By Rosanna McFadden
Sometimes the Spirit moves in mysterious ways--even with turquoise tie-dyed t-shirts!
As a pastor of Creekside Church of the Brethren in Northern Indiana District, I attended a Pastor’s Sabbath at Camp Alexander Mack in April. It was led by Carl and Roxane Hill, co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response. My congregation, and others in the district, had raised money for crisis relief in Nigeria through a benefit auction in June 2015, and have been considering ways to continue to generate spiritual and financial support for our brothers and sisters of EYN (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).
The Hills shared a story about t-shirts that were donated for relief, and which an enterprising Nigerian teacher used for a sports teams at a refugee camp. I asked if my congregation could print shirts that said “Church of the Brethren” and send them to kids in Nigeria. The Hills offered to hand-carry the shirts in their luggage when they returned to Nigeria this June.
Creekside’s Outreach Team committed to buying 50 shirts to send, and members of the congregation wanted shirts to wear themselves. We opened up the idea to other churches in Northern Indiana District, and other congregations sponsored shirts and bought them for themselves.
At the end of May, we sponsored 85 shirts to send to Nigeria, where the Hills passed them out to delighted third through sixth graders, and a few enthusiastic adults as well.
Our intent for these shirts is for them to be a sign of hope for Nigerians, and a sign of commitment and prayer from Brethren in the United States. The shirts say: “Church of the Brethren. Mun daya ne cikin Kristi. We are one body in Christ.”
You are invited to be part of this show of support and prayer. Here’s what you can do:
-- Shirts in youth and adult sizes, from youth small (6-8) through adult XXXL, will be available at Annual Conference in Greensboro, N.C., at the Friday, July 1, evening insight session on the Nigeria crisis. The t-shirts also will be available throughout the week at the Red Cross blood drive check-in. Pick up a shirt to wear to Saturday evening worship on July 2 and/or the Nigeria insight session that same evening.
-- Make a donation to the Nigeria Crisis Fund designated for “T-shirts.” Our cost for the shirts is $10 for youth and regular adult sizes, $14 for XXL, and $15 for XXXL. Any donation above that cost will be given to the Nigeria Crisis Response.
-- Take a photo of yourself and/or members of your congregation wearing the shirts. Send the photo, along with your name and the name and location of your congregation, to the News Services office at firstname.lastname@example.org . We can share this tangible sign of support with children and adults in Nigeria.
-- Pray for healing, hope, and peace in Nigeria.
-- Sponsor shirts to be printed and sent to Nigeria. E-mail the number of shirts you want to sponsor to Rosanna McFadden at email@example.com by July 30. We will choose the sizes for you. Please donate at least the cost of the shirts to the Nigeria Crisis Fund designated for “T-shirts.” The shirts will be carried to Nigeria and distributed by staff and volunteers, who will take photos of the children and adults who receive them.
Groups at Creekside Church of the Brethren (above) and Rock Run Church of the Brethren (below) sport the new Nigeria t-shirts.
We cannot mail shirts to individuals in the US. If you have an order of 50 shirts or more for a congregation or district conference, contact Rosanna McFadden at firstname.lastname@example.org by July 30 to make arrangements to have shirts printed and delivered to you.
We are one body in Christ. Praise God!
-- Rosanna McFadden pastors at Creekside Church of the Brethren in Elkhart, Ind.