Sunday, September 01, 2019

The Reflector -- September 2019

DE Ponderings

by Kevin Kessler

When I left the office to go home for the day earlier this week, the maple tree across the street caught my eye. A few leaves on some of the upper branches were displaying their fall colors. Yellow. Crimson. Beautiful!

Reality then kicked in. Autumn is just around the corner. Leaves will not only turn but will begin to fall. Then leaf raking. It is the time of year when hot dogs are roasted over fires and the aroma of wood smoke tickles the olfactory nerves. S’mores! Children sport backpacks as they return to the classroom. Daylight hours become less. There is a chill in the air, especially after the sun sets.

Ah, another reminder. Colder outside temperatures approach. Brrrrr! Of all the changes autumn brings, it is this latter one that I least like. I much prefer 90-degree days as opposed to 50-degree days when it becomes necessary to wear a jacket and the air-conditioner is replaced by the furnace. My teeth are chattering just thinking about this change. Well, okay, hyperbole added.

Funny, isn’t it, how the sight of a few fall-colored leaves can elicit these many thoughts about change. Some of the changes are welcomed and others not so much. Regardless, change is inevitable and rather than grumble about the more unwelcome changes, the better attitude is to find ways of enduring.

I’m finding that the older I get my body functions much differently than it did three or four decades ago. I really don’t like some of the changes especially those that cause an adjustment in lifestyle. But I can’t go back so I’ve learned to endure, to make the best of what I’m given, and to find something good in the adjustments that I need to make. In other words, I adapt to the new reality.

I believe the cat’s out of the bag that we are experiencing some new realities pertaining to the Church. Tastes in music have changed. Family sizes are smaller, thus fewer children. Attendance is less than it was a few decades ago. Attending worship once or twice a month is considered regular attendance. Finding pastoral leadership is more challenging. The Church is not always viewed as relevant. Church growth occurs not from families expanding but from extending invitations to friends and others. We lament the changes occurring and enter into a state of anxiety wondering about the future of the church.

If the aforementioned changes are the new reality, would it be more beneficial to adapt than lament anxiously? My response to this question is, yes. To be adaptive means we will change the way we move forward. Instead of looking for quick fixes, we’ll ask more questions. Instead of keeping things ordered, we’ll let conflict emerge and allow it to transform us. Instead of protecting the church from perceived external threats, we’ll work to disclose and expose the threats in order to engage them appropriately. We’ll no longer maintain norms but allow the norms to be challenged that we may learn and grow and become wiser as a result of seeing and experiencing something beyond the routine.

Change is inevitable but not easy. Living into a new reality requires patience, fortitude, study, listening, conversation, adjustment, and courage. The payoff from these practices is not a church in survival mode but rather a church that is thriving.

The late Salvadoran Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero offers a portrait of this thriving church: The church, with its message, and with its word, will meet a thousand obstacles, just as the river encounters boulders, rocks, and chasms. No matter; the river carries a promise: “I will be with you to the end of the ages” and “The gates of hell shall not prevail” against the will of the Lord (Matt. 28:20, Matt. 16:18).

May it be so.

The Moderator's Column

Seeing and Being Our Neighbor

It is fast approaching the time for District Conference. Registration packets were sent to district churches and the website has digital forms. All is ready for you to sign up for this year’s conference on Nov.1-2, 2019. It is here that we will be celebrating the idea of "For Our Neighbors’ Good"!

From beginning to end, I hope you sense of what that can mean to all of us if we take the time to attend this gathering, as well as enter with a sense of anticipation, readiness, and expectation. Come prepared and come with your hands full of items for missions groups both far and wide in the Dixon neighborhood. Two programs are being lifted up: the P.A.D.S. local shelter, and the Emergency Cleanup Buckets for Disaster Relief. We will show them that our District does care about their needs.

Be ready to enjoy the fun and entertainment of Spontaneous Combustion Friday evening as the barbershop quartet leads us in their music and their story of the work they do “in the neighborhood”.

We hope our worship together will be for God’s glory as we share with Him and with each other about the good work that is going on in our District and in our churches.

I've sent out a plea for pictures from any and all churches that depict ways you have impacted your neighbors. This may also include how they impacted you in this last year. Please send them to the district office by Oct. 1st. We plan to make a slide show to help celebrate all that is being accomplished “for the glory of God and our neighbors’ good".

