Newsline for May 26, 2022

“Turn, O Lord! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us
and as many years as we have seen evil.

Let your work be manifest to your servants
and your glorious power to their children.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us
and prosper for us the work of our hands–
O prosper the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:13-17)

1) Children’s Disaster Services team deploys to Uvalde

2) Annual Conference moderator calls for Pentecost Sunday, June 5, to be a time of concerted prayer

3) NCC anguished by the white supremacist attack in Buffalo

4) Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust is now Eder Financial

5) Messenger magazine receives five awards from the Associated Church Press

6) $25 million surprise gift announced during McPherson College commencement

7) ‘Grace Filled Turnings’ retreat offered for clergywomen

8) Brethren bits: The annual Pentecost Offering, job opening, National Young Adult Conference is this long weekend, FaithX trips begin next week with a trip to Rwanda, the June Messenger playlist, and more

Helpful Church of the Brethren statements and other writings on gun violence:

Mission and Ministry Board statement of 2018: “Lukewarm no more: A call for repentance and action on gun violence” – download from the link at

2013: “Church of the Brethren Written Testimony to the Senate Subcommittee Hearing on ‘Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence’” –

Annual Conference statement of 1978: “Violence and the Use of Firearms” –

Messenger articles:

2019: “What can we do?” by Wendy McFadden –

2018: “Speak and live,” a review of the book “Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence,” reviewed by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford –

2018: “Stranger or neighbor?” by Tim Harvey –

2017: “God and guns” by Paul Mundey –

As many congregations return to in-person worship, we are updating worship opportunities 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) Children’s Disaster Services team deploys to Uvalde

A team of six Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers traveled this morning to Uvalde, Texas, to provide specialized assistance to children and families impacted by the shooting. These volunteers are experienced and specially trained for critical responses that involved the loss of lives.

The team was to assemble later today and set up a child care center in the Family Assistance Center in Uvalde, traveling at the request of partner American Red Cross. Another team of CDS volunteers is on alert to provide assistance in other locations.

Since 1980 Children’s Disaster Services, 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 natural or human-caused disasters.

Additional information about the Critical Response Childcare Teams can be found at

2) Annual Conference moderator calls for Pentecost Sunday, June 5, to be a time of concerted prayer

David Sollenberger, moderator of the Church of the Brethren’s 2022 Annual Conference, has issued a call for pastors and church leaders to make Pentecost Sunday, June 5, a time for concerted prayer. Sollenberger will preside over the Annual Conference scheduled for July 10-14 in Omaha, Neb.

Here is the full text of the moderator’s letter:

Dear pastors and church leaders across the Church of the Brethren,

As we anticipate meeting in person for the first time in three years for our Annual Conference, we recognize that we come from varied places, circumstances, and experiences. One common denominator, however, is a belief in the power that prayer affords us as we seek God’s leading and direction for this time together.

Pentecost Sunday, June 5, is celebrated by many Christians as the “birthday” of the church. We take time that day to remember the special gift of the Holy Spirit coming to those faithful apostles that were gathered, after the ascension of our Lord, in prayer and expectation.

It was the power of that Spirit that transformed a small, discouraged, and disorganized group of followers into a courageous movement of disciples that took the gospel, in a few decades, to nearly all of the known world. More than 2,000 years later, we remember the exhilaration and might of that moment as part of our own “birth” story.

The theme and logo for Annual Conference 2022

This is an invitation to make June 5 a special day of prayer in preparation and expectation for the gathering of the Brethren in Omaha this summer. I ask that you join me and that you take Pentecost Sunday as an opportunity to remember Annual Conference in the prayers of your church.

Pray that we might be open to, and guided by, the Spirit in our worship, our study, and our deliberations. Pray that we will be given the grace to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ in the best tradition of the Church of the Brethren. Pray for safe travels for those that give of their time and talent by serving the church at Annual Conference. Pray that each person who gathers in Omaha will experience a renewed anointing of the Spirit that will give energy and courage in abundance for moving Christ’s church into a confident future.

