Newsline for Aug. 26, 2016




“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12, KJV).

A window in Bethany Seminary's Nicarry Chapel, with 1 Corinthians 13:12
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

NEWS
1) Brethren couple carry out mission in China focused on hospice care

2) Legacy of the Church of the Brethren mission in China

3) Negotiate a nuclear weapons ban next year, says UN group with broad support

RESOURCES
4) New resources from Brethren Press offer aids for worship, Bible study, devotions

5) Shine curriculum shares a teacher blessing for the fall quarter

6) Peace Day bulletin inserts and posters are available from On Earth Peace

UPCOMING EVENTS
7) Webinar to discuss Jesus as focal point of God’s revelation

8) Q&A: Disaster response

9) Brethren bits: Nigerian lamps, Action Alert for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, UN warning of new crisis in area around north Nigeria, Death Penalty Symposium honors the late Bill Bosler, Manchester University honors two inspirational faculty, and more

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A NOTE TO READERS: With this issue, Newsline debuts an occasional feature called “Q&A,” offering questions and answers about Church of the Brethren ministries. Today’s Q&A answers questions about disaster response.

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Quotes of the week:

A sign at the Children's Disaster Service childcare center

“This is the midnight count. Children's Disaster Services will be here for a while. 2 teams here, 2 more coming in today.”

-- A Facebook post by Judy Braune, dated Aug. 23. She has been serving on a team from Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), caring for children who have been displaced by flooding and who are living in shelters in Baton Rouge, La. In another Facebook post, the CDS staff extended thanks to the volunteers who have made it possible to provide four teams to assist the American Red Cross in shelters housing families with children. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with these families that are struggling with the reality of lost homes and other resources,” the CDS staff wrote.

“We call on sisters and brothers in the global fellowship of churches to pray for the bereaved families of those who are killed and injured and affected with their loss of property due to this devastation.”

-- A letter from World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit expressing solidarity with Italy following the earthquake that devastated several small towns in the center of the country and took more than 200 lives. The letter was addressed to Luca Negro, president of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy. “We gather with all of you under the cross of Christ,” Tveit wrote to Italian Christians. “In Christ we take refuge and find hope in the middle of such death and despair. May Christ be with you all and strengthen you as you face the consequences of this natural disaster.” Find the full letter at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/messages-and-letters/condolences-following-earthquake-in-central-italy .

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1) Brethren couple carry out mission in China focused on hospice care

Ruoxia Li and Eric Miller give a presentation to the Global Mission and Service Dinner at the 2016 Annual Conference. The Brethren couple are involved in promoting hospice care in China.
Photo by Glenn Riegel

Ruoxia Li and Eric Miller give a presentation to the Global Mission and Service Dinner at the 2016 Annual Conference. The Brethren couple are involved in promoting hospice care in China.

By Tyler Roebuck

Ruoxia Li and Eric Miller, Church of the Brethren members who are living in Pinding, China, spoke about their work at the Global Mission and Service Dinner and related insight sessions at Annual Conference this summer.

The dinner, led by Jay Whittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, also featured representatives from various Brethren missions and denominations located across the world, and included guests from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nigeria, Vietnam, and the Lybrook Ministries in the Navajo region of New Mexico.

Li and Miller’s work in China is centered around providing hospice care, and educating about what hospice care provides. The notion of hospice care is foreign to the Chinese culture. “People either go home to die or stay in the hospital receiving more treatment than necessary,” Miller said.

Hospitals in China are mostly part of a government-run network, and are only partially subsidized. Even with this subsidization and personal insurance, individuals still must pay between 15 and 20 percent of the costs.

Li and Miller chose this unique work in Pinding intentionally, basing it at the site of previous Brethren mission work in China. When the Church of the Brethren first sent missionaries to China in 1908, they landed in Pinding, in Shanxi Province, and established a hospital and church to serve the local population there. The original name of the hospital translates in English into “Friendship Hospital,” and the same word was used as a moniker for the Church of the Brethren in China. Li, a native of China near Pinding, became exposed to the Church of the Brethren in her adult life, and after meeting her husband (Miller) she joined the church.

Their ministry has posed several challenges that they hope, with time and patience, to overcome. There is little knowledge of hospice in China, and deep cultural opposition to the concept. The Chinese people who do become aware of hospice may reject it because of its Western origin. Additionally, many Chinese do not wish to deal with death in their homes.

