Newsline for Aug. 19, 2016




“Serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).

Serve one another in love
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

NEWS
1) Children’s Disaster Services aids children displaced by flooding in Louisiana
2) Haiti Theological Training program celebrates graduation of 22 ministers
3) Song and Story Fest gathers multiple generations for relaxation, reflection, rejuvenation

UPCOMING EVENTS
4) Ventures webinar will train leaders for congregational ethics self-study
5) Series of workcamps is planned for church rebuilding in Nigeria

6) Brethren bits: Congratulations to Olympian Clayton Murphy who grew up in the Church of the Brethren, plus corrections, remembering Bill Kaysen, personnel notes, mission prayer requests, church anniversaries, and more news by, for, and about Brethren


**********


1) Children’s Disaster Services aids children displaced by flooding in Louisiana

Two teams of Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers have begun work in Baton Rouge, La., this week, and more teams have been requested to help care for children and families who have been displaced by massive flooding.

In related news, the Church of the Brethren’s Material Resources program shipped relief supplies to southern Louisiana today, on behalf of Church World Service (CWS). The shipment will arrive in Louisiana on Monday, Aug. 22. It consisted of 500 clean-up buckets, 20 cartons of school kits, and 100 cartons of hygiene kits. The Material Resources processes, warehouses, and ships relief goods, based at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

CDS teams work in Baton Rouge

In mid-week, CDS associate director Kathy Fry-Miller reported, “There are 10,000 people in shelters, some with 3,000 people. There are many road closures, so transportation is very difficult for residents, as well as for assistance and relief to get into the area, both volunteers and supplies.”

Today, Fry-Miller reported by e-mail that in their first day and a half in Louisiana, the CDS volunteers cared for 60 children. The American Red Cross is requesting two more CDS teams to travel to Louisiana this weekend.

Wanda King of Bear Creek Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Ohio, is serving as project manager. The CDS team currently in Baton Rouge includes nine trained and certified CDS volunteers. The team is serving in a large shelter housing more than 1,000 people. The shelter is made up of smaller living areas, so the team has set up children’s centers in two different locations, each staffed by four caregivers.

The team is housed at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Baton Rouge. “This is especially meaningful since Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is funding our CDS Gulf Coast Expansion Project,” Fry-Miller noted. “What wonderful partners we have in this work!”

For more information about the ministry of Children’s Disaster Services go to www.brethren.org/cds .

2) Haiti Theological Training program celebrates graduation of 22 ministers

The first graduating class of the Haiti Theological Training program

By Kayla Alphonse

Aug. 13 was a day of celebration for the inaugural class of the Haiti Theological Training program, Ecole Theologie de la Mission Evangelique des Eglises des Frères D’Haïti. The graduation ceremony witnessed 22 graduates walking across the stage to receive diplomas and shake hands with professors and guests of honor. 

The day marked the finish of a 12-session 3-year training cycle that began in Aug. 2013. Each session centered on biblical knowledge and practical ministry skills with classes such as “Practices and Beliefs of the Church of the Brethren,” “Church Finances,” “Old Testament and New Testament Survey,” and “Pastoral Leadership.”

Each graduate received two gifts during the ceremony. The first gift was a small battery-powered tea light to encourage the student to carry the light of Christ wherever they go. The second gift was a Bible commentary, a useful yet hard to acquire tool to aid ministers in their study of the Bible.

During the ceremony, the students had an opportunity to express their gratitude to the professors and the staff. They also expressed their appreciation for all who have supported the training program with their time, talents, and funds.

This November, a new class of students will began the theological training cycle. Continued prayers and support are requested for this ministry in Haiti. For more information about the Haiti Theological Training program, contact the Global Mission and Service office of the Church of the Brethren at 800-323-8039 ext. 388.

-- Kayla Alphonse serves in Haiti with Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service.

