Church of the Brethren — Office of Public Witness

Posted November 17th, 2017

Office of Public Witness

“Seeking to Live the Peace of Jesus Publicly”

Our public witness is larger than legislative advocacy. Public witness points to working to find coherence between congregation life, service, advocating on policy, and questioning the values that undergird our politics.

We have been reconciled and have been given a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). As disciples of Jesus called to go out and make disciples we are called to embodied reconciliation.

In Romans 12 we see the call to be personally transformed and embody and bear witness to the peace we have received. The Church of the Brethren’s Office of Public witness is “seeking to live the peace of Jesus publicly by educating on issues and peace theology, organizing Church of the Brethren members and congregations to take action, and advocating on Capitol Hill around issues of concern for the denomination.

Office of Public Witness

Church of the Brethren

337 North Carolina Ave SE

Washington, DC 20003 E-mail:


Nathan Hosler is the Director in the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Public Witness in Washington DC and a pastor at the Washington City Church of the Brethren. Before coming to DC, Nathan and his wife, Jennifer, were engaged in peacebuilding work with the Church of the Brethren in northern Nigeria for two years. He holds a BA in Biblical Languages, a MA in International Relations, and is completing a PhD in Theological Ethics.

Emmy Goering served with Brethren Volunteer Service from July 2016 to July 2017.  She is currently a full-time student at McPherson College.

Brethren Volunteer Service – OPW Placement

#1102.2: Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness – Washington, District of Columbia

The Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness seeks to live the peace of Jesus publicly by educating on issues and peace theology, advocating on Capitol Hill, and organizing Church of the Brethren members and congregations to take action on issues of concern for the denomination.


BVS – Job Description

The Policy Associate will work with the coordinator of the Office of Public Witness to bring the voice of the Church of the Brethren to our elected officials; participate in ecumenical and interfaith advocacy coalitions; and organize Brethren members, congregations, districts, and national staff around issues of concern for the denomination. Specific responsibilities include assisting with developing outreach and advocacy for a variety of issues and initiatives; developing appropriate educational advocacy materials based on scripture and Brethren policy; helping engage Brethren members in an active electronic network; and engaging in research, writing, outreach strategizing, and event organizing.

2017 Annual Conference — Daily Reflections

Posted June 30th, 2017

Wednesday, June 28

Risk Hope: Remember God’s Story – Carol Scheppard preaching

Thursday, June 29

Risk Hope: Be Faithful in the Struggle – Jose Calljla Ortero preaching

Friday, June 30

Risk Hope: Witness to God’s Work in the World – Michaela Alphonse preaching

Saturday, July 1

Risk Hope: Love Christ’s Community – Donna Ritchey Martin preaching

Sunday, July 2

Risk Hope: Step Out and Be a Blessing – Matthew Fike preaching


We live in times that challenge us in our quest to be a faithful people. Strife and uncertainty permeate our society and invade our churches, and we grow disheartened and discouraged. Yet Scripture teaches that troubled times can be times when God’s blessing is most evident in the midst of God’s people. We are not to fear the instability of our time, for our hope rests in the rock of our salvation. Isaiah reminds us: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” (Isa. 8:12-13)

As we face the various storms of our times we gain strength and hope from the stories of God’s people in exile in Babylon. Robbed of the Land, the Temple, and the City of God, and hauled away to a foreign land, the People of God had little hope for survival. And yet, the promises of God would not die.

Isaiah prophesied: “And this shall be the sign for you: This year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that; then in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. The surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward; for from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out, and from Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isa. 37:30-32)

And so the people gathered together the stories of their ancestors, the promises to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, the call to Moses and the Covenant of the Law, and there in Babylon they were faithful.

In the same way, let us too be bold in this time of challenge – bold to turn aside from our despair, to step out in faith, to claim the promises that are ours in Christ Jesus, and to Risk Hope for the life and vitality of the Gospel.     – Moderator Carol Scheppard

Martin Gauby Obituary

Posted February 24th, 2017

Dear Friends in Western Plains,

Many of you may have known Martin Gauby, who passed away on February 6.  His obituary is printed below. Martin was born in Washington, Kan., attended McPherson College and Bethany Seminary, and  was a long time Church of the Brethren pastor.  Among his pastorates was the Prairie View congregation in Western Plains. Most recently he lived in Nampa, Idaho.  Please keep Martin’s family in prayer.


Kendra Flory


Martin Gauby, 82, of Boise passed away on Monday February 6, 2017 at a local hospital. A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, February 11th at 2 pm at the Nampa Church of the Brethren located at 1130 W. Orchard Avenue, Nampa, Idaho.

Martin was born in Washington, Kansas on September 10, 1934 to Harvey and Mabel Gauby. Martin grew up on various farms in rural Kansas and Texas with his older sisters Betty and Iris. He attended McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas where he met his wife, Edith, and graduated with a degree in religion. They moved to Chicago, Illinois where he attended Bethany Seminary graduating with a Masters of Divinity. Over 46 years Martin pastored Church of the Brethren congregations in Oregon, Indiana, Idaho, Texas and Kansas coming back to the Treasure Valley to retire and enjoy spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Martin was a kind and gentle man who always had an encouraging word and never met a stranger. He set an example for all of us, encouraging everyone to get along, regardless of our differences. The best thing we can do for him is follow his example and turn and help our neighbors.
An avid sports fan, Martin supported all the sports teams in whichever city he was living. Some of his best recent memories were of watching his Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren play sports, and enjoying his season tickets to BSU football games. His other passion was searching junk yards and antique stores looking for his next treasure.

