Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Newsline: September 9, 2014


Global Mission and Service, Brethren Disaster Ministries provide emergency aid to Nigerian Brethren as EYN denominational staff flee insurgent advance

Update, Sept. 10, 2014: EYN denominational staff and families are safe, Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has learned through a telephone call from EYN president Samuel Dali.

The Nigerian church leadership made the decision to evacuate many staff and their families who live on the EYN headquarters compound in northeastern Nigeria, in the face of a swift advance on the area by the Boko Haram insurgents. Also leaving the compound were Kulp Bible College students and families.

However, some key church leaders remain at the headquarters, and the church has not totally closed its offices.

“The good news is we now know that staff and their families are safe,” said Noffsinger, “and the EYN leadership continues to move forward and care for the people of EYN, and plan for the future of the church.

“The EYN president expressed profound appreciation for the outpouring of love and prayer that they are receiving from the church in the US and around the world. News of the situation of EYN is being followed by the ecumenical church worldwide, and we have received expressions of concern and prayer and offers to assist us in supporting EYN and the people of Nigeria.”

The length of time that Kulp Bible College and the EYN secondary school will be closed is unclear. Also unclear is how long most of the staff and their families will be away from the area
In scattered reports received piecemeal by e-mail, text, and Facebook since the weekend, it appears that most if not all the denominational staff of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and their families have left the EYN headquarters as Boko Haram insurgents advance on the area.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed a grant of $20,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to EYN’s effort to receive and house refugees in central Nigeria, and the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service also has directed $10,000 to the effort.

EYN leaders and staff leave headquarters and homes

On Saturday, EYN leaders telephoned Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger to report the temporary closing of Kulp Bible College (see www.brethren.org/news/2014/prayer-is-requested-as-eyn-closes-college.html ). The college is located next to the EYN headquarters on a compound in northeastern Nigeria.

Since then, Noffsinger said he and others on the Church of the Brethren staff have maintained contact with EYN leaders by phone and text as they flee. It is not clear if EYN has closed its headquarters or if some staff remain there. Also unclear is how EYN staff and families are traveling, whether they have been able to get transport in vehicles, and how far they have gone in search of safe locations. At least one KBC student fled on foot, in company with others, Noffsinger knows from texts he received during the night from that student.

“We have grave concern for their health and wellbeing,” Noffsinger said. “This crisis is exacting a huge toll, physically and emotionally.”

As staff and families left the EYN headquarters and Bible college, they also were leaving their homes and belongings behind. EYN had been planning for this eventuality, Noffsinger said, and was able to move some of the church’s important documents to another location in central Nigeria. However, Facebook posts and texts reveal that a swift Boko Haram advance forced EYN leaders and staff to leave quickly and unexpectedly.

The EYN district secretary for the area asked for prayer, via Facebook: “Pray for EYN HQ. We are displaced, trapped in the bush,” he wrote earlier in the weekend. Another Facebook post showed pictures of EYN families taking refuge “in the bush”--a Nigerian term for empty forested or scrub land that typically surrounds towns and villages. A “good Samaritan” gave shelter to some headquarters families on one night this weekend, including EYN president Samuel Dali and his wife Rebecca. She had attended the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in July to represent EYN.

Courtesy of EYN staff

EYN families after fleeing the church headquarters
Grants help kickstart emergency housing effort

The two Church of the Brethren grants totaling $30,000 are kickstarting the EYN effort to receive and house refugees in other parts of central Nigeria. “BDM is providing for emergency housing, food, and household supplies as the HQ of EYN are under threat of violence,” reported Roy Winter in an e-mail note over the weekend.

The $20,000 from the EDF begins funding a comprehensive joint response by the Church of the Brethren and EYN. This follows on a planning meeting held in August between EYN leaders and Global Mission and Service executive director Jay Wittmeyer and associate executive Roy Winter, who also heads up Brethren Disaster Ministries.

