Newsline

"We know that all things work together for good for those who love God,
who are the called according to His purpose."
(Romans 8:28)

NEWS

1) Church of the Brethren Ministries responds to Hurricane Irene
2) Youth and Young Adult steering committee announced
3) International Day of Prayer for Peace
4 )Bridgewater College Summit to explore future of economy and education in U.S.

 Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center

Coverage of the National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) is available at http://www.brethren.org/news/conferences/NOAC-2011/.  Photos and video clips of the participants and activities are featured on the website.  NOAC, held in Lake Junaluska, N.C. September 5-9, is an event sponsored by the Church of the Brethren's older adult ministry.

PERSONNEL

5) Retirements and resignations announced by the Church of the Brethren
6) Monica Rice to join Bethany Advancement Department
7) BBT welcomes new Information Technology staff member

FEATURES

8) ConocoPhillips commits to indigenous peoples’ rights with support from BBT
9) Remembering and renewing the work for peace in Hiroshima
10) Brethren Bits: Upcoming events, Milestones and More

 Church of the Brethren Ministries responds to Hurricane Irene

Children’s Disaster Services responds to Hurricane Irene: Remnants of Lee force evacuations

Hurricane Irene pummeled the East Coast on Aug. 27 and 28 with high winds and up to 14 inches of rain, causing flash floods in mountain areas and major flooding along rivers and streams. Parts of New England and the eastern part of New York State were hit especially hard.

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers arrived on Tuesday, Sept. 6, to care for children affected by the hurricane at the request of the New York State Office of Emergency Management. The team of four CDS volunteers was working in a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) northwest of Albany, NY until remnants of Tropical Storm Lee caused additional flooding in already saturated areas.

On Wednesday afternoon, in compliance with an evacuation order the Children’s Disaster Services team, along with residents and other relief workers, evacuated to higher ground. As of Thursday, Sept. 8, thousands of residents along the Susquehanna River in New York and Pennsylvania were being evacuated. The CDS team has redeployed to Binghamton, NY to serve in a Red Cross shelter that is housing 1,000 residents.

The flooding from the remnants of Lee is being compared to Hurricane Agnes, which inundated the Susquehanna region in 1972. CDS staff are putting more teams together to fulfill anticipated needs due to the storms.

Grants from Emergency Disaster Fund support Hurricane Irene relief

As it hugged the coastline, Hurricane Irene generated record rainfall in numerous locations already saturated from above normal rainfall this year. The result was devastating, as 16 states from Georgia to Maine experienced severe flooding. Irene left a path of destruction that is expected to rank as one of the top ten costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.

Two grants totaling $25,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund are supporting Hurricane Irene relief efforts. The first grant, in the amount of $5,000, makes possible the Children’s Disaster Services response in New York, including replacement supplies for therapeutic play and volunteer travel, lodging and meals.

The second grant, for $20,000, was requested by Brethren Disaster Ministries staff in response to a Church World Service appeal following storm-related devastation along the U.S. Atlantic Coast. This Emergency Disaster Fund grant will assist the efforts of Church World Service in providing emergency clean-up buckets, hygiene kits, baby kits, school kits, and blankets in affected communities. The grant also will support CWS as they assist communities in long-term recovery development through seed grants and training.

Cleanup is only now beginning, and the true cost to communities, families and livelihoods has yet to be determined. Plans are underway for a sustained response to the long-term rebuilding needs in affected areas. As the needs become known, Brethren Disaster Ministries will consider how to assist the long-term recovery of storm survivors. Additional grants from the Emergency Disaster Fund will be requested as the response to this disaster expands.

Donations to Hurricane Irene Recovery can be mailed to Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. Online donations can be made at www.brethren.org/EDF.

Material Resources sends shipments to disaster sites

Material Resources staff at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. have been busy with shipments in response to Hurricane Irene on behalf of Church World Service. Cleanup buckets, hygiene kits, school kits and baby kits went to Waterbury, Vermont; Manchester, New Hampshire; Ludlow, Vermont; Brattleboro, Vermont; Greenville, North Carolina; Hillside, New Jersey, and Baltimore, Maryland. A total of 3,150 cleanup buckets were included in these shipments.

