Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Newsline: March 18, 2014


Good giving and investment report, Brethren Service Center discussion, board development work highlight Mission and Ministry Board meeting

A good giving and investment report for 2013, discussion of the Brethren Service Center, and several hours of board development work marked the spring meeting of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board. The meeting March 14-17 at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., was led by board chair Becky Ball-Miller.

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

A chart showing increased giving to 
Church of the Brethren ministries 
in 2013
In other business the board approved the Church of the Brethren Annual Report for 2013, amended a minute on India that dates back to 2010, and received numerous reports on recent events and updates on programs, as well as presentations on the work of fellow Annual Conference agencies Bethany Seminary, Brethren Benefit Trust, and On Earth Peace.

An honors string quartet from the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, which has its offices at the General Offices, provided dinner entertainment one evening. EYSO executive director Kathy Matthews introduced the quartet of high school string players, who performed selections from String Quartet No 1, Op. 27 by Edvard Grieg.

Worship led by board members focused on St. Patrick and Irish heritage, as a way to mark the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Janet Wayland Elsea preached for the Sunday morning service, and Tim Peter brought the closing message.

Finance reports reveal good giving, investment rebound

Highlights of the 2013 financial reports were an increase in overall giving to Church of the Brethren ministries, along with good investment news, and an increase in the denomination’s net assets. Treasurer LeAnn Harnist also presented an income and expense report for 2013.

All 2013 figures presented to the board were pre-audit. A fully audited financial report for the year will be available in advance of the 2014 Annual Conference.

Last year, total giving to denominational ministries exceeded $6,250,000 in pre-audit figures, Harnist said. The combined total of individual and congregational giving represents an increase of more than 15 percent over total donations received in 2012.

Giving to the Core Ministries Fund exceeded $3,050,000, an increase of almost 3 percent over 2012. Although giving to Core Ministries from congregations was down by about 3 percent, giving from individuals rose by about 27 percent over the previous year.

Harnist informed the board that the denomination’s investments have fully recovered value lost in the economic downturn that started in late 2008, and actually have increased in value compared to the high point experienced earlier in 2008. “We have recovered all of those significant market losses,” she said. As of the end of 2013, the investment balance had gained a value of close to $28 million, in contrast to a 2009 value of less than $21 million.

As of Dec. 31, 2013, the Church of the Brethren’s total net assets exceeded $31 million including more than $19 million in unrestricted assets. This represents an increase over 2012 of more than $4 million. Bequest income also increased over the previous year.

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Mission and Ministry Board 
chair Becky Ball-Miller
Discussion of the Brethren Service Center

The board spent time discussing the future of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Chair Becky Ball-Miller focused small group discussion or “table talk” on how to lead Annual Conference delegates in a similar discussion this July, and what questions and resources would help increase the wider church’s understanding of the situation.

The Mission and Ministry Board holds authority for stewardship and ownership of denominational property. Board member questions focused on the nature of the discussion required at Annual Conference, and how to ensure that the future of the center is again on the agenda for the fall board meeting.

In June last year, following the closing of the New Windsor Conference Center, the board authorized officers to pursue all options for the property, up to and including receiving letters of intent from potential buyers.

Continuation of Brethren Disaster Ministries, Children’s Disaster Services, and Material Resources--currently based at the Brethren Service Center--are not connected with the potential sale of the property.

The property is not being actively marketed, but staff have informed the board that they want to be prepared if a bona fide offer comes. Other solutions including leasing portions or all of the property will be entertained. However, it may take up to $10 million to bring the property up to standards.

General secretary Stan Noffsinger assured the board that former conference center facilities, now empty or underutilized, are being well maintained, but without income from the use of those facilities the maintenance expenses are paid out of the Core Ministries Fund with dollars diverted from mission and program. Any sale of the campus-style property will likely will take time, and would not be carried out quickly. Final details of a sale would have to be approved by the Mission and Ministry Board.

Four partner organizations lease facilities at the center: Mid-Atlantic District, SERRV, On Earth Peace, and IMA World Health. Lease agreements in place with partner organizations assure that work will be done to benefit both parties in the event either must leave the property.

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

"Table talk" was part of the discussion 
of the Brethren Service Center
Amendment to minute on India

The board amended a minute from 2010 regarding its responsibility to nominate trustees for former mission properties in India. Since there has been no Second District Church of the Brethren in India since 1970, the board amended the following paragraph from the July 3, 2010, minute, adding the underlined words: “Concern was raised regarding all the nominations being from the First District. Stan [Noffsinger] and Jay [Wittmeyer] asked that the board bring names from the area formerly known as the Second District Brethren so they can be in discussion with CNI [Church of North India].”

The board also adopted this statement: “The Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board recognized that, while the Church of the Brethren has a formal relationship with the First District Church of the Brethren in India, we have had no relationship with a Second District Church of the Brethren in India since 1970. We have become aware there is a self-described ‘Second District Church of the Brethren in India’ allegedly operating. The Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board has never had and does not have any relationship with this self-described ‘Second District Church of the Brethren in India.’”

In other business

Rick Stiffney of Mennonite Health Services Alliance led several hours of board development work. His opening session for both board and staff focused on trends and emerging practices in nonprofit governance, different roles and responsibilities of board and staff, roles of board committees, policy framework for a nonprofit board, and related topics. Stiffney then led some hours of sessions solely for the board.

Susan Liller of New Carlisle, Ohio, began a term on the board with this meeting. She was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Don Fitzkee, after he was chosen as chair elect. The chair elect begins a new term of service, and the remainder of his or her board term is filled by appointment.

The Executive Committee approved the appointment of Timothy S.G. Binkley to a second term on the Brethren Historical Committee.

Source: 3/18/2014 Newsline

Denomination receives insurance dividend, Brethren Mutual Aid named a top agency by Brotherhood Mutual

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, 
through a partnership program with the 
Brethren Mutual Aid Agency, presented 
a large insurance dividend of more than 
$174,000 to the Church of the Brethren.
The Church of the Brethren denomination has received a large insurance dividend of $174,984 from Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, through its Partnership Group Program. Brethren Mutual Aid is the sponsoring agency for the program, which rewards the claims experience of the congregations, camps, and districts that make up the group along with the denominational organization.

Brotherhood Mutual returns excess premiums not needed to pay losses, up to a certain level, as part of its Partnership Group Program. The company grants the dividend if the denominational group collectively enjoys a better-than-average claims experience.

In related news, the Brethren Mutual Aid Agency has been recognized by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company as one of the company’s top 15 agencies for 2013.

Leadership team directs insurance dividend to aid districts

The denomination’s Leadership Team--which includes the Annual Conference officers and the General Secretary--determined this year’s distribution. The bulk of this dividend will be shared directly with districts, said moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman in a report to the Mission and Ministry Board.

Each district will receive $2,000, with policy participating districts receiving an additional amount based on their percentage of total district premiums. The largest district distribution will amount to almost $16,000. In addition, 5 percent or $8,750 will go to the Brethren Mutual Aid Share Fund, and 5 percent or $8,750 will be given to the Compassion Fund of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) to aid to Nigerian Brethren who have been affected by violence.

Each time the Church of the Brethren receives such a dividend, part of the money is given to the Brethren Mutual Aid Share Fund, and $1,000 is given to the Finance Office to pay for administration of the funds.

Previous years in which the denomination has received a dividend are 2005 when $109,835 helped support a number of 300th anniversary events as well as a congregational membership study among other projects; 2006 when $128,290 supported the 300th anniversary Annual Conference and the Germantown Trust; and 2010 when $156,031 aided Brethren Disaster Ministries work in Haiti following the earthquake as well as debt reduction for Annual Conference. Moneys also have helped support the presence of Brethren Mutual Aid at Annual Conference.

Brethren Mutual Aid Agency receives national recognition

Brethren Mutual Aid Agency based in Abilene, Kan., has been named one of Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company’s Top 15 agencies for 2013.

The agency received the Five-Star Award at an awards banquet on March 7 in Fort Wayne, Ind. The annual award recognizes an agent’s outstanding production and overall profitability to the company over a three-year period.

This is the fifth time the company has been recognized as a Five-Star agency. The agency has represented Brotherhood Mutual since 2002. President and general manager Eric Lamer has worked in insurance for five years and the communications industry for 29 years, including nine years as the president of a marketing agency.

Brotherhood Mutual is one of the nation’s leading insurers of churches and related ministries. It designs property and liability insurance to help ministries run safely and effectively.

For more information about Brethren Mutual Aid go to www.maabrethren.com. For more about Brotherhood Mutual visit www.brotherhoodmutual.com.

-- A release from Dan Watson, communications specialist-marketing communications for Brotherhood Mutual, contributed to this report.

Source: 3/18/2014 Newsline

Fellowship of Brethren Homes members awarded 2014 Continuing Education Grants

By Kim Ebersole

Eight retirement communities that are members of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes have been awarded Continuing Education Grants for 2014. The grants, up to $1,000 per retirement community, are funded by the denomination’s Health Education and Research Fund, which supports nursing in the Church of the Brethren, and are administered by Congregational Life Ministries.

The grants are to be used for professional development workshops focused on clinical concerns and/or supervisory skills, leadership for in-house training for nursing assistants and other direct care staff, or the purchase of reusable resources for in-service training for nursing staff and/or nursing assistants. To qualify, a retirement community must be a dues-paying member in good standing of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes. Invitations to submit proposals are extended to half of the fellowship membership each year; each community is invited every other year.

The following retirement facilities received grants for 2014:

The Brethren Home Community in Windber, Pa.: The community will purchase a PowerPoint projector and software to enhance monthly in-service instruction for the direct-care staff.

The Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio: All direct caregivers including nurses, certified nursing assistants, and resident assistants of the community will benefit from the purchase of eight training DVDs on a variety of topics, including dementia care.

