Board Meeting Summaries
Board Meeting Summaries
Spring 2010 | Fall 2010
Spring 2009 | Fall 2009
Spring 2008 | Fall 2008
Spring 2007 | Fall 2007
Spring 2006 | Fall 2006
Spring 2005 | Fall 2005
Spring 2004 | Fall 2004
Spring 2003 | Fall 2003
Spring 2002 | Fall 2002
Spring 2001 | Fall 2001
Spring 2000 | Fall 2000
During their spring meeting, the On Earth Peace board of directors discussed ways the organization is continuing to help youth, children, families, congregations, and community leaders to work toward a more peaceful and hopeful future.
The biannual gathering took place on March 19-20, 2010, at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Major items of business included revisions to the organization's bylaws (which will be presented for approval at On Earth Peace's breakfast at Annual Conference) and updates on expansions for the Agape-Satyagraha, Ministry of Reconciliation, and International Day of Prayer for Peace programs.
In addition, On Earth Peace board and staff members participated in a three-hour session on the elimination of institutional racism, led by Valentina Satvedi, MCC Anti-Racism Program Director. Elimination of racism is an issue the On Earth Peace board and staff are committed to addressing - both within and outside of the organization.
The board also welcomed new board member Louise Knight of Mechanicsburg, Pa. On Earth Peace continues to conduct discussion and decision-making by consensus, led by board chair Madalyn Metzger.Top
On September 25-26, 2009, the On Earth Peace Board of Directors convened for their regular fall board meeting. As always, the meeting was an inspirational and Spirit-filled time together as the board made decisions for the organization through the consensus process. The meeting began Friday with a welcome to its newest member, David Miller, pastor of Montezuma Church of the Brethren, Dayton, Va., (Shenandoah District), and ended the day with a celebration of thanks to Bev Weaver, pastor of Goshen (Ind.) City Church of the Brethren, for her many years of service on the board.
Due to the frugality of staff, the careful and wise planning by the Executive Director, and the generosity of On Earth Peace supporters, On Earth Peace finished the 2009 fiscal year in the black. The board approved the proposed 2010 budget, looking with enthusiasm toward exciting program expansion and commitment from each board member to financially support it. The board affirmed the excellent work of the staff and their willingness to step up to the large goals presented in the recently approved organizational strategic plan.
After the work of several subcommittees, the board reached consensus on a new mission statement for the organization: "On Earth Peace answers Jesus Christ's call for peace and justice through its ministries, builds thriving families, congregations, and communities, and provides the skills, support, and spiritual foundation to face violence with active nonviolence." The mission statement will serve as a touchstone for the organization as it makes future decisions. The On Earth Peace Board of Directors will reconvene March 19-20, 2009. Top
On March 20-21, 2009, the board of directors of On Earth Peace met at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Sessions were interspersed with prayer, devotions and song, led by various members of the board. Chair, Madalyn Metzger facilitated discussion and decision-making by consensus. In preparation for the meeting of the full board, subcommittees met on March 19.
After opening devotions, board members began their time together by participating in two sessions about effective non-profit boards, led by Darrell Brooks. Task groups were called from the board meeting to examine changes to On Earth Peace's bylaws, staff and board relationships, and to create a new mission statement. The board committed to intentionally examining issues of racism in the organization of On Earth Peace.
Staff reports included news of learning a new pattern of work by following the recently adopted strategic plan; an upcoming sabbatical for Matt Guynn; focused work on increased communications; and an upcoming move for On Earth Peace, within the New Windsor Brethren Service Center.
Updates were received from members of the board who represent On Earth Peace in liaison relationships: Doris Abdullah, on the UN NGO Subcommitttee on the Elimination of Racism; Phil Miller, on the steering committee of Christian Peacemaker Teams.Top
On September 26-27, 2008, the board of directors of On Earth Peace met at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Sessions were interspersed with prayer, devotions and song, led by various members of the board. Chair Verdena Lee led the On Earth Peace board in conducting discussion and decision-making by consensus.
The board enthusiastically adopted the Strategic Plan, presented by a subcommittee called out by the board one year ago, as a roadmap for the work of On Earth Peace. The 2009 budget passed with a commitment from the board to share in the responsibility of increasing income by fundraising and each increasing personal giving by 20%.
Staff reports included news of inspiring participation of 155 groups in International Day of Prayer for Peace; high number of Ministry of Reconciliation workshop requests since the new booklet was distributed; partnership with the Kids as Peacemakers in Lancaster, PA; and the continued use of the Peace Basket resources by groups within and outside the Church of the Brethren.
The board expressed appreciation for work of Barb Sayler and Annie Clark as they move on to new endeavors. New board members Joel Gibbel of Lititz, PA, and Jordan Blevins of Gaithersburg, MD, were welcomed, along with Leslie Frye, the new program coordinator for Ministry of Reconciliation. Updates were received from members of the board who represent On Earth Peace in liaison relationships: Doris Abdullah, on the UN NGO Subcommittee on the Elimination of Racism; Phil Miller, on the steering committee of Christian Peacemaker Teams; and Madalyn Metzger, on the board of New Community Project. Top
On April 4-5, the board of directors of On Earth Peace met at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Each session of the meeting opened with devotions and prayer, led by members of the board. On Earth Peace continues to conduct discussion and decision-making by consensus, led by board chair Verdena Lee.
The primary focus of the meeting was program planning and prioritizing areas of work. The board received a preliminary report from a strategic planning work group, and approved the basic directions of the plan that is emerging from the group's work. In September, the board will consider the complete strategic plan.
Staff reports included news of recent work in churches in Florida and Puerto Rico; continuing interest in the Welcome Home Project; conversations with First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., regarding partnership in youth education; reconciliation workshops and youth retreats planned for many locations; and local meetings with constituents and congregations. The board was pleased to learn that in 2007, On Earth Peace provided direct programs and services in all 23 districts of the denomination.
A process of discerning how On Earth Peace will respond to questions and requests related to sexual orientation and inclusion in the life of the church concluded, after several unifying and clarifying discussions, with a decision to support all efforts for greater justice.
