Newsline for Sept. 2, 2016




...And the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13b).

A word cloud made from six word stories written on paper dolls during the Northern Plains District Conference, and shared this week in the district’s e-newsletter. The theme of the 150th district meeting, held Aug. 5-7: “This Is Our Story.... This Is Our Song.”
Image courtesy of Northern Plains District

A word cloud made from six word stories written on paper dolls during the Northern Plains District Conference, and shared this week in the district’s e-newsletter. The theme of the 150th district meeting, held Aug. 5-7: “This Is Our Story.... This Is Our Song.”

 
NEWS
1) Preachers are announced for Annual Conference 2017, nominations are sought for the ballot

2) Children’s Disaster Services sends fifth team to Louisiana, Material Resources ships more aid

3) Northern Plains District group enjoys Brethren heritage tour

PERSONNEL
4) Traci Rabenstein to begin work for Church of the Brethren donor relations

5) Brethren bits: Personnel, jobs, support for the Nigeria Crisis Response from 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, National Suicide Prevention Week, Cedar Creek celebrates 100 years and Inspiration Hills celebrates 50, Staunton hosts “12 Baskets and a Goat,” and more


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Quote of the week:

“Much of my life and ministry has recognized the centrality of relationship and community. I have come to understand that neither is possible without me--in all circumstances--picking up a basin and towel. Jesus’ simple act embodies an understanding that community is not possible without us kneeling and yielding and allowing the waters to wash away all that separates from the love of Christ and loving one another.”

-- David Steele, in an introductory e-mail to the denominational staff on Sept. 1, his first day as general secretary of the Church of the Brethren.

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1) Preachers are announced for Annual Conference 2017, nominations are sought for the ballot

The preachers have been announced for the Church of the Brethren’s 2017 Annual Conference, which will be held Wednesday, June 28, through Sunday, July 2, in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Conference Office also is accepting nominations for all offices to be elected at next summer’s Annual Conference.

Delegates vote at Annual Conference 2016. One of the jobs of the delegate body is to elect new leadership for the denomination, by voting on the ballot. Nominations are being accepted now.
Photo by Glenn Riegel

Delegates vote at Annual Conference 2016. One of the jobs of the delegate body is to elect new leadership for the denomination, by voting on the ballot. Nominations are being accepted now.

Nominations are currently accepted for all offices that will be on the ballot including Annual Conference moderator-elect, Annual Conference secretary, Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee member, Mission and Ministry Board members from Areas 1 and 2, Bethany Theological Seminary Board of Trustees members representing clergy and representing the Church of the Brethren-related colleges, Brethren Benefit Trust Board member, On Earth Peace Board member, Pastoral Compensation and Benefits member representing clergy, and representative to the World Council of Churches.

Nominations will be accepted through Dec. 1. Find more information at www.brethren.org/ac/nominations .

2017 preachers

Annual Conference moderator Carol Scheppard will preach for the opening worship service of the 2017 Conference, on Wednesday evening, June 28.

On Thursday evening, June 29, the sermon will be brought by Jose Calleja Otero, district executive minister of the Church of the Brethren’s Puerto Rico District.

Friday evening’s preacher on June 30 will be Michaela Alphonse, who serves as a mission worker in Haiti with the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service.

On Saturday evening, July 1, the message will be given by Donna Ritchey Martin, who is a pastor at Grossnickle Church of the Brethren in Myersville, Md.

The Sunday morning sermon on July 2, and the closing message of the Annual Conference, will be preached by Matthew Fike, pastor of Lebanon Church of the Brethren in Mount Sidney, Va.




2) Children’s Disaster Services sends fifth team to Louisiana, Material Resources ships more aid

A fifth team of volunteers from Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) arrived in Baton Rouge, La., on Thursday, Sept. 1. Four CDS teams already have completed their service there. The CDS volunteers have been caring for children and families who have been displaced by flooding and are living in American Red Cross shelters.

The Church of the Brethren’s Material Resources has sent two additional shipments of relief supplies to Louisiana on behalf of Church World Service (CWS).

Children’s Disaster Services

Children's Disaster Services logo

The CDS volunteer teams in Louisiana have served more than 400 children, reports CDS associate director Kathy Fry-Miller. CDS also has teams on alert today to respond to hurricanes in Hawaii and Florida if needed.

