Newsline for July 26, 2012


Church of the Brethren Newsline
July 26, 2012

"With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3).

NEWS
1) Disaster projects in New York, Alabama, Virginia are extended.
2) BVS summer unit begins work at project sites.
3) Brethren leader sends update on violence in Nigeria, interfaith delegation issues report.
4) Ministry of Reconciliation seeks feedback on expanded Conference role.

PERSONNEL
5) Barkley resigns from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives.
6) Evans named president of Cross Keys Village-Brethren Home Community.

UPCOMING EVENTS
7) Peace Day 2012 theme is ‘Praying for Ceasefire.’

RESOURCES
8) New Brethren Press resources include Advent devotional, ‘Brethren Beliefs,’ Guide and Covenant studies.

FEATURE
9) A thank you letter from Plowsharing Crafts.

10) Brethren bits: Correction, remembrances, personnel, job opening, anniversaries, and much much more.

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1) Disaster projects in New York, Alabama, Virginia are extended.

House under construction at Brethren Disaster Ministries project site in Pulaski, Va.
Photo by Brethren Disaster Ministries
A house under construction at the Brethren Disaster Ministries project site in Pulaski, Va.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has announced a decision to extend the timeline for three of its disaster rebuilding project sites. The projects in Prattsville, N.Y., and Town Creek, Ala., will be extended through October, and the site in Pulaski, Va., will continue through September.

Projects are staffed primarily by groups of volunteers from the Church of the Brethren districts, who typically spend a week working at a disaster site. District groups are invited to contact coordinator Jane Yount at the Brethren Disaster Ministries office in New Windsor, Md., to schedule volunteer groups. Call her at 800-451-4407.

The project at Arab, Ala., was completed and closed as of the end of June. Volunteer groups scheduled to work at that site have been rescheduled to other sites.

The project in Prattsville, N.Y., is repairing homes destroyed by floods following Hurricane Irene, which pummeled the East Coast on Aug. 27-28 last year. The storm brought the worst flash flooding in memory to the small town of Prattsville in the Catskills, in a low-income region of New York. Nearly 300 homes were covered by floodwater, and many of the affected residents are uninsured or elderly. The Brethren Disaster Ministries project in Prattsville opened July 1.

The Town Creek project in Lawrence County, Ala., also opened July 1. Brethren Disaster Ministries is assisting survivors of an EF5 tornado that plowed across the county last year on April 27. It claimed 14 lives and wiped away entire neighborhoods. The current caseload at the project includes replacement of roofs and the building of new homes.

The Pulaski, Va., project is in response to two tornadoes that struck on April 8, 2011. This project has been extended because Brethren Disaster Ministries has accepted an assignment to build one more new home. Volunteers are engaged in completing one home and will start the final new building as soon as the foundation is put in.

In related news, on July 5 the “Arab Tribune” ran articles about the Brethren Disaster Ministries work and dedication of completed homes in Arab, Ala. Articles focused on the dedication of a home for James "Mike" and Brenda Casey. The dedication ceremony was led by Brethren project crew leader Dennis Minick, the newspaper reported. "Lord God,” Minick said, “today is a day of rejoicing. There is a home that has just been built, and it is our desire to dedicate this dwelling place to you.” The volunteers presented the Casey family with a Bible, a candle, and a plant as reminders of the gifts of God. “Brenda cried with joy,” the newspaper said. Find the article at www.thearabtribune.com/articles/2012/07/06/news/news7.txt . An overview of Brethren Disaster Ministries work in Arab is at www.thearabtribune.com/articles/2012/07/05/news/news10.txt . A video from WAAY ABC TV is at www.waaytv.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoid=3586519 .


2) BVS summer unit begins work at project sites.

BVS Unit 297 group photo - Summer 2012
Photo by Kendra Flory
Members of BVS Unit 297 have completed orientation and began their term of volunteer service this summer: front from left, Jenna Horgan, Amber Buck, Margaret Hughes; back from left, Chris Horgan, Jennie Ott, Hallie Pilcher, David Hoffmann, Shurè-Nachelle Parrish.

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) Unit 297 has completed its orientation and begun work at a number of project sites in the United States, Ireland, and El Salvador. The summer unit held orientation on June 10-29 in Chicago and Elgin, Ill.

Following are the new BVS volunteers, their home congregations or home towns, and projects sites:

Amber Buck of Mount Wilson Church of the Brethren in Lebanon, Pa., is working at Comfort House Services Inc. in McAllen, Texas.

David Hoffmann of Emmendingen, Germany, is serving at Spanish Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C.

Jenna and Chris Horgan of Minneapolis, Minn., are assigned to El Centro Arte para la Paz in Suchitoto, El Salvador. 

Margaret Hughes of Charlottesville, Va., has been assigned to L’Arche Community in Cork, Ireland.

Jennie Ott of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., is working with Camp Myrtlewood in Myrtle Point, Ore.

Shurè-Nachelle Parrish of Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., will serve as a placement still to be determined.