Emergency Clean-up Buckets needed

Church World Service reports that the response to Hurricane Irene will rapidly deplete CWS Kit supplies, especially the Emergency Clean-up Buckets. The available supply in the Distribution Center in New Windsor is less than 50 at this point. All efforts to replenish supplies for future emergencies are, as always, greatly appreciated. Information on how to assemble Emergency Clean-up Buckets is available at www.churchworldservice.org/kits_emergency

 Youth and Young Adult steering committee announced

The Youth and Young Adult Office is proud to announce the 2011-2012 Young Adult Steering Committee. Members of the Young Adult Steering Committee help to plan each year’s conference (YAC or NYAC depending on the year), as well as representing building up other parts of young adult programming. This group of 8 young adults will be working together to plan National Young Adult Conference 2012.

  • Mark Dowdy, Stone Church of the Brethren (Huntingdon, PA)
  • Jennifer Quijano, First Church of the Brethren (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Kelsey Murray, Lancaster Church of the Brethren (Lancaster, PA)
  • Jonathan Bay, LaVerne Church of the Brethren (LaVerne, CA)
  • Joshua Bashore-Steury, Little Swatara Church of the Brethren (Bethel, PA)
  • Ashley Kern, Hempfield Church of the Brethren (Manheim, PA)
  • Carol Fike, NYAC Coordinator, Freeport Church of the Brethren (Freeport, IL)
  • Becky Ullom, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren (Elgin, IL)

National Young Adult Conference will be held June 18-22, 2012, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Our theme for this conference is “Humble, yet Bold: Being the Church.” Young adults age 18-35 please join us as we enjoy our time together being the church. Registration opens online, January 6th at www.brethren.org/yac. Mark your calendars now and plan to attend! Have questions? Please contact us at NYAC2012@brethren.org and check out our website at www.brethren.org/yac.

 International Day of Prayer

As registration for International Day of Prayer for Peace reaches 100 congregations and community groups, On Earth Peace still is welcoming and supporting others to hold a public prayer event in their community on or around September 21, focusing on community or global violence. As of September 5, 2011, there is representation from 9 countries and 20 states in the 100 congregations and community groups registered with the campaign. If you are planning an event in your community, or would like more information about how to organize an IDPP public vigil, please register for free at www.onearthpeace.org/idpp.

Linda Williams of San Diego shares the following about the IDPP event, “Interrupting Violence with Prayers,” which she is helping organize in her community: “We are working to get Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, and Church of the Brethren and other Christian leaders together for IDPP. It has taken on particular significance right now because a City Heights police officer was murdered recently, and the community is coming together in many efforts to support our police officers. This is the fifth police death in three years, and the third in three weeks. We are planning a walking prayer vigil to the site of the shooting as the second part of our IDPP event that evening.”

 Bridgewater College Summit to explore future of economy and education in U.S.

For the latest Brethren news go to the main Newsline page

Troubling economic times and what they mean to Americans is the focus of a summit and public forum Sept. 20 in Cole Hall at Bridgewater College.

“An Uncertain Economy: What it Means for the Country, Colleges and You” begins at 7 p.m. and features noted educators and economists presenting their views on employment, inflation, taxes, the national debt, the future of higher education and more. The forum encourages audience participation in the form of questions.

“Living in a tough economy is making itself felt in every facet of Americans’ lives,” said George Cornelius, president of Bridgewater College. “If we are to thrive under these new economic conditions, it is essential we explore where we’re headed and how best to meet the new challenges we face and seize the new opportunities presented.”

Cornelius said the summit and public forum will delve into the country’s economic future and, in particular, will address the impact of the economy on families and colleges and universities. Issues to be examined include the impact on family income and wealth; projected inflation rates; the impact of national, state and local governmental debt and unfunded future obligations; the impact of high household debt and lower home equity values; and access and affordability concerns surrounding higher education.