“As the situation is still so volatile and fluid, the plan requires considerable flexibility, monitoring, and adjustments as the situation changes,” said the grant request. The grant helps EYN begin a pilot project focused on temporary care centers for displaced EYN families in central Nigeria. The initial goal is to build a care center for 10 families, purchasing or renting land in the EYN name, building temporary homes and toilets, providing adequate water supply including pumps and well drilling if needed, funding transportation of people to the care center, providing mattresses with mosquito nets, three months of food supplies, and tools for agriculture.

“We have to be disciplined and allow their church leadership to make the decisions,” warned Noffsinger, as he commented on the role of the US church in this partnership with EYN. “This is really hard,” he added. Noffsinger said his own instinct is to offer help to EYN leadership to leave the country, but that is a North American response. “I sense from Samuel [Dali, EYN president] that he doesn’t want to leave his people. If it was me and America, I’d want to stay with my church.”

Noffsinger asks Brethren in the US, where he knows many people are “chomping at the bit to do something,” to respect the Nigerian church’s “ability to make excellent decisions without unjustly interfering.” His office, Global Mission and Service, and Brethren Disaster Ministries are making Nigeria a top priority, he said. His own focus this fall is to support EYN, and he is having to cancel two other ecumenical engagements, with regret, in order to do so.

This is a time when “external global influences that you can’t control are changing our agenda,” Noffsinger said.

Photo by Jay Wittmeyer

The large new assembly hall that was built at the EYN headquarters last year is one of the facilities left behind as church staff flee the area.
Brethren communities affected as insurgents take more territory

The Boko Haram extremist Islamist insurgent group fighting for a “pure Islamic state” has made more advances and taken more territory, just in the past few days according to news reports from Nigeria. In recent days, Boko Haram has taken Madagali, Gulak, Michika, and Uba, and attacked Biu.

Madagali, Gulak, Michika, and Uba had strong EYN church communities and some were locations of former Church of the Brethren Mission stations.

Nigerian and international news media report that the Nigerian army is attempting to halt the Boko Haram advance toward the key cities of Maiduguri--which is north of the Boko Haram controlled area, and Mubi--which is on the southeast of Boko Haram territory, and that fierce fighting has gone on between the Nigeria army and air force and the insurgents. Also, Boko Haram has begun attacking towns across the border in Cameroon.

The violence is affecting Muslims and Christians alike, reported Markus Gamache, EYN staff liaison who is a key organizer of the EYN refugee resettlement in central Nigeria. “Muslim brothers, friends, and Christians scattered in bush and hills reaching out to families in different cities for more prayers,” he wrote in an e-mail about the Boko Haram invasion of Gulak on Friday night, Sept. 5. His note contradicts media reports about army efforts to stay the advance, saying there was no effort to safeguard Gulak.

“Madagali, Gulak, and Michika are [some] of the most EYN traditional towns,” Gamache wrote. “Lord have mercy.”

In an earlier report on the refugee situation, and personal reflections on the crisis in Nigeria, Gamache noted that refugees were already pouring in before the latest Boko Haram advance. “More Muslims and Christians coming in,” he wrote in late August. “Three married men arrived on 31st August 2014 making 14 men and three women now in my house. More are on their way just trying to find a route to get out from the town that is under the control of Boko Haram.”

He added news from his home village, among others now under insurgent control: “On the 26th of August, 2014, there was forceful acceptance of Islam religion to people in my village. About 50 people at gunpoint accepted Islam as their faith while three young girls were kidnapped by BH. Very sad news coming from the villages about old people that were left behind because of their inability to run are dying in their rooms with no men or strong women to bury them. Old women also are dying alone with no help for food and water.”

His report included heartwrenching stories of families having to leave weakened or sick members or children behind, as they fled.