It is also very important that all of us understand the importance of being a neighbor to each other as churches. I am hoping that through sharing more of our stories with one another and our deep concerns about our neighbors in each of our existing areas, each of our churches will be more understanding and ready to work side-by-side. We can stand together in situations where we can do the most good! Smaller churches may need help from larger ones, but bigger churches may also need to invite smaller ones to join.

This District Conference is our chance to come together to speak to each other in love and learn about ourselves and the people who live around us.

Won’t you sign up and come be with us this year at Dixon Church of the Brethren? We would love to have a record crowd of people come do God together!

Blessings and Peace,
Moderator Leslie Lake

Camp Emmaus Youth Retreat/Leaf Raking

November 8-10, 2019

When: Registration will begin at 7 pm on Friday Night. Retreat participants will be dismissed on Sunday around noon. We are open to people coming late or leaving early so long as they are at the retreat Saturday Morning.

Who: Everyone currently in 9th through 12th grades plus First Year College students during the 2019-2020 school year. Friends and advisors are welcome.

Cost: $30 for youth and adults. Make checks payable to “Illinois/Wisconsin District Youth”

What to Bring: Games, Bible, Rake, Sleeping Bag, Snacks to share, Towel, and Work clothes.

Service Project Information: We recommend dressing comfortably and in layers – it can be chilly in the morning – and you may warm up while raking leaves.

See for registration information.

Contact Ralph at (847) 742-0918, or via e-mail :

Pleasant Hill Village Files Chapter 11

Due to unprecedented and sustained non-payment from Illinois Medicaid, Pleasant Hill Village has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. After closing its nursing home in August 2018 under the burden of $2 million of non-compensated care, Pleasant Hill Village now seeks bankruptcy protection in the interest of its ongoing Girard ministries of Senior Independent Living and Senior Assisted Living. Established in 1905 as a home for orphans and the elderly, Pleasant Hill Village is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren.

The Board and leadership of Pleasant Hill Village wish to express our gratitude for the support and loyalty of our residents, families, employees and friends at this challenging time. Pleasant Hill Residence, our Senior Independent and Assisted Living facility, continues to operate 48 apartments on our Girard campus. This important ministry has served many residents and families since its construction in 2002. It is our intention and plan to continue these stable and comfortable Independent and Assisted Living apartments for our residents and the community.

Church of the Brethren reaffirms its historic commitment to opposing the death penalty

Church of the Brethren Newsline
July 29, 2019

From the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy

On July 25, 2019, Attorney General William Barr announced that the federal government would resume the use of the death penalty, after a 16-year halt, and directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBP) to schedule the executions of five inmates currently on death row. (1)

In the wake of this troubling announcement, the Church of the Brethren reaffirms its decades-long theological and moral opposition to the death penalty.

As stated in the 1987 Annual Conference statement on the death penalty, “Matthew 25:40 reminds us, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers (or sisters) of mine, you did it for me.’ There is an element of God in each of us, and so we must hold all human life as sacred. To take the life of any person is to destroy what has been created by God and redeemed by Christ. To admit that there are those who are beyond saving is to deny the ultimate power of redemption, the cross and the empty tomb.” (2)

Since 1973, more than 160 people who had been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in the US have since been exonerated. (3) A justice system that makes mistakes in life-or-death cases has no place sentencing people to die. Additionally, there are racial disparities in the use of the death penalty, which has a high rate of white-victim cases and non-white defendants. (4) The death penalty is an irreversible punishment carried out in a flawed and racist system, and thus should be ended immediately.

“The death penalty only continues the spiral of violence,” the 1987 statement went on to say. “The only real way to deter further violence is to cease our claim to a ‘life for a life,’ to recognize that life and death decisions belong to God, and to seek mercy and redemption of God's lost children.” As a peace church, the Church of the Brethren is committed to countering violence with Christ’s radical peace, and we are deeply opposed to further contributing to the cycle of violence that the death penalty perpetuates. “In a broader sense, we Christians must lead the United States in a total commitment to non-violence as public policy. All violent systems, structures, and ideologies should be challenged at their very core.”

