Concerning love and trains

Photo by John Wood

By Nancy McCrickard

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” ~Corinthians 13:13, NIV

Would you join me in a cheer (Saying what is in the parentheses below aloud or writing them down)?
Give me an “L.” (“L”)
Give me an “O” (“O”)
Give me a “V” (“V”)
Give me an “E” (“E”)
What does that spell? (Love.)
Say it again! (Love!)

In my role as a Mission Advancement advocate for the Church of the Brethren, I essentially serve as a cheerleader for our ministries and all who support our shared work through their time, talent, and resources. You might call this a ministry of encouragement. Our team celebrates the generosity of supporters like you who share the love of God with others–near and far–through giving to our mission and ministries.

Do you like to ride on trains? In the B.C. era (before COVID, that is), I would ride the train quite often–especially to travel from my home in Maryland to the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. to attend Mission and Ministry Board meetings each Fall and Spring. Traci Rabenstein, our director of Mission Advancement, would even board the train along the way in Pennsylvania, and we would travel together.

During the time on the train, I’ve noticed many things along the way–particularly that riding the train gives ample time, not only to watch beautiful scenery pass by, but to think and reflect on whatever comes to mind. After all, there are no driving responsibilities, and while on the train there’s no rushing to get from one place to the next. Trust me, my mind has pursued many “trains of thought” during these trips. (I even keep a running list of them.)

What does love have to do with a train? To keep a train moving forward, someone must care enough to give it fuel and keep the engine and its parts running smoothly. It involves the faithful service of a team to ensure safe passage from one location to the next. To continue this train of thought:  those of us who serve as staff of the Church of the Brethren know full well that your gifts of love fuel our ministries. Your prayers, provisions, and acts of service provide continued momentum for our missions locally and globally. The ways that you care for those in your congregation and in your community help us continue the work of Jesus. With your faithful support, we can move forward together and enjoy the beautiful view that God reveals along the way. (If we kept a running list of the ways we’ve seen God working in the life of the church, I wonder how long it would be?)

Thank you for being a member of our team. We are grateful for how you support and participate in the work of the Church of the Brethren. It’s a blessing to partner with you and to experience the journey together.

Learn more about our faith-building and life-changing ministries at or support them today at

(Read this issue of eBrethren.)

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