Saturday, January 01, 2022


Church of the Brethren membership in the United States and Puerto Rico is just over 91,000 (including 915 congregations, fellowships, and projects), according to the most recent statistical report in the 2021 Church of the Brethren Yearbook from Brethren Press. The 2021 Yearbook–published last fall–includes the 2020 statistical report and the 2021 directory for the denomination. The Church of the Brethren Yearbook is published annually as a searchable document in pdf format. It may be purchased for $24.95 at

Bill Scheurer completed 9 1/2 years as On Earth Peace executive director before the organization decided to restructure in 2021. His position ended on Jan. 7. Staff will work in a collaborative interim model until a more permanent restructuring occurs in 2023. Scheurer’s term of service was shaped by crisis and challenge within OEP, with the Church of the Brethren denomination, and in clarifying the organization’s identity. Bill reflected: “It’s been our shared work to address those three areas of crisis together as staff and board.”

Steve Van Houten, a former coordinator of the Church of the Brethren’s Workcamp Ministry and a longtime volunteer leader at the denomination’s National Youth Conference (NYC), died unexpectedly at his home in Plymouth, Ind., on Jan. 1–his 66th birthday–following a brief illness. A memorial service was held on Friday, Jan. 7, at Columbia City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. The service was recorded and made available on the church’s Facebook page:

Larry L. Ditmars, 68, a longterm volunteer project leader for Brethren Disaster Ministries, died on Dec. 22 at his home in Washington, Kan., after a brief illness. A private family graveside service was held at Brethren Cemetery in Washington, Kan.

Manchester University president Dave McFadden in November announced a board decision to raze the Administration Building on the university campus in North Manchester, Ind. A service at noon on Jan. 21 is planned to honor the legacy of the Administration Building. The event will take place in Petersime Chapel. After the 30-minute service, those in attendance will have the opportunity to walk over to the building together. Find a release at

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) issued a statement in memory of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. “We remember his strong spiritual witness and leadership in the long struggle against apartheid which he approached with humility, passion, and a fervent love for God’s people,” the remembrance said.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, held Jan. 18-25 with sponsorship from the World Council of Churches (WCC), will draw together churches across the globe to reflect on the hope and joy in Matthew 2:2, “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him.” Resources include an ecumenical opening prayer service, biblical reflections and prayers for eight days, and other elements of worship available in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Arabic. Find out more at

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