Other challenges surround the costs involved. Many of the couple’s patients are living in poverty, and hospice care is not covered by insurance. The care is simply too expensive for some people living in Pinding and the surrounding area. There also is no cultural norm to pay for social services or psychological help, which presents Li and Miller with both a cultural and financial hurdle. The Chinese government, while neither openly hostile nor supportive, can interfere with the couple’s work, based on a cultural suspicion of Christianity and Westerners.

With all these significant challenges, what have Li and Miller been able to share? They have been able to deliver care to thousands of patients, they have visited the homes of their patients along with hospital staff, and they have celebrated milestones such as birthdays with their patients.

“It’s a very small start in a very large country,” Miller said.

-- Tyler Roebuck is a student at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., and served this summer as a Ministry Summer Service intern with Church of the Brethren communications.



2) Legacy of the Church of the Brethren mission in China

By Frank Ramirez

It has been 60 years since Church of the Brethren missionary work ended in China. However, the Brethren presence there is not only remembered by a few people, the fruits of that mission are still active today. At a Brethren Historical Society insight session at Annual Conference this summer, hosted by Brethren Historical Library and Archives archivist Bill Kostlevy, Eric Miller and Ruoxia Li along with Jeff Bach shared photographs and information.

Ruoxia Li and Eric Miller give a presentation on their work with hospice care in China.
Photo by Glenn Riegel

Ruoxia Li and Eric Miller give a presentation on their work with hospice care in China.

Bach, who is director of the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, is co-authoring a book about the historic Church of the Brethren mission in China. He showed photographs of mission homes that are still standing today, along with a former mission point and hospital that continue to serve the people of China.

The church’s mission in China began in 1908, the bicentennial year or the 200th anniversary of the Brethren movement, and was centered in Shanxi Province. The missionaries and the Chinese Brethren who joined the church experienced true hardship. There was the 1918 famine and pneumonia plague, political unrest, and danger from local warlords in the 1920s, and the martyrdom of Chinese and American Brethren during the Japanese occupation. The mission and the Chinese church ended under Communist rule, but along the way there were agricultural, medical, and evangelistic accomplishments.

Bach recounted the story of three American Brethren missionaries who were murdered by Japanese forces, who wanted to silence them after they witnessed a murder. He also alluded to the martyrdom of 13 Chinese Brethren, also under the Japanese occupation.

Eric Miller and Ruoxia Li spoke about the “Friendship Hospital,” also known as the “Brethren Hospital” because it was started by the mission. In the building, there is a bust of mission doctor Daryl Parker commemorating his work in the hospital, which is now used for Chinese medicine. The inscription tells how Parker trained nurses, worked with Chinese doctors, and served the welfare of the people. The actual hospital founded by Dr. Parker has moved to a new location not far away, and its 30 beds are devoted specifically to late-stage cancer care.

The Mission House built by the Brethren also still stands. One of those who worships there was 18 years old when she was baptized by the Brethren.

Li shared the influence of the church on her own life choices--she has chosen to work in hospice care because it involves choice and dignity.

-- Frank Ramirez pastors Union Center Church of the Brethren in Nappanee, Ind., and was a member of the volunteer news team for the 2016 Annual Conference.



3) Negotiate a nuclear weapons ban next year, says UN group with broad support

Visitors take pictures of the Peace Bell in Hiroshima, Japan. This park is a call to peace, in a place forever marked by the horror unleashed by nuclear weapons.
Photo by JoAnn and Larry Sims

Visitors take pictures of the Peace Bell in Hiroshima, Japan. This park is a call to peace, in a place forever marked by the horror unleashed by nuclear weapons.

By Jonathan Frerichs, from a World Council of Churches release

“Negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.” Do it “in 2017.” Make sure the negotiations are “open to all states” and include civil society. These are key points in a much-disputed report adopted last week by a United Nations working group of more than 100 countries meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. The report with this ground-breaking recommendation was adopted by a three-to-one margin with broad inter-regional support despite a boycott by the nuclear powers and strong resistance from their allies.

The working group’s final report, adopted on Aug. 19, will go to the UN General Assembly this October. A majority-led resolution to start negotiating a nuclear weapon ban treaty is now likely to emerge there.

“This development marks the highest point so far in a growing wave of support for outlawing nuclear weapons on humanitarian grounds,” said Peter Prove, international affairs director of the World Council of Churches (WCC). “Faith-based advocacy has contributed to this effort, and will be greatly needed to help bring the will of the majority, the rule of law, and the welfare of all people and of the whole creation to bear on nuclear-armed countries which are modernizing their arsenals instead of eliminating them.”

