Newsline for June 17, 2014




Quote of the week:

“Working with children is a blessing. Yes, these children come from difficult backgrounds. Yes, I have been frustrated to the point of tears, but I have been overjoyed to the point of tears as well.... There is no reason to restrain your own silly side when you are with these kids. Let them laugh with you at your own expense.”

-- Andrew Kurtz, a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker at Quaker Cottage, a cross community family center in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is one of the 15 BVSers serving in 5 nations across Europe, see the story below. His comments are excerpted from the BVS Europe newsletter. Find out more about BVS at www.brethren.org/bvs .

"The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the participation in his sufferings" (Philippians 3:10a).

NEWS
1) Church of the Brethren general secretary among church leaders at consultation on Syria, held in Armenia
2) Brethren Volunteer Service workers are in five nations across Europe
3) Disaster staff direct grants totaling $74,000 to flood relief in Afghanistan and the Balkans, response to spring storms in US
4) Global Food Crisis Fund provides grant to Bittersweet Ministries, received grant request to extend Going to Garden
5) Church of the Brethren member named to field associate position with ADNet

ANNUAL CONFERENCE UPDATE
6) Intergenerational events invite children and adults to ‘get real’ about courageous discipleship

FEATURE
7) Ten years of the Springs initiative: Celebrating Brethren in renewal

8) Brethren bits: In this issue: CDS leadership seminar, Cold Water Challenge for EYN, Beyond Hunger celebrates 70 years of Heifer, Juniata recognized Jeff Boshart of the GFCF, and more

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PLEASE NOTE: This Sunday, June 22, is NYC prayer day across the Church of the Brethren. Congregations are invited to pray for the youth and advisors attending National Youth Conference in Colorado in July. Find resources at www.brethren.org/yya/nyc/prepare.html#prayer .
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1) Church of the Brethren general secretary among church leaders at consultation on Syria, held in Armenia

Recognizing the failure of the Geneva 2 talks four months ago and the ongoing violence and human calamity in Syria, church leaders and representatives from the region, Europe, and the United States gathered in Etchmiadzin, Armenia, to address the challenges for faith communities in the crisis in Syria.

In the group that gathered June 11 and 12 was Stanley J. Noffsinger, Church of the Brethren general secretary. Noffsinger was one of the American church leaders who attended the Jan. 22 meeting on Syria held at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva, Switzerland, at the invitation of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The church leaders gathered in consultation at the invitation of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians, in cooperation with the World Council of Churches.

General secretary Stan Noffsinger (at right) with a Russian Orthodox representative at a consultation on Syria held in Armenia on June 11-12, 2014. Fr. Dimitri Safonov represented the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Interreligious Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, while Noffsinger was one of the American church leaders to attend the gathering.
Photo courtesy of Stan Noffsinger

General secretary Stan Noffsinger (at right) with a Russian Orthodox representative at a consultation on Syria held in Armenia on June 11-12, 2014. Fr. Dimitri Safonov represented the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Interreligious Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, while Noffsinger was one of the American church leaders to attend the gathering.

Communique calls for humanitarian aid, end of arms and funding for conflict

In a communique released by the group on Thursday, June 12, they called for restrictions on funding humanitarian aid in Syria to be lifted, for an end to the flow of arms and funding to all parties to the conflict, and for withdrawal of all armed foreign fighters.

Conferees pointed to the current regional humanitarian assistance addressing the needs of refugees fleeing Syria, and they called for “further cooperation among the different churches and church agencies” working there.

They acknowledged the Jan. 22 meeting on Syria held at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva where church leaders said in a message to Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations-Arab League joint representative for Syria, that they were convinced there is no military solution and there needed to be an “immediate cessation of all armed confrontation and hostility within Syria” ensuring  that “all vulnerable communities in Syria and refugees in neighboring countries receive appropriate humanitarian assistance” and that “a comprehensive and inclusive process toward establishing a just peace and rebuilding Syria” should be developed.

In Armenia they also called for “the immediate release of the two Archbishops from Aleppo, His Eminence Boulos (Yazigi), Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo and Alexandretta, and His Eminence Mor Youhanna Gregorios (Ibrahim), Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, as well as Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, and all captives and those unjustly imprisoned.”

