Newsline for Aug. 20, 2015




Praying hands with 1 Corinthians 12:26
Photo by Glenn Riegel

 

NEWS
1) Brethren Disaster Ministries begins new partnership for ‘Disaster Recovery Support Initiative’

2)  Food, aid distributions reach thousands of people in remote districts in Nigeria

PERSONNEL
3) Carolyn Schrock retires from district executive position in Missouri and Arkansas

UPCOMING EVENTS
4) Children’s Disaster Services offers additional training workshops

5) Dates are announced for next year’s church planting conference

RESOURCES
6) Creators of new Church of the Brethren ministers’ manual seek submissions

7) Devotional calls readers to prepare for Advent ‘In the Fullness of Time’

8) Believers Church Commentaries among new resources available from Brethren Press

FEATURE
9) Nigeria: A land of many possibilities

10) Brethren bits: Remembrance, Youth Peace Travel Team, job opening at Zigler Hospitality Center, Mission Offering resources, National Jr. High Sunday, National Young Adult Conference, Taize Community anniversary, plea for aid for migrants in Greece, and much more


******************************************************
Quotes of the week:

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) workers Richard and Xinia Tobias hold up paper cranes containing messages for peace from around the world. BVS regularly places volunteers at the World Friendship Center, a peace center in Hiroshima.
Photo courtesy of Xinia Tobias

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) workers Richard and Xinia Tobias hold up paper cranes containing messages for peace from around the world. BVS regularly places volunteers at the World Friendship Center, a peace center in Hiroshima.

“It is time to judge armaments and energy use by their effects on people and on God's creation. It is time to confess that our desire for material comfort and convenience insulates us from the concern for the source and quantity of the energy we consume. It is time to abandon all support for retaining nuclear weapons. It is time to refuse to accept that the mass destruction of other people can be a legitimate form of protection of ourselves.”
     -- United Methodist Bishop Mary Ann Swenson preaching for an Aug. 5 service at the Catholic Memorial Cathedral for World Peace in Hiroshima, Japan. She is vice-moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee and was the American representative on an ecumenical delegation to Hiroshima and Nagasaki marking the 70th anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons in war. The delegation came from nations that possess nuclear weapons or “live under the United States nuclear umbrella” said a WCC release, including the US, Germany, S. Korea, Japan, Norway, Pakistan, and the Netherlands. See www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/wcc-pilgrims-remember-atom-bomb2019s-deadly-destruction-70-years-ago-in-hiroshima . A video of the WCC delegation in Hiroshima is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi-iZcBUwEQ&feature=youtu.be&list=PLI22eVXX9FYkNkyg6y-tXpWY6e0KmwkJD .

The Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service marked the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings with a request for prayer, and a note about the many years that Brethren Volunteer Service has provided volunteer directors for the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima. The World Friendship Center, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in May, is a guesthouse for international visitors and a place to meet with “hibakusha” or survivors of the atomic bomb. Currently its BVSer co-directors are Maggie and Bernd Phoenix, who arrived in Hiroshima less than two weeks ago. BVSers Xinia and Richard Tobias just completed more than two years at the World Friendship Center.

“Ten years later, we remember. Hurricane Katrina took 1,800 lives and displaced 400,000 people. Pray for the dead. Accompany the healing. Struggle for the living.”
     -- A remembrance for the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina from Creation Justice Ministries. This eco-justice organization is connected with the National Council of Churches. It has published a commemorative edition of “Through the Eye of the Hurricane: Rebuilding Just Communities,” offering worship resources and other resources for use in commemorations of Hurricane Katrina. Commemorative activities are taking place from the anniversary of the hurricane formation on Aug. 23, through Aug. 29 when the levees broke in New Orleans, through Sept. 2, the day the National Guard arrived for emergency relief. Find the resource at http://action.creationjustice.org/o/50750/signup_page/ed06 .


******************************************************
IN NEXT WEEK’S ISSUE: A Brethren Disaster Ministries reflection on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
******************************************************


1) Brethren Disaster Ministries begins new partnership for ‘Disaster Recovery Support Initiative’

Brandi Baker and Phyllis Hochstetler volunteer at the Brethren Disaster Ministries flood recovery site in northern Colorado.
Tim Sheaffer

Brandi Baker and Phyllis Hochstetler volunteer at the Brethren Disaster Ministries flood recovery site in northern Colorado.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has begun a new partnership for a Disaster Recovery Support Initiative, joining in with disaster programs of other Christian denominations. The ministry has requested an allocation of $5,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to help fund this pilot program to more quickly and effectively support the formation of Long Term Recovery Groups (LTRGs) in communities affected by disaster.

In other news, recent allocations from the EDF also continue support for the Nigeria Crisis Response and the Brethren Disaster Ministries flood recovery site in northeast Colorado.

Disaster Recovery Support Initiative

This new initiative will be developed as a partnership with the disaster programs of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In this initiative, a three-person team of response specialists deployed within 2-6 weeks of an event will remain with the community for a period of 2-12 months, serving as a resource to the local recovery effort, the grant request announced.

The team that will be funded with help from the Church of the Brethren “will offer training, teaching, mentoring, and assistance to local LTRG staff and partners as they facilitate early identification, case management, and construction and volunteer management for affected individuals with clear unmet repair or rebuild needs.”

Brethren Disaster Ministries will act as the fiscal agent for this initiative, with additional matching funds provided by the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Funds will support travel to preliminary meetings with affected communities, as well as operational expenses related to volunteer support, including housing, food, and travel expenses incurred on site.

Nigeria crisis funding

In late July, the amount of $380,000 was allocated from the Emergency Disaster Fund, which encompasses the Nigeria Crisis Fund, to continue the response to ongoing violence in northeast Nigeria.

The Nigeria Crisis Response is focused on building capacity and supporting Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), providing longer-term programming, and lasting change for EYN and the whole region, said the allocation request from Brethren Disaster Ministries.

“Initial planning included a three-way partnership with EYN and Mission 21, but no funding support has materialized. As a result, an additional $70,000 of Church of the Brethren funds has been allocated beyond the 2015 budget,” the document reported.
 
