Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Newsline: October 7, 2014


Grants support BDM project site in New Jersey, war recovery in Gaza, Ebola response in Liberia

The Brethren Disaster Ministries staff is directing a total of $54,000 from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to the disaster rebuilding project at Toms River, N.J., war recovery work by the Shepherd Society in Gaza, and the fight against the spread of Ebola in Liberia.
An allocation of $40,000 continue funding for a Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in Toms River, N.J., following devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy in Oct. 2012. The ministry is partnering with O.C.E.A.N., Inc., which is providing the land to build six single family homes in Berkeley Township, N.J. The new homes, to be managed and maintained by O.C.E.A.N., Inc., will be rented on a sliding scale to low- and moderate-income families with special needs who also were affected by Super Storm Sandy.

Currently construction of the first three homes is being completed, and construction on three more homes is expected to begin as soon as the foundations are laid. Brethren Disaster Ministries anticipates the response in this region to expand to include more new homes as well.

A grant of $10,000 has been given to the Shepherd Society to aid in war recovery efforts in Gaza following a 50-day war between Gaza and Israel. The Shepherd Society has a goal to help 1,000 Gazan families with a minimum of $200 per family. The Brethren grant will provide humanitarian assistance to 50 families devastated by the war, providing food, medicine, and supplies including blankets, mattresses, and gas bottles, as well as rent for displaced families.

A grant of $4,000 to Church Aid in Liberia continues the Brethren Disaster Ministries response to the worst Ebola outbreak in history. The Church of the Brethren has partnered with Church Aid in Liberia in the past through grants for humanitarian assistance, agriculture support, and reconstruction after the civil war. Also, Global Food Crisis Fund grants have been given for seeds and agricultural inputs. Today Church Aid is working to educate the public about Ebola to help prevent the continued spread of the disease. This grant provides funds for training, travel expenses, and support of trainers working in Liberia.

A previous grant of $15,000 was given in August to an IMA World Health appeal for support of Ebola health workers in Liberia, through the Christian Health Association of Liberia.

To support Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Emergency Disaster Fund, go to www.brethren.org/edf.

Source: 10/7/2014 Newsline

Nigerian and American Brethren continue aid to those displaced by violence, MMB members to engage in advocacy for Nigeria

Youth at one of the relocation sites for displaced people
Photos from a day of blessing for one of the relocation sites for Nigerians displaced by violence, which are being developed by Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in cooperation with Brethren Disaster Ministries. A former president of EYN, Filibus Gwama (at left below) visited the site with EYN staff liaison Markus Gamache (at right below) to meet with the people in the camp as well as local community leaders, and to lead in blessing the project. Shown below, the two EYN leaders meet with a local community leader who welcomed the project, Gamache reported. Above, displaced youth receive blessing from an elder.
 Former EYN president Filibus Gwama meets with a local leader
Efforts continue by Nigerian and American Brethren to aid those displaced by violence in northeastern Nigeria, where news media report continued fighting and EYN members report more attacks in which members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) were abducted or killed.

Two members of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board--chair elect Don Fitzkee and Naperville (Ill.) pastor Dennis Webb--will be in Washington, D.C., tomorrow for a training, and while in the city will visit their congressional district offices in an advocacy effort focused on Nigeria. The two also will meet with the president and general secretary of the National Council of Churches, and will be hosted for a meal hosted by Office of Public Witness director Nate Hosler.

The Office of Public Witness has prepared a document outlining goals for the advocacy focused on Nigeria, and the message to share with US politicians. In addition to information about the devastating situation faced by EYN, based on a recent report from EYN president Samuel Dali (see www.brethren.org/news/2014/newsline-special-eyn-is.html ), the effort encourages a “demilitarized response” to the instability in Nigeria.

The document points out that the US government “has disproportionately emphasized and developed military responses to its foreign policy and assistance to conflict stricken regions.... Instead, we encourage you to strengthen accounts and offices such as the US Bureau of Conflict Stabilization Operations that are critical to encouraging and supporting effective peacebuilding and conflict mitigation efforts in Nigeria and the broader region.”

Other messages urge provision of “rapid and robust assistance” to internally displaced people and refugees and their host communities in Nigeria, as well as support for local nongovernmental organizations, and job creation for the young and un- or underemployed.

In a section titled, “Accountability and Compassion as Our Guide,” the document urges the US and international community to help screen Nigerian security service personnel with an aim to identifying those with a history of human rights abuse and sympathizers of Boko Haram. It quotes EYN president Samuel Dali, who wrote in a communication to the United Nations earlier this summer: “Mercy, compassion, and importance of every human life should guide the thinking, activities, and action of the UN.”

Work to aid the displaced continues

With leadership from EYN staff, work continues on two relocation project sites for displaced people. One of the sites is open to the interfaith community and provides shelter for affected families from both Christian and Muslim backgrounds side by side.

Filibus K. Gwama, a former EYN president, traveled with EYN staff liaison Markus Gamache to the relocation project sites in central Nigeria and held blessing ceremonies with youth, women, and others who were present. He also met with local community leaders, and aided in the work required to purchase the land, according to a report from Gamache.