The leaders gathered on the eve of the Centenary of the Armenian and Syriac Genocide and prayed for justice and peace. The group included representatives from the Middle East Council of Churches, the WCC, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and the Community of Sant’Édigio.  Participants came from Armenia, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Norway, Poland, Russia, the UK, and the USA.

Read the full text of the communique at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/other-meetings/communique-from-church-leaders-on-situation-in-syria .

Committed to the stand that there is no military solution

In a telephone interview from Armenia, Noffsinger commented on the outcomes of the consultation and the importance of the church leaders’ communique. “As we met news of the insurgency going into Iraq from Syria added extra urgency,” he said. “It was very important that this meeting take place in the region. There was great gratitude that this meeting was held in Armenia.” Armenia borders on Iraq from the north, Noffsinger noted.

“The meeting was critical responding to the events of this week as the violence in Syria moved over the border into Iraq.”

The events in Iraq are “of grave concern,” Noffsinger said.

The church leaders reiterated the commitment originally made in January, “that there is no military solution,” Noffsinger said. “There is a realization that this is a costly and a more difficult path,” he added. “There was a strong voice at the meeting that peace must be for everybody in Syria and Iraq. The concern was for Muslim and Christian neighbors.”

The consultation discussed the fact that some areas are receiving humanitarian assistance and are making progress toward peace, which indicates that there can be good results when international players work toward that goal. But there are nations with influence in the region that are simply following their own agendas instead, he said.

He commented that although the consultation was very positive, the church leaders in the region are feeling “weariness” and “discouragement” about the lack of progress since the Geneva 2 talks. Now, even more people are being affected by the violence originating in the Syria conflict, and there is a mounting refugee crisis.

In addition to attending the consultation, the trip to Armenia afforded Noffsinger a chance to meet with Orthodox leaders from Syria and from Armenia. They shared their personal concerns about the serious consequences that the Syria conflict has had for their faith communities. “Voices of tremendous faith” expressed the need to stay the course and find a way to bring peace, Noffsinger said.

For more information

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2013 it had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, and other traditions in over 140 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway. Find out more about the WCC at www.oikoumene.org .

For more about the work of the general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, go to www.brethren.org/gensec .

-- This report includes information from a World Council of Churches release.


2) Brethren Volunteer Service workers are in five nations across Europe

BVSers working in the Balkans, in a photo taken in December 2013: (from left) Stephanie Barras, Julianne Funk, and Julia Schmidt.
Photo by Kristin Flory

BVSers working in the Balkans, in a photo taken in December 2013: (from left) Stephanie Barras, Julianne Funk, and Julia Schmidt.

Fifteen Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) workers are serving in five nations across Europe. Here is an update on BVS project sites in Europe, where three volunteers are the first to serve in new projects for the program. The following listing is provided with help from Kristin Flory of the BVS staff, who works in the Brethren Service Europe office in Geneva, Switzerland:

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Stephanie Barras is serving in Mostar with the OKC Abrasevic Youth Cultural Center. The project is described as a place “where everyone can drink coffee, see films, and attend concerts together regardless of ethnicity.”

In Croatia, Julianne Funk works for the Ecumenical Women’s Initiative in Omis, which grants funds to and networks with women’s groups in the Western Balkans. She concludes her assignment at the end of June.

Also in Croatia, Julia Schmidt is in an interim assignment in Osijek, with plans to return home in mid-summer.

In Germany, Marie Schuster is in Hamburg living and working with the Brot und Rosen Community, a house of hospitality for homeless refugees.

In Ireland, Margaret Hughes and Craig Morphew live and work in two of the four houses of L’Arche Community in Cork. L’Arche is French for “the ark,” and is a community for people living with disabilities.

Also in Ireland, Rosemary Sorg is in Callan with L’Arche Kilkenny Community.

BVSers working in Northern Ireland: (from left) Megan Miller, Emma Berkey, Megan Haggerty, Andrew Kurtz, Becky Snell, Hannah Button-Harrison, and Hannah Monroe.
Photo by Kristin Flory

BVSers working in Northern Ireland, in a photo take in early April 2014: (from left) Megan Miller, Emma Berkey, Megan Haggerty, Andrew Kurtz, Becky Snell, Hannah Button-Harrison, and Hannah Monroe.