The Death Row Support Project, a Church of the Brethren initiative led by Rachel Gross, offered this response to the attorney general’s announcement: “Last week’s decision by the Federal Government to move ahead with executions is a sobering reminder of how Church of the Brethren members, following the way of Jesus, are out of step with the ways of the world: the world says we need to punish those who hurt others, whereas Jesus told us to ‘turn the other cheek’ and Paul implores us to ‘overcome evil with good.’ Following Jesus’ example of forgiving those about to take his life, we Brethren have the witness of SueZann Bosler who has forgiven James Campbell, the man who killed her father and severely wounded her (see the June 2019 issue of the Church of the Brethren “Messenger” magazine). Thankfully, most of us will never face that kind of challenge. However, we can witness to our faith by using last week’s decision as an opportunity to take action.” (See action suggestions below.)

Our faith through Jesus Christ calls us to love our neighbor, to take care of the least of these, to visit those in prison. We believe in a radical love that is broad enough for those affected by violence and those who commit violent acts. This Justice Department announcement is a step in the opposite direction of this radical love. The words from decades past about the death penalty are evergreen: “[The story of the Bible] is a very human story which is graced by the inspiration of God’s loving call to justice, reconciliation, peace, repentance, faith, hope, redemption, new life, grace, mercy, and forgiveness seventy-times-seven. This is still God’s call today. Our mission is still to seek and save. It is not to search and destroy.”

Suggestions for action:

Contact your elected representatives in Congress to share the Church of the Brethren witness against the death penalty. The 1987 Annual Conference statement provides several talking points, find it at

Send a message of Christian love to one of the people whose execution dates have been set. Contact for information.

Learn more about Church of the Brethren work on the death penalty through the Death Row Support Project at


(1) “Trump administration to bring back federal death penalty after 16-year lapse,” Axios,

(2) “The Death Penalty,” 1987 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference statement,

(3) “Innocence,” Death Penalty Information Center,

(4) “Race,” Death Penalty Information Center,

In Response to the Shootings in El Paso and Dayton

Church of the Brethren Newsline
August 5, 2019

“A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more” (Matthew 2:18).

Today, like far too many days before, we are grieving with our country at the news of two horrific mass shootings, one in El Paso, Texas, and the other in Dayton, Ohio. At a time when it is hard to find words to soothe, we turn to the balm that heals us in the scriptures and our commitment to Christ’s peace. In the words of Romans 14:19, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

We reaffirm the words that Mission and Ministry Board said in last year’s statement, “Lukewarm no more: A call for repentance and action on gun violence:”

“The work of the church is pastoral and public. We must preach the Gospel in word and deed. [...] We have fallen short of discipleship in the way of Jesus, lost sight of Christ’s reconciling work, grown weary in doing good, become numb to shootings, and tolerant of widespread violence in our nation. We call ourselves into greater and more energetic care for all people through direct service, bold peacemaking, and the work of challenging policies that do not lead to well-being and God’s shalom.”1

We are in the midst of a crisis, one caused by violent white supremacy fueled by prominent hateful rhetoric. It is such a time as this that requires the bold peacemaking to which our historic pacifist stance calls us. Our 1991 Statement on Peacemaking says, “Just as peace is broken when injustice and unrighteousness reign, so peace is threatened when fear and hostility exercise control.”2 Fear and hostility provided the foundation for these domestic terror incidents to occur, and it is an act of hope and trust in God to call for peace in the wake of violence.

The statement goes on to say that “[i]n the tradition of Moses to Malachi, prophetic proclamation and action has been a distinctive part of our heritage. The prophetic, whether a word of judgment, a cry of anguish, a symbolic act of resistance or defiance, a confession, or a vision of hope and promise, always presupposes that Yahweh is active in our time.”3

If we seek to bring God’s peace to earth as it is in Heaven, we must proclaim the prophetic, this act of resistance to the violence we see around us every day. We believe that Yahweh is active in our time, which calls us to lament and grieve for all those who feel the sting of violence and to seek true justice and peace for a hurting world.

— David Steele, General Secretary

1“Lukewarm no more: A call for repentance and action on gun violence,” Mission and Ministry Board Statement (2018).

2 “Peacemaking: The Calling of God's People in History,” Annual Conference Statement (1991).