Photo courtesy of EYN staff

Two of the women who have fled the violence in the northeast of Nigeria and been given refuge by EYN in Jos
He also lamented what he characterized as the “typical” response of most Christians in Nigeria, writing that the general church community “in some ways...is preaching hate, rage, and division among the denominations and also portraying...Islam as a religion of killing and destruction. The Muslims are not spared too and they are also facing the same issue,” he noted. “When Jesus said love your enemies he probably meant you should not kill them. But lots of church leaders [are] preaching killing. If the devil is using both Christians and Muslims to kill each other, individuals should try their best not to join any form of wickedness.”

He lamented as well the way that Islam has been given precedence by the governments in many Nigerian states, to the detriment of justice and safety for Christians.

His thoughtful e-mail, written during a time of crisis, raised the big questions about what is going on. “How did the war start?” he wrote, in part. “Whatever we are doing now is the second place. We are trying to gather history, facts, and find a way to help the victims. What began in the north east as a sectarian crisis has now grown into full fledged terrorism. It started like a joke from religious street preaching [by a] political thug. The way poverty, corruption, and unemployment is being handled by the government actually gave more breeding space to most of our problems today.”

Darfur relief effort also receives EDF grant

Brethren Disaster Ministries also is directing an EDF grant of $30,000 to the Darfur area of Sudan, following an appeal from ACT Alliance for a 2014 Darfur Program. “Government directed violence and local tribal conflicts continue to create an insecure environment, threatening the lives and livelihoods of the population,” said the grant request. “Tribal clashes throughout the region in 2013 resulted in 300,000 new internally displaced persons, leading to overcrowding, and thus overtaxing of existing services and facilities.” The grant will help aid 586,000 including conflict-affected groups in camps, host communities, returnee villages, and agro-nomadic groups.

For more information, and how to help

For more about the Church of the Brethren mission in Nigeria and information about Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria go to www.brethren.org/nigeria.

To help support the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Emergency Disaster Fund grants for the relief effort, go to www.brethren.org/edf.

Source: 9/9/2014 Newsline

Brethren Foundation increases safety of client assets

Photo courtesy of BBT

BBT President Nevin Dulabaum and Director of Foundation Steve Mason lead a webinar with the District Executives to announce that Brethren Foundation Inc. is increasing its protection of client assets through the formation of Brethren Foundation Funds Inc.
The Brethren Foundation announces the creation of Brethren Foundation Funds Inc., a new 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation affiliated with BFI to hold all organizational (including congregational) client assets.

This new organizational structure will separate organizational client assets from the obligations and liabilities of BFI and its deferred gift program. “Although we believe that we currently offer a safe platform for invested assets and the risk to organizational client assets is low, we also believe this is an opportunity to provide an additional layer of protection for these assets,” says Steve Mason, director of BFI.

Functionally everything will continue to operate as it has. The same staff will support the same investment program with the same investment options and the same program features. After the transition period and with the exception of being branded “Brethren Foundation Funds Inc.,” this program enhancement will be invisible to clients.

A process, which has been developed with the guidance of legal counsel to be as simple as possible, will be initiated soon to move all organizational client assets from BFI to BFFI. A representative of each organizational client, authorized to initiate transactions on behalf of the client, will be required to complete a simple form giving approval to move the assets from BFI to BFFI. Direct communication between BFI and the primary contact for each organizational client will begin soon; please watch for more information on this in the very near future.

All deferred gift accounts (charitable gift annuities, charitable trusts, and charitable gift funds) will remain with BFI and BFI will serve as the administrator for BFFI.

Please contact Steve Mason, director of the Brethren Foundation, with questions or comments.  He can be reached at 847-622-3369 or smason@cobbt.org

-- Jean Bednar, director of communications for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), provided this release.

Source: 9/9/2014 Newsline

Bethany Seminary represented at environmental stewardship events

By Jenny Williams

Bethany Theological Seminary will be represented at two upcoming events devoted to environmental stewardship. The annual Seminary Stewardship Alliance Conference will be held Sept. 11-13 in Winston-Salem, N.C. Founded to help reconnect Christians with the biblical call to care for God’s creation, the alliance promotes and facilitates sustainable practices, scholarship on creation care, and networking and accountability among its member schools. It is sponsored by the educational nonprofit organization Blessed Earth. Bekah Houff, coordinator of outreach programs, will attend the conference as Bethany’s liaison.

