— Remembrance: Charles J. Whitacre, 97, who was a seagoing cowboy with Heifer following World War II, died on Sept. 24. He was born April 4, 1926, in Fayette County, Pa., to parents Jesse W. Whitacre, pastor of Masontown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and Annie Ruth Whitacre. He was licensed to the ministry in his senior year of high school and ordained to ministry in his freshman year at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. During the summer of 1945, he served as a seagoing cowboy, one of those who helped ship relief animals to Europe, in a service project sponsored by the Church of the Brethren in cooperation with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. He went on to attend Bethany Seminary at the West Van Buren campus in Chicago. He was married in 1949 to Annabelle Bittinger. His career in the church included pastorates in several states. In 1971 he directed a pilot rehabilitation program for prisoners in the Roanoke, Va., city jail, called the Offender Aid and Restoration program. While in Colorado was president of the Colorado Council of Churches for a year and also was moderator and on the board for the Church of the Brethren’s Western Plains District. He served a term on the board of Morrison Cove Home in Martinsburg, Pa., and on the board and as moderator for Middle Pennsylvania District. In 1991, he and his wife moved to the retirement community at the Cedars in McPherson, Kan., where they lived until their deaths. He was preceded in death by his wife, Annabelle (Belle), and daughter Linda Lundquist. He is survived by children Vicki (Bob) Samland, Sue Whitacre, Chris (Kathryn) Whitacre, and Karen Winter; and by grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial reception will be held on Nov. 5, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the Cedars.
— Remembrance: Margaret (Marge) Moeller, 83, a former denominational employee of the Church of the Brethren, passed away on Sept. 24. She lived in Kirkland, Ill., and was born on Dec. 2, 1939. She worked for the former General Board at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., for more than a decade, from 1987 to 1998, serving in the Yearbook office and in Brethren Press customer service.
— Job opening: The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) seeks a Marketing and Communication officer. A talented professional is sought to drive the external and internal engagement of the organization’s ecumenical, advocacy, and activist agenda. This position offers an exciting opportunity to lead and implement strategic communications initiatives, from concept to reality, aimed at promoting NCC’s vision, mission, and values. The Marketing and Communication officer will manage the organization’s overall communication and marketing strategy, including written and verbal communications, media relations, social media presence, and relationship building with key contacts in Washington, D.C. Full-time exempt. Work is generally conducted Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a hybrid position with at least one to two days in office each week. Occasional evening and weekend availability may be required. Eligible for paid time off and retirement benefits. Salary range: $65,000 to $75,000. To apply, go to https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/staff-ncc/current-openings.
–– The Womaen’s Caucus is holding a nominating party again this year. “Hope to see you there,” said an announcement from the group’s steering committee. “Tis the season! (for nominating leaders in the Church of the Brethren), Whether you’ve been elected to a denominational leadership position, or have no idea how to even nominate someone, join us on Zoom for an informative, active session: Thursday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. Eastern. Nominations are made online, with or without consulting your nominee first. But, the nomination can only move forward if the person you nominated fills out the nominee information form–and over half of the nominees never do!” Open offices on the ballot to be presented to the 2024 Annual Conference include moderator-elect, Program and Arrangements Committee, Mission and Ministry Board for areas 4 and 5, Bethany Theological Seminary board representing colleges, and the On Earth Peace board. For information about the nominations process go to www.brethren.org/ac/nominations. The Zoom link for the Nominations Party is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84129492000.
— The Brethren Voices community television program has announced its upcoming two-episode series titled “Taking Care of Our…Mother Earth.” In the first episode, David Radcliff who directs the New Community Project shared that the relationships with partner organizations are the thing that makes change possible. “We only provide the wind to their sails and act as the resource for the recipients,” he said. Host Brent Carlson meets with Radcliff for a second program on the future of this planet and “Earth Care” as a focus. Facts taken into consideration include record heat in Phoenix, Ariz., which hit 54 days of 110 degrees this year; 101-degree water temperature recorded in Florida coastal waters; record flooding recently in the United States and numerous parts of the world, with 11,000 people being killed in Libya flooding; reports of the Atlantic Ocean current going dormant; and more. Mike Stern again performs his own music for the introduction of this program, as well as the song “One World.”
The second episode in the series will appear in November featuring the orientation of BVS Unit 334 at Camp Koinonia near Cle Elum, Wash. Jim Lehman’s story that led to the beginnings of Brethren Volunteer Service will be featured as a tribute for the 75th Anniversary of BVS. Find episodes of Brethren Voices on YouTube.
