- The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center is welcoming Sarah Robrecht as a first-time volunteer host. She is on furlough from missionary work with Wycliffe Bible Translators, based in Orlando, Fla., and will volunteer in Windsor Hall from January through May.
- Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) is seeking a volunteer to serve with a new project partner in Prijedor, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bread for Life is a Christian humanitarian association founded by Protestant churches in Serbia, with an office in northwest Bosnia-Herzegovina since 1996. It is developing programs to promote income-generation, long-term employment, and self-sustainability such as a trial project of interest-free loans and other support to dairy farmers, and low-cost English and computer courses at an education center. BVS is seeking a volunteer co-worker/assistant for the income-generation projects. Duties will include assisting the director and program manager with writing and implementing income-generating projects, assistance with fundraising for new projects, contact with donor organizations, and assistance with creation or development of capacities of the organization. Requirements include preferred experience in the non-governmental sector in a developing country or eastern Europe, ability to adjust to new environments and cultures, expertise in the field of economics or agriculture, willingness to learn the local language. For more information about the project go to www.breadoflifesite.com. To express interest in this BVS opening, contact the BVS Office at 800-323-8039.
- The Material Resources distribution center at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is getting low on all types of relief kits, and invites donations (for instructions about how to assemble kits, visit www.churchworldservice.org/kits). In other news from Material Resources, staff are shipping 250 lightweight and 270 wool blankets and 540 hygiene kits to the Disabled Veteran Foundation. Homeless persons in Topeka, Kan., are receiving 50 lightweight and 90 wool blankets through Doorstep Inc., donated by Church World Service. CWS also has donated 100 lightweight blankets to be shipped to Pottstown, Pa., for the Homeless Shelter Cooperative. Two 40-foot containers have been loaded with Lutheran World Relief quilts, school kits, layettes, and health kits and shipped to the Philippines. Two containers of CWS school kits and IMA World Health Medicine Boxes have been loaded for Pakistan. One 40-foot container of Lutheran World Relief quilts, sewing kits, and school kits has been sent to Armenia.
- The Haiti workcamp sponsored by Youth and Young Adult Ministries has changed its date to June 1-8 to avoid a conflict with the Young Adult Conference next year. "Now young adults can attend both events!" said a note from the workcamp office. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 286.
- "Creation Care: Stewards of the Earth" is a weekend event co-sponsored by the Church of the Brethren, Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, and Mennonite Mutual Aid. The event takes place Feb. 12-14, 2010, in Mt. Pleasant, Pa., with the goal of "equipping leaders to guide the church to care for Creation." Worship services and presentations will be led by David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project, and Luke Gascho, executive director of the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College. A number of workshops are offered with leaders including Carol Bowman, coordinator of the Church of the Brethren’s Stewardship Formation and Education. Registration includes lodging and meals, materials, and continuing education units, and ranges from $154 to $295 depending on the choice of cottage or guesthouse and number of roommates. Student scholarships and a reduced commuter fee are available. Register by Dec. 31 for a reduction of $10 in the final price. A registration brochure can be downloaded from www.brethren.org/site/DocServer/CreationCareEventFlyerRegistrationForm.pdf?docID=5801 or contact email@example.com.
- In an update on the Brethren rebuilding project in Haiti, coordinator Jeff Boshart has reported that six more homes are nearly complete, bringing the total to 78. The goal for the project is to completely rebuild 100 homes. In addition, "there are two well projects in the works," Boshart added. One will serve a worksite with 22 homes, and the other will serve a Haitian Church of the Brethren church building and its immediate neighborhood. The Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund is accepting gifts for these two well projects. A third Brethren Disaster Ministries workcamp in Haiti in the last week of January has already been filled with applicants.
