Newsline for Oct. 29, 2016




With my song I give thanks
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford





"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him" (Psalm 28:7).

NEWS
1) Children’s Disaster Services team begins work in N. Carolina, Material Resources ships to hurricane-affected areas

2) Historic cloth map receives Virginia honor, reveals part of the Brethren mission legacy

3) WCC general secretary: What have we learned from the Reformation?

UPCOMING EVENTS
4) Healthy Boundaries 101 training to be offered via webcast in January

5) Christian Citizenship Seminar 2017 will focus on Native American rights and food security

REFLECTION
6) An island of civility and compassion in a sea of hostility

7) Brethren bits




1) Children’s Disaster Services team begins work in N. Carolina, Material Resources ships to hurricane-affected areas

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is responding in North Carolina following Hurricane Matthew. Areas of the state suffered severe flooding caused by the hurricane that hit the east coast of the United States after sweeping over Haiti and other areas of the Caribbean. A CDS team of volunteers traveled to Fayetteville, N.C., on Tuesday to begin serving children and families affected by the flooding.

Material Resources has been making shipments of relief goods in response to Hurricane Matthew. Materials Resources is the Church of the Brethren program that processes, warehouses, and ships disaster relief materials on behalf of ecumenical partners, based at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

A CDS volunteer cares for children in North Carolina
Photo courtesy of Children's Disaster Services

A CDS volunteer cares for children in North Carolina

Children’s Disaster Services

“Our team of 5 has had 24 children so far in a Red Cross shelter in Fayetteville,” reports CDS associate director Kathy Fry-Miller. “We have some additional volunteers leaving Sunday to replace those who need to leave early next week.”

A Facebook post from the CDS staff offered thanks to volunteers, during a year when the program has fielded a large number of responses: “Once again, CDS sends a huge thank you to everyone volunteering and to everyone keeping the team in their thoughts and sending them positive energy these next few weeks.”

Find out more about Children’s Disaster Services at www.brethren.org/cds .

Material Resources

Here are the shipments that have been made or are in the process of being shipped:

On behalf of Church World Service:
-- 100 Clean-up Buckets and 2 cartons of Hygiene Kits to Plymouth, N.C.;
-- 1,100 Clean-up Buckets to Kinston, N.C. (in 2 different shipments);
-- 1,000 Clean-up Buckets to Wilmington, N.C.;
-- 6 cartons of Baby Kits, 50 cartons of School Kits, 6 cartons of Hygiene Kits, and 180 Clean-up Buckets to Williamson, W.Va.;
-- 6 cartons of Baby Kits, 50 cartons of School Kits, 6 cartons of Hygiene Kits, and 180 Clean-up Buckets to Moundsville, W.Va.

On behalf of Lutheran World Relief:
-- 2 40-foot containers with 220 bales of quilts, 380 cartons of Personal Care Kits, 260 cartons of School Kits, and 50 cartons of soap to Haiti.




2) Historic cloth map receives Virginia honor, reveals part of the Brethren mission legacy

A unique cloth map that was created with the help of Helen Angeny, a Church of the Brethren mission worker in China, has been honored as one of the top 10 artifacts to be saved by a Virginia museum association. Angeny’s daughter Phyllis Hochstetler has shared the news of this honor with Newsline.

A map made by children in an internment camp in the 1940s, with the help of Helen Angeny
Photo by Phyllis Hochstetler

A map made by children in an internment camp in the 1940s, with the help of Helen Angeny

Helen and Edward Angeny were two of the six Church of the Brethren mission workers sent to China in 1940. Hochstetler reports, “They ended up in a Japanese concentration camp where my sister Carol was born a month after their internment. They were in the camp for three years.” Hochstetler has turned her mother’s memoirs about the experience into a book titled “Behind Barbed Wire and High Fences,” published by Sunbury Press in 2013.