During the working group, networks of the WCC and Pax Christi International contacted 24 governments to advocate for a ban. They worked as part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons to stress the need to start negotiations in 2017 and for such negotiations to be open to all states, block-able by none, and to include civil society.

The final draft produced by the UN working group had been carefully revised in order to achieve consensus and be adopted without a vote. But at the last minute Australia hardened its position and called for a vote. Ultimately 68 states voted to adopt the report, 21 states joined Australia in voting against adoption, and 13 states abstained.

Ecumenical advocates are in contact with governments on all sides of the issue. Advocates in Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Egypt, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Switzerland, and New Zealand encouraged their governments, part of the nuclear-free majority, to press for a nuclear weapons ban. All of their governments were among the 68 countries in favor of the final report with its ban recommendation.

Churches and related organizations also engaged with governments that rely on nuclear weapons. These are mostly NATO members. The bishop of the Evangelical Church in the German state of Baden called government attention to the renewed importance being given to nuclear arms, the long-term modernization of nuclear arsenals, and the “catastrophic consequences” which nuclear weapons cause. The church asked the government to help strengthen legal norms against nuclear weapons. A ban on nuclear weapons would be similar to the existing prohibitions against chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, the church noted.

Church and Peace, a Pax Christi member in Europe, contacted the governments of Germany, Switzerland, and two nuclear powers, France and the United Kingdom.

The Canadian Council of Churches wrote Canada’s foreign minister that “when measures employed to defend nation states...threaten humanity and the planet itself, such measures must be categorically rejected.”

Members of the WCC Ecumenical Peace Advocacy Network and Pax Christi International have also been in contact with the Australian, Netherlands, Belgian, and Norwegian governments. These states, which rely on US nuclear weapons, were urged to engage in the ban debate in good faith. Contacts in national capitals were followed up by ecumenical delegates in Geneva.

Support for establishing a new legal prohibition against nuclear weapons is actually stronger than the 68 states that voted “yes” at the UN working group. Earlier in the group’s final week, 108 states of Africa, Latin America, South East Asia, the Pacific, and a few in Europe called for a time-bound commitment to start negotiations on a ban. One hundred twenty seven states have signed a “Humanitarian Pledge” to make new treaty law against nuclear weapons, while 159 states have made a joint declaration that nuclear weapons “must never be used again, under any circumstances.”

One hundred thirty five states voted at last year’s UN General Assembly to set up the current Open-Ended Working Group to identify “concrete, effective legal measures” required for a world without nuclear weapons. A large majority of the group has now concluded that outlawing nuclear weapons is the place to start.

-- Jonathan Frerichs is a humanitarian disarmament consultant for the World Council of Churches Commission of the Churches on International Affairs as well as a UN representative for disarmament, Geneva, Pax Christi International.



RESOURCES

4) New resources from Brethren Press offer aids for worship, Bible study, devotions

The 2017 Living Word Bulletin Series
Image courtesy of Brethren Press

Among new resources from Brethren Press are the 2016-17 Living Word Bulletin Series, the Sept.-Nov. 2016 book in the curriculum for adult Bible studies, “A Guide for Biblical Studies,” and this year’s Advent devotional titled “Witnesses to Jesus.” Brethren Press also is taking pre-publication orders for “Speak Peace: A Daily Reader,” which offer a discount for orders placed before Oct. 1.

Living Word Bulletin Series

Brethren Press offers the Living Word Bulletin Service to provide “worship bulletins that bring the scripture to life.” Since 1946 the Brethren Press bulletin series has served congregations by providing worship resources and inspiring photography.

Each week’s bulletin cover highlights a biblical text that is related to life through photography. The biblical texts are carefully selected in prayerful reading of the lectionary texts for each Sunday.

Bulletin cover images are selected to enhance the biblical message and make it come to life. These images are drawn from congregational settings, mission and service ministries, denominational gatherings, and natural settings found in God’s creation, and many come from Brethren photographers. To view front cover images for this year’s series go to http://support.brethren.org/site/DocServer/LivingWordBulletinCovers.pdf .

A cross-section of lay and clergy writers from the Church of the Brethren prepare worship resources or inspirational stories for the back page of the bulletins. These include prayers, litanies, calls to worship, meditations, and hymn suggestions. The scripture from which the cover text is drawn also is printed on the back page. Congregations may order bulletins without the resource piece, however the scripture passage is included on all bulletins.