Bethany joined the Seminary Stewardship Alliance in spring 2014, noting that its principles fit within the values of the Church of the Brethren and the seminary’s mission. A news release from the alliance stated that the conference will help seminaries integrate creation care and Sabbath values into their courses and campus cultures, with the hope that students who graduate from these institutions will share these values with the churches they pastor. Approximately 65 attendees are expected, with 27 seminaries represented.

Houff and Scott Holland, Slabaugh Professor of Theology and Culture, will be joined by Bethany students at Rooted and Grounded: A Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship, held Sept. 18-20. Sponsored and hosted by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Goshen, Ind., the conference will emphasize the connection between the environmental crisis and humanity’s increasing detachment from the land.

Speaking from the perspective of theology and ethics, Holland will present the paper, “The Urban Gardener and an Emerging Anabaptist Poetics of Space.” Three keynote addresses and a wide variety of papers and workshops are scheduled in the additional areas of biblical studies, spirituality, history, education, watershed discipleship, and land issues. Attendees also will be able to explore nature preserves, alternative farming practices, and other sustainability projects in the region. AMBS is a fellow member of the Seminary Stewardship Alliance.

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications and alumni/ae relations at Bethany Theological Seminary. For more about Bethany go to www.bethanyseminary.edu.

Source: 9/9/2014 Newsline

Global Food Crisis Fund supports Africa development symposium, clean water in Cuba

A grant of $2,500 from the Church of the Brethren Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) is supporting the participation by Brethren and those with Brethren connections at a development symposium in East Africa. A grant of $3,000 has been given from the fund to help install a clean water system at the headquarters of the Cuban Council of Churches.

Clean water project in Cuba

The $3,000 grant responds to an appeal from Living Waters for the World (LWW), a mission project of the Synod of Living Waters, Presbyterian Church (USA), at the initiative of Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger in support of this ecumenical project.

An ecumenical group will travel to Havana, Cuba, to install the clean water system for the Cuban Council of Churches, enabling the council to provide clean water to families and people working at and visiting their offices, and to neighboring offices and nearby residences.

Total cost will be between $12,000 and $15,000, with the balance of the funds coming from LWW, the University Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge, and the Presbyterian Church (USA). The Brethren funds will support purchase of water system hardware, replacement parts that must be taken from the US to Cuba, and clean water educational materials.

East Africa Highlands Symposium

Agricultural development workers from across East Africa will gather Oct. 28-30 for the East Africa Highlands Symposium organized by ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization). The training and networking event will share knowledge appropriate to farming in the highlands of East Africa. It will be held at the Kinindo Training Centre known as the Swedish Centre in Bujumbura, Burundi.

The $2,500 will help cover conference registration and travel costs for seven representatives of three GFCF partners: three from Eglise des Freres au Congo (Church of the Brethren in Congo); two from Gisenyi Evangelical Friends Church in Rwanda, which has been a GFCF partner for three years; and two from Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services, a new GFCF partner in Burundi with ties to Church of the Brethren members from Seattle, Wash.

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

Source: 9/9/2014 Newsline

Atlantic Southeast District holds eighth annual Family Peace Camp

By Berwyn Oltman

The 8th Annual Family Peace Camp in Atlantic Southeast District was held at Ithiel Camp and Retreat Center in central Florida on Aug. 29-31. The theme for the event, which was held just a few miles from Disney World, was “Living in the Magic Kin-dom.”

Guest leader David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project, helped the inter-generational group explore the kind of theme park Jesus might have envisioned, filled with exciting rides toward justice, simplicity, and love. The 35 youth and adult campers were challenged to work for environmental sustainability and to witness for global justice in a roller coaster world.

