Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Brethren bits: Response to flooding, youth/young adult news, more.
  • Children’s Disaster Services, a ministry of the Church of the Brethren serving children and families following disasters, has monitored the need for child care responding to the flooding in North Dakota and Minnesota. After a team of child care volunteers arrived at Fargo on March 30, but found no immediate need for their services, the volunteers ended up helping the American Red Cross with other tasks. Children’s Disaster Services director Judy Bezon commented, "True to form, they found another way to help."

  • The Church of the Brethren’s Material Resources program has coordinated several shipments responding to situations in the news recently. The program shipped 30 medicine boxes valued at $101,095.50 to Gaza, Israel, on behalf of IMA World Health and International Orthodox Christian Charities. A Friday afternoon telephone call resulted in rearrangement of two shipments of clean up buckets originally bound for Arkansas, to be shipped instead to help with the flooding in North Dakota. In addition, a shipment of blankets, school kits, and hygiene kits were delivered to North Dakota in response to the flood situation. The North Dakota shipments were arranged through QW Express, a shipping company owned by a Church of the Brethren member in Virginia, reported Material Resources director Loretta Wolf.

  • The Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., marked its 50th anniversary today. Fifty years ago today, on April 8, 1959, a dedication service was held for the General Offices in the chapel. The building was new and the staff had just moved into it from the old building on State Street in Elgin. A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the General Offices is being planned for May 13.

  • The Church of the Brethren’s National Youth Sunday is scheduled for May 3. Congregations are encouraged to invite youth to participate in leading Sunday worship on the theme, "Standing On Holy Ground" from Exodus 3:5. Go to to find skits, Bible studies, scripture jams, children’s stories, a bulletin insert, and other worship resources.

  • National Junior High Conference registration continues to be open after April 15, however the cost will rise to $150 after that date, from the early registration cost of $125. "There are still spaces left and we would love for you to attend National Junior High Conference at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., June 19-21," said an invitation from the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Go to for online registration. Participants living west of the Mississippi River may apply for a $150 travel scholarship, contact 800-323-8039 ext. 281 for details.

  • Young Adult Conference registration also is still open, with the registration fee rising to $100 after April 15. The conference is for young adults ages 18-35 and will be held at Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa., on May 23-25. Go to to register online. For questions or more information call 800-323-8039 ext. 281.

  • McPherson (Kan.) College on April 17-19 will offer a Regional Youth Conference for the Church of the Brethren districts of Missouri and Arkansas, Northern Plains, Southern Plains, and Western Plains. The theme is "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God." Leadership will be provided by Rex Miller and Curt Rowland of Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind. Jen Jehnsen will lead worship. Cost is $46 per person. Contact Tom Hurst, Director of Campus Ministries, at or 620-242-0503.

  • Upcoming courses offered through the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center include two classes to be taught by Old Testament scholar Robert Neff: "Psalms: The Inner Life of Lament and Praise" on April 23-26 at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa.; and "Reading Biblical Books in Context: A Study of the Festal Scrolls" on May 19 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Contact the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center at 717-361-1450 or or go to

  • Bethel Ministries, sponsored by Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, Idaho, has been the subject of an article in the "Idaho Statesman." Bethel Ministries is a program that helps to rehabilitate men convicted by violent crimes or sexual offenses as they transition back into society after serving terms in prison. The program runs four neighborhood homes with the capacity for 34 men, working closely with probation and parole officers and programs such as such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SANE (Sex Abuse Now Ended) Solutions. Rob Lee, who is the executive director of Bethel Ministries, currently serves the congregation as director of worship. The "Idaho Statesman" highlighted Lee as running "a rigorous and disciplined, six-month program for men," committed to "creating a safer community by guiding society's most hated criminals to a clean, spiritually based life.... He's upfront and clear about his program and its strict rules. Each man must commit his life to Jesus Christ before entering Bethel Ministries." Mountain View pastor David McKellip reported that this past year the church has called a number of Bethel graduates to serve on its board of directors.

  • The finance committee of Oregon and Washington District has written a letter to congregations asking for ideas to help attain sufficient funding for the district. The committee was appointed when the district budget was adopted at last year’s District Conference in September. "We continue to operate at a deficit," the letter said in part. "We really do want our district to thrive. So...if you have an idea, suggestion, or comment we invite you to forward your thoughts to us and thereby be a part of this important ‘work in progress.’" Sample ideas included a "Church of the Month" special offering and a "10th Man Project" based on the story of the 10 lepers, of whom only one returned to thank Jesus.