Hallie Pilcher of First Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., is volunteering for Brethren Disaster Ministries in New Windsor, Md.

BVS Europe holds annual retreat
Photo by Kristin Flory
BVSers serving in Europe held an annual retreat in June: front from left, Courtney Klosterman, serving at Quaker Cottage in Belfast, N. Ireland; Marie Schuster, Arche Tecklenburg, Germany; Tania Monroy, Fellowship of Reconciliation Germany, in Minden, Germany; Samantha Carwile, Quaker Cottage, Belfast; Cori Miner, Greenhill YMCA in Newcastle, N. Ireland; Gloria Oseguera-Verdugo, L'Arche Kilkenny, Callan, Ireland. Back row from left, Megan Miller, East Belfast Mission, N. Ireland; Julianne Funk, Mali Koraci (Small Steps), Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Katarina Eller, Brot und Rosen, Hamburg, Germany; Adam Stokes, Greenhill YMCA; Samantha Lyon-Hill, OKC Abrasevic (Youth Cultural Center), Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Tiffany Monarch, L'Arche Belfast; Michelle Cernoch, L'Arche Cork, Ireland.

Two more BVS orientations are planned for this year. The BVS BRF (Brethren Revival Fellowship) orientation unit is scheduled for Aug. 19-29 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. (application deadline has passed). The BVS Fall orientation unit is set for Sept. 16-Oct. 5, also at the Brethren Service Center. Applications for the Fall orientation are due by Aug. 3. For more about Brethren Volunteer Service go to www.brethren.org/bvs .


3) Brethren leader sends update on violence in Nigeria, interfaith delegation issues report.

A leader of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has sent an e-mail report on recent violence in Nigeria. Also, a new Christian and Muslim alliance committed to solving tensions in Nigeria has been announced by the World Council of Churches (see “In related news” below).

The church leader’s report from the area around the central Nigerian city of Jos focused mainly on attacks on nearby villages earlier this month. He did not say the most recent violence has affected EYN churches or members.

A number of villages near Jos were attacked by gunmen. During a mass burial of the people who had been killed, another attack by gunmen on July 8 killed government officials including a senator and a house of assembly member, among other people. Also a member of the house of representatives was injured and hospitalized.

“This gave a record of the first time when top government officials were killed in ethnic, religious, and political or socio-economic violence in Nigeria,” the church leader wrote.

On July 13 a suicide bomber failed in an attempt targeting government officials in the northeastern city of Maiduguri. “In this attack five people died including the suicide bomber,” the church leader wrote. “The police reported that the Emir and the deputy governor escaped death just some meters from where the explosion started.”

On July 16, gun shots and explosions rocked Damaturu, the state capital of Yobe State. Since then, an explosion at an Islamic school located in Bukuru, near Jos, killed at least one student and broke down walls at the school.

In addition, Nigerian media has reported difficulties in getting food and relief supplies to refugees from the villages that were attacked, who have been living in camps. The media reports seem to indicate most of the recent violence around Jos likely stems from inter-ethnic conflict, although some days later the Islamist sect Boko Haram claimed responsibility.

The church leader expressed frustration that “since the crisis has so many heads (folds) true interpretation...will always have a different meaning for the opposite faith.”

He also sent thanks for the prayers of American Brethren. “We want to thank you all for your prayers always,” he wrote.
 
In related news, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (RABIIT) sent a high-level interreligious delegation to the Nigerian cities of Abuja, Jos, and Kaduna in May. The delegation’s report discusses complex reasons behind the violence, suggesting that it goes beyond religion and is rooted in a matrix of political, social, ethnic, economic, and legal problems. “The issue of justice--or the lack of it--looms large as a common factor,” said Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, chairman of the RABIIT. The delegation also expressed admiration for the vast majority of Nigerians who do not want their religion to be used to propagate violence.

Read the full text of the “Report on the inter-religious tensions and crisis in Nigeria” at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/interreligious-dialogue-and-cooperation/accompanying-churches-in-conflict-situations/report-on-the-inter-religious-tensions-in-nigeria.html .


4) Ministry of Reconciliation seeks feedback on expanded Conference role.

This year the officers of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference invited On Earth Peace to expand its Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) presence. The 2012 Conference took place in St. Louis, Mo., on July 7-11. The expanded presence included the entire Conference, not just the business sessions.

Identified by yellow lanyards and “Ministers of Reconciliation” tags, a team of trained volunteers was available throughout the Exhibit Hall and other Conference venues during the day and evening. They could be reached by calling a special telephone number and also could be contacted via the On Earth Peace booth and the Conference Office.

Like the MoR observers who have served during Annual Conference business sessions for over 20 years, members of the Ministers of Reconciliation Team were available to listen, help make sense of the proceedings, be a peaceful presence in tense situations, and mediate conflict, facilitate communication, and help navigate misunderstandings. They received training to respond appropriately in the event anyone was being threatened or harmed, whether verbally, emotionally, or physically.

The team was active throughout Conference and members report that interactions were overwhelmingly positive.