New board member Jim Replogle of Bridgewater, Va., was welcomed along with new staff members Gimbiya Kettering and Marie Rhoades. Updates were received from members of the board who represent On Earth Peace in liaison relationships: Doris Abdullah, on the UN NGO Subcommitttee on the Elimination of Racism; Phil Miller, on the steering committee of Christian Peacemaker Teams; and Madalyn Metzger, on the board of New Community Project. Top
On Earth Peace Board of Directors and staff met September 21-23, 2007, at the Brethren Service Center, New Windsor Maryland. Mindful of their 2007 theme Building Bridges, they worshiped together, discussed the history of On Earth Peace, goals accomplished in the last year and the directions they want to move towards in the upcoming years.
A special welcome and orientation was extended to new board members Don Mitchell and Susan Chapman. Also in attendance was Gimbiya Kettering, the new staff member who has joined the communication team to supplement the work as Barb Sayler has now moved to part-time.
On Earth Peace continues to build bridges and communicate with other entities of the Church of the Brethren. Board members who have participated during the joint meetings of General Board and the Association of Brethren Caregivers shared a report of that meeting. On Earth Peace welcomes the communication between itself and the new GB and ABC entity and hope there will projects where they can work collaboratively together. International Day of Prayer for Peace that brought together 101 congregations and CoB communities was considered a successful way that On Earth Peace reached out to congregations, in cooperation with the Brethren Witness office of the General Board.
The Finance Committee reported that the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007 saw a good balance between income and expenses, and that the coming year is likely to see. A budget of $488,000 was adopted for FY2008.
Much time was spent on external and internal evaluation of the work done by On Earth Peace, its sustainability, and directions of development. In the spring, On Earth peace invited input from other agencies of CoB and beyond. The responses brought to this meeting were overall positive and affirming. As an agency within the CoB promoting peace between individuals, within communities, and globally, On Earth Peace seems to be having a positive and growing impact. As an anti-racist organization, On Earth Peace evaluated how it actively strives to be inclusive and make choices against systemic biases. In conclusion and on the behalf of On Earth Peace, Bob Gross stated "We want to work with, learn from, and serve the whole church."
A working group of staff and board members was formed to begin working on behalf of the board on strategic planning. This is the fruition of an initiative that began last year and will enable On Earth Peace to steer its future development. The strategic planning committee was charged with questions about the relationship between peace and justice, how it will address civil religion addressing the issues of its constituents, and how its impact can ripple beyond the church congregations. These are ongoing questions that will be addressed in the next meeting. Top
The Board of Directors of On Earth Peace met April 20-22, 2007, in New Windsor, Maryland. This meeting was scheduled in conjunction with the Cross-cultural Ministries Celebration in New Windsor, so that both groups could benefit from joint sessions, and informal interaction. On Earth Peace board and staff members took part in worship, Bible study, discussions and lively conversations with other participants in the celebration. A number of new relationships were formed which promise cooperative efforts in the future. Already, plans are being formed for peace education and organizing to support the work of peacemakers in the Cross-cultural Ministries community.
Other agenda items for the On Earth Peace board included the following:
- a session on the development role of the board, led by Theresa Eshbach;
- a report on Annual Conference plans for 2007 and 2008 from Annual Conference director, Lerry Fogle;
- reports from liaison relationships with Christian Peacemaker Teams, and the United Nations Sub-committee on the Elimination of Racism;
- a mid-year financial report which shows expenses and income in balance at this point in the annual cycle;
- an update on changes in staff responsibilities, with Barbara Sayler moving to the half-time role of communications coordinator, and Bob Gross continuing as executive director in a solo role;
- a compilation and analysis of individual comments on the survey taken at the 2005 Annual Conference to measure beliefs regarding the peace and reconciliation roles of the church;
- introduction of proposed bylaw updates to be put before On Earth Peace members at Annual Conference;
- consideration of the Review and Evaluation report which will come before Annual Conference this year, and its possible implications for On Earth Peace;
- program activity reports from all six staff members, reflecting an energetic and comprehensive program of education, networking, support, resources and leadership for the peace and reconciliation ministries of the denomination.
Recognizing the pain of violence near at hand as well as around the world, the board and staff gathered in prayer for the families of the victims of the shootings at Virginian Tech, and approved a message of remembrance and consolation to be posted on the front page of the On Earth Peace website.
The fall meeting is scheduled for September 20-22, 2007, in New Windsor, Maryland. Top
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors and staff met September 21-23, 2006, at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The devotional theme used scriptures that focused on "Transformational Change." The board, led by chair Bev Weaver, continued its use of the formal consensus process for discussion and decision-making.
Just prior to the beginning of the board meetings, board, staff, and others from the Brethren Service Center community gathered to commemorate the United Nations' and World Council of Churches' International Day of Prayer for Peace. For this commemoration, hundreds of handmade pinwheels for peace were placed around the Brethren Service Center.
Throughout the meeting, the board and staff joined together for four sessions of Together: Conversations on Being the Church, facilitated by Joe Detrick, executive minister of Southern Pennsylvania District.
In other highlights of the meeting, the board and staff considered a proposal and began discernment work on issues of sexual orientation and inclusion in the church. A small group of board and staff members was created to coordinate planning for future discernment.
Committee reports included the Finance Committee's presentation of the current financial report and proposed fiscal year 2007 budget. For fiscal year 2006, which ended Sept. 30, it appears income will be sufficient to cover expense, with income somewhat below budget and expenses considerably below budget. The board approved a balanced budget of $515,000 for fiscal year 2007.
In addition, the Advancement Committee presented ideas to increase approaches to congregations and how board members can hold a house party as a way to connect people to the ministries of On Earth Peace. The Personnel Committee reported on revisions in the personnel policy manual and other matters. The Executive Committee reported on subgroups created to provide support and supervision for the On Earth Peace co-directors, the appointment of Bev Weaver as the On Earth Peace representative to the Annual Conference Program Feasibility Committee, and the dates the board will meet in 2008: April 17-19 and Sept. 25-27.
Staff reports highlighted the first of the Shalom Series practical peacemaking booklets, "Shalom--Christ's Way of Peace," which will be out this fall; the Brethren Service Committee video "Food and Clothing, Cattle and Love: Brethren Service in Europe After World War II," which debuted at National Older Adult Conference; the launch of On Earth Peace's newly designed website; On Earth Peace's presence and activities at Annual Conference, National Youth Conference, and National Older Adult Conference.
