Newsline for Oct. 15, 2015




“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace” (Romans 10: 15).

Bare feet in garden, with text from Romans
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

1) Brethren representative reports from United Nations 70th anniversary event

2) World Council of Churches condemns escalation of conflict in Syria

3) Atlantic Southeast District holds its ninth Family Peace Camp

PERSONNEL
4) Fred Bernhard resigns from Bethany Seminary

5) Summer orientation held by Brethren Volunteer Service and Brethren Revival Fellowship

6) Brethren bits: Mission and Ministry Board fall meeting, general secretary to speak at Bridgewater Forum, materials for Bethany Sunday, On Earth Peace interns, Food Week of Action, Camp Mack celebrates program director, Brethren Heritage Festival at the Young Center, “Come to the Well,” prayer request for Iraqi Kurdistan, and more


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Quote of the week:

“Religious freedom extends way beyond mere tolerance.... [The concept] demands that the practitioners of one faith understand that they have no right to coerce others into submission, conversion, or silence, or to literally take their lives because of their beliefs.”

-- US Secretary of State John Kerry in a news conference about the newly released annual International Religious Freedom Report from the State Department. The report names ISIS and Boko Haram as two of the worst offenders worldwide in 2014, according to ABC news and other media outlets.
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1) Brethren representative reports from United Nations 70th anniversary event

By Doris Abdullah

The 193 nations of the United Nations opened the UN’s 70th anniversary (Sept. 23-Oct. 2) at the headquarters in New York with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that reflect the desires of the world’s people.

Those goals include the elimination of poverty and hunger, promotion of good health, availability of quality education, gender equality, clean water, clean energy, decent work, industry innovation, reduction of inequalities, the building of sustainable cities, responsible consumption, climate action, restoration of life below water and on land, promotion of peace and justice, and the building of strong institutions and revitalizing of global partnerships for sustainable development.

I heard less angry words this year as opposed to previous years, coming from the mouths of the array of presidents, prime ministers, kings, and emirs who stepped to the podium to address the General Assembly. I would like to think that the combination of having heard Pope Francis speak first, and the 17 SDG goals as the theme of the meeting, and the effort to leave no one behind, contributed to a more harmonious atmosphere.

In this report I name only a few of the nations and their representatives I heard speak on the days I was present at this truly remarkable and informative week.

Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez, an oncologist, spoke with passion about goals aimed at ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, ensuring healthy lives, and promoting well-being for all ages. He noted Uruguay’s successful anti-smoking campaign and its effect at reducing deaths and related illnesses. He also noted that Uruguay his been sued by the tobacco company Philip Morris, which alleges that because 80 percent of the covering on a pack of cigarettes is anti-smoking information, there is not enough space to display their trademark.

For Jordan's King Abdullah II, the goals to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels was the main focus. Jordan is the recipient of more than 600,000 Syrian refugees fleeing violence in their country, and the King spoke on achieving peace for the Middle East in the face of terrorism. He labeled the terrorists as outlaw gangs and called for a global effort to defeat them. He spoke on Jordan's role in promoting interfaith dialogue and its role in the UN Interfaith Harmony Week.

Countries as diverse as Argentina, Brazil, Liberia and South Korea have women presidents and while each of them touched on the goal of achieving gender equality, their focus appeared mostly to be on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all ages, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education, and reducing inequalities within and among countries. President Dilma Rousseff quoted the Chinese proverb that highlights women as one half of heaven, but she reminded the assembly that women make up one-half of the Earth's people as well.

Columbia's President Juan Manuel Santos spoke about finding solutions to conflict through peaceful reconciliation. He told how his country, after 50 years of civil war and internal conflicts, had come to the table to talk without guns or outside influence. He offered to share with other countries who experience internal conflict the lessons learned by Columbia, once the agreement has been signed.

I was present for four of the speeches by presidents of the P5, the permanent members of the Security Council. President Barak Obama and President Putin held the world’s attention, in so much as not one seat was empty during their speeches.