Four Nigerian partner organizations that are nonprofit or addressing humanitarian needs--CCEPI, LCGI, WYEAHI, and FSCF--expand the outreach of the response to help those in the greatest need. Each has a direct connection to EYN, but are independent non-profits serving the displaced, and are receiving a portion of the Brethren funds. Discussions have begun with a fifth Nigerian organization called Education Must Continue, which supports the education of some of the escaped Chibok girls and children in the camps for displaced people, and a partnership agreement is expected to be reached later this year.

A US-based partnership with Christian Aid Ministries has resulted in the crisis response effort receiving an additional $140,000 in support of food and supply distributions in Nigeria. This new funding will help extend Brethren funds to other areas of the Nigeria crisis. Christian Aid Ministries is a channel for Amish, Mennonite, and other conservative Anabaptists to minister to physical and spiritual needs around the world.

Prior EDF allocations to support the Nigeria Crisis Response include $1,500,000 allocated on March 3, 2015; $500,000 allocated on Oct. 19, 2014,  at the fall meeting of the Mission and Ministry Board; $100,000 allocated on Sept. 20, 2014; and $20,000 allocated on Sept. 5, 2014. Total allocations made to the Nigeria Crisis Response between Sept. 5, 2014, and the present come to $2.5 million.

Colorado flood recovery

Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed an allocation of $30,000 from the EDF to continue work at its rebuilding project in northeast Colorado. The project site is rebuilding homes damaged in flooding caused by heavy rains in Sept. 2013.

The Church of the Brethren response is focused on some of the most severely impacted areas in Weld, Larimer, and Boulder Counties in northeast Colorado, where 1,882 homes were destroyed and another 5,566 damaged. The Brethren Disaster Ministries project site is hosted in the city of Greeley.

“Considering the travel distance for the majority of Brethren volunteers, it has been necessary to have an ecumenical response in order to consistently have volunteers,” the allocation request said. Volunteers from the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ are supporting the project. 

Funds underwrite operational expenses related to volunteer support including housing, food, and travel expenses incurred onsite, as well as volunteer training, tools, and equipment needed for rebuilding and repair.

For more information about Brethren Disaster Ministries go to www.brethren.org/bdm . For more about the Emergency Disaster Fund go to www.brethren.org/edf .


2)  Food, aid distributions reach thousands of people in remote districts in Nigeria

A distribution of food and other aid in a remote area of northeast Nigeria is carried out by the EYN Disaster Management Team of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria. This and other food and aid distributions are funded by generous giving from the Church of the Brethren in the United States, and are part of the Nigeria Crisis Response.
Photo courtesy of Carl & Roxane Hill

A distribution of food and other aid in a remote area of northeast Nigeria is carried out by the EYN Disaster Management Team of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria. This and other food and aid distributions are funded by generous giving from the Church of the Brethren in the United States, and are part of the Nigeria Crisis Response.

By Roxane Hill, consolidated from reporting by the EYN Crisis Management Team

The EYN Crisis Management Team of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has been very busy with food distributions. In the last few weeks, your donations have provided food for more than 988 families (about 6,000 individuals). Food was distributed to three remote districts that had never received help because they were still in dangerous and unsafe areas.

In related news, three new American volunteers have begun terms of service in Nigeria: Tom and Janet Crago, and Jim Mitchell.
 
Mussa District

Most of the people displaced from this district had relocated back home, but they were attacked for the second and third time by the Boko Haram extremist Islamist insurgents. The community was burned and many people were killed. The displaced people have taken refuge in Wamdeo, a neighboring village.

The EYN Crisis Management Team provided some 277 households with rice, detergent, cooking oil, Maggi (cooking flavoring), soap, salt, and personal care items.

Dille District

The people displaced from Dille also have returned home. The EYN Crisis Management Team assisted in this relocation of 654 families. However, Dille was attacked a few days before the distribution of relief goods. Soldiers around the community were able to restore order and the people are living well and going about their normal activities. The EYN Disaster Management Team along with two representatives from Christian Aid Ministries, a partner organization in the Nigeria Crisis Response effort, went to Dille under Nigerian military escort to ensure a safe distribution.
 
Ado Kasa

Ado Kasa is another community in Nassarawa State where IDPs (internally displaced people) have relocated and are staying. It is not an IDP camp but a community where people stay in rented houses. Some 57 households have found refuge at Ado Kasa where they have a church with a pastor assigned to them from the EYN Headquarters.

The community faces many health challenges, especially the pregnant women who have to travel to another town for medical services. When the people of Ado Kasa received the distribution of bags of corn, they danced and were happy, saying it is more than anything they have ever received.

New Nigeria volunteers

In related news, three new Church of the Brethren volunteers are serving in Nigeria. Two of the three--Tom Crago and Jim Mitchell--gave presentations during a gathering of the District Church Council (DCC) secretaries of EYN, who were called together by EYN president Samuel Dante Dali on Aug. 5-6 to discuss pertinent issues regarding their leadership in the recovery and revitalization of EYN as a church. Also currently volunteering in Nigeria is Janet Crago.

Colorado residents Tom and Janet Crago began their service in Nigeria after Annual Conference, and are expected to work in Nigeria through September. They have extensive experience from previous terms of service in Nigeria when they helped EYN with pension programs and demographic work.

Jim Mitchell, an Ohio resident, began his service in Nigeria on July 3. This is his first time in Nigeria. He brings to the position many years of chaplaincy at hospitals in the Columbus area, and will serve as a listening ear for the many EYN leaders who themselves are suffering from trauma and have been displaced from their homes.

-- Roxane and Carl Hill serve as co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response. For more about the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren in cooperation with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and other partner organizations, go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis . Read stories from the crisis response effort on the Nigeria blog at http://blog.brethren.org/category/nigeria .


PERSONNEL

Carolyn Schrock

Carolyn Schrock

3) Carolyn Schrock retires from district executive position in Missouri and Arkansas

Carolyn A. Pieratt Schrock has announced her retirement as executive minister of the Church of the Brethren’s Missouri and Arkansas District, effective Dec. 31. She has served as district executive minister for almost eight years, since Jan. 1, 2008.