As On Earth Peace prepares a report for the Annual Conference officers to help in planning for next year, we welcome feedback. Please send impressions, reflections, and/or suggestions, including what worked well or what could be improved. Send responses as soon as possible--ideally within the next week--to Ministry of Reconciliation program coordinator Leslie Frye at lfrye@onearthpeace.org or 620-755-3940.

-- Leslie Frye is Ministry of Reconciliation program coordinator for On Earth Peace.


PERSONNEL

5) Barkley resigns from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives.

Terry Barkley displays an old manuscript at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Terry Barkley displays an old manuscript at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. He has served as archivist and director of the BHLA since Nov. 2010.

Terry Barkley has announced his resignation as archivist and director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Oct. 31 will be his last day at the BHLA, allowing him to complete two full years in the position.

His resignation is due to family changes in Alabama, which require his daily assistance at home.

His accomplishments include a smooth transition following the death of former archivist Ken Shaffer Jr., and the continuation of projects that Shaffer had begun including collaborations with the Brethren Digital Archives and the Civilian Public Service website. He has expanded working relationships with the Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists and the Brethren Heritage Center in Ohio, and has served ex-officio on the Germantown Trust in Philadelphia and the Brethren Heritage Committee. He also was a facilitator at the Alexander Mack Jr. Conference at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College in June.

Major BHLA acquisitions during his service include the H. Austin Cooper papers and a wooden chest (c. 1817) belonging to Henry Kurtz, the first Brethren publisher.

He joined the Church of the Brethren as a member in 1980, and began as director of the BHLA on Nov. 1, 2010, bringing experience from previous positions as archivist at Marion (Ala.) Military Institute and as archivist/museum curator at Bridgewater (Va.) College 1993-2005.


6) Evans named president of Cross Keys Village-Brethren Home Community.

The Board of Directors of Cross Keys Village-The Brethren Home Community has announced the appointment of Jeffrey M. Evans as president and CEO effective Aug. 27. The Church of the Brethren retirement community is located in New Oxford, Pa.

During Evans’ 30-year career in the aging services field, he has served in various roles in not-for-profit and for-profit organizations including a family-owned nursing home chain and consulting company. Most recently he served as CEO at Immanuel Lutheran Communities in Kalispell Mont.

Originally from Indiana, he received a bachelor’s degree in business from Taylor University and a master’s degree in business from Indiana Wesleyan University. He is a licensed nursing home administrator. He and his family plan to relocate to the New Oxford area this summer.


UPCOMING EVENTS

7) Peace Day 2012 theme is ‘Praying for Ceasefire.’

Peace Day 2012 logo imageOn Earth Peace has announced a theme and a new name for its campaign encouraging churches and communities to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace on Sept. 21. This is the sixth year that On Earth Peace has held its campaign.

Peace Day is the new name for the campaign, centered this year on the theme, “Praying for Ceasefire.” On Earth Peace is inviting community groups and church congregations to organize events on or near Sept. 21. It is seeking 200 faith and community groups around the world to plan public events that include prayer, cultural sharing, music, and art to help communities talk and pray together.

In addition, “this year On Earth Peace is inviting communities to imagine something beyond the usual prayer vigil observance and to declare or pray for a 24-hour ceasefire based on the unique struggles and challenges of your community,” said a release.

“What could a real ceasefire look like where you are? What ceasefire do you pray for?” the announcement asked. “It could mean not one incident of domestic violence. An end to bullying. No more shootings. A time to pray for restored relationships or new relationships to be formed across walls that divide. A time to declare that all the wars are over and to call for our young men and women to come home. A pause to seek, asking God for vision for a new path. Who do you need to bring together to pray in a new and powerful way to challenge violence?”

In its release about the International Day of Prayer for Peace, the World Council of Churches (WCC) highlighted the theme adopted by On Earth Peace, quoting staff member Matt Guynn: “For some people, praying for ceasefire will mean praying for a break in armed conflict. For others, a ceasefire will mean ending conflict in their community, workplace, church, or family.”

The WCC noted that last year, prayers for peace lifted up on Sept. 21 “circled the globe from Cuba to Fiji, Indonesia, Rwanda, Germany, and Canada.” Observance of a day for Christians to pray for peace began in 2004 as part of the ecumenical Decade to Overcome Violence (DoV) after an agreement between the heads of the WCC and the United Nations.

For more about Peace Day to go http://prayingforceasefire.tumblr.com .


RESOURCES

8) New Brethren Press resources include Advent devotional, ‘Brethren Beliefs,’ Guide and Covenant studies.

A Dunker Guide to Brethren BeliefsNew from Brethren Press are a host of resources for personal devotions, for Bible studies and small groups, and for maintaining connection with Church of the Brethren ministries and Annual Conference. Order any of the following by calling 800-441-3712 or going to www.brethrenpress.com . A shipping and handling charge will be added to the listed price.

