Monday, November 01, 2021


— A grant of $210,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) will continue the Nigeria Crisis Response through 2022. Prior EDF grants for the Nigeria Crisis Response total $5,100,000, given from September 2014 through March 2020. The Nigeria Crisis Response has provided funding to five response partners in Nigeria, with the majority of support going to EYN. Focus areas for 2022 include repairing homes; peacebuilding and trauma recovery; agriculture; livelihood; education; food, medical, and home supplies; staff engagement; and covering the cost of special projects that may arise. Find out more about the Nigeria Crisis Response and give to support this work at

—At its fall meeting Oct. 15-17, the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board approved a 2022 budget of $7.8 million for denominational ministries. Among other actions, the board also moved the Brethren Press budget into the denomination’s Core Ministries, ending the publishing house’s status as a self-funding ministry. The board received a year-to-date financial update for 2021 and numerous reports from ministry areas, board committees, and church agencies. The meeting was a hybrid event with in-person events held at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Chair Carl Fike, who has served previously as chair-elect, was assisted by new chair-elect Colin Scott and general secretary David Steele. Chris Douglas (a member at Highland Avenue), who retired as director of Annual Conference this fall, was recognized for her excellent service to the denomination.

—Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., seeks candidates for the Multicultural Excellence in Leadership Scholarship, designed to uplift exceptional and talented students who identify as a racial or ethnic minority. The full-ride scholarship is renewable each year for a total of four years. It covers tuition, fees, and on-campus room and meal plan expenses. Manchester will award one such scholarship each year. Multicultural Student Leadership Awards of $2,000 a year will go to the next five top finalists. The awards are renewable each year for up to four years. To be eligible for a multicultural award, applicants must:

— Be an incoming first-year, undergraduate student
— Identify as a racial or ethnic minority on the scholarship application
— Have been admitted to Manchester University
— Have a 3.5 or higher unweighted high school GPA
— Be a US citizen or permanent resident

To apply, students must apply for admission to Manchester, submit the scholarship application with the required essay and video, and provide a letter of recommendation from a teacher or community leader who can speak to their qualifications for the scholarship. The deadline to apply is Jan. 14. The committee will review applications and contact semifinalists about next steps. Letters will be mailed to all applicants with decisions by Feb. 28. Learn more at

—Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) will be hosting its winter orientation Jan 18- Feb. 4, 2022. The volunteers in Unit 330 will gather at Camp Bethel in Fincastle, Va. This winter orientation takes the place of the fall orientation that did not occur in October. So far, six volunteers are expected to take part. BVS is still accepting applications until Dec. 8. Apply at

—The Advent devotional book 25 Days to Jesus, written by York Center pastor Christy Waltersdorff and illustrated by her nephew Mitch Miller, is available from Brethren Press. Order by visiting A fun YouTube video about the book is at

—No Feeling Is Final, a new film starring Ted Swartz, is based on his book written with Valerie Serrels titled Portraits from the Human Faces Tour. Swartz is a Mennonite actor and dramatist and a popular performer at Church of the Brethren events including Annual Conference, National Youth Conference, and National Older Adult Conference. “No Feeling Is Final is a celebration of resilience and how telling our stories about mental health–both painful and hopeful–can connect and carry us through hard times together,” said a description of the film, which was made on location at The Goshen Theater in Goshen, Ind. It premiered there on Nov. 13. The evening included a live panel discussion with the creators of both the film and the book.

—Religion News Service has published results of a study by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected churches in the US. The study surveyed 2,074 churches from 38 denominations, showing that “the pandemic has had a profound impact across the religious spectrum, and that some churches are faring better than others,” according to scholar Scott Thumma. A few of the findings: 8 in 10 churches now provide hybrid services both in person and online; almost a quarter have “moderate to severe conflicts about pandemic restrictions”; and “67 percent of clergy said 2020 was the hardest year of their ministry.” Perhaps most crucial: “The mode of delivery of worship services was a major factor in whether median attendance increased or fell. For example, the 15 percent of churches that met solely in person saw the steepest decline in attendance–15.7 percent. The 5 percent of congregations that offered only online worship had a decline of 7.3 percent. But the 80 percent of congregations offering hybrid worship experienced an overall growth of 4.5 percent.” Find the article at

—Christian Churches Together (CCT) has announced the selection of Monica Schaap Pierce as its interim executive director. The Church of the Brethren is a member denomination of the CCT. Pierce’s appointment follows the resignation of executive director Carlos Malave earlier this year. She holds a doctorate in systemic theology from Fordham University and master’s degrees from Trinity Lutheran Seminary and brings experience in managing the ecumenical portfolio of the Reformed Church in America and teaching and speaking in churches and universities. The permanent executive director is expected to be selected by mid- 2022.