3) Song and Story Fest gathers multiple generations for relaxation, reflection, rejuvenation

By Debbie Eisenbise

Every summer, multiple generations gather at a Church of the Brethren camp for a time of relaxation, reflection, and rejuvenation. For 20 years now, some 120 to 180 people come together for Song and Story Fest, one week each year set aside for singing, playing music, and hearing and telling stories.

Jonathan Hunter tells a story to an intergenerational crowd at Song and Story Fest
Photo by Ralph Detrick

Jonathan Hunter tells a story to an intergenerational crowd at Song and Story Fest

The idea for Song and Story Fest began simply enough. Ken Kline Smeltzer was in charge of Family Camp at Camp Peaceful Pines in Pacific Southwest District, and decided to invite friends and creative folk from throughout the country to come together for a week of sharing stories and creating music together. That was the summer of 1997.

The next year, some people who had attended from Oregon took the idea there and replicated it as a family camp connected to the Pacific Northwest District Conference. By then, Kline Smeltzer already was planning for such a camp the following year at Camp Mack near Milford, Ind. He decided that since leadership was coming from across the country, and this kind of gathering had wide appeal, he would arrange for the event to be held at a camp near to the location of Annual Conference that year.

Those who attended the first Song and Story Fests began to invite family and friends, and for many it has become an annual event. Part of the draw is leadership, but a larger part is community.

Through the years Kline Smeltzer has brought together a variety of folk musicians and storytellers--tellers of folk tales and of tender, poignant memoirs; creators of fictional worlds with re-occurring and beloved characters; biblical storytellers; and poets. Collaboration among the musicians, and between the musicians and the storytellers, brings life to the themes and scriptures chosen for each day of the fest. Musicians also accompany folk dancing and provide concerts.

The list of performers throughout the years reads like a who’s who of Brethren artists who work with music and words, alongside ecumenical friends from outside the denomination: Rhonda and Greg Baker, Heidi Beck, Louise Brodie, Deanna Brown, Patti Ecker, Jeffrey Faus and Jenny Stover-Brown, Bob Gross, Kathy Guisewite, LuAnne Harley and Brian Krushwitz, Joseph Helfrich, Rocci Hildum, Jonathan Hunter, Bill Jolliff, Tim Joseph, Steve Kinzie, Shawn Kirchner, Lee Krähenbühl, Jim and Peg Lehman, Jan and John Long, Mutual Kumquat (Chris Good, Seth Hendricks, Drue Gray, David Hupp, Jacob Crouse, Ethan Setiawan, Ben Long), Mike Stern, Mike Titus, and more.

At workshops and campfires, other campers also perform songs and tell stories. Children find a welcome reception for their creativity, often playing instruments, singing, dancing, doing motions to songs, acting out stories, and sharing crafts. One of the most beloved times at the fest is the campfire where the program begins with children telling jokes, ranging from knock-knock jokes to questions about chickens crossing the road and riddles--and even some jokes that the children make up on the spot. Kline Smeltzer’s gentle, jovial leadership provides an atmosphere that welcomes all who are willing to share, and encourages even the most timid to try.

Hannah Button-Harrison grew up attending Song and Story Fests. Now in her late 20s, she makes her living as a children’s musician in Chicago. She credits her career to those 12 summers at the camp: “I’ve been soaking in all this music!” she says. “Something about the intimate atmosphere lets you know that you can play and sing and perform, too. The musicians are role models who shaped the way I see the purpose of music, as something that can really make an impact, can heal. Anyone anywhere can enter in, everyone can contribute. All can feel empowered, that they belong.”

“Everybody’s so interesting,” says Jill Schweitzer. “It’s a wonderful inter-generational group. Our children enjoy being here with other children and adults, because people of all ages are appreciated. You come the first time to check it out, and by the second time, you are hooked!”

“This week will refill your soul,” promises Muir Davis, whose family travels from California each year to attend the camp.

Single people, extended families, older folks, young adults, teens, all lovers of music, story, and nature, are welcome. This summer, several Nigerian Brethren visited for the first few days, sharing their stories and singing a blessing. They commented that they enjoyed the informality and relaxed atmosphere after attending Annual Conference.

