Brethren bits for Sept. 3, 2015





 Haitian Dominican Brethren display temporary work permits

Members and friends of La Esperanza de la Naciones (Hope of the Nations), a Church of the Brethren congregation in the Dominican Republic, display their new one-year temporary work permits. The group are among Haitian Dominican Brethren who have received aid from the church to complete the paperwork needed to receive legal resident status in the DR, reports Jeff Boshart, manager of the Global Food Crisis Fund and Emerging Mission Fund. There is hope that these permits may be renewed annually for a fee, and may ultimately lead to a pathway to citizenship, Boshart shared by e-mail. The Church of the Brethren has been supporting the work of Iglesia de los Hermanos (the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic) to assist the naturalization of ethnic Haitians living in the DR since a high level Dominican court made a ruling that stripped citizenship from tens of thousands of people born in the DR to undocumented Haitian parents. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Boshart.)

-- Remembrance: Joan Harrison, 76, a former denominational employee, died on July 27 in Decatur, Ga. A nurse, she also had worked in the finance department at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She and her family were active in Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren and the Elgin community in the 1980s.

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-- Remembrance: Kent Naylor, 89, who had served on the staff of the former General Board, passed away on Aug. 25 at the Cedars, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in McPherson, Kan. He had served on the staff of the Church of the Brethren General Board in the 1970s, in the area of congregational renewal.

-- The General Secretary Search Committee held its first meeting at Calvary Church of the Brethren in Winchester, Va., on Aug. 31. Convener Connie Burk Davis was selected to serve as chair, and Jonathan Prater was selected to serve as recorder. Other committee members include Jerry Crouse, Belita Mitchell, Pam Reist, Patrick Starkey, and David Steele. The committee spent time reflecting on the magnitude of their task and examining resource materials provided by the Transition Team before delving into the ambitious agenda. Work was begun to prepare a position description and job announcement for review and approval by the Mission and Ministry Board at the Oct. 2015 meeting. The committee determined times and preliminary agendas for future in-person meetings and conferencing.

-- Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., seeks a regular part-time receptionist for 20-22 hours per week. The receptionist will staff Bethany’s front desk 8 a.m.-12 noon, providing a welcoming environment and serving as the first point of contact for those entering the seminary. Main responsibilities include greeting visitors, answering the phone, and caring for the mail. Candidates will have a high school diploma or equivalent certification, with an associate’s degree preferred. A job description is at www.bethanyseminary.edu/opportunities/employment . Resumes and letters of interest may be sent to receptionist@bethanyseminary.edu and will be accepted until Sept. 15 or until the position is filled. Bethany Seminary’s policy prohibits discrimination in employment opportunities or practices with regard to race, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or religion.

-- Camp Alexander Mack seeks an executive director. The camp is located on Lake Waubee in Milford, Ind., and is a year-round camping and retreat ministry of the Indiana Churches of the Brethren. The camp is 65 acres with additional 180 acres of wilderness area. Camp Mack was founded in 1925 and continues to serve 1,000-plus users per year. The executive director will serve as the camp administrator and will develop policy and long-range goals for the camping ministry in partnership with the Board of Directors. This full-time position has responsibility for developing and implementing policies and programs of the Board of Directors; staffing; overseeing the promotion and scheduling of programs and facilities; overseeing administration of the camp; maintaining professional standards; fundraising in coordination with the Board of Directors. The qualified candidate will be a faithful Christian with a clear understanding and appreciation of the Church of the Brethren; have a bachelor degree, with IACCA certification preferred; have proven supervisory experience in outdoor ministries; have appropriate emotional maturity and stability and be able to create excitement in persons of diverse backgrounds; be gifted in interpreting the camp’s mission. For more information about the camp visit www.campmack.org . Send inquires, letters of interest and resumes to CampMackSearch@gmail.com . ACA accredited.

-- The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), in which the Church of the Brethren participates, seeks an individual to be the NRCAT Human Rights Fellow. This new fellowship will involve full-time work for one academic year (Oct. 2015-May 2016), and will involve working directly with NRCAT staff and interfaith partners, gaining first-hand knowledge of the education, organizing, and communications work necessary for policy change and social transformation in an interfaith context. Application deadline is Sept. 15. Find out more about the fellowship and how to apply at www.idealist.org/view/job/c8JxFdjHbTnp .

-- The "Carroll County Times" gave front-page billing to a fashion show hosted at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The “Fair Fall Fashion Show” featured 11 volunteers who modeled fashions from SERRV, a nonprofit that was started by the Church of the Brethren, and aims to eradicate poverty by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers around the world by paying them fair wages. The show was held in the Zigler Hospitality Center, which offers banquet hall rentals, hotel-style lodging, dining services, and a place for business and family gatherings. Find the news piece and photos at www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/ph-cc-fashion-show-20150829-story.html .

-- Fraternity Church of the Brethren near Winston-Salem, N.C., celebrates its 240th anniversary on Sept. 18-20.

The community garden at Chicago First Church of the Brethren
Photo courtesy of Chicago First Church of the Brethren

-- “Rest, relax, and rejuvenate in the garden,” said a recent Facebook invitation from pastor LaDonna Sanders Nkosi of First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill. Sharing a photo from the church’s community garden, which is located adjacent to the historic church building on Chicago’s west side, Nkosi wrote, “Tonight and each Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m. Come and join us! You are welcome here!” Along with the First Chicago congregation, the building also hosts Chicago Community Mennonite Church.

