The complete 13-session Compelling Vision Bible Study Series is now available in English with a Spanish translation to be available in coming days. The series is a project of the Compelling Vision Working Group and is intended to help church members study the compelling vision statement that will be brought for approval to the 2021 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren.
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 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.
Much has been altered since the Compelling Vision process began. Some congregations have chosen to leave the Church of the Brethren, the need for structural reform in the church has become ever more evident, and COVID-19 has cast an aura of uncertainty regarding the future nature of congregational life. Amid those significant dilemmas I suggest to you there is nothing more important than studying scripture together to deepen our common commitment to Christ.
The Compelling Vision Team is developing a 13-session Bible study series around the compelling vision being proposed for the Church of the Brethren. Designed for use by youth and adults, the series will be available at no cost on the compelling vision webpage in February 2021. Sample sessions will be posted in mid-January.
Brethren Press is highlighting a round dozen resources for use by individuals and churches in this fourth quarter of 2020. On the list are new resources published by Brethren Press for education and enjoyment of young and old. Also recommended are new books by Brethren authors, from other publishers but available to purchase through Brethren Press.
The Compelling Vision Team announces a 13-week Bible study structured around the compelling vision, to be released in February 2021–just in time for spring Sunday school classes and Bible studies. We have 13 different writers from across the denomination preparing these studies.
New from Brethren Press are the Shine curriculum’s All of Us: God’s Story for You and Me, a Bible storybook for children, and the 2020 Advent devotional Give Light, written by James Benedict. Brethren Press resources may be ordered from www.brethrenpress.com or call 800-441-3712. All of Us The new Bible storybook from Shine, a curriculum