Schrock began as district executive minister following 35-plus years of service in the Church of the Brethren including international mission work including work in Nigeria and what is now South Sudan. She was licensed in 2004 by Cabool (Mo.) Church of the Brethren when she began a caregiving ministry there. Upon completion of the Training in Ministry (TRIM) program with the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, she was ordained in 2012. She also is a graduate of McPherson (Kan.) College and the National College of Education (now National Louis University), where she earned a master’s degree in education in 1989.

Her future plans are to join her husband, Roger Schrock, in retirement and to make a move to McPherson, Kan., sometime next year.


UPCOMING EVENTS

4) Children’s Disaster Services offers additional training workshops

Children's Disaster Services logo

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is offering three additional volunteer training workshops this fall and winter. CDS is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren and part of Brethren Disaster Ministries. For online registration and a list of previously announced trainings go to www.brethren.org/cds/training/dates.html .

CDS and its trained and certified volunteers provide care for children and families following disasters. The CDS workshops provide required training for volunteers who wish to serve in the program.

A workshop will be hosted by Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 30-31, 2015. The local contact, Jim Dorsch, may be reached at 240-409-7206 or deijim@aol.com .

A workshop will be hosted by Sebring (Fla.) Church of the Brethren on Jan. 29-30, 2016. The local contact, Terry Smalley, may be reached at 863-253-1098 or sebringcob@outlook.com .

A workshop will be hosted in Windham, Maine, by the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency on April 1-2, 2016. The local contact, Margaret Cushing, may be reached at 207-892-6785 or cushing@cumberlandcounty.org .

For more information about the ministry of Children’s Disaster Services go to www.brethren.org/cds . To contact the CDS staff, call 800-451-4407 or e-mail associate director Kathleen Fry-Miller at kfry-miller@brethren.org .

2016 Church Planting Conference on the theme


5) Dates are announced for next year’s church planting conference

Save the dates for the next church planting event offered by the Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren. The event is planned for May 19-21, 2016, in Richmond, Ind., hosted in part at Bethany Theological Seminary.

“Reserve the dates and plan to join us as we engage the theme @HIM #Hope #Imagination #Mission,” said an invitation from Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries. The theme will explore the deep roots of hope in Jesus Christ which invite us to imagine new and vibrant mission in the world. The gathering will focus on church planting rooted in worship and prayer, while providing practical training, nurturing conversation, and stimulating idea-sharing.

The two keynote speakers will be Mandy Smith, lead pastor of University Christian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Efrem Smith, who returns to the conference again next year after having been a keynote speaker for the church planting event held in 2014.

To help introduce the conference, Shively is sharing a link to an article Mandy Smith wrote for Christianity Today’s “Leadership Journal,” titled “A Theology of Tears”: www.christianitytoday.com/le/2015/may-web-exclusives/theology-of-tears.html . Find out more about Efrem Smith’s ministry at www.efremsmith.com .

While the main emphasis is on church planting and new mission points, anyone who is willing to explore creative ways of shaping communities of faith and service is welcome to attend. The event will include a learning track offered in Spanish and translation will be available throughout the conference.

Information about the conference, the church planting movement in the Church of the Brethren, and reports from prior church planting conferences is at www.brethren.org/churchplanting .



RESOURCES

6) Creators of new Church of the Brethren ministers’ manual seek submissions

Creation of a new ministers’ manual for the Church of the Brethren is underway, and the planning committee is seeking submissions for the manual. “For All Who Minister,” the current manual, was published in 1993, and much has happened to the ways in which we understand and participate in ministry since that time.

Do you enjoy writing prayers? Is there a love feast service you’ve crafted that has been very meaningful? Have you written some helpful materials for anointing or child dedication? Please send them to the committee for consideration. The committee hopes to include a variety of resources for worship and ordinances in the Church of the Brethren, using both traditional and fresh approaches.

Find a list of exactly what kinds of resources are being sought at www.brethren.org/ministryoffice/documents/submissions-ministers-manual.pdf .

Submissions will be received via the Church of the Brethren website through Sept. 15. The committee will then review the submissions and choose resources for final publication in the new ministers’ manual, which is expected in 2018 and will be published by Brethren Press.

For specific questions contact Dana Cassell at dcassell@brethren.org . Go to www.brethren.org/ministryoffice/ministers-manual.html to make submissions online.


7) Devotional calls readers to prepare for Advent ‘In the Fullness of Time’

Advent devotional for 2015

The 2015 Advent Devotional from Brethren Press, “In the Fullness of Time,” is written by Anita Hooley Yoder. It focuses readers’ attention on the birth of Jesus Christ as a gift from God “when the fullness of time had come” (Galatians 4:4).

This theme scripture calls Christians to the redemption promised by God, and their adoption into the heavenly family as God’s children--an appropriate theme in preparation for the Advent and Christmas seasons and the birth of the Christ child.

This pocket-size paperback is suitable for individual use or for congregations to provide to their members. Purchase copies for $2.75 each or $5.95 for large print by calling 800-441-3712. The devotional also may be purchased at www.brethrenpress.com.

Subscribe to the devotional series

Becoming a seasonal subscriber to the Brethren Press devotional series for Advent and Lent is easy and costs only $4.50 a year for both regular print booklets, or $10 a year for both large print booklets.

Seasonal subscriptions are renewed automatically each year at the discounted rate and bulk quantities can be adjusted with a simple call.  Subscribers can cancel their enrollment in the program at any time.

Call Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 and ask about the seasonal devotional standing order program.


8) Believers Church Commentaries among new resources available from Brethren Press

 Believers Church Bible Commentary: Galatians
 Believers Church Bible Commentary on Song of Songs and Lamentations
 Believers Church Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy
 Outdoor Ministries Camping Curriculum 2016: Fearless Faith
 Curriculum for two year olds: Wee Wonder
 Annual Class Book for Sunday school attendance and records

Believers Church Bible Commentaries: accessible to lay readers, useful in preaching and pastoral care, helpful for Bible studies and Sunday school, and academically sound. This commentary series offers a unique Anabaptist reading of scripture. For all who seek more fully to understand the original message of scripture and its meaning today, the series is based on the conviction that God is still speaking to all who will listen, and that the Holy Spirit makes the Word a living and authoritative guide.

Other new resources available from Brethren Press include a 2016 outdoor ministries camp curriculum on the theme “Fearless Faith,” a curriculum especially for two-year-olds titled “Wee Wonders,” and a new Annual Class Book for recording Sunday school attendance and student information.