3 “Peacemaking,” (1991).

Kendra Harbeck resigns as manager of Global Mission and Service office

Church of the Brethren Newsline
July 29, 2019

Kendra Harbeck has resigned as manager of the office of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren, effective Aug. 31. She has worked in the position for six years, since Sept. 1, 2013.

Her work has included production of the Global Mission email prayer guide, helping to host international guests during their visits with the Church of the Brethren in the US, providing logistics for visits of US Brethren to international venues, helping to organize the Mission Alive conference, relating with staff who are working internationally, maintaining regular communication with international church leaders, general office oversight, and more. She has been a regular contributor to Newsline and “Messenger” magazine.

She served during a critical time for the mission work of the denomination, in the years of intense violence in northeast Nigeria affecting Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

Harbeck will be pursuing a graduate degree in teaching students with visual impairments. She and her family attend Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin.

CROP Hunger Walks - stepping up to end hunger since 1969

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the national CROP Hunger Walk movement, CROP Hunger Walks continue to raise millions of dollars each year to help end hunger and poverty through long-term sustainable approaches to significantly reduce or eliminate hunger. In each CROP Hunger Walk community, 25% of money raised comes back to local agencies. Across the country, over 1600 local agencies receive funds from CROP Hunger Walks

This year some 800 communities nationwide are joining together in interfaith CROP Hunger Walks around the theme "Stepping up to End Hunger Since 1969." The CROP Hunger Walk was started in 1969 by a group of energized young people in Bismarck, North Dakota who wanted to mobilize their community to fight global hunger. Today, the CROP Hunger Walk is a national movement raising funds for the global hunger-fighting work of Church World Service and local hunger-fighting agencies. Last year, over 800 events raised over $8 million dollars.

For more information or to find a local Walk at

New Ventures in Christian Discipleship season to begin September 28

The Ventures in Christian Discipleship program at McPherson (Kan.) College is moving into its eighth year of providing useful, affordable education to small church congregations. The first two online courses of the year will focus on Creation Care. All classes are donation-based and continuing education credit is available for $10 per course.

On September 28 at 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. CST, Kirk MacGregor will present the course “God’s Relation to the Natural World and Creation Care.” Many philosophers and theologians view God’s relation to the natural world as parallel to the relation between our souls and our bodies. This course will examine this notion and explore its implications for creation care. Putting this notion in conversation with Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46), this course will argue that what we do, positively or negatively, to the natural world, we do to Jesus himself.

Dr. Kirk MacGregor is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Department Chair at McPherson College. He is the author of five books, the most recent of which is Contemporary Theology: An Introduction (2019). Kirk is a member of the McPherson Church of the Brethren.

On October 26 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. CST, Sharon Yohn will present the course “Faith Through Action: Effective approaches to solving the climate challenge.” God calls on us to act when our brothers and sisters are in need. The destabilization of our climate is already causing immense human suffering, leaving us with a clear call to action. But how? When faced with a problem this large and complicated, it is hard to feel like our actions are meaningful. In this course we will explore three types of meaningful action you can take and the resources available to support those actions.

Dr. Sharon Yohn is an active member of the Stone Church of the Brethren in central Pennsylvania, as well as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Juniata College. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Science at Juniata College, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Geosciences from Michigan State University. Called to action by both her scientific understanding and her faith, Sharon has been acting as an advocate for climate action for several years. Sharon co-wrote a series of articles on faith and climate change for the Church of the Brethren magazine, The Messenger, and served on a denominational Creation Care Committee. She is the group leader for the Juniata Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a non-partisan organization building political will for a livable future.

To learn more about Ventures in Christian Discipleship and to register for courses, visit

National Older Adult Conference

September 2-6, 2019

Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center
in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina

NOAC is a Spirit-filled gathering of adults 50 and older who love learning and discerning together, exploring God’s call for their lives and living out that call by sharing their energy, insight, and legacy with their families, communities, and the world. Registration Information

The cost per person is $195 if you register before July 15. After that date the cost will be $225. First time attendees will get a $20 discount. Your registration fee does not include housing or meals. Learn more about registration After you register you will be able to go to the Lake J housing reservations website to make your lodging reservations. Learn more about lodging and dining at NOAC

Paper registration
Paper registration forms will be available on request. If you are able to register online, please do so. To request a paper registration form please call 800-323-8039, ext. 302.