Worship leadership was provided by Karen Neff, Dawn Ziegler, Stephen Horrell, and Jean Lersch. A session was led by story-teller/illustrator Diana Jo Rosanno. Larry Bolinger, former missionary to Nigeria, spoke about how the faith of the Christians is helping them face the violence in their nation. Sue Smith reported about the “Ecumenical Advocacy Days” in Washington, D.C.

Recreational activities were led by Mike Neff and Marcus Harden, both on the camp staff. Eileen Callejas guided campers in crafting greeting cards to be given to lonely residents of nursing homes. A variety show on Saturday evening provided an opportunity for children, youth, and adults to share their talents.

The Family Peace Camp was sponsored by Camp Ithiel and the Action for Peace Team of the Atlantic Southeast District of the Church of the Brethren. Merle Crouse, a member of that team, was the dean for the camp.

-- This report was prepared by Berwyn Oltman.

Source: 9/9/2014 Newsline

Mission Offering focuses on praise and overflowing love, suggested date is Sept. 21

Mission Offering 2014
The annual Mission Offering to support Church of the Brethren mission around the world is focused on the theme “Praise: Overflow with Love,” with the suggested date of Sunday, Sept. 21. Visit www.brethren.org/missionoffering for related worship resources or to give now.

The theme scripture comes from Philippians 1:9-11: “And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.”

“In our relationships with partners, both global and local, do we value the spiritual basis of our partnership as highly as we do the material aid we offer, as necessary and valuable as it is? What are the ways we can support one another spiritually?” asked Nancy Sollenberger Heishman in her sermon starter for the 2014 Mission Offering, one of the resources offered online.

Other worship resources written by Heishman including litanies, readings, and prayers for worship as well as an invitation to bread and cup communion, and more. A scriptural exegesis is written by Joshua Brockway. Also provided are a children’s moment on the topic “A Harvest of Righteousness” as well as a link to a children’s activities sheet that may be downloaded.

Find the resources at www.brethren.org/missionoffering. Print materials are currently in the mail to churches and will arrive this week.

Source: 9/9/2014 Newsline

Brethren bits

  • Correction: Newsline last week incorrectly reported the project placement of Brethren Volunteer Service worker Lee Walters, who is serving at L’Arche Cork, not L’Arche Dublin.
Carl and Roxane Hill on a speaking tour about their work in Nigeria
“Brethren hospitality rocks,” write Carl and Roxane Hill, who have been traveling around the country this summer to various churches and retirement communities, sharing about their experiences as mission workers in Nigeria. “From the Rockies to the Jersey shore, from northern Iowa to Tucson, Ariz., we have stayed in over 18 homes and facilities,” they reported. “Thank you so much to all the churches and individuals that hosted us this summer. What a privilege to go around the country speaking about a subject so dear to us, Nigeria. Thanks for sharing your homes for overnights and meals, for taking us sightseeing and for the numerous discussions about Nigeria. Special thanks to Kendra Harbeck for coordinating our schedule. While in Nigeria we were able to continue the work of Jesus living peacefully, simply and together. This summer we were able to do the same thing. People around the world are unique yet very similar. It was awesome to experience hospitality on both continents. Our prayer is that we can continue to live out the motto of the Church of the Brethren. Pray for us as we wait for God to bring us the next ministry opportunity.” Shown here are just two of the Hills' stops across the country. Above: a "selfie" with George and Sylvia Hess of Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Ohio. Below: the Hills pose for a picture with Judith and David Whitten at the church in South Waterloo, Iowa.
Carl and Roxane Hill with Judith and David Whitten
  • Remembrance: Yvonne (Von) James, who was an employee of the former Church of the Brethren General Board from 1962-1985, passed away on Aug. 21. She began her employment with the Church of the Brethren in March 1962, serving first as a secretary for Central Office Services and for the Parish Ministries Commission. She was administrative assistant for the World Ministries Commission for 13 years, until her retirement in 1985. She also was active with Womaen’s Caucus, where she served on the Steering Committee ansd as longtime editor of the “Femailings” newsletter. A memorial service was held Sept. 8 in the chapel at Pinecrest Manor in Mt. Morris, Ill. The full obituary is at http://legacy.suburbanchicagonews.com/obituaries/stng-couriernews/obituary.aspx?n=yvonne-james&pid=172283562.
  • The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is seeking candidates to fill two positions: associate general secretary for Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace, and director of Communications and Development.

