Newsline for June 4, 2016




Colossians 3 text with image
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

NEWS
1) Lengthy court case over church property in Los Angeles draws to a close
2) Bethany Theological Seminary announces its class of 2016 graduates
3) National Young Adult Conference seeks to create harmony
4) Children’s Disaster Services deploys to Houston, again, following flooding

UPCOMING EVENTS
5) Nigerian Brethren president Joel S. Billi inaugurates EYN 100th anniversary committee

6) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, On Earth Peace openings for development director and MoR interim coordinator, MSS orientation, Brethren Disaster Ministries chosen for nomination to receive funds from Everence, New Community Project in “Brethren Voices,” more


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Quote of the week:

“It seems that God never tires of beckoning us to join in a holy chorus.”

-- Christy Dowdy, who pastors at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., speaking at the National Young Adult Conference on the theme, “Creating Harmony.”

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For the latest Brethren news go to the main Newsline page

Advance registration for Annual Conference closes Monday, June 6. The 2016 Conference is planned for June 29-July 3 in Greensboro, N.C. Those who take advantage of the opportunity to register in advance at www.brethren.org/ac may save up to $75. After June 6, onsite registration from June 28-July 3 will cost $360 for a delegate (advance registration is just $285) and $140 for a non-delegate adult attending the full Conference (advance registration is just $105). For detailed information and links to online registration, ticket sales, and more, go to www.brethren.org/ac .

Monday also is the last day to purchase advance tickets for Annual Conference meal events and special opportunities in Greensboro including tours of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. After visiting the museum, the denomination’s Intercultural Ministry is hosting an opportunity to continue conversation back at the convention center with goal of learning through Brethren values and implications for ministry today. For tickets to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum go to www.brethren.org/ac/2016/activities/bus-trips.html . For information about meal events and more activities, go to www.brethren.org/ac/2016/activities .

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1) Lengthy court case over church property in Los Angeles draws to a close

By Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

A lengthy court case over church property in Los Angeles, Calif., is finally drawing to a close. This was one of two cases in recent years that have involved the Church of the Brethren denomination in local and district struggles over ownership of church buildings and property. In each case, a congregation decided to leave the Church of the Brethren but continued to claim ownership of church buildings and property, in contradiction to denominational polity.

According to denominational polity, church buildings, property, and assets owned by congregations are held in trust for the denomination, and administered by the district. Polity indicates the district and denomination retain ownership of the property if a whole congregation votes to leave the denomination. If a congregation votes to leave the denomination but there remains a group loyal to the Church of the Brethren, polity says the loyal group has rights to the property and assets of the congregation. The relevant polity is in the Church of the Brethren Manual of Organization and Polity at www.brethren.org/ac/ppg .

The two cases are not the only recent disputes over church property, but are the ones in which the denomination has been directly involved in court.

Not an easy decision

In the Church of the Brethren, there is a strong reticence to engage in lawsuits because of the tradition’s understanding of scripture. Maintaining the integrity of denominational polity has at times seemed to require doing so, however, in order to defend the assets of the Church of the Brethren. The recent decisions to engage in court cases have not been made lightly, and came only after serious reflection by denominational leaders including the Annual Conference officers, general secretary, and district executives.

The Leadership Team of the denomination has had an earnest desire to first seek other possible means of resolution of conflicts over church property. In addition to the biblical mandate against engaging in lawsuits, the group has had concerns about the heavy costs of court cases and their effect on the denominational budget.

The denomination’s position in the court cases has been one of support for the districts involved, as well as defense of denominational polity. Engaging in legal defense of Church of the Brethren polity has been seen as a helpful aid for other Christian denominations in similar legal struggles with break-away groups.

California case

The most recent case concerned Central Korean Evangelical Church (CKEC) in Los Angeles, which claimed ownership of church property although the congregation left the denomination and the district. The case came to court after years of efforts by Pacific Southwest District and its leaders to resolve differences with the congregation without resorting to legal action.

The case was complicated by a number of factors, chiefly that the denomination held a mortgage on the church property. This was one of a few church mortgages still held by the denomination, from a decades-old and now concluded program in which member churches could receive financial help secured by mortgages from the denomination.

