The Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) Board and staff participated in multicultural sensitivity training during fall board meetings, held at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Kathy Reid, ABC executive director, and Wendy McFadden, publisher of Brethren Press, provided the training.
The training began with an exercise that raised awareness about how individuals identify themselves, noting especially when race and gender were identifying elements of an individual’s personality. A presentation based on Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith’s book, "Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America," illustrated several ways that "well-intentioned people, their values, and their institutions actually recreate racial divisions and inequalities they ostensibly oppose."
Reid and McFadden presented several other resources, including "It’s the Little Things: Everyday Interactions that Anger, Annoy, and Divide the Races" by Lena Williams, "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" by Beverly Daniel Tatum, and "Racism" by Kathy and Stephen Reid. These publications can be purchased from Brethren Press, call 800-441-3712.
In other business, the ABC Board
- Delayed approval of 2008 and 2009 budgets because of the uncertainty of revenue streams and health insurance costs, which have not yet been finalized for the agency. Several factors are influencing revenue streams, chief among them the fact that to date only a quarter of the denomination’s congregations are financially contributing to ABC.
- Heard a report about the Caring Ministries Assembly, held Sept. 6-8 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, which was evaluated very positively by participants. ABC staff and assembly coordinator Kim Ebersole said that based on the success of this year’s assembly, the next one will be scheduled for Sept. 9-11, 2010. ABC will hold National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) in 2008 and 2009, therefore postponing the next Caring Ministries Assembly until 2010.
- Heard reports from various ministry areas including Deacons, Disabilities, Family Life, Wellness, Older Adults, Voice: Mental Illness Ministry, and the Fellowship of Brethren Homes.
- Appointed Vernne Greiner of Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren as vice-chair of the board beginning January 2008. The board also elected Dan McRoberts of Hope Church of the Brethren in Freeport, Mich., and John Katonah of Sacramento, Calif., to second terms of service on the board, and Chris Whitacre of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren to the Executive Committee.
- Approved new board meeting dates for March 7-9, 2008, since members of the ABC staff and board will attend the Health Ministries Assembly on the original meeting dates of March 27-30. The Health Ministries Assembly is a joint meeting for Anabaptist-related health and human service ministries, doctors, nurses, social workers, pastors, and other professionals in the Church of the Brethren, Friends (Quakers) churches, and Mennonite Church USA. ABC hopes to hold its annual Forum for staff and administrators of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes at the event, and to bring workshops from various ABC ministry areas.
--Mary Dulabaum is director of Communications for the Association of Brethren Caregivers.
Source: 10/10/2007 Newsline