Believers Church Bible Commentaries

Three titles are new in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series, and are available from Brethren Press (shipping and handling will be added to the listed price). Galatians and Lamentations/Song of Songs are now available to purchase, and Deuteronomy is scheduled for an October release. Purchase by calling 800-441-3712 or online at www.brethrenpress.com.

Galatians by George R. Brunk III tracks the role this epistle of the Apostle Paul played in Christianity’s shift from being a messianic sect within Judaism to a Gentile-dominated religious movement. As a sustained defense of Jesus Christ as the center of faith, the full unity and equality of Christ’s followers, and the Spirit’s empowerment in the life of the believer, Galatians holds world-changing and personally transforming power for the contemporary church. $29.99.

Lamentations/Song of Songs by Wilma Ann Bailey and Christina Bucher covers the emotional register of biblical literature from the anguished sorrow songs of ancient Israel to the passionate, lyric poems of lovers.

Bailey plumbs the depths of Lamentations, including questions of authorship, images of God, and depiction of a community’s response to exile and development of an identity in the wake of catastrophe. Bucher offers multiple perspectives on Song of Songs, its imagery and characters, and allegorical and literal interpretations. $29.99.

Deuteronomy by Gerald Gerbrandt addresses a book considered by some to be the theological center of the Old Testament. Deuteronomy has been called “the gospel according to Moses,” with its attention to divine grace and practices of justice. It also has disturbed readers and been used to justify violence and war. Gerbrandt invites struggle with difficult passages and attention to hopeful themes of covenant, land, and leadership. $34.99.

Camp curriculum

"Fearless Faith" is available from Brethren Press for $375 for the curriculum on DVD-ROM.

What does it mean to be part of a Christian community? How can the church be a resource that gives campers confidence and courage? Campers will explore how they are a part of church and what that means about relating to one another and the world. Daily guides offer fun, appropriate plans for all ages of children to explore scripture, experience Christian community, and express joy through worship.

The DVD-ROM includes:
-- More than 250 printable pages of activities and curriculum including extra resources for arts and crafts, games, science fun, and worship.
-- Daily biblical and theological overview.
-- Training materials including a video, slides, handouts, exercises.
-- Customizable graphics.
-- Day camp options.

Wee Wonder: Sharing God's Love with Twos

This Bible-based curriculum for two-year-olds, who are beginning to expand their environment beyond family and home, is available from Brethren Press for $159.99.

What better place to explore God's world and nurture relationship with a loving Creator God than in a Christian childcare or church setting? “Wee Wonder” introduces children to God through song, action rhymes, Bible stories, and responsive play.

Twelve creative modules include 52 undated sessions for use through the year. Module 1: We come to church, 2: God made the world, 3: We thank God, 4: Jesus is born, 5: Jesus and his friends, 6: Loving God, 7: God is with us, 8: Holy Week and Easter, 9: Jesus told stories, 10: We help others, 11: God's people share, 12: Word pictures for God.

Annual Class Book

This handy book is available for $3.99 from Brethren Press. It includes space for 25 names, 4-quarter class attendance, offering recorder, space for addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, visitors, and additional notes. This replaces the discontinued Standard Annual Class Book.

Purchase these and other resources online at www.brethrenpress.com or by calling the Brethren Press order line 800-441-3712. Shipping and handling fee will be added to the listed price.

-- Jeff Lennard is director of Marketing and Sales for Brethren Press.



FEATURE

9) Nigeria: A land of many possibilities

A Nigerian pick up truck packed with people
Carl & Roxane Hill

A Nigerian pick up truck packed with people

By Carl Hill

Traveling back and forth between Nigeria and the United States is one of the great joys my wife and I share in our role as co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response. It has been truly amazing to witness the sacrificial giving of our denomination toward the recovery of the church in Nigeria, and assisting the thousands of people who have been displaced by the senseless violence perpetrated by the radical insurgent group, Boko Haram.

As we prepare to go overseas again we will be taking some extra baggage filled with gifts for some of these wonderful brothers and sisters of all ages. Whenever a person comes from or goes to Nigeria they are asked to carry a little something extra with them. This is done because it is easier to have a traveler carry something of value than to pay the shipping and take the chance that the prized item might get lost.

This time as my wife and I go we will be carrying multiple items to be delivered to folks in Nigeria. The wife of one of our volunteers gave us a shoebox full of unknown delights for her husband to enjoy. A ladies group from Iowa brought us a pallet full of children’s books. We’ll stuff our bags with as many of these books as we can to deliver them to the school we’re sponsoring in Jos. After the women’s choir toured the country this summer one of the ladies asked my wife if we could bring her bakery items for her business in Abuja. We’ll be carrying several hundred dollars worth of cake flavorings in small plastic bottles.

We’ve got miscellaneous items too, such as a pair of shoe insoles for Dr. Rebecca Dali, two books for Dr. Samuel Dali, a children’s disaster kit from Children’s Disaster Services, a camera for the EYN Disaster Management Team, and salvaged computer data off a computer that was damaged when a young Kulp Bible College student fled from the Boko Haram. And there are probably more things but those are just the ones I can recall right now.

Naturally, when we come back to the US there will be things we will transport well. Already we are looking to bring back a few bolts of EYN Women’s Fellowship cloth. We have been working on opportunities for continuing education in the US for select Nigerians, and we’ll carry some of the completed applications back with us. The greatest thing about what we will bring back is we won’t really know until the requests are made for us to carry...who knows what?

I was introduced to these Nigerian expectations of “helping out” in an amusing way, when we were teachers at Kulp Bible College a few years ago. We were planning a trip to see Garkida, home of the first Brethren missionaries dating back to the 1920s. As we prepared to load up the SUV for our trip, all of a sudden there were three extra people standing around. When I asked them what they wanted, they informed me that since we were traveling to Garkida they would like to go along so they could visit their families in the area.

At first, I found this to be very forward. We Americans aren’t used to people just inviting themselves along with no prior warning. But, as I learned, this is standard operating procedure for Nigerians. As I traveled throughout Nigeria it wasn’t strange to see small pickup trucks with about 15-18 people jammed into every available space. Looking back, having only three extra riders on our trip to Garkida was a luxury. Nigeria is truly a land of many possibilities.

