularly, took them grocery shopping, chased down job leads, and assisted Swan in scouting out rental opportunities. Through a team member’s personal connections, they secured a three-bedroom townhome in Carlisle. On move-in day in late March, the team rented a U Haul truck and transported the collection of furniture and home furnishings they’d stored at one of the churches to the family’s first American home.

With the family now settled, the team turned to other tasks–helping them set up bank accounts and a family budget, providing transportation, arranging ESL classes and tutoring for the parents, enrolling the eldest child in Head Start, seeking legal representation for an asylum claim, and so forth.

While a few team members had worked with refugees before, most, including team leader Kimmel, were rookies. According to Kimmel, though many of the team members were strangers when the team first met, they united around the common cause of helping a very appreciative and delightful young family settle into a new and safe life in Carlisle. Truly, Jesus was working in their neighborhood.

— This article was provided to Newsline by Sherri Kimmel.

8) Trotwood Church is getting a Little Free Library®, grand opening includes benefit for Ukrainian refugees

From the Church of the Brethren’s Southern Ohio and Kentucky District

Little Free Libraries are a global phenomenon. The small, front-yard book exchanges number more than 140,000 around the world in over 100 countries–from Iceland to Tasmania to Pakistan. Now, a new Little Free Library in Trotwood, Ohio, will join the movement to share books, bring people together, and create communities of readers.

Trotwood Church of the Brethren will host a grand opening celebration for their Little Free Library on Sunday, June 12, from 4-6 p.m. (Eastern time). The celebration is open to the public and will include a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. followed by a hot dog roast and family-friendly activities, including story times for children. In the event of rain, it will be held in the church fellowship hall.

“Our Little Free Library doesn’t just belong to us, it belongs to the whole community,” says library steward Peggy Reiff Miller. “With its ‘Take a book-Share a book’ theme, our hope is that this Little Free Library will bring a little more joy, a little more connection, and a lot of love of reading to our community.” The library is a small box on a stand and located in the front lawn of the church.

The grand opening celebration will also feature a fundraiser to provide Ukrainian books for Ukrainian refugee children and orphans through a project of the Ukrainian Book Institute. “Far away from home, with little to call their own,” says Miller, “books in their own language will provide these children a moment of peace and connection to their homeland.”

The Trotwood Church’s library is the 141,024th to register worldwide with the Little Free Library organization. This nonprofit organization has been honored by the Library of Congress, the National Book Foundation, and the American Library Association. Reader’s Digest named it one of the “50 Surprising Things We Love about America.” To learn more about the organization go to

9) Brethren bits

— Remembrance: Gladys Naylor, 104, who was part of the Church of the Brethren mission in Ecuador and in Europe accompanied her late husband, Kurtis Naylor, at the World Council of Churches office in Geneva, Switzerland, has died on May 16 at the Cedars in McPherson, Kan. In Ecuador, she taught school and worked in the cultural center. In the US she was an executive on the national staff of Church Women United, was a director with the YWCA, and was corresponding secretary for the International Committee for the World Day of Prayer. She also was a high school teacher. The Naylors returned to Europe in 1959 to direct Church of the Brethren program, and also to represent the Brethren at the WCC in Geneva until 1963, according to a history published by Brethren Press. She was born on Feb. 5, 1918, in Navarre, Kan., the daughter of Benjamin Hoover and Margaret (Hoffmann) Shank. In 1942, she married Kurtis Friend Naylor, and they were married 58 years before his death in 2001. She was a graduate of McPherson College and a member of McPherson Church of the Brethren. Survivors include daughters Merylee Ortmayer of Lexington, Ky.; Cherylin Peniston (W.J.) of Thornton, Colo.; Mariza Naylor of Alta Loma, Calif.; and Illana Naylor (Richard Barrett) of Manassas, Va.; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts are received to McPherson Church of the Brethren and McPherson College. Condolences may be sent to the family at Find an obituary online at