       The position of associate general secretary for Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace will be located in the NCC’s Washington, D.C., offices. Essential functions are, among others, to be primary staff to support the Convening Table on Joint Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace; take a lead role in the NCC’s priority emphasis on issues related to mass incarceration; work closely with staff colleagues and others on the NCC’s priority emphasis on interreligious relations with a focus on peace; coordinate the “SOS communicator’s e-mail list” to notify member communions of advocacy letters; be active in the Washington Interreligious Staff Community; take a leading role in planning for the NCC’s Christian Unity Gathering; serve as liaison to the Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) leadership team; serve as liaison to New Fire, the young adult network; serve as liaison to the NCC’s intergenerational think tank; and more. Essential skills and requirements include, among others, membership in an NCC member communion; education, training, and expertise in the content area of the Convening Table on Justice and Advocacy; deep understanding of ecumenism, interchurch relationships, and pertinent ecclesial concerns; facilitation, consensus building, and ability to connect people, ideas, work, and resources; and more. An advanced degree in theology, with the minimum of a master’s degree in theological studies, comparative religion, or related field is preferred, or significant relevant experience. An annual salary of $116,225, and 9 percent pension benefits, 22 days of paid vacation, and a significant health care insurance subsidy, are offered. To apply send a cover letter and resume by Sept. 30 to Ms. Elspeth Cavert, Office Manager, National Council of Churches of Christ, 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; Elspeth.cavert@nationalcouncilofchurches.us.