‘A Dunker Guide to Brethren Beliefs’

A new volume in the Dunker Guide series, “A Dunker Guide to Brethren Beliefs,” is a collection of 20 essays, each focusing on a core Brethren belief. They are written by 20 members--some former clergy, some lay members--of Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The brief essays help the reader engage the topic, whether it’s salvation or baptism or simplicity. The book also provides discussion questions to take the themes even further. Foreword is written by Jeffrey A. Bach of the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, preface by Guy E. Wampler, editor, and Charles Denlinger, assistant editor. Brethren Press hopes the book will be used for new member classes and small group studies. “It’s a great introduction on core Brethren values and beliefs,” according to James Deaton, Brethren Press managing editor for books and study resources. “As the preface states, not everyone will agree with everything in the book. But we do hope the book will spark your thinking and stir you to articulate, like these writers have done, what you do believe.” Previous books in the series are “A Dunker Guide to Brethren History” and “A Dunker Guide to the Bible.” $12.95, paperback.

The Advent Road, Advent devotional by Walt Wiltschek, 2012Advent devotional

Brethren Press will celebrate 10 years of its devotional series when it publishes “The Advent Road” by Walt Wiltschek this fall. Pre-production prices are now available for this pocket sized booklet that includes daily scripture texts, meditations, and prayers for the Advent season. The booklet is suitable for personal devotions and for churches to provide to their members. Some special features this year are publication in three formats including e-book as well as the regular size and large print versions, and a fresh page design. Order by Oct. 1 to receive the pre-production price of $2 for regular size print or $5 for large print.

‘Holy War or Just Peace’

Holy War or Just Peace, Covenant Bible Study 2012A new Covenant Bible Study titled “Holy War or Just Peace” is written by Robert W. Neff and Frank Ramirez. The period of the conquest of Canaan and the rise of the judges--narrated in the books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth--contains some of the most disturbingly violent scenes in the Bible. Despite the presence of these acts of war and violence, some that even seem sanctioned by God, alternative voices within the texts call for attention. This study provides an avenue for hearing all the voices from this period and dealing with the question of violence from all sides. The Covenant Bible Studies series can be used by individuals, but is especially designed for small group settings. Each study includes 10 sessions that promote interaction and encourage open discussion about practical aspects of the Christian faith. $7.95, paperback.

A Guide for Biblical Studies

“A Living Faith” is the theme of this fall’s Bible study curriculum for adults, written by Richard Gardner. The lessons employ texts from Hebrews and Acts to move toward a biblical definition of faith. The first unit studies the closing chapters of Hebrews, on responsive obedience to God’s love revealed in Jesus. The second unit focuses on personal stories from the book of Acts that highlight what it means to understand faith. The final unit concludes with the study of Paul’s faith and ministry, and its costliness. $4.25 or $7.35 for large print.

2013 Living Word Bulletin flierThe Living Word Bulletin Series for 2013

The Church of the Brethren’s very own bulletin series features texts and images chosen by Brethren, for Brethren. The series includes bulletins for 52 Sunday services plus love feast and Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and is shipped quarterly. The series has been enhancing the worship of Brethren congregations for over 50 years with prices that save churches both time and money. “Give your church that visual edge by calling Brethren Press and starting your subscription today,” says Jeff Lennard of Brethren Press. Bulletin size: 8.5 x 11 inches. $4.25 for 50, or $2.65 for 25.

Annual Conference Wrap-up and Sermons

A video wrap-up of the 2012 Conference and the five sermons preached for the Conference worship services are each offered in DVD format by Brethren Press. The Wrap-up provides an overview of the Church of the Brethren Conference held July 7-11 in St. Louis, including popular bonus material such as the “live report” of denominational ministries and video clips of the individuals and congregations who were showcased as “continuing the work of Jesus.” The DVD of sermons contains the messages given by preachers Walter Brueggemann, Tim Harvey, Becky Ball-Miller, Jennifer Leath, and Daniel D’Oleo. David Sollenberger produced both videos. $29.95 for the Wrap-up, $24.95 for the Sermons.

2012 Church of the Brethren Yearbook

The annual denominational yearbook on CD is an essential resource for Church of the Brethren information. The disk format is searchable, easy to navigate, and contains contact information for congregations, districts, pastors, ministers, moderators, Church of the Brethren agencies, and denominational staff. The 2012 yearbook includes the 2011 statistical report. Order one per user. $21.50.


FEATURE

9) A thank you letter from Plowsharing Crafts.

Annual Conference director Chris Douglas has shared the following letter from the staff of Plowsharing Crafts, sent in response to the generosity of Conference-goers after the SERRV store suffered a robbery during the Conference. The store lost some $1,000 worth of jewelry merchandise, but donations given by concerned Conference-goers virtually made up for the loss.

Dear Friends:

At the recent Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in St. Louis, our locally-based fair trade store called Plowsharing Crafts worked together with SERRV on bringing the display of SERRV items to the Conference attendees. I am the manager of Plowsharing, and on behalf of our staff I wanted to have an opportunity to share with you about an experience we had at the Conference, and talk a little bit about grace.