Kline Smeltzer reminisced, writing about this year’s event: “We’ve been gathering for these Song and Story Fests for a long time now. We’ve been fed by the sharing of music, stories, and life’s happenings. We have reflected on being people of faith in these troubled times. We’ll take some time to remember and celebrate our journey together. But we aren’t finished yet! We continue to seek out the movement of God in our lives and the wider world, and to enjoy and celebrate that movement as well as to join in amplifying it. At the fest, through music and stories and community, we open ourselves to the holy so that our life and work and struggles move more in time with the energizing Spirit of Life.”

Next year’s Song and Story Fest will be at Camp Brethren Heights in Michigan on July 2-8, right after Annual Conference takes place in Grand Rapids, Mich. The event receives sponsorship and support from On Earth Peace. Next spring look for more information to be posted at http://onearthpeace.org , click on “Events.”

-- Debbie Eisenbise is director of Intergenerational Ministries on the Congregational Life Ministries staff of the Church of the Brethren, and is a regular storyteller at Song and Story Fest.

UPCOMING EVENTS

4) Ventures webinar will train leaders for congregational ethics self-study

Ventures in Christian Discipleship, a program of McPherson College

A Ventures online course is planned to aid congregations in training leaders to help them study the Congregational Ethics document adopted recently by Annual Conference. Ventures is a ministry training initiative hosted at McPherson (Kan.) College.

The online course, “Congregational Ethics: Patterns of Healthy Communities,” will be held onf Saturday, Sept. 10, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (central time). The leader for the course is Joshua Brockway, director of spiritual life and discipleship for the Church of the Brethren and the Congregational Life Ministries staff member who worked most closely with the congregational ethics document.

“All congregations are being asked to study the Congregational Ethics paper passed at last year’s Annual Conference,” noted an announcement that identified the Ventures course as a way for congregation to develop leadership for their own study processes.

“In this webinar we will explore the vision for vital congregations,” said Brockway. “We will look briefly at the structure of the polity, and then explore the Code of Ethics through a number of case and Bible studies.”

Go to www.mcpherson.edu/ventures to find more information and to register for the course. There is no charge for the course, but a $15 donation is welcomed. Continuing education credit is available for ministers at the cost of $10.

5) Series of workcamps is planned for church rebuilding in Nigeria

The Church of the Brethren is planning a series of workcamps in Nigeria, as part of the new effort to rebuild churches of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Nearly 70 percent of EYN’s churches in northeast Nigeria have been destroyed in the Boko Haram insurgency. A Nigeria Church Rebuilding Fund has been developed to help provide support to EYN congregations who are working to rebuild.

One of the destroyed churches in Nigeria
Photo by Roxane Hill

One of the destroyed churches in Nigeria

Global Mission and Service executive director Jay Wittmeyer reports that of EYN’s 458 churches, which are called LCCs, 258 have been destroyed. (These numbers do not include the hundreds of additional preaching points in EYN.) Wittmeyer hopes to be able to start out by providing $5,000 to selected EYN congregations to re-roof their church buildings.

Church of the Brethren congregations and districts in the United States are invited to consider sponsoring a new roof for an EYN church. Gifts to the Nigeria Church Rebuilding Fund are received online at www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis/church-rebuilding.html or by mail at Nigeria Church Rebuilding, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Workcamps

The series of workcamps in Nigeria will take place over the next six or seven months. The first is set for Nov. 4-23. Subsequent workcamps are scheduled for Jan. 11-30, 2017, and Feb. 17-March 6, 2017.

Participants will need to raise about $2,500 to cover the cost of transportation, food, and supplies. Those who apply for a workcamp are warned that they will face extreme heat in northeast Nigeria, as well as intense sun, and the rigors of life in a developing nation. “As members of the Church of the Brethren, we say that our motto is to live ‘peacefully, simply and together.’ This opportunity presents a real chance to live this out!” said an announcement of the new workcamps.