- Children’s Disaster Services is offering a Volunteer Workshop at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren on Feb. 27-28. Children’s Disaster Services volunteers set up and operate child care centers in disaster locations. The workshop will train volunteers to understand and respond to children who have experienced a disaster, learn how child-led play and various art mediums can start the healing process, experience a simulated shelter, sleep on cots and eat simple meals. Once the training is completed, participants have the opportunity to become certified Children’s Disaster Services volunteers by providing two personal references and a criminal and sexual offender background check. The workshop is open to anyone over 18 years old. Registration costs $45 ($55 after Feb. 6). Contact coordinator Kathy Benson at 909-593-4868 or the Children’s Disaster Services office at 800-451-4407 ext. 5 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- SERRV has announced a special offer "to make your holidays sweeter!" A free Divine Milk Chocolate bar will accompany orders of $50 or more. "And if you order at least $75 we'll also send you a Divine fruit and nut dark chocolate bar," said the announcement. Orders of $75 or more that are made by noon (Eastern time) on Dec. 18 receive free ground shipping. SERRV, which was started by the Church of the Brethren, is a nonprofit organization providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide. Its Divine Chocolate is produced by cocoa farmers in Ghana, and supports, among other things, school for children, access to basic medical care, clean water wells, and income projects for women. Place orders at www.serrv.org or visit the SERRV Store at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.
- "Pastors at the Community Church of the Brethren are praying for whoever vandalized their place of worship," according to the "Times-News" of Twin Falls, Idaho. The church pastored by Mark and Kathryn Bausman was vandalized last weekend. Cost of the damage came to about $9,600, including destruction of an electric organ, the newspaper said. Intruders also defaced children’s books, sprayed a fire extinguisher around the building, and did other acts of vandalism. The church continues plans to offer three live Nativity shows with free hot cocoa this Saturday evening.
- Fellowship in Christ Church of the Brethren in Fremont, Calif., has announced a "Celebration of Ministry at Our Closing" in the Pacific Southwest District newsletter. The closing celebration of the congregation takes place at 2 p.m. on Jan. 30.
- York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren is one of several congregations contributing to chaplain Dan Lehigh’s annual Christmas cookie ministry to truckers. The congregation’s Tuesday Morning Women's Bible Study packed 245 bags of cookies for the Truck Stop Chaplaincy Ministry in Carlisle, Pa. Last year, the ministry gave 12,300 bags of cookies to truckers. This year’s goal is 13,000 bags.
- Belita Mitchell, pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., and a former Annual Conference moderator, is one of the religious leaders speaking out in response to the Dec. 6 shooting of a police officer by a gunman on parole for weapons violations. The incident took place in Penn Hills, near Pittsburgh. Mitchell contributed to a statement from the Heeding God’s Call campaign to prevent gun violence, joining Isaac Miller, rector of the Church of the Advocate (Episcopal) in North Philadelphia, and Rabbi Carl Choper, chair of the Interfaith Alliance of Pennsylvania. She said, in part: "We do not know exactly where the Penn Hills shooter got his guns, and may never know, but we can say with confidence that he did not walk into a gun shop, pass a background check, and proceed with a legal gun purchase. It’s infinitely more likely he obtained his guns through an illegal street purchase, from a gun trafficker.... So, while others may focus on a parole system that failed to adequately keep the gunman from committing criminally violent acts, Heeding God’s Call decries the illegal gun trade and gun dealers who look the other way and allow straw buyers to make bulk purchases at their stores."
- West Branch Church of the Brethren in Polo, Ill., was one of the destinations for an annual "Christmas in the Country House Walk" on Dec. 5. Proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. West Branch, organized in 1846, was the first Church of the Brethren in Ogle County, Ill. The stone church building was completed in 1862.
- Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., will host a "Community Forum on Immigration" with guest speaker Rachel Heuman on Jan. 2 at 9 a.m. The event is sponsored by the Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice. Heuman has founded an Immigrant Advocacy Project and helped promote a city resolution in favor of immigration reform in her hometown of Evanston, Ill.
- Panther Creek Church of the Brethren in Adel, Iowa, has challenged churches in Northern Plains District to fill "quarter tubes" so that the district may purchase a Heifer International "ark." In November, the district board sent its first $5,000 to Heifer in honor of the two Panther Creek women, Lois Banwart and Marilyn Hoy, who helped initiate the project.