Casa de Modesto (Calif.) Retirement Center: The community received funds to purchase continuing education modules through the American Association for Long Term Care Nursing to provide relevant educational resources for the nursing staff.

Lebanon Valley Brethren Home in Palmyra, Pa.: Nurses, certified nursing assistants, and other staff will receive dementia training through the Alzheimer’s Association’s essentiALZ program.

Northaven Retirement Residences in Seattle, Wash.: Northaven Assisted Living will conduct “virtual dementia tours” using program materials from Second Wind Dreams to help direct-care staff identify with and better understand the behaviors and needs of residents with memory loss and dementia.

The Peter Becker Community in Harleysville, Pa.: The community will provide a series of four training events for skilled nursing and personal care staff on the importance of customer service to resident care.

Pleasant Hill Village in Girard, Ill.: Registered nurses will receive training about effective infection surveillance, multi-resistant organisms, end-of-life symptom management, challenging behaviors, and other pertinent resident care topics.

West View Healthy Living in Wooster, Ohio: The community will purchase training videos for staff related to geriatric assessment, fall prevention, patient transfers and ambulation, and disaster preparedness for long-term care.

As a ministry to those who are aging and their families, the 22 retirement communities related to the Church of the Brethren are committed to providing high quality, loving care for older adults. This group, known as the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, works together on common challenges such as uncompensated care, long-term care needs, and nurturing relationships with congregations and districts. A directory of member communities can be found at www.brethren.org/homes.

-- Kim Ebersole is director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministry for the Church of the Brethren.

Source: 3/18/2014 Newsline

Winners of NYC speech and music contests are named

The winners of the National Youth Conference (NYC) Music Contest and Speech Contest have been announced by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office.

National Youth Conference (NYC) 2014 logo
Sam Stein, of Wheaton, Ill., is the winner of the NYC Music Contest. He is a junior in high school and a member of the York Center Church of the Brethren youth group in Lombard, Ill.

There are three winners for the NYC Speech Contest. Alison Helfrich of Bradford, Ohio, is a junior in high school from Oakland Church of the Brethren in Southern Ohio District. Katelyn Young, also a junior, is from Lititz, Pa., and from Ephrata Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Northeast District. Laura Ritchey, a senior from Martinsburg, Pa., is from Woodbury Church of the Brethren in Middle Pennsylvania District.

Speech Contest winners will share their speeches during the Sunday morning worship service at NYC, and the Music Contest winner will have the opportunity to perform his song on stage sometime during the week.

-- Tim Heishman, one of the coordinators for the 2014 National Youth Conference, provided this report. Find out more about NYC, a conference for youth and their adult advisors on July 19-24 in Fort Collins, Colo., and register online at www.brethren.org/nyc.

Source: 3/18/2014 Newsline

Jeff Carter to be inaugurated as president of Bethany Seminary

Photo by courtesy of Jeff Carter

Jeff Carter, president of 
Bethany Theological Seminary
By Jenny Williams

The Bethany Seminary community in Richmond, Ind., is preparing for an event that seldom occurs in the life of an educational institution: the inauguration of a president. On Saturday, March 29, Jeff Carter will be inaugurated as the seminary’s tenth president in its 108-year history. Bethany invites all to join in the event via webcast at 9:45 a.m. (Eastern time).

Patterned as a worship service, the inauguration carries the theme “Can I Get a Witness?” chosen by Carter and speaking to a message of discipleship found in 1 John 1:1-2: “The Word that gives life was from the beginning, and this is the one our message is about.... The one who gives life appeared! We saw it happen, and we are witnesses to what we have seen.”

The event is scheduled during the seminary’s spring board meeting, enabling trustees to attend and be part of the program. A number of Bethany faculty, staff, and students as well as trustees will take part in the service, including musical offerings, roles in the inauguration ceremony, and statements of witness. Special guests will include delegates from Brethren colleges and neighboring seminaries.

The inaugural speaker will be Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Widely known and respected in the field of homiletics, Long will give a sermon titled, “Faithful Witness: Engaging the Senses.” The author of numerous books and articles on preaching and worship as well as biblical commentaries, Long served as senior homiletics editor of “The New Interpreter’s Bible,” and is an editor-at-large for “Christian Century.” He has also previously taught preaching at Princeton, Columbia, and Erskine Seminaries.

An inaugural dinner for the Bethany community and guests will take place the evening of the 29th. To watch the webcast of the morning’s inaugural service, viewers can go to www.bethanyseminary.edu/webcasts.

-- Jenny Williams is director of Communications and Alumni/ae Relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.

Source: 3/18/2014 Newsline

March 27 webinar focuses on ‘Leading Teams: Positives, Pressures and Potentials’

Congregational Life Ministries is offering a webinar on Thursday, March 27, 3:30-5 p.m. (Eastern time), on the topic of “Leading Teams: Positives, Pressures and Potentials” with presenter Fran Beckett. This is the second of two webinars exploring the theme of leadership hosted by the Church of the Brethren and organized together with Urban Expression, Bristol Baptist College, and BMS World Mission, partners based in the UK.

“Join us. This will be an engaging learning experience,” said an invitation from Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices for the Church of the Brethren.

The webinar explores the role of leadership in building and leading effective teams. The presentation will include consideration of principles and practicalities of an empowering leadership style, and how vulnerability as a team leader can have a positive impact.

Beckett is a speaker, writer, and trainer in the areas of missional community action and leadership development, with a background as CEO of two national not-for-profit organizations, and experience chairing various national boards and government advisory groups in the United Kingdom. She also is involved locally as a community activist and is a committed inner-city dweller who has helped pioneer an emerging church.

The webinar is free, ministers may receive .15 continuing education units for participating in the live session. Register at www.brethren.org/webcasts . For more information contact Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices for the Church of the Brethren, at sdueck@brethren.org.

Source: 3/18/2014 Newsline

Killbuck Creek Song and Story Fest to be hosted by Inspiration Hills

The Killbuck Creek Song and Story Fest on the theme, “All God’s Critters Got a Place in This Choir!” is planned for July 6-12 at Inspiration Hills, an outdoor ministry center in Burbank, Ohio. This annual family camp features Church of the Brethren musicians and storytellers, and is co-sponsored by On Earth Peace.

“In the world that God created, all the critters, all the people are welcomed with joy and offered a place to flourish and belong,” said an announcement of the event. “But just how much do we value all of creation, beginning with our global brothers and sisters, those alive today and yet to come, and extending to all God’s creatures? Do we, as Christians, have a perspective that can help the world solve its riddles of how to get along and to share the fantastic resources of this planet with each other and all God’s critters?”

Storytellers and workshop leaders include Debbie Eisenbise, Bob Gross, Kathy Guisewite, Jonathan Hunter, Jim Lehman, and Matt Guynn. Campfire, workshop, and concert musicians include Bill Jolliff, Tim Joseph, Peg Lehman, Brian Kruschwitz and LuAnne Harley, Mike Stern, and Mutual Kumquat, a group that includes Chris Good, Seth Hendricks, and Drue Jones.

Song and Story Fest is an intergenerational camp for all ages, single persons, and families. The schedule includes intergenerational gatherings and worship, afternoon free time, recreation, story swaps, music-making, evening campfires, concerts, a folk dance, and a number workshops for adults, children, and youth.

This is the eighteenth summer in a row for the Song and Story Fest, and its second visit to Inspiration Hills, the Church of the Brethren camp for northern Ohio located along Killbuck Creek in the northwest corner of Wayne County on Ohio Rt. 604. Housing will be in lodges and cabins, or participants may choose to bring a tent or an RV or motel lodging in Myrtle Point. For more about Inspiration Hills go to www.inspirationhillscamp.org or call 419-846-3010.

For registration, costs, and more about the schedule and leadership for Song and Story Fest, go to http://onearthpeace.org/song-story-fest.

Source: 3/18/2014 Newsline

Bridgewater College inaugurates David W. Bushman as 9th president

Photo by courtesy of Bridgewater College

David W. Bushman named 
president of Bridgewater College, 
January 2013
By Mary Kay Heatwole

Bridgewater (Va.) College will inaugurate David W. Bushman as its ninth president on April 11 at 10:30 a.m., on the campus mall. The inauguration of Bushman, who took office June 1, 2013, will celebrate ideals for which the college stands as reflected in the four Latin words appearing on the Bridgewater College seal: Bonitas, Veritas, Pulchritudo, and Concordia, which mean Goodness, Truth, Beauty, and Harmony.

“Higher education today, maybe more so than ever before, is fluid and challenging,” said Nathan Miller, chair of the Bridgewater College board of trustees. “Bridgewater College is fortunate to have Dr. Bushman as its president. He has superb academic credentials, solid management experience, and a vision for the college. These attributes make Dr. Bushman and the college a good fit, which ensures a bright future for our institution in an ever-changing environment.”

Free and open-to-the-public activities that will complement the inauguration ceremony--which itself will form part of the college’s Alumni Weekend celebration--include:
  • April 7, 7:30 p.m., Carter Center for Worship and Music. “Scientific Inquiry to Seek and Protect Truth: From Ancient to Modern Times,” by Krishna Kodukula, SRI Shenandoah Valley director of strategic development and Bridgewater College trustee. Kodukula’s speech celebrates the ideal of “Truth” from the Bridgewater College seal.
  • April 8, 7:30 p.m. Carter Center for Worship and Music. “Presidential Inauguration Campus Worship Service,” by Jeff Carr, Bridgewater Church of the Brethren senior pastor, and Robbie Miller, Bridgewater College chaplain. The service celebrates “Goodness” from the college seal.
  • April 9, 7:30 p.m., Carter Center for Worship and Music. “Harmonic Beauty Concert,” featuring the Bridgewater College Jazz Ensemble and Chorale, as well as a variety of small instrumental and vocal groups. The concert celebrates “Beauty” from the college seal.
  • Ongoing throughout the spring semester is a community service project to benefit Well of Hope International. The project celebrates “Harmony” from the college seal.
To learn more about all events, go to www.bridgewater.edu/aboutus/administration/president/inauguration .