Overall, we had a wonderful time at our display, and we enjoyed many conversations with the wide variety of people who came by our booth and who supported fair trade. Sales were very positive, and by extension, quite a number of artisans and their families in the developing world benefited from the purchases that occurred.

However, as the conference progressed, we were saddened to find that a substantial amount of items, over $1,000 in value and primarily religious jewelry (cross pendants), had been stolen from our display. This information was conveyed to the Public Security office at the Conference, as well as the Conference staff, and both groups worked with us on resolving the issue and finding the perpetrator(s). Unfortunately, we were unable to find who had done this, and get the items returned.

At the same time, Conference leaders shared this information with the attendees at several of the large gatherings, and suddenly we were overwhelmed by the expressions of regret and sadness that this had happened, and by financial donations to help us recover from these losses. Over $1,000 was donated by a large number of people, and our feelings of anger and dismay that this had happened turned to feelings of gratitude and loving appreciation for the concern that untold numbers of attendees conveyed to us.

We feel blessed that we met so many wonderful and caring people who responded to a negative situation in a caring and gracious way. It truly helped us restore within ourselves the sense of community and sharing that is essential to our common faith journeys.

May God bless and keep all of you.
Shalom, Rich Howard-Willms, Plowsharing Supervisory Manager


10) Brethren bits.

BDM associate director Zach Wolgemuth
Photo by: Courtesy of BDM
Zach Wolgemuth, associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, was one of the presenters at Monday's “Housing Recovery Support Function Training” hosted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. He serves on the Board of Directors for National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and presented on behalf of NVOAD.

-- Correction: Maddie Dulabaum’s name was inadvertently omitted from the Annual Conference news team listing in the last issue of Newsline. She served as reporter for the Conference Journal’s “Question of the Day” feature.

-- Remembrance: Philip West, a son of Heifer International founder Dan West, passed away June 21. He and his twin Larry were born Oct. 4, 1938, in Goshen, Ind., to Dan and Lucille West. He became one of the “seagoing cowboys” who cared for heifer cows en route to farmers struggling to recover from World War II, traveling to Japan where he remained to study at the International Christian University in Tokyo. The experience ignited a love of east Asia that would become his life’s work. He graduated from Manchester College in 1960 and served as a conscientious objector teaching English for two years in Poland with Brethren Volunteer Service. By 1971 he had earned a doctorate from Harvard University in modern Chinese history and East Asian languages. Throughout his career he expanded east Asian curricula in university and public school classrooms, engaging in interdisciplinary work that bridged the worlds of academia, language studies, culture, arts and business. Before he came to the University of Montana he taught at Indiana University for 18 years, during the last seven of which he was director of the East Asian Studies Center where he established the Summer Language Institute for intensive training of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. He and his wife Young-ee Cho moved to Missoula, Mont., in 1988 when he became Mansfield Professor of Modern Asian Affairs and then directed the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center. His projects focused on the human experience of American wars in Asia, the Korean War in particular, creating opportunities for dialogue and healing between former enemies. During his 24 years at the University of Montana he also worked abroad as co-director for the Center for Chinese and American Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Nanjing, China. His book, “Yenching University and Sino-Western Relations, 1916-1952” (Harvard University Press, 1976) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, he received an Alumni Honor Award from Manchester College. He is survived by his wife Young-ee Cho; son Daniel; daughters June, Jennifer, and Barbara; and grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for Aug. 9, at 4 p.m., at Christ the King Parish in Missoula. Memorial donations are received to the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center.

-- Remembrance: Wolfgang Klaus Juergen Spreen, 67, a former member of the staff of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., most recently living in Middleburg, Fla., died July 17. He was a native of Germany and moved to the US in 1998 to reside in Maryland. He moved to Middleburg in 2009. He retired from AOK Insurance Company with the government of Germany and following his retirement worked with the Church of the Brethren in New Windsor as assistant to the general secretary and supporting other program areas until 2009. Survivors include his wife Susan; children Britta Porto, Ina Spreen, Kevin (Lorriane) Jones, Karen Weimert, and Michelle (Jon) Ford; and grandchildren. Funeral services were held on July 21 at the graveside in Evergreen Cemetery of Westminster, Md. Family and friends may share their condolences at www.RHRCemeteryandFuneralHome.com .

-- The Church of the Brethren’s Shenandoah District is expressing appreciation to Ron Wyrick, who completes his term of service as interim district executive on July 31. “Our prayers of thanksgiving are lifted up for Ron Wyrick for his leadership of the Shenandoah District,” said a recent district newsletter. Wyrick stepped into the role on a fulltime basis on Nov. 1, 2011. The district will welcome John N. Jantzi as district executive minister beginning Aug. 1.