Upcoming events include the Counter Recruitment Conference Nov. 3-5, sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee, where On Earth Peace staff member Matt Guynn will be a featured speaker; a January 10-22 delegation to Palestine and Israel co-sponsored by On Earth Peace and Christian Peacemaker Teams led by Rick Polhamus; an Advanced Reconciliation Skills workshop at Camp Mack, Nov. 15-17, focused on building healthy congregations and led by General Board staff member Jim Kinsey; and an inter-generational weekend planned for January with the Manchester Church of the Brethren, North Manchester, Ind., including sessions with adults as well as youth.
Reports were received from board members who serve in liaison relationships and roles in other organizations, including Christian Peacemaker Teams, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, and the New Community Project. Members of the Doing Church Business Committee gave a report from Annual Conference and the next steps in the consideration of the paper brought by this committee.
The board called the following people to leadership: chair Bev Weaver, vice chair Dena Lee (also serving as pastor to the board), secretary Lauree Hersch Meyer, treasurer Doris Abdullah, and additional executive committee members Dena Gilbert and Robbie Miller. Top
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors and staff met April 21-22, 2006, at the Brethren Service Center, New Windsor, Maryland, with the Advancement, Personnel, Finance, and Executive committees meeting during the day on April 20. The devotional theme used scriptures that focused on "A Passion for Peace". The board, led by chair Bev Weaver, continued its use of the Formal Consensus process for discussion and decision-making.
Here are some highlights from the meeting:
- Staff Program Reports: the Ministry of Reconciliation's training for Shalom Teams in many districts; the creation of a new manual for leaders for Matthew 18 workshops, a growing number of congregations are receiving the Living Peace Church News & Notes, a monthly column for church newsletters; Spanish translation of printed materials is moving forward with several items being completed by Annual Conference; production of a new video telling the story of the work of Brethren Service Committee after World War 2, with the help of David Sollenberger; development of a program focus on Israel/Palestine, which includes delegations, speakers, resource materials, etc.; introduction of a "big goal" of resourcing congregations to have a significant peace ministry either locally or globally; a new resource packet on Encountering Recruitment; workshops provided by On Earth Peace at all four regional youth conferences; and the expansion of the Peace Retreat Leadership Team.
- Board Committee Reports: Nominating - presented the ballot for new board members that will be sent to constituents in May; Advancement - presented the initiation of the Growing in Peace campaign to secure four-year commitments for 2006-2009; Personnel - shared about the positive annual performance review for the co-directors and that this review will now be done biennially; Finance - reviewed the financial statement, which shows a positive balance of income and expense for the year so far; Executive - presented plans for an evaluation of the work of the board as a whole and for individual members.
- Updates on On Earth Peace's work to be an anti-racist organization were shared highlighting the translation of materials into Spanish, seeking persons for leadership roles who come from non-mainstream segments of the church, and working with consultant Erika Thorne from Future Now, in charting a course for this work.
- Board member Doris Abullah, Brooklyn, New York, reported on her participation in the UN Commission on Human Rights in their working group on Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
- Board member David Jehnsen, Galena, Ohio, reported on his involvement in the Churches Supporting Churches project, which is working with the 900 churches whose buildings were destroyed by the storms in the Gulf Coast last year, and attempting to partner ten other congregations with each of them. Nonviolent education will be part of the overall effort, and there may be places for On Earth Peace to be involved in this work.
- Guests at the board meeting included Joe Detrick, representative for the District Executives, and Ron Beachley, 2006 Annual Conference Moderator. Joe affirmed the Ministry of Reconcilation's direction toward coaching local leaders on Matthew 18 model. Ron shared about his experiences at the World Council of Churches gathering in February, and affirmed the way they used consensus to make decisions. With this, he affirmed On Earth Peace's use of consensus and ministries, especially the area of reconciliation.
- The board decided to commit five hours of its meeting time in the fall to go through an abbreviated process of the Together Conversations.
- The board and staff reviewed the Doing Church Business paper that will be brought to Annual Conference this year from a study committee (which includes staff member Matt Guynn and board member Verdena Lee). After meeting in small groups and group offered brief feedback to the study committee, recognizing that if adopted, the implications for On Earth Peace, and for Annual Conference, would be major.
- Board member Lauree Hersch Meyer, and staff members Susanna Farahat and Bob Gross, shared about the January delegation to the Middle East, explaining the purpose of the trip, their experiences and the On Earth Peace partnership with Christian Peacemaker Teams.
- The Saturday morning session was devoted to reviewing the statement of vision and goals from the 2000-2001 strategic planning process, then beginning to look at how we want to move forward in beginning new planning. There was time for a clearness process where persons could raise concerns and questions, followed by small groups looking at the three program areas plus organizational health, to identify what is working and what is not, as well as where we are going now. This time was wrapped up with a look at who On Earth Peace primarily represents now, and who we would like to represent.
- In light of beginning new strategic planning work, the board affirmed and encouraged the staff to go ahead with planning the nature and direction of the three big goals that are already in process. These goals are: that On Earth Peace will make it possible for every youth in the denomination to have a real opportunity for an extended peace learning experience while in high school; that On Earth Peace will make it possible for every pastor in the denomination to learn effective conflict transformation approaches and skills; and (this goal is still being refined) that On Earth Peace will provide tools for every congregation in the denomination to have a vibrant peace/justice ministry which affects the life of its community or beyond. Top
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors and staff met Sept. 6-7 at Anderson (Ind.) Church of the Brethren, with the Advancement, Personnel, Finance, and Executive Committees meeting during the day Sept. 6. The devotional theme focused on "Seeking." The board, led by chair Bev Weaver, continued its use of the Formal Consensus process for discussion and decision-making. Members of the Anderson church hosted the board members in their homes and provided meals.
Committee reports included the Advancement Committee's new ideas for donors, such as day sponsorship and finding ways to include younger donors; the Finance Committee's note that contributions from congregations and individuals are above last year; the Personnel Committee sharing of an updated Personnel Policy Manual, and welcoming of new staff member Susanna Farahat; and the Nominating Committee's highlight of the re-election of Debbie Roberts and Ken Edwards to the board, as well as the election at Annual Conference of Sarah Quinter Malone. Nominating Committee also reported an initiative to identify additional roles people could play in the organization to make a clear contribution although not serving on the board itself, such as educational, spiritual, fundraising, and other roles.