Also complicating the case, CKEC did not originate within the district but joined after having formed as an independent congregation that already owned a parcel of property. The congregation claimed that it had been given an oral exemption from denominational polity with regard to property ownership. Then, after joining the Church of the Brethren, the congregation and district jointly purchased additional property adjacent to the church building to be used as the church’s parking lot. Subsequently the denomination and district assisted CKEC in refinancing its bank loans by loan consolidation secured by the denomination’s mortgage.

The CKEC is represented in the case by the pastor, who is the legal trustee of CKEC.

The trial court had ruled that denominational polity did not apply at all and that CKEC was primary owner of the church property. However, a California appellate court reversed the trial court and held that CKEC was bound by denominational polity and that the property purchased while CKEC was member church of the Church of the Brethren belongs to the denomination and district. In this particular case the property owned by the congregation prior to joining the Church of the Brethren was not bound by denominational polity and belonged to the congregation.

Indiana case

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled against South Central Indiana District in a dispute over ownership of a church building and property in Roann, Ind. The court issued the opinion on Nov. 17, 2014, rejecting the district and denomination’s appeal with regard to the dispute with Walk By Faith Community Church in Roann.

There was a change of the law in Indiana in 2012, that had the effect of shifting the case into the area of real estate law, and out of the realm of ecclesiastical polity. The denomination had supported the district in an appeal of a lower court ruling, in an attempt to defend polity.

The Indiana case began as a dispute within the congregation. After a break-away group won a majority vote to leave the Church of the Brethren in 2012, a minority of members who voted to remain in the denomination continued to meet and identify as Roann Church of the Brethren. The case came to court as a dispute between the break-away group and the district, and the denomination was not directly involved until after a circuit court issued a ruling in favor of the break-away group.

Some lessons

Differing outcomes in California and Indiana point to the benefit of each congregation having documents in place stating explicitly, rather than implicitly, that property and assets are held in an irrevocable trust for the Church of the Brethren denomination and the district. The cases also highlight the importance of congregations closely monitoring activities of their own leaders and curtailing activities that seem intent on disassociating congregations from the denomination or district.

The cases also highlight society’s shifting attitudes to church denominations and congregational life. The best way to mitigate property disputes--in addition to having correct and legally binding language in church documents--may be for district and denominational leaders to be proactive in building good relationships with each congregation.

In recent years, the general secretary, district executives, and other denominational leaders have been intentional about holding face-to-face meetings with congregations that have expressed disaffection with the denomination. For the majority of these congregations, disaffection has not mounted to the level of taking legal action because denominational and district leaders have provided a listening ear, and in some cases have offered practical solutions to a congregation’s problems.

-- Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford is director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren, and associate editor of “Messenger” magazine.



2) Bethany Theological Seminary announces its class of 2016 graduates

Bethany Seminary's 2016 graduating class
Photo courtesy of Bethany Seminary

Bethany Seminary's 2016 graduating class

By Jenny Williams

On Saturday, May 7, Bethany Theological Seminary recognized its 13 newest graduates, the class of 2016. Surrounded by faculty, staff, family, and friends, the following students received graduate degrees and certificates:

Master of Divinity: Thomas N. Appel of Aurora, Colo.; Karen M. Duhai of Richmond, Ind., with an emphasis in peace studies; Donald E. Fecher of Milford, Ind.; Angela S. Finet of Nokesville, Va.; Harvey S. Leddy of Eden, N.C.; Ela J. Robertson of Barnesville, Ohio; Christopher E. Stover-Brown of Wichita, Kan., with an emphasis in peace studies.

Master of Arts: Jana Carter of Los Angeles, Calif., with a concentration in theological studies; Kristin Shellenberger of Goshen, Ind., with a concentration in biblical studies; Beth B. Wethington of Henrico, N.C., with a concentration in peace studies.

Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies: Angela L. Adams of Tiskilwa, Ill.; Brody S. Rike of West Alexandria, Ohio; Roxanne M. West-Johnson of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

“We will miss this graduating class,” said Bethany president Jeff Carter in his opening statement, “an academically strong class with a heart for the lost and the least and for voices marginalized due to place and power and perception. You as a class have reminded us of our power and our privilege and have called us to make a difference in the communities where we live and through which we might witness to God’s movement and power. Intellectually curious, deeply compassionate, and with eyes wide open to the world around you...you have blessed us with your presence.”