Thank you for taking a few moments to consider these thoughts and for your consideration of this request. Thank you most graciously for all you do on behalf of our Lord and his Church.

Grace and peace be with you,

David Sollenberger
Moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference

— Read the moderator’s letter online and find previous issues of “Moderator Musings” at

3) NCC anguished by the white supremacist attack in Buffalo

A release from the National Council of Churches

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) laments the lives lost and shattered on Saturday [May 14] by the act of white supremacist terrorism that killed 10 and wounded 3 at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, N.Y. We are once again devastated by a targeted attack of the Black community and feel the outrage and shock that an 18-year-old learned online to hate to such an extreme that he would commit these atrocious, wicked acts of murder.

In this moment, the Prophet Habakkuk’s cry echoes our own:

“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” (Habakkuk 1:2-4, NRSVue).

The white supremacist ideology that authorities attribute to the gunman in a 180-page manifesto references “replacement theory,” far-right extremist rhetoric about people of color replacing white Americans, which was once on the fringe and is now being shared more widely by right-wing television channels and politicians. We cannot help but acknowledge that politicians, citizens, and even some faith leaders, are working to stop crucial Black history teachings from the past while children instead learn white supremacy in the present.

According to Bishop Vashti McKenzie, NCC’s interim president/general secretary, “Our communities have not healed from the onslaught of violence from past white supremist attacks and now the scabs have been ripped off to bleed again,” she said. “This racial violence has to stop. We must all increase our efforts to bring racism to an end and that will not happen by only making ceremonial or performative gestures that don’t get to the root causes of the problems. We have to do the deeper work. This is especially true for Christians.”

After holding a Governing Board retreat in Montgomery, Ala., this month and visiting the Legacy Museum, we see the direct connection between the shooter’s intent to commit an act of terrorism and America’s extensive history of lynchings and policy decisions meant to intimidate and dehumanize the Black community.

We clearly see the injustices evident in all aspects of this shooting. We see it when the teen arrested had previously been reported as a threat and released. We see it in the way in which he was taken into custody. We see it in the fact that east Buffalo was a food desert before this grocery store was built and now the predominantly Black neighborhood has no reliable source for food. We see it when the majority of Americans want common sense gun legislation but politicians refuse to pass the necessary laws and the Supreme Court considers striking down gun restrictions.

As part of our ACT NOW to End Racism initiative (Awaken, Confront, Transform), the NCC calls for commitments on three levels. Individually, all members of our communions are encouraged to commit to the inner work of becoming aware of the deeply rooted and ever-present racism in each of our lives, and resolve to dismantle it. Locally, ministers are invited to commit to ongoing direct communication with parishioners, including through preaching and teaching, that confronts racism. Remaining silent encourages and affirms the growing threat of white supremacy. Nationally, we must work to transform the hearts, minds, and behaviors of people and fight for policies that change the very structures that shape society in which racism is engrained.

In addition, we urge Congress to be courageous and determined in its resolve to pass commonsense gun control legislation as well as legislation that will bring an end to systemic racism and begin to repair the harm done in the past to include HR 40 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

“We see this shooter referencing past ‘mentors of massacres’ from Atlanta and New Zealand and we press people to respond,” stated Bishop McKenzie. “We must continually seek opportunities to plant seeds of love that recognize the humanity of all people in order to detoxify the planted seeds of hate and realize ‘Beloved Community.’”

— Find this statement online at

4) Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust is now Eder Financial

A release from Eder Financial

Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), which has been serving Church of the Brethren employees and organizations for up to eight decades, is now known as Eder Financial.