“There are continuing needs for so many people who fear they may be permanently displaced from their homes,” said a Facebook post from CDS, expressing concern for the families affected by flooding in Louisiana. “We are grateful for the children that have been sharing their laughter and tears with our teams, and for the families who have shared their children with us during these stressful weeks. We are grateful for our partners in response, particularly Red Cross staff. We are grateful for our volunteers.”

CDS has shared a blog written by a first-time volunteer, Child Life Specialist Brianna Pastewski. Find it at http://cldisasterrelief.org/2016/08/first-day-in-louisiana-by-brianna .

Material Resources

The Material Resources program based at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., warehouses and ships relief goods on behalf of ecumenical partners and humanitarian aid organizations. In the last week of August, two more shipments were made to Louisiana in response to the flooding, following on a first shipment sent on behalf of CWS.

In the two most recent shipments, CWS released 1,000 clean-up buckets to the Baton Rouge area on Aug. 23, and sent 100 cartons of baby care kits and 400 clean-up buckets to Clinton on Aug. 25.





3) Northern Plains District group enjoys Brethren heritage tour

The Northern Plains District group that enjoyed a Brethren heritage tour
Photo courtesy of Diane Mason

The Northern Plains District group that enjoyed a Brethren heritage tour

By Diane Mason

Nineteen people from the Northern Plains District embarked on a Heritage Tour Aug. 7, an appropriate appendix to the district conference where the theme was “This Is Our Story.... This Is Our Song.” In the course of the eight-day tour many stories were told of personal and congregational heritage, and much was learned about our collective heritage as Church of the Brethren.

Traveling by bus, the first stop was Camp Mack in northern Indiana, where the group viewed the impressive murals painted by Medford Neher in the late 1940s, and were privileged to hear their explanation offered by Herman Kauffman. It’s amazing how much of the Brethren story is included in each mural. The Northern Plains travelers made several observations, one of which was, “The first six murals show Brethren on the move on foot, horseback, ship, covered wagons.  But the last six murals show many people standing in front of buildings. What does that have to say about our denomination?”

A relatively short jaunt took us to the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. A remarkable collection of artifacts, books, and personal papers is stored and being catalogued for research. Our animated and knowledgeable tour guide Karen Garrett told us the most unique feature of the center was the inclusion of materials from all the Brethren groups descended from the 1708 Schwarzenau (Germany) Brethren.

The group continued eastward into the John Kline territory of Virginia. Several sisters and brothers met us at Linville Church of the Brethren and showed us their historical collection and their cemetery. Paul Roth accompanied us to other sites of interest in the area, ultimately leading us to the John Kline Homestead where we enjoyed a delicious meal along with a meaningful theater dialogue of persons from 150 years ago discussing the hardships and restoration following the Civil War. 

As the group continued to the Shenandoah Valley and the Valley Brethren and Mennonite Heritage Center, we learned of the massive devastation wrought in the area by the Civil War as J.D. Glick and Robert Alley told the stories. A little-known fact is that some of the routes of the Underground Railroad were also used to help Brethren and Mennonite conscientious objectors flee the area to avoid conscription into the Confederate army.

It was quite a moving experience to see the Antietam Civil War battlefield before meeting for reflection and singing in the rebuilt Dunker Church located on the battlefield. One remarked that God’s Spirit is still grieving over those killed in all wars, past and present. The ravages of war seem so far removed from us, but the photos and stories of Sept 17, 1862, are devastating reminders of the stories of our Nigerian brothers and sisters and of others who are caught in the cross hairs of battle. 

Our short stay at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., included three meals and overnight lodging arranged by our gracious hostess Mary Ann Grossnickle. The experience was meaningful in several ways. Some of our group were returning “home” to where their Brethren Volunteer Service experiences began. Others found the morning of volunteering our time in SERRV and the Material Resources warehouses significant, since we were able to help prepare materials for their next point of service. One of our group was so moved, she plans to return for a longer stint of volunteering.

The Sight and Sound Theater production of “Samson” was very striking. The massive moving set at the theater in Pennsylvania caught our attention immediately. The quality of the acting and music was outstanding. And most striking was how the message of Jesus’ grace enveloped the telling of this Old Testament story. 