Here is an excerpt from President Obama’s speech, copied from the State Department release: “Out of the ashes of the Second World War, having witnessed the unthinkable power of the atomic age, the United States has worked with many nations in this Assembly to prevent a third world war. That is the work of seven decades. That is the ideal that this body, at its best, has pursued. Of course, there have been too many times when, collectively, we have fallen short of these ideals. Over seven decades, terrible conflicts have claimed untold victims. But we have pressed forward, slowly, steadily, to make a system of international rules and norms that are better and stronger and more consistent.”

President Vladimir Putin of Russia aimed most of his remarks to perceived arrogance or world dominance on the part of the United States, and appeared not to focus much attention on the SDG goals but wrapped his speech in security issues. He did not address the thousands of talented and gifted Russian people who migrate each year, nor the violence in the Ukraine which has caused the deaths of thousands along with an internal crisis of displaced people in that country.

President Xi Jinping of China offered monetary aid, $50 million towards gender equality, $100 million to the African Union for maintaining peace, and $1 billion to support UN works, along with a commitment to engage with other nations in the goal to combat climate change and the goal of conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas, and marine resources for development.

France's President Francois Hollande also focused on combating climate change. France will host the UN Climate Change summit in December. He also spoke on the refugee crisis facing Europe as millions flee from violence in North Africa, Iraq, and Syria.

At a follow up workshop discussion on accountability, we asked the question: How will we hold the countries accountable for achieving these goals, and accountable for the use of monies received? Methodologies for accountability must be put in place to track the goals.

-- Doris Abdullah is the Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations. For more information about the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) go to www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals .

Peace dove

2) World Council of Churches condemns escalation of conflict in Syria

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has expressed grave concern over the escalation of conflict in Syria, in an official statement issued on Oct. 12. The statement strongly condemns all foreign military operations “especially since hope has been raised for a political process in line with the proposals made by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, and approved by the UN Security Council last August,” said a WCC release.

The council along with ecumenical partners has on several occasions expressed its deep conviction that “there will be no military solution” to the conflict in Syria.

“We call upon all governments to put an immediate end to all military actions and to support and engage with a political process for peace in Syria through which a narrative for all Syrians can be generated,” said WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit, in the release. He added, “We also reiterate our urgent call to the UN Security Council and the international community to implement measures to end the flow of weapons and foreign fighters into Syria.”

The WCC statement says, in part: “Only a political solution in Syria, leading to the establishment of a transitional national government, recognized by the people of Syria and the international community, can adequately address the existential threat posed by ISIS and other extremist groups and offer hope for the preservation of the diverse social fabric of Syria and the region....

“The Syrian people deserve another alternative to what they face today, and a just peace now. We hope and pray that the suffering of the Syrian people will come to an end soon.”


The full text of the WCC statement follows:

Statement calling for an end to foreign military interventions in Syria
12 October 2015

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace” (Romans 10: 15).

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is gravely concerned by the dramatic escalation of the military operations in the conflict in Syria and strictly condemns them. This we do at a moment when expectations and new hopes had been raised of a political process moving forward, in line with the proposals made by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, and approved by the UN Security Council last August. We are particularly concerned that this escalation will make the situation even worse for the people of Syria, and particularly for all vulnerable communities.

The WCC, together with its member churches and ecumenical partners, has expressed on several occasions its deep conviction that “there will be no military solution” to the crisis and conflict in Syria. In an open letter to the UN Security Council in September 2013, the WCC stated that “an attack from outside Syria is likely to increase suffering and the risk of more sectarian violence, threatening every community in the nation including Christians. At this crucial time, the people of Syria and the Middle East need peace and not war. Weapons or military actions cannot bring about peace in Syria. The need of the hour is for the world to focus on how best to ensure security and protection for the people of Syria. There is no other way to sustainable justice and peace for the people of Syria than the hard work that must be undertaken by all parties inside and outside Syria to find a negotiated political solution. All people of good will must set aside our differences of opinion and interests in order to end the armed conflict in Syria as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of the international community to act now to do everything possible to find a nonviolent solution leading to a lasting peace.”

Sadly, this urgent call remains truer and more needed now than ever. The dramatic daily increase of the number of victims, the haemorrhaging of Syria’s population as refugees, and the inability of the international community to find common political solutions have become ethically unbearable. The cycle of extreme violence and its tragic implications on the whole Syrian population have become unacceptable.

