Thursday, March 19, 2009

Church of the Brethren closes its Washington Office, announced listening process to reshape work of witness, peacebuilding

The Church of the Brethren has closed its Washington Office, as of March 19. The decision is part of an overall plan created by executive staff to respond to financial challenges facing the denomination and the decision of the Mission and Ministry Board to reduce the operating budget for core ministries by $505,000 this year.

The decision eliminates the position of director of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office. Phil Jones has held that position since July 2003 (see staff announcement below).

Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships, will be structuring a listening process to gather broad denominational feedback for reshaping the way the church carries out the work of witness, peacebuilding, and justice.

Services or functions previously handled by the Washington Office should be channeled through the Global Mission Partnerships office; call 800-323-8039.

The upcoming Christian Citizenship Seminar that has been co-sponsored by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and the Youth and Young Adult Ministry will be led by Chris Douglas, director of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

Staff announcement

The position of director of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office has been eliminated and the Church of the Brethren's Washington Office has been closed as of March 19. The elimination of this position is happening because of the economic recession and the budget reduction put in place by the Mission and Ministry Board at its recent meeting.

Phil Jones' service as director of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office ended March 19. Each person whose position is eliminated because of the budget reduction is receiving a three-month severance package of regular salary and benefits and outplacement services.

Jones has been director of the office since July 21, 2003. His work at the Brethren Witness/Washington Office built on his involvement in grassroots efforts for peace and justice, including work against the death penalty and opposition to the war in Iraq.

During his tenure, the office has done advocacy work based on statements of Annual Conference, and has helped organize many different events such as the Christian Citizenship Seminar and annual gatherings of Brethren at the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch vigils. By working through national organizations, congregations, districts, and Annual Conference, Jones has worked to raise the awareness of many people. He also has offered leadership at National Youth Conference, Young Adult Conferences, and other youth gatherings as he has met with and challenged youth to examine their faith and live out the teachings of the church.


The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contact to receive Newsline by e-mail or to submit news to the editor at

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