Monday, March 01, 2021


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..

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has added a number of new resources for children and families to its COVID-19 resources page. Go to

The document “Checklist for Reopening Church Buildings” offers practical suggestions for congregations navigating the transition of returning to their church buildings. Now available in both Spanish and English, the resource was developed by members of the Recovery Response Task Team of the Church of the Brethren denominational staff: Stan Dueck and Joshua Brockway of Discipleship Ministries, Roy Winter of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries, and Nancy S. Heishman of the Office of Ministry. Go to

An updated edition of the Church of the Brethren Manual of Organization and Polity–with footnotes instead of endnotes for easier research–is now available at

Applications are being received for the James E. Renz Pinecrest Memorial Scholarship, a $1,000 scholarship given by the Pinecrest retirement community in Mount Morris, Ill. The scholarship recognizes a graduating high school senior who intends to pursue an education in healthcare, social services, or ministry studies. To be eligible, students are either a member of a Church of the Brethren congregation in the northern region of the Illinois and Wisconsin District, an Oregon (Ill.) High School senior, a Pinecrest employee or dependent, or a homeschooled or private school student from within the Oregon school district. The scholarship is in honor of the lifetime contributions of Jim Renz including 40 years on the board, with 24 years as secretary. For more information and the application form go to

Annual Conference registration opens March 2 at 1 p.m. (Eastern time) at The Church of the Brethren annual meeting is online-only this year. Worship services are free and open to the public, but registration and a fee are required to attend the business sessions, Bible studies, workshops, insight sessions, concerts, and more. The Annual Conference office has begun publishing a newsletter with details about the 2021 annual meeting, find the first issue at

Pacific Southwest District is offering an all-district love feast service online on Maundy Thursday, April 1, beginning at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific time). “The same service will be offered on the PSWD YouTube channel and in Zoom at the same time,” said the announcement. The service will be in both English and Spanish, with captions in the alternate language so that all may participate. Register for the Zoom service at The district YouTube Channel is at

The Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board will meet March 12-14 via Zoom for its regular spring meeting. Business will be led by chair Patrick Starkey, assisted by chair-elect Carl Fike and general secretary David Steele. In addition to the meeting of the full board, the weekend will include the board committee meetings and executive sessions. Open session meetings of the full board will be broadcast via Zoom webinar. Preregistration is required to view the meeting. Find a schedule, background documents, and more information at

“Peacebuilding When We’re So Divided” is the topic of the next Moderator’s Town Hall hosted by Paul Mundey, moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. The online event on March 18 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) will feature William H. Willimon, professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School, and the author of some 100 books, which have sold more than a million copies. In 1996, an international survey conducted by Baylor University named him one of the 12 most effective preachers in the English-speaking world. A 2005 study by the Pulpit and Pew Research Center found him to be the second most widely read author by mainline Protestant pastors, and his Pulpit Resource is used each week by thousands of pastors. The event will explore practical peacebuilding skills for this time, which an announcement described as one marked by continuing fracture in both church and culture. “The emphasis will be on hope, while acknowledging the necessity of realism and lament.” Register at For questions, contact

Polo (Ill.) Church of the Brethren is continuing its involvement in the Polo Growing Project that raises crops and donates the proceeds to be distributed through Growing Hope Globally to help smallholder farmers expand production in food-insecure communities abroad. A report in the newsletter of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., which is one of the project partners, reports that a final tally of proceeds from 2020 shows income of $35,500. This brings to $530,500 the aggregate amount the project has raised over the past 16 years.