Martin is survived by his wife of 60 years, Edith, sister Iris Gould, daughter Norma Lockner, son Sidney (Katherine) Gauby, and son Jeffrey Gauby.  Grandchildren Timothy (Linsey) Lockner, Ryan (Tara) Lockner, Kyle (Melissa) Gauby, Kacie Gauby, Austin Gauby, Caitlin Gauby, and Mason Gauby and Great-Grandchildren Andrew Lockner, Ethan Lockner, and Owen Gauby. He was preceded by his parents, sister Betty Yoder, and daughter-in-law Julie Smith Gauby.

Because of allergies the family requests no flowers. Memorial donations may be made to the Boise Valley Church of the Brethren Building Fund at 4721 N. Star Road, Meridian, Idaho; or the Nampa Church of the Brethren at 11080 W Orchard Ave., Nampa, Idaho.

Nigeria: Book Drive, Church Rebuilding Fund, Workcamps

Posted October 19th, 2016

The Church of the Brethren denomination has showed amazing compassion and support for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in the immediate aftermath of the violence of Boko Haram. Now that EYN families and their neighbors have started the long journey of recovery and return of self sufficiency, we continue to walk with them and our support is still needed.

The book drive is an important way to support education and hope in Nigeria. The drive aims to collect children’s books for EYN-related schools, as well as books for the library at Kulp Bible College for training pastors. Information about the book drive is included on the attached flyer and also online at The books must arrive at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, MD no later than November 20 so they can be packed and shipped to Nigeria. Books should be new or in very good shape. A wish list of books for KBC can be found online. I would also be happy to email it to you. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about selecting or sending the books to New Windsor.

The Church Rebuilding Fund is separate from the Nigeria Crisis Fund and will only be used to assist EYN as it begins the long process of rebuilding and restoring its many destroyed and damaged churches. The fund will support grants of $5,000 to help small churches purchase roofing/rebuilding materials while grants of $10,000 will help larger churches create temporary church structures while they rebuild. Information about the fund is included on the attached flyer and can also be found online at

Participating in and/or supporting Nigeria Workcamps is another important and life-changing way to support EYN and its members. The workcamps will focus on restoring some of the nearly 70 percent of church buildings lost during the crisis. Participants will help to rebuild churches and repair church facilities, and will also have an opportunity to worship and pray in fellowship with the Nigerian Brethren and to encourage people as they recover. More information can be found online at or by contacting Kendra Harbeck at 847-429-4388 or Anyone interested in the November workcamp should contact Kendra immediately to find out if registration is still open. There is still plenty of time to participate in the trips in January and February 2017.

As we celebrate our connection with our Nigerian brothers and sisters and walk with them on their journey, we proclaim “zumunci a kafa taka – fellowship is in the feet!” Let it be so!


Sharon Billings Franzén

Office Manager – Brethren Disaster Ministries

601 Main St., P.O. Box 188, New Windsor, MD 21776

410-635-8731; 800-451-4407 ext.3

Disaster Ministries Opportunities

Posted September 8th, 2016

1) Lybrook Ministries

We are still planning to help build a hogan and house near Cuba, N. Mexico, the week of October 16.  Details to follow.  Contact Bud or Susan Taylor (620-245-4835 or 620-245-4836) for more information.  Cooks as well as builders (no experience necessary) are needed.

2) Nigeria Workcamps

The Church of the Brethren is planning a series of workcamps in Nigeria, as part of the new effort to rebuild churches of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

The workcamps will take place over the next six or seven months. The first is set for November 4-23, 2016.  Subsequent workcamps are scheduled for January 11-30, 2017, and Feb. 17-March 6, 2017.

Participants will need to raise about $2,500 to cover the cost of transportation, food, and supplies. Those who apply for a workcamp are warned that they will face extreme heat in northeast Nigeria, as well as intense sun, and the rigors of life in a developing nation. “As members of the Church of the Brethren, we say that our motto is to live ‘peacefully, simply and together.’ This opportunity presents a real chance to live this out!” said an announcement of the new workcamps.

Express interest in a workcamp by contacting the Nigeria Crisis Response at or 847-429-4329.

Nearly 70 percent of EYN’s churches in northeast Nigeria have been destroyed in the Boko Haram insurgency. A Nigeria Church Rebuilding Fund has been developed to help provide support to EYN congregations who are working to rebuild.

Global Mission and Service executive director Jay Wittmeyer reports that of EYN’s 458 churches, which are called LCCs, 258 have been destroyed. (These numbers do not include the hundreds of additional preaching points in EYN.) Wittmeyer hopes to be able to start out by providing $5,000 to selected EYN congregations to re-roof their church buildings.