Brethren bits for March 2, 2024

— A celebration of life service has been announced for the late Belita Mitchell, the first Black woman to be ordained in the Church of the Brethren and the first Black woman to serve as moderator of the Annual Conference, who passed away Feb. 10. The service will be held on Saturday, April 20, at Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren with viewing at 10 a.m. and the service at 11 a.m. A luncheon will follow.

— Remembrance: Bitrus K. Tizhe, who served as the first president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) from 1995 to 1999, died on Feb. 16. He was laid to rest at his home in Michika, Adamawa State, on Feb. 21, said a release from EYN. “Ministers of God within and outside EYN, members, traditional rulers, politicians, and well wishing mourners from all over converged on the city of Michika to pay their tributes and last respects to the leader. Late Kwajighu was described as a peaceful, faithful, and dedicated servant of God.” After serving as president of EYN, Tizhe was the only president to return to serve as a local pastor. He also was a regional church council secretary from 1999 to 2001 and after his retirement served on the EYN Board of Trustees. EYN president Joel S. Billi officiated at the burial service. The EYN Ministers Council secretary Lalai Bukar led the service, and described Tizhe as “Brethren to the core.” Tizhe’s predecessor and former chairman of Lardin Gabas, David Malafa, prayed for the family. Tizhe’s biography was read by one of his grandchildren, Dlama Yakubu Sini, on behalf of the family. Tizhe was married to Mama Na’omi Bitrus, who died in 2023. He is survived by children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

— Remembrance: Dale F. Correll (87) of Abilene, Kan., who was president of the Mutual Aid Association (MAA) of the Church of the Brethren for many years, died on Feb. 28. He was born in Abilene on Sept. 22, 1936, to Frank and Alice (McCosh) Correll. He grew up in Detroit, Kan., and graduated from Kansas State University with a major in Business Administration. On June 9, 1955, he married Eleanor Lehman. They celebrated 68 years of marriage together, making their home north of Abilene in the Buckeye (Kan.) community. Over the course of his professional career, in addition to leading MAA, Correll farmed and ranched, worked as a brakeman for the Rock Island Railroad, was sales manager and vice-president at Wyatt Manufacturing in Salina, Kan., and owned his own national insurance company. He was named chairman of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) and served the organization for many years. He was a lifelong member of Buckeye Church of the Brethren. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor; children Sally Nelson, Cindy Krehbiel (John), Debbie Tasker (Russell), and Cheryl Zumbrunn (Dennis); and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by two grandchildren, Kristin Burkholder and Joel Zumbrunn. The family will receive friends Tuesday evening, March 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Danner Funeral Home in Abilene, Kan. A private family burial will take place at a later date. Memorial gifts are received to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Find a full obituary at

Special Easter pricing is available through March 31 for The Peace Table: A Storybook Bible. This full color, illustrated hardback story Bible from the Shine curriculum, a joint program of Brethren Press and MennoMedia “is a great way to nurture faith in your children and grandchildren,” said an announcement. The discount price of $25 represents savings of $7.99 off the $32.99 list price for the book. Buy now at

— Among international prayer concerns recently shared by Global Mission and Brethren Disaster Ministries:

From Haiti: An urgent prayer concern follows on a series of attacks two days ago in the capital city Port-au-Prince and elsewhere, carried out by gangs against the police and police stations. “The churches in Port au Prince, Morne Boulage, and Laferière scattered all around the country,” shared Ilexene Alphonse, pastor of Miami (Fla.) Haitian Church of the Brethren. “So far, none of them have been killed, but the trauma and the uncertainty…. Heaven seems closed to prayers for Haiti, but we will not stop crying out to God.” According to the Associated Press, responsibility for the violence was claimed by Jimmy Chérizier, a former elite police officer known as “Barbecue” who leads the gang federation known as G9, with the goal of capturing the country’s police chief and government ministers to prevent the return of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. The prime minister has been in Kenya to push for a United Nations supported deployment of police to fight the gangs that control Haiti. Read more at