We call upon all governments to put an immediate end to all military actions and to support and engage with a political process for peace in Syria through which a narrative for all Syrians can be generated. We also reiterate our urgent call to the UN Security Council and the international community to implement measures to end the flow of weapons and foreign fighters into Syria. History has shown tragically and repeatedly that foreign military interventions cannot bring peace and eliminate extremism. On the contrary, they will rather fuel religious tensions and lead to more radicalization. Only a political solution in Syria, leading to the establishment of a transitional national government, recognized by the people of Syria and the international community, can adequately address the existential threat posed by ISIS and other extremist groups and offer hope for the preservation of the diverse social fabric of Syria and the region.

At a time when the ecumenical movement is engaged in a global “pilgrimage for justice and peace”, the WCC invites its member churches to accompany the people of Syria in this path, and to develop with them ways of building bridges and working towards a just peace. The Syrian people deserve another alternative to what they face today, and a just peace now.  The international community has to take the common responsibility to secure it.  We hope and pray that the suffering of the Syrian people will come to an end soon.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary

-- The statement also may be found posted on the WCC website at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/statements/statement-calling-for-an-end-to-foreign-military-interventions-in-syria .

A heart found in nature at Camp Ithiel.
Photo courtesy of Camp Ithiel

A heart found in nature at Camp Ithiel.

3) Atlantic Southeast District holds its ninth Family Peace Camp

By Merle Crouse

The ninth Family Peace Camp was held at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., from Friday evening to Sunday noon, Sept. 4-6, just before labor Day. This year the resource leader was Kathryn Bausman, co-pastor of Community Church of the Brethren in Twin Falls, Idaho, with her husband Mark Bausman. Both Kathryn Bausman as speaker, and the theme, “Living into Scripture, Today! Building Justice and Peace,” were chosen with the help of On Earth Peace.

Kathryn Bausman has been director of Jubilee House, a recovery home for mistreated women. Her interactive sessions involved Bible study, discussion, and passionate witness from her experiences.

The 29 participants including adults, young people, and children, represented four Church of the Brethren congregations--Miami First, New Covenant, Sebring, and St. Petersburg--plus campers from United Methodist, Seventh Day Adventist, and Roman Catholic churches.

Worship experiences were led by Steve Horrell, Berwyn Oltman, Sue Smith, Jerry Eller, and Terry Grove, host pastor at New Covenant Church of the Brethren at Camp Ithiel.

Marcus Hardin, Atlantic Southeast District youth and camp director, got the camp started with get-acquainted games. One of the games asked each person to respond to these questions: “Who is a person you greatly admire, and why? What is a place you would like to visit?”

An informal sub-theme was focused on the Brethren in Nigeria: a Peace Banner featured EYN (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria); special music was in Hausa, a language spoken in northern Nigeria; and on Sunday morning a Nigerian family attended whose home in the conflicted area of northeast Nigeria has been occupied by the Nigerian army as it attempts to push back the Boko Haram insurgents. Bob Krouse was song leader for the camp, accompanying the singing with his guitar, and taught the group an EYN song in Hausa.

Jerry Eller coordinated a full schedule for the annual Variety Show. There were acrobatic skits by young people. Elena Taneva, a nurse at Florida Hospital, dressed in her native Bulgarian peasant dress and sang a Bulgarian love song, then did a fast, intricate folk dance. She also led a simple line dance with a dozen campers joining in. Marcus Harden led the annual Closing Circle after worship on Sunday.

-- Merle Crouse is part of the Atlantic Southeast District’s Action for Peace Team which sponsors the annual Family Peace Camp.

Fred Bernhard

Fred Bernhard


PERSONNEL

4) Fred Bernhard resigns from Bethany Seminary

By Jenny Williams

Fred Bernhard, advancement associate at Bethany Theological Seminary, has resigned his position, effective Oct. 31. He joined the seminary’s Institutional Advancement Department in 2004, serving as an advancement representative in the field to alumni/ae, friends, and churches.

