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Our Brethren foundation

by Melinda Lantz | Nov 08, 2016
Posted Nov. 8 - I recently chaired a meeting of the Brethren Higher Education Association, a group comprised of the presidents of the colleges, universities and seminary of the Church of the Brethren. We meet regularly to discuss common issues and shared interests.

This meeting began with a Sunday afternoon conversation. We sat down with a working group of campus pastors, advancement and admissions staff – they go by the acronym COBCOA – who aim to recruit Brethren students to our campuses and keep us connected to the church. Nearly 20 years old, this cross-institutional collaboration represents Brethren higher education at Annual Conference, National Youth Conference and in many other Brethren venues. The group’s staying power reflects our institutional and shared commitments to engaging with the wider church.

There were three significant outcomes. First, we affirmed our common foundational values: peace and social justice, service, community, diversity and inclusion, and stewardship. Second, we agreed that those values drive us to a common goal: equipping young people to live lives of consequence. Third, we reaffirmed the good work of COBCOA.

While the words we use on each campus differ when we talk about mission and values, they all clearly reflect our shared rootedness in the Church of the Brethren. It’s certainly true at Manchester, where we respect the infinite worth of every individual and graduate persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.