Bushman came to Bridgewater from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., where he was the founding dean of the university’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics. In this role, he oversaw numerous academic programs and new academic program development, as well as strategic and communications planning and fundraising for the school.

Prior to leading Mount St. Mary’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics, Bushman served as president of Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C. While at Lees-McRae, he oversaw the college’s successful bid for re-accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and developed and implemented a new strategic plan for the institution.

Under Bushman’s leadership, Lees-McRae engaged in a number of significant campus renovations, implemented curricular and co-curricular enhancements, and significantly increased its freshman retention rate.

Before joining Lees-McRae in 2004, Bushman served in a variety of roles at Mount St. Mary’s, including dean of academic services, director of assessment, chair of the department of science and associate professor of biology.

Bushman earned his bachelor of science in biology summa cum laude from Loyola College in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland with both his master of science and doctorate in entomology. Upon completion of his doctorate, Bushman worked for several years in private industry as a research biologist and research fellow. He has been published in the field of entomology as well as undergraduate science education.

Bushman has served as an executive committee member for North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities and was a board member for the Edgar Tufts Memorial Association. He has also served as a campus site visit member for SACS re-accreditation.

Bushman and his wife, Suzanne DeLaney Bushman, have two children, Emily and Will. Suzanne was raised in Virginia and has spent her career in healthcare as a pediatric intensive care nurse for 17 years and, most recently, in an outpatient surgery unit.

-- Mary Kay Heatwole is editorial assistant for media relations in the Office of Marketing and Communications at Bridgewater College.

Source: 3/18/2014 Newsline

Juniata College hosts 'Reconstructing Peace Studies' conference

By John Wall

The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., will bring in a team of nationally known scholars to determine how best to identify success in student learning and curriculum at the conference "Reconstructing Peace Studies: Assessing New Knowledge and Outcomes," held March 20-23.

"The event is a small, working conference where the participants hope to identify and assess the skills, attitudes, and knowledge that all students pursuing a degree in a peace studies program should have," says Celia Cook-Huffman, professor of conflict resolution at Juniata College. "We want to discuss how to equip students with the means to negotiate emerging global challenges and best practices for engaging students in the learning process."

The sessions are restricted to those who have registered for the conference. To get information about registering for the conference, call Elizabeth Widman at 814-641-3464. All sessions will take place in Sill Boardroom in the von Liebig Center for Science.

The conference will open at 5:30 p.m. March 20 with a "world café" discussion on "What Does Peace Studies Seek to Achieve?"

The next day, March 21, the first session "What are the Social and Political Purposes/Goals of the Field?" will start at 9 a.m. The session will discuss emerging issues such as globalization and state-sponsored violence and how peace programs might adapt to these issues to make a contribution to society.

The three-person panel leading the discussion is:
  • George Lopez, vice president of the US Institute of Peace Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding. Before accepting that job in 2013, Lopez was a faculty member for 27 years at the Joan B. Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
  • Mary Adams Trujillo, professor of communication arts at North Park University, in Chicago, Ill., where she teaches courses on cultural communication and conflict transformation. She earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois and went on to earn a master's degree at the University of New Mexico and a doctorate at Northwestern University.
  • Elton Skendaj, visiting assistant professor of political science at the University of Miami, where he teaches courses on international relations and comparative politics. He previously taught at Florida International University and Cornell University.
Friday's second session starts at 11:30 a.m. on "Teaching Peace Studies" in which participants will discuss how to reflect the values of fieldwork into classrooms. Panelists include:
  • Dale Snauwaert, professor of educational theory and social foundations of education at the University of Toledo, director of the Center for Nonviolence and Democratic Education. He is the founding editor of the journal "In Factis Pax: Online Journal of Peace Education and Social Justice."
  • Meg Gardinier, assistant professor of international and intercultural education at Florida International University, a former research scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where she researched international educational development.
  • Christa Tinari, founder of Peace Praxis Educational Services, who works with community colleges, peace organizations, and diversity coalitions to organize dialogues and educational forums.
At 2:30 p.m., Friday, the third session features the topic "Attitudes: How Do We Ask our Students to Identify, Explore, and Develop Attitudes, Values, and Opinions?" Panelists are:
  • Polly Walker, assistant professor of peace studies at Juniata College, who teaches courses on conflict resolution and has researched how conflicts can be resolved through performance and the arts.
  • David Ragland, a visiting assistant professor of education at Bucknell University, who also is a United Nations Representative for the International Peace Research Association.
  • Angie Lederach, RATE Bilingual Project assistant at Teaching Peace, a Denver-based nonprofit educational organization.
  • David Smith, a part-time professor of George Mason University's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and an independent peacebuilding trainer. He is a former national education outreach officer for the US Institute of Peace.
Sessions March 22 begin at 9 a.m. with "Knowledge: What Should Peace Studies Students Know?" where discussions will focus on the big ideas students must address. Panelists include:
  • Rhys Kelly, a lecturer in conflict resolution at the University of Bradford, England. His research interests include language and linguistics and culture and cultural theory.
  • Randall Amster, director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University, author of two books, including "Lost in Space: The Criminalization, Globalization, and Urban Ecology of Homelessness."
  • JoAnn Bowman, a 1975 Juniata graduate, executive leadership development director for Chemonics International.
At 11 a.m., the second session will cover "Skills: What Should Peace Studies Students Be Able to Do?" Panelists include:
  • Donna Chung, a member of the United Nations Global Compact Project.
  • Andy Loomis, deputy director of Operations Team Three at the US State Department's Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, a graduate of Georgetown University.
  • Fidele Lumeya, executive director of the Congolese American Council for Peace and Development, an associate director for international emergency response for Church World Service.
  • Matt Guynn, program director for nonviolent change at On Earth Peace, and a graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary.
An afternoon session on "Program and Course Assessment: Strategies, Tools, and Critiques," will be moderated by Pat Coy, director and associate professor at the Center for Applied Conflict Management at Kent State University. Several members of Juniata's faculty from the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, will participate.

On Sunday, March 23, the conference will end with the 11 a.m. workshop “Imagining Futures," moderated by Tony Jenkins, vice president for academic affairs at the National Peace Academy, and accompanied by members of Juniata's Department of Peace and Conflict Studies.

-- Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or 814-641-3132 for more information.

Source: 3/18/2014 Newsline

A prayer request from Maiduguri, Nigeria

The following prayer request from a member of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) living in the city of Maiduguri. It was received this weekend by an Annual Conference officer and shared with the Mission and Ministry Board on Sunday during worship. The city of Maiduguri was attacked this past weekend by the terrorist group Boko Haram:
Map of Nigeria (without flag), 344 x 391. Courtesy of the CIA World Factbook
Dear Brethren,

I pray and hope that your family and your entire congregation are all in great health.

My family, I, and the EYN Brethren in Maiduguri and in Nigeria generally are well. We are however traumatized by an attack on Maiduguri by terrorists, two days ago, on Friday and Saturday. The Nigerian Air Force had to conduct very heavy bombing of the terrorists before overpowering and subduing them for now.

By the Grace of God Almighty we don’t have casualties among EYN members. I was away from Maiduguri when it happened and I'm yet to go back to Maiduguri, but I have been in very close contact with both my family and EYN members. So far it is well, but people are under fear and are psychologically traumatized.

God is surely with us and always telling us that our hearts should not be troubled for HE is with us; and so we are enjoying his faithfulness to us. Thank you for your continued prayers for us which is surely yielding very positive results.

Please, give my regards to your family and your entire Church of the Brethren congregation. God bless you!

