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Stories of Brethren stewards * September 6, 2017


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N Hosler Speaking updated
Nathan Hosler leading an Insight Session
at the 2017 Annual Conference. 
Photo by Donna Parcell

Peacemaking and serving
By Nathan Hosler, director of the Office of Public Witness

If all politics were controversial before, they have gotten even only more so in the past year. We may ask, “How do we advocate—engage in policy debates with our distinctive voice—when our own body also experiences many divisions?” The Office of Public Witness as a ministry of the Church of the Brethren is guided by Annual Conference decisions. While these decisions are never unanimous, they do represent important markers of collective discernment.
Hoslers in Nigeria
Nathan and Jennifer Hosler
with leaders in Nigeria.

Photo courtesy of Nathan Hosler


In the last few years, Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship, and I have been doing joint workshops at Annual Conference. In these discussions, we have worked alongside one another as an experiment in spiritual discernment and public witness. While public witness is often thought to trade in certainties and strategy and attempts to bring change, spiritual life and discipleship are typically seen as contemplative, personal, and private. While these generalizations may be somewhat accurate, it is our hope that our witness be built in discernment and theological reflection, and that our spiritual life outwardly reveals the peace of Christ.

As Brethren, we remain committed to following the way of Jesus and serving those in need. As a child and young adult, I was quite familiar with service: workcamps, work days at our local camp, making apple dumplings to sell at the disaster auction, and a number of other opportunities. I also learned that following Jesus meant being against war and for peace. In college and then serving with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, I grew to understand that service and peacemaking are both local and individual, but also at many other levels of communal and global living. I now call these acts of faith done in the world “public witness.” The desire to serve and work for peace is part of our shared worship, prayer, and Bible study, and is both local and global. The Office of Public Witness is not the denomination’s group of little politicians but simply an extension of the work of service and peace that can be found throughout the Church of the Brethren in the United States and around the world.

We pray that you will be blessed as you connect faith and public witness in your own life and community. Thank you for partnering in this important work and for supporting the Office of Public Witness.

Learn more about the Office of Public Witness at www.brethren.org/publicwitness. Support this and other ministries of the Church of the Brethren at www.brethren.org/give .

Mission Offering 2017 banner photo
www.brethren.org/
missionoffering



Mission Offering prayer


“God, You call us to be in harmony with one another, to comfort all who are hurting, and to be of one heart and mind. Unite us with the same purpose, the same feeling of restlessness. Help us to be in unity instead of division. Help us to have patience with one another and to learn how to carry and care for each other as ourselves. Amen.”

This prayer was written by Santos Terrero, President of the Church
of the Brethren in Spain, for
the 2017 Mission Offering.

Find this and other
worship resources at
www.brethren.org/missionoffering

 


“In a time when religion and politics seem
to be tending toward ever greater polarization…
it is important that we Brethren attempt to
witness to another way—a way of disagreeing
without demonizing those with whom we
disagree; a way of humility that is open
to correction; and a way of love that desires
that others be built up, not destroyed.”

—James Benedict in “A view from the delegate's table”
from the September issue of Messenger magazine.

 

September 2017 MSG
 


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Donor Relations department photo 2Matt DeBall, John Hipps, Mark Flory Steury,
Cherise Glunz, and Traci Rabenstein.

Watch for our
next issue on
September 20
.

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