Bulletins come in the traditional 8.5-inch by 11-inch size, which folds to a 5.5-inch by 8.5-inch size. A congregation’s bulletin order is a continuous subscription, and churches automatically receive the same quantity of bulletins every three months until they request a change in the order. Changes and cancellations must be made in writing 60 days prior to shipment of bulletins. To begin a bulletin subscription, call Brethren Press at 800-441-3712.

A Guide for Biblical Studies

“Sovereignty of God” is the theme for the Sept.-Nov. 2016 issue of “A Guide for Biblical Studies,” written by David R. Miller. The first unit is a study of Isaiah’s rich images of God as the One who rules the whole universe. The second unit centers on Hebrews, where readers will see how God comes to lead humankind in the person of Jesus. The final unit focuses on Revelation, offering the vision of God as the beginning and end of all things.

Written from a Church of the Brethren perspective, “A Guide for Biblical Studies” is issued quarterly and contains daily NRSV scriptures, lessons, and questions for both individual preparation and classroom use. The curriculum follows the International Sunday School Lessons/Uniform Series. Purchase one copy per student, per quarter. Order by calling Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or by ordering online at www.brethrenpress.com .

2016 Advent devotional

“Witnesses to Jesus: Devotions for Advent through Epiphany” written by Christy Waltersdorff is the Brethren Press Advent devotional for 2016. The Brethren Press devotional series is published twice a year in anticipation of the Advent and Lenten seasons. Becoming a seasonal subscriber costs $6 a year for both booklets, or $12 a year for both booklets in large print size. Subscriptions are renewed automatically each year at the discounted rate, and bulk quantities can be adjusted with a phone call to Brethren Press customer service. Subscribers can cancel their enrollment at any time. To sign up call 800-441-3712 and ask about the seasonal devotional standing order program.
 
Speak Peace: A Daily Reader

Brethren Press is taking pre-publication orders for “Speak Peace: A Daily Reader.” Readers are encouragted to take advantage of early-bird discounts for this collection of readings about peace and peacemaking edited by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, which will be released in late 2016. The book will feature writers from within and outside the Church of the Brethren, both current authors and voices from the past. Each of the 366 daily readings includes a scripture focus, a practical thought or question in response, and a prayer. Find a video trailer at www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS-XlhUdaeM . Pre-publication discounts are available on orders placed by Oct. 1. Call Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or visit www.brethrenpress.com .



5) Shine curriculum shares a teacher blessing for the fall quarter

Home page image for Shine Together

The Shine curriculum, which is a joint project of Brethren Press and MennoMedia, has shared a teacher blessing for the start of the Sunday school year. The blessing first appeared in the Shine e-newsletter, which is available by e-mail. For more about Shine go to https://shinecurriculum.com . Order curriculum items from Brethren Press by calling 800-441-3712. The Shine theme for Fall 2016 is “God Restores the People.”

A teacher blessing

Consider using this blessing in a time of commissioning for church school staff before the first session of the fall quarter:

Leader: “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78–79).

ALL: Your word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105).

People: A candle once lit, can spread the light to other candles. The light grows and grows.

Leader: May God give you deep love for each child or youth in your care. May your compassion and welcome make God’s love real to each one.

People: A lantern once lit should not be hidden but should give light to all.

Leader: May God’s word reach your heart as you prepare your sessions. May you share the gift of God’s story with children and youth.

People: God created the sun to call forth growth and life on earth.

Leader: May Sunday school be a time of discovery, sharing, and growing together. May we follow Jesus, who guides our feet into the way of peace.

ALL: Your word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105).

Leader: Go forth knowing that God’s light shines through you and that God is with you.



6) Peace Day bulletin inserts and posters are available from On Earth Peace

Bulletin insert for Peace Day 2016
Image courtesy of On Earth Peace

Bulletin insert for Peace Day 2016

“Looking for a bulletin insert or poster to use at your Peace Day event? Check out our resources!” said an announcement from On Earth Peace. The agency has made bulletin inserts and posters available in advance of Peace Day 2016, which is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 21. Many congregations hold Peace Day worship services, prayer vigils, or other commemorations on a Sunday close to the Sept. 21 date.

“We have both blank and completed bulletins and posters for your convenience,” said the announcement from Bryan Hanger, who is serving as Peace Day organizer for 2016. “Please use and share these resources, and if you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know!”

