Plans have been announced for the next Moderator’s Town Hall hosted by Paul Mundey, moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. The online event is titled “The Global Church: Current Happenings, Future Possibilities” and will take place Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). Norm and Carol Spicher Waggy, interim directors of Global Mission for the Church of the Brethren, will be the featured resource people.
Traditionally the moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference calls the church to Bible study and prayer as we anticipate Annual Conference. This year is no exception, but with an added plus: the availability in mid-February of 13 Bible studies focused on the themes of the proposed compelling vision for the Church of the Brethren (www.brethren.org/ac/compelling-vision).
The Program and Arrangements Committee of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference has announced a denomination-wide online worship gathering titled “Venturing Forth Boldly as a Faith Family,” scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. (Eastern time). In a season of disruption and despair, the service will assure us of what “God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9) and how we can faithfully respond.
“Save the dates,” said an announcement of upcoming webinars and online conversations from the Church of the Brethren Intercultural Ministries. Drew G. I. Hart, a member of Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, will be speaking as part of the upcoming “Healing Racism Congregations and Communities Series” that launches this February.
Hannah Shultz has resigned from her position on the Church of the Brethren staff as coordinator of short‐term service with Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS), effective Jan. 27. She has accepted a position with Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, an organization that engages communities of faith in stewardship of Creation as a response to climate change and environmental concerns.
Church of the Brethren membership in the United States and Puerto Rico has fallen below 100,000, according to the 2020 Church of the Brethren Yearbook from Brethren Press. For 2019, the Yearbook reported 98,680 members in 24 districts and 978 local worshiping communities across the Church of the Brethren denomination–a net loss of 5,766 over the previous year.
The Wild Way of Jesus: Devotions for Ash Wednesday Through Easter, written by Anna Lisa Gross, is the 2021 Lenten devotional from Brethren Press. “This Lent, walk with Jesus along his wilderness way,” said an announcement. “Look to the birds in the air, taste mustard growing along the path, and greet people deemed outcasts. Follow Jesus through the world’s wild edges and experience life-giving good news.”
Of late, the inauguration of a new US president has occupied our attention. But there’s a more pertinent inauguration needed during days of national upheaval: a fresh elevation of Jesus as Lord. Many have yet to inaugurate Jesus to this status. Yes, we give lip service to the centrality of Jesus, but often we become acculturated, collapsing toward consumerism, civil religion, and an insular faith. In doing so, we fail to allow Jesus to transform every aspect of our “form and frame,” being “born again,” not only in our relationship to God, but also in our relationship to soul, self, others, and all of creation (Romans 12).
The Program and Arrangements Committee has determined that the 2021 Annual Conference will be entirely online. The committee hoped to have a hybrid (both in-person and online) Conference as announced last fall. However, due to the continuing challenges of COVID-19, the committee deemed that it is not wise to have an in-person component for Annual Conference this summer. As Program and Arrangements Committee has consistently stressed, the health and safety of Annual Conference participants is the highest priority.
1) Intercultural Ministries sends out letter and invitation to new Racial Healing Grant Program
2) Discipleship Ministries offers opportunity to share prayers
3) ‘Hold fast to Jesus’: Office of Ministry shares letter of encouragement with ministers
4) Nursing scholarships are announced
5) Kostlevy to retire from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives
6) Brethren bits: Memorial service for John Gingrich, “Faith, Science, and COVID-19 Part Three,” Camp Blue Diamond seeks executive director, prayer requests, matching grant for Haiti Medical Project, Southern Ohio and Kentucky District urges churches to refrain from in-person meetings, Bridgewater College welcomes author Blair L. M. Kelley, and more