Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Community development program in DR gains new ecumenical partners.

The community development program of the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic is set to become a broader ecumenical venture involving partnership with Church World Service, the Foods Resource Bank, and Servicios Sociales de Iglesias Dominicanas (SSID, the Dominican partner of Church World Service).

The new partnership has received support and encouragement from the church’s Global Mission Partnerships, DR mission coordinators Irvin and Nancy Heishman, Felix Arias Mateo of the Church of the Brethren in the DR, and Howard Royer of the church’s Global Food Crisis Fund, as well as staff of the Foods Resource Bank and CWS.

This ecumenical program will include five Brethren communities at the outset. "The (total) project will engage 610 families in 32 ‘bateye’ or ethnically Haitian communities in organizing to overcome hunger and poverty," Royer reported.

In other news from the DR mission, students in the Theological Program are in the process of teaching "Introduction to the History of the Church of the Brethren," written by Galen Hackman originally for the Theological Education by Extension (TEE) program in Nigeria and re-published this spring in Spanish and Haitian Creole. "There are currently over 30 students in the program (both pastors and laity)," the Heishmans reported. "The reception in the churches to the book has been enthusiastic as they celebrate their history and story." Copies have been shared with the Brethren mission in Haiti and Brethren churches in Puerto Rico. The book can be ordered through Brethren Press for $10 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712.

This summer, 32 volunteers from two Church of the Brethren congregations in the US as well as a denominational workcamp helped six Dominican Brethren churches hold Vacation Bible School, reaching approximately 1,100 children. "Many more of the 20 Dominican Brethren churches held VBS as well," the Heishmans said. "Thanks to assistant mission coordinator Jerry O’Donnell and the work team members for a job well done!"

In related news, the DR will be the site for the first-ever "international CROP Walk" held by CWS. The Brethren mission workers have been invited to participate as well as partner organization SSID. Novelist Julia Alvarez is involved in arrangements for the event, which will be connected with a CROP Walk in Middlebury, Vt. For more about the CROP Walk in the DR go to

Source: 10/7/2009 Newsline

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