The map that is currently housed at the MacArthur Museum in Norfolk, Va., along with the rest of her parents’ memorabilia from that time, is “a cloth map of the US Mom had the kids in the camp make,” says Hochstetler. Also among the family memorabilia of that time is “the correspondence between the Church of the Brethren offices and our relatives who were trying to find out their whereabouts for three years.”

The Virginia Association of Museums annual competition to name “Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts” is designed to create awareness of the conservation needs of artifacts in the care of collecting institutions such as museums, historical societies, libraries, and archives throughout the state.
 
The map comes fifth on the list for 2016, described as “Cloth Children’s Map of the United States (with National Historical Scenes); 1941; MacArthur Memorial; Norfolk, Virginia--Coastal-Hampton Roads Region.”

“The panel gives particular weight to the historical or cultural significance of the item, its conservation needs, whether it has been assessed, as well as future plans and continued preservation,” said a release from the program. For a complete listing of 2016 honorees, visit www.vatop10artifacts.org .

Hochstetler reports that a part of her parents’ legacy in China continues. “My sister and I along with our husbands visited China in 2011 and found the language school where they [Edward and Helen Angeny] were studying before being sent to the Philippines. This building has been designated as an historical site and classes are still being conducted there.”




3) WCC general secretary: What have we learned from the Reformation?
 
A release from the World Council of Churches

Speaking at the Peterskirche, the University Church of Heidelberg, Germany, on Oct. 27, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit said the Reformation can only be commemorated properly if the remembrance is done in a modus of mutual accountability.

The 500th anniversary of the 16th-century Lutheran Reformation marks the action of Martin Luther in publishing his 95 Theses on Oct. 31, 1517, to denounce church abuses, setting in motion events that led to the Reformation and the separation of western Christianity into Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.

“To stand before God is to stand with our accountability to all God’s creation and particularly those created in the image of God, the human beings and the one humanity,” said Tveit. He was speaking at the university event exploring the ecumenical aspects and responsibilities in commemorating the jubilee of the Reformation.

“Mutual accountability is the attitude that has brought the ecumenical movement to life,” he said. “This is the attitude of firmly having a position that shows that we are accountable, reliable, and honest.”

This attitude is shown in the exercise of asking and answering in a transparent, open, humble, and constructive way what we have done with our common legacy as churches, he continued. “This is to ask together in dialogue: how do we deal with the differences and divisions that have developed in how we steward this legacy? How are we mutually accountable to what we affirm that we share together and how do we therefore try to find the way forward together?”

Many of the ecumenical discussions today regarding the 500th anniversary of the Reformation are looking back at the church-dividing events in the 16th century and the theological, political and cultural divisions and conflicts that followed, he said. “The perspective has been what we can learn from what we call the Reformation, and what we can be helped to see as a potential for change today,” he said. “The best ecumenical dialogue on the Reformation applies the approach of the ‘healing of memories’ that has been an important dimension of the peacebuilding work of member churches of the WCC in Northern Ireland, South Africa, and many other countries.”

The same spirit of new energy and a wish to harvest some of the fruits of past dialogues will prevail at a joint celebration by Pope Francis and the representatives of the Lutheran World Federation on Oct. 31, Tveit said.

“I look forward to be there representing the whole fellowship of the World Council of Churches,” he said. “This event has relevance and will be significant for the whole ecumenical movement.”

Find the full text of Tveit’s speech, “The Jubilee of the Reformation--Ecumenical?” at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/speeches/the-jubilee-of-the-reformation-2013-ecumenical .

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness, and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, and other churches representing more than 550 million Christians in over 120 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

-- Olav Fykse Tveit serves as the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), based in Geneva, Switzerland. The Church of the Brethren is a founding member of the WCC.




UPCOMING EVENTS

4) Healthy Boundaries 101 training to be offered via webcast in January

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership will offer the Healthy Boundaries 101--Basic Level Ethics in Ministry Relations Training via webcast on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern time). This session is for ministry training students and newly licensed or ordained clergy who have not had the training. Academy executive director Julie M. Hostetter will lead the training. The webcast will use the Zoom technology.