The recent grant to the work in Nigeria from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) will be focused on providing food and supplies to a large refugee encampment, and the work of CCEPI, reports Brethren Disaster Ministries associate executive director Roy Winter. CCEPI, or the Center for Compassion, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives, is a nonprofit humanitarian organization founded and led by prominent EYN member Rebecca Dali with a focus on aid for widows and orphans of the violence, and displaced families.

The large-scale food and supplies distribution is taking place in the city of Yola, where many EYN members and others fled in mid-August after the community of Michika and surrounding area was overrun by Boko Haram insurgents, and the area north of the city of Mubi was threatened.

Fighting, killing, abductions also continue

News media in Nigeria reported fierce fighting this week between the army and insurgents in the Michika area north of Mubi, as Nigerian forces attempt to regain control there. Reports cite hundreds of people killed, both insurgents and Nigerian soldiers, as well as civilians.

An interview with Rebecca Dali by World Watch Monitor echoes a report she posted on Facebook last week concerning the situation in Michika, which is her home town. She also reported an attack by Boko Haram on the community of Ngoshe, in which many people--including whole families--were abducted or killed. “How can I celebrate my birthday with a homeless, scattered family?” is the title of her interview with World Watch Monitor, at www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2014/10/3413197.

In the communities of Shaffa and Shindiffu, an attack by insurgents in late September burned at least three EYN churches and a parsonage, as well as an EYN dispensary and secondary school, a Bura Bible translation office, staff quarters of Theological Education by Extension (TEE), and many homes. Among those killed were pastors and leaders of EYN and other churches, community leaders, and EYN members and families, among others. A report of the attack from an EYN member was received by e-mail, sent to a former mission worker.

Gifts to the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) help support the disaster relief work in Nigeria. Make gifts online at www.brethren.org/edf or send by mail to Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. More information about the work of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria and about EYN is at www.brethren.org/nigeria.

Source: 10/7/2014 Newsline

Ecumenical study committee shares preliminary work, plans for Annual Conference 2015

Ecumenical Vision Study Committee members enjoy the rose garden at the home of committee member Wanda Haynes (not pictured: Jennifer Hosler).
By Liz Bidgood Enders and Nancy Miner

The Annual Conference study committee on an Ecumenical Vision for the 21st Century met Aug. 27-28 in Seattle, Wash. With gorgeous weather and a stunning view of Mt. Rainier, the group was blessed to receive the hospitality of Columbia-Lakewood Community Church in Seattle, which is jointly affiliated with the Church of the Brethren and the United Church of Christ.

The committee was tasked by the 2012 Annual Conference to “write a ‘Vision of Ecumenism for the 21st Century’ that builds upon our history while calling us into the future of the church of Christ as part of a community of communions.” The Seattle meeting was the second face-to-face gathering of this group. Last year, committee members met in New Windsor, Md., to set direction for the paper and outline a process by which to gather information and create a shared vision.

At the Seattle meeting, members shared preliminary findings from an online survey and two insight sessions held at Annual Conference 2014. Sections of the paper will include scriptural connections, a history of ecumenical involvement, current realities in local, national, and world ecumenical partnerships, and a vision for the future that honors a Brethren value of relationship-building.

As the committee met, it felt important to include voices from the wider church, and the group will solicit input from ecumenical partners and from the leadership of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Plans are to present the paper at the 2016 Annual Conference.

In reference to the hope and goal of our work together, Tim Speicher who is convener of the committee, wrote, “We are looking to empower individuals, congregations, and the denomination to serve in the work and voice of Christ as we cooperate in common concerns with ecumenical and interfaith partners.”

In addition to outlining sections of the paper, the committee developed preliminary plans for insight sessions at Annual Conference 2015 that will go beyond offering information to include resources for communities and a challenge to embrace partnerships n the wider body of Christ.

Members of the study committee are Tim Speicher of Wyomissing, Pa., convener; Liz Bidgood Enders of Harrisburg, Pa.; Wanda Haynes of Seattle, Wash.; Jennifer Hosler of Washington, D.C.; and David Shumate of Roanoke, Va. Larry Ulrich of Lombard, Ill., also had been a member of the committee until his death in Dec. 2013. Staff support is given by Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, and Nancy Miner, manager of the Office of the General Secretary.

-- Liz Bidgood Enders and Nancy Miner contributed this report.

Source: 10/7/2014 Newsline

On Earth Peace board meeting helps mark 40 years, celebrates Bob Gross

Photo courtesy of On Earth Peace

The On Earth Peace board and staff.
By Gail Erisman Valeta

During the 40th anniversary of the ministry of On Earth Peace, board and staff met for their fall board meeting at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on Sept. 17-20. Throughout this anniversary year, On Earth Peace is leading a Visions and Dreams of Building Peace campaign, including recorded interviews of hopes for peace for the next 40 years.