Northern Indiana District Church of the Brethren is sponsoring a bus to NOAC 2019 in Lake Junaluska

The cost of the round-trip bus ride is $200. There are 56 seats available. It will stop to pick-up and drop off at the Nappanee and Mexico Church of the Brethrens. The bus will stop in Kentucky for the night both leaving and returning. Riders are responsible for booking their room. Rooms with two beds (2-4 persons) and rooms with one king bed (1-2 persons) are both available. Cost ranges from $70-85+ tax per night; mention “Church of the Brethren” as there are rooms reserved and priced for this trip. See bus itinerary for other trip details.

September 1 - Quality Inn, Berea, KY - 859-986-9627; $69.99 +tax
September 6 - Quality Inn, Erlanger, KY - 859-746-0300; king bed at $75+tax or 2 beds at $85+tax

Registration forms need to be returned to the district office no later than August 1. The 56 seats are first come, first served basis and is open to both the Northern and South Central Indiana District members. Early registration is encouraged.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the district office at 574-773-3149,

Brethren Volunteer Service announces orientation units

From the April 18, 2019 Newsline

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) has announced the dates and locations of orientation units for the rest of the year. BVS offers orientations to train prospective volunteers to serve fulltime for one or more years at projects across the United States and in several other countries around the world. For more about BVS go to

The remaining units to take place in 2019 are:

For the latest Brethren news go to the main Newsline page

Summer Unit 322
July 21-Aug. 9
Inspiration Hills
Camp in Burbank, Ohio Deadline for applications is June 7.

Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) Unit 323
Aug. 18-26
Camp Swatara near Bethel, Pa.
Deadline for applications is July 5.

Fall Unit 324
Sept. 22-Oct. 11
Camp Emmaus in Mount Morris, Ill.
Deadline for applications is Aug. 9.

For more information contact Jocelyn Siakula, BVS orientation coordinator, at or 847-429-4384.

Call for District BDM Volunteers

North Carolina, December 1-7. 2019

At the November 2018 IL/WI District Conference, the delegates, in an informal vote, indicated overwhelming support for continuation of District participation in the Church of the Brethren denomination-wide Brethren Disaster Ministries program. People in the District will have the opportunity to put into action that strong support by volunteering to spend the week of December 1-7, 2019, in the ongoing rebuild of homes in North Carolina damaged by recent hurricanes Matthew and Florence. The District has committed to provide up to 10 volunteers for the week of December 1-7. The Indiana South/Central District providing additional volunteers to fill out the team. Cost to the volunteers is minimal with food and lodging at the project site provided by BDM, and transportation cost subsidized by the District and typically the volunteer’s the home church. If you or others you know could possibly commit to a week of BDM service in NC, or would like more information, contact the District office, or Loren Habegger, the District Disaster Response Coordinator (

Additional information is also available at

Supporting Your District

The IL/WI District is active in a variety of ministry and mission efforts, both directly and indirectly. For these efforts to continue, resources are needed. Assets available to keep ministry and mission moving along include you (people serving people), tools (tool trailer w/ tools for disaster response work), knowledge and wisdom (years of experience and access to institutions of learning), and, of course, money (endowment, reserves, congregational and individual giving, bequests).

Assets are abundant but unless these gifts are cared for there is potential for depleting them. Therefore, district teams and the combined efforts of many work diligently to ensure asset sustainability.

Still, it is important to know where gaps exist, or a little extra boost would be helpful. For instance, our district has deep interest in and long-standing support of disaster relief efforts. A separate fund is established to assist folks who give of their time and travel great distances to assist. The district’s Disaster Relief Fund is hovering around $1,000.00. Sending a team to serve on a disaster response site can cost nearly $500 or more. To ensure the sustainability of this important ministry, designated gifts to this fund are welcomed and deeply appreciated. Having funds available to assist with travel may be the difference of someone sharing their gifts or staying home. Consider making a contribution!