Staff reported upcoming events and program initiatives: an increased number of congregations involved in or considering intervention or mediation services; new ideas for projects in the Peacemaker Formation program; co-sponsorship with Christian Peacemaker Teams of a delegation to Israel/Palestine in January; coordination of a nationwide network on countering military recruitment in schools; and the Ministry of Reconciliation workshop "Advanced Reconciliation Skills: The Polarity Principles" Nov. 16-18 at Camp Mack in Indiana. The board and staff also took time to brainstorm ideas for upcoming "Living Peace Church News and Notes."
The staff reported on work with consultant Erika Thorne on becoming an anti-racist organization. Goals emerged including building relationships with non-mainstream congregations and leaders in the church; developing a working relationship with the Cross-Cultural Ministries Team; providing resources that are accessible and useful for all segments of the church; sharing what the staff have learned with the larger church; taking a closer look at racial and economic violence in our communities and incorporating that into the peace witness program; and working to make the Youth Peace Travel Team a more multicultural ministry in both participation and service. The board welcomed Duane Grady, a member of the General Board's Congregational Life Teams and the primary staff liaison to the Cross-Cultural Ministries Team, as a guest.
A morning was spent reviewing responses from a survey conducted at Annual Conference during the On Earth Peace report. Strong themes that emerged were the importance of making a connection to scripture and Christian faith in the work of peacemaking; the call for peace work to be done in the family, community, and church contexts, with domestic violence, church conflict, and communities needs mentioned most often; responses deeming Christianity as supporting and defending American culture, while others seeing Christianity as counter-cultural; a priority for the church to work at reducing violence through immediate and close-to-home, practical applications. "When naming visions for peacemaking within the Church of the Brethren, responses were overwhelming hopeful and positive," a report from the meeting said.
The board also heard that for fiscal year 2005, which ends Sept. 30, income will be sufficient to cover expenses with both income and expense ahead of projections. The board approved a balanced budget of $502,000 for fiscal year 2006.
Other topics of discussion included financial aid for draft non-registrants; Church of the Brethren investments in the Caterpillar Corporation, whose products are being used as military weapons in Israel/Palestine; and a new peace game designed by board member Verdena Lee, entitled "C.O.D.E.," which has been produced and is available for sale. The game helps participants think about their beliefs and whether they are conscientious objectors.
A reorganization of the board called a new executive committee: Bev Weaver, chair; Ken Frantz, vice-chair; Lauree Hersch Meyer, secretary; Doris Abdullah, treasurer; and Verdena Lee and Robbie Miller, at-large members. The board recognized board member Eugene Lichty for his long service, excellent leadership, and faithful witness. Top
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors and staff met April 15-16 at New Windsor, Md., on the theme "Signs of the Present; Hope for the Future." The board's Advancement, Personnel, Finance, and Executive Committees met April 14. Chair Bev Weaver led in continued use of a formal consensus process for discussion and decision-making.
Board members brought reports and reflections from 18 districts. Prior to the meeting, they had been given the assignment to contact districts to check out the "multicultural pulse" of the church at district and local levels. Staff brought the idea of working with a consultant in the ongoing work of being and becoming an anti-racist organization. Amid discernment regarding cost, an outside versus inside-the-church consultant, and who would be most helpful to an all-white staff yet more diverse board, there was growing commitment from the board to support the staff in this decision.
Board members Dena Lee and Debbie Roberts, and staff Kim Stuckey Hissong, reported on the Anabaptist Consultation on Alternative Service held in March in Elgin, Ill. The board discussed creating a contingency plan in case of the resumption of a military draft. Roberts, Lee, and board member Phil Miller will join staff in developing the plan. Hissong also reported on a conference call hosted by On Earth Peace for those interested in countering military recruitment efforts in communities and high schools. Sixteen people participated in the call.
Treasurer Phil Miller shared a positive year-to-date financial report and an increase in both congregational and individual giving. The Finance Committee proposed a revision in the endowment policy, which was adopted by the board. The revision allows undesignated planned gifts to be placed in the endowment, used for current needs, or used for the Program Reserve Fund--a new fund that will hold moneys for specific extra-budgetary projects. The Advancement Committee shared new development ideas, many of which came out of Bob Gross' time of sabbatical. A new video created by Wilbur Mullen about Brethren Service during World War II was reviewed as a potential fundraiser.
In other business, the Personnel Committee shared plans to distribute a survey at Annual Conference during the On Earth Peace report, asking about the importance and priority of peacemaking in the life of the church. The Nominating Committee is exploring using a discernment process to determine a slate rather than a ballot for board members in the future, followed by testing consensus among On Earth Peace constituents rather than holding an election. The Executive Committee will coordinate a review of the organization's experience of having an increase in dispersed staff, and will report at the September board meeting.
Plans for upcoming events were reviewed including the Heartland Song and Story Fest July 6-12; a workshop on "Dealing with Difficult Behaviors," developed and led by Paul Roth; "Seeking Peace: The Courage to Be Nonviolent," a gathering hosted by the historic peace churches in partnership with the Plowshares Peace Studies Collaborative, Sept. 8-11; and a Regional Junior High Conference Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in New Windsor, Md., sponsored by On Earth Peace with eight districts and the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office. On Earth Peace will co-sponsor a Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation again in 2006, probably in January.
The board also welcomed new members Robbie Miller of Bridgewater, Va., and Joe Detrick, executive of Southern Pennsylvania District, who serves as liaison with the Council of District Executives. For more information about On Earth Peace, see our website. Top
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors and staff met Sept. 24-25 at New Windsor, Md., with the theme "Living God's Peace--Together." The agency's Advancement, Personnel, Finance, and Executive Committees met Sept. 23. Led by chair Bev Weaver, the board continued use of the "Formal Consensus" process for discussion and decision-making.
"The group took time to reflect on bringing together our passionate concern for all people, our covenant of service, our need to forgive and be forgiven as a part of reconciliation, and our recognition to remember and represent the Body of Christ in the work that we do to answer Christ's call to peace," said co-executive director Barb Sayler.