-- Twyla Rowe has accepted the fulltime position of director of pastoral care/chaplain at Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md. Her first day in the office will be July 30. She is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and has served as a pastor at two congregations during the past 19 years, most recently at Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren where she has been minister of Christian Nurture since 2001. She holds a bachelor of arts in Organizational Management from Eastern Mennonite University, and a certificate for the completion of TRIM (Training in Ministry) from Bethany Theological Seminary. She succeeds Loyal Vanderveer, who had served as interim chaplain following the untimely death of former chaplain Sharon Peters in December 2011. With nearly 180 full- and part-time employees, Fahrney-Keedy serves a resident population of almost 200 women and men in independent living, assisted living, and long- and short-term nursing care. For more visit www.fkhv.org .

-- The Church of the Brethren seeks a director for the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA). The position promotes the history and heritage of the Church of the Brethren by administering the BHLA and facilitating research and the study of Brethren history. Responsibilities include to provide reference services, assure the cataloging of books and processing of archival records, formulate policies, budget, develop the collection, recruit and train interns and volunteers. Required education includes a master’s degree in library science/archival studies and extensive knowledge of Church of the Brethren history and beliefs. A graduate degree in history or theology and/or certification by the Academy of Certified Archivists is preferred. Required skills and knowledge include the ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; grounding in library and archival disciplines; customer-service skills; research and problem-solving skills; proficiency in Microsoft software and experience with OCLC products; and 3-5 years of work experience in a library or archives. Location is the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. An application packet may be requested from Deborah Brehm, Program Assistant, Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL  60120-1694; 847-742-5100 ext. 367; HumanResources@brethren.org . Applications include a cover letter, resume, application form, background check authorization, resume, and three reference letters. Interviews begin Sept. 1.

-- A Church of the Brethren workcamp in Springfield, Ill., shortly after the close of Annual Conference received several mentions in the media. The group of junior high youth from Pennsylvania and Virginia helped clean up and “reclaim” an abandoned house in the Enos Park area. They were hosted by First Church of the Brethren in Springfield, and also helped out at St. John’s Breadline, Kumler Outreach Ministries, and Helping Hands. Find articles and photos at www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x1655031765/Church-volunteers-help-Enos-Park-group-reclaim-house  and www.sj-r.com/photo_galleries/x1655031887/Vacant-house-cleanup-in-Enos-Park .

-- New at www.brethren.org : Two new “Christian understanding” papers on mission and the environment are available to download from the denominational website at www.brethren.org/studypapers , representing an ecumenical effort with the National Council of Churches. Also now online is a new “Volunteer Opportunities” page intended to make it simple for people to find a variety of ways to volunteer, browsing by age group, office, or length of service, at www.brethren.org/volunteer . The new “Hidden Gems” webpage from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives is on Alexander Mack, Jr. Find it at www.brethren.org/bhla/hiddengems.html .

-- A guide titled “Travel Responsibly this Summer” is available to help people concerned about modern-day slavery and particularly child sex trafficking. The guide is offered by ECPAT, one of the organizations recommended in the Church of the Brethren’s resource packet on modern-day slavery. Resources include a list of US-based companies that have signed on to the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct to prevent child sex trafficking, and suggestions for travel with other companies that haven’t signed the code--such as a sample letter to give to the manager or owner of your favorite hotel, airline, or tour operator about the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children and the importance of protecting children. TassaTag Fair Trade Luggage Tags also are offered to raise awareness, with proceeds going to support ECPAT-USA's work to fight trafficking while providing an income for women in Thailand. Visit www.ecpatusa.org/thecode and www.tassatag.org to learn more.

-- Hostetler Church of the Brethren in Meyersdale, Pa., celebrates its 200th year as a congregation on Sept. 9. Festivities will include morning Sunday school and worship, an afternoon service at 2 p.m., music by members and former members, recognition of those who have been called into ministry by the congregation, and time for sharing. The church is handicapped accessible. For more information contact 614-634-8500.

-- Panther Creek Church of the Brethren near Roanoke, Ill., holds its 160th Anniversary Celebration on Aug. 11. Festivities begin at 2 p.m. and include family entertainment, gospel/country music, trumpeters, games for people of all ages, balloon art, a Christian magic show by Anet Satvedi, a pizza supper, a Christian family movie night with popcorn, dedication of new children’s playground equipment, reminiscing and sharing memories and church history. RSVP to 309-923-7775.

-- Mt. Bethel Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va.--now in the midst of its centennial celebration--is planning special events each month culminating in a final celebration on Oct. 21. A centennial cookbook is being produced with recipes from across the generations. Order for $16 by calling the church at 540-867-5326.

-- On June 10, Nanty Glo (Pa.) Church of the Brethren celebrated its 90th anniversary. According to the Western Pennsylvania District newsletter, the celebration included hymns that were found in the 1924 hymnal, and that can still be found in the hymnal today. A picnic followed worship.

-- The youth group at Pine Grove Church of the Brethren in West Marva District raised $4,542.49 for World Vision during a recent lock in, according to the district newsletter. During the lock in, the group also completed a community project of staining the church playground equipment. “That is what joining together can do,” the newsletter commented.