-- Carl and Roxane Hill are co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response, a cooperative effort of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), with other partners. For more information go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .


10) Brethren bits

The Shenandoah District Office welcomed visiting Nigerian Brethren, Zakariya Amos and his wife Tabita, on Aug. 7. Brother Zakariya is administrative secretary of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Shown at the office's peace pole, where
Photo courtesy of Shenandoah District

The Shenandoah District Office welcomed visiting Nigerian Brethren, Zakariya Amos and his wife Tabita, on Aug. 7. Brother Zakariya is administrative secretary of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. Shown at the office's peace pole, where "May Peace Prevail on Earth" is translated into the Nigerian language Hausa, are (from left) district executive minister John Jantzi, Sister Tabita and Brother Zakariya, and Jim Miller, retired Shenandoah District executive. Miller and his wife Mary hosted the Amoses during their week-long visit in the Shenandoah District.

-- Remembrance: Harold C. Mack, 85, of Dallas Center, Iowa, passed away Aug. 12 in his home, surrounded by family. He was a former Church of the Brethren mission worker in Nigeria, where he served as business manager and taught at Hillcrest School in Jos from 1954-56, and carried out his alternative service as a conscientious objector. He was a lifetime member of the Church of the Brethren and in other volunteer service to the church he served in many capacities at the congregational and district levels including as a Sunday school teacher, youth leader, deacon, treasurer, and board member. He was born Dec. 21, 1929, in Wayne Township, Darke County, Ohio. He was married to JoAnn Royer on Aug. 16, 1959. He earned a degree from Manchester College in Indiana, graduating in 1953, and went on to take graduate classes at Purdue University and Drake University. Prior to serving in Nigeria he was a junior high and high school mathematics teacher in Ohio and in the Des Moines (Iowa) Public School System. After retiring from teaching, he worked for the State of Iowa as a labor market research economist. He is survived by his wife JoAnn of 56 years; children James (Suellen) Mack of Elgin, Ill., Kathryn Mack of Rochester, Minn., Susan (Gary) Mack-Overla of Dallas Center, Iowa, and Carol (Mike Sawyer) Mack of Leesburg, Va.; and grandchildren. A celebration of life service was held on Aug. 17 at Panther Creek Church of the Brethren in rural Adel, Iowa. Memorial gifts are received to the Nigeria Crisis Fund and Panther Creek Church of the Brethren. Find the full obituary and an online guestbook at www.ilesfuneralhomes.com/obituary/Harold-C.-Mack/Dallas-Center-IA/1535793 .

-- Bethany Theological Seminary is requesting prayer for Brethren and others affected by wildfires in the northwest, including one of its faculty, assistant professor of reconciliation studies Debbie Roberts. In an e-mail sent to the seminary community today, prayer was requested following news that Roberts’ community in Tonasket, Wash., is one of the areas where fires are “literally moving across roadways,” affecting travel, causing problems with telephone communications, prompting evacuations, and having other effects on daily life. Roberts and her husband “are offering shelter to people who are being evacuated, and their congregation is also offering this ministry,” the e-mail said. The message closed with a prayer that read, in part, “O God, You have created this blessed creation full of the tame and the wild. It would seem that conditions have run amok, turning heat into raging infernos. Your people, your communities, your creation is on fire! Come to their aid.... that the firefighters have resources available, that neighbor saves neighbor, that churches not in harms way would open their doors and let the frightened in. Fill the people of Washington State, and where all  the fires burn...with courage and clear sight....”

-- The 2015 Youth Peace Travel Team has completed its travels this summer, and has posted blogs from the camps and events where the team attended. One recent post reflected on the team’s participation in Brethren United Adventure Camp in North Carolina. This camp is hosted by Camp Carmel, run by Camp Ithiel, and also attended this year by Camp Bethel, Camp Brethren Woods, Camp Inspiration Hills, and Camp Harmony. Each of the six camps sent campers and counselors to the joint adventure camp. The 2015 Youth Peace Travel Team included Annika Harley, Brianna Wenger, and Kerrick van Asselt. Find their blogposts at http://blog.brethren.org/category/youth-peace-travel-team .

-- The Church of the Brethren seeks a temporary part-time cook to work at the Zigler Hospitality Center on the campus of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The temporary part-time cook assists in the preparation and serving of food for guests of the Zigler Hospitality Center following all sanitation and health department rules and regulations as prescribed by the lead cook. The preferred candidate will have experience cooking in a professional kitchen environment and must be able to lift a limit of 35 pounds and exercise care in handling sharp equipment and power operated equipment. Applications will be received and reviewed beginning immediately until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to request the application packet and complete job description by contacting the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; humanresources@brethren.org . The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

-- Resources for the 2015 Mission Offering supporting the Church of the Brethren denominational mission program are now available online. The scripture theme for the offering, with a suggested date of Sunday, Sept. 20, comes from Philippians 1:15-18: “These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel.” Find a full order of service written by Ken Gibble among other worship resources at www.brethren.org/missionoffering . Give toward the offering at www.brethren.org/give .

-- Nov. 1 is National Junior High Sunday in the Church of the Brethren. The theme is the same as that for this year's National Junior High Conference, “Honor God by Honoring Others” (Matthew 7:12). Find worship resources and a logo in pdf format at www.brethren.org/yya/jr-high-resources.html .

-- Dates have been announced for the next National Young Adult Conference, which will be held from Friday, May 27, to Monday, May 30, 2016, at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind. Young adults ages 18-35 are invited to put this event on their calendars and plan to attend.

Lisa Lee, of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, volunteering with Material Resources at the Brethren Service Center warehouses in New Windsor, Md.
Photo courtesy of Material Resources

Lisa Lee, of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, volunteering with Material Resources at the Brethren Service Center warehouses in New Windsor, Md.

-- The Material Resources staff who help prepare, warehouse, and ship relief supplies from the warehouses at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., recently shared this “fun story” from a volunteer working at the warehouse: “Imagine putting together a Lutheran World Relief Baby Kit, including blankets you have made. Boxing it up with other kits from your church group, sending it off to the warehouse, and several months later, while volunteering at the warehouse, you unpack the kits you made. What a cool surprise and that is exactly what happened while Lisa Lee was volunteering with Our Savior's Lutheran Church.” The Material Resources volunteers help out with a process that can take several months from beginning to end, including making and gathering relief items, putting together kits and packing quilts and blankets, processing the donations that are shipped to the warehouse or sent via a “kit depot,” unpacking and repacking donations in stronger cartons for cross county or overseas shipping, labeling and storing boxes until an agency requests them to be shipped to those in need.

