Friday, May 01, 2020


-- Discipleship Ministries staff have shared a prayer request for the Church of the Brethren-related retirement communities. “We ask that the church be in prayer for the 21 retirement communities that are part of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes,” said Joshua Brockway, co-coordinator of Discipleship Ministries. “Please pray for the administrators as they steward their resources to provide care in the midst of a pandemic. Pray for the nurses and staff as they care for the community members physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And most of all, pray for the mental and physical wellbeing of the community members themselves. May God watch over each one, granting wisdom and peace.”
Go to for the listing and web addresses for the 21 communities in the Fellowship of Brethren Homes.
-- Retirement communities have been sharing suggestions for ways to help their residents and staff during the pandemic: Financial donations for purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) may be particularly helpful during this time. Several of the church-related communities, including Fahrney Keedy Senior Living Community in Boonsboro, Md., have made such requests.
Some retirement communities are welcoming donations of home-sewn masks for staff and residents. There are many websites offering instructions for making masks, here is one recommended by Pinecrest, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mount Morris, Ill.: .
Also from Pinecrest comes this suggestion to help residents who may be feeling isolated as their facilities are closed to visitors. “If you're looking for ways to keep your children busy while they are off school, would you consider having them make a card or a picture for our residents? You could mail them to ‘Any Resident,’ Pinecrest Manor, 414 S. Wesley Ave., Mt. Morris, IL 61054.”
-- The deadline for applications to the Renz Scholarship has been extended through April 30. The James E. Renz Pinecrest Memorial Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship striving to honor and recognize a graduating high school senior who, through unselfish acts and future plans, has demonstrated a commitment to healthcare, social work, or ministry studies. Eligible seniors will either be a member of a congregation within the northern region of the Illinois and Wisconsin District of the Church of the Brethren, or a high school senior in Oregon, Ill., or a Pinecrest employee or dependent, or a home-schooled or private school student from within the Oregon school district. The Pinecrest Board of Directors established the scholarship, first awarded in 2014, to recognize the lifetime contributions of Jim Renz, which included 40 years on the board, 24 years as secretary. Download the requirements and application from . For questions contact or 815-734-1710.

-- A Weekly Virtual Campfire is being held by Camp Mack via Facebook Live each Sunday at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). “Join us singing along, enjoying your popcorn, and being in community,” said an invitation. Go to .

-- Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) training workshops begin in February at several locations around the country. The workshops train prospective volunteers to serve with CDS to care for children and families affected by disasters. Find an interactive map of the next round of CDS workshops at .

-- Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) is inviting Church of the Brethren congregations to send Christmas cards and holiday greetings to the current BVS volunteers. “Our volunteers love receiving cards and greetings from Brethren congregations!” said an announcement. To request a list of the current BVS volunteers contact .

-- The World Council of Churches (WCC) is seeking young songwriters to enter a song-writing competition for its 11th Assembly. The Worship Planning Committee together with the WCC Youth Engagement program are presenting a creative opportunity to young people between the ages of 18 and 35 who attend a WCC member church--which includes the Church of the Brethren. “The Youth Song Writing Competition at the 11th Assembly in 2021 is an intentional effort of the WCC to engage young people in every aspect of what we do in the life and works of the whole fellowship,” said Joy Eva Bohol, WCC program executive for Youth Engagement. Contestants are expected to compose their songs around the assembly theme “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.” The top eight songs selected from each region will be included in assembly worship resources. Songs can be written in any language but must be accompanied with an English translation. Every submission will be reviewed by a dedicated committee. The top three entries may be invited to lead and perform their songs in a musical event during the assembly. Download the entry form at . Download the Guidelines and Mechanics form at . Download the competition flyer at . Submission deadline is June 30.

-- The Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry invites pastors to apply to participate in its Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church program. Open to any Church of the Brethren pastor serving in a congregational role that is less than full-time, the program offers support, resources, and companionship for the 77 percent of the denomination’s clergy who serve as multivocational pastors. Pastors who join the program will receive one-one-one encouragement and consultation with a regionally based “circuit rider” who will schedule an in-person visit to encourage and help identify specific challenges and places where some extra support could be helpful. The circuit rider will work to connect pastors with colleagues, educational resources, and experts who can offer guidance, companionship, and encouragement. This grant-funded program is free of charge to Church of the Brethren multivocational pastors. Find more information and the online application form at . Contact Dana Cassell, program manager, with questions at .

