Brethren bits for January 28, 2017 

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

Church of the Brethren Newsline
January 28, 2017

— The Camp Eder Board has announced the hiring of Bryan Smith as executive director, effective Feb. 13. He and his family are from Quakertown, Pa. He brings to the position a strong background of experience as an executive director in Christian camping leadership, according to the announcement from Leon Yoder, Camp Eder board chair.

— Casa de Modesto executive director Kelly Wiest has retired. His last day of work at the Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Modesto, Calif., was Dec. 15, 2016. The community has hired Curt Willems as executive director. He brings with him a background of various senior management experiences in mental health, social services, and Hospice Care. He and his family have lived in the Modesto/Oakdale area since 1989.

— The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill a full-time salaried position of manager, Human Resources. Major responsibilities include: manage human resources activity at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., along with remote employees; promote and maintain relationships with and among employees and management to enhance trust and confidence; facilitate recruitment and hiring processes for position openings; manage the human resources and outsourced benefits system and processes. An Associate’s degree is required. A Bachelor’s degree is strongly preferred. This position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Flexible working arrangements will be considered. Applications will be received beginning immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to request more information and the application form by contacting: Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 347; COBApply@brethren.org . The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

— Due to the overwhelming response to the workcamp that is being offered at Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Ark., the workcamp office has opened up a second week of this workcamp. The dates for the second week are July 23-29. To read more about the workcamp and to register, visit www.brethren.org/workcamps .

— Children's Disaster Services has announced that its end-of-the year statistics reveal that 2016 was a big year for the program with responses to 12 disasters--the highest number in program history--caring for 1,978 children, and 12 US trainings with 340 participants. CDS also provided its first international response by creating a new Healing Hearts program for children impacted by the crisis in Nigeria. “We are so grateful to our volunteers who make this happen!” said the announcement.

— Despite a prayer request and calls and e-mails to the relevant authorities, a BLM land sale in the area around Lybrook, N.M., took place this week selling leases for oil drilling and fracking on over 800 acres for $3 million. “The oil companies can now begin developing and drilling in that area. Some of the people live on this land so they will be greatly affected,” reports Jim Therrien of the Church of the Brethren’s Lybrook Community Ministries and pastor of the Tokahookaadi congregation, which is mostly Navajo. Lybrook Community Ministries is a Brethren Volunteer Service placement site and a participant in the Going to the Garden program. On Jan. 25, the following prayer request was shared by the Global Mission and Service office: “The BLM ( Bureau of Land Management) will have an online auction of Native Land in the Greater Chaco area. Below is a link to a Youtube video. This video is about... the sale with the land being used for drilling and fracking. The young lady in the video, Kendra Pinto, lives on one of the parcels up for sale. The sale gives oil and gas companies drilling rights. I am asking everyone to pray that BLM will halt the sale of these lands. There is a lot of community concern about health and safety of the people in these areas. The major concern after the ones I mentioned above is the potential damage to Chaco Natural Historical Park. The park is home to the Dine' ancestral ruins. Thank you for your prayers and support.” Find the video prepared by Therrien and others at Lybrook at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqpzGC0_FgQ . For an article from the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper about the lease sale go to www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/oil-gas-drilling-rights-near-chaco-canyon-sold-for-m/article_f7727a6c-9694-5116-bf39-7cf492dee240.html

For the latest Brethren news go to the main Newsline page

— Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) is requesting prayers for the family of Bitrus U. Mbishim, an EYN pastor who died last week at the age of 48. Mbishim pastored four congregations and was in his final year at Kulp Bible College.

— Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va., has been named “best church in Shenandoah County” in an online vote conducted by the Northern Virginia Daily, reports Shenandoah District. Pastor George Bowers in the church newsletter, acknowledged the recognition but hoped voters were not using size or popularity as the criteria for the distinction. He wrote that churches should be recognized for being “focused on God through His Son, Jesus Christ,” “biblically based,” “fiercely obedient to God’s Word,” and “fervently evangelistic,” the district report said. “Although worldly recognition is nice and certainly a blessing,” he wrote, “ultimately, we want to meet Jesus’ criteria and be a church that He is proud to call His Bride.”

— Manchester (Ind.) Church of the Brethren Youth Group along with youth pastor Jim Chinworth accepted the Spirit of the Community Award at the Annual Chamber of Commerce Award Dinner for their fundraising efforts. They have raised $2.5 million thus far towards the new Manchester Early Learning Center.

— In September of 1966, Nelson Huffman began the dream of a choir of men’s voices. He would retire from 40 years of service as Director of the Music Department of Bridgewater College and as music director for the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren, but his passion for music lives on in the men’s choir he began, “The Rockingham Male Chorus.” The Chorus celebrates its 50th year in 2017. The “Singing Men,” under the direction today of David MacMillan, are still active and welcome invitations to share the gospel of Christ in song. Contact Jim Sweet at 540-269-6341 or jsweet7282@comcast.net to have the Rockingham Male Chorus sing at your church, says Scott Duffey who sent in this news for Newsline.

— Northern Plains District is requesting prayer for Dallas Center (Iowa) Church of the Brethren, and for former pastor Randy Johnson and his family. Johnson resigned as pastor on Jan. 15, was arrested on a number of charges on Jan. 25, and was released on bond yesterday. The Ministry Commission has suspended his ordination credentials pending the outcome of the charges. The district is providing pastoral care, said district executive minister Tim Button-Harrison. “Please hold all those involved in your prayers,” he requested.

— Church of the Brethren anti-death penalty activist SueZann Bosler is a part of this recent story from Sojourners, written by Lisa Sharon Harper about the night the two shared a jail cell in Washington, D.C., after they were arrested in a protestof the death penalty. Find the full story at https://sojo.net/articles/one-breath-time-16-hours-dc-jail .