Cornelius said the summit also seeks to provide higher-education strategic planners with a reliable framework for moving forward in a time of economic uncertainty. The summit’s panelists are David W. Breneman, the Newton and Rita Meyers Professor in Economics of Education at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education; J. Alfred Broaddus Jr., a former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and current member of the Economic Advisory Panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Christine Chmura, president and chief economist for Chmura Economics & Analytics; and Dennis Gephardt, vice president of higher ed/not-for-profit ratings at Moody’s Investors Service.

 Retirements and resignations announced by Church of the Brethren

Mariana Barriga is retiring from her position as administrative assistant in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry office. She began her work with the Church of the Brethren in October 1990 as bilingual secretary in the Latin America/Caribbean office of the World Ministries Commission. Her tenure in that position included two years as program coordinator. Following the closure of that office, Barriga joined the Youth and Young Adult Ministry office. Her work among the Brethren has been characterized by a heart for young people, an ability to navigate cross-culturally, detailed organizational skills, a caring spirit, and an understanding of and commitment to the mission of the Church of the Brethren. She is looking forward to spending more time with her family and continuing her volunteer interests.

Ray Glick, coordinator of Donor Visitation and Planned Gifts, is retiring from 19 years of service to the Church of the Brethren. In September 1992, after a 30-year career as a public school teacher, he began as half-time Planned Giving officer and truck driver. Subsequently he has served as full-time Financial Resource counselor, Deferred Gift counselor, and coordinator of e-Community Development. Glick has traveled widely across the denomination to assist donors, supervise volunteer visitors, lead seminars, provide counsel in matters of financial stewardship, and secure deferred gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations. The relationships he has nurtured have enabled many to continue the work of Jesus through the ministries of the Church of the Brethren.

Kathleen Campanella is retiring from her position as director of Partner and Public Relations at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. She began in 1993 as public information coordinator, responsible for media relations, event planning, and community outreach for ministries and organizations based at the Center. In 2005, her duties also included leadership for the New Windsor Conference Center management team during a time of staff turnover and change. In 2008 her work expanded to include developing new partnerships and program initiatives at the Brethren Service Center. Campanella has traveled to health care facilities in Haiti and Tanzania for IMA World Health, a partner organization on campus. She also represented the Church of the Brethren on the Heifer International board of directors for the past 10 years, serving on the executive committee and a CEO search committee.

Ruben Deoleo has resigned his position as director of Intercultural Ministries. He began in November 2007 as a member of the Congregational Life Team and director for Cross Cultural Ministries, and in 2009 shifted to full-time with Intercultural Ministries. Deoleo has supported the growth of new churches, worked with the Intercultural Advisory Committee to hold the denomination accountable to the 2007 Annual Conference statement “Becoming a Multi-Ethnic Church,” planned the annual Intercultural Consultation and Celebration, provided training in cross-cultural competencies, served as a vital link among a growing number of multi-ethnic congregations, and worked with other staff to develop practices consistent with an intercultural community of faith. Deoleo will pursue completion of a master of divinity degree at Bethany Theological Seminary, as well as private employment and additional ministry opportunities.

Jeanne Davies has resigned her position as coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Workcamp Ministry. Since beginning in January 2008, she has overseen the planning and programming of up to 36 workcamps each summer involving hundreds of junior and senior high students, young adults, and intergenerational participants. Focusing on the intersection of spiritual formation and service, Davies ensured that these workcamps shaped young disciples of Jesus. Davies called, mentored, and managed a wide network of volunteers, including Brethren Volunteer Service workers based at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Her plans include completion of a master of divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary and a return to pastoral ministry.

 Monica Rice to Join Bethany Advancement Department

Lowell Flory, executive director of institutional advancement and gift planning, has announced that Monica Rice will be joining the Advancement Department at Bethany Seminary. She will begin her duties as advancement administrative assistant and coordinator of congregational relations on September 1, 2011.

