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Stories of Brethren stewards * March 14, 2018

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Sankofa journey 2017
Joshua Brockway and his Sankofa partner,
Drew Hart, stand with their group in July 2017.


Racial righteousness
By Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship

Last summer I had the privilege of participating in the Sankofa Journey hosted by the Evangelical Covenant Church. Sankofa is an intentional effort to address racial injustice both within the church and in society. We traveled in mixed-race pairs on a bus to historically significant sites of the Civil Rights Movement—Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, Jackson, and Memphis.

Sankofa is not a tourist trip. Rather, it is an intense learning experience built around conversations between partners and among the community that forms on the bus. The Evangelical Covenant Church describes Sankofa as a “journey towards racial righteousness.” Given the climate of race relations in the country today, I found that choice of words striking. We often think the counter to injustice is justice. So to use the theologically rich word of “righteousness” helped me to see racism in a new light.

In the New Testament, the Greek word for “justice” can also mean “righteous.” The meaning relates to relationships with one another and with God as well. In other words, to be just to one another is also to be reconciled with God, and to be reconciled with God is to be right with one another. Unfortunately, English is not able to bring those two important meanings together in one word.

Congregational Life Ministries staff are planning a racial righteousness workshop before Annual Conference this year to build on the rich meaning of biblical righteousness and justice. The city of Cincinnati played a key role in the Underground Railroad and has historic cultural resources related to our country’s story of racism. We have chosen to call this workshop “Diakaios,” after the New Testament Greek word for “justice” and “righteousness.”

We pray that this small effort will model prayerful conversations about race and white supremacy among the Brethren. And we are looking forward to the spiritual fruit it will bear in our church.

Your gifts to the Church of the Brethren support this and other initiatives that train Brethren disciples to continue the work of Jesus. The February issue of Messenger has articles by me and three others who participated in the Sankofa Journey last year. Your contributions supported the racial righteousness training of these individuals and prepared them to share in leadership at the workshop in Cincinnati. Please pray with us for a Spirit-led transformation of the church that works toward the vision of Revelation 7:9: a people from all nations, tribes, and languages gathering to worship the Lamb of God.

Learn about this summer’s “Dikaios and Discipleship” workshop at Support the work of Congregational Life Ministries at .

OGHS Logo 2015
OGHS video 2018Watch the video
for this year’s One
Great Hour of Sharing.

Prayer for One Great
Hour of Sharing

Holy and generous God,

We pray that you would
grow these gifts to bless
the world. We imagine
a world with enough
resources, justice, laughter,
and freedom for all of your
people. Do with our gifts
even more than we can
imagine, holy one, and
make of us a loving
and generous people.


This prayer was written
by Rev. Thea Leticia Racelis
for the 2018 One Great Hour
of Sharing on March 18.

Find this and other worship
resources for the offering at


“Easter… invites us to allow our stories of trust
betrayed, experiences of abuse and violence and pain,
our guilt, [to] emerge from darkness and heal in the
light. Easter invites us into God’s unrelenting love.”

Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford in “Trust, betrayal,
and the promise of Easter” from the
March issue of Messenger magazine.


MSG 18 March

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next issue on
April 11.

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eBrethren: Stories of Brethren Stewards is produced every other week by the Church of the Brethren Donor Relations department.

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