-- The Senior High Camp at Camp Emmaus in northern Illinois designated the Foods Resource Bank for its annual funding project, according to the newsletter of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill. The choice was inspired by the Polo Growing Project that is supported by Polo (Ill.) Church of the Brethren and Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, among other congregations. The campers raised $1,600. Sara Garner, a member at Highland Avenue, was co-director of the camp.

-- Sept. 18-19 is a banner weekend for district conferences, with five Church of the Brethren districts holding their annual meetings: on Sept. 18-19, Northern Indiana District meets at Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind.; on Sept. 18-19, Missouri and Arkansas District meets at Windermere Conference Center in Roach, Mo.; on Sept. 18-19, Southern Pennsylvania District meets at Ridge Church of the Brethren in Shippensburg, Pa.; on Sept. 18-19, West Marva District meets at Moorefield (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren; and on Sept. 19, South-Central Indiana District meets at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind.

-- The 45th Annual Dunker Church Service at Antietam National Battlefield, a Civil War battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., will be held on Sunday, Sept. 20, at 3 p.m. The annual service is sponsored by Mid-Atlantic District and held in the restored Mumma Meeting House, commonly referred to today as the Dunker Church, located in the national battlefield park. Preaching for the service is Larry Glick, a member of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va., who has served as associate executive for Shenandoah District and a field associate for ministry training programs in the Church of the Brethren. For more than 25 years he has been portraying Brethren characters from history including the founder of the Brethren movement Alexander Mack Sr., whom Glick portrays as “A. Mack,” and Civil War-era leader and martyr for peace Elder John Kline. Glick’s history portrayals are a way “to help enhance our knowledge of past church leaders, and to understand how Brethren Heritage can inform our discipleship today,” said an invitation to the worship service at Antietam. “We extend our gratitude to the National Park Service for their cooperation, for the use of this meeting house, and the loan of the Mumma Bible,” said the organizers in the announcement. For more information, contact one of the pastors who are organizing and leading the event: Eddie Edmonds, 304-267-4135 or 304-671-4775; Tom Fralin, 301-432-2653 or 301-667-2291; Ed Poling, 301-766-9005.

This summer, the Vacation Bible School at Keyser (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren, with some generous help from members of the congregation, raised $1,000
Photo courtesy of Keyser Church of the Brethren

This summer, the Vacation Bible School at Keyser (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren, with some generous help from members of the congregation, raised $1,000 "to help our brothers and sisters in Nigeria," said a note from the church. The VBS took place June 15-19 on the theme "Fully Rely on God."

-- “Proactive Planning for Retirement” is the topic for the September edition of "Brethren Voices," a community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. It features retired pastor Kerby Lauderdale. “When it comes to retirement planning, to often people just think about the money that is needed for retirement. Another thing that needs to be planned is the place where the person will be living and the care that might be needed,” says Lauderdale, who has seen some in his congregation wait too long to begin the process of implementing plans for the latter stages of their lives. “Everything dies in life including people and institutions. We need to mark our calendars of the decade that we turn 70-80 years of age and have a plan in place for our care. It is during those years that people naturally experience life threatening health problems necessitating special care. If we do not have a plan, then someone else is going to have to do the work. In most cases that means our children or relatives.” Lauderdale is interviewed by “Brethren Voices” in a before and after show about his planned move to a retirement home in Portland. DVD copies of the program are available from producer Ed Groff at Groffprod1@msn.com . Brethren Voices also may be viewed on www.Youtube.com/Brethrenvoices . Groff notes that “some congregations also place the program on their community television station for their whole community can see what Brethren do as a matter of their faith. Madison Avenue Church of the Brethren and Westminster Church of the Brethren have been a part of  Brethren Community Television for over 10 years. Their stations broadcast Brethren Voices over 10 times during the month with credits for the local congregation.”

-- A Dunker Punks project “1,000+ Letters for Nigeria” is on day 365, achieving a whole year of letter writing. The initiative has sent letters around the country seeking support for those affected by violence and displacement in Nigeria. Letters have gone to a wide variety of organizations and groups, for example Monday’s went to Partners for International Development, Project Harmony International, and Physicians for Peace. The campaign is led by Dunker Punks blogger Emmett Eldred, who notes on the blogsite today: “Today is day 365! The last day of the letters for Nigeria project! At least this stage of it. Now comes follow-ups with all the organizations I've written to about the Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria.” Find out more, sign up for e-mail alerts, or join in as a participant in the Dunker Punks movement at http://dunkerpunks.com .

-- The World Council of Churches (WCC) and National Council of Churches (NCC) are collaborating to offer webinars focusing on evangelism in the 21st century, in preparation for a WCC conference on evangelism later this year. A webinar on “Evangelism in the Context of Small Congregations” is offered on Sept. 15 at 12 noon (Eastern time) with leadership from Andrew Irvine, professor of Pastoral Theology at Knox College, Toronto School of Theology, and Heather Heinzman Lear, director of Evangelism Ministries for the United Methodist Church. The NCC's Tony Kireopoulos will serve as moderator. Pre-register for this free webinar at http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/pages/webinar-6 .

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