Highlights of the meeting were a training with the General Board's Anti-Racism Training Team, a positive financial report, calling of new leaders, and a case study.
Board and staff spent a morning and part of an afternoon with Barbara Cuffie, Torin Eikler, and Sharon Reich of the Anti-Racism Training Team. The training recognized the tendency to assign privilege according to class, power, and ethnicity, and examined On Earth Peace's institutional practices through the lens of race. "The training allowed the group to see more clearly how On Earth Peace, in its programs and projects, is affected by white privilege," Sayler reported. Next steps include planning for changing the effects of privilege and racism in the work of On Earth Peace, and dialogue among board and staff to propose projects not oriented to white, middle- and upper-middle-class people. Also at the meeting was Orlando Redekopp, pastor of First Church of the Brethren, Chicago, Ill,inois and a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams Steering Committee, who challenged On Earth Peace "to go deeper in its peacemaking."
The financial report, given just days before the end of the fiscal year, showed a positive balance of income to expense, with a drop in congregational giving and an increase in individual giving. A budget of $440,000 was adopted, "reflecting the program expansion anticipated in the coming year in response to requests and rising expectations from the denomination," Sayler said. The Advancement Committee is developing a program for the fundraising role of the board and introduced "Talking Points" for board members.
It was announced that the next round of organizational evaluation will be accomplished in a larger assessment of the Church of the Brethren as a Living Peace Church. Time was spent on a case study of how to respond in situations in which the peace testimony of the church is not supported. After working in small groups, the board shared ideas about dialogue, building relationships, and speaking the truth in love.
The board welcomed new member Verdena Lee, who is filling an unfinished term. Other new members are Henry Pierre, also filling an unfinished term, and Robbie Miller, elected by Annual Conference. Bev Weaver and David Jehnsen were re-elected by constituents.
The process of calling a new Executive Committee included naming responsibilities and qualities needed for each position, a time of silence and prayer, opportunity to name those who may be able to serve well, and time to be in prayer about the decision overnight.
Executive Committee members are chair Bev Weaver, vice-chair Ken Frantz, treasurer Phil Miller, secretary Lauree Hersch Meyer, and at-large members Doris Abdullah and Dena Gilbert. Vice-chair Tom Leard Longenecker, who led the process, was recognized for completing a five-year term on the board. Top
The On Earth Peace (OEP) board of directors and staff met April 16-17 at New Windsor, Maryland. With the theme, "Sown, Grown, and Living," the group took time to reflect on how they, as individuals and as an organization, sow seeds of peace while reaping the fruits of reconciliation.
Plans for OEP's 30th anniversary celebration were outlined, including four regional weekend events that will include two concerts and a full-day workshop each weekend. Board and staff also assessed response to the Annual Conference call to be a "living peace church." Staff described OEP programs and projects with special emphasis given to the Organizing for Peace event; participation in the ongoing ecclesiology consultation; an 18-month conflict transformation leadership program for a group of managers at the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio, that is a prototype for future trainings; and the announcement of the 2004 Youth Peace Travel Team.
The personnel committee is working on a three-year evaluation of executive directors and the organization, part of a process in which the first-year evaluation is by board and staff members, the second year by directors and staff of other Annual Conference agencies, and the third year by a wide spectrum of people and groups throughout the denomination. The committee currently is creating an evaluation tool for the third year. The nominating committee presented the resignation of Charles Kwon from the board and appointed Verdena Lee of Kent, Ohio, to complete his term.
The executive committee reviewed organizational costs for the board meetings in comparison to other Church of the Brethren agencies, and determined OEP is comparable to or somewhat under the level of expense of other agencies. The committee also explored how to build stronger connections with Latino/a communities in the Church of the Brethren.
Advancement committee chairman Ken Frantz led the board in "Equipping the Development Tool Box," to create a list of talking points that help people understand OEP's mission and work.
A working group brought a draft of position descriptions for the board as a whole and for board members. The board worked in small groups to consider the position descriptions and identify competencies needed for effective board work. The working group will continue to develop descriptions to bring back to the board at its fall meeting. Top
The On Earth Peace board of directors and staff used the theme "Life-affirming Choices" as it met Sept. 26-27 in New Windsor, Md., and took time for silence and prayer in the midst of worship and business. The board, led by chair Bev Weaver, continued its use of the Formal Consensus process for discussion and decision-making.
Highlights from the meeting include the following:
- The 2003-2004 Executive Committee was reorganized with Weaver as chair; Tom Leard Longenecker, vice-chair; Lauree Hersch Meyer, secretary; Charles Kwon, treasurer; and Ken Frantz and Doris Abdullah, at-large.
- The financial report, given just days before the end of the fiscal year, showed a close balance of income and expense. A budget of $430,000 for fiscal year 2004 was adopted, reflecting anticipated program expansion in the coming year in response to requests and rising expectations from the denomination.
- The Executive Committee brought questions and concerns regarding the distribution of endowment assets and a modification to the endowment policy, as well as a proposal to create a Finance Committee to provide assistance to the staff and board in financial matters such as endowments and investments. The board accepted this proposal, naming both board and non-board members to the committee.
- Co-director Bob Gross reported the Roots and Branches development campaign, which will support expansion of programs in conflict transformation and peace education, has reached 75 percent of its goal. Visits and contacts will be completed by the end of 2003.
- Reports were given by each staff member, with celebration that the current staff has been in place for two years. Highlights include a new stage for the practitioner network, with five practitioners in the network, and two more to join soon. The Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) is working in consultation with three districts -- as well as several congregations and a few groups outside the denomination -- and 133 congregations have signed on to be a part of the Decade to Overcome Violence.
- The Personnel Committee asked district and denominational leaders to participate in a performance review of the co-executive directors, and the evaluation was very positive. These leaders were also invited to offer an evaluation of the organization, which resulted in thoughtful responses that the board and staff will consider further.
- Phil Jones, new director of the General Board's Brethren Witness/Washington Office, spent a day with the board sharing his vision and ideas for his work in addition to how On Earth Peace and the General Board might continue working together on various projects.