-- Bermudian Church of the Brethren in East Berlin, Pa., held a second annual "Drive Your Tractor to Church Sunday" and Farm Family Blessing on July 1. The York First Church’s newsletter noted the event, quoting pastor Larry Dentler: "Both services were full, a record number of tractors, many visitors--most important of all we had the privilege to ask God's special blessing upon our hard working farm families!"

-- First Haitian Church of the Brethren in Brooklyn, N.Y., sent a mission group to the Dominican Republic. In late May and early June, pastor Verel Montauban and five members of the congregation attended an annual missionary seminar and revival services in the DR. The group was able to visit four sister churches including Mendoza Church of the Brethren, Saint Louis Church of the Brethren, Bocachica Church of the Brethren, and Salemanatolsa Church of the Brethren, and a new church, Las Americas Church, which has expressed a desire to become affiliated with the Brethren congregations.

-- Virlina District Children's Cabinet will sponsor a Children's Ministry Roundtable at Peters Creek Church of the Brethren from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Aug. 18. Presentations and discussion will address the participation and inclusion of children in worship, Sunday school, church activities, and the life of the congregation. This event is for children's leaders and teachers as well as pastors and all who care about children and the future of the church. Contact the Virlina District office at virlina@aol.com or 540-362-1816.

-- The Southern Ohio District Disaster Ministry holds its 6th Annual Ice Cream Social on Aug. 4 at Happy Corner Church of the Brethren. “This year's event promises to be much more than an ice cream social--even though the ice cream itself will be fabulous!” said an announcement from the district. Activities for children, special entertainment, and a collection of Church World Service School Kits also will be part of the event. Also to be collected: donations from the district’s “Change for Change” jars which will benefit people whose lives have been affected by a natural disaster.

-- Golf, golf, and more golf. A number of golf tournaments are being held this summer and fall to benefit camps and district ministries. Middle Pennsylvania District and Camp Blue Diamond hold their annual Brethren Open on Aug. 14 at Iron Masters Golf Course in Roaring Spring, Pa., with a meal following the tournament hosted by Albright Church of the Brethren. Brethren Woods holds its 17th annual golf tournament and fundraiser at Lakeview Golf Course near Harrisonburg, Va., on Sept. 8. Camp Bethel holds its 18th annual benefit Golf Tournament and Banquet on Aug. 15 at Botetourt Golf Club. The Camp Mack Annual Golf Outing is Aug. 18 at Sycamore Golf Course in North Manchester, Ind. The Children's Aid Society's 16th Annual FORE Children Golf Outing is Aug. 4, starting at 2 p.m., at the Hanover Country Club in Abbottstown, Pa.

-- A 60th Annual Church of the Brethren Rhodes Grove Camp Meeting takes place Aug. 25-Sept. 2 at the campground near Greencastle, Pa. Each day includes a morning and evening worship service, with special youth activities on Saturday evening, and on Sunday a morning Sunday school and an afternoon service added to the morning and evening worship schedule. Speakers include Allen Nell of Upper Conewago Church of the Brethren; Dwane Schildt of Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren; Luther Patches of White Oak Church of the Brethren; and Leon Myers of Upton Church of the Brethren as Bible study leader. For cabin or hotel reservations call 717-375-2510.

-- The 11 “Food for Preston” food pantries located throughout Preston County, W.Va., have shared a “very special thank you” to the Camp Galilee staff and campers. The thank you was printed in the West Marva District newsletter. The camp held a summer food drive. “In light of the recent storms and power outages which caused a rise in emergency food needs county-wide, the pantries were beyond thankful for the donations,” said the newsletter.

-- On Sept. 2, Camp Pine Lake in Northern Plains District will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Friendship Lodge. The celebration starts at 4 p.m., with a meal following. Stories and memories of the lodge and the camp are being collected at http://fs6.formsite.com/nplains/form2/index.html .

-- District conferences taking place in early August include the Southern Plains District Conference on Aug. 2-4 at Falfurrias (Texas) Church of the Brethren, and Northern Plains District Conference on Aug. 3-5 at Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Brethren/Baptist Church on the theme "Imagine What God Has in Store" (1 Corinthians 3:9).

-- Marking its 50th anniversary (1962-2012) Brethren Colleges Abroad is inviting alumni to share memories at an online memory book. Go to www.bcastudyabroad.org/memorybook . The organization held a celebration with former students and staff on June 8 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, and also celebrated at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in St. Louis.

-- Thirteen Church of the Brethren members joined a New Community Project Learning Tour to the Ecuadorian Amazon in mid-June. The group was hosted by partner organization SELVA, and spent five days in the Cuyabeno Ecological Reserve, one of the most biodiverse--and threatened--areas on the planet, according to a release. The group hiked and travelled by boat through the forest and rivers, learned about local culture and challenges facing native people and the ecosystem, got a first-hand look at one of many toxic waste ponds near oil processing facilities in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and noted widespread deforestation due to oil production, cocao and coffee plantations, cattle ranching, and human settlements. There was also a visit to a 137 acre parcel NCP has purchased to preserve, adjacent to the reserve. Photos and narrative can be found on the NCP Facebook page www.facebook.com/david.radcliff.7?ref=profile#!/media/set/?set=a.414097735295099.92395.270047579700116&type=1 . More about New Community Project is at www.newcommunityproject.org .