The commencement speaker was David Witkovsky, campus chaplain at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., vice chair of Bethany’s board of trustees, and a 1983 Bethany alumnus. Drawing from the story of Jesus and the demon-possessed man among the tombs in Mark 5:1-20, he spoke of how the pace of our lives can lead to superficial living in his address, “Deep Calls to Deep.” Just as Jesus was drawn to and connected on a deep level with those who suffer, so we can recognize deeper truths and experience a fullness in relationship with all of God’s people when we take time to look below the surface.

The day’s celebrations concluded with the traditional afternoon worship service planned and led by the graduates. Steven Schweitzer, Bethany’s academic dean, gave the sermon, “The Gift of Anointing,” and faculty members Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm and Dan Ulrich anointed the graduates in a ritual of blessing and sending. Graduate and cellist Ela Robertson provided music for the service.

Future plans for the graduates include continuing in congregational ministry and seeking placement, missionary work, writing and teaching, chaplaincy, social service, and pursuing a master’s degree at Bethany. Both the academic ceremony and the worship service are available for viewing on Bethany’s webcasts page.

Bethany Seminary is the graduate school of theology of the Church of the Brethren and is located in Richmond, Ind. Find out more about Bethany at www.bethanyseminary/edu .

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications for Bethany Theological Seminary.



3) National Young Adult Conference seeks to create harmony

Young adults gathered for the 2016 National Young Adult Conference (NYAC), held over Memorial Day Weekend at Manchester University in Indiana. Shown here, a group of participants presenting at the podium.
Photo by Bekah Houff

By Tyler Roebuck

Over Memorial Day weekend, more than 45 young adults from across the country met at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., for National Young Adult Conference (NYAC). The weekend was filled with worship, workshops, and Bible study focused around the theme of creating harmony in everyday life.

Every four years, the annual Young Adult Conference (YAC), which typically meets at a Church of the Brethren camp, plans a larger event at one of the Brethren colleges which takes on national significance.

NYAC attendees discussed the theme of “Creating Harmony.” Each day focused on a different line in music that creates a chord. The four parts of a typical chord as sung by a choir--melody, bass, tenor, and alto--each represented a metaphor for how Jesus, scripture, society, and individuals all contribute to form a melodious tune. Colossians 3:12-17 provided the scriptural foundation.

Guest speakers from Roanoke, Va., to Santa Ana, Calif., led conversations centered around the theme. Supplementary workshops discussed real-world issues facing the nation including prison reform and intergenerational relationships, as well as other topics such as the history of church music. Service projects in the area were also offered.

Drew Hart, a doctoral candidate and professor at Messiah College and author of the blog “Taking Jesus Seriously” and the book “Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the way the Church Views Racism,” offered a profound analysis of the way God’s melody interacts with our lives. According to Hart, God’s melody--or Jesus’ melody--is a blues melody. “[A blues melody] engages with the bad in the world but does not lose hope,” he said. “It enters into the pain and presses further into the suffering to find the source.”

Jim Grossnickel-Batterton of Bethany Theological Seminary led a Bible study the following morning that continued engaging with pain, as attendees examined Psalm 88 and discussed personal periods of pain and struggle.

The worship center at NYAC 2016, which was held on the theme
Photo by Bekah Houff

The worship center at NYAC 2016, which was held on the theme "Creating Harmony."

Eric Landram, pastor of Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and a Bethany graduate, delivered a sermon discussing how God is not only the foundation of everyday life, but also the predominant force in the universe. Science and religion seem to be forces in constant conflict, but Landram said, “Science is one of the greatest gifts to man because it allows us to attempt to understand the vastness of God’s creation.”

Richard Zapata, pastor of Principe de la Paz Iglesia de los Hermanos in Santa Ana, Calif., led a Bible study on the week’s key scripture, and also shared about the ministry he and his church provide for his community.

Waltrina Middleton of Cleveland, Ohio, who is one of “Rejuvenate” magazine’s “40 Under 40 Professionals to Watch in Non-Profit Religious Sector” and one of the Center for American Progress’s “16 to Watch in 2016,” offered insight into the story of God calling out to Samuel in 1 Samuel 3. She related this call to our call to respond to injustice.