- Time was spent reviewing and generating ideas regarding the Call for a Living Peace Church approved by Annual Conference. The staff of On Earth Peace and the Brethren Witness/Washington Office will draw from these ideas as well as others being generated to provide resources and guidance in answering this call.
- A planning team of board and staff was formed to prepare for On Earth Peace's 30th anniversary celebration in 2004. This will include regional events featuring concerts by the original JOYA (Journey of Young Adults) team and workshops for youth and adults. Top
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors and staff met April 4-5, 2003 at New Windsor, Maryland. With the theme "For the Healing of the Nations" providing a focus for the weekend, the group took time for silence and prayer in the midst of worship and business. The board, led by chair Bev Weaver, continued its use of the Formal Consensus process for discussion and decision-making.
Here are some highlights from the meeting:
- The board and staff welcomed BVSer Rachel Peterson of New Carlisle, Ohio, and intern Carrie Fry-Miller of Ft. Wayne, Indiana to the table. Carrie and Rachel joined the rest of the staff in sharing reports about programs and ideas for On Earth Peace.
- The group shared a time of open worship and silence to consider On Earth Peace' responses to the war in Iraq as well as the continued "War on Terrorism." As concerns were raised about the prospect of the U.S. military controlling all rebuilding and humanitarian aid to Iraq, an action item was affirmed to provide support to ERSM regarding their decisions around this issue. The board and staff also agreed to join in prayer on Wednesdays at noon (local time), and those who choose will also fast from their noon meal on Wednesday, praying that all might know the things that make for peace. Others in the church are invited to join On Earth Peace in this prayer and fasting, which will continue until the board reconvenes in September.
- The Personnel Committee presented a proposal which was approved by the board to allow staff members to voluntarily reduce their salary level and designate the amount deducted for specific types of expenses. This proposal will be available to all On Earth peace staff beginning with the 2004 budget pending legal review by tax consultants.
- The Advancement Committee presented a working document "Roots and Branches ñ the next stage in developing On Earth Peace." The context of this document focuses on the need to develop both present program areas further and new ones concentrating on Luke 19:42, "Would that you knew the things that make for peace." To address this focus, the document provides ideas for staffing and finances that will allow these goals to be met. After active discussion and prayer there was consensus to move ahead with the proposal in its basic shape, scope, and direction.
- The financial report showed expense projections right on target. On the income side, congregational giving and program income are above budget, while individual giving is below.
- There was much discussion regarding how On Earth Peace might contribute to the Community Investment Fund now offered by Brethren Foundation. This option was affirmed to be very much in line with our values as an organization, however we are also in a time of needing to find funds for expanded program work. Through a helpful and clarifying discussion, the board did not reach consensus within the time available and will take up the question again in our September meeting.
- Friday evening was spent sharing stories and brainstorming together. The staff shared stories of success about On Earth Peace' many programs and celebrated with the board these successes. In small groups, persons brainstormed together ideas about the upcoming 30th Anniversary of On Earth Peace in 2004.
- Matt Guynn led the board and staff in a learning exercise on the mainstream and the margins of who On Earth Peace is. The group reflected on the characteristics of who/what On Earth Peace is, and what are the characteristics of who/what we are not. Time was then spent discussing the latter and how we might bring more of these persons/ideas/characteristics into who we are.
- "The Call for a Living Peace Church" resolution (co-sponsored by On Earth Peace and the General Board to be taken to Annual Conference), was reviewed and discussed. In addition to this resolution, the staff is working on a simple statement that would reaffirm the Church of the Brethren commitment to conscientious objection. Top
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors and staff met September 20-21, 2002 in New Windsor, Maryland. With images drawn from the book of Ruth, the theme "Strength for the Journey" provided a focus as each session was opened with worship. The board, led by chair Bev Weaver, is beginning its third year of using the Formal Consensus process for discussion and decision-making.
Here are some highlights from the meeting:
A document prepared by co-director Bob Gross and advancement committee member, Jim Replogle, "Policies Regarding Use of Endowment and Funds" was approved .
Reports were given by each staff member with celebration that the entire staff has now been consistent for one year. With increased requests for programming and the ongoing "War on Terrorism," staff were encouraged by the board to keep a good balance in work load and pace of involvement. A few program highlights for the past six months include: the Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) program continues to serve congregations and districts throughout the church; a MoR Peer Review Event for conflict practitioners; Conflict Resolution trainings at two camps; the release of Second Mile, a new peace curriculum for youth and adults that was put together in collaboration with several Mennonite groups and On Earth Peace which represented the Church of the Brethren; support for local groups doing active nonviolence work across the denomination; and bulletin inserts with action ideas distributed to many congregations; over twenty strong insight sessions and workshops at Annual Conference, National Youth Conference, and National Older Adult Conference (NOAC); the Peace Petition regarding the war on Iraq signed by 867 persons at NOAC. The question of what it means for the Church of the Brethren to be "living peace church" and not just a historic peace church continues to be instrumental in all of On Earth Peace programming.
Reports from the following committees: Personnel ñ discussed options for staff to reduce their taxable income and/or to live at a non-taxable level, in light of the levels of military spending in the federal budget and encouraged staff to make a more conscious effort to use vacation time; Advancement ñ discussed the challenges and surprises that come with fundraising and considered options for hiring another staff person to focus on development work; and Executive ñ shared about positive evaluations of the co-directors, how to help staff maintain healthy energy levels to avoid burnout, and reviewed the changes made to the Strategic Goals in the April 2002 board meeting.
- The financial update indicated that both income and expenses were below budget. However, the fiscal year, which was October 1- September 30, 2002, ended with a positive balance.
- A small group gathered to develop ideas for non-Anglo curricula to be incorporated into On Earth Peace programs.
- Dale Brown shared reflections on representing On Earth Peace at the World Council of Churches gathering, "Beyond 11 September: Implications for US Churches and the World," in Washington, DC. This meeting was called because of the gap between how Christians around the world and Christians in the U.S. are thinking about the War on Terrorism.
- The board approved a $345,000 budget for 2002-2003.
- As fundraising efforts were discussed, the staff and board set a challenge goal for personal donations totaling $25,000 in fiscal year 2003.
- A possible Annual Conference query was discussed regarding a call to faithfulness as a peace church and the question of what it means to be a "living peace church" in this day. A working group of board, non-board, and staff was proposed to carry out this effort.