Eight BVS volunteers are working in Northern Ireland:

Andrew Kurtz and Becky Snell work with children at the Quaker Cottage cross community family center in Belfast.

Hannah Monroe lives and works and gardens with L’Arche Community in Belfast.

Sarah Caldwell just arrived in Belfast for a new BVS project site called Journey Towards Healing.

Megan Miller and Hannah Button-Harrison work with “Compass,” the family and community department of the Methodist Church’s East Belfast Mission.

Megan Haggerty in Richhill, County Armagh, is the first BVS volunteer with Enable, which offers activities and respite weekends to people with intellectual disabilities.

Emma Berkey is the first BVSer working with young people in Downpatrick, with the Youth Initiatives project.

For more about Brethren Volunteer Service go to www.brethren.org/bvs .


3) Disaster staff direct grants totaling $74,000 to flood relief in Afghanistan and the Balkans, response to spring storms in US

In four grants from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF), Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed a total of $74,000 to relief efforts following floods and landslides in Afghanistan, flooding and landslides in Balkan nations, and spring storms in the United States.

Afghanistan

A grant of $35,000 supports the Church World Service (CWS) response in Afghanistan where hundreds have died and more than 120,000 people across 16 provinces have been heavily affected by flash floods and landslides.

This grant will support CWS as it provides assistance to 1,000 of the most vulnerable families affected, about 7,000 people. The relief program includes distributions of mattresses, hygiene kits, food, and tents. The people affected also will be encouraged to help rebuild their communities through a cash for work program. Mobile health teams will provide life-saving care and health education. Agricultural support programs will improve field irrigation. CWS has placed priority on orphans, people with disabilities, widows, and female-headed households.

The later part of April brought monsoon rains, flash floods, earthquakes, and landslides to the north, northeast and western regions of Afghanistan. Among the most severely affected areas were the provinces of Badakhshan and Jawzjan, along with Takhar Province. Inaccessibility remains a challenge in areas where roadways were severely damaged, where flood waters remain, and where insecurity poses high risk to relief efforts. Overcoming these challenges will be essential to ensuring the most vulnerable families in these areas receive assistance.

Balkan nations

An allocation of $30,000 will help fund the CWS response to extensive flooding in Serbia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Balkan nations where more than 80 have died, tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed, and more than 1.6 million people are affected. Assessments of needs have shown a wide range including personal hygiene supplies, food, water, shelter, medications, as well as major infrastructure repairs, utility repair, and land mine removal.

This grant supports the CWS focus on providing food, personal health and hygiene supplies; equipment disinfecting; tools and packs; and agricultural assessment and relief. It also supports small emergency grants to local partners in Serbia including the Centre for Youth Integration in Belgrade, for work in informal Roma settlements; the Red Cross Smederevo for immediate aid in food, clothing, and hygiene kits; and a local partner doing needs assessments in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In mid-May, Cyclone Yvette (also called Tamara) dumped the heaviest rain in 120 years on Serbia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, causing extensive flooding and more than 2,000 landslides. It is estimated that more than 1 million people have been directly or indirectly affected. Some estimates are that damage from the floods will reach the billions in monetary terms, and in Bosnia it could exceed the damage from that country’s 1992-95 civil war. The ACT Alliance reports in addition that large amounts of arable land are under water and large numbers of livestock have been killed. Infrastructure is being reestablished in multiple locations, but access to potable water is still an issue, including in remote mountain villages that have had wells, roads, and bridges damaged or destroyed by flash flooding.

CWS is working in coalition with other ACT members, which include Philanthropy, the humanitarian arm of the Serbian Orthodox Church; International Orthodox Christian Charities; and Hungarian InterChurch Aid.

Bread of Life, Serbia

A grant of $5,000 is supporting the Bread of Life response to the extensive flooding in Serbia. Bread of Life is a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) placement site and is in the midst of the flooding. It has developed a program to offer assistance to families. Staff visit homes to assess the damage and needs, and select the most ”endangered“ families based on income and family size. The Brethren funds will assist Bread of Life help an additional 25 families in purchasing the most needed items, including furniture, appliances, and building materials. Bread of Life (Hleb Zivota) is a nonprofit humanitarian association that has been operating in Belgrade since 1992.

