- Remembrance: Bob Edgar, 69, a United Methodist minister and a former general secretary of the National Council of Churches (NCC), died unexpectedly April 23 of a heart attack at his home in the Washington area. NCC president Kathryn Lohre expressed the council’s condolences to Edgar’s family and many friends. “He is universally remembered as a man of tireless commitment and boundless energy,” she said. “We are finding it difficult to grasp the sudden loss of this fine church leader.” A United Methodist release described him as a “tireless defender of the poor and an advocate for justice.” Edgar led the NCC from 2000 to 2007. “The Edgar years at the NCC were filled with challenges that included the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the War in Iraq, the acceleration of global warming, tsunamis and earthquakes, Hurricane Katrina, and crushing worldwide poverty and human rights abuses,” said an NCC release. His first days on the job in 2000 were consumed by a crippling financial crisis in the NCC as well. During his term as general secretary he initiated a major campaign against poverty, and brought in new staff to direct an eco-justice program. He traveled widely on behalf of the NCC, including to areas of Indonesia flooded by the devastating tsunami of 2004. “He liked to summarize the urgent ministries of the council in a single sentence: ‘Peace, Poverty, Planet Earth,’” said a leading NCC staff member. When Edgar departed the NCC in 2007, the council posted a retrospective of his career at www.ncccusa.org/bobedgar . More recently, Edgar was top executive of Common Cause, a national advocacy group with more than 400,000 members and 35 state organizations. He also was a six-term member of Congress from Pennsylvania, and president of Claremont (Calif.) School of Theology 1990-2000. In 2006 he wrote the book “Middle Church: Reclaiming the Moral Values of the Faithful Majority from the Religious Right,” published by Simon and Schuster. Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger served on the executive committee of the NCC during Edgar’s term, and hopes to be able to attend the funeral. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Remembering the Armenian genocide: On April 24, Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger worshiped with St. Gregory's the Illuminator Armenian Church in Chicago and took part in the annual remembrance of the martyrs of the Armenian holocaust. He was joined by Larry Ulrich of York Center Church of the Brethren, who is very active in interfaith work in Chicago. After the worship service, Noffsinger was invited to speak about the Church of the Brethren relief effort during the Armenian genocide--the first significant overseas relief and disaster response effort carried out by the denomination. On behalf of the church, Noffsinger received a lovely hand-carved wood icon as a gift commemorating the Brethren aid to Armenians in their time of need. Shown here: Noffsinger (center) receives the icon from the priest of the parish, Aren Jebejian, with Larry Ulrich at Noffsinger's right.
- Anna Emrick has resigned as program coordinator for the office of Global Mission and Service. May 1 was her last day at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She has been employed in the Global Mission and Service office since October 2009. During her time there, she has acted as liaison to the Mission Advisory Committee, helped coordinate the Mission Alive conference, served as a contact person for mission staff in a variety of countries around the world, helped organize workcamp groups, worked on the new Mission Advocate Network, started a new mission e-mail newsletter and prayer guide, and more. In previous volunteer work for the denomination, she spent time in Brethren Volunteer Service as the recruitment volunteer on the BVS office staff from August 2004 through August 2005. She is moving to Milwaukee, Wis., to work as program manager for the nonprofit Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer.
- Raymond C. Flagg has been affirmed as treasurer of the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center by the SVMC Governing Board, which met at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on April 17. SVMC is affiliated with the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. Flagg is a graduate of the University of La Verne in California (previously La Verne College) and Texas A&M University, and presently is employed as adjunct instructor in ,athematics at Harrisburg Area Community College, the Lancaster (Pa.) campus. He is a member of Annville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.
- In another personnel note from SVMC, Amy Milligan, program coordinator for the center, has recently earned her doctorate and has resigned her position with SVMC effective July 31. Donna Rhodes, SVMC executive director, says, “We are grateful for the dedicated service which Amy has provided since 2007.” The Governing Board accepted her resignation with regret and wished her God’s blessing in her new position as visiting assistant professor of Women and Gender Studies at Elizabethtown College.