  • The Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village Board of Directors has announced the appointment of two new board members: Keith Bryan, of Westminster, Md., president and fundraising counsel of Sundance Consulting Services; and Joseph Dahms of Glade Valley Church of the Brethren in Walkersville, Md., economics professor at Hood College in Frederick, Md., since 1978. Fahrney-Keedy is a Church of the Brethren continuing care retirement community near Boonsboro, Md.

  • The annual Christian Peace Witness for Iraq is scheduled for April 29-30 in Washington, D.C. Organizers plan to gather thousands of loaves of bread in front of the White House on the evening of April 29 as a symbol of repentance and new life. Each loaf will be accompanied by a monetary contribution, the bread will be shared with the hungry, and financial gifts will support the people of Iraq. Other events include an opening convocation and an evening worship service on April 29, and a closing witness on the steps of the Capitol building on the morning of April 30 timed to coincide with the 100th day of a new administration and new Congress. Featured speakers include Tony Campolo, Daniel Berrigan, and others. Go to for more information or to register.

  • The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program offers resources for making Earth Day Sunday worship "reverent and relevant." Churches are encouraged to celebrate Earth Day Sunday on April 19 or 26. Resources include the Eco-Justice Program's 2009 Earth Day Sunday resource, "Celebrating and Caring for God's Creation" (go to to download); prayers, hymns, and liturgy about climate change (go to to find them online); and a free copy of the video "God's Creation and Global Warming" on the connection between human actions and the impact on God's Creation (go to contact to order).

  • A Good Friday Service is being held at Colosimo's Gun Center in Philadelphia, as a follow-up to the "Heeding God's Call" gathering that took place in January, held by the Historic Peace Churches. At the gathering, a new faith-based campaign against gun violence in America's cities was launched, and witnesses were held at the gun center. The center "has been named one of the 10 worst gun dealers in the country due to the number of handguns it sells traced to crimes," said an announcement of the event. "Heeding God’s Call asked Mr. Colosimo to sign a 10 point Code of Conduct (agreed to by Wal-Mart) intended to keep handguns from being sold to straw purchasers who supply the criminal market. Mr. Colosimo has refused to sign." The Good Friday Service on April 10 will include prayer for victims, families, and friends of those affected by gun violence. For more information contact or 267-519-5302.

  • The Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq, which includes Church of the Brethren member Peggy Gish, has announced a new emphasis on accompaniment of Kurdish villages on the northern border of Iraq that are threatened by bombings and attacks by Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. "The US government has allowed Turkish military planes to fly over Iraqi airspace and has given Turkey military ‘intelligence’ to bomb Kurdish villages along Iraq's northern borders with Turkey and Iran, causing destruction of hundreds of villages and displacement of villagers," wrote Gish in a recent release for CPT. The CPT Iraq team has relocated to Dohuk in northwest Iraq. Go to to find Gish’s reports online.

  • The April edition of "Brethren Voices" features the Shenandoah Song and Story Fest under the title, "Streams of Mercy, Never Ceasing." "Brethren Voices" is a monthly public access television show sponsored by Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., and produced by Ed Groff. In the April edition, Ken Kline Smeltzer, founder of "Song and Story Fest," hosts the program and introduces a day’s activities at the Song and Story Fest annual family camp co-sponsored by On Earth Peace. The program also includes Jim Lehman's story about the youth who brought the motion to the 1948 Annual Conference to establish Brethren Volunteer Service. More information about "Brethren Voices" can be obtained from Groff at

  • Brethren author Peggy Reiff Miller of Milford, Ind., is touring this spring to honor the "seagoing cowboys" who tended livestock on cattle boats to Europe and China following World War II. The trips were part of the reconstruction efforts of Heifer Project, then a Church of the Brethren program, and the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, with the Brethren Service Committee as the recruiting agency for the cowboys. Miller has been gathering stories and artifacts for a documentary photo story, "A Tribute to the Seagoing Cowboys." She will present programs at Dayton (Va.) Church of the Brethren on April 13; Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on April 14; the Brethren Village Assembly Hall in Lancaster, Pa., on April 15; the Mennonite Heritage Center in Harleysville, Pa., on April 19; Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold, Ohio, on May 29; East Chippewa Church of the Brethren in Orrville, Ohio, on May 31; Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton, Kan., on June 9; and West Des Moines (Iowa) United Methodist Church on June 11. Additional information is available at or 574-658-4147.

  • Daniel Lafayette "Lafie" Wolfe, a member of Harmony Church of the Brethren in Myersville, Md., celebrated his 104th birthday on March 14. "We praise God for his good mind and health," said pastor Tracy Wiser.
Source: 4/8/2009 Newsline

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