Rice is a 2011 graduate of Bethany Seminary, having earned a Master of Arts degree in Brethren studies. Prior to her time at Bethany, she served the Church of the Brethren Brethren Volunteer Service Office in recruitment and workcamp coordination. While a Bethany student, she filled the roles of teaching assistant for two Bethany classes and assistant in electronic communications.

 BBT welcomes new Information Technology staff member

German Gongora has accepted the position of programmer analyst and technology support specialist for Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust. German will begin his duties on Sept. 19 and will report to Eric Thompson, director of operations for Information Technology.

German brings over 20 years of technology experience to this new role at BBT. Most recently, he has worked as a consultant in Naperville, Ill. Additionally, German teaches Spanish at Berlitz in Chicago, and he has taught computer courses in Miami and Colombia. He speaks fluent English and Spanish and has knowledge in a number of computer technologies, including SQL, C#, C++, PHP, and ASP.NET. German holds a Master of Business Administration from Universidad del Rosario, Bogota, Colombia, and a Bachelor of Computer Science from Universidad Catolica de Colombia, Bogota. German and his family currently reside in Naperville, Ill.

 ConocoPhillips commits to indigenous peoples’ rights with support from BBT

August 31, 2011, Elgin, Ill. — Energy company ConocoPhillips recently announced that it revised its Human Rights Position to specifically address and honor the rights of indigenous peoples in areas where the company conducts its business. Stakeholders, led by Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust and Boston Common Asset Management, have worked closely with the company on this issue and applaud the company for this important public statement in support of the rights of indigenous peoples. ConocoPhillips’ Human Rights Position now states that the company’s approach to indigenous communities in locations where they are an important stakeholder group for the company’s operations “is consistent with the principles of the International Labour Organization Convention 169, concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”The multi-billion dollar oil company is one of the first energy companies to adopt such a commitment. “ConocoPhillips positions itself as a leader among its peers by publicly affirming the human rights of indigenous peoples,” said Steve Mason, director of BBT’s socially responsible investing initiatives.

“We, the stakeholders, have appreciated the opportunity to work with the company and to offer our perspective for the company’s consideration. We also affirm the company’s willingness to engage the stakeholders and to consider our perspective.”

Dialog and meetings, not shareholder resolutions, prove to be beneficial to the outcome As a ConocoPhillips shareholder, BBT and the manager of those shares, Boston Common, have been working on this issue since 2003, when BBT was a shareholder of a company that ConocoPhillips later purchased in 2006. In 2007 and 2008, BBT was the lead filer of a shareholder resolution with ConocoPhillips for a group of more than a dozen shareholders that urged the company to include the rights of indigenous peoples in its human rights policy. BBT initially pursued another shareholder resolution in 2009, but that resolution was later withdrawn because of the company’s willingness to engage in meaningful dialog with stakeholders, including BBT and other shareholders, Boston Common, and advocacy groups, such as Amazon Watch.

Since 2008, ConocoPhillips representatives have met many times with stakeholders, both in Houston and in New York as well as by conference call. Stakeholders have attended each of the company’s annual shareholder meetings in Houston, keeping the issue in front of senior management and the board by offering comments and asking questions at each meeting. Steve Mason, representing BBT, spoke on this issue at the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 meetings.

The statement supporting the rights of indigenous peoples, which was approved by Chairman Jim Mulva and the ConocoPhillips board, was facilitated by active and positive dialog between ConocoPhillips executives and representatives of interested stakeholders like BBT. This conversational approach to facilitating change is a major step in the direction of corporate transparency and shareholder dialog for ConocoPhillips.

“Boston Common sees ConocoPhillips as an industry leader by incorporating ILO 169 and the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into its corporate human rights policies,” said Steven Heim, a managing director of Boston Common Asset Management. “BBT and Boston Common’s deliberative and constructive engagement with ConocoPhillips has paid off. We encourage ConocoPhillips to fully and transparently implement a free, prior, and informed consent policy globally, like its pledge for indigenous communities in Peru. If the company both consults and integrates the views and aspirations of indigenous communities in development decisions, we believe — in the long term — it will help ConocoPhillips maintain its social license to operate and therefore gain access to new reserves.”