Christy Dowdy, a Bethany graduate who has been pastoring for the last 27 years, brought the differing parts of the event together to form harmony. “It seems that God never tires of beckoning us to join in a holy chorus,” she said.

During worship services, offerings were collected for the Nigeria Crisis Fund and a local food pantry, and overall donations eclipsed $300.

-- Tyler Roebuck is a student at Manchester University and is serving with the Church of the Brethren communications as a Ministry Summer Service intern.



4) Children’s Disaster Services deploys to Houston, again, following flooding

Flooding in the area of Houston, Texas. A team of Children's Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers have begun work in a shelter for people rescued from the flooding.
Photo by Carol Smith

Flooding in the area of Houston, Texas. A team of Children's Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers have begun work in a shelter for people rescued from the flooding.

“The Houston team is in a shelter where people are taken to after being rescued,” reported Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) associate director Kathy Fry-Miller. CDS has deployed a team of volunteers to Houston, Texas, for the second time since April in response to severe flooding.

Fry-Miller reported that the people who are rescued from flooding and brought to the shelter included children who received care from CDS volunteers. “Some stay and others move on fairly quickly,” she said of the rescuees at the shelter. “We are just grateful to have a team there to support these children and families as they sort this all out.”

The CDS team of four volunteers set up and began caring for children yesterday, Friday, June 3. “They have made meaningful contact with many Red Cross workers and other emergency managers who were not aware of our services, so it has felt like the time spent this first full day on the job has been very valuable,” Fry-Miller said.

CDS is serving in Houston at the request of the American Red Cross. The Houston area has been hit by extreme storms and flooding in recent days. This is the second time this year that CDS has responded in Houston, having sent a 10-person team there on April 21 after heavy rain inundated the area and there was serious flooding.

“Prayers for strength, good health, and compassionate connections would be appreciated,” Fry-Miller requested.

Find out more about Children’s Disaster Services, a ministry of Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Church of the Brethren, at www.brethren.org/cds .



UPCOMING EVENTS

5) Nigerian Brethren president Joel S. Billi inaugurates EYN 100th anniversary committee

By Zakariya Musa

Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) was founded by the American Church of the Brethren in 1923 at Garkida, Nigeria, where it had its 75th anniversary in 1998. EYN president Joel S. Billi has inaugurated a 13-member committee for a 100 Years Anniversary of EYN-Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. This is coming less than one month after he assumed office as the EYN president, and is coming from a decision of the EYN National Executive Committee at its meeting held on April 12.

Members of the National Standing Committee of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) with members of the 100 Years Anniversary planning committee, with EYN president Rev. Joel S. Billi seated in the middle.
Photo by Zakariya Musa

Members of the National Standing Committee of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) with members of the 100 Years Anniversary planning committee, with EYN president Rev. Joel S. Billi seated in the middle.

The committee members include Daniel Y.C. Mbaya, the EYN general secretary; Asta Paul Thahal; Mala A. Gadzama; Sunday Aimu; Musa Pakuma; Rejoice Rufus; Ruth Gituwa; Dauda A. Gavva; and Ruth Daniel Yumuna. A Local History Writing Committee comprises four members: Philip A. Ngada, Daniel Banu, Lamar Musa Gadzama, and Samuel D. Dali who is the former EYN president. Some of the committee members were absent during the inauguration.

The anniversary committee was served with the following terms of reference:
1. Outline various activities that will portray the celebration.
2. Identify national and international guests that will be invited.
3. Outline the role of the special guest.
4. Outline and communicate to each DCC and LCC [local congregations and districts] their role and responsibilities in the planning of the celebration.
5. Outline the role and responsibilities of the EYN Headquarters officials.
6. Plan for a two-day lecture or symposium for the celebration.
7. Plan for accommodation for the entire group of gational and international guests.
8. Ensure that each partner involved is well informed of their roles and keep in touch to make sure they are taking their roles seriously.
9. Reporting to the EYN national leaders about the progress of the plan stage-by-stage.
10. Do any other thing that will enhance the successful celebration.
11. Work hand-in-hand with the Local History Writing Committee to ensure that the reflective history is well written for presentation at the celebration.

Lamar Musa Gadzama on behalf of the committee appreciated the leadership for giving them the opportunity to serve the church in this capacity. “I stand here to thank the people that have elected us. God help us to execute this exercise successfully,” he said.