Spring storms in the US

An allocation of $4,000 will help CWS respond to damage and destruction caused by spring storms throughout the United States. The grant supports the shipping of Clean-Up Buckets and Hygiene Kits to communities that request this assistance. CWS will also provide these communities with training, expertise, and support in long-term recovery.

Extensive spring storms have brought tornadoes, flooding, and straight-line winds to at least 17 states. The loss of life, home damage, and destruction is extensive in smaller pockets in these states. Additional disasters this spring were the mudslide near Oso, Wash., and the Etiwanda Wildfire in drought-stricken California.

To date, CWS has shipped 252 Emergency Clean-Up Buckets and 500 Hygiene Kits to Jefferson County, Ala., and 75 Emergency Clean-Up Buckets to Baxter Springs, Kan., and expects to process at least three more material shipments.

For more about the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Emergency Disaster Fund, go to www.brethren.org/bdm and www.brethren.org/edf .


4) Global Food Crisis Fund provides grant to Bittersweet Ministries, gives grant to extend Going to Garden

The Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) of the Church of the Brethren has given a grant of $10,000 to support a ministry in Mexico, sponsored by Bittersweet Ministries. Also, the fund has given a second grant of $30,000 to Going to the Garden, in a cooperative effort with the denomination’s Office of Public Witness.

Bittersweet Ministries

An allocation of $10,000 has been given to support a ministry in Tijuana, Mexico, sponsored by Bittersweet Ministries. This one-time grant will support Two Machines, a sewing cooperative in the process of becoming registered as a 501c3. Two Machines’ community development approach includes participation of co-op members in planning and running their own business. Funds will be sent through Bittersweet Ministries and its board of directors, for use specifically for 501c3 filing fees and for wages, rent, and materials for operations through December 2014.

Photo courtesy of Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, ID

Going to the Garden

A $30,000 grant extends the Going to the Garden project in cooperation with the denomination’s Office of Public Witness. “Going to the Garden: A Community Food Security and Nutrition Initiative” is intended to facilitate the formation or expansion of congregationally based community gardens and other garden based efforts to concretely address food insecurity, environmental degradation, and poverty in the US.

Attached to the grant request was the following listing of community gardens that are receiving support, each receiving a “mini grant” of $1,000. Four congregations have received two mini grants in two separate calendar years. The initial GFCF allocation of $30,000 that started Going to the Garden was made in the fall of 2012.

For more about Going to the Garden and to view a new video on this project, go to www.brethren.org/gfcf .

Capstone Community Gardens and Orchard, New Orleans, La.
First Church of the Brethren, Harrisonburg, Va.
Meadow Branch Church of the Brethren, Westminster, Md.
Anawim Christian Community (Mennonite), Gresham, Ore.
Nampa (Idaho) Church of the Brethren
Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Mount Morris (Ill.) Church of the Brethren
Mountain View Church of the Brethren, Boise, Idaho
I Care Inc., Topeka, Kan.
Living Faith Church of the Brethren, Concord, N.C.
Peace and Carrots Community Garden, La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren
Champaign (Ill.) Church of the Brethren
Annville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren
Brethren Hillcrest Homes, La Verne, Calif.
CrossPoint Community Church, Whitewater, Wis.
Heart of the Rockies Christian Church, Fort Collins, Colo.
Falffurrias (Texas) Church of the Brethren
Mount Wilson (Pa.) Church of the Brethren
Gracebridge Church of Christ, Chattanooga, Tenn.
West Charleston Church of the Brethren, Tipp City, Ohio
Hempfield Church of the Brethren, Manheim, Pa.
First Church of the Brethren, Wichita. Kan.
Akron (Ohio) Eastwood Church of the Brethren
Pleasant Dale Church of the Brethren, Decatur, Ind., for a garden project in Arctic Circle, Alaska


5) Church of the Brethren member named to field associate position with ADNet

By Christine  Guth of the Anabaptist Disabilities Network

Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADNet) has appointed Rebekah Flores of Elgin, Ill., and Ronald Ropp of Normal, Ill., to serve as field associates. Flores is an active participant at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin.

Flores and Ropp join a team of volunteers who help to extend ADNet's reach and resources. Field associates are long-term volunteers who work part-time for ADNet from their home location on projects related to inclusion and hospitality toward persons with disabilities in faith communities.