Source: 3/18/2014 Newsline

Brethren bits

Photo courtesy of Brethren Disaster Ministries

Brethren Disaster Ministries is 
celebrating a milestone for one of 
its regular volunteers, with a 
Facebook post: “Barb Stonecash is 
on her 50th BDM trip this week...
and she says she is ready to start 
on the next 50!” Stonecash has 
been serving at a Hurricane Sandy 
recovery project in \Spotswood, 
N.J., with other volunteers from 
Southern Ohio District.
  • Corrections: The editor apologies for misspelling the name of Mission Advisory Committee member Jim Myer in the Newsline of March 11. Also, in the listing of a “Spirituality of Dying Well” continuing education opportunity May 17 at the Village Green in Martinsburg, Pa., sponsors of the event are the Village at Morrisons Cove and Middle Pennsylvania District, not the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center.
  • Phyllis Marsh, who has served as camp manager for Camp Galilee in West Marva District for several years, has tendered her resignation effective May 1. “We wish Phyllis all the best in the future. Please keep the camp in your prayers as we start the process of finding a new manager,” said an announcement in the district newsletter. To express interest in the position contact wmarva@verizon.net or 301-334-9270. See the job opening in the Newsline of March 4, in the “Brethren bits” at www.brethren.org/news/2014/newsline-for-march-4-2014.html .
  • The Church of the Brethren seeks a maintenance mechanic for a full-time hourly position at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Applications will be received and reviewed beginning immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Request the application packet and complete job description by contacting: Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; humanresources@brethren.org .
  • A new BVS blog features stories from Brethren Volunteer Service workers at www.brethren.org/bvsblog . Readers may sign up to follow the blog and receive posts by e-mail.
  • Immerse! registration deadline has been extended. Slots are still available for Immerse!, a junior high Bible and Brethren history event sponsored by the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults at Bethany Theological Seminary. The event will be held June 12-17. “Please encourage junior high youth who have completed 6th, 7th, and 8th grades to register by April 8 at www.bethanyseminary.edu/immerse ,” said an announcement. For more information about Immerse! see Bethany’s press release at www.bethanyseminary.edu/news/immerse .
  • First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill., is hosting One Struggle, Many Fronts, a stop on the US-Africa Environmental Justice Tour, at 6:30 p.m. on March 28. “The tour, a first-of-its-kind bridge-building effort between US and African climate, environmental justice, human rights, and solidarity activists, aims to build solidarity and strengthen interdisciplinary groups’ push for justice, reason, health and survival in the face of social and climate catastrophe,” said a release. Main speakers are: Emem J. Okon, founder and executive director of Kebet-kache Women Development and Resource Centre in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, who organizes women to resist oil drilling by Shell, Chevron, and ExxonMobil in the Niger Delta; and Mithika Mwenda, from Kenya, who is secretary general of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance he co-founded in 2008 to give Africans a voice in the climate debate and in United Nations climate negotiations, and which is Africa's largest climate network with 300 member organizations in 45 countries. A panel on US fronts and the common struggle also will include: Debra Michaud of Tar Sands Free Midwest, Tom Shepherd of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, and moderator Kimberly Wasserman, recent recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, co-sponsored by the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and South Side NAACP. A presentation by Tom Shepherd on petroleum coke (“petcoke”) ash will open the evening. An earlier Chicago Tour event will be at Roosevelt University on March 27, at 5 p.m. Other tour cities include Detroit, Washington, New York, Kalamazoo, Berkeley, and Atlanta. The full announcement is at http://renewnow.us/africaejt .
  • The newly named Living Light of Peace congregation in Arvada, Colo., is holding a service on Sunday, March 30 at 3 p.m. to recognize this transformation of Arvada Mennonite/Spirit of Joy Fellowship Church of the Brethren. The church will install Jeni Hiett Umble as pastor. A reception will follow.
  • The Haiti Benefit Concert at McPherson (Kan.) Opera House on Feb. 23 was a success, according to the Western Plains District newsletter. Community musical groups presented the concert to raise funds for the Haiti Medical Project, part of a year-long effort by McPherson Church of the Brethren to raise funds to bring mobile medical clinics to Haitian communities. Concert attendees numbered around 200 and free-will offerings and matching gifts came to at least $13,400. “Funds from this event bring the congregation’s total money raised to more than its ‘$100,000 by Easter’ goal,” said the newsletter.
  • A Children’s Disaster Services training at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren received coverage in the “Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.” The training showed 26 participants how to care for children traumatized by disasters. They “quickly got the point of the national Brethren ministry program lauded for its excellent track record in taking care of children while parents meet with emergency relief workers to restore normalcy to family life after a disaster. Lessons were simple and direct. Listen attentively, with empathy and without judgment or prodding. Understand the importance of play for children following a disaster. Comprehend how stages of development and ages affect children’s viewpoints, play habits, and reactions to disaster.” See www.dailybulletin.com/general-news/20140313/area-residents-train-to-comfort-and-care-for-traumatized-children .
  • Nappanee (Ind.) Church of the Brethren has begun the spiritual journey of Lent using “a much simpler process,” reports the “Nappanee Advance News” highlighting the use of the Vital Ministry Journey, a resource from the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries. “What we're trying to do is get people to think for themselves,”  pastor Byrl Shaver said. “Instead of having one person say 'This is what God says,' you're reflecting in on it." Read the article at www.thepilotnews.com/content/church-brethren-using-ancient-bible-study-techniques-today .
  • Osage Church of the Brethren in Kansas has begun sponsoring "a new adventure called Financial Peace University," the church announced in the Western Plains District newsletter. The nine-week series started March 7. "We have nine people signed up. It is our hope not only to help those struggling with their everyday finances, but also that this is a life changing spiritual experience that will open our eyes to new ways of stewardship and care."
  • Western Plains District has requested continued prayer for those affected by the extreme flooding in Colorado last year. In particular, the district requested prayer for Boulder Mennonite Church and the Church of the Brethren fellowship that worships there. “The church basement is usable again,” reported the district newsletter, adding however that “several families in the congregation are still working to recover from major damage to their homes.”
  • Southern Pennsylvania District installed district executive minister William A. Waugh on Sunday, March 9, at Newville Church of the Brethren. In attendance were Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger, Annual Conference moderator-elect David Steele, and associate general secretary Mary Jo Flory- Steury, reported the district newsletter. Leah Hileman, interim pastor at the Lake View Church, shared special music. District board chair Mike Miller shared the board’s journey from forming the Search Committee to the calling of Waugh. Traci Rabenstein and Jay Finkenbinger Jr. also assisted in the service. John Shelly delivered the sermon from Matthew 25:14-30 and Acts 13:22.
  • There is still time to register for a workshop on spiritual gifts, led by Congregational Life Ministries executive Jonathan Shively and hosted by Cross Keys Village-Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa., on April 12, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. “Vital Passions, Holy Practices: Exploring Spiritual Gifts” will help participants consider the gifts of the church community and how to discern ministries based on those gifts, according to the Southern Pennsylvania District newsletter. Cost is $10 per person or $25 for five or more participants from the same congregation. Ordained ministers may receive .4 continuing education units. Registration deadline is April 4. Contact the district office at P.O. Box 218, New Oxford, PA, 17350; 717-624-8636.
  • McPherson (Kan.) College hosts a Regional Youth Conference on March 28-30. The theme is a variation of the National Youth Conference (NYC) theme: “Called by God: Preparing for the Journey Together.” The main presenters will be Jacob and Jerry Crouse. Jacob was the 2010 NYC Youth Theme Song Contest winner and a member of last year’s Youth Peace Travel Team. Jerry is a member of the pastoral team at Warrensburg (Mo.) Church of the Brethren. The cost is $65. Register online at www.mcpherson.edu/ryc . The registration deadline is March 24.
  • At a rally last fall, the District Women’s Fellowship in West Marva District voted to give their offerings to establish a Children’s Fund. The district newsletter reports that the program is coordinated with the schools across the district. The school counselor or another staff member contacts the District Office when there is a child in need. The district has “shoppers” across the area who will go out and make the necessary purchases to assist the children. “The program has only been in place for one month and already the requests are rolling in,” the newsletter said. “We never imagined the dire circumstances that some of these children are in.... There have been requests for food, for basic clothing, and for hygiene items. It is heartbreaking and very humbling to hear the stories of the hardships these young people have already experienced in their lives.”
  • On April 12 Donna Kline, director of Deacon Ministry for the Church of the Brethren, is leading webinars on "Deaconing in Small Congregations" from 9-11 a.m. (central time) and "The Gift of Grief" from 1-3 p.m. (central time). Anyone who offers caregiving ministries is invited to participate. Go to www.mcpherson.edu/Ventures for more information and to register. The registration fee is $15 per course and a group rate of $75 is available for 5 or more tuning in from one site. These are the final two webinars for this academic year being offered by Ventures in Christian Discipleship, a program of McPherson (Kan.) College primarily geared toward lay leaders in congregations.
  • The first Arab woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, human rights activist Tawakkol Karman, will speak at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College's Ware Lecture on April 10. Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. “Upon receiving the award she became the first Arab woman, the second Muslim woman, and, at 32, the youngest person to earn the prize,” said a release from the college. The passionate speaker and journalist will bring a message titled "Women, Human Rights, and the Arab Revolution" to the annual Ware Lecture on Peacemaking at 7:30 p.m. on April 10, in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center. The lecture, sponsored by Judy S.  and Paul W. Ware and the college's Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking, will be moderated by Brian Katulis, a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress. To reserve free Ware Lecture tickets, call 717-361-4757.
  • ABC Channel 27 in Harrisburg, Pa., has spotlighted the history of Elizabethtown College in a piece on a new book titled “Elizabethtown College” by faculty members Jean-Paul Benowitz and Peter J. DePuydt, published in February by Arcadia Publishing’s Campus History Series. In an interview, Benowitz spoke of the library’s extensive collection of historical photographs, which have been digitized. “We thought that this would be a great way to share those images with people," he said. "Central Pennsylvania, particularly Lancaster County, is home to the largest population of Mennonites, Amish, Church of the Brethren, Quakers, historic peace churches.... What's interesting is that most people don't assume that those churches have an appreciation for higher education. And this is the only college in Lancaster County which was formed by one of the historic peace churches, or the Anabaptists." Find the story and video at www.abc27.com/story/24979201/author-spotlight-elizabethtown-college .
  • A Gospel Extravaganza at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 22, in the Carter Center for Worship and Music at Bridgewater (Va.) College includes the Bridgewater College Lift Your Voice Gospel Choir and James Madison University’s Contemporary Gospel Singers. Also featured are musician Joyce Garrett and the gospel group Roderick Giles and Grace. Garrett created the Eastern High School Choir of Washington, D.C., during her 27-year teaching career at the school. In retirement, she founded the Washington Youth Choir, a city-wide choral ensemble based on the principles of teamwork, perseverance, high achievement, and self-discipline, said a release. Giles, a former member of the Eastern High School Choir, is CEO of Giles Music Group LLC and founder of Grace, the primary singers for the Giles Music Group, and director and lead singer of the Harlem Gospel Choir (DC Division). The program is free and open to the public.
  • Bridgewater (Va.) College is implementing a composting pilot program for food waste from its dining hall. “Bridgewater College has always been environmentally conscious, but there’s always more that can be done,” said Anne Keeler, vice president for finance, in a release. “By instituting the composting pilot program, we are committed to do even more to help protect and preserve our environment.” Benefits of composting are numerous, the release notes: less methane is released into the air, reducing emission of greenhouse gases; diverting food waste from the landfill avoids adding even more waste to rapidly filling landfill areas; composting returns nutrients to the soil, supporting efforts to grow food without chemical fertilizers. The pilot program is providing educational opportunities for students, including two senior environmental science majors who are interning to learn the process of composting, as well as the business and outreach aspects. The program is a collaborative effort with Waste Management of Virginia Inc. and Black Bear Composting in Crimora, Va.
  • The “New York Times” has reported on a struggle to preserve a rural district known as Wood Colony, an Old German Baptist Brethren area near Modesto, Calif. The Old German Baptist Brethren and the Church of the Brethren split in the late 1800s. Many Brethren living in the area are fourth- and fifth-generation farmers of walnut and almond orchards, the Times reports, and are among local people objecting to “plans to bring about 1,800 acres of Wood Colony under city jurisdiction, which many residents regard as a blueprint for development.... The city’s Chamber of Commerce, supported by the mayor and other elected officials, says that some sort of ‘pathway to prosperity’ is needed to expand the tax base and address chronic unemployment, which hovers around 13 percent, twice the national average.” See  www.nytimes.com/2014/03/15/us/rural-spot-settled-by-religious-group-in-california-fears-a-citys-encroachment.html?hpw&rref=us&_r=0 .
Source: 3/18/2014 Newsline