- The Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center is seeking a full-time program coordinator to oversee day-to-day management of the SVMC office based at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. This position is accountable to the executive director of SVMC. Responsibilities include administrative support to the executive director and the Governing Board, student and instructor contacts, course record keeping, financial record keeping, and promotional work. To apply, candidates should send letter of interest, resume, and contact information of three references to Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, Attn: Donna Rhodes, Executive Director, 1830 Mifflin St., Huntingdon, PA 16652; firstname.lastname@example.org .
- May is Older Adult Month in the Church of the Brethren. Resources this year focus on the theme, “Vessels of Love: Love God, Love Neighbor, Love Self” from the scripture text Matthew 22:37-39, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Related worship resources are available online and focus on the three aspects, “Love God,” “Love Neighbor,” and “Love Self.” Ideas also are offered for how a congregation can share God’s love with adults age 50 and older. Go to www.brethren.org/oam/2013-oam-month.html .
- In an update on Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) work in Boston following the marathon bombings, four CDS volunteers provided a child care center on April 20-23 at the Boston Family Assistance Center working in partnership with the American Red Cross. Only four children were served but Roy Winter, associate executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, reported that “the contact with these four children was meaningful and significant.” For more about Children's Disaster Services go to www.brethren.org/cds .
- A clothing drive for Love Elgin Day 2013 was given warehouse space at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Some 17 or 18 churches in the Elgin area together sponsored the Love Elgin Day on April 27, which offered variety of free services to anyone who wished to attend including clothing and food, simple medical care, legal services, and more.
- Brethren attended the April 11-13 inaugural national gathering of Missio Alliance, an emerging network of evangelicals and Anabaptists looking for a new way to be the church in an increasingly post-Christendom culture. The gathering of over 700 ministers, scholars, and laypeople met in Alexandria, Va. Notable leaders included Amos Yong, Rodman Williams Professor of Theology and director of the Doctor of Philosophy program at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va.; Cherith Fee Nording, associate professor of Theology at Northern Seminary in Oak Brook, Ill.; Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary; and Jo Saxton, director of 3DM in Minnesota. The Brethren attending were Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship; Tara Hornbacker, professor of ministry formation at Bethany Seminary; Dana Cassell, minister of youth formation at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Ryan Braught of Veritas church plant in Atlantic Northeast District; and Laura Stone of Manchester Church of the Brethren and a student at Andover Newton Seminary. See www.brethren.org/news/2013/brethren-attend-missio-alliance.html or contact jbrockway@brethren,org or 800-323-4304 ext. 304.
- The World Friendship Center (WFC) in Hiroshima was honored with a certificate and a monetary award of 100,000 yen (about $1,000) for peace efforts beyond Japan’s borders reports JoAnn Sims, who with her husband Larry are WFC hosts through Brethren Volunteer Service. Among activities that garnered the award were WFC’s partnership at the grassroots level with China, Korea, and Japan to gather junior high and high school students for a week to build friendships and to dilute the discrimination that is often common in each country; hosting the North Regional Asian Peacebuilding Institute for young adults from Mongolia, China, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, and Japan; and exchange of peace envoys between Japan, United States, Korea, and Germany.
- Union Center Church of the Brethren in Nappanee, Ind., will provide the meals for the Old German Baptist Brethren Conference on May 18-21. “Planning has been underway for over a year and final details are being made,” reports Herman Kauffman, who is interim minister at the church. “Nearly every able-bodied member of the congregation will be involved from one shift to full-time work for four days.” The conference will be held on a farm, with an expectation of 4,000 to 5,000 people attending. “I would invite your prayers for us in this massive undertaking,” Kauffman requested.
- Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., held a weekend event with Bob Gross, staff member of On Earth Peace who is completing a 650-mile walk for peace from North Manchester, Ind., to Elizabethtown, Pa. While at Stone Church he shared during the morning worship. A Peace Walk followed with members and friends invited to walk with Juniata College students to the Peace Chapel, commemorating the campaign “3,000 Miles for Peace” in honor of the late Paul Ziegler who was a student at McPherson (Kan.) College.