On May 4, the State of Illinois officially changed the corporate name of Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc. to Eder Financial Inc., making the transition to accommodate one of BBT’s strategic goals–to adopt new names to better serve its members and clients. At the same time, the names of its two affiliates were also changed–Brethren Foundation Inc. became Eder Deferred Gifts Inc., and Brethren Foundation Funds became Eder Organizational Investing Inc. These new identities reflect BBT’s heritage and will resonate with Church of the Brethren members while being attractive to others outside the denomination who are of like mind and who want to use Eder’s services.

The familiar services of BBT are not changing. Nor is the staff or the board. The only thing that is changing is the name. Eder Financial will continue offering:

— Retirement solutions to employees of Brethren congregations and affiliated organizations

— Employee-based insurances to employees of Brethren congregations and affiliated organizations

— Deferred gifts management and long-term-care insurance to all Brethren members

— Organizational investing opportunities for Brethren congregations and affiliated organizations

— Benevolent grants for pastors and church and district employees who find themselves in severe financial difficulty

— Educational workshops and opportunities

— An investment platform that conforms to Eder Values Investing screens (formerly known as Brethren Values Investing) and promotes advocacy initiatives to encourage for-profit companies to be respectful of God’s creation

The difference is that Eder Financial will now begin serving members and clients of like mind that are outside the Church of the Brethren.

“With changing demographics and affinity within the Church of the Brethren, a move to serve Anabaptist organizations and others of like mind will allow Eder Financial to fulfill its commitments to its members for decades to come,” said Nevin Dulabaum, president.

This logo treatment tells the Eder Financial story:

— The cross, which has served as BBT’s logo for 15 years, represents the newly named organization’s continued commitment to be a faith-based, not-for-profit service provider.

— “Eder” comes from the place where the Brethren movement began, in 1708 at the Eder River in Schwarzenau, Germany. This name honors the movement and the ideals that led to the creation of the ministry-focused company that serves people and organizations of like mind.

— “Financial” indicates that Eder is firmly rooted in products and services that help members and organizations become sound stewards of their own financial resources.

— “Bold” describes how Eder provides its values-based services, based on the teachings of Jesus, through helpful products, concierge customer service, and competitive fees. Our investment screens are based on Brethren values, and engagement in advocacy implores companies to weigh their strong business practices with being caretakers of God’s creation and people.

— “Balanced” is the manner in which Eder partners with those it serves to help members and clients achieve their objectives.

— “Trusted” signals that Eder looks out for the best interests of those it serves by being proactive and maintaining confidentiality.

Together the first initials of the words “Bold,” “Balanced,” and “Trusted” spell BBT, which is a bridge of the organization’s past to its future.

So what will be the distinctives of the Eder way? Great products, concierge service, competitive fees, values that come from being a faith-based organization, a proactive mindset to partner with our members and clients through their personal or organization’s journey, plenty of investment choices to meet their needs, strong investment returns, a firm moral compass, and a passion to serve.

The identity change is actually the last of Eder’s five strategic goals to be launched. The first was to change operations to be in a growth rather than maintenance mode. The second was to open up the firm’s marketing and promotional efforts in a new way. The third was to have the right positions, and the right people in those positions, a transition that began in January. The fourth was to become a permanent work-from-home organization, which now will allow Eder to hire staff from across the country.

“The strategic steps Eder is implementing will demonstrate to Church of the Brethren members that we are committed to serving them well while building relationships that enable us to serve individuals beyond the denomination,” Dulabaum said. “Our desire is to be a partner to those who benefit from our services.”

The conversion from the Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust identity to that of Eder Financial is going to be a soft and incremental process beginning in the upcoming weeks, with people witnessing the conversion to Eder Financial throughout the summer.

Eder Financial has a small suite of offices at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., although staff members are now operating in a work-from-home arrangement. The company employs 25 people of faith who are committed to serving others. It currently is seeking directors of Pension, Marketing, Communications, Sales, and Data.

Eder Financial is overseen by a 12-member board of directors. They may serve up to two four-year terms. Board members have organizational, financial, accounting, legal, HR, or ministry backgrounds and experience. The organization began in 1943 with the creation of the Brethren Pension Plan. Brethren Insurance Services was added in the 1950s, and organizational investing and deferred gifts in 1990.

