Brethren bits for Aug. 26, 2016




Lamps for Nigeria, being made by Dale Ziegler as a fundraiser for the Nigeria Crisis Response.
Photo courtesy of Dale Ziegler

Lamps for Nigeria, being made by Dale Ziegler as a fundraiser for the Nigeria Crisis Response.

-- Nigerian lamps are still available. While supplies last, any person or church that donates more thanr $500 to the Nigeria Crisis Fund will receive a handmade oil lamp. Lamps are made of African rosewood and are donated by members of Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Dale Ziegler turned the wood, Karen Hodges crocheted the doily, and Julie Heisey made the star. “Get one today!” said the invitation from Nigeria Crisis Response co-directors Carl and Roxane Hill. Contact crhill@brethren.org .

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-- Protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the focus of today’s Action Alert from the Office of Public Witness. Citing an 1991 statement of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference--“Our task is nothing less than to join God in preserving, renewing and fulfilling the creation. It is to relate to nature in ways that sustain life on the planet, provide for the essential material and physical needs of all humankind, and increase justice and well-being for all life in a peaceful world”--the alert urges Brethren to join in calling on the President and Congress to permanently protect the refuge. This follows on a recommendation by President Obama to designate more than 12 million acres within the refuge as wilderness, protecting it from future threats such as drilling for oil and natural gas. “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1960 as a way to protect over 19 million acres of land and water in Alaska,” the alert explains. “The refuge acts as home to countless species and is called ‘the sacred place where life begins’ by the Gwich’in for its role in providing birthing grounds for caribou and polar bears as well as sustenance for their people. However, the refuge has also long been the target for oil drilling. Drilling in the refuge would lead to irreversible damage to its delicate ecosystems while also destroying the cultural heritage of Alaska Native groups.” An online petition is available at www.faithforthearctic.org/take-action.html . Find the full Action Alert at http://support.brethren.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=35838.0 .

-- Brethren Disaster Ministries has shared information from the United Nations warning of a new widespread, multi-nation crisis of hunger and potential starvation in the Lake Chad area of West Africa. Brethren Disaster Ministries is one of the partners in the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), which has been providing food and other aid for Nigerians displaced by the violence. Now UNICEF is warning that the crisis in Borno State in Nigeria, and in neighboring countries, may be deepening despite gains against Boko Haram. UNICEF reports that nearly half a million children around Lake Chad face severe acute malnutrition due to drought and the insurgent violence. Of the 475,000 children at risk, 49,000 in Nigeria’s Borno State will die this year if they do not receive treatment, said the United Nations’ children’s agency. UNICEF is appealing for $308 million to address the crisis, but has received only $41 million--just 13 percent of what it needs to help those affected in the four countries that border Lake Chad: Chad, Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon. UNICEF also said that 2.2 million people remain trapped in areas under the control of Boko Haram. Find the Reuters report about the UNICEF release at http://bit.ly/2bSMVEY .
 
-- Miami (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren is co-sponsoring “A Death Penalty Symposium: Where Do We Go from Here?” in memory of pastor Bill Bosler who was murdered almost 30 years ago. His daughter SueZann Bosler survived the attack and has spoken against the death penalty around the world. The Sept. 17 event will take place at the Barry University Campus in Miami, and will feature SueZann Bosler as well as Bill Pelke of Journey of Hope, Herman Lindsey who was the 23rd prisoner exonerated from Florida’s Death Row, Hannah Gorman of the Florida Center for Capital Representation--FIU Law School, and Amnesty International. Bob Gross, a former director of On Earth Peace, will serve as moderator and speaker. Barry University’s Department of Sociology and Criminology is co-sponsoring and hosting the event at the Miami campus at 11300 NE 2nd Ave., Andreas Building, Room 112. For more information call Wayne Sutton at 305-947-7992.

-- Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., is celebrating 25 years of a sister church relationship with Second Congregation Mision Cristiana in Managua, Nicaragua. On Sunday, Sept. 11, worship will highlight the special relationship the Brethren church’s support for the Nicaraguan church’s Milk and Rice Program that feeds and educates children in its Managua neighborhood. Beacon Heights members are invited to bring 25 saved pennies to support the Milk and Rice Program in honor of the anniversary--“or quarters or dollars or $100,” suggested the church newsletter.

-- Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry Center near Sharpsburg, Md., is offering a small-group experience in spiritual companionship specifically for pastors and others in set-apart Christian ministry. “Clergy Sacred Listening Circles” is a monthly gathering for prayer, faith-sharing, and listening to the Spirit. The group starts in early October and concludes in early May, meeting in the Oasis Room in the Lodge at Shepherd’s Spring. “This is an ecumenical experience, open to all denominations and faith backgrounds,” said an announcement from Mid-Atlantic District. The group leader is Ed Poling, an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren who has served congregations in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and who has been trained as a spiritual director and retreat leader by the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, D.C., and Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Formation in Camp Hill, Pa. Cost is $125. Participants will need to purchase a copy of the reading book “Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Selves” by Richard Rohr. An introductory meeting for orientation will be held on Monday, Sept. 12, at 10 a.m. Subsequent meetings will be held on Tuesday mornings, with occasional retreat formats that extend into the afternoon and include lunch. For more information contact Shepherd’s Spring at 301-223-8193 or www.shepherdsspring.org .