The fee to participate is $30 for newly licensed or ordained clergy, which includes a book and a certificate for continuing education units. The fee is $15 for students currently at Bethany Seminary or in the TRIM, EFSM, or ACTS ministry training program.

The registration deadline is Dec. 19. No registrations will be received via phone or e-mail after this deadline. A website link will be e-mailed to participants a few days prior to the webcast.  Dan Poole, director of educational technology at Bethany Seminary, will provide technology support for this event.

For questions and more information contact the Brethren Academy at academy@bethanyseminary.edu .




5) Christian Citizenship Seminar 2017 will focus on Native American rights and food security

The group of participants at Christian Citizenship Seminar 2016
Photo by Kendra Harbeck

The group of participants at Christian Citizenship Seminar 2016

By Paige Butzlaff

Christian Citizenship Seminar (CCS) will happen on April 22-27, 2017. The theme will be “Native American Rights and Food Security,” related to the scripture from Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

CCS’s goal is to provide high school-aged students with the chance to explore the relationship between their faith and a particular pressing political issue, and then act from a faith perspective regarding that issue.

Nearly one in four individuals who identify as Native American face food insecurity--uncertainty about the source of their next meal. The rate of food insecurity in native populations is nearly 10 percent higher than the rest of the United States’ population. This creates a situation in which native populations often face greater health risks and lower standards of living.

This CCS will ask how we, as followers of Jesus, can join with our native sisters and brothers to positively affect change in this situation. CCS participants will learn about the history of native land rights and the current food insecurity experienced on Native American reservations, as well as the enduring impacts on native health and well-being.

The cost of registration is $400 per person, which includes event programming, lodging for five nights, two dinner meals, and transportation from New York to Washington, D.C. Each participant will need to bring additional money for other meals, sightseeing, personal expenses, and subway/taxi fares.

CCS will begin on Saturday, April 22, at 2 p.m. in New York City, and will end by 12 noon on Thursday, April 27, in Washington, D.C. All high school-age youth and their adult advisors are welcome to attend. Churches are strongly encouraged to send an advisor with their youth, even if only one or two youth attend. Churches are required to send one advisor for every four youth. CCS is sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Church of the Brethren. 

Registration opens Dec. 1 at 12 p.m. (central time). Registration will be limited to the first 60 participants. Please register right away! To register go to www.brethren.org/ccs .

-- Paige Butzlaff is a Brethren Volunteer Service worker serving with the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry. She is a member of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren.




REFLECTION

6) An island of civility and compassion in a sea of hostility

Every day is a gift
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

By Nevin Dulabaum

I’m weary in this lengthy political season of reading countless news stories where the tone is bad-tempered, sometimes caustic.

“Remember to tell your spouse and/or other important people in your life that you love them.”

I’m tired of the us against them...

“My philosophy still holds true: We may retire from employment, but one can never retire from ministry.”

...of trying to make issues black and white instead of the murky grey where most issues reside...

“We know a lot less than we think. We need each other a lot more than we know. Love one another--is the way to go.”

...and of the art of compromise going by the wayside in lieu of people being defined as “winners” and “losers.”

“In every group, make sure the quiet voice is heard.”

About a month ago, I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of a publication BBT produces for the annuitants of Brethren Pension Plan, called “Retiree News.” It is an annual publication that allows annuitants to share in 200 words what has changed in their lives over the previous year. People submitting stories can send along a photo. They also can give permission for their addresses to be published, so the group receiving the publication can contact one another. There is an “In Memoriam” section honoring annuitants and church leaders who passed away the preceding year. And there’s a section called “Words of Wisdom.” I’ve included several samples here.

“No matter what our age and/or physical condition, there is always something we can do for others and serve the Lord we love and follow. Prayers are always needed and they can be powerful, share a cup of soup, visit someone who is lonely or down, share some good jokes, read poetry to someone, keep a happy attitude.”

“Take time to enjoy sunrises and sunsets because to do so prompts appreciation of God and our marvelous world.”