-- Registration is open for Bethany Seminary's Presidential Forum weekend. A discounted rate is available through Saturday, Sept. 5. Join internationally known speakers, peace church leaders, and the Bethany community for “A Pilgrimage of Just Peace: Rejecting Cruelty, Creating Community, Rediscovering Divinity.” Plenary speakers including Fernando Enns from the World Council of Churches, Elizabeth Ferris from the Brookings Institution, and James S. Logan from Earlham College, will bring a global perspective. Breakout sessions will explore multiple interpretations and manifestations of peacemaking. Details and registration are available at www.bethanyseminary.edu/forum2015 . Contact forum@bethanyseminary.edu or 800-287-8822 for more information.

-- On Earth Peace reports that Emily James has completed a cross-country bicycle ride as part of the continuing “3,000 Miles for Peace” campaign. “This project builds off the 3,000 Miles for Peace campaign conducted in 2013 with the goal of raising $300,000 to support On Earth Peace programs in honor of Paul Ziegler,” said the agency’s newsletter. Emily James is a graduate of McPherson (Kan.) College and her bicycle ride started from Paul Ziegler's home in Elizabethtown, Pa. She wrote a blog while on the road, which “includes reflections on the people she met, the journey itself, and on the opportunities to confront privilege and prejudice in the work of peace,” said the On Earth Peace newsletter. Find the blog at www.3kmpep.com/#!blog/c233i .

-- In more news from On Earth Peace, the agency is thanking La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren and and Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., for creating fundraising campaigns to support the Rebuild the Churches Fund. The fund raises money for rebuilding black churches burned by arsonists this summer. The fund is being managed by Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) in St. Louis, Mo., which will also be disbursing the donations to the churches affected by arson. “Nearly $1,000 was raised” by the two Church of the Brethren congregations, On Earth Peace reported in its newsletter. Learn more about Rebuild the Churches Fund at https://cccathedralstl.dntly.com/campaign/2571# .

-- Masons Cove Church of the Brethren in Roanoke County, Va., in Virlina District, celebrated its 90th anniversary on Sunday, Aug. 2.

-- Bassett (Va.) Church of the Brethren also celebrates a 90th anniversary, on Sunday, Aug. 23.

-- Members of First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill., helped host a youth group from First Congregational Church of Westfield, N.J., when the youth were in Chicago for a short-term mission trip. The experience received coverage by New Jersey Online, which reported that the annual mission trip has become a summer tradition for the congregation which sends its youth to serve in a different city each year. “More than 30 church representatives, including middle and senior high students, friends, clergy members, and chaperones, traveled to Chicago, Illinois, from July 19 to 25, to work with Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection (DOOR), a faith-based organization that stresses local immersion while working with inner-city communities,” said the report. “Under the guidance of DOOR representatives from the First Church of the Brethren, the First Congregational Church volunteers took public transportation to work sites throughout the city, including community parks and gardens, an adult day care center, a food distribution warehouse, and a city-run Safe Haven program for youth. The students also learned about the challenges of living in South Chicago through speakers and activities arranged by DOOR.” Find the article at www.nj.com/suburbannews/index.ssf/2015/08/first_congregational_youth_fro.html .

-- “Springfield News Sun” writer Pam Cottrel found evidence that “there is still good in the world” in a local ecumenical effort to pray for schools in New Carlisle, Ohio. Involved in the prayer effort were members of New Carlisle Church of the Brethren, along with members from First United Methodist Church, Honeycreek Presbyterian Church, Great Hope Church, and Medway United Methodist Church. The prayer event started at the Church of the Brethren parking lot where the group shared communion before heading out to pray at seven different local schools. “The group was careful to ask permission in advance before going onto school property,” the report said. Find the newspaper article online at  www.springfieldnewssun.com/news/news/local/local-churches-join-forces-to-prayer-for-schools/nnKMY

-- This summer 17 women from area churches around Mount Lebanon, Pa., sewed 500 school kits bags for Church World Service, with most of the seamstresses from area Churches of the Brethren. The event was reported on by the “Lebanon Daily News”: “On Aug. 10, 30 volunteers met at Mt. Lebanon Campmeeting to assemble the kits. A special treat this year included 10 children from the Mountville United Methodist Church, who helped compile the kits as part of a Bible School project. Their teacher, Laureen Weller, decided to expose the children to a ‘hands-on’ experience germane to their lessons on Christian service when she learned about the drive. The children, also, gave a monetary gift in excess of $400 from their Bible School offerings and a program for the parents.” Jeanne Smith of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren coordinates the drive, which has been going on for six summers and has put together more than 2,500 school kits. Other Church of the Brethren congregations that were involved included Mt. Wilson, Elizabethtown, Annville, Mt. Zion, Palmyra, Spring Creek. Read more at  www.ldnews.com/religion/ci_28644059/mt-lebanon-campmeeting-holds-church-world-service-school .

-- The books have been closed on the 2015 Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction, reports the district newsletter. The net proceeds are $211,385.45. “This money supports the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries in this country and around the world,” the newsletter reported. “This year, $4,300 of the total was raised specifically for the Nigeria Crisis Fund.” The newsletter expressed thanks to all who volunteered at the auction, those who donated items to be sold, and those “who bid, bought, and ate! It's a collaborative effort that reaps great benefits.”

-- This year’s Disaster Relief Auction will be held on Sept. 25-26 at the Lebanon (Pa.) Valley Expo. Sale items will include arts and crafts, baked goods, coins, theme baskets, quilts, food including Amish-made pretzels and donuts, and more. The event includes a Farmers Market, Heifer Auction, Pole Barn Auction, Share a Meal, Silent Auction, Main Hall Auction, a blood drive, and children’s activities. This year the auction holds its First Annual 5K Race, starting at 8 a.m. on Sept. 26.