U.N. statement on indigenous peoples demands “the right to full enjoyment” The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 2007, includes 46 articles of conduct that address matters such as land ownership (including the right to seek compensation for territories that were seized in the past), political representation, cultural preservation rights, and more.

Similarly, the Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, which was adopted by the General Conference of the International Labour Organization in 1989, encourages the adoption of a litany of rights related to land, government protection, and self-expression.

BBT’s socially responsible investing program includes active engagement with companies. BBT is the financial services agency of the Church of the Brethren. It oversees the management of assets invested in Brethren Pension Plan and with Brethren Foundation. In addition to pursuing change through shareholder engagement, such as the work done with ConocoPhillips, BBT’s SRI program also screens out companies that are in conflict with positions of the Church of the Brethren as presented in Annual Conference statements and offers a community-building investment option for its members.

 Remembering and renewing the work for peace in Hiroshima

Hiroshima 1247
photo credit: JoAnn Sims
 Speeches, a moment of silence, choirs, doves soaring in the sky and the flame of hope and peace complete the 2011 commemoration ceremony.

JoAnn and Larry Sims, volunteer directors of the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan, share their experiences. "Hiroshima, Japan makes the news each year on August 6th. It is the day the city remembers the many who lost their lives in an instant when the Atomic Bomb turned the city and those in it to ashes. The city also remembers those who die each year as a result of the radiation exposure during those days of ashes. The ceremony is two-fold. Remembering is first, and second, is the renewing of community efforts to work for peace and a nuclear weapon-free world. The second part of the ceremony is uplifting and inspiring with words of hope, peace doves that fill the sky, and the flame of hope and peace swelling in rhythm with a chorus of all ages. August 6th is a day to rededicate the world to the work of Peace."

 Brethren Bits: Upcoming events, Milestones and More

--In a report sent to Global Mission Partnerships by Markus Jauro Gamache, a staff member of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa (EYN-the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), describes violence that occurred on August 26, 2011 in Gombi, Nigeria. It was reported that a radical sect, Boko Haram, bombed a police station and raided banks, leaving 12 people dead including policemen and a soldier. EYN lost one person who was a member of the security staff working with UBA Bank. Three members of Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN) also died in the attack.

--Juniata College names eight new members to Board Of Trustees. The Juniata College board of trustees has added eight new members to begin the 2011-2012 academic year. The new trustees appointed to begin service Sept. 1, 2011, through August 2014, are: Henry Siedzikowski, of Blue Bell, Pa.; Glenn O'Donnell (church trustee), of Royersford, Pa.; Carole Calhoun (alumni trustee), of Rehoboth Beach, Del.; Carol Ellis, of Vienna, Va.; Bruce Moyer, of Takoma Park, Md., Robert McMinn (church trustee), of Huntingdon, Pa.; Todd Kulp, of Houston, Tex. and Patrick Chang-Lo, of San Rafael, California.

--Manchester College has surpassed its strategic enrollment goal, starting classes Wednesday with more than 1,300 students, up 27 percent since fall 2007. Once again, the independent college is setting records, with its largest enrollment in 40 years.

The College is riding a three-year momentum of large incoming class sizes, as well as an increase in transfer students and retention of students into their sophomore year, said President Jo Young Switzer. Manchester will announce its official enrollment within two weeks.

More than 40 students are enrolled in a growing two-year pre-pharmacy program that will prepare them for the College’s School of Pharmacy doctoral program slated to open next fall in Fort Wayne. The strongest enrollments continue to be in education, accounting and business, the sciences, and athletic training.

--Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies will host a one-day conference Thursday, Sept. 22, focusing on the topic of forgiveness. Using the fifth anniversary of the Nickel Mines Amish schoolhouse shooting as a springboard for the event, scholars, authors and practitioners will offer insights into the process and power of forgiveness in daily life. The conference includes two major addresses and five seminar options as well as a free evening session open to non-attendees of the conference at 7:30 p.m.