Express interest in a workcamp by contacting the Nigeria Crisis Response at crhill@brethren.org or 847-429-4329.

Olympian Clayton Murphy, 21, who took bronze in the men’s 800 meter race in Rio, grew up in Cedar Grove Church of the Brethren in Southern Ohio District. It was the first US Olympic medal in the men’s 800 since 1992. “Murphy's 1:42.93 made him the third-fastest American ever, and buried his previous personal best (1:44.30),” reported USA Today.
     “We are very proud of his accomplishments!” said Dave Shetler, district executive minister for Southern Ohio. In 2009 Shetler was Murphy’s pastor for some eight months, when he was interim pastor at Cedar Grove Church, and then led the church’s youth ministry. Shetler still lives in the community, his house is only three miles from Tri-Village High School where Murphy attended. He describes the now-famous athlete as “very thoughtful, good sense of humor, strong commitment to his values and community.” Shetler has continued to stay in touch and texted congratulations after Murphy won Olympic bronze.
     Shetler reports that two members at Cedar Grove Church were leaders at Murphy’s high school and influential in his career: athletic director Brad Gray, and principal Bill Moore, now retired. A hometown reception is being planned for Murphy’s return in September. There is “lots of excitement and support for him here,” says Shetler.
     Find a Yahoo Sports article about Murphy’s life and accomplishments, “From pig farm to Olympic podium: The unlikely story of Clayton Murphy,” at http://sports.yahoo.com/news/from-pig-farm-to-olympic-podium-the-unlikely-story-of-clayton-murphy-044914611.html .
     Find the USA Today article, “Clayton Murphy earns the USA's first medal in the 800 since 1992,” at http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/rio-2016/2016/08/15/clayton-murphy-800-meters-bronze-medal/88814806 .
     Find Dayton Daily News report, “From New Madison to Rio: Olympic Bronze Medal for Clayton Murphy,” at www.daytondailynews.com/news/sports/clayton-murphy-ready-to-represent-miami-valley-in-/nsDgF .

6) Brethren bits

-- Corrections: There are two corrections to items in the last issue of Newsline’s “Brethren bits.” The Renacer banquet raises funds for the Roanoke (Va.) Iglesia Cristiana Renacer, and not for the whole of the Renacer movement of Hispanic congregations in the Church of the Brethren. The correct date for Camp Harmony’s Brethren Heritage Festival is Saturday, Sept. 17.

-- Remembrance: William “Bill” Henry Kaysen, a long-time volunteer with Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Brethren Service Center, died Aug. 8 in Wenatchee, Wash., after a battle with brain cancer. He was born in Wenatchee on Dec. 30, 1928, the only child of Hilda and William Henry Kaysen, Sr. In 1949 he married Catherine “Cathy” Elaine Wise, and for more than 60 years they resided in Wenatchee and raised four children. They were approaching their 61st wedding anniversary when Cathy passed away in 2010. Kaysen spent 31 years as production and plant manager for Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company in Wenatchee. Following retirement in 1991, he and his wife volunteered for many different organizations. For many years, they traveled to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., to serve for several months at a time. The couple were long-time volunteers with SERRV in the 1990s and early 2000s, and he also assisted with upkeep and maintenance of the Brethren Service Center property. In addition, he volunteered with Brethren Disaster Ministries, helping to rebuild homes at 12 different disaster relief project sites across the United States. He made two mission trips to Africa--the last at age 83. At home in the Wenatchee area he volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and still found time to work part-time for Pepsi well into retirement. He was a member of the Brethren Baptist Church in Wenatchee, where he served as a deacon for many years. He is survived by his children Gary (Jean) of Spirit Lake, Idaho; David (Denise) of Waterville, Wash.; Camille (Greg) Wallis of Beaverton, Ore.; and Cindy (Dave) Fishbourne of Wenatchee; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 4 p.m., on Friday, Aug. 26, at Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee. Memorial gifts are received to the Brethren Baptist Memorial Fund or Central Washington Hospital Hospice. An online guestbook is available at www.jonesjonesbetts.com .

