Brethren bits for Feb. 4, 2023

— The Church of the Brethren is seeking candidates for the full-time salaried position of volunteer coordinator of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). This position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Full COVID-19 vaccination is a condition of employment. The major responsibility is to develop, coordinate, and implement orientations, retreats, and application process for BVS. This position will provide ongoing support for active volunteers throughout their service, and supports recruitment of volunteers for BVS. Skills and knowledge required: administrative and management skills, communication skills at a professional level both verbally and in writing, marketing or recruitment experience, skills in Microsoft Office and ability to learn databases and new software, understanding of managing a budget, keen interest in working with and being around people, flexibility with evolving program needs, willingness to learn Church of the Brethren heritage and theology and polity, willingness to learn about and operate out of the vision of the Mission and Ministry Board. Experience required in training of groups and individuals, group building and group dynamics, recruitment and assessment of individuals, cross-cultural awareness. Previous BVS experience helpful. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent life experience is required. Applications will be received beginning immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Apply by sending a resume to; Human Resources Manager, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

— The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill a part-time hourly position (25-30 hours biweekly) as office coordinator of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). This position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Full COVID-19 vaccination is a condition of employment. The major responsibility is to support the ministries of BVS and FaithX through efficient support of office and computer-based administration tasks. Skills and knowledge required: strong communication skills in English both verbal and written, skilled competency in Microsoft Office component applications particularly Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint with the capability and willingness to learn new software applications, ability to problem solve, good judgment in prioritizing tasks, ability to work independently, knowledge of basic financial processes, ability to handle confidential information responsibly, ability to communicate effectively with multiple agencies and constituencies, ability to work with a minimum supervision, self-starter, readily adaptable to change, excellent organizational skills, ability to work with details and simultaneous tasks, ability to drive a car with a valid driver’s license, ability to act within a multicultural and multigenerational team environment, appreciation for the church’s role in mission and volunteer service opportunities. One to five years of secretarial or administrative assistance experience preferred. A bachelor’s degree or other education relevant to the position preferred. Applications will be received beginning immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Apply by sending a resume to; Human Resources Manager, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120-1694 ; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

This year’s Service Sunday is celebrated on Feb. 5 with Romans 15:1-3a (The Message) as the theme scripture. Service Sunday is an opportunity for the Church of the Brethren and its districts, congregations, and membership to recognize and celebrate the call to serve others in the name of Christ. The annual commemoration is sponsored by the service ministries of the Church of the Brethren including Brethren Volunteer Service, FaithX, Brethren Disaster Ministries, and the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Each congregation should have received a Service Sunday poster in the Source packet mailing. Worship resources are available at

– Yellow Creek Church of the Brethren in Pearl City, Ill., is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. It is one of the oldest congregations in Illinois and Wisconsin District. Plans for specific events are under way.

— Illinois and Wisconsin District is celebrating a new church project taking shape in Madison, Wis., and is sharing the news of the closing of two congregations:

The group in Madison has named itself Madtown Brethren, “after a nickname for the city,” said an announcement from the district. It held its first official worship and fellowship gathering at the home of Ken and Diane Weaver on Dec. 4, 2022. “It plans to meet the first Sunday of each month…for a time of worship and sharing using a house church model, with service projects and additional events scheduled at other times. Our prayers are with them as this exciting new venture begins.”

Franklin Grove (Ill.) Church of the Brethren voted in October 2022 to cease regular worship services as of the end of the year, after more than 175 years of ministry. A farewell to Franklin Grove is planned for March 12 at 3 p.m. (central time). “The building has been sold to a local group that plans to use it as a school, preserving many of its features, and the sale is expected to close in mid-March,” said the district announcement.

The congregation in Stanley, Wis., also has voted to close. It had not been holding regular worship services for several years.

— Camp Emmanuel in Illinois and Wisconsin District, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2023, has dedicated a new prayer garden in honor of Leon Sweigart, in recognition of his many years of service to the camp. The district newsletter reported: “This lovely spot along the trail to Vesper Hill has been set aside as an area for quiet meditation and prayer. The garden features two benches in a white-rocked circle surrounded by flowering plants that will appear each spring and provide beauty through the summer. Special thanks goes to the Brandenburg family for designing the garden and helping the managers carry out this project.”

— Camp Mardela in Mid-Atlantic District, which is planning a series of 75th anniversary events this year, held a Sights and Sounds of Christmas special event in December that got attention from the Star Democrat. Reported the newspaper: “A winding road through dark woods revealed a drive-through light show…. Sketched in light were angels, gingerbread houses and Nativity scenes that dotted the drive-through experience. Some folks parked their cars and got on board a tractor-pulled hayride. There was an assortment of Christmas trees that had silent auction sheets next to them. One was only 10 inches tall and had a bid of $10. Others were full size. There was a food stand and a female barbershop chorus. Later in the evening, a there was a Christmas carol sing-a-long.” The event helped raise funds for camp scholarships, and netted $1,300. Find the article at

— Revised staffing and position responsibilities in the district office have been announced by Shenandoah District, going into effect Feb. 1. Said the announcement from district executive minister John Jantzi: “Anita Landes and Sarah Long will share the office administrative assistant position…. Rebecca House…will serve as the director of District Conference and Youth Services…. Jon Prater…serves as the director of Ministry Services…. Gary Higgs…is the director of finances…. Larry Holsinger…serves as the financial secretary…. Brenda Diehl…serves as the director of communications.”