The conference will tackle questions such as "How do forgiveness, pardon and reconciliation differ?" and "How does forgiveness relate to justice?" Donald B. Kraybill, senior fellow at the Young Center, will give the opening address, "Forgiveness in the Face of Tragedy: Five-Year Lessons." The keynote address, presented by L. Gregory Jones, senior strategist and professor of theology at Duke Divinity School, follows. Other speakers and seminar leaders include Linda Crockett, Terri Roberts, Steven M. Nolt, Frank Stalfa, Maria Erling, and David Weaver-Zercher. Seminar topics include forgiveness in the face of sexual abuse and domestic violence and the Lutheran-Mennonite reconciliation in 2010. To register and for a conference brochure, visit www.etown.edu/forgiveness2011.

-- Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) will host this fall’s annual meeting of Anabaptist Communicators in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28-29, 2011. The conference title is “Anabaptism in a Visual Age.” The plenary speaker is Jerry Holsopple, PhD., visual and communication arts professor at EMU. A Friday evening conference banquet will feature Ted Swartz, well-known actor and comedian, on his book in progress Laughter is Sacred Space: The Not-so-typical Journey of a Mennonite Actor (expected release by Herald Press, spring, 2012). Conference breakout sessions will include input from Gravity Group, a Harrisonburg-based marketing consultant group, visits to MennoMedia headquarters and Crossroads Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center, and other options. Registration and more information are available at http://www.anabaptistcomm.org/.

--The Lake Side Church, a new church development project of the Virlina District, will hold a Ground Breaking Service on Sunday, September 11, at 5:00 p.m. They are beginning construction of the second phase of their building project. This will comprise a sanctuary seating approximately 100 persons and an addition to the parking to accommodate this increase. The congregation is located on Virginia Route 122 just north of the intersection with Virginia Route 24. Refreshments will be served following the service.

--The 35th Annual Brethren Disaster Relief Auctionong> will be held at the Lebanon Valley Expo, 80 Rochery Road, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, on September 23 & 24, 2011. It is a joint effort by the Southern Pennsylvania and Atlantic Northeast Districts of the Church of the Brethren to raise funds to respond to disasters both locally and around the world.

-- “Climate Change: What, Why, and What Now?” On Saturday, September 24, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, David Radcliff of New Community Project will be in the church fellowship hall of Central Church of the Brethren, 416 Church Avenue SW, Roanoke, Va., for a discussion of the causes and consequences of climate change. Included will be suggested actions that can be taken to protect God’s earth, our neighbors, and future generations. The morning will feature the latest information on our changing climate; a discussion of how humans contribute to a warming world; photos and stories of the impact on Africa, Asia, the Arctic, and the Amazon; and practical examples of personal and community action.

--Sat., Oct. 1 is the 27th Brethren Heritage Day Festival at Camp Bethel in Fincastle, Va. It is biggest day of the year! Please encourage everyone in your church to participate and attend this vitally important fund raiser for Camp Bethel. Heritage Day forms, fliers and information are available at www.campbethelvirginia.org/hday.htm, from your Pastor, Camp Rep, or at (540) 992-2940. Breakfast begins at 7:30am and booths open from 9:00am to 2:30pm. For what to expect, check the Heritage Day A-to-Z at www.campbethelvirginia.org/hday.htm. Apple Butter Overnight is Friday, September 30!

--Bethel Church of the Brethren, located 9 miles north of Arriba, Colo., will celebrate their 100th Anniversary on October 2, 2011. Worship Service will begin at 9 a.m. Introductions, history review and sharing of pictures and stories will begin at 10 a.m. A Time Capsule Dedication will begin at 11:45 followed by a meal and fellowship.

--Pulaski disaster response offering is underway. As of August 31, donations in the amount of $43,612.35 from 67 congregations and a number of individuals in Virlina, West Marva and Southeastern District have been received for the Pulaski Tornado relief effort.

-- Four district conferences take place on Oct. 7-8: Atlantic Northeast District Conference at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College; Atlantic Southeast District Conference at Winter Park (Fla.) Church of the Brethren; Idaho District Conference at Community Church of the Brethren in Twin Falls, Ida; and Mid-Atlantic District Conference at Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren.