The committee had their first meeting immediately after the inauguration and chose Lamar Musa Gadzama as chairman, Daniel Y.C. Mbaya as vice chairman, Mala A. Gadzama as secretary, and Daniel Banu as assistant secretary.
 
-- Zakariya Musa serves on the communications staff of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

Dunker Punks Podcast logo

“Check out Ecumenical Advocacy Days with the Dunker Punks Podcast,” said an invitation from Arlington (Va.) Church of the Brethren. The latest episode of this audio show created by Brethren young adults explores why Christians should care about justice, and how young people can get involved with working for justice. In this episode titled, “Every Voice Counts,” Emmett Eldred interviews Christian advocates who gathered in Washington, D.C., a few weeks ago to “Lift Every Voice” at the annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days. “Their words are both a calling and encouragement that the Lord's power is with us when we stand up and speak out for justice,” said the announcement from Arlington’s information minister Suzanne Lay. Find the Dunker Punks Podcast at http://arlingtoncob.org/dpp .



6) Brethren bits

-- Remembered: Fran Alft, 87, a former employee of the Church of the Brethren, died on May 4 in Pennsylvania. In the late 1940s she was secretary to Raymond Peters, the Church of the Brethren’s first general secretary. She also was the wife of former mayor of Elgin, Ill., Mike Alft. The couple had relocated from Elgin to Pennsylvania just the month before she died. This remembrance is from the newsletter of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin.

-- Jeanette Mihalec has accepted the position of employee benefits specialist at Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She will begin her duties on June 20. She brings a wide array of skills and experience to the position, including a bachelor of science from Northwestern University, where she majored in economics with minors in science/mathematics, and education and training in financial planning. She is a resident in the Elgin community.

-- On Earth Peace has announced two job openings:
     A new full-time job opening for a development director. This position has remained vacant since Bob Gross retired at the end of 2014. The job description for this new role includes a distinct advantage for a fundraising professional who is a person of color. This reflects the emerging commitment to anti-racism transformation work by On Earth Peace, along with a practical assessment of what kind of expertise the agency needs to grow to the next level at this time as a community of practice for justice and peace. The need is for a development professional who can keep pace and work in synergy with ongoing program efforts and achievements toward becoming a fully multiracial community. Find out more at http://faithful-steward.tumblr.com/post/145013562464/development-director-job-description .
    A part-time contract position for an interim coordinator of Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR). This person will manage requests for MoR services-such as workshops, trainings, facilitations, mediations, and consultations-from On Earth Peace constituents, mostly Church of the Brethren districts, congregations, families, and other related groups. Meeting these needs with this interim role will give On Earth Peace time to consider and discern what kind of staff configuration we will need going forward as our work continues to change and expand and our community grows. Find out more at http://faithful-steward.tumblr.com/post/145013418504/ministry-of-reconciliation-coordinator-job .
     For both positions, apply by July 15 with a cover letter e-mail, resume, and list of references. Apply to On Earth Peace executive director Bill Scheurer, by e-mail to Bill@OnEarthPeace.org .

-- Ministry Summer Service orientation has begun and continues through Wednesday at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The summer’s interns arrived yesterday, Friday, June 3, and mentors and supervisors will arrive on Monday to take part in the orientation. The interns and mentors serving together this summer are: Kerrick van Asselt will be mentored by Megan Sutton and Brian Flory, serving at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Indiana; Nolan McBride will be mentored by Twyla Rowe, serving at Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Maryland; Rudy Amaya will be mentored by Rachel Witkovsky, serving at Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Ruth Ritchey Moore will be mentored by Donita Keister, serving at Buffalo Valley Church of the Brethren in Pennsylvania; Sarandon Smith will be mentored by David Miller, serving at Blackrock Church of the Brethren in Pennsylvania; Tyler Roebuck will be mentored by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, serving with Church of the Brethren communications and “Messenger” magazine; and Youth Peace Travel Team members Jenna Walmer, Kiana Simonson, Phoebe Hart, and Sara White will be mentored by Sarah Neher, Chelsea Goss, Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey, and Dana Cassell.