From the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): L’Eglise des Frères au Congo (the Church of the Brethren in the DRC) requests prayer for the reversal of a worsening situation in the city of Goma, where M23 rebel forces have entered the city. “Let us join in fervent prayer for enduring peace to prevail in the Eastern DRC and throughout the Great Lakes region,” said Faradja Chrispin Dieudonne, vice president of L’Eglise des Frères au Congo. “May tranquility replace conflict, and communities find strength in unity. Prayers are sought for the successful and safe construction of the Church of the Brethren headquarters, the Women Empowerment Center, and the Brethren Bible Institute in the DRC. May these projects be guided by divine wisdom, leading to a place of solace, development, and learning. Your thoughts and prayers are instrumental during these challenging times. Thank you for standing in solidarity as we seek blessings of peace and progress.” Find an article from The Guardian newspaper about the increased violence in the Goma area of the DRC at

From Nigeria: Prayer is requested for the Majalisa or annual conference of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). “As the EYN Majalisa at our headquarters approaches on April 9-15, 2024, we lift up this gathering in prayer,” wrote Maina Pindar, EYN staff liaison. “May it be a time of spiritual renewal, unity, and inspiration for all attendees. May God grant wisdom to the organizers and speakers, that God’s will may be done during this event. We also lift up the upcoming elections for EYN president, vice president, general secretary, and administrative secretary. We pray for discernment and unity among the members as they make these important decisions.”

A request for prayer and help has been shared by On Earth Peace for one of its interns, who along with her family is trapped in Gaza. “Help Haya and her family evacuate Gaza,” said a release from On Earth Peace. “Please help us raise money for Haya, a 23-year-old passionate activist and peaceworker, beloved teacher, aspiring student, kind friend, and loving sister from Gaza, Palestine, whose life is currently seriously endangered after losing everything that she has known as ‘home’ these past few months. Haya is a nonviolence trainer who works with an international team, and we dearly hope to help her and her family leave Gaza to stay alive. Since 2021, Haya has been an organizing intern and then Nonviolence Fellow with On Earth Peace. She is a beloved member of the On Earth Peace community and we yearn for her safety and freedom.” On Earth Peace is hoping to arrange evacuation for Haya, her older sister Bisan (26) who has graduated from medical school and was an intern at Al Shifa Hospital until it was destroyed, her younger brother Mustafa (16), and their mother, Sahar. Find out more at

— Current Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) workers on assignment in the US will gather for a mid-year retreat on March 17-24 at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla. Leadership will be provided by staff members Chelsea Goss Skillen, Virginia Rendler, and Marissa Witkovsky-Eldred. German volunteers from EIRENE serving as BVSers in the US will retreat in Florida a few days earlier with that organization, before joining the others. EIRENE is a longtime partner of BVS.

This year’s BVS summer unit (Unit 335) will hold orientation July 28-Aug. 5 at Camp Colorado near Sedalia, Colo., southwest of Denver. The fall unit (Unit 336) will take place Sept. 17-25 at Camp Brethren Heights in Rodney, Mich., north of Grand Rapids. Online pre-orientation meetings also take place before each group gathers in person. The recruitment and application process for these units is under way, with more than a dozen volunteers already accepted for the coming year. To apply or to learn more about BVS, visit

— March 7 is the deadline to register for the course “Polarization as an Opportunity for Ministry” offered by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, a joint program of the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry and Bethany Theological Seminary. This in-person course will be held at the seminary in Richmond, Ind., from April 11-13, with additional Zoom sessions before and after. The instructor is Russell Haitch, Bethany’s professor of Theology and Human Science. Go to

— Virlina District has announced the closing of Moneta, Lakeland Fellowship Church of the Brethren in Bedford, Va. “With deep sadness we announce that the Moneta, Lakeland Fellowship will conclude its ministry on Easter Sunday March 31, 2024,” said the district newsletter. A celebration of the fellowship’s ministry will be held with love feast on Saturday, March 30, at 5 p.m.

— Pleasant View Church of the Brethren near Burkittsville, Md., is holding a belated celebration of 245 years of ministry on Aug. 15, with a special Sunday morning worship service, in anticipation of the congregation’s 250th anniversary in 2026. According to The Frederick News-Post, descendants of the founding members will be special guests. Those first founders moved into the Middletown Valley from Pennsylvania by 1740, settling at Big Oak Spring, which is now Burkittsville. “Wanting to organize a church, about 20 families met on Aug. 15, 1776, under a large white oak on the Daniel Arnold farm just south of Burkittsville,” said the newspaper article. “They formed the Broad Run German Baptist Church, named for the everflowing stream, Broad Run. Through the years and with many changes both locally and nationally, the German Baptist became The Church of the Brethren. Once worship was held in schools, barns and homes, about 150 years ago, the ancestors of the Broad Run congregation built a church and named it Pleasant View.” Read more at