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at cobnews@brethren.org. Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jan Fischer Bachman, Jim Beckwith, Stan Dueck, Kim Ebersole, Duane Ediger, Bob Gross, LeAnn Harnist, Elizabeth Harvey, Mary Kay Heatwole, Tim Heishman, Elsie Holderread, Rebekah Houff, Jon Kobel, Stan Noffsinger, Abbie Parkhurst, Ken Kline Smeltzer, John Wall, Dan Watson, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Newsline: March 11, 2014


Mission Advisory Committee has first-hand look at Haiti, proposes work toward a global Brethren body

By Jay Wittmeyer

The Mission Advisory Committee, which helps guide the international ministries of the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service program, held its biennial gathering in Haiti to see first-hand the holistic ministry of the Haitian mission. The visit hosted by the Brethren Ministry Center in the Port-au-Prince area, also met with Haitian leadership to better understand the growth of Eglise des Freres Haitiens, the Haitian Church of the Brethren.

The committee traveled to Port-au-Prince on Feb. 25 and returned on March 3. The Mission Advisory Committee consists of Bob Kettering, Carol Mason, Dale Minnich, Jim Myers, Becky Rhodes, Roger Schrock, and Carol Waggy. Member Bruce Holderreed was unable to attend. Roy Winter, associate executive director of Global Mission and Service, executive director Jay Wittmeyer, and coordinator Kendra Johnson, participated as staff.

The committee stayed at the Brethren Ministry Center, located in Croix de Bouquet near the capitol and staffed by mission workers Ilexene and Michaela Alphonse, and traveled out to visit some of the diverse ministry programs managed by the Brethren in Haiti: home construction, including newly built homes in the Marin community; agriculture development work; water projects; church construction; school projects; theological education; and a clinic of the Haiti Medical Project. The committee also divided into smaller groups to attend three separate Sunday morning worship services. Two highlights of the trip were a visit to the National Museum and an afternoon at Obama Beach.

Haiti mission coordinator Ludovic St. Fleur, pastor of Miami (Fla.) Haitian Church of the Brethren, recounted his history with the Church of the Brethren and reminded the committee that earlier mission efforts did not come to fruition. He emphasized the need for the Haitian Brethren community to grow in its understanding of Brethren theology, that the mind of Christ be more fully developed.

In its work as an advisory group, the committee considered the growth of the Church of the Brethren in Haiti, as well as in Spain, and emerging Brethren groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon. Discussion questioned whether the 1998 Annual Conference statement “World Mission Philosophy and Global Church Structure” call for a formal structure is going to be realized.

Photo by Kendra Johnson

The Mission Advisory Committee visited Eglise 
des Freres Haitiens, the Church of the Brethren 
in Haiti, in a recent trip to the Caribbean island 
The committee wrote the following statement, and offers it for consideration:

“The Mission Advisory Committee of the Church of the Brethren USA met in Haiti February 24-March 3. One of our tasks was to review mission philosophy, especially the 1998 Annual Conference Statement ‘World Mission Philosophy and Global Church Structure,’ in light of the newly registered Haitian Church of the Brethren. In our discussions, we recognized that the vision of the 1998 statement has not been realized in terms of a formal structure to hear the voice of the global church.

“In reviewing our history of mission, we celebrated that we are in fact a global church. The Church of the Brethren is now established in Brazil, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, India, Spain, the United States, and Haiti. Our documents and our practices have encouraged culturally-appropriate mission. We have seen a new generation choosing to be Brethren and choosing to plant the church where they are. More than one million people worship weekly in a Church of the Brethren congregation. We have a long history of working well ecumenically and influencing the broader church.

“We do confess, however, that we have made mistakes as we have learned to do mission. Our cultural domination has at times led to ethno-centric decisions and abuse of our financial power.

“In the spirit of the 1998 paper and the Mission and Ministry Board’s current strategic plan, MAC [the Mission Advisory Committee] envisioned a Global  Mission Council that would serve as a structure for global sharing and discernment and as a clearinghouse for use of the Church of the Brethren name. For instance, there are Congolese who consider themselves Church of the Brethren after learning about us via the Internet. This council could be the place where decisions of inclusions are made rather than just in the US office.

“Our discussions crystallized into the following recommendation as a possible first step.

“In order to more effectively move into the mandate of the 1998 Annual Conference paper on World Mission Philosophy and Global Church Structure and to meet the current strategic goals of the Mission and Ministry Board, we propose a conversation be initiated by the office of Global Missions and Service with the endorsement of the Mission and Ministry Board and Annual Conference with recognized church of the Brethren bodies from around the world i.e., Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, India, Nigeria, Spain, and the United States.

“The purpose of this invitation is to mutually explore how the Church of the Brethren might best become a Global Church of the Brethren.

“We do not want to preclude where these discussions might lead but one consideration might be the establishment of a Church of the Brethren Global Mission Council consisting of mutual representatives from recognized Church of the Brethren bodies in order to address the emergence of new global Church of the Brethren congregations and mission opportunities around the world.”

-- Jay Wittmeyer is executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren. Find a photo album from the Mission Advisory Committee’s visit to Haiti, featuring photos taken by Global Mission and Service office coordinator Kendra Johnson, at www.bluemelon.com/churchofthebrethren/haiti.

Source: 3/11/2014 Newsline

Brethren Disaster Ministries directs grant aid to Nigerian Brethren affected by violence

Brethren Disaster Ministries is directing $25,000 from the church’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to aid Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) during a time of escalating violence in northeastern Nigeria. The money will be contributed through EYN’s Compassion Fund.

Combined with other donations to aid Nigerian Brethren made through the Global Mission and Service office, the Church of the Brethren in the US is contributing a total of $60,000 to the EYN Compassion Fund. This is in addition to the $41,468.25 contributed to the Compassion Fund by American Brethren in 2013.

The past few years have seen escalating violence in northeastern Nigeria, in particular incidents of terrorist violence carried out by an Islamist extremist group called Boko Haram. The group is targeting Christian communities and places of worship among other targets that include Muslim mosques and moderate Muslim leaders, traditional leaders, as well as schools and government institutions such as police stations and army barracks.

With the vast majority of EYN churches in northeastern Nigeria, the violence is having a very real and devastating impact on EYN communities and many church members, said the grant request.

In a recent report to the Global Mission and Service office of the Church of the Brethren in the US, EYN president Samuel Dali shares that “churches in northern Nigeria are living and working in a context of systematic persecution. . . . The so called Boko Haram sect, or Muslim jihadists, have been hunting church leaders and their members every day, in Muslim-dominated states such as Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, Kano, and Adamawa. Pastors and their members working in these northern states are facing dangers day by day.”

Dali shares that at least 245 EYN members have been killed and many more injured in this violence. A great deal of property has been burned including 22 church buildings, 9 Local Church Branches, and more than 1,000 homes, affecting thousands of members. Additionally many vehicles, generators, and other property have been destroyed.

“The combination of this violence, destruction, and ongoing fear of more violence calls for a US church response,” the Brethren Disaster Ministries staff said. “Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria is asking for our prayers and encouragement. They hope to provide shelter, food, clothing and medical care for those impacted by this violence and help rebuild churches.”

The allocation from the EDF will provide EYN with resources for this emergency response. Dali reports that “the immediate physical need now is shelter for the thousands that have been displaced, medicine for those, or money to pay medical bills for the wounded. Presently, there are  1,050 houses belonging to Christians that have been burnt down and the people are living in the bush hiding for their life. These people are in serious need of food and clothing as all their belongings have been either looted or burnt down. We also need material to rebuild and roof the destroyed and burnt church structures. There is also a need for money to buy food, cloth, and construct local shelter as the rain season is approaching.”

The funds will be channeled into the EYN Compassion Fund, which supports Nigerian Brethren who have lost a family member, home, or property due to the violence, with a special focus on the families of ministers. The fund was started by Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria as a mechanism for Nigerian Brethren to demonstrate mutuality in support of one another.

“Our giving to the EYN Compassion Fund expresses our fellowship in the suffering of our sister church as it endures this difficult time of tribulation,” said Brethren Disaster Ministries staff.