-- Shenandoah District is holding a Family Fun Day on Aug. 22, with pie and cake judging held again this year. “To participate, please make two identical pies (one for judging and one for auction). For cakes, make two identical cakes or make one and cut it in half (one for judging and one for auction),” said an announcement. “Encourage all ages to participate in the pie/cake judging as it is more fun with a larger number of entries.” The Fun Day also features food, games, pony rides, face painting, a Children’s Silent Auction, music, and more. Location is 502 Sandy Ridge Rd., Waynesboro, Va., rain or shine, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Flier for Western Regional Youth Conference 2016

-- Senior high youth in the western districts of the Church of the Brethren are invited to set aside Jan. 15-17, 2016, to attend Western Regional Youth Conference. On the theme, “Becoming the Beloved Community” (Luke 17:20), the event takes place on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend on the campus of the University of La Verne in southern California. “Violence, conflict, and controversy can tear us down and break us apart,” said an announcement. “The beloved community seeks to raise levels of relationships and work for justice--peacefully, simply, together. Because the Kingdom of God is here; in our midst!” The cost is $45 for youth and their adult advisors. Registration forms will be available in the fall.

-- The deadline to register for “Equipping God's People” has been extended to Aug. 24, reports the Shenandoah District newsletter. The district-wide teacher training event is on Aug. 29 from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren, with leadership from keynote speaker Josh Brockway, denominational director of spiritual life and discipleship, among other presenters and panelists. “The focus of the event will be equipping and making perceptive Christians as transforming influences in the world, through effective and creative educational ministries of the church,” the announcement said. Workshops will address attracting and engaging youth and young adults in study, growth and discipleship; the role of creative storytelling in children's ministry; identifying educational opportunities for those who are differently abled in our congregations. The registration fee of $20 includes lunch, and should be sent to Shenandoah District Church of the Brethren, P.O. Box 67, Weyers Cave, Va., 24486.

-- The 2015 COBYS Bike and Hike is slated for Sunday, Sept. 13, at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. “We’re looking to make it three years in a row with income over $100,000,” said COBYS director of development Don Fitzkee, in a release. “We’re hoping that our regular participants and some new faces will help us reach our goals.” Goals of 500 participants and $110,000 have been set. Last year almost 500 participants raised more than $108,000. Proceeds benefit the ministries of COBYS Family Services, a Church of the Brethren-related agency that educates, supports, and empowers children and adults to reach their full potential through adoption and foster care services, counseling, and family life education. The Bike and Hike consists of a three-mile walk, 10- and 25-mile bicycle rides, and the 60-mile Dutch Country Motorcycle Ride. Participants choose their event, donate a registration fee, and raise money from sponsors, or some of both. Events begin at different times throughout the afternoon, beginning with the motorcycle ride at 1:30 p.m. At the conclusion of the event, participants gather at Lititz Church of the Brethren for refreshments, fellowship, and prizes. Youth groups that raise $1,500 or more earn a gym and pizza night. For the second year a silent auction will run throughout the afternoon. The event sponsor is the Hess Agency. Major sponsors are Cocalico Automotive, Inc., and Hagy’s Towing; Fillmore Container; Speedwell Construction, Inc.; and Carl and Margaret Wenger through the Wenger Foundation, Inc. Advance registration is not required, although those who register by Sept. 7 can deduct $5 from the registration fee. For more information including an event brochure with pre-registration form, and cue sheets for the walk and ride routes, visit www.cobys.org/news.htm or contact Don Fitzkee at don@cobys.org or 717-656-6580.

-- The Children's Aid Society of Southern Pennsylvania District is holding its 19th Annual FORE Children Golf Benefit for Services for Abused and At-Risk Children on Sept. 3 at Hanover (Pa.) Country Club. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m., with the Shotgun Start at 2 p.m. The event is a four-person scramble. The fee is $95 for an individual player and $360 for a foursome team. The registration includes greens fees, carts, range balls, snacks, prizes, and a meal following the tournament. Sponsorship opportunities are available. A registration form and brochure may be downloaded from http://files.ctctcdn.com/5abcefe1301/03eaa115-075c-4a0f-b717-d5828be97133.pdf . For more information contact Jan Zeigler, director of Development and Marketing for the Children's Aid Society, at 717-624-4461 ext. 203 or go to www.cassd.org .

-- “Impressions of Hope: South Sudan 22 Years Later” is the title of the August "Brethren Voices" community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. The show reports on a recent trip by seven members of the Church of the Brethren to South Sudan, including Roger and Carolyn Schlock who previously served as mission workers there, among others. The visit was made in part to support the peacemaking efforts of Brethren staff person Athanasus Ungang and the Brethren Peace and Service Center being built in Torit, South Sudan. For copies of the August "Brethren Voices," contact Ed Groff at groffprod1@msn.com . For other "Brethren Voices” programs, check out www.YouTube.com/Brethrenvoices .    

-- Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), which has been active in monitoring the situation of migrants fleeing into Greece in recent months, has issued “a call for emergency ferry transportation and better basic humanitarian assistance,” in a release sent from Lesvos Island, Greece. “We urge the EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos to organize immediately emergency funding from European Union sources to help process and care for the hundreds of migrants and refugees who are arriving on the Aegean Islands each day.” CPT is urging that the care for migrants include a dedicated ferry to take refugees and migrants to Athens; provision of good quality tents, blankets, food, and drinking water to migrants. Read the full release at www.cpt.org/cptnet/2015/08/17/mediterranean-call-emergency-ferry-transportation-and-better-basic-humanitarian-as .

-- The re-opening of the Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Galakdodrofousas in Palekythro, Cyprus, after 41 years was hailed by the World Council of Churches (WCC) as an important sign of peace and reconciliation. A WCC release reported that the Church of Panagia reopened on Aug. 16. It was built in 1896, but has been closed for worship since 1974 following a coup on the island of Cyprus that led to a Turkish military invasion, and eventually a ceasefire and United Nations-patrolled buffer zone that divided Cyprus into two ethnically separated portions. “The Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders are currently engaged in active negotiations under UN auspices for a comprehensive settlement,” the release said. The liturgy celebrated by Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis gathered some 400 worshipers from the village of Palekythro. Imam Fuat Tosun, regional mufti of Kyrenia, brought greetings of peace from the mufti of Cyprus and welcomed the worshipers in Greek. “God will help both Christians and Muslims to work together to achieve peace in Cyprus and we should continue our joint efforts in this regard.” he said. Find a release from the Office of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/files/PRAugust16Palekythro.pdf . Find the WCC statement on the Cyprus peace talks at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/statements/statement-by-wcc-general-secretary-olav-fykse-tveit-on-resumption-of-cyprus-talks .