Other options are available for contributing, as well, including the following:
• Endowment Fund
• Mission and Mortar Fund
• General Fund
• Emerging Ministries
• Ministry Training
Every gift regardless of size is a significant boost to the abundance of assets in our midst. All contributions ensure that our district goes beyond the plateau of survival to the pinnacles of thriving, providing ample opportunities to serve faithfully.

District Mission and Mortar Grant/Loan Program

Is your congregation beginning a new mission outreach program but a little short on cash? Is your congregation faced with a major repair or capital improvement project that exceeds your congregation’s capacity to pay for it? Did you know that the district has a program to assist with your needs? It’s called the Mission and Mortar Grant/Loan Program and is available to help meet the needs mentioned above.

Grants are available up to $2,500.00 and non-interest bearing loans up to $5000.00. A congregation that applies must provide financial data and be a regular contributor to the district. Applications are considered on a first-come first-served basis and are reviewed/approved by the district Leadership Team.

If you would like more information or wish to apply, visit the district website. Send completed applications to the IL/WI District Office, 269 E. Chestnut St., Canton, IL 61520.

Gifts Discernment and Call Committee

The Gifts Discernment and Call Committee (GDCC) is commissioned to discern the gifts of persons for the purpose of inviting and calling them in to positions of leadership and team/committee participation. The GDCC delves into this work based on the names and information available to them. The likelihood is that gifted persons are not invited and called to serve because the GDCC lacks names and information. If you feel compelled to serve in the district and have not been asked, you can connect to the district webpage and learn how to share your name and information with the GDCC. Simply complete the online profile form after clicking on the “online profile form” link in the website article. Or call the district office (649-6008) and a profile form will be emailed to you.

Do you know someone you believe has gifts to serve at the district level? Invite them to visit the district webpage or share their name with the GDCC or district office.

Serving is rewarding!


-- On Earth Peace has welcomed two new interns, according to its recent newsletter: Arielys Liriano, a junior at Southern New Hampshire University with double majors in law and politics and sociology and a minor in world languages and culture, will serve as migrant justice organizer. Katie Feuerstein, a junior at Oberlin College majoring in English with minors in philosophy and Hispanic studies, will serve as gender justice organizer. On Earth Peace offers paid internships in positions across the organization for young adults, college students, and recent graduates. More information, including all current openings and application instructions, can be found at

-- Gabriela Carillo Chacón began as admissions recruiter at Bethany Seminary on June 26. She is a 2019 graduate of Earlham College, also in Richmond, Ind., with a bachelor’s degree in human development and social relations and a minor in French and Francophone studies. She interned with the Human Resources Department at Universidad Técnica Nacional in Costa Rica. Fluent in Spanish, she has taught English to native Spanish speakers and has done translation and interpretation.

-- The Church of the Brethren seeks candidates for a full-time salaried director of Intercultural Ministries to serve on the Discipleship Ministries staff based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The major responsibility is to equip the denomination to fulfill its intercultural vision and commitments. Required skills and knowledge include, among others: commitment to Jesus Christ as understood through the Anabaptist and radical Pietist roots of the Church of the Brethren; knowledge of Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; effective sharing of personal faith; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren and the Mission and Ministry Board; ability to integrate intercultural competencies within a model of discipleship; demonstration of intercultural understanding and competency, and the ability to teach others; having a broad definition of “intercultural” and ability to see wide applications for core intercultural competencies; ability to move easily among a variety of different cultural groups, recognizing and respecting their unique qualities and gifts and cultivating forms of expression that bridge the diversity throughout the church; knowledge of group process and ability to facilitate appropriate processes for sharing learning, receiving feedback, and decision-making; written and oral communication skills with bilingual ability preferred; ability and willingness to draw on the expertise of others as needed; skills in developing, implementing, and evaluating strategic initiatives; logistics management, such as meeting and event planning; ability to function effectively in a complex system, including making difficult decisions; ability to engage and utilize teams of volunteers to execute strategies; interpersonal skills that contribute to effective work within the Church of the Brethren, its congregations, and districts; computer aptitude and experience with current platforms; familiarity with and experience of social media work; ability to build the capacity of the denomination to identify, acknowledge, confess, lament, repent, and counteract racialized hierarchies and patterns. Experience and education requirements include five or more years of participation in intercultural contexts; experience developing and implementing program, managing complex workloads, communicating effectively to a diverse constituency, and working as part of a collaborative team; a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree in a related field preferred. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to Contact the Human Resources Manager, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

