Brethren bits for Feb. 18, 2023

— The Church of the Brethren seeks candidates for the position of associate director of Children’s Disaster Services. This position is part of the Brethren Disaster Ministries staff and reports to the executive director of Service Ministries. Working from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is preferred. Full COVID-19 vaccination is a condition of employment. The major responsibility is to provide oversight and administration of Children’s Disaster Services programing and volunteer deployments. Required skills and knowledge include effective communication skills in English, both verbal and written; ability to communicate effectively with multiple agencies and constituencies and deal gracefully with the public; strong interpersonal skills that contribute to effective interaction, relationship building, and communication; ability to work with minimum supervision, be a self-starter, be readily adaptable to change, work well in a multi-dimensional program; skill in volunteer management and program development; appreciation for the church’s role in mission with awareness of mission operations; effective training and presentation skills; skilled competency in Microsoft Office component applications, particularly Outlook, Word, Teams, Excel, and PowerPoint, with the capability and willingness to learn new software applications; Raisers Edge or database experience preferred; knowledge of child development and the impact of trauma on development preferred; ability to act within a multicultural and multigenerational team environment; experience creating and delivering effective presentations and providing adult education, especially in conducting skill training workshops; experience in managing staff and volunteers; experience working directly with children (teaching, counseling, providing program, etc.); previous disaster response experience is preferred. A bachelors’ degree is required, advanced degree is preferred. Applications are being received and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Apply by sending a resume to; 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.

— Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., seeks a coordinator for Community Engagement to fill a full-time position responsible for coordinating Bethany’s two community engagement programs that address issues of diversity and division: BOLD, an initiative for residential students, and Ministry Formation, a field education program. Key components of BOLD include organizing service work, learning opportunities, and group discussions to develop resilient, self-aware leaders. Key components of Ministry Formation include developing effective placements and helping students reflect on these experiences. This position involves significant time interacting, networking, and building relationships in Wayne County, Ind., and other communities where Bethany students live. This requires significant time engaging face-to-face with people as a Bethany representative. Find the full position description and information about how to apply at

The World Council of Churches (WCC) installed Jerry Pillay as general secretary on Friday, Feb. 17, during a service at the Ecumenical Center Chapel in Geneva, Switzerland (photo by Albin Hillert/WCC).

The Church of the Brethren is one of the founding member churches of the WCC.

Pillay will serve as the WCC’s ninth general secretary. He was previously the dean of the faculty of theology and religion at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and is from the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa.

“Amid prayers, singing, and a sermon by Pillay himself, the celebration also included special greetings from churches and partners,” said a WCC release. “In his message, entitled ‘Church at the Crossroads,’ Pillay reflected that the purpose of the Church is to proclaim the saving love and grace of Christ to the world. ‘It does this as it goes out into the world to preach, teach, baptize, and disciple believers,’ he said. ‘The church ought to live to fulfil the purpose of God…. We need to stand where God stands with the poor, wretched, neglected, and suffering in the world,’ he said. ‘The question is, as member churches: Where will you stand?’”

Watch a recording of the live-streamed installation service at

Please pray…. For World Council of Churches general secretary Jerry Pillay, who was installed on Friday, Feb. 17, as the international ecumenical organization’s ninth general secretary.

— Registration links are now available for the “Sacred Connections: Lenten Soul Tending for Spiritual Leaders” virtual events offered by the Part-time Pastor, Full-time Church program of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry. Go to

— The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative (GFI) is again this year sending an annual contribution to Bread for the World to support that organization’s advocacy work, reports GFI manager Jeff Boshart. Bread for the World every year organizes and collaborates with people of faith to carry out advocacy efforts, for example its annual “Offering of Letters” in which individuals, congregations, and other organizations write letters and emails to leaders in Washington, D.C., to inspire them to pass legislation that will reduce hunger in the United States and around the world. The 2023 Offering of Letters “focuses on the farm bill, a vital piece of legislation that reaches farms, food systems, and the climate. The current farm bill expires in September and must be reauthorized by Congress,” said a Bread release. “The farm bill funds key anti-hunger programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and international food assistance programs. Bread for the World is encouraging Congress to reauthorize a farm bill that builds healthy, equitable, and sustainable food systems.” Find out more at

— The Association for the Arts in the Church of the Brethren (AACB) is inviting congregations to contribute to the quilted wall hangings that will be auctioned to raise money for hunger at the 2023 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. Quilt blocks should be completed and mailed before May 15.