-- Three district conferences are planned for the weekend of Oct. 14-15: Southern Ohio District Conference is at Eaton (Ohio) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 14-15; Middle Pennsylvania District Conference is at Carson Valley Church in Duncansville, Pa., on Oct. 14-15; and Western Pennsylvania District Conference is at Camp Harmony in Hooversville, Pa., on Oct. 15. This will be the 150th Middle Pennsylvania District Conference.

--New Community Project announces 2012 Learning Tours. Encounter amazing people and places while exploring the challenges they face—join an NCP Learning Tour to Nepal (January 5-17—poverty and beauty in the shadow of the Himalaya); Harrisonburg, Va. (April 19-23—learn about organic gardening, greenhouse construction and more); Ecuadorian Amazon (June 13-22—explore the rainforest and the threats to it, guided by Siona leader Delio); Guatemala or Dominican Republic (determined by 12/11) (July 12-21—communities filled with gracious but impoverished people); Denali/Kenai Fjords, Alaska (August 2-9—Mt. McKinley, moose, and more in Denali; whales, glaciers at Kenai); Arctic Village, Alaska (August 9-17—Gwich’in native culture in sight of the Brooks Range; camp in Arctic National Wildlife Range). Leaders include David and Daniel Radcliff, Tom Benevento. For more information, contact ncp@newcommunityproject.org or visit the NCP website.

--Frank Ramirez, pastor of the Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and author of “Out of Context” in A Guide for Biblical Studies, has written a six-week faith formation resource including a family Christmas devotional and a celebration for the Season of Christmas. The series made available on CDRom, by Logos Productions Inc., consists of six 4-page devotionals, written under the title of “Wonder,” and includes interactive devotions to help families build on the weekly Bible stories through at-home rituals and simple activities.

--“Refugee Resettlement: Faith Communities Making A Difference,” a CBS religion special about refugees who resettle in the United States, will be broadcast Sunday, September 25, on the CBS Television Network. Please check your local station for exact time.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that in 2010 more than 43 million people were forcibly displaced by conflicts. Those fleeing persecution can apply to live elsewhere in the world, but must undergo an extensive screening process and prove they are living with a well-founded fear of persecution. Only one-half of one percent of those who apply will be resettled in a new country.

“Refugee Resettlement” interviews volunteers from the interfaith co-sponsorship teams, as well as refugees from Eritrea and Somalia, who are adjusting with the help of their new friends, many of whom are now like family. “There’s simply no solution in resettlement alone,” Erol Kekic, Director of Immigration and Refugee Program for Church World Service, tells CBS. “Resettlement needs to be seen as a part of the solution, not the only solution, that we can offer the complex humanitarian emergencies such as the one in Somalia and the Horn of Africa at large.”

-- Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is seeking staff for its two project sites in Palestine, one in the southern West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) and the other twenty-five kilometers (fifteen miles) further south in the village of At-Tuwani. For the past few months, these teams have experienced staff shortages.

Tarek Abuata, CPT Palestine project support coordinator urges prospective CPTers, “People living in Middle Eastern countries are demanding peace and justice. New members of CPT’s Palestine team can become part of that movement by joining a project that has for seventeen years supported Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation, and helped to create a space for peace and justice to grow.”

Interested persons must first go on a CPT delegation and then attend a CPT training. Delegations link communities experiencing violence with concerned individuals and groups and offer participants a first-hand experience of CPT's on-the-ground experiment in active peacemaking. The next available delegation to Palestine/Israel takes place November 15-28 2011. For more information go to www.cpt.org.

Contributors include. Carol Fike, Jane Yount, Sue Snyder, Kendra Flory, Jenny Williams, Wendy McFadden, Karin Krog, Brian Solem, John Wall. Lesley Crosson, and Loretta Wolf

This issue of Newsline is edited by Kathleen Campanella, director of partner and public relations at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Look for the next regularly scheduled issue on Sept. 21.

Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at cobnews@brethren.org. Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

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