Photo by courtesy of Jenn Dorsch
- A group from Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren recently was in Haiti for a workcamp with Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). The Frederick members were from both the hearing and deaf congregation, listed here with some of their Haitian hosts: Jim and Doretta Dorsch, Bob Walker, Melissa Berdine, Anna Crouse, Bonnie Vanbuskirk, pastor Brian Messler, Sherwood "Woody" Boxer, pastor Paul Mundey, Yves Ouedraogo, Jenn Dorsch, Lisa and Chris Gouker, Ilexene Alphonse.
- Virlina District dedicates its new District Resource Center this Sunday, May 5. The new center is located at 3402 Plantation Road, N.E. in Roanoke, Va. The service starts at 4 p.m. at the old location at 3110 Pioneer Rd., N.W., in Roanoke, and will conclude at the new location. Fred M. Bernhard, former Annual Conference moderator and long-term pastor, will deliver the address. Stanley J. Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, and Jonathan M. Barton, general minister of the Virginia Council of Churches, will be present to deliver encouragement from the wider church. The Peters Creek Church Choir under the direction of Betty Lou Carter, will provide special music.
- Mid-Atlantic District holds its annual Disaster Response Auction on Saturday, May 4, starting at 8 a.m. at the Westminster (Md.) Agriculture Center. Find the “Carroll County Times” article at www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/church-of-the-brethren-auction-to-support-disaster-relief/article_45007a70-2fd2-5c45-970c-6e5e1ed6dbe9.html .
- West Marva District has announced a weight loss competition spearheaded by Westernport Church of the Brethren. “Pounds for Purpose” challenges the congregations and members to compete in losing weight--both for individual health and to benefit charities. Participants will solicit either one-time donations or donations of an amount of money for every pound lost individually or by the congregation’s team. The more money raised, the more charities will benefit, the announcement said.
- The Ministry Excellence Project of Northern Indiana District and South/Central Indiana District has awarded 88 grants to pastors totaling $107,579 in the last four years, according to a recent district newsletter. Nearly half of the funds for those grants were contributed by churches. Find a new video about how the project has affected two pastors and congregations at http://youtu.be/OXb_lDe2jIs .
- A Haitian Peace Seminar is sponsored by Atlantic Southeast District’s Action for Peace Team, to be held in Miami, Fla., on June 7-9. The seminar aims to strengthen the peacemaking commitment and skills of Haitian Brethren in the US. It starts Friday at 5 p.m. and ends Sunday with worship and a noon meal. The event will be held in Kreyol and English, with leadership from Florida and other parts of the country. All food will be provided, transportation will be paid by participants. Lodging will be with members and friends of the Miami churches. A free will offering will help cover expenses. The coordinating committee includes pastor Ludovic St. Fleur of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Rose Cadet, and Merle Crouse. Register by May 20. Contact Crouse at 407-892-6678.
- The Brethren Home of Girard, Ill., has set its Sixth Annual Work Day for Saturday, May 4, starting at 8 a.m. (rain date May 18). Work will include clearing flower beds, planting, mulching, and brushing preservative on outdoor furniture. Bring gloves and garden trowels. A light lunch and refreshments will be provided. Contact 217-627-2181 and ask for Kyle Hood, maintenance, or Terry Link, chaplain, or e-mail email@example.com .
- “Camp Bethel is Best of Botetourt and KJPAS at Camp Bethel is Best of Roanoke!” proudly announced the Camp Bethel newsletter. The Church of the Brethren camp near Fincastle, Va., was voted Best of Botetourt County, Va., for 2013 by the readers of the “Botetourt View.” The Kevin Jones Performing Arts Studio held at the camp was voted “Best Camp for Kids” in the “Roanoke Times,” said the announcement. Learn more at www.kjpas.com/camps.html . See the camp ad at www.campbethelvirginia.org/BotView2013AdCampBethel.jpg .