- The staff reported progress in seeking an anti-racism initiative to help On Earth Peace work at racism in our program and organizational life. The board affirmed this direction with the encouragement for the staff to continue this approach.
- The board and staff brainstormed ways to implement the planning for longer-term, pro-active peacemaking.
- The board affirmed the appointment of David Jehnsen as an On Earth Peace representative to the Christian Peacemaker Teams steering committee.
- The 2002-2003 Executive Committee was organized: Bev Weaver, chair; David Jehnsen, vice-chair; Lauree Hersch Meyer, secretary; Charles Kwon, treasurer; and Ken Frantz and Tom Leard Longenecker, at-large.
- The staff shared about "Generations for Peace," a Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) and Voices in the Wilderness initiative that is recruiting peacemakers to travel on delegations to Iraq. In the discussion, a challenge was raised up for the board's prayer and continuing discernment that two members participate in CPT delegations in the next year. At the end of the board meeting, Ken Edwards made a commitment to answer this challenge to travel to Iraq in the coming year with a CPT delegation.
- The meeting concluded with blessings of scripture for departing board members Walt Moyer serving five years on the board and as chair of the Nominating Committee, and Dale Brown serving six years on the board and as chair of the board for two of those years.
- The staff shared plans for future programs and new initiatives: "Preachin' and Prayin' for Peace: A Revival of the Spirit" at Camp Swatara (PA) on October 24-27, 2002; Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) workshops "Conflict Transformation Skills for Church Leaders" in Richmond, Indiana on October 5, 2002 and "Workshop for Conflict Practitioners" at Camp Mack (IN) on November 14-16, 2002; "Weaving Peace 2003" at Camp Wilbur Stover (ID) on June 29-July 5, 2003; and a Christian Peacemaker Team and Voices in the Wilderness initiative, "Generations for Peace" delegations to Iraq in fall 2002. Top
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors met April 12-13, 2002 in New Windsor, Maryland. In the midst of colorful clay, paper, and fresh spring flowers, the theme of "Create and Re-Create" provided a focus as each session was opened with worship. With the leadership of board chair Bev Weaver, the board continued to use Formal Consensus as its discussion and decision-making pattern.
The meeting began with reports about the Seeking Peace project, the Decade to Overcome Violence partnership with the General Board's Brethren Witness office, and the successful work in the program areas of Conflict Transformation, Peacemaker Formation, and Peace Witness. The board and staff moved into a time of discernment about the future of the Seeking Peace project, affirming the success and energy of its programs up to now, acknowledging the need to continue this active response to the War on Terrorism, and brainstorming ideas for future action.
In other business, the board:
- reviewed the accomplishments of the Strategic Plan that was adopted at the October 2000 Board of Directors meeting. Revisions were suggested for each of the four goal areas.
- heard a positive financial report from treasurer Charles Kwon which showed income ahead of expenses. The staff and board are encouraged by the increase of new individual and congregational donors.
- heard from the following committees: Nominating--prepared a ballot with four nominees to be sent out to constituents soon; Personnel--presented the revised staff policy manual that was adopted the day before by the Executive Committee; Advancement--provided guidance in the preparation of the Development Plan and the Endowment Policy; and Executive--presented request from the Calling and Ministry Committee for stronger liaison with the On Earth Peace Board.
- adopted a Comprehensive Development Plan which highlights the basic tasks of fundraising, the responsibilities of the board, and an emphasis on individual giving, congregations, and program income.
- committed to a goal of the board and staff donating $25,000 before the end of this fiscal year.
- discussed a document prepared by Co-Director Bob Gross, "Policies Regarding Use of Endowment and Funds." This discussion will continue at the fall board meeting to allow time to gather more information.
- heard about On Earth Peace staff involvement at 2002 conferences: Annual Conference, National Youth Conference, National Older Adult Conference, district conferences, and regional youth conferences.
- discussed various denominational partnerships, particularly with the General Board, Association of Brethren Caregivers, and Bethany Theological Seminary, and how to continue building and strengthening these collaborative efforts.
- received the challenge to use the "Conversation Cards" developed by staff member Matt Guynn to begin dialogue with others about their views of peace and the War on Terrorism.
- heard plans for future programs: "The Big Picture: What Does Peace Have To Do With Me?" June 8, 2002, New Windsor, Maryland; "Preaching and Praying for Peace: A Revival of the Spirit," October 24-27, 2002, Camp Swatara, Bethel, Pennsylvania; and "Weaving Peace," July 9-12, 2003, place TBA. Top
The Board of Directors of On Earth Peace met September 19-20, 2001 in North Manchester, Indiana. The meeting began with a sense of sorrow and apprehension about the tragic events of September 11 and the talk of war that is prevalent in the nation at this time, but also with a sense of calling to respond as a peace church and a determination to follow as God leads. Through prayer, discernment and discussion, the decision was made to begin a major effort in peace education and witness, to encourage and equip the Church of the Brethren to witness in a new and living way to its peace testimony. This effort is called Seeking Peace. More information is available through the Seeking Peace web site, or by calling On Earth Peace at (410) 635-8704.
New officers for the 2001-2002 year were called: Bev Weaver, Anderson, Indiana ñ Chair; David Jehnsen, Galena, Ohio ñ Vice-Chair; Lauree Hersch Meyer, Rushville, New York ñ Secretary; Charles Kwon, Evanston, Illinois ñ Treasurer; and Ken Frantz, Fleming, Colorado ñ Executive Committee At-large.
In other business, the board:
- heard reports of successful program work in all areas, including the Weaving Peace event held immediately after Annual Conference in Maryland and the Decade to Overcome Violence, a long-term project in partnership with the Brethren Witness office;
- reviewed progress on current goals in the organization's strategic plan;
- adopted an organizational budget of $338,000 for the 2001-2002 fiscal year, and a new salary structure for staff;
- received a report of the performance review of the Executive Directors conducted by the Executive Committee, in which both the work of the Directors and the Co-Director model were strongly affirmed; and
- received reports of work-in-progress on a review of the purposes and use of the organization's endowment funds, a response to concerns regarding fairness in ministry decisions, and a comprehensive development plan.
