Mission and Ministry Board completes Kingian Nonviolence training, works at envisioning

The Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board held its spring 2024 meeting on March 15-17 at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Board chair Colin Scott presided, assisted by chair-elect Kathy Mack and general secretary David Steele.

An envisioning session was led by the board’s Strategic Planning Committee with several rounds of “table talk” in small groups. The exercise sought to identify common themes to help the work of the board and staff. Among themes that were identified: communication across barriers such as different languages and cultures, trust-building and relationship-building, transparency and authenticity, and shifting from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of abundance.

The Mission and Ministry Board completed Kingian Nonviolence training at its spring 2024 meeting, with leadership from On Earth Peace. Photo by Nevin Dulabaum

A Kingian Nonviolence training was led by trainer Sherri Bevel and by Matt Guynn, co-executive director and director of organizing for On Earth Peace. This was the final session of a series of trainings that were offered to the board and its staff, and at the close each board member received a certificate of completion. On Earth Peace is in the midst of a campaign to train 1,000 Church of the Brethren members in Kingian Nonviolence, a methodology for conflict resolution and a resource for Christian peacemaking that derives from the work of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Photo by Traci Rabenstein

Two actions were taken during open sessions:

— A minor change was made to financial policies regarding the approval method for certain expenditures.

— Steve Longenecker was appointed to a second term on the Brethren Historical Committee.

The board received reports from the Council of District Executives, Bethany Theological Seminary, the Brethren Faith in Action Fund, and the various board committees, as well as a year-end financial update for 2023 (see www.brethren.org/news/2024/year-end-financial-report). The board also heard a report from members Kathy Mack and Roger Schrock on their recent trip to South Sudan.

In closed session:

The board discussed questions from the group of intercultural ministers who made a presentation to the board last fall during an intercultural listening session. A small group of board members was named to help formulate a response. The response is expected to be finalized in coming weeks. (Find a report on the intercultural listening session included in the fall 2023 board meeting report at www.brethren.org/news/2023/report-from-fall-board-meeting).

The board discussed letters received from international churches and a response. The letters were received by the board chair in advance of the spring meeting, from four denominations in the Global Church of the Brethren Communion: Iglesia de Los Hermanos (Church of the Brethren) in the Dominican Republic; the Church of Brethren in Rwanda; Iglesia de los Hermanos “Una Luz en las Naciones” (the Church of the Brethren, “A Light to the Nations”) in Spain; and ASIGLEH, the Church of the Brethren in Venezuela. The letters communicated a variety of concerns about the conversation on human sexuality occurring in the Church of the Brethren in the United States, related queries directed to Annual Conference, maintenance of biblical principles, avoidance of sin, and conservative cultural settings in their respective countries, among others. The letters also expressed commitment to Brethren values and they shared prayer and well wishes with the US church. A response, which was drafted and sent by the Executive Committee, extended well wishes in return, affirmed the partnership of Church of the Brethren bodies around the world, explained the board’s role in the church in the US and in relationship to Annual Conference, cited the 2008 Annual Conference resolution “Urging Forbearance,” and committed to seek the mind of Christ together.

A group of students from Bethany Seminary attended a portion of the meeting and led Sunday morning worship. Photo by Traci Rabenstein


Find more Church of the Brethren news:

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