Another high point of the trip was our conversation with Jeff Bach at the 1723 baptism site in the Wissahickon Creek and Germantown Church of the Brethren and cemetery in the Philadelphia area. We appreciated how Brother Jeff couched the story of the early Brethren in the cultural and economic contexts of their time. It was fascinating to hear the stories of several individuals of the era. Highlights of the visit included wading into the waters of the Wissahickon and a communion service held in the original part of the Germantown meetinghouse.

Following a visit to Independence Hall in Philadelphia, we rejoined Brother Jeff at the Pricetown meetinghouse in Pricetown, Pa. Built in 1777, this meetinghouse has not been altered through the centuries. The thick stone walls were plastered on the inside and surround a single room. The original simple benches are still there and exhibit how backs were added after their first 100 years of use. A kitchen attached to one side served as a place the Agape Meal for Love Feast was prepared. The upper level that housed visitors for Love Feast provided a low ceiling in the worship area, which offered great acoustics for our singing. Worship is still held in the meetinghouse once each June and a song service is held there each July.

A visit to the Ephrata Cloisters was very insightful, for we had two tour guides. The Ephrata guide provided information about founder Conrad Beissel and discussed the structures and artifacts and daily life. Brother Jeff provided background information on how the Cloisters started with a cluster of small cabins built by religious hermits who followed Beissel. One participant expressed gratitude for Brother Jeff’s accurate information, which dispelled some previous misunderstandings.

We were hosted at Quaker Hill in Richmond, Ind., for our final night on the road. Jenny Williams met us early on a Sunday morning to open up Bethany Seminary’s building and give us a brief tour. Nicarry Chapel and the mementos from other Bethany locations were special to all of us.

Upon reflection, all on the tour were thrilled with the opportunity to experience our Brethren roots, rather than just read about them or just view them. Many thanks to the Northern Plains Nurture Commission for the multi-year effort in organizing this tour, and to those who supported the trip financially even though they could not go along. Hopefully there will be another tour, so more people can experience our history this way.

-- Diane Mason submitted this article on behalf of Northern Plains District. It was first published in the district e-newsletter and is available on the district website.





Traci Rabenstein

Traci Rabenstein

PERSONNEL

4) Traci Rabenstein to begin work for Church of the Brethren donor relations

Traci Rabenstein begins Oct. 1 as congregational support representative for Church of the Brethren donor relations. Initially she will work from her home in Enola, Pa.

Her role will be to strengthen and nurture congregational relationships with ministries of the Church of the Brethren through face-to-face, telephone, and other visits with congregations and pastors. Through these interactions, she will interpret denominational ministries in which congregations partner, and will solicit feedback that will be helpful for the enhancement of denominational ministries.

She is a licensed minister at Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, where for some years she was youth director. She has served on the Southern Pennsylvania District board, and was moderator for the 2015 district conference. She currently serves on the board of Cross Keys Village--The Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa.

Her professional career has included positions related to information technology and since 2013 she has been eGovernment Project Manager for the state of Pennsylvania’s Office of Administration/Office for Information Technology. She holds a computer programming diploma from the Thompson Institute in Harrisburg, Pa., and also studied elementary education at Lock Haven (Pa.) University.





5) Brethren bits

-- Effective Thursday, Sept. 1, Jeanette Mihalec completed her service as employee benefits specialist for Brethren Benefit Trust.

The group of volunteers who participated in the Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) Europe Retreat 2016. These volunteers are serving in projects across the European continent.
Photo by Kristin Flory

The group of volunteers who participated in the Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) Europe Retreat 2016. These volunteers are serving in projects across the European continent.

-- The Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Church of the Brethren seeks coordinators for National Youth Conference (NYC) 2018. Young adults who are passionate about the ministry of NYC and would like to help lead the 2018 event are invited to apply to be a coordinator. Applications are due no later than Oct. 14, and can be found at www.brethren.org/NYCCoordinatorApp . Coordinators will meet briefly with the National Youth Cabinet in early 2017 to begin planning NYC, and will then serve full-time through Brethren Volunteer Service from June 2017 through Aug. 2018. Church of the Brethren young adults between the ages of 22 and 35, with strong leadership and organizational skills, are ideal applicants. For questions contact Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, at bullomnaugle@brethren.org or 847-429-4385.