-- “Coronavirus worries got you down? Social distancing making you feel, well...distant? We've just started a brand new season of the Dunker Punks Podcast!” said an invitation to listen to Brethren from across the country talk about life and the struggles of a modern-day Anabaptist. In Episode 94, titled “Will You Let Me Be Your Servant?” the podcast features a conversation about Brethren Volunteer Service from the McBride triplets who are all currently in BVS. The most recent episode delves into “The Making of a Dunker Punk" as Ben Bear talks to Donna Parcell about her life as a counter-cultural Brethren and her joys and struggles with raising another Dunker Punk. Listen to these episodes and the podcast’s extensive archive of almost 100 episodes at or on iTunes at . Participate in the continuing conversations on social media by searching @dunkerpunkspod.

-- The National Council of Churches, of which the Church of the Brethren is a member denomination, is offering daily scriptures, prayers, and meditations by Christian leaders from a wide variety of church traditions. Yesterday's meditation, for example, was written by Timothy Tee Boddie, a minister at the Alfred Street Baptist Church and immediate past general secretary and chief administrative officer of the Progressive National Baptist Convention in Washington, D.C. Find this daily devotional resource at .

-- Allison L Snyder will begin June 22 as the 2020-2021 intern in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. She is a graduate of McPherson (Kan.) College with a bachelor of arts in history and English. She currently works as a lead/co-teacher for Little Tigers Learning Center and volunteers as a youth advisor for Panther Creek Church of the Brethren.

-- The Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has welcomed Galen Fitzkee as a new intern working remotely from his home in Manheim, Pa. Fitzkee is wrapping up his junior year at Messiah College where he is majoring in Peace and Conflict Studies and minoring in Spanish and politics. He is a member at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

-- The Older Adult Ministry is posting worship resources for Older Adult Month in May on the older adults page of the Church of the Brethren website. The theme is “Still Bearing Fruit” (Psalm 92:14) and the worship resources can be used for online worship. The ministry also is inviting congregations to share their experiences of ministry with older adults. “We, in the Church of the Brethren, are blessed by the presence and wisdom of the elders in our congregations. Perhaps you can set aside one Sunday in May to honor your older adults. Maybe you can ask younger folks to share stories of how an older adult has been a blessing in their life.” Go to the Facebook page of the National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) to share your experiences of worship honoring older adults, at . Find the downloadable worship resources at .

-- Messenger magazine is offering online puzzle pages for children and families staying safe-at-home during the pandemic. The two pages of puzzles have been put together with help from Zoe Vorndran, intern at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, based on the Church of the Brethren camps at and the church-related colleges and universities at . “Zoe, thank you for the challenging clues!” said a note from the Messenger editorial team. Messenger is the denominational magazine of the Church of the Brethren.

-- The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced a webinar and a new e-book offering examples of “best practices” from churches across the world that are taking their ministry and services online because of COVID-19.
The webinar on “New Ways of Being the Church” is scheduled for 9 a.m. (Eastern time) on April 29. “The webinar will bring inspiration and knowledge to churches who want to develop their ministry online, discovering how churches continue to pray and worship together,” said an announcement. “Via livestreamed speakers, the hour-long webinar will also offer time for questions and discussion. A video will be available for replay as well. Speakers will include pastors and communication experts from around the world.” The webinar is organized by the WCC in partnership with the Lutheran World Federation, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Global Christian Forum, World Association for Christian Communication, and European Christian Internet Conference.
A new publication by one of the featured speakers at the webinar, Heidi Campbell, professor of communication at Texas A&M University and director of the Network for New Media, Religion, and Digital Culture Studies, is called “The Distanced Church: Reflections on Doing Church Online.” This e-book was created with input from 30 practitioners and researchers sharing their current experiences and observations. Contributors come from 10 different countries, representing 12 different Christian denominations. “The goal is to get this material out to those who will most benefit from a project of this nature--religious communities wrestling with the sudden move from offline to online ministry through digitally-mediated contexts,” said Campbell.
Find out more at .