To continue the way forward in anti-war and peace and justice efforts, the On Earth Peace board and staff examined how and where our journey with structural power, privilege and racism can improve. We realize that almost every war begins with projecting the enemy as “less than” and instituting racism. A proposal from the Anti-Racism Planning and Design Task Force was submitted to help create a more permanent design to address oppression such as racism. An On Earth Peace Anti-Racism Transformation Team will be created. On Earth Peace will be accepting applicants to better achieve that goal.

The board and staff also hosted a Farewell Celebration of Bob Gross’ time on staff, recognizing the huge contributions he has made in his 20 years in a variety of staff positions, including former executive director. Friends, family, and supporters joined the On Earth Peace staff and board to show our appreciation with a Visions and Dreams video clip, a skit, and notes of appreciation from all across the denomination. Our heartfelt thanks goes to Bob and Rachel, and family, for their incredible journey with the organization.

The board heard updates about our work at National Youth Conference and current efforts with conflict transformation and nonviolent social change. The staff also is exploring how our work can grow. Bill Scheurer, executive director, will be attending the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board, and staff and board will continue to attend district conferences.

We recognized and appreciated the service of board members Ken Wenger and David R. Miller, and welcomed three new board members: Carla Gillespie, George Barnhart, and Barbara Avent. A Peace Day service was led by staff member Matt Guynn. Peace Day is an annual event on or near Sept. 21 to help promote peace in our lives, families, communities, and world.

-- Gail Erisman Valeta serves as vice chair of the On Earth Peace board.

Source: 10/7/2014 Newsline

Theme announced for Bethany Seminary Peace Essay Contest

By Jenny Williams

Aspiring student writers are encouraged to begin considering their entries for Bethany Seminary’s 2015 Peace Essay Contest: Peacemaking, Creation Justice, and the Beloved Community. Building on its success in 2014, the contest again is being held as part of the peace studies program at the seminary.

The peace essay contest is open to seminary, graduate school, college, and high school students who are fully enrolled in a program en route to a degree. Prizes of $2,000, $1,000, and $500 will be awarded for the top three essays. Topics to address may include but are not limited to the following:
  • creation care
  • a just peace with creation
  • indigenous communities’ rights
  • environmental racism
  • gender and ecology
  • creating a greener economy
  • creation-centered spirituality
  • forging alliances across the traditional “left-vs.-right” ideological framing of US politics
  • intercultural coalitions for the common good
Scott Holland, Slabaugh Professor of Theology and Culture at Bethany, sees the 2015 theme as a timely one, noting how the recent People’s Climate March in New York City drew participants from across political, religious, and cultural boundaries toward a common cause. “I have spoken with career farmers, experimental urban gardeners, and students of religion and science who--in the spirit of the New York march--are convinced that creation care is becoming a unifying peace and justice issue. All express the conviction that it will be difficult to achieve peace among the nations unless we together make peace with the gift of God's creation through responsible stewardship of the land.”

A natural fit within the teaching and learning in peace studies at Bethany, the essay contest is underwritten by the Jennie Calhoun Baker Endowment, funded by John C. Baker in honor of his mother. Described as a “Church of the Brethren woman ahead of her time,” she was known for actively pursuing peacemaking by meeting the needs of others, providing community leadership, and upholding the value of creative and independent thinking in education. John Baker saw her vision and modeling of contemporary peacemaking reflected in Bethany’s collaborative leadership among the three Historic Peace Churches and thus selected the seminary to administer the endowment’s programs.

John Baker, a philanthropist for peace with a distinguished career in higher education, and his wife had also helped establish the peace studies program at Bethany with an earlier endowment gift. “John and Elizabeth Baker were deeply committed to building cultures of peace,” says Holland. “This peace essay contest is intended to encourage thoughtful writing on peace in essays that are informed by the rich traditions of God's shalom and Christ's peace yet articulated in voices that are public, ecumenical, and interfaith. There is also the hope that this contest will lead to international networking and partnerships in pursuit of peace.”

Holland administers the Baker endowment programs and is assisted in the essay contest by Bekah Houff, coordinator of outreach programs, who chairs the planning committee. Other members of this year’s committee are Kirsten Beachy, assistant professor of visual and communication arts at Eastern Mennonite University (Mennonite); Ben Brazil, assistant professor and director of the Ministry of Writing Program at Earlham School of Religion (Friends); Randy Miller, editor of the Church of the Brethren “Messenger” magazine; Abbey Pratt-Harrington, alumna of Earlham School of Religion (Friends); and Joanna Shenk, one of the pastors at First Mennonite Church in San Francisco. Brazil, Holland, Miller, and Shenk also will serve as judges.

Essays can be submitted between Jan. 1-26, 2015, and results will be announced by the end of Feb. 2015. Winning essays will appear in selected publications of the Church of the Brethren, Friends, and Mennonite faith communities. For guidelines, terms, and submission procedures, go to www.bethanyseminary.edu/peace-essay . Contact Bekah Houff at houffre@bethanyseminary.edu or 765-983-1809 for additional information.