5) Messenger magazine receives five awards from the Associated Church Press

By Jan Fischer Bachman

Messenger won five awards in the 2021 Associated Church Press ( “Best of the Church Press” competition, announced May 12, including an Award of Merit in the category “Best in Class for Denominational or Other Special Interest Magazine.”

“Award of Excellence” equals first place, “Award of Merit” second place, and “Honorable Mention” third place.

ACP is a professional organization “brought together by a common commitment to excellence in journalism as a means to describe, reflect, and support the life of faith and the Christian community.” This year’s competition had over 800 entries from 67 organizations.

Messenger 2021 ACP awards

Science Writing for the World of Faith, Award of Merit: William Miller, “Down by the river: Developing a Brethren Ecological Identity.” A judge commented, “Well-written story that weaves together the theology and practice of baptism, ecology, and the hope for redemption. Including humans as caretakers, those who have spoiled creation, and as part of creation gives a well-balanced view of the topic.”

Convention or Meeting Coverage, Award of Merit: Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, editor, “Annual Conference Goes Virtual.” “With denominations having to pivot away from business-as-usual to trying to create and maintain virtual community, Messenger found ways to capture both the factual business of the Annual Conference and the extraordinary effort to capture the feel of the Annual Conference. Well done!” wrote a contest judge. Photographers and writers contributing to the 2021 Conference coverage included Glenn Riegel, Frances Townsend, Frank Ramirez, and Traci Rabenstein.

Column, Award of Excellence: Wendy McFadden, “From the publisher.” You can find many “From the Publisher” columns at Here are the three submitted to ACP: “Asian and American,” May 2021; “Every Living Creature,” Nov. 2021; “Outside the Box,” Dec. 2021.

Humor, Honorable Mention: Walt Wiltschek, writer, and Paul Stocksdale, designer, “Brethren Mascots.” An ACP judge wrote, “Very clever and original. The graphics added considerably to the overall impact of the piece.”

Best in Class for Denominational or Other Special Interest Magazine, Award of Merit: One of the judges commented: “The contents are a good example of what a denominational magazine should cover…. Thoughtfully planned. And even more. I enjoyed reading even though I’m not Brethren. Writing and editing set the right tone for the publication–neutral, informative, professional, free of jargon…. Very well done periodical.”

Subscribe to the Church of the Brethren’s award-winning magazine at Past issues are freely available in the online Messenger archive at

— Jan Fischer Bachman is web producer for the Church of the Brethren and serves on the editorial team for Messenger magazine.

6) $25 million surprise gift announced during McPherson College commencement

A release from McPherson College

California philanthropists and Giving Pledge Signatories Melanie and Richard Lundquist shocked the McPherson (Kan.) College community during its 134th Commencement Ceremony, announcing the couple’s $25 million gift to the college for the Building Community Campaign–the largest gift in the college’s 135-year history. The Lundquists’ gift completes the campaign early, having raised $53 million in under three years. It is the largest gift ever to a small, private liberal arts college in Kansas and among one of the largest to any college in Kansas. The previous largest gift to McPherson College was $10 million.

“McPherson College is a special place that embraces the love of humanity,” said Melanie Lundquist, while announcing her and her husband’s first major philanthropic gift outside of California. “After a decade of knowing McPherson College, your president, and your provost, we know our $25 million is the right big bet.”

McPherson College has seen tremendous growth, with a 300 percent increase in applications and 40 percent increase in enrollment since 2009. Their Building Community fundraising campaign was launched in October 2019 with a goal of $20 million, which was met 2 ½ years ahead of schedule in December 2020. A $50 million stretch goal was then established. Now, with the addition of the Lundquist’s $25 million gift, the stretch goal has been surpassed by $3 million, two years earlier than expected.