— “How Do We Love Our Enemies?” is the question at the center of an upcoming continuing education event sponsored by the Shenandoah District Pastors for Peace on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 1-4 p.m. (Eastern time). Leading the Zoom event will be Hyung Jin (Pablo) Kim Sun, an ordained minister in the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, an academic mentor at Northwest College and Seminary, and a Louisville Scholar at the Louisville Institute. The event will use his book, Who Are Our Enemies and How Do We Love Them? Said an announcement: “This Zoom event will address the witness of peace churches in situations of aggression and war like the one in Ukraine. How do we think about Jesus’ call to love our enemy in the world today? What good is a peace position if it has no response to the actual brutalities and atrocities of war?” Participants are expected to read the book in preparation for the event and will supply their own copies. The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership will provide .3 continuing education units for full participation. The registration deadline is Feb. 14. Registration costs $10, or $20 for those wishing to receive CEU credit. Register at

— Southern Ohio and Kentucky District has offered aid to flood victims in southeast Kentucky, reports the district e-newsletter. “In July of 2022, there were devastating floods in southeast Kentucky, many families lost their entire home and all their possessions. Some even lost their life as the floods came in overnight while people were sleeping,” the newsletter said. “The day after the flooding, calls went out to various organizations, businesses and nonprofits for assistance. Many churches from around Southern Ohio /Kentucky district got together to assist the flood victims here in Clay County. One such donation were 10 comforters that were brought to the Flat Creek church on November 1, 2022, by Nick Beam, Interim District Executive, Dave Shelter, past District Executive and an Eder Financial Associate. The comforters were then taken to Red Bird Mission by Lois Smith, Moderator for both Flat Creek and Mud Lick churches. After this, the comforters were then taken to Laurel Creek nursing home at the northern end of Clay County by one of the Red Bird Mission Dewall Senior Center members. Those in Clay County are grateful for the assistance.”

— Moxham Church of the Brethren in Johnstown, Pa., is one of the congregations participating in candlelight vigils at the site of recent deadly shootings. The Tribune-Democrat reported that the vigil, “Neighbors Praying for an End to Violence in Our City,” took place last week Friday. The shooting happened outside St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, which also participated in the vigil along with New Hope Community Church and Moxham Lutheran Church. Find the article at

— Roundtable Regional Youth Conference is hosted by Bridgewater (Va.) College on Feb. 24-26. The theme is “Unashamed” (Romans 1:16). Michaela Alphonse, pastor of Miami (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren, is the keynote speaker. Find out more at

— McPherson (Kan.) College will partner with the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) “on a study exploring the future of transportation and mobility to create a new engineering, design, and mobility program building on its existing Automotive Restoration program,” said a college release. “Creating a national center for the future of engineering, design, and mobility is one of the key initiatives supported by the college’s $500 million double-match estate commitment. The CAR study will examine a wide range of approaches to the future of mobility, including electrification, mobility ecosystem, urban planning, roadway design, and more, to create a dynamic curriculum for the new program.” The nonprofit CAR organization “is focused on the future direction of the global automotive industry. Its mission is to inform and advise through independent research, education, and dialogue, enabling a more viable and sustainable automotive ecosystem,” said the release. The Auto Restoration program at McPherson is 45 years old and recognized as the only program of its kind in the nation.

— Kimberly Rutter, general manager at the Mutual Aid Agency, is recommending the Deacon’s Bench newsletter from Brotherhood Mutual, on the topic of short-term mission travel. “It gives advice on preparing for and participating in foreign missions, and also includes a great piece on ‘Juice Jacking’ (cyber safety) that makes a great PSA for anyone who travels.” The Deacon’s Bench: Mission Edition is available online at The Mutual Aid Agency is a Church of the Brethren-related agency offering a variety of insurance products; find out more at

— The Brethren World Assembly 2023 now has a website at This site will offer online registration for the event taking place in late July at Elizabethtown College, the Young Center, and Germantown Church of the Brethren.

— Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced a series of delegations. “Join a seven to fourteen day delegation for a first-hand experience of CPT’s on-the-ground experiment in non-violence,” said an invitation.

April 1-7, Colombia: “Protecting the land to defend life: For over ten years, the community of El Guayabo has been organizing itself to defend the community’s right to its land. Located three hours north of Barrancabermeja, this fishing and farming community have nonviolently resisted land grabs, multiple evictions and threats by legal and illegal armed groups. El Guayabo is an example of the power of organizing and non-violent action.” Language: Spanish. Cost: $150 (excluding airfare, visa, and transport costs to Barrancabermeja).