-- Bethany Theological Seminary seeks an office manager for “Brethren Life & Thought,” an academic journal of the Church of the Brethren. The position is expected to average eight hours per week. Many duties can be performed offsite; some travel to Bethany’s campus in Richmond, Ind., is required. Major responsibilities include operations of journal production (subscriptions, communication with editors, logistics of printing); communicating with subscribers and donors (not including fundraising); providing clerical support for the advisory board of the Brethren Journal Association; maintaining an inventory of back issues and archives of the association’s work. Qualifications include a high school diploma and preferably a year’s experience in a business setting, organizational skills, self-motivation, and familiarity with database management and current computer technology. Familiarity with the Church of the Brethren is preferred. The desired start date is early September. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. Send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to or Academic Dean’s Office, Office Manager, Brethren Life & Thought, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374; 765-983-1815. Bethany Theological Seminary’s policy prohibits discrimination in employment opportunities or practices with regard to race, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or religion.

-- Shepherd’s Spring Inc., has launched a search for a new executive director. “We look forward to its continued impact on the lives of thousands of children, youth, and adults of all ages,” said an announcement from the board of the outdoor ministries and retreat facility in Mid-Atlantic District. The executive director has overall strategic and operational responsibility for Shepherd’s Spring staff, programs, facilities, and execution of its mission, and will develop a deep understanding of the outdoor ministry field, core programs, operations, and business plans. Qualifications include a thorough commitment to the Shepherd’s Spring mission and proven leadership, coaching, and relationship management experience, preferably in a faith-based outdoor ministry program with a retreat center. To apply, respond to the Indeed posting at's-Spring-Outdoor-Ministry-Center/jobs/Executive-Director-dd30307c74d9e8cb. More information about the organization is at For questions contact

-- “Get the complete stories and more BVS goodness by reading our latest newsletter,” invites Brethren Volunteer Service. The latest BVS newsletter on the theme “Finding Joy” is online at “If you or someone you know is wondering about their next step, BVS has life-changing volunteer positions open all year round,” the invitation continues. Find out more or explore project listings at

-- A new edition of the BHLA News and Notes from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives is at In this issue: "Where Was I Born on March 21, 1930? A Story of Bethany Hospital" by Mary Bowman Baucher, with history of the hospital on the near west side of Chicago, Ill.; "The Dunker Meeting House and the Irony of Brethren History," a review of the book "September Mourn. The Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield" by Alann Schmidt and Terry Barkley; and more.

-- Brethren Disaster Ministries has announced a new rebuilding project site in the area of Jacksonville, Fla., where Hurricane Irma caused extensive flooding and damage in 2017. Work at the new site will begin Sept. 1, after Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers pack and move half of the current rebuilding project site in the Carolinas to Florida in late August, said the announcement. The program will continue to work in the Carolinas into 2020. The Florida site is expected to be active through the end of 2019 with possible extension into 2020 depending on the work and volunteer housing availability. “All groups that were previously listed as Project 2 on the 2019 schedule will now be going to this [Florida] location,” the announcement said. A maximum of 15 volunteers can be accommodated each week due to the available tools, transportation, and leadership. For more information go to or contact Brethren Disaster Ministries at or 800-451-4407.

-- Applicants are still sought for the position of district executive minister of West Marva District. This quarter-time position of approximately 30 hours per week includes many evenings and weekends. Travel is required in and outside the district. Responsibilities are in three main areas: direction, coordination, management, and leadership of the district program; work with congregations to call and credential ministers and place and evaluate pastoral staff, providing support and counsel for ministers and other church leaders, and sharing and interpreting program resources for congregations; provide a link between congregations and the district and the wider church by working collaboratively with the Council of District Executives, Annual Conference, its agencies, and their staff. Qualifications include Christ-centered belief and practice; commitment to, membership in, and extensive experience of the Church of the Brethren; strong interpersonal and communication skills; ability to serve and work with people from diverse cultural, social, and theological backgrounds; ordination and pastoral experience preferred; a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college along with a seminary degree or completion of TRIM or another Brethren Academy program; prior church experience as a pastor, staff person, or other related service is desirable; administration and organizational training or experience is highly recommended. Send a letter of interest and resume to Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Director, Office of Ministry, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; Contact three or four people to provide letters of reference. Applications are accepted until the position is filled.