Bulletin inserts and posters may be downloaded from http://peacedaypray.tumblr.com/BulletinResources . Congregations and other groups planning Peace Day events may sign up to be included in the listing of 2016 events at http://bit.ly/PeaceDayForm . For more information contact peaceday@onearthpeace.org or 540-798-9325.
 



UPCOMING EVENTS

7) Webinar to discuss Jesus as focal point of God’s revelation

A new webinar in the “Heart of Anabaptism” series will be offered on Sept. 1, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. (eastern time) on the topic “Jesus, the Focal Point of God’s Revelation.” Leading the webinar is LaDonna Sanders Nkosi, a poet, preacher, and church planter from Chicago, Ill.

Webinar led by LaDonna Sanders Nkosi focuses on Jesus as God's revelation

“Join us for an engaging conversation on Core Conviction #2 as outlined in ‘The Naked Anabaptist’ by Stuart Murray Williams,” said an announcement of the webinar. “Core Conviction #2 highlights that Jesus is the focal point of God’s revelation. Committed to a Jesus-centered approach to the Bible and community of faith, we read the Bible to discern and apply its implications for discipleship.”

The conversation and reflection will focus on the following questions: What does Jesus as the focal point of God’s revelation mean for us today? What is its practice in everyday life, faith, and community?

Nkosi is leading the Gathering Chicago ( http://facebook.comTheGatheringChicago ), a community of prayer and global/local service based in Hyde Park that emphasizes gathering communities across cultures and divides to serve together, engage discipleship, and follow Jesus. She also is co-founder of Ubuntu Global Village Foundation that builds bridge and partnerships with communities in the United States, South Africa, and Rwanda. She is a doctor of ministry Wright Scholar at McCormick Theological Seminary.

Webinar sponsors include the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries and partners in the United Kingdom including the Mennonite Trust, Anabaptist Network, Baptists Together, Bristol Baptist College: Centre for Anabaptist Studies.

The webinar is free and offers .1 continuing education credit for ministers. For more information and to connect to the webcast go to www.brethren.org/webcasts . For questions contact Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices, at sdueck@brethren.org .



8) Q&A: Disaster response

A tower built by children receiving care from CDS in a shelter in Baton Rouge
Photo courtesy of CDS

A tower built by children receiving care from CDS in a shelter in Baton Rouge

Brethren Disaster Ministries executive Roy Winter answers frequently asked questions about the role of the church’s disaster response in the wake of heart-wrenching disasters in Louisiana and in Italy:

Question:
The Church of the Brethren is supporting the people of Louisiana through Children’s Disaster Services and Material Resources shipments. Are there other Church of the Brethren funds or projects to which money can be sent to reach those in need in Louisiana?

Answer:
Right now the greatest need is support of Children’s Disaster Services, which is supported through donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF), and the shipping of relief materials from our Material Resources program based at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Brethren Disaster Ministries will be connected with the longer term response in Louisiana, but it will be months before the unmet needs are determined and local recovery plans are developed. There are many organizations providing emergency relief, feeding, and sheltering. In the early phase of the response our Church of the Brethren niche is caring for children, and the material warehouse.

Our two volunteer rebuilding projects right now are in South Carolina, which suffered terrible flooding about a year ago, and in Detroit, affected by flooding two years ago. Both of these Brethren Disaster Ministries projects also need additional support as we work to help families get back into their homes.

Being focused on the long-term recovery of families means we are doing the most work long after the news trucks have left. Thus, raising funds for these programs is a challenge. We accept donations to the EDF to support the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries, either online at www.brethren.org/edf or by check to: Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Question:
Is the Church of the Brethren responding to the earthquake in Italy?

Answer:
At this time Brethren Disaster Ministries is choosing to not respond. There are many needs for aid in the world right now, and Italy has a lot of resources to help its own people. Instead, we will focus our international efforts on the millions of people displaced by violence in Nigeria, Syria, and other countries where there is no local aid and our support is really desperately needed.

Please let me know if I can offer any additional information. 

Roy Winter, associate executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Global Mission and Service. Contact rwinter@brethren.org or 410-635-8748.



9) Brethren bits

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 .

-- 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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Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Judy Braune, Renee Davis, Stan Dueck, Jan Fischer Bachman, Kathy Fry-Miller, Katie Furrow, Anne Gregory, Bryan Hanger, Carl and Roxane Hill, Jeff Lennard, Frank Ramirez, Tyler Roebuck, Roy Winter, 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 Sept. 2.

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