More information about the Church of the Brethren work in Nigeria is at www.brethren.org/nigeria. For information about Brethren Disaster Ministries go to www.brethren.org/bdm. To give to the Emergency Disaster Fund go to www.brethren.org/edf or mail gifts to Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren General Offices, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Source: 3/11/2014 Newsline

Global Food Crisis grants support new BVS position in public witness, agriculture in DRC Congo and Rwanda

The Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) this week announces three grants, to support a new Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) position at the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness, and for agriculture work in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

An allocation of up to $15,000 supports a new BVS placement in the Office of Public Witness based in Washington, D.C. This volunteer will focus on advocacy around international and domestic issues related to food sovereignty and food security. Other assignments include starting and promoting a community garden in cooperation with the Washington City Church of the Brethren soup kitchen, and relating to and promoting the Going to the Garden initiative of the Office of Public Witness and the Global Food Crisis Fund. Funds will support a one-year commitment, with the possibility of renewal upon review by the GFCF review panel and necessary approvals.

A GFCF grant of $5,000 supports agriculture work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The money will help meet the food needs of 100 families of the Twa people (Pygmies) through a project planting maize, casava, and bananas on three teaching fields in the villages of Swima and Ngovi, and also an extension component in Kimbunga where Twa are living in camps and have begun their own gardens. This is the third GFCF grant to this project, which is run by Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (SHAMIREDE) together with Eglise de Freres du Congo. SHAMIREDE's director, Ron Lubungo, is a leader among the Congo Brethren. Previous allocations to this project amount to $7,500 since December 2011.

A related grant of $5,000 supports agriculture work meeting the food needs of 60 Twa families living in Rwanda. The project is administered by ETOMR (Evangelistic Training Outreach Ministries of Rwanda), a ministry of the Evangelical Friends Church of Gisenyi. The contact person for ETOMR is pastor Etienne Nsanzimana, who has studied at Earlham School of Religion--a sister school to Bethany Theological Seminary, both located in Richmond, Ind. While at ESR, Nsanzimana became friends with Marla Abe, pastor of Carlisle (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, which since 2011 has been supporting this project financially. Previous GFCF grants to the agriculture work of ETOMR total $7,500 since October 2011.

For more about the Global Food Crisis Fund go to www.brethren.org/gfcf.

Source: 3/11/2014 Newsline

Conference witness to host city benefits YWCA shelter for women in Columbus

The Church of the Brethren Annual Conference partners this year with the YWCA/YMCA of Columbus, Ohio, for an annual Witness to the Host City. Annual Conference 2014 takes place in Columbus on July 2-6, led by moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman. Each year, the Witness to the Host City service project invites Brethren to aid the city that hosts the denomination’s annual meeting.

The YWCA shelter for women in Columbus, called Rebecca’s Place, works with women and children in a significant ministry providing educational opportunities, job training, employment services, and more to equip women and families for a better future. A recent newspaper article about the work of Rebecca’s Place is at www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/10/09/Plans-for-new-homeless-shelter-revealed.html .

Below are some of the most pressing needs that Brethren may respond to. An offering of these donations will be taken at the Thursday night worship service on July 3. Conferencegoers are invited to bring one or all of the following items:
  1. Socks, both men’s and women’s are needed
  2. Disposable baby diapers, any size
  3. Hygiene kts. Each kit should include 1 hand towel (not a finger tip or bath towel), 1 wash cloth, 1 one-gallon zipped plastic bag that is filled with 1 bath-size bar of soap, 1 bottle of shampoo, 1 container of deodorant, 1 nail clipper, 1 wide-tooth comb, 1 container of dental floss, 6 bandaids.
Source: 3/11/2014 Newsline

Chaplains from Brethren-related colleges and universities hold meeting

Photo courtesy of Walt Wiltschek

Pictured here at a meeting of chaplains from Church of the 
Brethren related colleges and universities (front row) Dave 
Witkovsky, Juniata College; Tracy Primozich, Bethany 
Theological Seminary; Tracy Wenger Sadd, Elizabethtown 
College; (back row) Robbie Miller, Bridgewater College; 
Walt Wiltschek, Manchester University; and Zandra 
Wagoner, University of La Verne.
By Walt Wiltschek

Chaplains from five of the six Church of the Brethren-affiliated colleges and universities and Tracy Primozich, director of admissions for Bethany Theological Seminary, met Feb. 19 in Tacoma, Wash., following the National Association of College and University Chaplains (NACUC) annual conference.

The group shared updates and ideas from their respective institutions, talked about denominational connections and common issues,  and considered future ways to connect. Becky Ullom, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Church of the Brethren, also had conversation with the group during the conference.

Attending the meeting were Robbie Miller, Bridgewater (Va.) College; Tracy Primozich, Bethany Theological Seminary; Zandra Wagoner, University of La Verne, Calif.; Tracy Wenger Sadd, Elizabethtown (Pa.) College; Walt Wiltschek, Manchester University, North Manchester, Ind.; and Dave Witkovsky, Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa.

-- Walt Wiltschek is campus minister at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind.

Source: 3/11/2014 Newsline

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Child Abuse Prevention Month ad, April 2014By Kim Ebersole

The Church of the Brethren Family Life Ministry is providing resources and ideas for congregations to observe Child Abuse Prevention Month during April. Find more information at www.brethren.org/childprotection/month.html.

The ministry also is sharing several ways congregations can observe Child Abuse Prevention Month:
  • Highlight the conditions of childhood during each worship service in April. Lift up parents, caregivers, and children in your prayers. 
  • Provide classes to strengthen parenting skills.
  • Organize a “Parents’ Night Out” event. Plan an evening of supervised fun for children at your church. Parents and other caregivers can drop the kids off and enjoy some time to eat out, run errands, or even grab some much-needed rest.
  • Host an informational program about child abuse prevention. Contact your community children and family services agency for possible programs and presenters.
  • Consider a mentoring program that would pair “seasoned” parents or grandparents with young families who might benefit from the support and wisdom of those with more experience.
Additional information, ideas, and worship resources can be found at www.brethren.org/childprotection/month.html or contact Kim Ebersole, director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries, at 847-429-4305 or kebersole@brethren.org.

-- Kim Ebersole, who works in Congregational Life Ministries, provided this report for Newsline.

Source: 3/11/2014 Newsline

Brethren Academy issues an updated course listing for 2014

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership has issued an updated listing of courses offered in 2014. Courses are open to Training in Ministry (TRIM) students, pastors who may earn 2 continuing education units per course, and all interested persons.

The academy staff note that “while we continue to accept students beyond the registration deadline, on that date we determine whether we have enough students to offer a course. Many courses have required pre-course readings, so students need to be sure to allow enough time to complete those. Please do not purchase texts or make travel plans until the registration deadline is passed, and you receive a course confirmation.”

Register for courses noted “SVMC” through the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center at SVMC@etown.edu or 717-361-1450. For all other courses go to the Brethren Academy website at www.bethanyseminary.edu/academy .
  • “Beyond Sunday School: Nurturing the Spiritual Lives of our Children” is an online course with instructor Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, April 21-June 15. The registration deadline is March 17.
  • “Rock the Church, Rethinking Church Renewal” is offered at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind, in conjunction with the Church Planting Conference, May 14-18. The instructor is Stan Dueck.
  • Annual Conference Directed Independent Study Unit in Columbus, Ohio, on July 1-2 in conjunction with the Ministers’ Association pre-Conference continuing education event with speaker Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology. This directed ISU is planned and led by Chris Bowman and will include pre-Conference reading, a one-hour session before and after the Ministers’ Association, attendance at the entire Ministers' Association, and attendance at the evening worship service where Long will preach. A follow-up project will be expected. There is a registration fee of $50 for this directed ISU. Participants also must register and pay for the Ministers' Association event, and will need lodging in Columbus for the night of July 1. The registration deadline is June 2. If interested, contact the Brethren Academy at academy@bethanyseminary.edu .
  • “Church of the Brethren Polity and Practice” at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on July 11-12 and August 15-16. Instructors are Warren Eshbach and Randy Yoder. SVMC. The registration deadline is July 1.
  • “Conflict Transformation in Congregations” at McPherson (Kan.) College on Sept. 4-7 with instructor Leslie Frye. The registration deadline is Aug. 7.
  • “Luke-Acts and the Birth of the Church” is an online course with instructor Matthew Boersma, Sept. 29-Nov. 21. The registration deadline is Aug. 19.
Source: 3/11/2014 Newsline

Fellowship of Brethren Homes Forum to meet in Lancaster, Pa.

Photo by Kim Ebersole

Jonathan Shively of the Church 
of the Brethren Congregational 
Life Ministries, at the Fellowship 
of Brethren Homes Forum in 
April 2013.
By Kim Ebersole

The Brethren Village Retirement Community in Lancaster, Pa., will host this year’s Fellowship of Brethren Homes Forum on April 14-16. Representatives from member communities will be joined by several denominational staff members for three days of training, updates, networking, and sharing best practices in long-term care.

Scheduled presenters and their topics include Malcolm Nimick of Ascension Capital Enterprises and David Slack of Aging Research Institute discussing latest trends; Suzanne Owens of MHS Consulting on maximizing occupancy; former Fellowship of Brethren Homes executive director Shari McCabe presenting on succession planning and successful retiring; and Ursula Post, a resident of Brethren Village.

In addition, Jeff Shireman from the Lebanon Valley Brethren Home will review their community’s Green House experiment, and John Warner of Brethren Retirement Community will give an overview and update of the Gahagen Fund.

Jonathan Shively and Kim Ebersole of the denomination’s Congregational Life Ministries, and Nevin Dulabaum and Loyce Borgmann of Brethren Benefit Trust and the Brethren Foundation,  also will give presentations.

This will be the first forum under the leadership of Fellowship of Brethren Homes executive director Carol Davis, who assumed her position in September 2013 upon the retirement of Shari McCabe.

The Fellowship of Brethren Homes comprises 22 retirement communities related to the Church of the Brethren. The fellowship works together on common challenges such as long-term care needs, uncompensated care, and nurturing relationships with Brethren congregations and districts. A directory of member communities can be found at www.brethren.org/homes .