“We are deeply grateful to Richard and Melanie for their incredible generosity to McPherson College. This gift will help put our Community by Design strategic plan on a new trajectory ensuring the new campus commons is built and strengthening the college’s academic programs as well as support the student debt project, which enables students to graduate debt-free,” said McPherson College president Michael Schneider. “The impact of the Lundquists’ gift and friendship is truly immeasurable.”

The Lundquists’ relationship with McPherson College began in 2012, when Melanie donated tool sets to the school’s Automotive Restoration program in honor of Richard’s birthday. Since then, the Lundquists have become regular supporters of the college. In 2019, during a McPherson College event at their home in Pebble Beach, the Lundquists announced the first-ever $1 million gift to the college’s Automotive Restoration program, the only four-year degree program of its kind in the US. Earlier this month, Richard donated his prized Enzo Ferrari 1972 365GTB/4 Daytona, marking the first Ferrari in the automotive restoration program’s 45-year history.

“Thank you to the Lundquists for their generous gift to McPherson College. McPherson College is important to the success of our state, and this gift will not only help the college continue to grow, but it will also greatly benefit the McPherson community. I appreciate the Lundquists for understanding how vital institutions like McPherson College are to our local communities and the nation, and I look forward to seeing the benefits of their generosity for years to come,” said Kansas’ senior US Senator Jerry Moran.

Later in the commencement address, Lundquist lauded the college’s ethos and encouraged the students to carry that throughout their life.

“At McPherson College, you learned how to think outside the building, not just the box–keep at it,” said Lundquist. “At times, it will not be easy. Please, persevere. If someone tells you it cannot be done, you tell them to go sit in the corner and watch you do it.

“We can all agree–McPherson College is a special place that embraces the love of humanity,” concluded Lundquist. “Give your time, talent, and treasure for the love of humanity.”

In November 2020, McPherson College conferred honorary doctorates on Melanie and Richard to recognize the couple’s significant body of work in driving systemic change in K-12 public education, health care delivery, and innovation, as well as the environment. The Doctor of Humane Letters (LHD) degrees were awarded by McPherson College’s Board of Trustees and faculty, who voted unanimously to recognize the Lundquists with the honorary degrees. Due to the pandemic, the hooding ceremony was delayed until this year’s commencement exercises.

“We are transitioning beyond our support of K-12 public education and are hoping this gift spurs more support of well-run small liberal arts colleges in the US,” said Richard Lundquist, who will be joining the college’s Board of Trustees. “We hope this gift will cause everyone to pay greater attention to the value of small liberal arts colleges. I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and helping implement their ‘Community by Design’ campus expansion plans.” Lundquist is President & CEO of Continental Development Corporation, one of the most respected owners and developers of Class-A commercial, office, hotel, and retail real estate projects in California.

– Watch a video of Melanie Lundquist’s announcement of the gift to McPherson College at

— Find the full release complete with more information about the Lundquists at


7) ‘Grace Filled Turnings’ retreat offered for clergywomen

By Nancy Sollenberger Heishman

The Office of Ministry joins Erin Matteson, Church of the Brethren spiritual director and circuit rider for the Part-time Pastor; Full-time Church program, in passing on an invitation to a valuable continuing education spiritual retreat experience.

“Grace Filled Turnings,” as the brochure shares, is an initiative of Women Touched By Grace–Thriving in Ministry, a Lilly Endowment-funded program, to provide women clergy with the tools and encouragement to meet life’s transitions. Grace Filled Turnings retreats focus on significant topics of interest for women clergy as they minister to their congregations. This retreat, happening at the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center in Beech Grove, Ind., on July 18-22 will focus on “Building Diverse and Inclusive Spiritual Communities.” It is a retreat to encourage women pastors and women in other forms of spiritual leadership in navigating life’s changes gracefully.