As a well-known church leader and former pastor, Bernhard was a familiar presence to many in the denomination when he came to work for Bethany. His travels for the seminary took him regularly through several eastern Brethren districts as he developed relationships and garnered support on behalf of the Bethany community. Although retired from full-time ministry, he also continued in leadership at congregational and district events and continued to share his gifts in ministry, including several interim pastorates, during his Bethany tenure.

“With a gracious spirit and generous heart, Fred served as a member of the Institutional Advancement team for 11 years and traveled extensively for the seminary. We are grateful for his service to the seminary and the many ways he has embodied and shared the Bethany story,” said Jeff Carter, president.

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications for Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.

Members of the BVS / BRF Unit 310 are (from left) Damon Crouse, Monika and Zach Nolt, houseparents (with their son), Kezia Roop, Kevin Long, Caleb Martin, and Peggy and Walter Heisey, orientation leaders.

Members of the BVS / BRF Unit 310 are (from left) Damon Crouse, Monika and Zach Nolt, houseparents (with their son), Kezia Roop, Kevin Long, Caleb Martin, and Peggy and Walter Heisey, orientation leaders.



5) Summer orientation held by Brethren Volunteer Service and Brethren Revival Fellowship

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) Unit 310 is an orientation unit held in cooperation with the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF). The volunteers in Unit 310 completed training this summer and have begun work at their project site. All of the volunteers are serving at the Root Cellar in Lewiston, Maine.

The volunteers and their home congregations follow:

Damon Crouse of White Oak Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa.; Monika and Zach Nolt, also from the White Oak Church, who will serve as houseparents, and their son Jaden; Kezia Roop of Heidelburg Church of the Brethren in Myerstown, Pa.; Kevin Long of Trinity Church of the Brethren, Waynesboro, Pa.; Caleb Martin of the Heidelburg Church; and Peggy and Walter Heisey, orientation leaders, also members at the Heidelburg Church.

More information about Brethren Volunteer Service is at www.brethren.org/bvs .

Powerhouse regional youth conference 2015 is held at Camp Mack. Dates are Nov. 21-22. Rich Troyer is the speaker on the theme,

Powerhouse regional youth conference 2015 is held at Camp Mack. Dates are Nov. 21-22. Rich Troyer is the speaker on the theme, "An Attitude of Gratitude" (Colossians 2:7b). Find out more at www.manchester.edu/powerhouse



6) Brethren bits

-- The Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren holds its fall meeting at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on Oct. 15-19. The meeting will be led by chair Donald Fitzkee and chair-elect Connie Burk Davis. On the board’s agenda are adoption of a budget for the denomination’s ministries in 2016, and a recommendation from an Ad Hoc Mission Philosophy Study Committee, among other items of business and numerous reports. A special item of business at this meeting is the dedication of the Donald Miller papers, which have been donated to the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. Miller is a former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren who also has served as a professor at Bethany Theological Seminary. A full report from the board meeting will appear in Newsline next week.

-- Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, will give a seminar at Bridgewater (Va.) College’s Forum for Brethren Studies on Nov. 2, starting at 3:30 p.m. Noffsinger will reflect on his term of service in leadership to the Church of the Brethren. The event takes place in Room 109 of Bowman Hall and will include a question-and-answer session and discussion. The public is invited.

-- Bethany Theological Seminary has posted worship materials for this year's Bethany Sunday, to be observed on Oct. 18, at www.bethanyseminary.edu/resources/BethanySunday . The webpage offers worship elements, bulletin inserts, a “moment in mission,” and a prayer calendar, which may be downloaded, printed, and copied. For questions or to request printed materials, contact Monica Rice, coordinator of congregational and alumni/ae relations, at ricemo@bethanyseminary.edu or 765-983-1823.

-- In its most recent newsletter, On Earth Peace notes that “interns now outnumber staff.” The newsletter introduced the interns who are working with On Earth Peace this fall: Madeline Dulabaum is serving as newsletter editor; Emmett Eldred is social media organizer and the agency’s primary contributor on Facebook; Ellie Puhalla is children’s peace coordinator; Sarandon Smith is events manager for Church of the Brethren conferences and will be working to plan for the 2016 Annual Conference and district conferences; Sarah Ullom-Minnich is youth peace coordinator with a focus on youth peace retreats and contributions to DunkerPunks podcasts; and Zoë Van Nostrand is the racial justice organizer. “On Earth Peace offers paid internships in positions across the organization for college students and recent graduates,” the newsletter reported. Find more information including current openings and application instructions at www.onearthpeace.org .