-- Shepherd’s Spring, a camp and retreat center near Sharpsburg, Md., seeks a program coordinator to serve in a fulltime position. The program coordinator manages and develops the summer camp program and global village program. Qualifications include a bachelor’s degree with a preferred relation to outdoor ministry, education, or equivalent experience. The camp seeks a strategic and analytical thinker with the ability to manage multiple programs and projects, proficient in Microsoft Office software, with ability to work with varied persons specifically age groups 1st grade through college, ability to clearly direct work of staff and/or volunteers to accomplish tasks, good written and oral communication skills, and public speaking ability. Responsibilities include to participate in developing and implementing programs for Shepherd’s Spring in cooperation with the Program Team, with an emphasis on children and youth programming (Summer Camp and Global Village); prepare and direct the preparation of program materials according to Heifer Curriculum standards, ACA programming standards, and Shepherd’s Spring policies; recruit and train additional staff and volunteers as needed to operate Heifer Global Village and Summer Camp programs including developing a college intern program and a volunteer program for Global Village; maintain daily feeding and care of livestock (weekends included); evaluate staff and volunteers in the Heifer Global Village programs; maintain a flexible work schedule sometimes including weekends and overnight; assist in developing and implementing a marketing plan; plan and carry out training for summer staff; develop strong, partnering relationship with Mid-Atlantic District congregations; among other tasks. The benefits package includes a salary in the range of $33,000-$35,000, health insurance, and pension plan. Find more information at www.shepherdsspring.org . Send a resumé or direct questions to program director Britnee Harbaugh, by e-mail at bharbaugh@shepherdsspring.org. .

-- Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center near Keezletown, Va., seeks to fill a part-time hourly position of Outdoor School Coordinator, beginning in early 2017. The position facilitates appreciation of the outdoors by welcoming local school groups for outdoor education programming. Tasks include hosting groups, coordinating registrations, recruiting and training volunteers, and assisting with publicity work. The position runs on an hourly basis as needed. The months of September to November and March to early June constitute the majority of the job. Other months will have very few hours, if any. The ideal candidate will be a committed Christian, have the ability to effectively work in a team relationship with other camp staff, possess strong organizational skills, have experience with group dynamics and management, and have knowledge of age group characteristics. College graduates with teaching experience in some capacity are preferred, and individuals who bring diversity are encouraged to apply. Applicants should send a cover letter and résumé to Tim and Katie Heishman at program@brethrenwoods.org.

A meme from 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative supports Nigeria Crisis Response
Image courtesy of 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative

-- The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative has begun offering support to the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) through helping to publicize the effort. The support has come in response to meetings between Wilberforce staff and Church of the Brethren staff earlier this summer. This week, a Wilberforce article titled “Facing Terror and Destruction, Some Stand up for Freedom,” highlights the Brethren work to aid those affected by violence and persecution in northeast Nigeria. “In many parts of the world, people are bravely standing in solidarity with their neighbors and against evil,” the article says, in part. “One example is how, Church of the Brethren in the US is helping victims heal from the crisis in Nigeria, halfway around the world. Boko Haram has destroyed nearly 1,700 buildings, or 70 percent of the denomination’s Nigerian churches, but the group is choosing to restore what others have torn down. American congregations have given sacrificially, raising nearly $5 million in just two years to rebuild churches, provide food relief, books, and other development.” Read the article at https://medium.com/@cvirgin/facing-terror-and-destruction-some-stand-up-for-freedom-19edd9ff785a#.4bwxizvhz . The initiative also has published a social media meme encouraging support for the Brethren work in Nigeria. The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative is named after 19 century British parliamentarian and abolitionist William Wilberforce, who identified the slave trade as the greatest violation of human rights. The initiative is dedicated to empowering a global movement to advance religious freedom as a universal right through advocacy, capacity building and technology. Find out more at www.21wilberforce.org .

-- National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 5-11, and World Suicide Prevention Day is Sept. 10. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death for those aged 15-24 in the US,” said an announcement. Find more information at https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics .

-- Cedar Creek Church of the Brethren in Citronelle, Ala., holds a Homecoming and 100th Anniversary Celebration on Oct. 9. Events start with coffee and snacks at 9:30 a.m., followed by worship at 10 a.m., with a meal to follow. “Everyone welcome!” said an announcement from Southeastern District.

-- Jackson Park Church of the Brethren has begun to collect donations of personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies for a family affected by flooding in Louisiana, according to an announcement in the Southeastern District newsletter. Contact artistkblair@yahoo.com .

-- Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren hosts a performance of “12 Baskets and a Goat” by Ted and Company at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8. The program combines theater and an auction to benefit Heifer International. Ted Swartz and Jeff Raught will present their original play, “The Jesus Stories: Faith, Forks, and Fettuccini,” with a live auction of baskets and breads at two times during the evening. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased online at Stauntonbrethren.org .

-- New contact information has been announced for Southeastern District and district executive minister Scott Kinnick: P.O. Box 252, Johnson City, TN 37605; 423-282-1682; sedcob@outlook.com .

-- Southern Ohio District is thanking all who contributed to successful efforts to support disaster relief. On Aug. 6 at Happy Corner Church of the Brethren, an ice cream social was attended by about 400 people, and preliminary figures show about $7,500 was raised, the district newsletter announced. Proceeds benefit Southern Ohio Brethren Disaster Ministries and help cover “the cost of sending volunteers for rebuilding homes, for supplies for Church World Service (CWS) kits, and grows our van replacement fund,” the announcement said. In addition, on Aug. 17, 35 volunteers assembled 1,281 school kits for CWS. “When the CWS truck comes to S. Ohio in September, we have a total of 1,701 school kits to send” to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., said the newsletter.

-- Inspiration Hills camp and retreat center near Burbank, Ohio, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. “Come join the celebration September 16 and 17,” said an announcement from Northern Ohio District. The celebration begins with a reunion dinner Friday evening, Sept. 16, for everyone who has been part of the camp’s ministry over the last 50 years. Events on Saturday, Sept. 17, include a 5K fun run and kid’s run, pancake breakfast, fishing derby, silent auction, games and crafts, an arts and crafts fair, chicken barbecue, and live auction. A “Giant Water Slide and Epic Water Balloon Battle” is advertised from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Free overnight housing Friday night is offered on a first come, first served basis.


 The September 2016 issue of Messenger

The September issue of "Messenger," the Church of the Brethren magazine, is in the mail. Subscribers may look forward to lovely photos and great stories from our Annual Conference news team, "Humans of Annual Conference," the story of a Heifer named Daisy, reflections on Brethren and civil rights, and more. This month's cover photo is by Glenn Riegel.

A Messenger subscription costs just $17.50 per year, or $14.50 for the church club rate. To subscribe, contact your congregation's Messenger representatives if you have a church club, or send a subscription request to messengersubscriptions@brethren.org .

-- “Uncommon Goodbyes for the Common Good” is a continuing education event led by Tara Lea Hornbacker, Bethany Seminary professor of Ministry Formation, Missional Leadership, and Evangelism. The event is offered by Illinois and Wisconsin District as a pre-district conference workshop on Nov. 3, 7-9 p.m., and on Nov. 4, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Hilton Garden Inn in Rockford, Ill. “Congregations and pastors have the opportunity to listen to each other and learn to better navigate the relationships between pastoral leadership and congregations,” said an announcement that noted that the event is designed to explore best practices in pastoral/congregational relationships and transitions in ministry. Questions to be addressed include: Is there a difference between being friendly and being friends? What's power got to do with it? Are pastors people, too? How can we live into healthy closures for pastoral transitions, leaving memories intact, rather than a bitter aftertaste? Are there unspoken understandings that can lead to misunderstandings? Breakfast and lunch will be provided on Friday. The $75 registration fee includes continuing education credit for ministers. The event is appropriate for clergy and lay leadership. Registration is due no later than Sept. 28. Contact the Illinois/Wisconsin District Office, 269 E. Chestnut St., Canton, IL 61520; 309-649-6008; bethc.iwdcob@att.net .

-- The Powerhouse regional youth conference is planned for Nov. 12-13 at Camp Alexander Mack near Milford, Ind. The weekend event includes worship, workshops, music, recreation, and more for senior high youth in the Midwest and their adult advisors. Staff from Brethren Volunteer Service and the Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry will provide leadership. Cost is $80 for youth, $70 for advisors. “We hope you can join us Nov. 12-13 for this fun and faith-filled weekend!” said an announcement. Find a Facebook page for the event at www.facebook.com/events/149835702124699 .

-- Eight congregations in Shenandoah District will be staffing the Red Front Hotdog Booth at a supermarket in Harrisonburg, Va., the week of Sept. 12-17 to support their district camp, Brethren Woods near Keezletown, Va. “Come by for a hotdog and drink for $1.50,” said an announcement. “and greet folks from the Bridgewater, Greenmount, Mill Creek, Mt. Pleasant, Sunrise, Timberville, Wakemans Grove, and Waynesboro congregations.”