- Camp Emmanuel in Illinois and Wisconsin District is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. The camp’s mission is “Sharing God’s message and love with children of all ages through the beauty and wonder found in nature.” This year’s managers are Randy and Jo Ellen Doyle. The camp is inviting each camping group this year to make a banner for the anniversary. Also, special anniversary t-shirts are being made, cost is $12 for regular sizes (cost may vary for special sizes). Contact the camp at 309-329-2291 or firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.cob-net.org/camp/emmanuel .
- The Brethren Home Community in Windber, Pa., congratulates home administrator Edie Scaletta for her inclusion in the Johnstown YWCA 2013 Tribute to Women Awards. She is honored for her service as administrator of a nonprofit corporation and as a role model for other women. A banquet in May will recognize Scaletta and the honorees in other tribute categories.
|Photo by Fahrney-Keedy|
|Ruth Moss is honored for her 48 years of work at Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village|
- Recently Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village near Boonsboro, Md., celebrated the 48 years of work Ruth Moss has given to the retirement community. Staffers noted the milestone, recalling days without latex gloves and when uniforms consisted of white button-up dresses with long sleeves required, said a release. “We didn’t have lifts or air conditioning, either,” Moss remembered. “But we coped with it.” In 1965, she started work at Fahrney-Keedy as a nurse’s aide. Over the years, she became a Certified Medicine Aide and a Geriatric Nursing Aide. She now works part-time in Assisted Living and the Bowman Center Memory Care Unit. Her husband, Jim, also has worked in Fahrney-Keedy’s Maintenance Department since 1989. A Church of the Brethren continuing care retirement community, Fahrney-Keedy is along Route 66 a few miles west of Boonsboro.
- Bridgewater (Va.) College took top honors in the state of Virginia for its collection of corrugated cardboard during RecycleMania 2013, a 10-week challenge to determine which schools could reduce, re-use, and recycle the most campus waste. According to a release, more than 520 colleges and universities competed and collectively recovered 90.3 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of 121,436 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere. Bridgewater participated in three categories--paper, corrugated cardboard, and bottles/cans--and collected a total of 27,845 pounds of recyclables.
- Eight Bridgewater (Va.) College alumni including three Church of the Brethren members--Ivan J. Mason, Peggy Glick Mason, and Ronald V. Cox--were honored at an Alumni Weekend April 19-21. Ivan J. Mason and Peggy Glick Mason of University Park Church of the Brethren in Hyattsville, Md., received Ripples Society Medals. He worked for NASA as an electronics engineer and aerospace technologist on the Apollo space program, later transferring to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, where he was technical officer managing the contract to develop the Science Operations Center for the Hubble Space Telescope. Peggy Glick Mason worked as a data analyst and programmer for NASA, and from 1980-91 was a computer specialist for the Fish and Wildlife Service. She has served as a member and treasurer of the Coordinating Committee of the Church of the Brethren’s Womaen’s Caucus. Cox received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has served in various capacities at Richmond Church of the Brethren and Harrisonburg Church of the Brethren, and participated in a Katrina disaster-relief trip with Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. He was a programmer with IBM at NASA’s Space Computing Center on Project Vanguard--a program intended to launch the first artificial satellite into Earth’s orbit--and worked on the IBM 360 Series of computers. In 1967 he became the IBM systems engineer for the Shenandoah Valley, and since then has worked for the company’s Academic Information Systems at Virginia Tech and helped the engineering school establish its “every freshman required to get a PC” program.
- Elizabethtown (Pa.) College is providing “stress release” therapy dogs to students during finals week. Dog handler Donna Grenko will bring trained therapy dogs including labrador retrievers, a sheltie, a golden retriever, and a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, as part of an event hosted by Student Wellness and the High Library. "Down-Time with a Dog" will give students an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate with "fur-therapy" during the hectic finals week.