— “You are invited to join On Earth Peace for a Day of Celebration!” said an announcement of the special Zoom event on June 29 “to highlight our work as we appreciate and invite your ongoing support. The day-long celebration will include activities from each of our program areas. You are invited to come and go as your schedule allows using the same ZOOM link,” said the announcement from On Earth Peace. The events include (in Eastern time):
• 11:30 a.m. – Worship
• 12 noon – “Read Alouds” featuring children’s books promoting justice and peace
• 1:30 p.m. – Cooking class with a conversation
• 3 p.m. – Interns, fellows, staff meet and greet
• 4 p.m. – Kingian Nonviolence Intro Training
• 6 p.m. – Keynote on Anti-War and Anti-Militarism
Register at

— Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is joining calls for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, as part of its work for climate justice. “People of all religions have been sounding the alarm for over a decade,” said an announcement. “But ineffective or corrupt governments, powerful extractive industries, financial institutions and fundamentalist cultural and religious forces have blocked the necessary steps. Throughout history, the only force that has overcome such inertia and resistance is courageous, public, values-based leadership for compassion, love and justice. That is why we are coming together now to call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. We are peacefully, respectfully, and firmly lifting our voices to call for the actions that the world urgently needs, now:
• An immediate end to new fossil fuel infrastructure projects
• A rapid decline in fossil fuel production with a corresponding surge in renewable energy
• A commitment to a just transition for impacted workers and climate-vulnerable communities and regions that have done little or nothing to cause this crisis. We’re gathering signatures ahead of the media launch during the G7 in June. Invite your faith leaders and communities to sign today!” Find out more at

Washington City (D.C.) Church of the Brethren hosted a faith-based “Wear Orange” event on June 3 for National Gun Violence Awareness Day. The event included prayer, lament, and action to turn guns into garden tools.

A Facebook post from Middlebury (Ind.) Church of the Brethren pastor Debbie Eisenbise, about a recent event in which the congregation lamented the deaths of children and teachers gunned down in Uvalde, Texas.

— An interfaith statement at Stockholm+50 is urging commitment “to become protectors of this earth,” reported the World Council of Churches (WCC) in a release. The statement titled “Faith Values and Reach – Contribution to Environmental Policy,” was signed by representatives of various faith-based organizations and indigenous cultures across the world, including the WCC, and directed to the governments, UN entities, civil society, and all stakeholders of the “Stockholm+50” processes. “The world is facing a triple ‘pandemic’ of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution,” reads an introduction to the message. “Those hardest hit are those who have caused the least damage.” Said the release: “The message notes that root causes of the triple planetary crises are deeply fueled by structural greed and apathy that underpin our current economic systems. ‘Amassing of obscene wealth by corporations and select individuals is directly related to global environmental problems and solutions, which is morally and ethically unacceptable,’ the message reads. ‘Without addressing these underlying causes, we are on a collision course to disaster.’ The message further notes that poor and marginalized people, especially women, children, older persons, Indigenous people and those with disabilities are most impacted by climate change.” Download the full message from

— Anabaptist World, a magazine that reports on Mennonite and other Anabaptist bodies, is offering a page of reporting out of the just-completed conference of the Mennonite Church USA at The conference made some key decisions affecting the life of the denomination.

— Enten Eller, pastor of Ambler Church of the Brethren in Pennsylvania and a member of the pastoral team for Living Stream Church of the Brethren, a fully online congregation, has had an opinion piece published in the Reporter Online titled “Saying ‘No’ to the Gun God.” His article cited Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone,” and Habakkuk 1:2-4 (NRSVue), “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack, and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous; therefore judgment comes forth perverted.” He wrote, in part: “God asks us to worship only him. Our safety, our security, comes not from guns, but from God. Prayers and moments of silence are insufficient right now, because without action, this assault on our children will end as before, with no meaningful change…. It is past time to act…with love, with compassion, working together for the good of this country. And act we must. No more sacrifices. Our children’s lives depend upon it. Our God calls us to nothing less than to choose life.” Read the full opinion piece at

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 Lisa Crouch, Debbie Eisenbise, Enten Eller, Keith Funk, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, Cynthia Griffiths, Jen Jensen, Sherri Kimmel, Wendy McFadden, Peggy Reiff Miller, Cherylin Peniston, Roy Winter, 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.

Find more Church of the Brethren news:

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]