Photo courtesy of the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center

To access information on the speakers, the full brochure, and the application (due June 10) go to This is an incredible opportunity on several levels, including the full cost being $250 for the retreat lodging, meals, and speakers. Your travel costs will be reimbursed. The Office of Ministry also offers limited scholarship help upon request.

If you have questions, you may contact Erin Matteson at or Sophie Mathonnet-VanderWell, coordinator of the event, at

– Nancy Sollenberger Heishman is director of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry.

8) Brethren bits

— Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is seeking applicants for the position of program assistant, a fulltime hourly position to be part of the Brethren Disaster Ministries team working out of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The major responsibilities of this position are to support programming and administration of CDS, providing administrative, programming, and clerical support to the associate director including support of volunteers, volunteer training and response, and assistance with general administration of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Required skills and knowledge include administrative office skills, ability to relate with integrity and respect, strong interpersonal and written communication skills, ability to manage multiple simultaneous priorities, ability to learn and competently utilize new software, ability to keep information and records confidential, and ability to uphold and support the basic beliefs and practices of the Church of the Brethren. An associate’s degree or high school graduation with equivalent work experience is required, as is proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, particularly Word, Excel, and Outlook. Full COVID-19 vaccination is a condition of employment. This position will begin as soon as possible. Applications are being received and reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Apply by sending a resume to

The annual Pentecost Offering in the Church of the Brethren is on the theme “Gathering in Community,” inspired by the text from Acts 2:1: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” The suggested date for the offering is Pentecost Sunday, June 5. Find worship resources linked at Give to the offering online at

— National Young Adult Conference 2022 is taking place this long weekend on the theme “I Am Because We Are” (Romans 12:5), from May 27-30 at Montreat (N.C.) Conference Center. The event sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult ministry offers people ages 18-35 a chance to enjoy fellowship, worship, recreation, Bible study, service projects, and more. Find out more at

— The first of this summer’s FaithX experiences is scheduled for June 2-13, taking a group age 18 and up to Rwanda to meet and worship with the emerging Church of the Brethren there and to help build churches. This is one of eight FaithX experiences planned for 2022, for junior highs, adults, and “We Are Able” participants. Find out more about this summer’s schedule for FaithX (formerly the Workcamp Ministry) at

— Earlier this month a wind storm caused destruction in the Kwarhi community in northeast Nigeria, where the headquarters of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and EYN’s Kulp Theological Seminary are located. A report from EYN head of media Zakariya Musa said that “it was another devastating nature for many people who lost their buildings, roofing, trees, food stuff, clothes, etc., in Kwarhi community as a result of heavy wind and rainfall experienced on Thursday 12th May.” The EYN president’s house “was miraculously not affected by two gigantic trees; one uprooted and the other broken down, covering the house in the middle,” said the report. “Adjacent to the house is the ICT office where its internet mast and power cables were brought down.” At the seminary, a big mahogany tree fell in front of the main building, and many student houses were also affected by the storm to various degree. Wrote Musa: “The KTS houses, especially student’s quarters, need total reconstruction to allow for conducive learning environment, because most of the houses were locally built about five decades ago, which receive minimal maintenance.”

Wind destruction at one of the student houses at Kulp Theological Seminary. Below: A downed tree near the house of the EYN president in Kwarhi. Photos by Zakariya Musa/EYN

— The June Messenger Playlist is posted. Allison Snyder, who has served as an intern at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, wrote a lovely reflection on choosing the music: “Inspired particularly by the creative imagery of the old, country church, the music I selected for this month sought to capture two themes: nostalgia and community building. There is a melancholy to nostalgia and community building has its challenges so some of the songs reflect that. The themes of the song ‘Creature’ permeate this collection, mostly due to it being a chronic and comfortable listen for me that validates and celebrates struggle in a stark and laid-bare honesty (YouTube comments sometimes run amok but reading through those for that song was uplifting nonetheless). Likewise, many of these songs, especially the hymns, act as a sort of comfort listen and a homecoming of some sort for me. The duality of emotions interwoven in the articles, of both melancholy and hope in community building and remembrance, is something I hoped to accomplish with this playlist, and I hope we continue to celebrate the ‘beauty of discovering’ ‘Half Alive’ sings about and the blessing that comes with striving together to live into God’s blessed community. Also, I know ‘Encanto’ is a wonderful, but probably overplayed, masterpiece, especially in homes with kids–but what better example do we have of Jesus in the neighborhood (or family) than that ending piece?” Go to

— Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren in Hagerstown, Md., is celebrating more than 175 years in an anniversary event planned for June 11 and 12. The theme is “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

— Quiltmaking groups in Michigan–Midland Quiltmakers and Beaverton Quiltmakers–donated 100 quilts to Orphan Grain Train for distribution to Ukrainian refugeesin Lithuania and eastern Europe, reported Judy Harris in a letter published by Midland Daily News. The 100 quilts were picked up from Midland Church of the Brethren and were donated in memory of quiltmaker Nancy Hurtebuise.

— Shenandoah District has published a review of its 2022 Disaster Ministries Auction. “It was a great day,” said the e-newsletter article, in part, quoting Lee Ann Jackson’s Facebook comment. “One of the best outcomes from the 2022 auction was the involvement of youth,” the article went on to report. “They took part in the event’s setup, helped during the livestock auction and stepped in with food preparation. Gary Shipe noted a few young men came to assist with the physical labor of setting up and young backs were welcomed. The fast-food booth was primarily operated by young people, as was the donut-making project on Saturday. In addition, children who were too young to serve had the opportunity to spend some time on Saturday at the Children’s Activities tent, where they blew bubbles and engaged in games with volunteers from the Children’s Disaster Ministry. On the other side of the age range, several older donors are still living and still giving. Quilter Flora Coffman is 105 years old and is still producing items for the auction. Ned Conklin is 78 and still carving beautiful birds. This year, he provided three birds for the sale. Retired Pastor Gene Knicely travels in a motorized wheelchair and is still crafting items such as the marble tower donated this year. Most volunteers who set up and serve the meals, sell baked goods, staff the sales and information tables and conduct the quilt wrapping station are older. Yet, these faithful servants return year after year to do what they can to continue the ministry for those experiencing a disaster…. When all the great food is digested, the quilts are snuggled under, and the sawdust settles in the barn, the sole purpose of all this effort is to be able to humbly walk alongside those who are devastated and hurting after experiencing a disaster.”

Visit Shenandoah District’s YouTube channel to view this 12-second video at

— Kris Hawk, district executive minister for the Church of the Brethren’s Northern Ohio District, was one of the religious leaders in Ohio who signed an opinion piece submitted by the Ohio Council of Churches to the Cincinnati Enquirer titled “New concealed carry law is not an antidote to fear but an accelerant.” The article said, in part: “Out of grave concern for the well-being and safety of all Ohioans, we who give leadership to Christian churches that form the Ohio Council of Churches, are highly disappointed and extremely disturbed over Governor Mike DeWine’s recent signing of Senate Bill 215 into law. This new law surgically removes the requirements of permits, training, and background checks for those who elect to carry concealed weapons in Ohio. We are cognizant of the fact that many hold a contested belief that carrying concealed guns provides a sense of confidence in their ability to manage actual threats or perceived risks of violence, injury, and death around themselves, and, therefore, reduces their sense of vulnerability while offering protection and defense for themselves and others. However, experience informs us that there are others within the human family who hide their possession of guns not out of concern for their vulnerability but to render those around them as vulnerable. People in this category are not seeking to protect and defend humanity but instead, assault it….” The piece was published on May 21, before the latest mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Read the full opinion piece at