-- In more news from the World Council of Churches, a WCC release helped celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Taizé Community in France. The community has been a pilgrimage spot for young adults from around the world, including Church of the Brethren young adults and Bethany Seminary students, who experience times of worship with the peacemaking monastic community founded by Brother Roger. The Taizé Community also is known for its music that uses chant as a style of communal prayer. WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit shared a message at the anniversary celebration focused on the theme “Ora et Labora,” meaning “pray and work.” The WCC general secretary called the anniversary commemoration a “poignant moment” said the release. “Taizé is a village, it is a religious community, but more than that it is a spiritual home--a precious station on life’s journey and a meeting point with others together on the way,” said Tveit. Admiring the vision of peace and community life promoted by Taizé, Tveit said, “The experience of life in community is a compelling reflection of the interdependence of human beings.... It is vital for us today to cherish the deep spiritual truth that we belong together as one human family and that we are part of the entire web of life. The recognition of our interrelatedness is the beginning of the mutual trust and solidarity needed to change and transform the ambivalent reality.” Read full text of the WCC general secretary’s message to Taizé Community at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/messages-and-letters/message-on-75th-anniversary-of-the-taize-community .

-- The National Council of Churches (NCC) and the NCC-related Creation Justice Ministries are celebrating the call of Pope Francis for Roman Catholics to join in Christian unity with the Orthodox Church in observing Sept. 1 as a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. “For the Orthodox community in the United States, September 1 has significance beyond its proximity to back-to-school events and Labor Day weekend. It is the beginning of the liturgical year, which brings symbolism of renewal as well as significance to the date,” noted a release. Creation Justice Ministries is urging all Catholic and Orthodox congregations to unite in prayer on Sept. 1, and is inviting other Christian congregations to join in the ecumenical World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Find out more at www.creationjustice.org .

-- A free webinar about counter recruitment is offered by the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY, see www.nnomy.org ) and hosted by the American Friends Service Committee. An event flier is at http://bit.ly/nnomy_crwebinars . The webinar in three parts focuses on how to establish policies to restrict military recruiting in K-12 schools. Participants are requested to send name, e-mail address, and phone number to projyano@aol.com by Friday, Aug. 21, in order to reserve a place in the webinar. The webinar is offered in three parts on Aug. 26, Aug. 28, and Aug. 31 from 5-6 p.m. (Eastern time). Each session will cover a different set of topics.

-- The “Mennonite World Review” has reported that the Church of the Brethren has been included for the first time in a count of Anabaptists worldwide, carried out by the Mennonite World Conference. Mennonites come out of the Anabaptist theological tradition. The Brethren movement began in central Germany in 1708 having been influenced by both the Anabaptists and the Pietist movements, and the Church of the Brethren is considered to have a combination of Anabaptist and Pietist theologies and styles of church. With the addition of the Church of the Brethren, the world Anbaptist membership rises to 2.12 million believers in 305 organized church bodies and national conferences located in 87 countries. “Three years ago, MWC counted 1.77 million Anabaptists in 243 conferences across 83 countries. The total includes both MWC members and bodies that are not members,” the report said. The Church of the Brethren is not a member of the Mennonite World Conference, but Annual Conference moderator Andy Murray attended the Mennonite World Conference assembly that was held July 22-26 in Harrisburg, Pa., “as an indicator of the developing friendships in the two movements,” the report said. “The listing of the Church of the Brethren [in the directory] simply was, as I understood it, acknowledgement of our places of intersection in the world and in the Anabaptist traditions,” commented Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger, in the article. Read the full article at http://mennoworld.org/2015/08/10/news/with-addition-world-conference-membership-rises .

-- In more news from the Mennonites, the Executive Committee of Mennonite Church USA has responded to area conferences that are “discerning departure” from the denomination. According to a release, two conferences of the denomination--the North Central Conference and Lancaster Mennonite Conference--are making decisions about leaving. The North Central Conference “passed a motion at their July 17-19 annual assembly to begin a yearlong process of withdrawing from Mennonite Church USA,” the release said. “The following week, Lancaster Mennonite Conference leaders announced a proposal that ‘LMC withdraw as an area conference of Mennonite Church USA,’ which will be discussed in area meetings over the next weeks before a final decision is made this fall.” The letters of the Executive Committee read, in part, “As a leadership body within Mennonite Church USA, our Executive Committee longs for you to stay with us, for you to remain part of our church.... You are part of us, and we can’t imagine our church without you, without our shared mission and ministry, without our communion in the same denominational fellowship.” The letters also expressed gratitude for the ways in which God has worked through the ministries and presence of the two conferences, for each conference’s desire to follow Jesus faithfully, and for their support of the church’s mission across the world, and noted how the Holy Spirit heals divisions between people in the church, according to the release. “‘The church welcomes all people who join themselves to Christ to become part of the family of God,’ we’ve declared in our Confession of faith,” the Executive Committee wrote. “We are the family of God together. Mennonite Church USA is committed to remaining part of the same family as you, and we will welcome you again and again, even as you separate yourselves from us.” Read the release at http://mennoniteusa.org/news/executive-committee-responds-area-conferences-discerning-departure-denomination .


******************************************************
Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Shantha Ready Alonso, Deb Brehm, Don Fitzkee, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Kathleen Fry-Miller, Terry Goodger, Ed Groff, Kendra Harbeck, Carl and Roxane Hill, Jeff Lennard, Steven D. Martin, Dan McFadden, Nancy Miner, Becky Ullom Naugle, Glenn Riegel, Amy S. Gall Ritchie, Jonathan Shively, Jenny Williams, Roy Winter, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at cobnews@brethren.org . Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. The next issue of Newsline is scheduled for Aug. 25.

Go to www.brethren.org/Newsline to subscribe to the Church of the Brethren Newsline free e-mail news service and receive church news every week.