-- Kim Ebersole is director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministry for the Church of the Brethren.

Source: 3/11/2014 Newsline

Brethren bits

Photo courtesy of Children's Disaster Services

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) carried out “a brief, yet 
significant response” in Pennsylvania in February, following 
an ice storm. CDS responded in an American Red Cross shelter 
in West Chester, Pa., for two days. The caption to a photo from 
the response, posted on the CDS Facebook page: “One little boy 
at the CDS play area in West Chester used toy figurines to 
portray people helping others who had fallen down. Did they 
slip on the ice?”
  • Northern Plains District of the Church of the Brethren is seeking to fill four part-time staff positions: communications minister, minister of leadership development, TRIM (Training in Ministry) coordinator, and district conference support. The time commitment and responsibilities vary by position; complete position descriptions are available at https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-oiPAgojH9BMlBNejZKVjllUjg&usp=sharing . A single search committee is tasked with filling all four positions and is open to the possibility of one individual filling more than one position. Northern Plains District comprises 31 congregations: 1 in Montana, 6 in Minnesota, and the remaining congregations in Iowa. Congregations are located in rural, urban, and suburban contexts and represent a healthy mix of theological diversity. The district is committed to strengthening the work of each congregation--and the district as a whole--through spiritual growth, leadership support and development, communication and connection, stewardship, church growth and new church development, peacemaking and service. The minister of leadership development and the Training in Ministry coordinator positions require ordination in the Church of the Brethren. Applicants for either of these positions should first contact their district executive for assistance in following placement protocols prior to following the instructions below. Apply by sending a letter of interest, a resume, and three references to Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, convener of the search committee, at either rpgingrich@yahoo.com or 4820 Upton Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55410. The application deadline is March 28.
  • Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., seeks a facilities manager to fill a fulltime salaried position beginning immediately. The camp seeks a motivated, dependable, caring worker with good interpersonal, organizational, and leadership skills. The facilities manager ensures that facilities and site enhance the experience of guests and campers by overseeing all housekeeping and maintenance. The preferred candidate will have experience or proven ability in repair and renewal of facilities including construction, carpentry, electrical wiring and control, plumbing of water and sewage, vehicle and camp/farm equipment maintenance. Starting benefits package includes salary of $29,000, optional family medical insurance plan, a pension plan, professional growth funds, and optional on-site family/individual housing. Camp Bethel is a tobacco-free workplace. An application, a detailed position description, and more information will be made available at www.CampBethelVirginia.org or send a letter of interest and an updated résumé to Barry LeNoir at CampBethelOffice@gmail.com.
  • The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), the nation’s first interfaith peace and justice organization founded a century ago, seeks a national director of organizing to work with a team of field organizers in three regions (West, North, and South) to move forward relationships, communities, actions, and events to address key issues and practices that promote peace. The position includes capacities in organizing, management, communications, and fundraising. Other qualifications include: embraces and promotes principles of nonviolence; appreciates and is motivated by spirituality and faith-based change work; ability to work successfully on a multi-racial, multi-faith, multi-gendered team; actively seeks an anti-oppressive world through personal and professional commitments; understands the culture and history of the FOR and the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and knows how to utilize our broad network of expertise and resources; knowledge of the membership and affiliate base in the FOR network. Job location is virtual office in contiguous United States, with travel twice yearly to Nyack, N.Y., required. Salary commensurate with experience. Benefits include four weeks of vacation, three weeks of sick leave, five personal days, health and life insurance, pension. The FOR actively seeks the voices and visions of persons of all backgrounds. To apply send a resume and cover letter to jobs@forusa.org . Review of applications will begin on March 19. The position is open until filled. For detailed information see job-listing-for-national-director-organizing.pdf and http://forusa.org/blogs/for/for-job-posting-national-director-organizing/12895.
  • World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit has expressed joy at the release of Greek Orthodox nuns kidnapped by rebels in Syria. He said that “fervent prayer offered by Christians around the world” was answered, in a WCC release. The group of nuns from the Convent of St Thecla were abducted in December 2013, and have been freed as part of a prisoner exchange, according to media reports. Tveit said this raises hope for the freedom of five church leaders who also have been kidnapped: Archbishop Mar Yohanna Gregorios Ibrahim, Archbishop Paul Yazigi, Father Maher Mahfouz of the Greek Orthodox Church, Father Michel Kayyal of the Armenian Catholic Church, and Father Paolo Dall'Oglio, a Jesuit priest. Tveit also invoked prayers for an “end of the armed conflict in Syria” and “for all people affected by the indiscriminate violence and humanitarian calamity in Syria.... Innocent children, women, and men are being killed, wounded, traumatized, and driven from their homes in uncounted numbers. We hear their cries and we pray at this time for the Spirit of God to dwell in all leaders of the church so that they may have courage in these days of tribulation.” Read the full text of the statement at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/messages-and-letters/letter-on-release-of-kidnapped-syrian-nuns.
  • The National Youth Conference (NYC) office has learned that Southwest Airlines will be offering a 5 percent discount on economy fares and a 10 percent discount on business/first class to anyone attending National Youth Conference. The event takes place July 19-24 in Fort Collins, Colo. Contact cobyouth@brethren.org for more information. Find out more about NYC and register online at www.brethren.org/nyc.
  • In more news from the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, the Youth Cabinet met at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., last week to discuss, reflect, and continue planning for National Youth Conference 2014. The members of the cabinet are: Emmett Eldred of Middle Pennsylvania District, Brittany Fourman of Southern Ohio District, Sarandon Smith of Atlantic Northeast District, Sarah Ullom-Minnich of Western Plains District, Kerrick van Asselt of Western Plains District, Zander Willoughby of Michigan District. Adult advisors are Rhonda Pittman Gingrich of Northern Plains District, Dennis Lohr of Atlantic Northeast District.
  • Bethany Theological Seminary is holding informational meetings in Virlina District, according to the district newsletter. Those interested in learning more about the seminary are invited to evenings of conversation with a current student and a seminary staff member, Tara Shepherd and Lowell Flory. Discussion will be built around questions and challenges facing the wider church and the denomination, as well as how to prepare ministerial leadership. The duration of the meetings will be approximately 90 minutes. Reservations are not required but are helpful for those preparing room setup and refreshments. The meetings will be held at two locations and times: Mount Union Church of the Brethren in Bent Mountain, Va., on Thursday, March 20, beginning at 6 p.m. with a light supper (contact 540-598-9002 or shephta@bethanyseminary.edu ); Peters Creek Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., on Friday, March 21, at 7 p.m. (contact 540-977-4321 or samandannereid@gmail.com ).
  • A continuing education event on the “Spirituality of Dying Well” will be held on May 17 at The Village Green, Martinsburg, Pa., sponsored by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (SVMC). The event takes place from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Cost is $25 and includes lunch and continuing education credit. Leaders are Bob Neff who will offer a biblical perspective, Kaye Burket who will outline medical dimensions of ministry in the context of critical illness, Linda Banaszak and Dottie Steele who will look at the interface of nursing home and hospice spiritual care, along with Heather Rosamilia and an interdisciplinary team of specialists who will provide case studies to assist exploration of the ministry of hospice care in the ministry of dying well.
  • First Church of the Brethren in York, Pa., is making preliminary plans to upgrade its facilities for ADA handicapped accessibility and environmental stewardship. Preliminary plans include replacing the six main entrance doors, upgrading the narthex windows, and adding an accessible restroom facility, said a report in the church newsletter.
  • Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on Sunday hosted a “teach-in” by Christian author and pastor Brian McLaren and Lancaster-based pastor and teacher Michael Hardin. The event was reported by Lancaster Online under the title “Theologians urge a Christianity of peace.” Reporter Dan Nephin wrote that the conversation “about how Christianity must get back on-message as a religion of peace” was presented to “a receptive audience.” A follow up event later in the day included a dinner and presentation to a Mennonite audience. Nephin reported that “McLaren told the audience, ‘If there's not a movement to mobilize Christians for peace, then there will be a movement to mobilize Christians for violence.’” Find the article at http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/theologians-urge-a-christianity-of-peace/article_c899f79a-a7fb-11e3-bc6c-0017a43b2370.html.
  • Spring Run Church of the Brethren is once again hosting the annual Middle Pennsylvania District Youth Volleyball Tournament at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., on Saturday, March 15. The district Youth Cabinet also is sponsoring a Soup Kitchen and Service Trip to Washington, D.C., on April 2-5 for senior high youth. Cost is $140 if registered by March 14 and $150 after March 14. For more information go to www.midpacob.org.
  • The 2014 Peace Feast in Shenandoah District will be held 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, at Sangerville (Va.) Church of the Brethren. The event will celebrate the service of the Seagoing Cowboys who volunteered with Heifer Project following World War II.
Mid-Atlantic District Disaster Auction
  • The annual Mid-Atlantic Disaster Auction is planned for Saturday, May 3. This will be the 34th annual auction in the district. The event opens at 9 a.m. at the Carroll County Agricultural Center in Westminster, Md. Last year’s auction raised $66,000 for the Emergency Disaster Fund that supports Brethren Disaster Ministries work around the world.
  • Virlina District has announced the theme and leadership for its 2014 District Conference on Nov. 14-15 in Roanoke, Va. The theme will be “Taste and see that the Lord is good…” (Psalm 34:8). David A. Steele, 2015 Annual Conference moderator, will preach for the Saturday worship service. Jeffrey W. Carter, Bethany Seminary president, will preach Friday evening. Gary L. Basham will serve as moderator of the District Conference. In line with the theme and scripture text, he is suggesting three actions for the year: solitude, study, and service. “Individuals are asked to find a moment each day to spend time alone with God in prayer and Bible reading,” said the district newsletter. “Pastors are asked to preach a message based upon the theme scripture before District Conference and individuals were asked to commit to reading through the entire Bible by conference time. For service, everyone is asked to serve as examples to our youth and young people as they walk their journey of faith. They need to see the adults in their lives praying, reading the scripture and living a life worthy of their calling.”
  • Northern Plains District Conference on Aug. 1-3 at Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Church of the Brethren will be participating in several collections for disaster relief. The collections are sponsored by the district Witness Commission. Collections will include donations of Church World Service (CWS) Hygiene Kits, CWS Clean-Up Buckets, and diapers for use in Haiti.
  • Camp Bethel’s 13th annual Sounds of the Mountains Festival of Music and Storytelling will be held April 11-12. It will feature nationally known tellers, Andy Offutt Irwin, David Novak, Ed Stivender, and Donna Washington, and music from the Luv Buzzards, plus the Back Porch Studio Cloggers. Go to www.soundsofthemountains.org for tickets and information. Camp Bethel is located near Fincastle, Va.
  • The speaker for a program at Bridgewater (Va.) College sponsored by Harry W. and Ina Mason Shank Peace Studies Endowment, Harold H. Hersch Educational Fund, and the Center for Cultural Engagement, is Robert Edsel, author of “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.” He will speak on March 19, at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Hall. “Edsel spent more than 12 years doing painstaking and far-reaching research to discover how many monuments and great works of art survived the thefts and devastation of World War II,” said a release from the college. The program is free and open to the public.
  • Among April events at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College are presentations by Rwandan speaker Joseph Sebarenzi. He will present at 6 p.m. on April 3 in Gibble Auditorium, followed by a screening of the film "Sometimes in April.” The event remembers the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda that took the lives of nearly 100,000 people. Sebarenzi, a Rwandan who survived the genocide that killed most of his family, will talk about "Peace, Conflict Transformation, and Restorative Justice." A question and answer session will follow the film.