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications and alumni/ae relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.

Source: 10/7/2014 Newsline

Bob Gross announces departure from On Earth Peace

Photo by : File photo

Bob Gross
On Earth Peace's development director, Bob Gross, has announced his departure from the staff, effective Dec. 31. Gross has served with On Earth Peace since 1994, when he joined the staff as part-time coordinator of the Ministry of Reconciliation.

He also served as co-director and executive director of the organization for many years. On Earth Peace plans to share a fuller retrospective on his service in December as his departure date approaches.

“We are grateful for Bob's two decades of service, and excited that he will continue being involved with On Earth Peace as a program volunteer!” said a recent announcement from On Earth Peace.

Source: 10/7/2014 Newsline

Enten Eller resigns position at Bethany Seminary

Enten Eller, director of electronic communication and educational technology at Bethany Theological Seminary, will resign as of Nov. 7. He began his employment at Bethany in July 2006.

Initially hired as director of distributed education and electronic communications, Eller expanded the scope of both programs. In 2010 he moved into a full-time position as director of electronic communication, with the number of master of divinity students in the Connections distance education program having more than tripled during his tenure. His communications work has included redesign and expansion of the seminary’s website, establishing a prevalent use of webcasting, and installation of a technology classroom for Bethany’s first-ever synchronous class offerings.

Eller lives in Ambler, Pa., where is part of a part-time bivocational pastoral team at Ambler Church of the Brethren with his wife, Mary, a position he will continue to hold. He also plans to explore other employment opportunities.

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications and alumni/ae relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.

Source: 10/7/2014 Newsline

Statelessness and the Least of These: Nationality, identity, and when you have neither

This first appeared as a Sept. 18 blog post by Nate Hosler of the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness, about his experience at a consultation on statelessness held in Den Dolder, the Netherlands, on Sept. 12-14, sponsored by the World Council of Churches and the Dutch Christian organization Kerk in Actie. The consultation was in preparation for the First Global Forum on Statelessness organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Tilburg University in the Hague, the Netherlands:
A week ago I boarded a flight from D.C. to Amsterdam to head to the World Council of Churches’ Consultation on Statelessness and the First Global Forum on Statelessness, where participants from over 70 countries were present. We had booked a flight, made sure I had a place to stay, and I quickly packed, about two hours before leaving for the week-long trip. The organizers of the World Council of Churches’ Consultation on Statelessness knew I was coming but other than the airline and the hostel, the Netherlands was unaware of my imminent arrival as was the US of my departure. Though unannounced I sailed through passport control barely breaking my stride.

While as an Anabaptist/Church of the Brethren variety of Christian I am rather ambivalent concerning nationality and the notion of national identity, this ease of border crossing (and my presumption that they will let me back in upon arrival in D.C.) is a level of assurance that is, well, assuring. This is, however, far from universal experience.

The two conferences I have been attending, both the WCC’s consultation and the First Global Forum on Statelessness, deal with people on precisely the opposite end of the spectrum. It is estimated that there are more than 10 million people throughout the world who are stateless. By stateless we mean they are without a nationality and without the benefits that this typically confers. People can be de jure or de facto stateless. The former is when a person is legally without a nationality and the latter is when someone is unable to effectively establish nationality or whose nationality is either disputed or ineffective.

Some discussion around statelessness focuses on the lack of identity that people feel. It is in this part of the discussion that I feel some ambivalence. As a follower of Jesus, in whom “there is no Jew or Greek” and presumably no American, Canadian, or Nigerian, I hold that the nation-state is not the locus of identity. So while I don’t wish to undervalue people’s sense of displacement I find the lack of national identity as a less poignant concern of the many concerns bound up in statelessness.

Much discussion, however, focuses on those communities and individuals who suffer severely from neglect and active repression. At the WCC consultation we were visited by Imon Khan. He was part of the Rohyinga ethnic minority in Myanmar. In 1982 a change in citizenship laws rendered thousands of Rohyinga stateless. Iman was one of those who ended up in Bangladesh stateless. Eventually, after both parents died and someone convinced him that he would easily find a job in the Netherlands, he paid a smuggler to get him to Amsterdam.

Upon arrival he was alternately conned out of his money and pushed to the streets. When he visited the consultation, he wore a hat pulled low. In addition to telling his story he said he suffered from high blood pressure from the anxiety and uncertainty. Eventually, through the afternoon and evening he spent with the group, he removed his hat and began to relax. Upon leaving he said that this was the first time in his 26-year life that he felt like people had treated him like a human. While I don’t want to over analyze this brief encounter, it illustrates the double component of lack of identity and belonging, as well as the risk and deprivation that stateless persons experience.