-- Middle Pennsylvania District has called an interim team of three people to provide leadership for the district following the departure of former district executive David Steele, who begins Sept. 1 as general secretary of the Church of the Brethren. Mark Liller began Aug. 8 as interim district executive in a half-time position with primary areas of focus on pastoral placement and administrative and credentialing oversight. Connie Maclay will assist with pastoral placement. Mike Benner will coordinate pastor care needs for pastors and their families. There is a change in the e-mail address for the district executive effective immediately. The new address is de@midpacob.org .
     The district is holding an open house for Steele this Sunday, Aug. 21, from 3 to 5 p.m. to celebrate his ministry in Middle Pennsylvania. The event takes place at the Bistro at the Village at Morrisons Cove, Pa. “Join us in celebrating with David and his family!” said an invitation.

-- Emmy Goering of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren has begun work as a peacebuilding and policy associate at the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. She is serving through Brethren Volunteer Service. She graduated from McPherson (Kan.) High School in May.

A group gathers for the final Source packet

Thursday, Aug. 18, was a final occasion for Source volunteers from Mt. Morris (Ill.) Church of the Brethren and Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., to stuff the packet that is mailed to each Church of the Brethren congregation. The Source packet is filled with fliers, bulletin inserts, posters, and other information about denominational programs and activities. Long-term Source coordinator Jean Clements retires in late September, and future preparation of Source packets will be handled by a mailing firm. Shown here (from left) are volunteer Donna Lehman, Jean Clements and Karen Stocking who work for Brethren Press, volunteer Pat Miller, and volunteer Uldine Baker.

-- “Pray for the African Great Lake Batwa capacity-building conference being held this week,” said a request from the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service. This conference builds on the work of the three Brethren-related partners in the region: Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (SHAMIRED) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services (THARS) in Burundi, and the fledgling Brethren group in Rwanda. The 26 participants represent leaders from Twa communities in the three countries as well as both the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. They will share experiences with discrimination, trauma, and low-self esteem among the Twa people, and will address work for economic and agricultural development in their communities. The conference is funded by the Global Food Initiative and Global Mission and Service, with support from Chiques Church of the Brethren near Manheim, Pa.

-- Another prayer request from Global Mission and Service is for a conference that is building connections with Venezuelan pastors and churches interested in affiliating with the Church of the Brethren. The conference is organized and led by Church of the Brethren leaders from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. Topics include Brethren history and beliefs, footwashing, and the work of the minister.

-- Agape-Satyagraha training has begun for a group of youth in the city of Bethlehem, Palestine, according to the most recent e-mail newsletter from On Earth Peace. “Agape-Satyagraha training began in July 2016 at Wi’am Center for Conflict Transformation/Resolution,” said a report from Lucas Al-Zoughbi, an Agape-Satyagraha training intern. “We began with a small number of participants. Over the course of the training the participants have gained skills for analyzing and resolving conflict through nonviolent means. One of the participants reported that she really enjoys the training and that she has grown as a person in the little time she has participated. On one of the first training days, a group of around 30 soldiers were running around the perimeter of the organization after they had arrested a young man. The group was very brave in the face of this direct violence, as they [the soldiers] pointed their guns at the participants and yelled orders. Yet Tarek, one of the mentor responded with ‘You need Agape-Satyagraha!’ which lightened the mood, but also was a refusal to be silent in the face of unjust violence.” Agape-Satyagraha training develops youth leaders in conflict transformation and nonviolent social change. On Earth Peace reports that the current site partners include Brethren Community Ministries in Harrisburg, Pa.; the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Va.; Peace Place in Trotwood, Ohio; Hope Center for Kids in Omaha, Neb.; Warrensburg (Mo.) High School; as well as the Wi'am Center. “We continue to seek site partners in the US,” the newsletter said. Contact Marie Benner-Rhoades at mrhoades@onearthpeace.org .