- "Who are your Brethren heroes?" asks Camp Bethel, the Virlina District camp near Fincastle, Va. The camp is seeking stories of Brethren heroes to flesh out its 2010 summer camp curriculum titled, "Be a Hero: Living Like Jesus." During each camp day this summer, campers will study the story of a biblical hero and a Brethren hero. An online response form is available at www.campbethelvirginia.org/Because_Heroes.pdf.
- The McPherson (Kan.) College football team won nine games this year "for the first time in its history," reports director of campus ministry Tom Hurst. The college team also was invited to its first football playoff game ever, he added. "The team ended the year with a 9-2 record."
- The Global Women's Project has received a gift from Northview Church of the Brethren in Indianapolis, in memory of late co-pastors Phil and Louise Rieman. The gift will purchase machines for a sewing cooperative in southern Sudan, said an announcement. Photos of the Narus Women's Sewing Cooperative can be viewed at www.globalwomensproject.org.
- "We have only one world, this world, if we destroy it, we have nothing else," said Archbishop Desmond Tutu at an ecumenical event for climate justice in Copenhagen on Dec. 13. His remarks were reported in a press release from the World Council of Churches (WCC). The ecumenical community is suggesting an agreement that would entail developed nations committing to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 40 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050 (as compared to 1990 levels), and to contribute funding to assist developing nations to reduce emissions. Tutu also delivered a clock representing over half a million signatures for climate justice to Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. A recording of speeches by Tutu and de Boer is at http://bit.ly/DesmondTutuAndYvoDeBoerCOP15.
- Palestinian Christians from a variety of churches have issued a prayerful call for an end to the occupation of Palestine by Israel. The call, issued at a Dec. 11 meeting in Bethlehem, is being referred to as "The Kairos Palestine Document," according to a release from the WCC. It echoes a similar summons issued by South African churches in the mid-1980s at the height of apartheid. The document is addressed to Christians around the world and decries "the emptiness of the promises and pronouncements about peace in the region," highlights current problems such as the separation wall erected on Palestinian territory and the blockade of Gaza, declares the occupation of Palestinian land a sin against God and humanity, and mentions signs of hope such as "numerous meetings for inter-religious dialogue." It concludes, "We believe that God's goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that still persist in our land."
- Illinois and Wisconsin District is inviting volunteers to help prepare a new building to house the Chicago offices of Christian Peacemaker Teams. "Is there a group from your church who will donate time?" asked an announcement. The move-in date was scheduled for December, but work will continue into January. Contact 708-445-1998 or 630-606-5670.
- A 3rd Annual Bethlehem Prayer Service has been announced by Churches for Middle East Peace, of which the Church of the Brethren is a member. The event takes place on Dec. 19 as a joint simulcast with the people of Bethlehem and the Bethlehem Chapel of the Washington (D.C.) National Cathedral. The gathering begins at 9:30 a.m. and the service begins at 10 a.m. (Eastern time). Prayers, readings, and hymns will alternate between Washington, D.C., and Palestine. Watch the service live at www.nationalcathedral.org.
- The Brethren Revival Fellowship has published a commentary on Genesis by Harold S. Martin. The book is part of the "Brethren Old Testament Commentary" series, which has the stated aim of giving a readable explanation of the Old Testament text with loyalty to Anabaptist and Pietist values. Suggested donation is $20 for the 304-page volume. Send requests and donations to Brethren Revival Fellowship, P.O. Box 543, Ephrata, PA 17522-0543; or go to www.brfwitness.org/?page_id=268&category=3&product_id=23.
- A book by Jeffrey Kovac, "Refusing War, Affirming Peace: A History of Civilian Public Service Camp No. 21 at Cascade Locks" tops the list of titles for holiday shoppers recommended by "The Oregonian" newspaper. The book tells the story of the Cascade Locks camp for conscientious objectors during World War II, which was sponsored by the Church of the Brethren. Kovac’s father-in-law, Charles Davis, was assigned to the Cascade Locks camp and assisted his research. For "The Oregonian" recommendation, go to www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2009/12/new_pacific_northwest_titles_f.html.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Personnel, new BVS project site, Haiti workcamp, and more.
at 9:41 PM