Southern Ohio and Kentucky District Conference celebrates ‘firsts’

The theme was “Celebrate God’s Abundant Goodness” from Psalm 145:3-7 (NIV). Over the preceding year, the district was encouraged to focus on celebrating God’s goodness in the life of the district and each congregation. What would happen if we really celebrated how God has abundantly blessed our ministries?

Committee seeks to contact Church of the Brethren members and initiatives working for racial justice

Who is already called to the work of racial justice, or is already active in any way? The committee is hoping to start with an accurate picture of what is already happening. It wants to connect with initiatives or individuals at any level in the Church of the Brethren (community, congregation, district, denomination) who are working on racial justice issues in any way (education, activism, healing, spiritual renewal, etc.), whether they are doing their work inside or outside of the church. The committee also is interested in getting to know people who have a passion for this topic but may not yet be publicly active.

Brethren Disaster Ministries, Material Resources work with districts and partner organizations to continue flood response

During the week of July 25, a single storm system moved across multiple states causing flash flooding from Missouri to parts of Virginia and West Virginia. The flooding resulted in damaged homes and buildings, loss of life, and whole towns left underwater, especially in the greater St. Louis, Mo., area and a large area of southeastern Kentucky. Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Material Resources program have been responding as possible and requested.

Conference adopts concerns of ‘Query: Standing with People of Color,’ sets in motion two-year study/action process

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?”

Standing Committee makes recommendations on new business, approves recommendations from Nominating Committee and task team that has held conversations with On Earth Peace

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.

District team emerges from felt need to confront the evil of racial injustice

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.

Nick Beam to serve in leadership for Southern Ohio and Kentucky District

The Southern Ohio and Kentucky District of the Church of the Brethren has called Nicholas (Nick) Beam as interim associate district executive minister beginning Oct. 1. Beam will serve alongside retiring district executive David Shetler until Jan. 1, 2022, when he will become interim district executive.

Disaster grants fund Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in Dayton, relief work in Honduras, the DRC, India, Iowa

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.

Honduras

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.

Districts share updated COVID-19 guidance with churches

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.