- The 14th annual C.A.R.S. Club Show at McPherson (Kan.) College will include the CEO of a tire company for classic cars, an opportunity for youth to take a shot at judging cars and a focus on restoration and racing legend Carroll Shelby. Events kick off Friday, May 3, at 6 p.m. with the “Evening with Automotive Restoration” dinner. This year features Corky Coker, president and CEO of Coker Tires. The student-run C.A.R.S. Club show is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include tours of the restoration building, a team of students assembling a fully functional Model T from a pile of parts in less than 15 minutes, and faculty demonstrations of restoration techniques. This year’s show recognizes Carroll Shelby, who passed away last year, known for his racing career and his trademark car designs such as the Shelby Cobra. Shelby cars will have free admittance to the show. Feature cars will include a rare 1907 Tincher, the “898” 1949 Studebaker pickup that set two new class speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2010, and a supercharged 1933 Miller race car with 16 cylinders. People will have an opportunity to buy a signed book about automotive metal shaping by Ed Barr, assistant professor of technology, who will give a metal shaping demonstration.
- The April edition of "Brethren Voices," the community television program of Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features Steve Cayford’s 4,000 mile bicycle journey from London to Senegal in West Africa. As part of the same program, On Earth Peace discusses its 3,000 Miles for Peace campaign. “At the age of 13, Cayford began thinking about making a bicycle trip from Europe to West Africa,” reports producer Ed Groff. “At the time his parents were Church of the Brethren missionaries in Nigeria. Steve remembers a couple of British cyclists that rode into town that year, providing the spark for an idea that would linger until he made the trip himself last winter.” Cayford is a graduate of the University of La Verne and a member of Portland’s Peace Church of the Brethren. Cayford shared his photos from the trip with Brethren Voices for this program, they may be viewed at http://dafarafet.com/album1 . In May, Brethren Voices will feature Annual Conference moderator Bob Krouse, who discusses his life in the Church of the Brethren and some of the plans for the 2013 Conference. For copies of Brethren Voices, contact Ed Groff at email@example.com .
- Heeding God’s Call has announced a “Pre-Mother’s Day Rally and March Against Gun Violence” from Trenton, N.J., to Morrisville, Pa., on May 11. “Join us to make a public statement to support universal background checks and sensible gun laws,” said the announcement. The event starts Saturday, May 11, at 2 p.m. with a rally at First Baptist Church in Trenton, will march over the bridge to Morrisville, where another rally will be held at Williamson Park. Speakers include Michael Pohle, whose son was killed at Virginia Tech. The announcement warned that counter protesters are expected and “they will likely be carrying guns openly.” Police will be present to handle any disorderly conduct that may occur. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-519-5302.
- Chet Thomas, executive director of Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG) in Honduras, continues to appeal for donation of hay binder units to help power ferry boats that carry people and goods across a large dammed lake in an area where PAG works. Volunteers built the first ferry in 2000, "Miss Pamela," installing using motorized hay binders to power it. The system has worked for 12 years, with supervision from PAG. The original hay binder units are now in need of replacement. Thomas states, "Almost any hay binder can be adapted by us for use on the ferry." Once donated, PAG staff will prepare units for shipment to Honduras. Contact email@example.com or 305-433-2947.
- Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and other groups working in Israel and Palestine have issued a report documenting “an alarming rate of abuse of the rights of children,” particularly Palestinian children in Hebron. “Human rights workers in H2, the portion of Hebron under Israeli military control, have witnessed 47 detentions or arrests of children age 15 and under by soldiers since the start of February,” said a CPT release. “Other violations...include conducting war training when children are present, delaying children and teachers as they pass checkpoints to access schools, detaining children in adult facilities, questioning children without the presence of an adult, and blindfolding children in detention.” The report is online at http://cptpalestine.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/occupied-childhoods-impact-of-the-actions-of-israeli-soldiers-on-palestinian-children-in-h2-during-february-march-and-april-20131.pdf .