-- Pleasant Hill Village is holding “A Night with the Stars” on Oct. 15, an auction and dinner fundraiser for the Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Girard, Ill. “Pleasant Hill Village will celebrate the stars who comprise our galaxy as we honor residents, families, staff, volunteers, sponsors, and board members,” said an announcement. “The financial troubles in the State of Illinois have impacted Pleasant Hill Village. Our calculations are that the state owes the facility about $1.5 million in reimbursements for care. PHV’s annual revenue is about $5.3 million. This lack of funding has strangled cash flow, forcing us to delay payments to vendors and take out a line of credit with a financial institution. In spite of all this, we are proud to say that we have worked diligently and creatively to maintain the same excellent care our residents expect and deserve. The Auction and Dinner gives us a chance to raise money for projects that are not luxuries, but are forced to be because of our budget realities.” Organizers hope to raise $38,000 to pay for needed items such as new vital signs machines, an updated shower room for Pleasant Hill Healthcare, new room curtains, improvements of walking paths and other landscaping, and improvements to Girard Area Homes, a low-income housing unit owned and operated by Pleasant Hill Village. The event is presented by Designer Landscapes of Farmersville and Sav-Mor Pharmacy of Virden, with the following additional sponsors: Rovey Seed, Burgess and Son Plumbing, the Bettis Family, and Smoky-Jennings Chevrolet. Doors open at 5 p.m., a prime rib dinner begins at 6 p.m., and the auction begins at 7 p.m. The event is at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Virden, Ill. Tickets are $40 per person. Contact Darrin Burnett at dburnett@pleasanthillvillage.org or 217-627-2181.

-- “Remembering 9/11: Flight 93,” a panel discussion, will be held at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. Panelists include Mal Fuller, air traffic controller at Pittsburgh Airport that day; Tim Lambert, director of multimedia news at WITF and owner of the land on which Flight 93 crashed; and Oya Ozkanca, associate professor of political science at Elizabethtown. Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center, and David Kenley, director of the Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking, will moderate the discussion. For more information see www.etown.edu/youngctr/events .

-- The Brethren Revival Fellowship Facebook page is publicizing the 64th annual Church of the Brethren Camp Meeting that is scheduled for Aug. 27-Sept. 4 at Rhodes Grove Camp and Conference Center in Chambersburg, Pa. The theme for the meetings is “The Attributes of God” (Isaiah 40:25). The nightly speaker is Ray Mummert, elder-in-charge of Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren in Southern Pennsylvania District. Find a flier posted at www.facebook.com/Brethren-Revival-Fellowship-118102901552666 .

-- The 40th anniversary of the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests (BMC) will be celebrated with “Walls to Tables: A BMC Retrospective and Family Reunion” on Oct. 7-9 at the Carleton of Oak Park, Ill., in the Chicago area. “The weekend will feature lots of storytelling...videos, singing, music, sharing, games, remembering, and celebrating. It is a time to meet new friends, relax among old friends, consider new possibilities for BMC, and remember what has already been accomplished,” said an announcement. The schedule includes large group sessions, recreation and activities including a film fest and quilting, Sunday morning worship, and a banquet featuring the presentation of the Martin Rock Award on Saturday evening, Oct. 8. For more information go to www.bmclgbt.org .

-- Peggy Faw Gish, a Church of the Brethren member with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), has reported from the Pikpa Refugee Camp near Mytilini, in Lesbos, Greece, where a CPT team is working. The camp is hosting some of the more vulnerable of the refugees who first were taken to the Moria detention center run by the Greek military. She reports that the atmosphere displays “a relaxed and caring spirit among the residents and volunteers there. Unfortunately, they are the exception to most of the refugee camps that are becoming more like detention camps. The 89 refugees from a variety of countries, that are currently here, are the more vulnerable refugees: disabled, sick, pregnant, and families with many children.... They will stay at Pikpa for several months, in cabins from what had once been a children's summer camp grounds, until their asylum papers are processed and they are transferred to another part of Greece.” CPT members are volunteering to do tasks like meal preparation, activities with the children, helping with the camp garden projects, or taking people for legal appointments, Gish reported. “I have enjoyed getting to know some of the residents through my times there helping to teach adults and children English.” For more about CPT’s work with refugees in Greece go to www.cpt.org/category/cptnet-categories/europe .

-- Dave Good and Brad Yoder, two Church of the Brethren faculty at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., are being honored as “inspirational leaders” with online tributes on the university’s website. Both are heading toward retirement. Good retired this fall as head soccer coach but remains as athletic grounds and maintenance coordinator. Yoder will wind up his career as an assistant cross country and track and field coach and professor of sociology, social work, and criminal justice in May. The two educators will be honored at a dinner this Saturday, Aug. 27. Find the tribute to Dave Good at www.muspartans.com/general/2016-17/releases/20160824g0liiw . Find the tribute to Brad Yoder at www.muspartans.com/general/2016-17/releases/20160824fzacbu .

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