-- A centennial celebration at Oak Dale Church of the Brethren in West Marva District is planned for Sunday, Aug. 28. However, the district newsletter included an extensive article on the history of the beginnings of the Oak Dale Church in the Pre-Civil War era in what was known then as the Greenland congregation. “Exact dates are vague but Elder John Kline ordained ministers in 1849 at Greenland according to his diaries,” the history said, in part. The centennial celebration will begin with worship, led by guest preacher Jim Myer, followed by Sunday school, a covered dish meal at noon, and a special afternoon service where members will be sharing their memories of the church. The emphasis of the day will be on the history of Oak Dale, the activities over the years, and fine fellowship.

-- Wilmington (Del.) Church of the Brethren celebrates its 100th anniversary on the weekend of Oct. 1-2. Festivities begin Saturday afternoon, followed by a potluck dinner and an evening worship service. Worship on Sunday starts at 10:30 a.m. followed by a catered lunch. There will be lots of time for sharing fellowship, memories, pictures of the church over the years, and a church history. A church cookbook will be for sale. RSVP to the church office at 302-656-5912 or wilmcob@gmail.com .

-- Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Shenandoah District is one of the groups sponsoring a performance of Ted & Company’s “Laughter Is Sacred Space,” in recognition of September as Suicide Prevention Month. The play will be offered on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m., at Weyers Cave (Va.) Community Center. “This work, written by Ted Swartz, explores his relationship with his friend and business partner, Lee Eshleman, who took his own life in 2007,” said an announcement. “The evening promises ‘laughter, tears, joy, sorrow, inspiration and comedy--all in one show.’” Admission is free, and refreshments will be served.

-- York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., is planning special events in August, September, and October.
     This year, York Center Church of the Brethren is celebrating 60 years in its church building, and 20 years of leadership by pastor Christy Waltersdorff, and an ice cream social on Aug. 26 will start off the celebration. “August 26 is the 60th anniversary of the first worship service in our current building,” she reports.
     On Sunday, Oct. 16, the church will celebrate both anniversaries in worship with the theme, “Here in this Place.” A catered meal and program will follow worship and Sunday school.
     On Sept. 24, a Unity Picnic from 12 noon to 3 p.m. will gather together the three congregations that share the church building: the York Center congregation; Parables Community new church plant focused on persons living with disabilities; and an African-American church called God’s Congregation Worship Center. The three congregations have invited the DuPage County Sheriff’s Department and the Villa Park Police Department to the picnic to enjoy good food, games, and fellowship.

-- Aug. 19-20 are the dates for the 2016 Michigan District Conference. The event is held at New Haven Church of the Brethren in Middleton, Mich.

-- Missouri and Arkansas District is helping to recruit volunteers for a 100-day interfaith “Blitz Build” in St. Louis, Mo., to aid families affected by flooding. In an announcement from district disaster coordinator Gary Gahm in the district newsletter, the effort that started July 25, and is expected to continue through Nov. 1, has the goal of getting “20 families back to normal in 100 days.” The flooding took place in the St. Louis area last December, but “there are still many families living with bare insulation, no heat or air conditioning, and no one to help,” the announcement said. The Salvation Army is providing case management for the project, to identify family needs. A United Methodist Church in Eureka, Mo., is hosting volunteer work teams.

-- Atlantic Northeast District is hosting a Christian/Muslim workshop on Oct. 13, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at the district office in Elizabethtown, Pa. The event will be led by Musa Mambula, former national spiritual advisor for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and currently a scholar in residence at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. The day will address topics including the Christian and Muslim perspectives on peace, facing the challenge of Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, and building Christian-Muslim relations. Cost is $40, which includes lunch and .6 units of continuing education for ministers. The deadline to register is Oct. 5. Go to http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ecpdp9bd3a8039b7&llr=qsqizkxab .