The board continued to use Formal Consensus as its discussion and decision-making pattern, as initiated in the spring board meeting. Appreciation and deep gratitude were expressed to out-going members Illana Naylor and Jan Kulp Long who have provided important leadership for the board in recent years. Top
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors and Staff met at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Maryland, during April 19 and 20.
The meeting included various aspects of worship with time for singing and praying, celebrating Godís creation and experiencing Godís Spirit, and affirming one anotherís gifts as Staff and Board members. On Friday evening, there was time for storytelling and group building, in the midst of sharing one anotherís passions for peacemaking.
The Board meeting involved the following:
Board Chair Jan Kulp Long welcomed first time attendees Debbie Roberts, LaVerne, CA, and Lauree Hersch Meyer, Rushville, NY.
A decision, made a few years ago, finally came into fruition. Friday morning was devoted to learning the "Formal Consensus" method of decisionmaking and how it applies to deliberations. Bob Gross and Jan Kulp Long led the Board through the training process. Throughout the two days, consensus was practiced and used. Formal Consensus stresses that each person around the table has a voice and that ample time is taken for everyone to express their opinions. Decisions are made in a timely manner, but are not rushed. In addition, provisions are in place when consensus is reached but not total agreement.
The Staff reported some of the highlights from their work: the Calling and Ministry Committee is accepting applications for the MoR Practitioner Network; Matthew 18 workshops have been presented in many districts; the Strategic Plan was updated and clarified following a staff retreat; Peace Witness activity included the School of Americas Watch Vigil and Witness; Post-Conference gathering ìWeaving Peaceî at the Aukerman Homestead in Union Bridge, MD; update about the number of requests for the Peace Baskets, which include peace resources to be loaned out to congregations; hearing about the Jr. High Peace Retreat series, ìPeace-ing It Togetherî; and about the switch to a new accounting program.
The financial report given by the Staff was positive, with both income and expenses currently under budget. The Staff and Board are encouraged by the number of new and increased donors that have qualified for the matching gift, and hope that this continues to be an incentive the remainder of the fiscal year.
T he Boardís three active Committees provided the following updates: Advancement reported that about half of the $100,000 challenge gift program to churches and individuals has been received with less than six months to go until the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2001; Personnel reviewed staffís job descriptions and will review the Policy Manual in the fall; Nominating announced that names have been secured for the ballot and that the ballot will be mailed out soon.
Other items discussed: the possible involvement of On Earth Peace in the Every Church a Peace Church program; the purpose of present and future endowments; Annual Conference 2001 activities; and specifics about the Weaving Peace Post-Conference gathering.
The meeting concluded Saturday evening. Top
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors and Staff met at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, MD, during the weekend of October 6-7.
The meeting began with a time of singing hymns and an opportunity to share what it was that we left behind to come to the weekend meeting. The Board meeting involved the following:
The Board welcomed Barb Sayler and Bob Gross as Co-Executive Directors of On Earth Peace. In addition, new Board members were introduced; Ken Frantz, Fleming, CO; Ken Edwards, Jonesborough, TN; and Debbie Roberts, LaVerne, CA, who was scheduled to come but could not because of the snowy weather in the midwest.
The Staff gave reports about their work. Barb and Bob gave a summary of how the duties of the Executive Director position are being divided. A progress report about the closing of the Peace Place and the start up of the Peace Baskets, which includes peace resources to be loaned out to congregations. The Peace Retreat theme for this year is "A Peace Tapestry" using Romans 12 as the biblical text. Retreats are scheduled into the fall and spring. The Ministry of Reconciliation continues to offer Matthew 18 workshops for congregations and training for Practitioners.
The Board Advancement Committee had plenty of good news to share. The Board met its challenge to contribute $50,000 to the general fund and celebrated this accomplishment at the conclusion of Fridayís meeting with an ice cream party. It was also announced that a matching gift of will made available this year to On Earth Peace when churches or individuals make new or increased gifts as compared to last yearís donation. And, an anonymous donor will donate $100,000 to be added to the endowment to help secure and enhance the future of On Earth Peace.
The Board accepted several challenges for the coming year. Each board member is to lift up the mission and work of On Earth Peace by visiting congregations in their district, challenge individuals to support On Earth Peace, and continue their own financial support as well.
The Strategic Planning Committee presented the results of their Visioning work with a document that the Board accepted. The four focus areas include Peacemaker Formation, Peace Witness, Conflict Transformation and Organizational Health. Two, five and ten-year goals were identified. This document will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to determine its effectiveness.
The 2000-2001 budget was presented to the Board for their approval. The budget is a balanced one that shows $375,000 in income and expenses for the coming year.
The meeting concluded Saturday evening. Top
The On Earth Peace Board of Directors and Staff met at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, MD, during the weekend of April 14-16.
The meeting began with a biblically focused worship led by Paul Roth. He guided Board and Staff to reflect on the past year in ways that led to envisioning our future in a spirit of unity. The Board meeting involved the following:
In the absence of an Interim Director, Bob Gross, MoR Coordinator, was named Staff Coordinator to serve as an On Earth Peace spokesperson to the wider church. With Bobís guidance, staff members will work collaboratively in carrying out the remaining duties required of an Executive Director.
The Staff gave reports about their work including a progress report about past and future Peace Retreats, a review of the Matthew 18 workshops held in recent months, and an update on the current financial condition of On Earth Peace.
The Board Advancement Committee presented the results of their work. Upon the recommendation of the Advancement Committee, the Board is challenging itself to contribute $50,000 to the general fund. To date, over three-fifths of the goal has been reached by Board and Staff.
The Strategic Planning Committee presented the results of their February meeting and engaged the Board and Staff to continue articulating the long-term vision for On Earth Peace. The Committee will meet again this summer to continue the process.
The Board received a preview of the many activities that On Earth Peace will sponsor at Annual Conference including Peace Academy and MoR Insight Sessions, and a MoR Luncheon and an OEPA breakfast. Once again, MoR mediators will be available throughout the week to assist conference participants in resolving conflicts or tensions.
The search process for a new Executive Director was discussed, a search committee was named, and a draft position announcement was created.
The meeting ended Sunday morning with the group departing in a spirit of anticipation and enthusiasm for the future of On Earth Peace. Top
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