    Also on April 3 is the Annual Young Center Banquet, Reception, and Lecture, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Susquehanna Room of Myer Hall. The lecture on "Abstract Art or Country Craft? The Quilts of the Amish" is given by Janneken Smucker, an assistant professor of history at nearby West Chester University (cost is $20, reservation deadline is March 20, contact the Young Center at 717-361-1470). At 7:30 p.m. on April 10 the Ware Lecture on Peacemaking will feature Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman in the Leffler Chapel. Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 in recognition of her work in nonviolent struggle for the expression of women’s rights and safety in Yemen. She is the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, said a release from the college (cost is free, but tickets are required, call 717-361-4757).
  • The Global Women’s Project Steering Committee is holding its next meeting in Missouri. “Please hold us in your prayers are we do the good work of supporting women's empowerment and educating ourselves about global poverty and our own privilege,” said an announcement from steering committee member Tina Rieman. The group will participate in worship at Warrensburg Church of the Brethren on Sunday, March 16.
  • A blog post by Heifer International at www.heifer.org/join-the-conversation/blog/2014/March/honoring-heifers-history.html honors the heritage of the organization, founded by Church of the Brethren staff member Dan West, and in particular the years that church volunteers took to the oceans as “sea going cowboys” to help ferry heifers to Europe and other places in need following World War II. Heifer's Seagoing Cowboys Exhibit is opening at the Heifer Village in Little Rock, Ark., with a presentation and celebration on March 14 at noon.
  • The New Community Project, a Brethren-related nonprofit, is offering inter-generational Learning Tours to Africa, Asia, the Arctic, and Latin America. “The trips increase awareness of the challenges facing God's creation and our neighbors, while building relationships with the communities visited,” an announcement said. Trips are planned June 12-21 to the Ecuadorian Amazon, July 12-21 to the Dominican Republic, July 27-Aug. 4 to Denali/Kenai Fjords National Parks, Alaska, and Jan. 8-19, 2015, to Burma (Myanmar). Date is pending for a trip to South Sudan. Contact David Radcliff at ncp@newcommunityproject.org for more information, or visit www.newcommunityproject.org.
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is accepting applications for a delegation to Colombia focused on the situation of organized labor. The trip is scheduled for May 17-31. “Colombia continues to be the most dangerous place on earth for trade unionists,” said a release. “Participants in this delegation will meet with public and private sector union leaders, as well as organized informal sector self-employed workers. Activists in all three groups are threatened because of their efforts to protect workers’ rights and livelihoods.” Find more information and a poster at http://cptcolombia.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/140225-delg-poster-color-iii.pdf or contact delegations@cpt.org.
  • "Brethren Voices," a public television show produced by Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., has announced upcoming shows. In March “Brethren Voices” features Merle Forney, founder of "Kids as Peacemakers." Forney is interviewed about his own peace journey beginning at Hanover (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. “It led him to a unique idea of assisting youth in a discussion of peace and then transmitting their thoughts onto an artistic work,” said a release from producer Ed Groff. “The work of art is then displayed in front of the church or sponsoring organization.” Kids as Peacemakers is now a sponsored program of On Earth Peace; for more information see www.onearthpeace.org . In April, "Brethren Voices" features Annual Conference moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, interviewed by host Brent Carlson at Cross Keys Village-the Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa. She is the seventh moderator to share his or her story with "Brethren Voices." In May, the show features Brethren Disaster Ministries, and travels to South Toms River, N.J., to meet with a group of Brethren volunteers from Indiana rebuilding homes affected by Hurricane Sandy. Also in the works is a program with Andy Murray who has retired after many years at Juniata College and who, with his wife, Terry are well known in Brethren circles for their music ministry. Viewers are treated to a special visit to their home in Huntdingdon, Pa., overlooking the campus of Juniata College. Copies of "Brethren Voices" may be obtained from Portland Peace Church of the Brethren. Contact Ed Groff at Groffprod1@msn.com . Over 50 of the programs can be viewed on www.youtube.com/Brethrenvoices.
  • Every now and then Newsline takes note of books by Brethren authors. Here are some of the more recent:
    • Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm of the Bethany Theological Seminary faculty is one of the editors of “Preaching God’s Transforming Justice: A Lectionary Commentary,” published by Westminster John Knox Press as a three-volume set last year. A release explains that the commentary “helps the preacher identify and reflect on the social implications of the Revised Common Lectionary readings. In addition to providing commentary for each day in the lectionary calendar, this series introduces 22 Holy Days for Justice.” For each lectionary day and Holy Day for Justice an essay helps integrate a variety of social justice concerns into preaching. The contributors are a diverse group of homileticians, pastors, biblical scholars, theologians, and social activists. In addition to Ottoni-Wilhelm, the editors are Dale Andrews of Vanderbilt University, and Ron Allen of Christian Theological Seminary For more information go to www.wjkbooks.com
    • Bridgewater (Va.) College professor of history Stephen L. Longenecker has written his sixth book, “Gettysburg Religion: Refinement, Diversity, and Race in the Antebellum and Civil War Border North (The North’s Civil War),” published by Fordham University Press in January. The book focuses on the diversity of religion in a small town that saw one of the most horrific battles of the Civil War. “This famous little place and the surrounding region are just full of fascinating surprises,” said Longenecker, in a release from the college. “The Gettysburg community was much more diverse and complicated than might be expected, and pursuing this project was fun from beginning to end. Rhett Butler’s phrase ‘some little town in Pennsylvania’ doesn’t come close to articulating all the twists and turns in Gettysburg during this period.” More about “Gettysburg Religion” is at http://fordhampress.com/index.php/gettysburg-reigion-cloth.html. 
    • Peggy Faw Gish has written her second book on the experience of Iraq and the war, titled “Walking Through Fire: Iraqis’ Struggle for Justice and Reconciliation” (Cascade, 2013). Shane Claiborne writes about the book: “It reads like a journal, but a thrilling journal filled with horror and hope, written from the trenches of one of the most troubled war zones in the world. Peggy has seen things that did not make the news--some of them are more terrible than we can ever imagine, and some of them are more beautiful than we could ever dream. Her life and words are a daring call for us to get in the way of violence.'' Gish’s first book about working in Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams was “Iraq: A Journey of Hope and Peace” (Herald Press, 2004). 
    • James Lehman, whose book of Brethren history “The Old Brethren: People of Wisdom and Simplicity Speak to Our Time” was recently republished by Brethren Press, has written his first full-length novel titled “Ties That Bind.” He describes the book as “a story for progressive Christians, for thoughtful people with open hearts and minds. It walks the fine line between making you glad to be human and being honest about human problems and failings.... Ordinary congregational life looks interesting in this book, which portrays the polarizing reality in the church of same-sex relations and then shows a painful and dramatic conflict resolving itself in unexpected ways.” Contact jameslehman@brotherstonepublishers.com.  
    • Noah S. Martin, who has been a leader in the New Day Inc. Christian ministry to at-risk children, youth, marriages, and families based in Johnstown, Pa., has self-published a manual intended to help encourage marriages and the understanding of issues that affect relationships. Written from a Christian perspective, the workbook-style publication is titled “A More Excellent Way.” Contact the author at 814-266-6489 or noahsarkpubco@aol.com. 
    • Joseph Kip Kosek, associate professor of American studies at George Washington University, has written "Acts of Conscience: Christian Nonviolence and Modern American Democracy" (Columbia University Press). A review describes the book as tracing the impact of radical Christian pacifists beginning with World War I and ending with the work of Martin Luther King Jr. “Tracing the rise of militant nonviolence across a century of industrial conflict, imperialism, racial terror, and international warfare, Kosek recovers radical Christians' remarkable stance against the use of deadly force, even during World War II and other seemingly just causes.” More information is at http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14418-6/acts-of-conscience.
Source: 3/11/2014 Newsline