-- "Brethren Voices," the community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, can now be viewed on YouTube at www.YouTube.com/BrethrenVoices . Currently, the June program featuring Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and the Caring Cupboard is being shown. Producer Ed Groff plans to place another 30 broadcasts on the Brethren Voices channel on YouTube. “All of this has been made possible by a fan of Brethren Voices in Spokane, Wash.,” Groff reports. In more news from the show, the July program of “Brethren Voices” features the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Hosted by Brent Carlson, the show meets Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center, who discusses the ways of the early Brethren who adopted biblical pacifism, plain and compassionate living, and a shared search for truth. Bach also shares about the Anabaptist desire to follow New Testament teachings, and the history of the early Brethren movement and the persecution it encountered because of its radical positions on baptism and separation of the church from government. For more information contact groffprod1@msn.com .

-- A number of ecumenical partners of the Church of the Brethren have made statements following the shooting spree in Aurora, Colo., last week. The president of the National Council of Churches (NCC) said Christians across the nation are surrounding the community in prayer following the loss of loved ones and neighbors in the shooting rampage. NCC president Kathryn Lohre also called upon elected officials at every level of government to “seek policies that will foster greater peace in our communities and throughout this country,” pointing out that the NCC has been expressing its concern about gun violence for decades. The NCC’s most recent resolution on the issue, the 2010 “Ending Gun Violence, A Call to Action,” was affirmed by the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board and calls for a unified effort of churches, government, and individuals to enact reforms that limit access to assault weapons and handguns, including closing the so-called federal “gun show loophole.” The resolution is at www.ncccusa.org/NCCpolicies/endinggunviolence.pdf .

-- In related news, leaders of organizations representing some 90 percent of the world’s two billion Christians have issued a joint appeal to the 194 governments currently negotiating the first global Arms Trade Treaty. Their message is “Keep ammunition in the treaty,” according to a release from the World Council of Churches. Proposals on the negotiating table would ban arms sales for genocide, war crimes, and grave human rights violations. Almost all of the 194 states involved recognize that the arms and ammunition most often used in these crimes must therefore be included in the treaty, the release noted. “Churches and their members witness the human costs of unlawful armed violence every day, as victims are brought to church hospitals and church graveyards in different parts of the world. The Arms Trade Treaty must regulate the ammunition that strikes them down," the release said. The groups joining together in the appeal are the World Council of Churches, the World Evangelical Alliance, Pax Christi International, and Caritas.

-- The World Council of Churches (WCC) is inviting applications for workshops, exhibitions, and side events for its upcoming 10th Assembly to be held in Busan, Korea. Proposals must be submitted by Oct. 31. The WCC assembly will take place from Oct. 30-Nov. 8, 2013, addressing the theme “God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace.” The series of workshops, exhibitions, and side events are to be part of the assembly’s “madang” or the “courtyard” of a traditional Korean home. It implies a space for encounter, sharing, celebration, fellowship, and welcoming a stranger, underlining the spirit with which assembly programs will be prepared. More information and a proposal form can be downloaded from http://wcc2013.info/programme/madang .

-- Heifer International has been presented with the Kiwanis International’s 2012 World Service Medal. The medal, presented to Heifer International president Pierre Ferrari by Kiwanis International president Alan Penn at the organization’s annual convention in New Orleans, also provides a $10,000 grant, said a Heifer release. Previous winners have included Mother Teresa, Sir Roger Moore and Audrey Hepburn, and First Ladies Nancy Reagan and Rosalynn Carter. Since 1944, when Heifer International was begun by Dan West as the Church of the Brethren’s Heifer Project, the organization has provided livestock and agricultural training to families who struggle to survive. To date, more than 15 million families in more than 125 countries, including the US, have been assisted to become self-reliant the release said.

-- Among latest news from IMA World Health, which has its headquarters at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is a new campaign to end sexual and gender based violence. The campaign is called “We Will Speak Out” and has received a grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for work in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

-- As South Sudan marked its first anniversary as a nation July 9, Christian leaders there said it has made positive progress but also highlighted significant problems. A joint letter from Roman Catholic Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba and Sudan Episcopal Church Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul congratulating the president and citizens for reaching the landmark celebrations. They also termed this as spiritual journey of the people. "We stand together...to celebrate the first anniversary...and to express our joys and concerns," said the letter, reported by Ecumenical News International.

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Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jan Fischer Bachman, Deborah Brehm, James Deaton, Chris Douglas, Kristin Flory, Kendra Johnson, Michael Leiter, Jeff Lennard, Kelly MacNeil, David Radcliff, Glen Sargent, Jay Wittmeyer, Jane Yount, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Look for the next regularly scheduled issue on Aug. 8. Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at cobnews@brethren.org. Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences go to www.brethren.org/newsline.

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