Giving thanks for one another

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“Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus… I have not stopped giving thanks for you.” ~Ephesians 1:15-16

Global Mission prioritizes collaboration with leaders of sister Church of the Brethren bodies in countries around the world. We seek to join in their faithful witness to Jesus Christ and to learn from them while sharing our heritage and blessings with them. These churches are striving to follow the Bible and example of Jesus, and they see the Church of the Brethren holding a special gift and are drawn to the idea of continuing the work of Jesus: peacefully, simply, together.

2023 marks the 100 anniversary of the founding of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Thousands of church members and guests attended more than a dozen events held in 13 zones across the country. Celebrations included worship, prayer, scripture readings, preaching, singing, music, and traditional dances by groups representing the local tribes of each zone of the church. While the church has experienced much persecution over the years, they remain steadfast in their faith and have become a beacon of peace that is inspiring other denominations across Nigeria to seek the gospel of peace as well. We praise God with our Nigerian brothers and sisters and rejoice for their work in Africa.

In 2018, a “Vision for a Global Church of the Brethren” mission philosophy paper was adopted by Annual Conference. Global Mission staff and volunteers have gathered the Global Church of the Brethren Communion, a group of representatives from each of the national bodies of the Church of the Brethren, to discuss and discern how to function as the Global Church of the Brethren, to gather as autonomous Brethren bodies seeking mutual encouragement, to sharing resources, and to support each other.

The Church of the Brethren has been established in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, India, Nigeria, Rwanda, Spain, Uganda, Venezuela, and the United States, and is emerging in other areas around the globe. People are choosing to be Brethren and are choosing to plant the church where they are. Each week, more than half a million people around the world worship in a Church of the Brethren congregation. This specific work is in line with our mission polity, which aims to “maintain close fraternal relationships with other regional conferences; seek to be of one mind with other regional conferences as to matters of faith and belief; participate in periodic world assemblies of the Church of the Brethren; and, when appropriate, cooperate with other regional conferences for activities and programs such as disaster relief, leadership training, church planting, and ecumenical activities.”

The Global Mission office works with our country partners in Burundi, China, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, South Sudan, and Vietnam. Volunteers, like Chris Elliot and his daughter Grace, Marla Abe, Galen Hackman, Bob Kettering, and others along with Global Mission executive director Eric Miller and Global Food Initiative manager Jeff Boshart work to give support to our country partners by providing education in agriculture practices and/or spiritual practices for those who are being called into ministry. For more information visit

Thank you for supporting servants of Christ near and far. Your gifts to the Mission Offering support the Office of Global Mission and our sisters and brothers around the world. Learn more about the Mission Offering (suggested date: September 10) and find worship resources at Give an offering today at

(Read this issue of eBrethren.)

Brethren Volunteer Service – Celebrating 75 years

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By Chelsea Goss Skillen, director of Brethren Volunteer Service

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” ~Romans 12:9-13

At Annual Conference in 1948, a young man stood on an orange crate to reach the mic. With palpable anticipation, a movement of youth were hoping to create a way to say ‘yes’ to the ways of peace through a program with the goal to serve. After some discussion, a unanimous decision was made by the conference, a spontaneous cheer came up from the youth sitting in the balcony, and at that moment, Brethren Volunteer Service was born.

Since its beginnings, over 7,000 volunteers have served through BVS, touching the lives of countless individuals and communities. With volunteer sites spanning the US and world, volunteers can be found working with disaster relief efforts, serving at sustainable development projects, working with those experiencing homelessness, living with individuals with intellectual disabilities, or serving at our beloved Brethren camps–just to name a few. BVS volunteers work toward building a more just and compassionate world by dedicating a year or two of their lives to serve and putting their faith into action.

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of BVS, we honor the legacy of those who have dedicated their time, skills, and hearts to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Their commitment to service, their unwavering dedication, and their willingness to make a difference have left an indelible mark on the lives they have touched.

But BVS isn’t just about the impact it has on others. It is also a transformative experience for the volunteers themselves. Each individual who joins BVS embarks on a personal journey of growth, learning, and self-discovery. They immerse themselves in diverse cultures, challenging environments, and unfamiliar territories, gaining a deeper understanding of the world and their faith.