In hopes of helping people like Imon, we drafted a statement affirming the the WCC’s 10th Assembly statement adopted last year on statelessness, and recommending ways in which we as member churches can begin or continue to address statelessness in our corners of the world. The statement we released set our theological commitments alongside the problem before moving on to concrete recommendations:
  • “The underlying theological assumption of active concern for those who are suffering is the belief that all people created by God constitute an inextricable unity. Solidarity and compassion are virtues that all Christians are called to practice, regardless of their possessions, as signs of their Christian discipleship. Compassion and care for one another and acknowledging the image of God in all humanity is at the core of our Christian identity and an expression of Christian discipleship.”
  • “These biblical and theological bases motivate us as churches and Christian bodies to express our Christian commitment and to be engaged in our prophetic witness to speak for the rights of those who are voiceless and marginalized as stateless people.”
As I board the plane tomorrow and make the journey home I will certainly be thinking about the many things I heard and remembering the many people I met. More importantly, however, I will be reflecting on the ways the Office of Public Witness can bring the issue of statelessness and the people affected into our work.

-- Nate Hosler is director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness, based in Washington, D.C. Find the full statement from the consultation at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/files/DENDOLDERRECOMMENDATIONS.pdf. Find a WCC release reporting on the First Global Forum on Statelessness at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/church-voices-address-statelessness-at-the-hague-global-forum. This reflection was first published as a blog post. Find more reflections from the Office of Public Witness and how to sign up to receive blog posts by e-mail at http://blog.brethren.org/category/public-witness.