Photo courtesy of ULV

— More than 160 University of La Verne (Calif.) students from diverse cultures celebrated the completion of their degrees with friends and family on May 20-21 during three cultural graduation ceremonies, reported a release from ULV, written by Tunmise Odufuye. The celebrations acknowledged the achievements of the class of 2022 and showcased the accomplishments of individuals within a cultural context, this year including the Multicultural Graduation Celebration, the Latinx Cultural Graduation Celebration, and the Black Cultural Graduation Celebration. “These celebrations supplement the main commencement ceremonies, which will take place at Ortmayer Stadium on the La Verne campus on May 27 and 28,” the release said. “At the cultural graduation ceremonies, students are able to share a short statement of appreciation about those who have supported them throughout their academic journey. Students also wore sashes representing their cultural upbringings and identities. Sash options included: Black/Kente cultural sash, Latinx/Recuerdo cultural sash, Middle Eastern/Arabic cultural sash, Multicultural/Unity in Diversity cultural sash, Native American/Indigenous cultural sash, Pacific Islander/Asian American cultural sash, and Rainbow/Lavender cultural sash.” The Center for Multicultural Services coordinates the annual multicultural graduation celebrations. Commented the release: “The center is one of the reasons many diverse students feel comfortable at the University of La Verne.” Read the full release at

— The board of directors of the Brethren Mennonite Council (BMC) has announced the appointment of Annabeth (AB) Roeschley as executive director, effective June 1. The announcement noted that Roeschley brings years of advocacy experience to the position including experience on the leadership team of the Pink Menno campaign, being a key organizer of the Fabulous, Fierce & Sacred conference, and being an advisor for various Mennonite Church USA projects including the 2017 Future Church Summit Process Design Team and the 2019 Membership Guidelines Advisory Group.

Roeschley succeeds longterm BMC executive director Carol Wise, who is now interim pastor at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. The transition in leadership has included relocation of the BMC office from Minneapolis to Chicago.

— “We are excited to launch our new 30×30 webpage!” said an announcement from Creation Justice Ministries, which explained: “Have you heard about the proposed 30×30 initiative? The plan calls for stronger protections for our public lands, watersheds, and coastal ecosystems to protect 30 percent of lands and waters by the year 2030. The 30×30 initiative would encourage the conservation of God’s creation through habitat restoration, biodiversity goals, and the protection of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The initiative is a great example of public policy that reflects creation justice: collaborating with local and indigenous communities and increasing equitable access to natural spaces. The movement highlights our earth’s inherent value–beyond resources and recreation. Our 30×30 web page is a compilation of information and resources relating to the 30×30 initiative.” Visit the 30×30 webpage at

— Eunice Culp of West Goshen (Ind.) Church of the Brethren has been honored by Everence Financial, a Mennonite-related company, for her more than 51 years of service. She retired May 18 as vice president of Human Resources. She began work for the agency in 1970, when Everence was known as Mennonite Mutual Aid.

— Peggy Reiff Miller will be making a Zoom presentation for the Indian Valley Public Library in Telford, Pa., on June 9 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). Her illustrated presentation, titled “Oceans of Possibilities: Turning Swords into Plowshares,” will talk about the transformations from a warring world to a peaceful world that took place through Heifer Project and the seagoing cowboy program following World War II. Registration is required at

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) has written a letter of condolence to the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) following the school shootings at Uvalde, Texas. “And again, it is on behalf of our worldwide fellowship of churches that I offer our sincere condolences to people and churches in the US,” wrote WCC acting general secretary Ioan Sauca on May 25. “Yesterday’s gun violence and the loss of life are horrific reminders of how people on earth fall short of the will of our just and loving God.” The innocence of children cannot be ignored, Sauca urged. “As I write, I am reminded of Psalm 6:3, ‘My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?’ Please know that our grief is deep, our prayers are strong and our fellowship offers our heartfelt sorrow,” Sauca concluded. Download the letter from

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, Nevin Dulabaum, Jan Fischer Bachman, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, Wendy McFadden, Peggy Reiff Miller, Zakariya Musa, David Sollenberger, Roy Winter, 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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