-- This is Food Week of Action for churches and related humanitarian organizations. The Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness invites congregations to “celebrate the good work being done to establish food security and food sovereignty around the world while also recognizing a call to action to collectively move forward in this work,” said an announcement. The 2015 resources for the week are co-sponsored by the Office of Public Witness. The resources encourage churches to engage in discussion on a variety of topics from the importance of healthy soils to farm worker solidarity, take part in actions such as the Zero Hunger Challenge from the United Nations, or become involved in a community garden or farm. A website for the 2015 resources is hosted by the Presbyterian Mission Agency at www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/hunger/food-week-action-and-world-food-day . More resources are available from the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance at www.e-alliance.ch/en/l/food/food-week-of-action . Also, congregations interested in creating or working with a community garden are encouraged to visit a nearby “Going to the Garden” congregation. Find a map of churches that participate with community gardens at www.brethren.org/publicwitness/going-to-the-garden.html .

-- Grossnickle Church of the Brethren in Myersville, Md., on Sunday observes its 10th anniversary with a Foods Resource Bank (FRB) growing project, as well as the FRB’s 15th anniversary. The “Field of Hope” growing project is a joint effort along with other area congregations. The annual Harvest Celebration for the growing project takes place Sunday afternoon, Oct. 18, at 2:30 p.m. For more information go to www.gcob.org/field-of-hope .

-- Flooding has affected Smith River Church of the Brethren in Virlina District, located near Woolwine, Va. The church has been cleaning up after having two feet of water fill its basement, and it lost a picnic shelter to water damage. However, also lost from the church property was a historic covered bridge. The bridge has been a landmark in Patrick County and, according to news reports, was one of the few remaining covered bridges in the state of Virginia. The Bob White Covered Bridge had stood for 94 years, and was a registered Virginia Historic Landmark, according to Roanoke’s WDBJ Channel 7. A group has begun raising money to restore the bridge. Pastor Danny Gilley is quoted in one of the two WDBJ7 reports expressing his strong faith in these words: “Things will work out. You know, God's gonna take care of us.” Find the two WDBJ7 reports online at http://m.wdbj7.com/news/local/pastor-believes-camper-destroyed-bob-white-covered-bridge/35583112 and at www.wdbj7.com/news/local/southern-virginia/bob-white-covered-bridge-in-woolwine-washes-away/35556902?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_WDBJ7 .

-- Oct. 17 is the district conference date for Western Pennsylvania District. Location will be Camp Harmony in Hooversville, Pa. This will be the 149th annual district conference for Western Pennsylvania.

-- “Travel the horn of Africa,” said an announcement from Western Plains District, publicizing an upcoming tour led by Herb and Jeanne Smith, widely traveled members of the district who have taught at McPherson (Kan.) College. The couple are leading an annual trip to the “New Jerusalem” of Africa: Lalibela, Ethiopia. The tour will “visit 11 rock-hewn churches carved into the earth, worship in a cave monastery with monks and priests, converse with the Orthodox Patriarch in his mansion, assemble PET wheelchairs for victims of polio, and enjoy the largest outdoor market in Africa,” the announcement said. Dates are Jan. 6-13, 2016. Brochures are available, contact smithh@mcpherson.edu or 620-241-7128.

Come to the Well retreat is sponsored by Spring of Living Water initiative along with Atlantic Northeast District, Camp Harmony, and Bethany Theological Seminary.