Rebekah Flores is the first Church of the Brethren member to serve as a field associate with ADNet, a disabilities network.
Photo courtesy of ADNet

Rebekah Flores is the first Church of the Brethren member to serve as a field associate with ADNet, a disabilities network.

Flores to spearhead ADNet efforts in Brethren congregations

Rebekah Flores is the first field associate affiliated with the Church of the Brethren to begin volunteering for ADNet. Her interest in the role arose when she learned about a recently formed partnership between ADNet and the Disabilities Ministry of the Church of the Brethren.

Flores brings a strong concern for helping congregations meet the unique needs of people of all ages with diverse disabilities as they desire to participate in congregational life. She will be spearheading ADNet’s efforts to serve persons with disabilities in Church of the Brethren congregations, beginning in the Chicago area and expanding outward through Illinois and the Midwest.

Majoring in psychology and special education, Flores earned a bachelor of arts degree from Barat College in Lake Forest, Ill., and later attended Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind. She is employed as a qualified intellectual disabilities professional by Little Friends Inc., where she provides case management and supports adults with disabilities who reside in traditional group homes and in the community. Previously she served five years as an administrator of L’Arche Chicago, a small, faith-based, international intentional community of people with and without disabilities who share life together.

Flores welcomes opportunities to consult and speak about disability-related issues in Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, and other Anabaptist congregations in the Chicago region. Contact her at 773-673-2182 or marchflowers74@gmail.com .

Ropp to help churches respond to needs of older adults

Ropp has spent a lifetime advocating for and encouraging appreciation of older adults. He is available for speaking and consulting with congregations seeking to respond to the needs and gifts of persons who are aging. His wide range of experiences as pastoral counselor and caregiver give him much to offer congregations seeking to respond to the needs of older members. He is available to help congregations evaluate needs and explore plans for dealing with issues of aging and caregiving.

“I have seen and heard great wisdom in elders, who often feel their knowledge and wisdom is irrelevant to the modern age,” Ropp observes. “Their wisdom is a tremendous resource to society and to the church. However, many of them feel they are no longer needed. This is a disability of the church not often noticed or addressed. In this age of renewable resources, our senior citizens may be one of the greatest untapped resources within our congregations.” Ropp looks forward to collaborating with ADNet in helping congregations rediscover and validate the valuable resource of their older members.

Ropp brings 38 years of experience in pastoral counseling and university teaching on gerontology and death and dying. Experience as a caregiver for aging parents and, more recently for his wife who suffered a stroke, enrich his perspectives on aging well. He attends Mennonite Church of Normal. To consult with him or invite him to speak, contact 309-452-8534 or rjroppbarn@gmail.com .

Organized in 2003, with offices in Elkhart, Ind., ADNet is committed to supporting congregations, families, and persons touched by disabilities, and nurturing inclusive communities. Contact ADNet at 574-343-1362, adnet@adnetonline.org , or visit www.adnetonline.org.

-- Christine Guth is program director for the Anabaptist Disabilities Network. Find out more about the Disabilities Ministry of the Church of the Brethren at www.brethren.org/disabilities . Flores will be finding ways to encourage Church of the Brethren congregations to appoint local disabilities advocates, find forms and more information at the web page of the Disabilities Ministry.


ANNUAL CONFERENCE UPDATE

6) Intergenerational events invite children and adults to ‘get real’ about courageous discipleship

“Get Real: Living as Courageous Disciples” is the theme of an evening of intergenerational events at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, 7-8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 5. The Annual Conference will take place in Columbus, Ohio, on July 2-6. The evening of special events for all ages is organized and led by Joel and Linetta Ballew.

Children and adults who participate will have a wide variety of activity stations to choose from, focused on biblical and modern-day stories of courageous discipleship and an outdoor ministries theme. Activities will be led by volunteers at each station. Plans are for stations to feature camp-type activities, games, arts and crafts, a sing along, a book nook, nature exploration, dramatic storytelling, word puzzles, movies, and more. Participants will receive a sheet to mark off the stations they visit. Prizes will be awarded for completing at least seven stations.

Start at the “Welcome/Greeting Campsite” in the Hyatt Deleware Rooms, where guide sheets and initial information will be provided beginning at 7 p.m. on July 5. For more information go to www.brethren.org/ac .