Source: 10/7/2014 Newsline

Brethren bits

  • Correction: The location for the Gathering event in Western Plains District on Oct. 24-26 was given incorrectly in a previous issue of Newsline. The Gathering will be held in Salina, Kan., at the Webster Conference Center. The Gathering is held annually as a transformational initiative in the district. This year the theme will be “Blessed, Broken, and Inspired,” from Mark 6:30-44.
  • Remembrance: Charles M. Bieber, 95, who served as moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in 1977 and was a former mission worker in Nigeria as well as a former district executive, died on Sept. 27. He and his wife, Mary Beth, served as Church of the Brethren mission workers in Nigeria from 1950-63. He worked as a district executive minister in Northern Indiana District for seven years, from 1978-86. He also served pastorates in Nebraska and Pennsylvania and was pastor emeritus at Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. In addition to moderating Annual Conference, his volunteer leadership in the denomination included a term on the former General Board, participation in an Annual Conference study committee on world missions, service on the Board of Trustees of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and membership on the board of the Disaster Relief Auction. He also wrote articles for “Messenger” magazine and published two books, a history of the Ephrata Church titled “Keeping the Embers Aglow,” and an autobiography, “Around the World in Eighty Years.” He was a graduate of Juniata College, Philadelphia School of Nursing, and Bethany Bible School, now Bethany Theological Seminary. He was born Sept. 11, 1919, in Williamsport, Pa., to the late George and Edith (Seriff) Bieber. He married Mary Beth High on June 24, 1944. They celebrated 60 years of marriage before her death in July 2004. He is preceded in death by an adopted son, Karagama Gadzama. He is survived by children Larien (Nancy) Bieber of Millersville, Pa.; Dale (Carla Nester) Bieber of Iowa City, Iowa; Bonnie Concoran of Amery, Wis.; Marla (Jim) Bieber Abe of Carlisle, Pa.; Doreen (Myron) Miller of Lebanon, Pa.; “adopted” children, Jeannette Matarita, Xinia Tobias, Bellanice Cordero, and Njidda Gadzama; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren. The family has thanked his special pen pal, Mary Ann Payne, for her friendship with him for many years. Two memorial services were held, on Oct. 3 at the Brethren Village Chapel in Lancaster, Pa., and on Oct. 4 at Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions are received to the EYN Compassion Fund aiding Nigerians affected by violence, or to Juniata College.
  • Remembrance: Wayne B. Zook, 86, who twice served on the former General Board of the Church of the Brethren and was a family physician for 39 years in Wenatchee, Wash., passed away on Sept. 9. Dr. Zook served on the former General Board from 1963-69, and again from 1972-73. During the 1970s and 1980s he was very involved with the church at the district and denominational levels. His father, Ray E. Zook, had been a district executive in the Church of the Brethren and a Brethren minister for 50 years. Wayne Zook was born in Cresco, Iowa, on Oct. 2, 1927, and grew up in Flora, Ind. He attended Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and while in college volunteered as a Heifer Project “seagoing cowboy” for two trips taking livestock by ship to war-ravaged Poland. He attended medical school at Indiana University. While there he married Evelyn Johnson in 1950. He was an active member of Wenatchee Brethren-Baptist Church and was active in the Wenatchee Rotary Club where he served as president 1971-72, and was president of the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce in 1987. In addition he was an active member of many professional medical associations, and was named Washington State Family Physician of the Year in 1982. He is survived by his wife of 64 years and daughter Teri Zook White and sons Kim Zook and Dale Zook, and numerous extended family members. A memorial service was held on Sept. 27 at Wenatchee Brethren-Baptist Church.
  • Southeastern District of the Church of the Brethren has hired Jane Collins as communication manager for the district office. She is an active member at Jackson Park Church of the Brethren in Jonesborough, Tenn., and hold a degree in accounting and business management from Milligan College. She also is reading clerk for the district.
  • Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren-related nonprofit continuing care retirement community in the Rock River Valley of Illinois, is seeking a director of Social Services. The primary purpose of this position is to plan, organize, develop, and direct the overall operation of the facility’s Social Service Department in accordance with current federal, state, and local standards, guidelines, and regulations, and established policies and procedures to assure that the medically related emotional and social needs of residents are met and maintained on an individual basis. This person manages the admission process and needs to be knowledgeable in the areas of Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance. The qualified candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, with a master’s degree preferred, and must be licensed in the State of Illinois. The candidate must possess leadership ability and willingness to work harmoniously with and supervise personnel. A minimum of two years of experience in a long-term care facility or other related medical facility is required. Submit a resume to Victoria L. Marshall PHR, Human Resources Director, Pinecrest Community, 414 South Wesley Ave., Mount Morris, IL  61054. Find more information about Pinecrest Community at www.pinecrestcommunity.org.
  • An upcoming webinar has been postponed. “Telling the Truth and Shaming the Devil: A Postcolonial Take on Urban Mission in the 21st Century” originally scheduled for Oct. 9 has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. “We look forward to scheduling a future date with Dr. Anthony Reddie,” said an announcement from Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices for the Church of the Brethren.
  • Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has added a new volunteer training to its fall schedule. “This is the first training scheduled as a result of our Gulf Coast Expansion project,” reports Kathleen Fry-Miller, associate director of Children’s Disaster Services. The training will take place in Sarasota, Fla., on Nov. 21-22, hosted by the American Red Cross (2001 Cantu Ct., Sarasota, FL 34232). The local contact person is Joy Haskin Rowe, CDS Gulf Coast Regional Coordinator, 540-420-4896, cdsgulfcoast@gmail.com. Already scheduled by CDS is a training on Oct. 24-25 in Portland, Ore. For more information and registration forms to take part in CDS trainings, go to www.brethren.org/cds.
    Shine logo - Brethren Press and MennoMedia Christian education curriculum for Sunday school, starting fall 2014
  • “We want to hear from Shine teachers!” said an invitation from the Shine curriculum, a joint project of Brethren Press and MennoMedia. “Sometimes it is best to get feedback while people are in the midst of using an item. As we make plans for Year 2 of Shine, we’d like to have input from those using Shine about what works and doesn’t work for them and for their group of children.” In addition to the evaluation form on the inside front cover of every Shine teacher’s guide, there is an online evaluation form available at https://shinecurriculum.com/evaluationform . “If you are a teacher, please complete one of these forms,” said the invitation. “If you work with teachers, encourage them to complete an evaluation form soon.”