— Shenandoah District and Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Cave, Va., are sponsoring Nate Polzin, executive director of Discipleship and Leadership Formation for the Church of the Brethren, as the presenter of “For My Neighbor’s Good-Brethren Evangelism Training Event.” This training will focus on helping participants connect the story of how they have encountered Jesus in their lives with the needs of others in their neighborhoods who have not yet met Jesus, said the district newsletter. The event will hosted by the Pleasant Valley Church on Saturday, April 20, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Accredited ministers may receive 0.45 continuing education credit. There is no cost for the event. Register by calling 540-234-8555.

— Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has announced via Facebook post that alumnus Dan Sunderland (’88) and his wife, Kerry, have pledged $1 million toward strengthening the college’s commitment to educating and preparing students for careers in the health professions. “Their philanthropy will support a feasibility study to determine the viability of a future nursing program at Juniata College,” said the announcement. “Across the nation, hospitals, health systems, and medical offices are experiencing a shortage of nurses, and the numbers in Pennsylvania are among the highest.”

— The March episode of “Brethren Voices,” a community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features “The Sierra Song and Story Fest” held at Camp Peaceful Pines last year. “Twenty-six years ago, the Brethren Camp hosted the very first Song and Story Fest and just five years ago, a wildfire devastated the surrounding area. The camp survived, thanks to smoke jumpers who came to the rescue. The 27th Annual Song & Story Fest, known as the Sierra Wildfire Song & Story Fest, ‘AFTER the FIRE,’ returned to the camp nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Under the light of a billion stars, the family camp of all ages, told stories and sang songs around the camp fire.” This month’s episode shared portions of a concert by Hannah Button-Harrison, with original songs written while Button-Harrison was in Brethren Volunteer Service at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., and the East Belfast Mission of Northern Ireland. The March episode as well as nearly 200 “Brethren Voices” programs can be viewed at

Learn more about what a Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT) delegation does during an online information session on Saturday, March 9. “Are you passionate about peace and justice? Do you crave an immersive experience that challenges your perspective and empowers you to act? Join a life-changing CPT delegation to crisis settings around the world,” said an invitation. Three sessions will be offered that day, at 11 a.m. about Colombia, at 6 p.m. about Palestine, and at 7 p.m. about Iraqi Kurdistan. Go to

— A webinar to help congregations prepare for Earth Day Sunday 2024, on the theme “Plastic Jesus: Real Faith in a Synthetic World” will be offered by Creation Justice Ministries on Thursday, March 7, at 6 to 7:15 p.m. (Eastern time). “Everywhere we look in our culture you will find plastic,” said the announcement. “One place where you will not find plastic, however, is in the Bible…. In this session, we will provide invaluable insights into the state of plastics worldwide, offering a theological and scriptural perspective to guide our reflections. Immerse yourself in original music crafted to inspire, and gain practical advice from denominational leaders on seamlessly integrating discussions about plastic into your congregation’s activities.” Find a registration link at

— During a trip to Israel and Palestine, the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary has met with the Israeli president, amid other meetings with regional political and religious leaders to call for a ceasefire and for freedom of religion as well as humanitarian care. “Israeli president Isaac Herzog formally received World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay on 20 February, to discuss the current situation in Israel and Palestine, and the war in Gaza,” said a WCC release. “In a very frank, fair and cordial conversation, the two leaders agreed on the importance of working towards a ceasefire and the role of religions in helping to create a world in which peace, security and safety exist for all people and for creation, a world that God desires and wills for us. Pillay expressed his concern about the loss of over 27,000 lives in Gaza, most of them women and children, reiterated the WCC position that violence and wars are not the way to seek solutions, and stressed the need for dialogue to end the war and to create a better future for all people in Israel and Palestine. The general secretary also raised issues related to the freedom of religion and religious practices, making reference to a recent report on further restrictions to be imposed by the Israeli government during the Muslim celebration of Ramadan. Pillay also referred to the information shared with him during his meeting with Heads of Churches about disrespectful treatment by some young Israeli extremists.” Read the full release at

The WCC also yesterday posted a release expressing solidarity as the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem has condemned the “wanton attack against innocent civilians” in Gaza. Find it at


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