May 10-22, Palestine: “Nakba Day: Every year on 15 May, Palestinians around the world remember the Nakba, or Catastrophe, which refers to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948. In 2023, it will mark its 75th anniversary. This delegation will have a chance to visit historic Jerusalem, hear the stories from several refugee camps in the West Bank, and then make your way to al Khalil/Hebron to accompany the CPT team in providing a protective presence for the community. You will build relationships with community members and share stories and meals. We will learn together on our journey of undoing oppression and focus on its centrality in the movement of solidarity, peace, justice, and a free Palestine.” Language: English. Cost: $1,600 (excluding airfare and visa).

May 14-26, Iraqi Kurdistan: “Kurdish Resistance: The CPT Iraqi Kurdistan delegation aims to provide you with an overview of the Kurdish people’s history, context, and resistance. The delegation will be based out of the team house in Sulaimani, beginning with a few days of orientation to CPT team life and the team’s work with partners across Iraqi Kurdistan. Over the first few days, we will meet with NGO partners and learn about Kurdistan’s history and culture. The delegation will then travel across Iraqi Kurdistan to meet families and visit villages targeted by Turkey and Iran’s cross-border bombing. We will also meet civil society activists and journalists whose rights to freedom of expression are systematically silenced through orchestrated political efforts. We will also visit the recently released Badinan prisoners and their families, whom CPT accompanied during their imprisonment and trial. The final days of the delegation will be in Sulaimani, where we will debrief our experience and learning and prepare for the work of advocating for justice and amplifying the voices of partners in Iraqi Kurdistan.” Language: English. Cost: $1,500 (excluding airfare and visa).

Register for delegations online at For questions, email

— The National Council of Churches in the USA (NCC) is lamenting the senseless killing of Tyre Nichols. In a release that began with the texts from Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:18–“A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more”–the NCC expressed mourning for Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died from injuries sustained after a brutal beating by police in Memphis, Tenn. “We pray for the Nichols family as they lay their loved one to rest…and as they determine ways to honor Tyre’s legacy going forward. We join in solidarity with faith leaders in Memphis and surrounding areas who are providing moral and spiritual leadership to communities mourning this tragedy. We applaud the swift action of Memphis and Shelby County authorities to terminate and criminally charge those involved in this tragedy. We will continue to monitor this investigation and connect with Memphis area faith leaders to ensure all parties are held accountable, and that the family and community have the resources they need to heal from such a heartrending and unnecessary incident. We decry yet another act of police violence against an unarmed and nonviolent citizen…. We call upon Congress to act swiftly in passing comprehensive police reform legislation that will hold officers accountable, train them on de-escalation techniques, and end qualified immunity.” Read the full release at

— The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) has entered a partnership with Harvard Kennedy School’s William Monroe Trotter Collaborative “for social justice to develop a faith-based campaign for reparations as a client in the course, Creating Justice in Real Time: Visions, Strategies, and Campaigns,” said a release. “The William Monroe Trotter Collaborative aims to support innovative and inspiring partners to strengthen the reparations movement. Under its umbrella, a team of Harvard students will be assigned to provide research and resource development support to the NCC in developing Journey to Jubilee, a campaign for reparative justice and democracy reform through racial healing and transformation.” The principal aims: “Establish a broad-based network of faith leaders, activists, and organizations in the reparative justice movement. Develop a faith-based reparative justice toolkit and training resource to educate faith communities on reparations. Train and educate faith leaders and communities on advocacy and issue-based organizing. Convene a gathering of faith leaders to dialogue on reparations. Establish a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations for African Americans.” Journey to Jubilee launched on Feb. 1 in commemoration of Black History Month.

— “Hope, excitement, and expectations spread in South Sudan ahead of global Christian leaders’ visit,” said a release from the World Council of Churches (WCC). Starting a visit to South Sudan yesterday were Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church; Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, world leader of the Anglican and Episcopal Churches; and Presbyterian leader Iain Greenshields, moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland. The Feb. 3-5 “spiritual and peace mission” includes stops in Juba, the capital city, which “has been exuberant, with billboards coming up and flowers being planted,” said the release. “Roads are being tarmacked and churches renovated in preparation for the rare and unique visit.” The release reported that, on arrival, the Christian leaders were to meet president Salva Kiir Mayardit among other South Sudanese leaders. On the second day, they are to meet with leaders of their denominations separately, and with internally displaced people, and will preside over a joint prayer rally at the mausoleum of the late John Garang, the founding father of the nation. On the final day, the Pope will hold a mass at the mausoleum. Giving background on the history of South Sudan, the release noted that the country “became independent in 2011, but a deadly war broke out barely two years after. By the time a 2018 peace deal ended the countrywide fighting, an estimated 400,000 people lay dead and millions displaced. At the moment, the country is struggling with inter-ethnic armed clashes which agencies link to competition for resources.”


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