       The director of Communications and Development is responsible for managing the public relations work and fundraising efforts of the NCC. Essential functions include, among others, to work closely with the Development Committee to implement the development plan and provide creative leadership regarding fundraising opportunities; work closely with the Communications Committee to develop communications strategies and programs; produce and edit an electronic newsletter and lead social media efforts; maintain contact with communications staff of NCC member communions and partners and strategize with them; maintain contact with and develop strategic relationships with members of the secular and religious media to ensure the NCC has a high public profile; manage the NCC’s public relations, brand, and reputation, create and distribute press releases, action alerts, and marketing campaigns; and more. Essential qualifications include, among others, a degree in journalism, communications, or related field preferred; training in theology and ecumenism preferred; passion and experience for ecumenism and the work of the NCC; experience in managing a comprehensive strategic communications and media relations program to advance an organization’s mission and goals; track record in development and fundraising is desired; and more. An annual salary of $75,000 and 9 percent pension benefits, 22 days of paid vacation, and a significant health care insurance subsidy, are offered. To apply send a cover letter and resume by Sept. 30 to Ms. Elspeth Cavert, Office Manager, National Council of Churches of Christ, 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; Elspeth.cavert@nationalcouncilofchurches.us.
  • Southeastern District of the Church of the Brethren seeks a part-time office support staff person to be communications manager for the district. This is contract position is reviewed annually for renewal. The work can be done from home, and will include some travel and meetings. The communications manager will handle approved district-wide communications; monitor and update a webpage and social media; create and distribute agendas, newsletters, directories, Conference books and other needed media mailings; keep data and records for events including conferences and retreats; attend and help at District Conference; attend and provide needed paperwork for board meetings. Send a resume and letter of interest to the Southeastern District either by e-mail to sedcob@centurylink.net or by mail to Southeastern District Office, P.O. Box 8366, Gray, TN  37615. Resumes are due by Sept. 22. A more detailed job description will be made available to those who send a resume.
  • “Brethren hospitality rocks,” write Carl and Roxane Hill, who have been traveling around the country this summer to various churches and retirement communities, sharing about their experiences as mission workers in Nigeria. “From the Rockies to the Jersey shore, from northern Iowa to Tucson, Ariz., we have stayed in over 18 homes and facilities,” they reported. “Thank you so much to all the churches and individuals that hosted us this summer. What a privilege to go around the country speaking about a subject so dear to us, Nigeria. Thanks for sharing your homes for overnights and meals, for taking us sightseeing and for the numerous discussions about Nigeria. Special thanks to Kendra Harbeck for coordinating our schedule. While in Nigeria we were able to continue the work of Jesus living peacefully, simply and together. This summer we were able to do the same thing. People around the world are unique yet very similar. It was awesome to experience hospitality on both continents. Our prayer is that we can continue to live out the motto of the Church of the Brethren. Pray for us as we wait for God to bring us the next ministry opportunity.”
  • “Save the date” says an announcement from the Church of the Brethren Intercultural Ministries. May 1-3, 2015, are the dates for the next intercultural gathering in the denomination, to be hosted by Atlantic Northeast District at Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren. The gathering will be an opportunity for fellowship, worship, work, and continuing education credit for ministers. More information will be provided in upcoming months. For more about the intercultural ministries in the Church of the Brethren, contact Gimbiya Kettering at gkettering@brethren.org .
  • Bethany Theological Seminary will welcome prospective students to the fall Engage Visit Day on Oct. 31 at the campus in Richmond, Ind. Now in its seventh year, this event provides prospective students with practical information about enrolling in seminary study and includes them in seminary activities and experiences. Campus guests will take part in worship, interact with a panel of students, attend class, meet faculty, and be informed about the admissions process, with encouragement for each to continue discerning the path to which he or she is called. Registration and a schedule are at www.bethanyseminary.edu/visit/engage. For more information, contact Tracy Primozich, director of admissions, at primotr@bethanyseminary.edu.
  • In more news from Bethany, the seminary is taking part in the 2014 Seminary and Theological Grad School Virtual Fair on Sept. 17. This is Bethany's second year participating in the event with nearly 50 other seminaries across the country. Online live “fair” will answer admissions questions, with representatives from multiple seminary and graduate institutions participating during the event that is intended to connect from anywhere in real-time with educational program representatives. Participants have the option of uploading resumes prior to the event. Live chat hours are from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Register at CareerEco.com/events/seminary . For questions contact Tracy Primozich, director of Admissions, at 765-983-1832 or primotr@bethanyseminary.edu.
  • Williamson Road Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., is hosting a Renacer Harvest Banquet on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. This is billed as “a special evening to: fellowship, learn, share support, and just have fun.” Marvin Lorenzana is the keynote speaker. Leah Hileman and the Renacer’s Praise Dance will be sharing music. RSVP by Sept. 15. For questions and additional information contact Daniel D’Oleo at 540-892-8791.