  • In more news from Shine and Brethren Press, orders for Quarter 2, Winter 2014-2015 can be made now. “Products are in our warehouses, ready to be shipped to your congregation,” said an announcement. “Order early to give new teachers time to review the materials.” Contact Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or order online at www.brethrenpress.com. For more about the Shine curriculum go to www.shinecurriculum.com or check out the Shine Facebook page at www.facebook.com/shinecurriculum.
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Church of the Brethren staff receive a check for the Global Food Crisis Fund from the Colors of Humanity Art Gallery, represented by Nancy Watts of the Treasurer’s Office, and Matt DeBall of donor communications.
  • The Church of the Brethren Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) recently received a unique gift, from the Colors of Humanity Art Gallery. “We are a brand new online art gallery that has monthly juried art shows. Each month we donate 10 percent of all entry fees to a worthy organization,” explained Janelle Cogan in an e-mail to GFCF manager Jeff Boshart. “Our October show is ‘Landscapes’ and we would like to donate to the Global Food Crisis Fund.” A check of $116 representing 58 entries received, was mailed in by Colors of Humanity late last month. The Landscapes show will run Oct. 1-31. For more information go to www.colorsofhumanityartgallery.com.
  • His Way Church of the Brethren in Mills River, N.C., is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Oct. 12 at 3 p.m., at Rapha House (127 School House Rd., Mills River). All are welcome to come and help celebrate, said an announcement from Southeastern District.
Messy Church event at Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Denver
  • Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in the Denver area is starting a new inter-generational opportunity called “Messy Church.” Said a Facebook post by Gail Erisman Valeta, one of the pastoral team: “We are so excited about starting Messy Church at Prince of Peace on Sat. Oct. 11 from 5-6:30! Check it out! Life is messy so come as you are!” The event is intended to “bring together all generations to celebrate God's love and the presence of Jesus in our lives.”
  • A “Spiritual Renewal Circuit Ride” in Iowa featured Samuel Sarpiya, a Church of the Brethren minister and church planter from Rockford, Ill. He spoke at four Churches of the Brethren in Iowa (Fairview, Ottumwa, English River, and Prairie City) on four consecutive evenings, Oct. 5-8. All of the meetings started with a meal, followed by worship and the message.
  • Pews from Enders (Neb.) Church of the Brethren have found a new home at the Tok’ahookaadi congregation and Lybrook Community Ministries in Cuba, N.M., after the Enders Church building was closed. The building had suffered damage in several thunderstorms. Western Plains District reported in its newsletter that Dave and Jane Sampson of Hutchinson Community Church of the Brethren drove a trailer filled with pews and several boxes of Sunday school material from Nebraska to New Mexico on Sept. 15. “The Enders congregation is very happy to find a home and good use for some of the church’s possessions,” the newsletter said.
  • Western Plains District recently published a wrap up of the district conference, which was held July 25-27 on the theme, “Pursuing Peace.” Highlights included representation from 28 congregations including the Tok’ahookaadi Church of the Brethren and Lybrook Community Ministries in Cuba, N.M. “Kim and Jim Therrien presented a Lybrook insight session, where several Lybrook community members shared their stories,” the report said. Service projects supported the local United Way and $7,330 dollars were raised through the Projects Unlimited Auction. The theme inspired dramas and works of art, and was highlighted in business sessions through video interviews of district elders Paul Hoffman and Ellis Yoder, who shared their personal life stories and perspectives on conscientious objection and the military. The district youth shared their experiences and insights from National Youth Conference, and a message was given by On Earth Peace executive director Bill Scheurer. Ordained ministers who were honored for significant milestones in ministry were Mike Schneider and Jon Tuttle, 5 years; Barbra Davis, 10 years; Sonja Griffith and Tom Smith, 15 years; Stephen Klinedinst, 20 years; Edwina Pote (in memoriam, deceased June 26, 2014), 25 years; Francis Hendricks and Jean Hendricks, 35 years; John Carlson, 45 years; Lyall Sherred, 55 years; Dean Farringer and Charles Whitacre, 70 years.
  • Two Church of the Brethren districts held their annual district conferences last weekend: Idaho District, which met at Nampa (Idaho) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 3-4; and Atlantic Northeast District, which gathered at Leffler Chapel on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on Oct. 4. Three more districts will be meeting this coming weekend: Atlantic Southeast District plans to meet in conference at Sebring (Fla.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 10-11; Mid-Atlantic District will meet at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 10-11; and Southern Ohio District gathers at Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Clayton, Ohio, on Oct. 10-11.
  • “Caregiving in the Midst of Conflict: The Deacon’s Role” is the title of a deacon training workshop to be hosted at the Village Green at the Village at Morrison’s Cove in Martinsburg, Pa., on Nov. 1. Cost is $40 per person or $30 per person for church groups of 3 or more. The registration deadline is Oct. 24.
  • New courses are offered in Ventures in Christian Discipleship at McPherson (Kan.) College. The Ventures courses do not offer college credit, but offer high-quality instruction at a reasonable cost. “The goal of the program is to empower lay people, especially in smaller congregations, to more effectively carry out the work of discipleship, following in Jesus’ footsteps to transform ourselves and the world,” said an announcement. All courses cost $15 and all times are central time. Some courses are offered both onsite at McPherson College and as online webinars. For webinars, group rates of $75 are available for 5 or more participants in one location. A computer with high-speed Internet connection and external powered speakers is recommended. Upcoming courses are: “Beyond the Numbers: The Power of Small Places (Think Small)” taught by Duane Grady online Nov. 8 from 9 a.m.-12 noon; “Laughing at Jonah and Sustaining Ourselves” taught by Duane Grady and offered online Nov. 8, 1:30-4:30 p.m.; “A Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness: Engaging Social Justice Movements” taught by Carol Wise on campus at McPherson College on Jan. 9, 2015, 12 noon-3:30 p.m., and offered online on Jan. 10, 2015, 9 a.m.-12 noon; “Starting with the Basics: Language, Sex and Gender” taught by Carol Wise on campus at McPherson College on Jan. 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m., and online on Jan. 10, 2015, 1:30-4:30 p.m.; “Innovation on a Timeline: Embracing Your Creativity Angels” taught by J.D. Bowman online on Feb. 7, 2015, 9 a.m.-12 noon;  “Come to the Table, but Bring Your Crayons” taught by J.D. Bowman online on Feb. 7, 1:30-4:30 p.m.; “Reading the Bible for Spiritual Growth” taught by Bob Bowman online on March 14, 2015, 9 a.m.-12 noon; “Reading Church History for Spiritual Growth” taught by Bob Bowman online on March 14, 2015, 1:30-4:30 p.m. For registration, course descriptions, and instructor introductions, go to www.mcpherson.edu/ventures.
