COVID response plan is set in place for 2022 Annual Conference

As we look ahead to Annual Conference on July 10-14, 2022, in Omaha, Neb., one of our top priorities is caring for the health and wellbeing of all Conferencegoers. In the highly politicized context of the ongoing pandemic, this has proven to be a challenging task. The Program and Arrangements Committee developed the following plan in consultation with epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Jacobsen and physician and former Program and Arrangements Committee member Dr. Emily Shonk Edwards.

Yearbook survey reveals worship habits during pandemic

Earlier this year, the Church of the Brethren Yearbook Office conducted a survey asking congregational leaders to weigh in on their worship habits during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 300 Church of the Brethren congregations participated in the survey, representing more than a third of the close to 900 total number of congregations in the denomination.

Church workers’ COVID emergency grants are extended again

threat in the US for 18 months now, is soon to be behind us, or taking a second run with vaccination challenges and variants that are harder for our systems to fight off. At Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), when the pandemic began in March 2020, staff immediately kick started discussions on how to address the inevitable financial woes that would hit some of our members and clients hard–such as pastors and other employees of churches, districts, and camps.

Letter encourages equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines

The Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has signed an interfaith letter encouraging action by the US administration to ensure everyone has equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine and other tools necessary to contain the pandemic. The letter gained 81 signatories.

Emergency Disaster Fund grants go to the DRC, Venezuela, Mexico

Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to help Eglise des Freres au Congo (the Church of the Brethren in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC) respond to the eruption of a volcano near the city of Goma and to respond to the families displaced by violence who have fled to the city of Uvira. Grants for COVID-19 relief work also are being given to the Church of the Brethren in Venezuela and to Bittersweet Ministries in Mexico.

Most Brethren camps are planning to be ‘in-person’ this summer

“In person” is the mode for most Church of the Brethren camps this summer. Representatives of several of the camps reported on their planning for the 2021 season in a recent Zoom meeting of the Outdoor Ministries Association, chaired by Gene Hollenberg with Linetta Ballew as vice-chair.

Churches are asked to help with COVID-19 vaccination effort

Churches are being asked to help support COVID-19 vaccination efforts across the United States. A COVID-19 Community Corps has been launched, inviting churches among other community groups to help build vaccine confidence in their communities. Also, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is collecting a list of churches and other community organizations that can help support the national vaccination effort.

Next Moderator’s Town Hall to address ‘the new normal’

“What Will Be the ‘New Normal’? Anticipating a Post-Pandemic World” is the title of the next Moderator’s Town Hall sponsored by Paul Mundey, moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. The online event takes place May 19 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) with leadership from Mark DeVries and Dr. Kathryn Jacobsen.