FEATURE

7) Ten years of the Springs initiative: Celebrating Brethren in renewal

Springs of Living Water Initiative for Church Renewal

By David Young

"The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:14). With this guiding biblical text, we come to the 10-year anniversary of Springs of Living Water in Church Renewal. Meeting with the Ministry and Mission Planning Council in 2004, we were encouraged to go out to develop this vision. In faith we went with a sense of urgency.

Now 10 years later, our hearts are filled with humble gratitude as we see renewal using the mission statement, “To provide and embody a spiritually oriented, servant-led ministry to assist churches to be spiritually vibrant congregations with an urgent Christ-centered mission.”

Three aspects of this vision have proved to be what churches find most helpful, with the primary being spiritual thrust, then the servant-led manner, and then developing vibrant Christ-centered congregations in mission.

The heart of the Springs work is practicing spiritual disciplines. Folders for the church have a daily Bible reading for meditation and prayer. Using folders, people have a daily encounter with Christ and live out of the scripture as the guide for daily living. People’s lives change. Congregations gain new energy, become more united, and feel that they are on a faith journey.

Brethren have stressed reading scripture and following its guidance daily. Pastors can preach on the spiritual disciplines and people have a folder to read scriptures on that discipline. Parents have discovered their young adults reading the scripture of the day. Bible study groups form and delve into the scripture. This filters down to children, and families converse about spiritual practices. This is a total immersion in spiritual growth for individuals and churches.

A second aspect of Springs is servant leadership, which grows out of the spiritual walk. Having our feet washed and our lives renewed in the name of Christ, we wash the feet of others. In serving, we hold the needs of others in trust and are entrusted with leadership--servant leadership. From that, authentic leaders come, spiritually nurturing people in Christ, calling forth their strengths, and building healthy churches with an urgent Christ-centered mission.

The new Springs Academy for pastors, carried out through telephone conference sessions, has been well received. Pastors practice spiritual disciplines, have leadership training in church renewal, interact with peers, have a group from their congregation walk along, and receive shepherding calls between sessions. Pastors go deep into the disciplines and learn how spiritual formation is central in their ministry. They learn the biblical basis of servant leadership and how to practice it in renewal.

Third is developing vibrant Christ-centered congregations in mission. A renewal team helps a church have moving congregational gatherings. Rather than find out what is wrong and fix it, people identify what is right and build upon it. Congregations ask, “Where is God leading our church?” In other gatherings they explore how their church touches people spiritually, their church’s core values and identity, and discern a scripture to guide a vision and a plan.

More spiritual transformation comes as churches implement their ministry plan. Creativity abounds as churches reach out into their communities. New people are attracted to renewing churches. This happens as churches become intentional about their mission.

In this tenth year of Springs, we are focusing on developing a closer walk in Christ and celebrating new life in churches. As Brethren join together with many efforts in renewal, let us celebrate new life in Christ.

In gratitude to God and to many people who have helped in many ways.

-- David Young and his wife Joan have founded and developed the Springs initiative for church renewal. Contact 464 Ridge Ave., Ephrata, PA 17522; davidyoung@churchrenewalservant.org ; 717-615-4515 or 717-738-1887. More information is at www.churchrenewalservant.org .


8) Brethren bits
 

Children's Disaster Services (CDS) had a leadership seminar for 34 project managers earlier this month. “The weekend was full of energy, reflection, conversation, imagining, and presentation,” reports Kathleen Fry-Miller, associate director of CDS. “Our visit to the national American Red Cross Headquarters in D.C. was a highlight. What supportive partnership staff we have to work with at the Red Cross. I am confident that CDS is in good hands when we are out there serving children, families, and communities!”
Photo courtesy of Kathy Fry-Miller

Children's Disaster Services (CDS) had a leadership seminar for 34 project managers earlier this month. “The weekend was full of energy, reflection, conversation, imagining, and presentation,” reports Kathleen Fry-Miller, associate director of CDS. “Our visit to the national American Red Cross Headquarters in D.C. was a highlight. What supportive partnership staff we have to work with at the Red Cross. I am confident that CDS is in good hands when we are out there serving children, families, and communities!”