There are about 40 of these pithy kinds of sayings in the publication, some original, and some quoting others. On the day that I needed to proof the advanced copy of the publication, I found the words in those few pages to be the social tonic of grace and compassion that was lacking in other things I had recently read.

This publication is only circulated among the Brethren Pension Plan annuitants, but if you’d like to see the complete list of “Words of Wisdom,” e-mail me at ndulabaum@cobbt.org and
I will send you the complete list, sans identities.

“Leonard Ravenhill said, ‘The opportunities of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.’”

“We too often take life for granted, thinking it will continue as it is, and suddenly everything changes. I think more about each day now, and how precious each one is.”

“Like an old apple tree, I try to grow a little ‘new wood’ each year, so I can continue bearing some fruit for the Kingdom of God.”

“‘Ministry is giving when you feel like keeping; praying for others when you need to be prayed for; feeding others when your soul is hungry; living truth before people even when you can’t see results; hurting with other people even when your own hurts can’t be spoken; keeping your word even when it is not convenient; being faithful even when your own flesh wants to run away.’ (Leanne Hardy)”

“If physically able, it seems important to keep moving and thinking. Reading a wide variety of papers and books keeps our minds active. Stimulating conversation with friends opens new doors every day. Moderate exercise helps to keep balance and gives life more vivid colors.”

Some of these make me stop and think. Others leave me with a chuckle and a grin--

“Smile--and make the world guess what you are thinking. Grin--and they won’t have to guess.”

Some help me celebrate life--

“Every day is a gift. That is why we call it the present.”

And others help me realize that happiness, or the lack thereof, is a mindset, and only I can do something about it.

“Each day is a blessing from God. Whether you find joy in it is up to you.”

I always feel energized by reading these words of our senior members of the Church of the Brethren. I hope this brief snapshot of this year’s entries energizes you too, and brings the realization that some of what we read today can be civil.

“My yesterdays have created the person I am today; and my tomorrows will continue the creation. I’m blessed to be in the midst of the creativity.”

Amen.

-- Nevin Dulabaum is president of Brethren Benefit Trust. Find this reflection online at https://cobbt.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/benefit%20news/Presidents%20Message%20OCT%202016.pdf .




7) Brethren bits

Home page image for Brethren Benefit Trust BBT logo

“November is Open Enrollment Month. Don’t be caught off base!” says a reminder from Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). New for 2017 from BBT is accident insurance, along with short-term disability, long-term disability, critical illness, Medicare supplement, dental, vision, and supplemental life. “Accidents are inconvenient, expensive, and put a dent in your savings.  Accident insurance is now being offered through Brethren Insurance Services.” To find more information about rates, options, and enrollment forms for all the insurance services offered by BBT, go to http://conta.cc/2eVqXT0 .

-- Mark Pickens has begun as a field associate for Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADN) to promote disability inclusion in Pennsylvania churches. He is the most recent Church of the Brethren volunteer to join ADN, following Rebekah Flores who is serving as a field associate and relating in particular to Church of the Brethren congregations. ADN field associates are volunteers who work from their home location in program areas that contribute to ADN’s mission. “Blind since he was in high school, Mark has been drawn to study the writings of scholars with disabilities who interpret the Bible and reflect theologically on God’s relationship with disability,” said an announcement from ADN. He is a graduate of Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Ky., and Lancaster (Pa.) Theological Seminary. He lives in Harrisburg, Pa., where he attends Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren.

General secretary David Steele at a listening session in Atlantic Northeast District.
Photo by Glenn Riegel

General secretary David Steele at a listening session in Atlantic Northeast District.

-- Church of the Brethren general secretary David Steele will be holding a listening session in Shenandoah District next week. All are invited to the event at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, at Maple Terrace on the campus of Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community.