  • In more news from Renacer in Roanoke, the Iglesia Cristiana Renacer church will host a praise and worship workshop led by Leah Hileman on the theme, “All of Me Will Praise You: Soul, Body and Spirit.” The evening of praise and worship training takes place Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. at the church at 2001 Carroll Avenue in Roanoke. Hileman is a Church of the Brethren minister, independent recording artist, and freelance writer, currently serving as interim pastor of Lake View Christian Fellowship in Southern Pennsylvania District. She has served the denomination as Annual Conference pianist (2008) and music coordinator (2010), has been a Standing Committee representative for Atlantic Southeast District, and most recently preached for National Youth Conference. For questions contact Daniel D’Oleo at 540-892-8791.
    L.I.F.T. weekend at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren
  • Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren celebrated a L.I.F.T. Weekend this past Sunday, Sept. 7. Dennis Webb, pastor of Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, was the guest speaker for the three morning worship services and “The Basement,” bringing “the gospel to FCOB in a powerful and anointed way,” said the church e-mail newsletter. Two morning services featured the Ridgeway Brass, a premier brass group in the area. Church members were encouraged to wear a t-shirt representing any ministry they have served in at the Frederick Church.
  • South Central Indiana District holds its district conference on Saturday, Sept. 13, at Pleasant Dale Church of the Brethren in Decatur, Ind.
  • The Camp Mack Festival is scheduled for Oct. 4. Camp Alexander Mack is a Church of the Brethren outdoor ministry center related to Northern Indiana and South-Central Indiana Districts, located near Milford, Ind. “Do candle dipping, corn shelling and grinding, rope making,” said an invitation. “Take a hayride and/or a train ride. Take children to Sarah Major for craft projects and games. Enter the “Make a scarecrow on the spot” contest. Enjoy live entertainment while you feast on delicious food choices. Help fund Capitol Improvements with your food and auction purchases.” The 5K Run/Walk for the Growing From the Ashes Campaign that is supporting the rebuilding of Becker Retreat Center is scheduled for Oct. 12. Register at www.campmack.org, cost is $20 for entries received by Sept. 30, or $25 for entries after that date including on race day. In addition to the 5K, a kid’s fun run will begin at 3 p.m., cost is $10 or $15 after Sept. 30.
  • Shenandoah District Pastors for Peace will sponsor “Peace and Mental Health: A Mental Health First Aid Training Event” on Nov. 21-22 at Linville Creek Church of the Brethren in Broadway, Va., beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and concluding at 2 p.m. Saturday. The event will “help attendees understand the signs and symptoms of a variety of mental health conditions and provide the skills and knowledge to be able to help if present when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis,” said an announcement. The presenter is Rebekah Brubaker of the Harrisonburg Rockingham Community Services Board. Cost of $40 includes dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturday. Ordained clergy may earn 0.8 continuing education credit. Overnight accommodations and breakfast at the nearby John Kline Homestead are available for an additional fee. Registration information is at http://origin.library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1110837621104-374/2014PeaceMentalHealth+Reg+Form.pdf . For questions contact David R. Miller at drmiller.cob@gmail.com or 540-578-0241.
  • The Apple Butter Festival at Cross Keys Village-the Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa., continues to grow and is popular because of its food, entertainment, and car show--plus apple butter and fresh bread to take home, said an announcement from Southern Pennsylvania District. This year’s Apple Butter Festival will be held Oct. 10, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., in and around the Nicarry Meetinghouse. For more contact f.buhrman@crosskeysvillage.org.
  • To raise awareness of the impact of climate change, representatives of churches, ecumenical organizations, and the United Nations stood together in the sea in Apia, Samoa, in prayerful solidarity with those vulnerable to rising sea-levels and extreme weather events, reports the World Council of Churches (WCC) in a release. The prayer was conducted on Sept. 4 as part of the OurVoices.net international campaign of people from diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds who are urging world leaders to agree to a strong climate treaty at the UN climate talks in 2015. Participants in the prayer included representatives of the WCC, Samoa Council of Churches, Pacific Conference of Churches, and the UN. A germinating coconut served as a “symbol of hope and resilience in life” and former ambassador to the UN, Dessima Williams, threw the coconut into the ocean, where it would inevitably find its way back to shore, grow, and show its resilience, the release said. Williams commented that such global actions of solidarity are a reminder that “people around the world care deeply about those impacted by climate change.” She invited others to offer Solidarity Sea Prayers and to send their pictures to info@ourvoices.net for sharing with world leaders.
  • In related news, the WCC also is helping to organize an Interfaith Summit on Climate Change to take place in New York City on Sept. 221-22. For more about the event, go to http://interfaithclimate.org.
Source: 9/9/2014 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 Jean Bednar, Jeff Boshart, Carl and Roxane Hill, Gimbiya Kettering, Nancy Miner, Stan Noffsinger, Berwyn Oltman, Russell and Deborah Payne, Callie Surber, Jenny Williams, Roy Winter, Jay Wittmeyer, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.