-- “Beyond Hunger”--an event celebrating 70 years of Heifer International--will be held at Camp Alexander Mack near Milford, Ind., on Sept. 12-14. Heifer is an award-winning development organization based in Little Rock, Ark., that had its beginnings as the Church of the Brethren Heifer Project. Here is a brief history of the beginnings of Heifer International, which sent its first shipment of 18 heifers from Nappanee, Ind., to Puerto Rico on June 12, 1944. Peggy Reiff Miller reports in a release sent to Newsline: “The Heifer Project, as it was originally known, was the brain child of Church of the Brethren leader Dan West. He and his family lived on a small farm between Goshen and Middlebury, Ind. In 1937, the Society of Friends (Quakers) invited the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonites to assist them in a relief project in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The Brethren sent Dan West as their salaried representative. While watching limited supplies of reconstituted powdered milk being distributed to infants, with those not gaining weight being taken off the list to die, West thought, ‘Why not send cows to Spain so they’d have all the milk they need?’ After arriving home in early 1938, West relentlessly promoted the ‘cow, not a cup’ idea. It took four years, but in April 1942, the Northern Indiana Men’s Work of the Church of the Brethren adopted Dan West’s plan for ‘Cattle for Europe.’ A committee was formed which became the core of a national Heifer Project Committee when the denomination’s Brethren Service Committee adopted the plan months later.” The event at Camp Mack will include a hog roast, two of Dan West’s children telling stories of their father and Heifer Project around the campfire, a luncheon with Heifer’s CEO Pierre Ferrari, presentations by Church of the Brethren author and researcher Peggy Reiff Miller and former Heifer Midwest director Dave Boothby, workshops with Heifer staff, children’s activities and a petting zoo, and recognition of seagoing cowboys. Early registration is required, and registration will be closed when the maximum of 300 participants is reached. There is a charge for Friday and Saturday evening meals and lodging. For more information and to register, contact Peggy Reiff Miller at prmiller@bnin.net or 574-658-4147. The event at Camp Mack is just one of several “Beyond Hunger” events that Heifer International is holding across the country. To find other Beyond Hunger events, go to www.heifer.org/communities .

-- Among five “high-achievement alumni” honored by Juniata College on Alumni Weekend 2014, June 7, was Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) manager Jeff Boshart who received the William E. Swigart Jr. Alumni Humanitarian Award. Other alumni who received recognition were Fred Lytle, professor emeritus of chemistry at Purdue University and currently a corporate fellow at Indigo BioSystems; Jane Brumbaugh Gough, retired program analyst and business programs specialist at the US Naval Research Laboratory; Khara Koffel, associate professor of art at MacMurray College, in Jacksonville, Ill.; and George M. Zlupko, director of the Lung Disease Center of Central Pennsylvania in Altoona, Pa. Boshart is a 1989 Juniata graduate and in addition to managing the Global Food Crisis Fund also manages the Emerging Global Mission Fund for the Church of the Brethren and represents the Church of the Brethren at the Foods Resources Bank. Previously he was a Brethren mission worker serving as Haiti Disaster Response Coordinator from 2008-12 with Brethren Disaster Ministries, and was a community development coordinator in the Dominican Republic from 2001-04.

A collage of Cold Water Challenge participants
Mission and Ministry Board member Janet Elsea has been involved in a Cold Water Challenge to benefit the EYN Compassion Fund of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria. “So far we have about six videos of folks taking the Cold Water Challenge specifically for the EYN Compassion Fund...and the list keeps growing,” she wrote to Newsline. The challenge was initiated by her daughter in law’s brother, and then other friends and family, and members of Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren, began participating. “We are hoping it will catch fire!” Elsea wrote.
Cold Water Challege participants from Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren

-- Hollins Road Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., will celebrate 100 years
at its present location on Sept. 6, starting at 5:30 p.m. with food, music, and time to reminisce about the years gone by. The evening will end with a presentation by pastor Horace Light. The celebration continues on Sunday, Sept. 7, beginning at 9:30 a.m. with music and guest speaker David K. Shumate, district executive minister for Virlina District. Worship will be followed by a sit-down meal in the social hall. “Each and everyone is cordially invited to attend and share in this memorable celebration,” said an invitation in the Virlina District newsletter.