— Eder Financial staff are seeking help to put together the annual Memorial Tribute for Church of the Brethren leaders. “Each year, Eder Financial recognizes former denominational leaders and Eder Retirement Plan members who passed away in the previous year, by honoring them in a video memorial tribute presented at Annual Conference,” said an announcement. Send names and information about church leaders and retirement plan members who have passed away since the 2022 Annual Conference, to be sure that they are remembered at the 2023 Conference. Contact Loyce Swartz Borgmann at

— On Earth Peace is planning a “Day of Celebration” for March 18, as an online event starting at 11:30 a.m. (Eastern time). “We are looking forward to introducing you to our interns, fellows, and staff!” said an announcement. “Join us for a meet & greet time.” The event, which will continue as a “drop in” throughout the rest of that afternoon and evening and will serve as a fundraising event, also will include an opportunity to learn more about the organization’s current work, share in an opening worship time, hear a spoken word poetry session exploring Kingian Nonviolence principles, participate in a Kingian Nonviolence introductory training, and participate in an On Earth Peace member meeting. For more information go to

Brethren Life and Thought, a joint publication of Bethany Theological Seminary and the Brethren Journal Association, invites submissions on Brethren and popular culture for a special issue. Said an announcement: “We seek creative pieces, poems, sermons, liturgical pieces, sermons, or essays on the intersection of church, faith, and popular culture (movies, music, science fiction, novels, famous figures, artists, etc.). Submissions should be emailed to editor Denise Kettering-Lane ( by May 15 for consideration. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact the editor by email. We look forward to your submissions!”

— Manchester University in N. Manchester, Ind., has announced that three alumni are joining its board of trustees:

Harriet A Hamer, M.D., ’80, of Crest Manor Church of the Brethren, is staff anesthesiologist of South East Anesthesiologists doing business as Midwest Anesthesia Consultants, working out of Beacon Memorial Hospital, South Bend, Ind., and surrounding clinics since 1991. She is a prior president of the Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists. She is a delegate to the Standing Committee of Annual Conference for the church’s Northern Indiana District, and volunteers with the Fundraising Committee “Planting for the Future” at Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind. She is vice-chair of the Manchester Bold $45 million fundraising campaign and in past years has served on the Manchester Board of Trustees, 1999-2009, and on the Manchester Alumni Board, 1996-1999.

Dustin Brown, ’99, works in Washington, D.C., in the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President. Said a release: “For the past four administrations, beginning in 2001, he has been the senior career executive responsible for improving the federal government’s results and performance. He also has responsibilities for helping to set the President’s management Agenda, improving the public’s experience with government services, strengthening the federal workforce and increasing the use of evidence in decision-making. Brown also represents the United States government in international organizations focused on public governance.” He also has been an adjunct professor at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Aaron L. Fetrow, ’94, became president of Heritage Hall, an independent preschool through high school in Oklahoma City, Okla., in July 2021. Previously he was vice president for resource development at Roanoke College in Salem, Va., has worked at Guilford College, and is a former employment law attorney with the Indiana-based law firm Baker & Daniels. He has served on the Manchester President’s Leadership Council since 2013.

— “Brethren Voices” has featured Shawn Kirchner, composer and musician from La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, for its February 2023 show. “Kirchner is a songwriter and composer and has a performing career as a vocalist and pianist,” said an announcement. “He is involved in the musical circles of Los Angeles. In May 2012, he was appointed Swan Family Composer in Residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. As a tenor, he sings regularly with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, in performances with the Chorale and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, at Disney Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, in collaborations with the world’s leading conductors and composers. His choral compositions are performed throughout the United States and abroad in concert halls, churches, schools, on radio and television. Shawn’s involvement with the Church of the Brethren has been life-long, from playing piano as a child for the children’s choir in Iowa, to serving as pianist/organist for the La Verne Church of the Brethren. The list of his involvements in the church continues, including, Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, the Young Adult Conference, National Youth Conferences, Song & Story Fests, Brethren Volunteer Service, University of La Verne, Manchester College. The list goes on!!!” Find this February show and previous “Brethren Voices” on YouTube at

— Join Churches for Middle East Peace for its first in-person Advocacy Summit since 2019. Said an invitation: “On April 20 we will hear from keynote speakers and panelists from Israel/Palestine and the U.S. including Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, and Rev. Dr. Jack Sara. Participants will have the opportunity to take the stories they have heard and advocate on behalf of human rights in Israel and Palestine with their Congressional offices on Friday, April 21. We hope you will consider joining us for fellowship, learning, and the chance to raise your voice on Capitol Hill this April.” Go to


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