-- Last week the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted governors from more than 10 states in northern Nigeria. The effort sought to assist in addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by the Boko Haram insurgency. The series of meetings and discussions included top US government officials as well as academics and other civil society organizations. Due to the Church of the Brethren’s close connections, extensive relief efforts, and ongoing advocacy, Nathan Hosler of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Public Witness was asked to speak on a panel to the governors and their deputies. The panel focused on demographics and the humanitarian crisis. Building on the previous speakers’ presentations on the urgent food crisis, Hosler urged attention to the risk of further discontent and potential violence if the government is not seen to be adequately addressing the emerging famine and religion as both a potential source of peace as well as distrust.

-- The World Council of Churches (WCC) is offering a “Webinar on Ending Statelessness” on Nov. 4, at 1-3 p.m. (CET). Nate Hosler, director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness, is one of the panelists, along with Zahra Albarazi, co-founder and senior researcher, Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, the Netherlands; Radha Govil, Legal Office, Statelessness Section, UNHCR, Switzerland; Maha Mamo, international relations manager at Agro Betel Live Export, stateless, Brazil; Suzanne Matale, general secretary, Council of Churches of Zambia; Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. “It has been two years since the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) launched its Global Action Plan to End Statelessness a few days following the first ever Global Forum on Statelessness in the Hague, the Netherlands, where an ecumenical delegation was present and shared their recommendations,” said an announcement. “The purpose of this webinar is therefore to mark this anniversary and also assess the work achieved during the launch of this global campaign. Statelessness is an often overlooked or misunderstood issue. Yet, the UNHCR estimates that there are at least 10 million stateless people in the world. Most of them have not left their birth country, i.e. they are not refugees. There is an additional estimated more than 1.5 million who are both refugee and stateless. Resulting from their lack of nationality, stateless people in most cases are not able to enjoy their basic human rights, and are denied many of the rights we--who have citizenship--generally take for granted: right to health, to education, to own property, to open a bank account, to travel abroad, etc. Their lack of legal documents is an obstacle to the wide spectrum of rights.” Attend the webinar and ask questions (via the chat room) by clicking on this link: https://webinar.oikoumene.org . More information is at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/webinar-on-global-campaign-to-end-statelessness

Seagoing Cowboy cow

-- A seagoing cowboys event and luncheon takes place today, Oct. 29, at the Zigler Hospitality Center at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Peggy Reiff Miller will be the guest speaker. “She will discuss her research on the seagoing cowboys, her new book, and several of the original cowboys will be present before and during the luncheon to share their stories,” reported the “Carroll County Times” in an article previewing the event. Tickets are $10 and include a social at noon, followed by a hot buffet lunch at 1:30 p.m., and the opportunity to purchase signed copies of “The Seagoing Cowboy,” the children’s book by Miller which has been published by Brethren Press. Also in the newspaper report: an interview with David Haldeman, a 97-year-old former seagoing cowboy who planned to attend. Find the article at www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/newwindsor/ph-cc-miller-seagoing-cowboy-20161028-story.html .

-- “If you're considering becoming a Bethany student in spring 2017, the deadline to apply for admission is December 1,” said an announcement from Bethany Seminary, the Church of the Brethren graduate school of theology based in Richmond, Ind. “Anyone interested in enrolling for the spring term should have all admissions materials submitted by this date. This is also the date for new students to submit financial aid materials for the spring.” Instructions to apply for any of Bethany's programs including three new specialized certificates in theopoetics and theological imagination, biblical interpretation, and conflict transformation, are found at https://bethanyseminary.edu/admissions/apply-now .