-- Mohrsville Church of the Brethren in Berks County, Pa., hosted the crowning of the 2014-15 Berks County dairy princess and her court this year. The young women will travel around Berks County promoting the dairy industry, led by Ashley Mohn, who was crowned the 2014-15 Berks County dairy princess. Gabrielle Kurtz and Megan Notestine were named the alternate dairy princesses, and Alyssa Troutman was named Li'l Miss Dairy Princess. Find a photo and full report from the “Reading (Pa.) Eagle" at http://readingeagle.com/berks-country/article/short-takes-June-11-2014 .

-- Virlina District is sponsoring a Parent Training Event on Aug. 16, at Bethlehem Church of the Brethren in Boones Mill, Va. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the event will begin at 9 a.m. Two sessions will be presented: “Raising Nonviolent Children in a Violent World” from 9:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m., led by Carol Elmore and Dava Hensley based on a book by the same title by Dr. Michael Obsatz; and “The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander” from 1:15-3:15 p.m., led by Patricia Ronk based on a book by the same title by Barbara Coloroso. Lunch will be provided. The event will close with worship and evaluation and conclude at 3:30 p.m. Donations will be received toward the costs. For more information contact Patricia Ronk at trish1951.pr@gmail.com or 540-798-5512. A flier is available by request, contact nuchurch@aol.com. . Pre-registration is not required but would be helpful for lunch preparation.

-- Camp Bethel’s 20th Annual Benefit Golf Tournament is Aug. 20 at Botetourt Golf Club. Tee off is at 12:45 p.m. Cost of $70 per person includes green fees, cart, and dinner at camp ($15 for dinner only). Mulligans are sold at the course for $5 each. Prizes will be awarded for “best-ofs” and there will be door prizes at camp. “Assemble your dream team for a day fun on the greens while supporting the ministries of Camp Bethel,” said an announcement. Tournament sponsors also are needed to help provide support for summer camp programs. More information about the golf tournament and about the camp located near Fincastle, Va., is at www.campbethelvirginia.org/golf.htm .

-- Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., celebrates its 30th Heritage Day Festival on Oct. 4. The festival is an important fundraiser for the camp. Heritage Day forms, fliers, and information are available at www.campbethelvirginia.org/hday.htm or call 540-992-2940.

-- Aug. 23 is the Southern Pennsylvania and Atlantic Northeast Districts Church of the Brethren night at Senator’s Baseball at Metro Bank Park. The districts invite Brethren to enjoy a night of fun and fellowship with the Harrisburg (Pa.) Senators, starting at 7 p.m. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.

-- Somerset (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is hosting the First Annual District Women’s Summer Tea Party in Western Pennsylvania District, on Saturday, Aug. 9, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The event is sponsored by the district Women’s Ministries and the Somerset Church Women’s Ministry. The district newsletter invited women to come and bring their relatives, friends, and neighbors to “a time to honor and refresh women.” Participants should bring along a cup and saucer. The theme will be, “Women of God--Growing in Grace” (2 Peter 3:18). Cost is $10 Registrations must be in by July 30. Contact Arbutus Blough at 814-629-9279.

-- “We are God's Servants Working Together” (1 Corinthians 3:1-9) is the theme of an Aug. 23 gathering of Southern Ohio District. The event starts at 3:30 p.m. at Troy Church of the Brethren. The gathering will assemble school kits for Church World Service, then join in a celebration of what God has done as the district works together, said an announcement in the district newsletter. “This event supports our district conference theme taken from 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, ‘We are God's Servants, Working Together,’” the announcement said. Monetary donations will be received to purchase supplies for the kits, contribute by sending a check to Southern Ohio District, 2293 Gauby Rd., New Madison, OH 45346.

-- “Ice cream, anyone?” said an invitation to a summer festival at Shepherd’s Spring, an outdoor ministry center and camp near Sharpsburg, Md. The festival on Aug. 16 also is an opportunity for sponsors to fund the event, at which ice cream will be served to benefit the ongoing ministry of Shepherd’s Spring. For more information go to www.shepherdsspring.org .


Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jeff Boshart, Chris Douglas, Janet Elsea, Kristin Flory, Peggy Reiff Miller, Nancy Miner, Stan Noffsinger, John Wall, Roy Winter, David Young, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. The next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is planned for Tuesday, June 24.

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