Our spiritual, cultural, and traditional belief systems speak of creation as a garden. Humankind, it is said, is the receptacle and caretaker of the garden. After more than two years of pandemic crisis, ongoing wars and conflicts, and a heating planet, the nations of the world have resumed in-person meetings to discuss their mandates and treaty bodies regarding life in the garden called earth.
Lafayette (Ind.) Church of the Brethren developed a statement in response to recent violent events around the country: “The Lafayette Church of the Brethren strongly denounces racially motivated violence such as the recent murders in Buffalo, New York. As Christians, we know God loves everyone and calls us to love our neighbors and our enemies. We confess that we have been silent when we should have been speaking out against racial violence. We will not be silent anymore….”
The delegate body on Tuesday, July 12, took action on “Query: Standing with People of Color” (new business item 2) from Southern Ohio and Kentucky District, which asks, “How can the Church of the Brethren stand with People of Color to offer sanctuary from violence and dismantle systems of oppression and racial inequity in our congregations, neighborhoods, and throughout the nation?”
The Standing Committee of district delegates from the 24 Church of the Brethren districts began meeting in Omaha, Neb., on the evening of July 7, through this morning. It was presided over by Conference moderator David Sollenberger, moderator-elect Tim McElwee, and secretary James M. Beckwith. One of its primary functions is to make recommendations on the new business items and queries coming to Annual Conference.
Next month, the National Youth Conference (NYC) 2022 Office will host two book conversations for NYC participants via Zoom. These conversations are centered around books written by two NYC speakers, Osheta Moore and Drew G. I. Hart.
The business items for the Church of the Brethren’s Annual Conference on July 10-14 in Omaha, Neb., are now posted online. The Conference is returning to a full business agenda complete with queries and other new business after several years in which the compelling vision took precedence.
Over the last year or more, Greg Davidson Laszakovits has made a lot of changes, all by choice. Although it was a difficult year for many reasons, on a professional level 2021 was good—but “it’s not been tidy.” Tidy is not a word commonly used by those doing the work of healing racism, and Laszakovits is no exception.
A statement on the war in Ukraine topped the agenda of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board at its meeting on March 11-13, held in person at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and via Zoom. Chair Carl Fike led the meeting, assisted by chair-elect Colin Scott and general secretary David Steele.
As part of its commitment to make local faith-based reparations to repair historical and current racist practices, a team at Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., has launched regular gatherings with Black and white faith communities.
We in the Southern Ohio and Kentucky District have always strived to be intentional about addressing the concerns in our society. For instance, during a Missional Renewal Team meeting shortly after George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020, the conversation centered on that tragedy and the epidemic of violence against people of color, along with the systemic racial injustice in our country triggering this violence.