-- “Needs of Our Neighbors” is a Northern Plains District workshop hosted by Camp Pine Lake on Oct. 7-8. The goal of the event is “to share and explore findings from the current Sending of the Seventy,” said the district newsletter. “Churches are exploring several scriptures and questions and visitors are meeting with them to listen and collect their insights. This workshop will be a time to share insights, develop skills, and discern ways to help each other.” The guiding scriptures are Matthew 25:31-46, Luke 4:16-21, and Luke 10:25-37. Guiding questions include: What are the crying needs of your neighbors that God hears and knows and that God wants you to also hear and know? What are the groups or persons outside your church that God wants you to work with to address the needs of your neighbors? How can we help each church in the district become more informed and effective in response to their neighbor’s needs?

-- Camp Harmony near Hooversville, Pa., is holding a Pig Roast on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-11, and free for children age 5 and under. The menu includes pulled pork sandwiches with a choice of sauces, baked potatoes, baked beans, applesauce, drink, and dessert. The event benefits the camp and its ministries, and is held with the help of B&C Bar-B-Que and Friends of Camp. For more information go to www.campharmony.org .

-- The COBYS Bike and Hike, which is in its 20th year, seeks to raise $120,000 when it is held on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 11, starting at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. In addition to a silent auction, the event includes a 3-mile walk, 10- and 25-mile bicycle rides, and the 65-mile Dutch Country Motorcycle Ride, which this year will travel across the Susquehanna River into York County. “The first COBYS Bike and Hike was held in fall 1997,” said a release. “Prior to that COBYS hosted three walks in Ephrata, Palmyra, and Harleysville. The Harleysville event continues each spring as the Family Fun Walk at Peter Becker Community. The other two walks were combined in 1997, bicycle and motorcycle rides were added, the event was moved to Lititz, and rebranded as the Roll and Stroll. Except for the name, which later was changed to Bike and Hike, it turned out to be a winning combination. Improved publicity, expanded business support, and in recent years the addition of a silent auction have helped Bike and Hike income to grow every year since 1999. All told, more than $1.1 million has been raised.” Walkers and bicyclists donate a $25 registration fee, obtain support from sponsors, or both. Motorcycles are $35 per cycle, plus $25 for an additional passenger. Those who pre-register by Sept. 6 receive a $5 discount. Individuals who raise $25 or more in pledges do not need to pay the registration fee. Each participant receives a free t-shirt, ice cream and refreshments, and a chance to win a door prize. Those who raise certain levels of support earn additional prizes. Junior and senior high youth groups who raise $1,500 or more earn a gym and pizza night. A WJTL radio personality will provide live reports from the event. The event raises funds for the COBYS mission to educate, support, and empower children and adults to reach their full potential through foster care and adoption services, counseling, and family life education. For more information go to http://cobys.org/news-events .

-- A Nigerian family from Chibok recently paid a special visit to former missionary Lois Neher in McPherson, Kan. The ABC television station KAKE was one of the Kansas media outlets to run the story. The station reported that the Nigerian family made the visit to thank Neher and her late husband, Gerald Neher, for their “hard work developing their country. Thlela Kolo and his family traveled across the world to visit the people they credit for helping their culture develop from a primitive society to a more modern one,” the report said. It quoted Kolo as saying of the Nehers: “They sacrificed everything, and we felt that we should come and hold their hand and say, ‘Thank you very much for this great work.’” The Nehers were among the first Church of the Brethren mission workers to serve in Chibok, in 1954, and spent some four years there as teachers. They wrote and published several books about the Chibok people, who are a unique ethnic group in northeast Nigeria, and about their experiences living and working in Nigeria. Find the KAKE report at www.kake.com/story/32704147/brethren-missionary-receives-special-visit-from-foreign-friends#.V6pHMTDJjV0 .


**********
Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Kayla Alphonse, Deborah Brehm, Don Fitzkee, Mark Flory Steury, Kathleen Fry-Miller, Carl and Roxane Hill, Dave Shetler, David Shumate, Karen Stocking, Glenna Thompson, Christy Waltersdorff, Jay Wittmeyer, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for 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 Aug. 26.

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.