-- In more news from Bethany, associate professor of Brethren studies Denise D. Kettering-Lane will speak on “Forming Our Narrative: Women and Pietism” this evening, Oct. 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Nicarry Chapel on the seminary campus in Richmond, Ind. The lecture commemorates her promotion to associate professor and being granted tenure with the 2016-17 academic year. Kettering-Lane provides this description: “In the seventeenth century, the Christian revival movement called Pietism swept across the European continent, bringing with it an emphasis on the involvement of everyday Christians in the life of the church as well as lived religious experience. The story of this movement has most frequently been told from the perspective of the male theologians who led the reform within the Lutheran church or a few prominent separatists. However, the emphasis on the laity’s involvement meant that a significant number of women found their own voice within the Pietist movement. Females found expression for their religious experience in hymns, autobiographies, spiritual works, letters, and even theological treatises. By looking at these women’s writings and stories, we can form a more expansive narrative about Pietism.” Kettering-Lane joined the Bethany faculty in 2010 as assistant professor of Brethren studies, bringing experience in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives and as a research fellow at the Institute for European History and the University of Iowa. In fall 2016 she began serving as director of Bethany’s MA program and edits “Brethren Life and Thought.” The lecture will be recorded and posted at https://bethanyseminary.edu/events-resources/webcast-vault .

-- Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2017 will be held on the theme “Confronting Chaos, Forging Community: Challenging Racism, Materialism, and Militarism.” This national gathering will be held April 21-24 building upon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final book and the fiftieth anniversary of his historic, final speech at Riverside Church in New York City. “The gathering marks the 14th annual event where nearly 1,000 Christians come to Washington, D.C., to learn, network, and advocate before Congress on federal policy issues that the ecumenical community is concerned,” said an announcement. “This year, perhaps more than ever, EAD calls on participants to come and make a loud, faithful witness to a new Congress and a new Administration.” The gathering will be held at the DoubleTree Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Va., just across the Potomac River from the US Capitol Building. The event concludes with a Lobby Day where a prepared legislative “ask” is taken to members of Congress by the participants. Registration is now open at AdvocacyDays.org . Young adults may apply for a scholarship.

-- West York (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is observing its 50th Anniversary on Nov. 12-13. On Nov. 12 a special time of music begins at 7 p.m. led by former pastor Warren Eshbach. On Nov. 13 during the 10 a.m. worship service there will be biblical teaching through music and mime by Drama Ministry from Lancaster, Pa. Also, Eshbach will lead in looking back; current pastor, Gregory Jones, will lead in looking at today; and ministerial son of the congregation, Matthew Hershey, will lead in looking ahead. “Please join us for this special weekend where we celebrate ‘the crowd of witnesses’ whose faith laid the spiritual foundation of our church, and the faithful today who ‘run with endurance the race God has set before us,’” said an invitation from the church, sent in by secretary Barbara Sloat. For more information contact the church at 717-792-9260.

-- Reading Church of the Brethren in Northern Ohio District celebrated a mortgage burning on Aug. 27. “Due to a generous gift from the Hoffer family, the congregation was able to pay off the mortgage on the church,” said the district newsletter. “Larry Bradley, pastor of Reading, shared that the congregation is extremely grateful for the generosity of the Hoffer family. Let us rejoice with our brothers and sisters!”

-- Choral ensembles from northeast Indiana--Fort Wayne, Wabash, and North Manchester--are coming together to perform Karl Jenkins’ “The Peacemakers” on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 4 p.m. at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind. “Jenkins’ monumental work draws texts from international peacemakers including Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank, and Gandhi,” said a release from the university. “The composer dedicated it to the memory of all who have lost their lives during armed conflict.” The performance is under the direction of guest conductor Bob Nance, president and artistic director of Heartland Sings. The Manchester University A Cappella Choir and Cantabile will be joined by Heartland Sings of Fort Wayne and choirs from Northfield and Manchester high schools. Area elementary and high school students have been invited to submit works by Nov. 1 to be judged for presentation during the concert. Students in grades K-5 were asked to create art; those in grades 6-8 were invited to submit essays; and those in grades 9-12 were asked to compose poetry. The winning entries will be displayed, printed, or read. Tickets are $10 general admission and $8 for students K-12. For more information go to www.manchester.edu/about-manchester/news/news-articles/peacemakers-2016 .