-- Camp Swatara is sponsoring a trip to the Heifer Global Village Experience at Shepherd’s Spring camp and outdoor ministry center. Participants will meet at Camp Swatara near Bethel, Pa., and travel to Shepherd’s Spring near Sharpsburg, Md., for the overnight experience on Oct. 8-9. For more information go to www.campswatara.org .

-- McPherson (Kan.) College Homecoming is scheduled for Oct. 14-16. The event will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the college’s unique Auto Restoration program. Other activities include an Honors Convocation and Young Alumni Awards, inductees into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame, a football game and tailgate luncheon, 12 class reunions, a drama production of “Blithe Spirit,” a 5K run, Pedals for Paul bike ride, a Student Fair, and dedication of the new entrance to campus, among others. Worship and a choir concert will be held at First Church of the Brethren in McPherson.

-- “China Friends: New Discoveries for the Church of the Brethren” is a lecture presented by Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, and David Kenley, director of the college’s Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking, on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7:30 p.m. The lecture will be held in the Young Center. Bach and Kenley will present an illustrated discussion of their March 2016 research trip to Shanxi Province in China to trace the activities of Brethren missionaries who had mission stations in Pingding, Shouyang, Zouquan, and Taiyuan. The speakers will share impressions of Shanxi today, where people face economic challenges while dealing with urban growth. See www.etown.edu/centers/young-center/events.aspx .

-- Simple living is the topic of Episode 12 of the Dunker Punks podcast created by Church of the Brethren young adults. In “Treasure Map,” Jonathan Stauffer explores the spiritual discipline of actively reflecting on how our lifestyles respond to our faith in Jesus. “At first, the idea of simple living seems pretty straight-forward, but perhaps it isn’t so simple,” said an announcement from Arlington Church of the Brethren, which hosts the podcast series. Listen by clicking through from the show page at http://arlingtoncob.org/dpp .

-- “God and Guns: Millennial Faith Leaders Address Gun Violence” is an event publicized by the National Council of Churches and hosted by Riverside Church in New York City on Oct. 6-7. A list of partner organizations are helping to sponsor the event, which is billed as “an intensive training on gun violence for faith leaders of all traditions,” said an announcement. “Designed for millennial faith leaders, a demographic with the capacity to shift our culture, the training is also open to ministry teams of any age that include a millennial attendee. Those who attend do not have to agree on the solutions to the epidemic of gun violence, only that something must be done.” The publicity noted that “evangelicals and mainline Protestants make up 40 percent of the population, but own guns at higher rates than the rest of the country. The power to change our culture is in our pews.” Attendees will gain concrete tools to educate, engage, and mobilize congregations to enact change. For more information go to www.godandguns2016.com .

-- Dave Shetler, district executive minister of Southern Ohio District, published a special prayer request in the district’s September e-newsletter. It is reprinted here in full: “I’m continuing the serious concern I’ve shared before as violence and killings continue, Milwaukee is not the latest to experience significant violence. There is continuing and escalating violence and hatred across our country and around our world. As followers of the Prince of Peace and with our Brethren heritage of being a peace church, I am calling us all to prayer. In the midst of seeking to be people of God’s peace, we are bombarded with calls of hatred, mistrust, accusations, and violence and threats of violence. Even in places of joy and celebration, places we normally think of as safe, we see violence bringing heartache, fear, injury, and death. We have seen those who have appeared to be profiled injured and killed; we have seen those sworn to uphold the law and keep the peace ambushed and gunned down. We hear speeches and see posts on various social media sites calling for even more violence, to ‘get even,’ to not trust those who do not look like ‘us.’ May our prayers be for a more peaceful world, down to our own communities and neighborhoods. May we be witnesses to the grace and peace of our God in all of our dealings, our speech, and our writings. May the leading of God's Spirit guide all persons to love and respect each other, even when we think differently.”


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Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jan Fischer Bachman, Deborah Brehm, Chris Douglas, Kathy Fry-Miller, Tim Heishman, John Hipps, Suzanne Lay, Donna March, Diane Mason, Becky Ullom Naugle, Glenna Thompson, Jay Wittmeyer, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at cobnews@brethren.org . Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. The next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is set for Sept. 9.

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.