-- Brethren Disaster Ministries is one of five organizations chosen for nomination to be a global grant recipient of Rebate for Mission funds from Everence Federal Credit Union, which is a ministry of Mennonite Church USA. The credit union funds the program through a 10 percent tithe of credit card income. Since the program began in 1995, more than $400,000 has been given in mission grants, and the recipients are chosen by the credit union members. Along with Brethren Disaster Ministries, this year’s nominees also include Choice Books, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Friends United Meeting, and MEDA. Voting for nominees continues through mid-June. Go to www.everence.com/banking/showitem.aspx?id=23818 .

-- “Pray for the 13 young adult participants of this summer’s first workcamp,” said one of several pray requests from the Global Mission and Service office this week. “They will serve with three organizations that are also Brethren Volunteer Service placement sites: Enable, East Belfast Mission, and L’Arche Belfast. Along with working in projects such as gardening, minor construction, and furniture repair, the participants will learn about local Northern Irish culture and history, gaining insight into the region’s recent 30-year violent conflict and the resulting dynamics between groups today. Pray for safe travels and for meaningful experiences of serving the Lord in a new culture.”
     Other requests asked for prayer for the Democratic Republic of Congo and Lubungo Ron, a peace-builder and leader with the Congolese Brethren, as the country is experiencing nationwide protests opposing incumbent president Joseph Kabila’s plan to stay in power past his term; and for members of the Brazilian Church of the Brethren as Brazil continues in political instability following the suspension of the country’s president Dilma Rousseff and accusations of corruption against new president Michel Temer. “Pray for the country’s destabilized democracy and economy and for all those affected by unemployment, inflation, and the potential loss of services,” said the request.

-- Skippack Church of the Brethren in Collegeville, Pa., presented the 17th Annual Skippack Peace Award at Perk Valley High School in May. Pastor Larry O’Neill had the privilege of presenting the award, said a Facebook announcement. “The money ($500) comes from our ‘Pennies-4-Peace’ jar,” said the announcement. “Amazing to think our first recipient is [now] in her mid-30s. Christine Balestra visited Skippack and our Peace Table. She viewed our scrapbook of all the student who were past honored. It was Skippack though, who was truly honored to meet her.”

-- Beech Grove Church of the Brethren and Cedar Grove Church of the Brethren are supporting the Hollansburg (Ohio) Summer Lunch Program, which is in its sixth year. “This year they will again serve two hot meals a week to the people in Hollansburg and the surrounding area beginning June 6,” said a report in the Early Bird Paper. The average attendance for each meal last year was 24, the report said. The program helps children who may need of food assistance during the summer months, with hot meals served on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Hollansburg Community Center. In addition, the New Madison Library is providing an educational program every Wednesday. The program receives private donations, and food items and cash from local businesses and organizations. Find the news report at www.earlybirdpaper.com/summer-lunch-begins-hollansburg .

-- The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center will sponsor a Harmonia Sacra sing at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 5, at the Hildebrand Church in Waynesboro, Va. An offering will be taken to benefit the Hildebrand Cemetery Fund. Loaner songbooks will be available or bring your own. For directions, go to www.vbmhc.org .

-- The New Community Project’s “Give a Girl a Chance” program is featured in June edition of “Brethren Voices,” the community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. “Give a Girl a Chance” provides educational opportunities to 250 girls in south Asia, Latin America, and east Africa, reports Ed Groff, producer of “Brethren Voices.” Each year, nearly $100,000 is provided to partners for girls education to fund scholarships, uniforms, sanitary materials, women’s development, skills training, micro-credit, backyard gardening projects, and Fair Trade initiatives. “There are few things more critical for the health of families and communities than the education of girls,” said the announcement. “Such opportunities almost always mean later marriage, fewer and healthier children, larger incomes, enhanced self-esteem. Yet millions of the world's females are limited by poverty, gender bias, safety concerns--or the simple lack of sanitary materials.” Brent Carlson interviews David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project. Find “Brethren Voices” at www.YouTube.com/Brethrenvoices or for DVD copies of the program, contact Ed Groff at Groffprod1@msn.com .


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Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jim Beckwith, Jenn Dorsch, Kathleen Fry-Miller, Ed Groff, Carl and Roxane Hill, Bekah Houff, Suzanne Lay, Zakariya Musa, Stan Noffsinger, Tyler Roebuck, Howard Royer, Becky Ullom Naugle, Jenny Williams, 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 June 10.

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.