-- Springs of Living Water in Church Renewal has announced its next academy for pastors and ministers meeting by telephone conference call, to begin Jan. 10, 2017. “With the thirst for new life, congregations can discover spiritual renewal through the Springs of Living Water initiative in church renewal,” said an announcement. “Like the woman at the well who found life giving water, they have their life transformed, and discern and implement their mission. Congregations develop a closer walk with Christ using spiritual disciplines folders, build on strengths through congregational gatherings, and implement units of revitalization.” For leadership training in renewal, pastors and ministers can enroll in the next Springs Academy over the phone for five morning, two-hour group calls over 12 weeks starting Jan. 10. During the calls, those enrolled in the academy share new life-practicing spiritual disciplines, learn a seven-step path that builds renewed spiritual energy and, using servant leadership, build on the strengths of their churches. A group from each church walks alongside and “shepherds” the pastor or minister. Instructor David Young teaches a thorough class with a structured syllabus. For spiritual growth, participants use a spiritual disciplines folder and Richard Foster’s book “Celebration of Disciplines, The Path of Spiritual Growth.” The text for the course is Young’s “Springs of Living Water, Christ-centered Church Renewal” with foreword by Foster.  Interpretative DVDs are available at www.churchrenewalservant.org . To allow time for reading and handouts, register by Dec. 28. Continuing education credit is available. Contact 717-615-4515 or davidyoung@churchrenewalservant.org .

-- Christian Peacemaker Teams reports that its CPT-Indigenous Peoples Solidarity group has been invited to accompany the Sacred Stone Camp where members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and supporters, which include other numerous indigenous peoples and environmental activists, are protesting construction of an oil pipeline. This week “law enforcement officials arrested 141 people in North Dakota after police surrounded protesters, deploying pepper spray and armored vehicles in order to clear hundreds of Native American activists and supporters from land owned by an oil pipeline company,” reported the “Guardian” newspaper of London. “The move marked the beginning of an aggressive new phase in ongoing police efforts to thwart a months-long demonstration by hundreds of members of more than 90 Native American tribes to prevent the construction of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, which they say would threaten the regional water supply and destroy sacred sites.” Christian Peacemaker Teams is seeking financial support to send volunteers to accompany the encampment. “Can you support a volunteer?” asks a recent Facebook post from CPT. Go to www.cpt.org for more information or to http://linkis.com/sacredstonecamp.org/OGeEF .

-- The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is requesting help to end the  use of torture in the Lewisburg federal penitentiary in central Pennsylvania. “This week, NPR and The Marshall Project published a series of stories uncovering the harrowing use of torture at the Lewisburg federal penitentiary in central Pennsylvania, where incarcerated people are routinely forced to face double-celled solitary confinement in a 6 by 10 foot cell for nearly 24 hours a day with a cell mate they fear, or are shackled in restraints for refusing their cell assignment. Since 2009, at least four incarcerated people at Lewisburg have been killed by their cellmates,” said an NRCAT release. “This torture is unacceptable. Join us in calling on the Attorney General to ensure an independent investigation of the federal Bureau of Prisons practices at the Lewisburg federal penitentiary, including the use of double-celled solitary confinement, restraints, and lack of mental health treatment.” Find out more at http://org.salsalabs.com/o/2162/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=20583 .

-- Cher Johnson, a member of the “Lord’s Laughing Ladies” group of knitters at Lakewood Church of the Brethren in Millbury, Ohio, won Best of Show in both the Wood County Fair and the Pemberville Fair. “Cher has never entered any needlework competition, and was really surprised to learn she won top prize in both fairs,” said a report by Barbara Wilch in the Northern Ohio District newsletter. “Her knitted sweater is both stylish and practical. She was also awarded a Blue Ribbon for a knitted cowl she entered.” Wilch noted that the Lord’s Laughing Ladies always welcomes new members.


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Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jean Bednar, Paige Butzlaff, Nevin Dulabaum, Kathy Fry-Miller, Anne Gregory, Phyllis Hochstetler, Nathan Hosler, Fran Massie, Patrice Nightingale, Barbara Sloat, Glenna Thompson, Barbara Wilch, David Young, 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 Nov. 4.

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.