— The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is holding its 10th annual Christian Unity Gathering on Oct. 9-11 in Nashville, Tenn. The gathering brings together clergy, theologians, Bible experts, advocates, activists, and individuals from various Christian traditions to collectively envision ways to collaborate on critical issues. This year’s theme is “Faith Under Fire: The Church in the Public Square” (1 Peter 1:7). Speakers include Obery Hendricks Jr., a visiting scholar at the Departments of Religion and African and African Diaspora Studies, Columbia University; Rob Schenck, visiting scholar of Christianity and Religious Leadership, Hebrew College, Newton, Mass.; biblical scholar Renita J. Weems; Anne Henning Byfield, a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 13th Episcopal District; Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America; Nicolas Kazarian, ecumenical officer, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Garland Pierce, executive director of Christian Education, African Methodist Episcopal Church; Arpi Kouzouian, Armenian Orthodox Church; Phillis Sheppard, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Associate Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture at Vanderbilt Divinity School; among others. “The National Council of Churches is excited to host its first in-person Christian Unity Gathering since 2019,” said NCC Governing Board chair Teresa Snorton. “We believe that coming together as a faith community provides a powerful platform to explore critical issues facing us today and to collectively envision a better future.” The conference is open to anyone who wants to attend. For more information and registration go to https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/christian-unity-gathering-2023.
— Christian Churches Together (CCT) is holding at annual forum on Oct. 3-6 in Savannah, Ga. Wendy McFadden, publisher of Brethren Press and communications for the Church of the Brethren, is representing the denomination at this event. She is among leaders of more than 30 church denominations and Christian organizations from across the US. “In our current climate of polarization, the differences that exist among Christians in the U.S. can seem insurmountable and divisive,” commented executive director Monica Schaap Pierce in a release. “But through Christian Churches Together, faith leaders learn to better understand, love, and reconcile with each other even when disagreements persist.” CCT is one of the broadest Christian fellowships in the United States. In Savannah, representatives from its five “families” of churches–Catholic, Orthodox, Historic Black, Evangelical/Pentecostal, and Mainline Protestant–will engage in theological learning, spiritual reflection, shared worship in local churches including the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, and Christ Church Episcopal, and a prayer pilgrimage to the Historic Baptismal Trail in Riceboro, where as early as the 1840s ancestors of local Gullah/Geechee communities baptized new members into the Christian faith. One reason Savannah was chosen as the site is because of its rich Christian history–with churches ranging from the oldest Black church in the US to the home base of John Wesley’s ministry during his time in the colonies.
— One Home One Future was launched on Oct. 4 as a new national multi-faith campaign for congregations and communities concerned about the environment. It is a partner organization to the NCC as “a coalition effort of American faith denominations and organizations working for visible and collective climate action by faith leaders. The campaign will educate, activate, and empower clergy, congregants, youth, and all spiritual people in meaningful and just solutions locally, regionally, and nationally in ways that are accessible, positive, and empowering,” said an announcement.
The launch included a call for nominations for the American Climate Leadership Awards 2024, a program that is in its fifth year of recognizing leading local, state, and national climate leadership programs with $175,000 in prizes. “Please submit an application and spread the word. Apply today and nominate your favorite climate leaders!” said the announcement. Nominations are accepted until Dec. 1 at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScjSL-ia-UdIbGp9R4XpeAj4inB-QfLtpUuEYwkUagY5k-rrQ/viewform.
An additional, separate awards program for high school students, the American Climate Leadership Awards for High School Students, with $125,000 additional awards to showcase the leadership of the next generation, is open for nominations through Dec. 1 at https://ecoamerica.org/american-climate-leadership-awards-high-school-2024.
— The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Roman Catholic Church have begun preparing the 2025 materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which will commemorate the Council of Nicaea. The year 2025 marks the 1,700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea, the first Christian ecumenical council held in 325 AD. “Consequently, given the upcoming Nicea celebration, the focus of the annual observance will not be on a region but rather on the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed,” said the announcement. “There was consensus that the ecumenical monastic community of Bose [Italy] be chosen to prepare the 2025 resource.” The theme for 2025 will be taken from John 11:25-27: “Do you believe this?”
Next year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, scheduled for Jan. 18-25, 2024, will utilize worship resources prepared by Christians in Burkina Faso on the theme, “You shall love the Lord your God…and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Find the 2024 resources at www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/resources-for-the-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-2024.
Find more Church of the Brethren news:
- CDS helps care for children and families among asylum seekers in Chicago area
- Church of the Brethren general secretary signs letter from Christian leaders to President Biden
- ‘Prayer Vigil: Ceasefire Now!’ will pray for peace in Israel and Palestine
- Next online meeting of Standing with People of Color process is Nov. 18
- Standing Committee of Annual Conference to hold online meetings open to the public