-- “Come to the Well, Partake of Living Water, and Depart for Ministry” is the title of a retreat to be held Jan. 11-12, 2016, at Camp Swatara near Bethel, Pa. The retreat is a cooperative effort of the Springs of Living Water initiative for church renewal in partnership with Atlantic Northeast District, Camp Swatara, and Bethany Theological Seminary. The event combines a day of Sabbath rest on Monday, Jan. 11, with a 19th annual Pastors and Church Leaders Conference on Tuesday, Jan. 12. “On Monday, pastors and ministers will gather for Sabbath rest with professional growth, a Sabbath walk, fellowship, rest, campfire, and vespers,” said an announcement from the Springs initiative. “Tuesday is for pastors and church leaders on the topic of seeking the mind of Christ in spiritual discernment and decision making. The vision of this two-day retreat is to have our spiritual lives restored and be commissioned for renewed ministry for vital churches.” The registration fee includes meals and usage of space. The fee for one day is $40, and the fee for two days is $80. Continuing education credit is available for an additional $10. A .4 credit is offered for Monday, Jan. 11, and a .6 credit is offered for Tuesday, Jan. 12. Overnight accommodations at Camp Swatara are available. Pastors, ministers, and church leaders are all welcome. The registration deadline is Dec. 28. Find a flier at www.churchrenewalservant.org/docs/come-to-the-well.pdf . A registration form is online at www.churchrenewalservant.org/docs/come-to-the-well-regis.pdf . For questions contact David Young at davidyoung@churchrenewalservant.org or 717-615-4515.

-- A “Celebrate Curt Rowland Open House” was held at Camp Alexander Mack near Milford, Ind., on Sunday, Oct. 11. The event celebrated Rowland’s completion of 13 years of service as Camp Mack program director. An announcement in the South Central Indiana District newsletter reported that he will be moving on to other ministries later this month.

-- A Brethren Heritage Festival is planned at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College during the school’s Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 1-4:30 p.m. Activities will include games, crafts, displays, snacks, quilting, and a hymn sing at 4:15 p.m. The Elizabethtown College Alumni Peace Fellowship will have a display.
 
-- The University of La Verne, Calif., is holding a Fasnacht Lecture and Dinner on the evening of Oct. 22, with speaker Rabbi Eric Yoffie. The lecture is part of a series made possible by the Harold J. Fasnacht Chair in Religion. The Fall 2015 lecture features Yoffie, “a writer, lecturer, and internationally known religious leader,” said an announcement from the Religion and Philosophy Department. “A bold, compelling, and inspiring speaker, he has presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos and has appeared on Fox news, CNN, and many other news outlets. He has lectured on university campuses throughout the United States, and writes regularly for Time, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post and the Israeli daily Haaretz.” The lecture topic will be “Immigration, Israel/Palestine, Sexual identity: Finding Solutions Through Interfaith Dialogue.” The lecture takes place in the Morgan Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Oct. 22.

-- Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is asking for prayer that civil war will not break out in Iraqi Kurdistan. “The government has not paid civil servants’ salaries for three months,” explained the prayer request. “Demonstrations across the region have left five dead, and dozens injured, and dozens detained by the secret police. The ruling KDP party has forced the Gorran (Change) party to leave the government and the capital. The majority of those who demand changes to the current situation do not condone violence. They call for the changes to come through nonviolent means. Pray that those voices and actions prevail.” Find out more about the CPT work in Iraqi Kurdistan at www.cpt.org/work/iraq .

-- The National Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence has become an annual observance, held near the anniversary date of the murders of schoolchildren and teachers at Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Conn. The vigil is sponsored by the Newtown Foundation and by Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. The 2015 national vigil has been announced for Dec. 9, a date near the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings. The vigil will be held in Washington, D.C., starting at 7 p.m. at St. Marks Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill. Church and other groups are invited to hold their own vigils across the nation from Dec. 10-14. Reserve a seat at the national vigil online at www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-3rd-annual-national-vigil-for-all-gun-violence-victims-tickets-18500380135 (financial assistance to attend will be available for immediate family members of victims and survivors of gun violence, said the announcement). To submit a photo of a loved one lost to gun violence for the 2015 Tribute Video at the national vigil, go to http://newtownaction.org/submitphoto . For a “Tool Kit” to help with planning of vigils contact info@newtownfoundation.org .


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Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Doris Abdullah, Dan Campana, Merle Crouse, Tim Harvey, Pete Kontra, Phil Lersch, Tim Ritchey Martin, Dan McFadden, Jenny Williams, David Young, 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 regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is set for Oct. 22.

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.