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.
Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to Honduras, where relief work continues following last year’s Hurricanes Eta and Iota; to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the Brethren in Goma continue aid to those affected by the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo; to India, in support of the COVID-19 response of IMA World Health; and to Northern Plains District, which is helping organize rebuilding following the derecho that left a trail of destruction in Iowa last August.
An additional allocation of $40,000 supports the Church World Service (CWS) rehabilitation program in Honduras for families affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota. CWS has longterm partners in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala that provided emergency relief programs and were supported by an initial EDF grant of $10,000. CWS has updated its response plan to include the rehabilitation of livelihoods and housing in Honduras. The goal of the program is to support 70 highly at-risk families in rebuilding their homes and livelihoods.
A grant of $30,000 for the Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG) response to the hurricanes was approved concurrently with this grant. All programing will be coordinated by and between CWS and PAG, a long-time partner of Brethren Disaster Ministries. In the past 10 years, support has been given through the shipping of canned meat and EDF grants for PAG’s relief work following various storms. After Hurricane Eta, PAG quickly organized a relief program that included providing 8,500 family food bags for a week of provision, used clothing, mattresses, health kits, blankets, shoes, and family hygiene kits. These items reached 50 communities before Hurricane Iota struck. The relief work has continued after Hurricane Iota, reaching more communities and providing medical aid in more remote regions.
“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.
“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.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) will convene a global online prayer service on March 26 at 9 a.m. (Eastern time, or 2 p.m. Central European Time) as part of “A Week of Prayer in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The week of prayer begins Monday, March 22, to commemorate a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic.
An upcoming webinar on Friday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time) will focus on the ways congregations are navigating the challenges of gathering together and some of the creativity of their initiatives in the midst of the pandemic.
Children and families continue to face isolation, and challenges abound with the pandemic continuing. Mental health for all ages has been impacted on some level. As we approach the one‐year anniversary of “flattening the curve” to slow the virus down, some may be feeling like this will never end. So, how can we face this year with hope and a plan to keep our families moving in the right direction?
Annual Conference moderator Paul Mundey is offering the next Moderator’s Town Hall on “Faith, Science, and COVID-19–Part Three” on Jan. 21, 2021, at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). Dr. Kathryn Jacobsen, who has been the resource person for the previous two town halls on this topic, will again be featured.
At least three districts in the Church of the Brethren have this week shared updated COVID-19 guidance with their congregations, including Southern Ohio and Kentucky District, Middle Pennsylvania District, and Virlina District.