-- Bethany Theological Seminary announces an opening for office manager for “Brethren Life & Thought,” an academic journal of the Church of the Brethren. The position is expected to average eight hours per week. Many duties can be performed off site; some travel to Bethany’s campus in Richmond, Ind., is required. Major responsibilities include operations of journal production (subscriptions, communication with editors, logistics of printing); communicating with subscribers and donors (not including fundraising); providing clerical support for the Advisory Board of the Brethren Journal Association; maintaining an inventory of back issues and archives of the association’s work. Qualifications include a high school diploma and preferably a year’s experience in a business setting, organizational skills, self-motivation, and familiarity with database management and current computer technology. Familiarity with the Church of the Brethren is preferred. Desired start date is early September. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. Send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to or Academic Dean’s Office, Office Manager, Brethren Life & Thought, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374; 765-983-1815. Bethany Theological Seminary’s policy prohibits discrimination in employment opportunities or practices with regard to race, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or religion.

-- Join On Earth Peace on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) for a Zoom webinar to learn more about making the case for peace on Peace Day. Dan Ulrich, Wieand Professor of New Testament Studies at Bethany Seminary, will lead a study of the Sermon on the Mount. Title of the webinar is “The Case for Peace in the Sermon on the Mount.” Said an invitation from On Earth Peace: “To build a case for peace from a Christian perspective, this webinar will focus on texts in the Sermon on the Mount that have inspired peacemakers from various faith traditions. According to Matthew 5:9, Jesus blesses peacemakers with the promise that they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:38-42 and 5:43-48 then expand on the wisdom of the Mosaic law to offer methods and motives for just peacemaking. Our discussion of these passages will help us see them in a fresh light and find renewed inspiration to work for shalom in these troubled times.” Contact

-- There’s a new Dunker Punks Podcast on the topic, “Does the Bible speak to you? No, like does it SPEAK to you?” Said an announcement, “Listening back to Dylan Dell-Haro’s series on gender on the Dunker Punks Podcast, we get to hear him interview ‘The Bible’ about peoples’ cultural and literary perspectives on God and God’s ‘gender.’” Listen at Subscribe to the Dunker Punks Podcast at

-- Christian Peacemaker Teams is issuing an urgent call for reservists and interns to serve in Israel and Palestine. “Are you being called to engage in peacemaking?” asked an invitation. “Israel continues to ban human rights observers from Palestine, and CPT is committed to maintaining our presence with our partners in al-Khalil/Hebron. We request interns and Reservists to join the Palestine team ASAP!” Both trained CPTers and interns are welcome. Airfare and costs on the ground are covered by CPT with a three-month commitment. Contact Mona el-Zuhairi at

-- CPT also is seeking participants for a delegation to Iraqi Kurdistan on Sept. 21-Oct. 5. “Are you called to learn more about transforming violence and oppression? Join CPT in Iraqi Kurdistan to witness active peacemaking and nonviolent resistance, as our team members and partners join together to demand an end to the violence against Kurdish and Assyrian civilians,” said the announcement. “Cross-border bombardments of Iraqi Kurdistan communities have been worse than ever in 2019. In June, a Turkish airstrike killed three, and injured two members of one family driving in a car on a mountain road used daily by civilians. In July, Iranian shelling killed a teenage girl and wounded her two brothers. CPT partners with Kurdish and Assyrian Christian communities that are repeatedly bombarded in Turkish or Iranian military operations, their fields and crops burned, homes destroyed, and livestock killed.... Delegates will learn about the history and political realities that civil society and ethnic and religious minorities in Iraqi Kurdistan face. They will meet with families who lost their relatives in the bombardments, and visit farming and pastoral communities targeted by Turkish and Iranian military.” Contact the delegations coordinator at

Extra Tidbits
A Message from Messenger Magazine
BCM Peace Job Announcement
Church of the Brethren Job Opening: Executive Director of Organizational Resources and Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Church of the Brethren Job Opening: Manager, Office of Global Mission and Service
BBT Director of Human Resources Opening

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