While Brethren Volunteer Service has evolved and adapted to meet the changing needs of the world, it continues to provide meaningful service opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. BVS is committed to continue sharing God’s love through acts of service by Advocating Justice, Working for Peace, Serving Human Need and Caring for Creation. BVS holds dear its rich history of service as it looks forward to many more years of impacting the lives of our volunteers and the communities in which they serve.

You are invited to come join us in making a difference! Thank you for supporting servants of Christ around the world with hope and prayer.

Learn more about this ministry of the Church of the Brethren at or support it today at

(Read this issue of eBrethren.)

Discipleship and Leadership Formation

Find a reflection and video that interprets the work of Discipleship and Leadership Formation in this week's issue.
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“For just as each of us has one body with many and these members do not all have the same function so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We all have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”
~Romans 12:4-6a

The Office of Discipleship and Leadership Formation, a recently restructured department of the Church of the Brethren, combines the staff and resources of Discipleship Ministries (including Intercultural Ministries, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, and Older Adult Ministries) with the Office of Ministry. This new team will continue to foster support for the calling and equipping of pastors and youth and young adults to become fearless disciples and leaders for and within our congregations. The change adds energy to planting new churches and renewing established ones.

Bringing these two areas together reinforces the denomination’s resolve to “develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.” It provides the intentionality we have been seeking to aid us in “passionately living and sharing the radical transformation” of Jesus Christ through church planting, renewal and revitalization, and a shared understanding of working together to live out the great commission.

The Ministry Office’s “Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church” program provides a way for the church to walk with, listen to, and advocate for part-time, multi-vocational, and not-paid-to-scale pastors, empowering them to live well by enriching their journey through relationships and thoughtful knowledge sharing. Circuit riders are assigned to pastors who participate in this program to “ride” alongside them as they work to build relationships, share their wisdom, and encourage pastors to take advantage of book studies, web video series, and other resources to strengthen their ministry. Additional pastoral resources are available online (found at concerning the Ministry Assistance Fund, chaplaincy resources, and resources from the Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee and Ministers’ Association.

Staff will continue to focus on strengthening long-standing events and resources coming from Discipleship Ministries such as:

National Young Adult Conference was held in May at Camp Mack in Milford, Ind. with young adults coming together to fellowship, worship, study the Bible, participate in a service project, and have conversation around the scripture text of Jeremiah 18:1-6 and the conference theme “I’m not done with you.”

Christian Citizenship Seminar was held April 22-27 brought together youth from across the country to study the scripture text 1 Kings 17:7-16 centering on the theme “Hot and hungry” and wrestling with how we live out the calling from God to care for our neighbors and all of God’s creation.

The New and Renew Conference held this past May at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., focused on the theme “Disciples – Called, Equipped, and Into the Neighborhood.” The three-day hybrid event had more than 20 sessions developed to broaden the understanding of church planting and congregational renewal. This is a vibrant gathering rooted in worship and prayer while providing practical training, nurturing conversation, and stimulating idea-sharing.

National Youth Conference met in the summer of 2022 with 901 students, advisors, volunteers and staff gathered on the campus of Colorado State University to root themselves in the theme “Foundational.”


National Junior High Conference was held in June on the campus of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., with junior high youth, advisors, volunteers and staff gathering to hear dynamic speakers and attend workshops centered on the theme “What does God want from Me?”

All of these events provide opportunities for growth, worship, fellowship, and resource sharing to provide our youth and young adults a foundation for them to not only stand on but grow from, and a safe space to learn from the speakers and each other as they share their thoughts with one another in rich conversation.

National Older Adult Conference will be held September 4-8 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. and center on the theme “God is doing a new things” based on Isaiah 43:19. This event provides a venue for our more seasoned members from across the denomination to foster relationships, tour the area around Lake Junaluska, praise God together through worship, singing, and dynamic speakers, and, of course, spending time in fellowship.

Discipleship and Leadership Formation, equipped with the core understanding of being “Jesus in the neighborhood” from the denomination’s newly adapted vision statement, is a dynamic group of leaders that provides coaching, collaboration, and consultation upon request to assist a congregation that desires to reach into and connect with their local communities. A collection of webcasts and workshops with a variety of online learning opportunities is a part of a denominational resource toolkit. Find “Tools for Community Engagement” at

Thank you for sharing your unique gifts with the body of Christ. Contributions to Core Ministries support the work of Discipleship and Leadership Formation. Learn more about this ministry of the Church of the Brethren at or support it today at

(Read this issue of eBrethren.)