Church of the Brethren
Continuing Together
Newsletter from the Intercultural Ministries of the Church of the Brethren

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Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
--Matthew 25: 34-36

On Strangers and Sanctuary

Cities, counties and states are declaring themselves as sanctuary places -- while there is no official definition of a sanctuary city, town, county, or state, it is a continuation of our Judeo-Christian culture, national history, and our denominational witness in the wider world. We, as members of the Church of the Brethren, have an opportunity to prayerful discern how we are called to witness, how we feel called to stand with those who come to our communities seeking refuge. In your discernment, as individuals and congregations, I encourage you to read, study and prayerfully consider the following Annual Conference resolutions and statements:

You Came to Visit Me

In recent years, there has been a wider acknowledgement of the many ways that the system of mass incarceration is connected to the inequities of race and class in our country. Following the scriptures, our denomination has long been called to prison ministry in various forms - from writing individuals on Death Row to thoughtful blog posts (and this one) for the wider denomination.

A few resources for those engaged with the issue of mass incarceration:

Author Melanie Snyder giving a TEDx talk on prison and social justice

Who is Hungry Today
2017 Christian Citizenship Seminar focuses on Native American Rights
April 22-27, 2017

Largely due to unjust US government policy regarding native land rights, hunger and poverty are issues often faced by today’s Native American population. In fact, nearly one in four individuals who identify as Native American face food insecurity, meaning they are often uncertain about the source of their next meal. This rate of food insecurity is nearly 10% higher than the rest of the United States’ population, creating a situation in which native populations often face greater health risks and lower standards of living.

More information and register here

From Gimbiya's Desk
Those Who Came Before Me

"What is at stake in this growing racial conflict? Apart from the restoration of human dignity and worth, and the need for bringing relief to those who have suffered long and patiently at the hand of injustice, nothing less than the integrity of the church itself is at stake. The world, and more specifically, the [African American] communities, have grown weary of the church's lofty pronouncements and pious platitudes. They await our answer today. They want to see, to feel, and to taste of the redemptive love of Christ."
--Tom Wilson, Annual Conference 1963

It is Black History Month and this year, I find myself returning to the mystery of Tom Wilson. I have never met him, though I wish I could have. He was Brethren and Black an unusual combination in any era but especially so in the 1960s. He was a graduate of Bethany Seminary and pastor at First Church in Chicago when Martin Luther King Jr. had office space there. He also became the first (and at the time only) Black Elgin staff member. In 1963, he spoke up from the Annual Conference floor about the racial tensions of the Civil Rights movement with words that are as relevant and prophetic today as they were then.

Tom Wilson 1963 Statement to Annual Conference


Contact: Gimbiya Kettering
1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120