  • Elizabethtown (Pa.) College president Carl J. Strikwerda spoke at the Fourth Annual President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge National Gathering, which took place Sept. 22-23 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., according to a release from the college. The event was sponsored by the White House and Inter-Faith Youth Core. Strikwerda was on a panel on the topic “Connecting Mission to Action: Prioritizing Interfaith Cooperation as a College President” and shared the progress made by Elizabethtown College in interfaith understanding, and also took part in a plenary sessions on “Power of Interfaith Work,” “Effective Practices in Campus Interfaith Work,” and “Celebration and Inspiration.” Tracy Sadd, Elizabethtown College chaplain, also was on a panel on the topic “Partnering with IFYC to Achieve Campus Impact.”
  • A student at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has made the news for his photography. “Gordon Dimmig may only be a college sophomore, but he's already achieved a goal on the bucket list of any artist. His photography is hanging in the Smithsonian,” reports LancasterOnline. Dimmig, who comes from Elizabethtown, Pa., was the student winner of the “People in Wilderness” category of a competition by Nature’s Best Photography and the Smithsonian Institution called “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America's Wild Places.” The online news piece reports that his photo is part of an exhibition of 50 images that opened Sept. 3 and runs through next summer at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. “At Juniata, Dimmig is studying environmental science, and he says he's considering doing field research with birds or wildlife.” Find the full report at http://lancasteronline.com/entertainment/art/e-town-teen-s-award-winning-fly-fishing-photograph-on/article_35876562-4910-11e4-867f-0017a43b2370.html. For more of Dimmig's photography, visit gwd-photography.com .
  • The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is scheduled for Jan. 17-25, 2015. The theme for 2015 comes from the gospel of John: “Jesus said to her: ‘Give me to drink.’” The theme, which is proposed by Christians in a different country or area of the world each year, in 2015 comes from a group of Brazilian Christians called together by the National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil (CONIC), reports the World Council of Churches. “The biblical gesture of offering water to whomever arrives, as a way of welcoming and sharing, is something that is repeated in all regions of Brazil,” said an announcement. “The proposed study and meditation on the story of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the well is to help people and communities to realize the dialogical dimension of the project of Jesus, which we call the Kingdom of God.” For more information and links to online resources go to www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity . Click on “more information” to find a page with links to a brochure about the 2015 event.
  • The Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) theme for 2015 is “Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration and Systems of Violence.” The annual gathering in Washington, D.C., is scheduled for April 17-20, and will be the 13th annual national gathering. “Join over 1,000 Christian advocates in Washington, D.C., in building a movement to shake the foundations of systems of human exploitation (Acts 16:16-40), including a prison-industrial system that incarcerates millions of people in the US and abroad,” said an invitation. “A world that incarcerates so many and allows some to profit from the exploitation of slave, trafficked, and forced labor remains far from the ‘beloved community’ which we are all called to seek.” The event includes prayer, worship, advocacy training, networking, and mobilization with other Christians, culminating with EAD's Congressional Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. Go to www.AdvocacyDays.org for more information, downloadable brochures, bulletin inserts, hotel information, and to register.
  • The World Council of Churches general secretary has welcomed a letter from a group of Muslim scholars, according to a WCC release. “The WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has welcomed publication of an open letter by a group of 126 Muslim scholars to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader of the self-proclaimed ‘Islamic State’ (IS) and his followers. The letter, issued on 24 September, condemns actions of the IS from an Islamic religious perspective,” the release said. “The meticulous, detailed and scholarly rebuttal of the claims of the IS to represent authentic Islam offered by this letter will be an important resource for Muslim leaders who seek to enable people of all religions to live together with dignity, respecting our common humanity,” Tveit said. “I am especially concerned at present for the safety and flourishing of Christian communities in the Middle East, as well as in other continents. This document is a significant contribution to how we together as people and leaders from our faith perspective and address threats to our one humanity.” Find the letter from the Muslim scholars at http://lettertobaghdadi.com.
  • Representatives of Christian organizations and the United Nations took part in a World Council of Churches meeting on Ebola, held in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept. 29. The meeting responds to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, which as of the end of September had taken more than 3,000 lives. The release also cited a World Health Organization estimate that numbers of infected persons could top 1 million by Jan. 2015. Dr. Pierre Formenty, an epidemiologist and coordinator of the WHO campaign against Ebola, while addressing the WCC consultation said, “This is a situation where everyone needs to work together: politicians, media, communities, faith organizations. We all have to do something. If one fails, everybody will fail.... Faith organizations in Africa have a huge role to play.” Dr. Gisela Schneider from the German Institute for Medical Mission, who was in Liberia a few weeks ago, shared observations from her visit. “Christian hospitals are highly vulnerable,” she said. “This is why ‘keep safe, keep working’ is an important slogan we promote for the health workers serving Christian hospitals.... People working on the ground need a great amount of encouragement, training, mentorship, and support.” Read the WCC release at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/churches-and-agencies-formulate-responses-to-ebola-outbreak.
Source: 10/7/2014 Newsline


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at cobnews@brethren.org. Contributors to this Newsline include Marla Bieber Abe, Marie Benner-Rhoades, Liz Bidgood Enders, Jeff Boshart, Kathleen Fry-Miller, Markus Gamache, Kendra Harbeck, Elizabeth Harvey, Nathan Hosler, Nancy Miner, Russell and Deborah Payne, Shawn Flory Replogle, Gail Erisman Valeta, Nancy Watts, Jenny Williams, Roy Winter, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.