Brethren bits for April 21, 2017




A church procession in South Sudan

“Where despair prevails, South Sudan churches issue Easter hope message,” reports the World Council of Churches (WCC) in a release this week. “A recent message from the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) says the Resurrection reminds us that even in this world there is ‘goodness and light with triumph.’” The WCC is accompanying the SSCC and the All Africa Conference of Churches at a meeting on overcoming hunger and sustaining justice and peace in the Horn of Africa, in Nairobi on May 14-17. “Although the situation is the most dire in South Sudan and Somalia, other countries in the region are also suffering from food crisis as a result of both man-made and natural calamities,” the release noted. The WCC has announced May 21 as a day for churches around the world to pray for South Sudan.

Photo copyright Paul Jeffrey / ACT

-- Correction: The Global Mission and Service office has supplied the name of the EYN district secretary for Chibok, who was not named in the report from mission executive Jay Wittmeyer’s visit to Chibok, Nigeria. Paul Yang serves Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria as the DCC secretary for Chibok.

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-- Remembrance: Marie Sarah (Mason) Flory, 95, died on April 10 at the Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community. She was a former Church of the Brethren mission worker who served in China and in India alongside her late husband, Wendell Flory. She was born in Belmont, Va., on Feb. 18, 1922, daughter of the late Russell and Mary (Zigler) Mason. She was a member of Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. She held a bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater College and a teaching certificate in special education from James Madison University. She taught four years in the schools system in Waynesboro, Va., and in the Gaithersburg and Talbot County, Md., school systems. She married Wendell Flory on June 5, 1945. He preceded her in death on Dec. 14, 2003. The couple were missionaries in China from 1946-49 and in India from 1952-57. They also served Church of the Brethren pastorates in Charlottesville and Waynesboro and in Gaithersburg and Easton, Md., before retiring to Bridgewater in 1985. She is survived by children Ted Flory and wife, Mary Beth; Phil Flory and wife, Ellie; Janet Flaten and husband, Dale; and son-in-law, Mark Steury, all of Bridgewater; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by daughter Mary Jo Flory-Steury, and daughter-in-law Dawn Flory. A memorial service will be held at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 27. Memorial gifts are received to Bridgewater College and the Church of the Brethren denominational ministries. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.johnsonfs.com .

-- The Church of the Brethren has hired Lynn Phelan of Hoffman Estates, Ill., as a part-time Accounts Payable specialist at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s of science degree in Accountancy. Recently she has been working at the General Offices in a temporary position.

-- Joven Castillo of Elgin, Ill., begins April 24 as technology support specialist for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). He holds an associate of applied science-information technology degree from Elgin Community College and has served organizations in a support desk role, most recently at Frain Industries in Carol Stream, Ill. 

-- The World Council of Churches (WCC) is seeking to fill two positions: program executive for the Middle East (find detailed information at https://intranet.oikoumene.org/hr/Vacancies/VN_PE%20for%20Middle%20East.pdf ); and intern for promotion, marketing, and communications (find detailed information at https://intranet.oikoumene.org/hr/Vacancies/VN%20communications%20intern.pdf ).
     The program executive for the Middle East will be stationed in Geneva, Switzerland, reporting to the director of the Commission of Churches on International Affairs, with a start date yet to be determined. Responsibilities include to analyze geo-political and religious-cultural aspects of the dynamics in the region; maintain and nurture a specific Palestine/Israel focus within the regional context of the Middle East; provide support so as to enhance the contributions of the WCC to the ecumenical movement; undertake coordinating responsibilities for the Palestine/Israel Ecumenical Forum; among others. Qualifications include at least a university degree in a related field, three to five years of experience in an ecumenical or similar environment, good command of written and spoken English, with knowledge of the other working languages of the WCC (French, German, Spanish) an asset, among others. The deadline for applications is May 14. Full applications (Curriculum vitae, motivation letter, application form, copies of diplomas, and recommendation letters) are to be sent to recruitment@wcc-coe.org .
     The intern for promotion, marketing, and communications is a six-month position located in Geneva, Switzerland, reporting to the WCC director of communications. The position will support and develop the Visitors’ Program, provide communication support for the WCC Communication Team, participate in marketing initiatives, while learning about and consolidating the intern’s own participation in the ecumenical movement. Qualifications include a minimum of a bachelor level degree in communications, marketing, or tourism, with interest in one or more of the related areas; strong personal commitment to the goal of justice and peace; excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work in a multi-cultural environment; communication skills, especially writing and speaking in English, with a knowledge of Spanish, French, and German appreciated, among others. Full applications (Curriculum vitae, motivation letter, application form, copies of diplomas and recommendation letters) are to be sent to recruitment@wcc-coe.org .

-- Root River Church of the Brethren near Harmony, Minn., will close its doors after more than 160 years, holding a last service on Saturday, April 22. The “Bluff Country News” has published an article about the church’s closing, noting that it is one of a number of rural churches in the area to close in recent years. “Even though we’ve been dealing with this for a couple of years now, it’s still so sad,” church member Kay Himlie told the newspaper. “It was always such a nice place to worship, out in the country. It was so peaceful and quiet and something to look forward to, traveling out to the church on Sunday mornings.” Find the article at www.bluffcountrynews.com/Content/News-Leader/NL-news/Article/Root-River-Church-of-the-Brethren-congregation-opts-to-close-church/12/21/67616

-- “A double anniversary is a reason for celebration for the Mt. Morris Church of the Brethren,” says the newsletter of the church in Mt. Morris, Ill., which is celebrating a special 150/60 anniversary--150 years since the congregation first formed, and 60 years since its current building was dedicated. “The congregation originally gathered and formed the Silver Creek Church of the Brethren in 1867, north of town. Over the years the congregation grew, worshiping at Mt. Morris College, then built the Seminary Ave. church in town, which is now the home to the Evangelical Free Church. Work began building a new church in the southwest part of Mt. Morris in 1956, and the new building was dedicated on May 5, 1957.” An evening of celebration on Saturday, May 6, at 6:30 p.m., will feature music by Jonathan Shively, followed by refreshments and celebration cake. The Sunday service at 9:30 a.m. on May 7 will feature former members and friends of the church, both in person and in videos, followed by a potluck meal.

-- Fruitland (Idaho) Church of the Brethren is getting attention in the “Argus Observer” newspaper for its Baby Bank, which “is free for families that need extra help for their children from newborn to size 4, and sometimes larger sizes,” the paper reported recently. “Available items include clothing, as well as shoes, diapers, blankets, baby equipment, baby food, books, and toys--all of which are donated by individuals and organizations in both Oregon and Idaho.” The Baby Bank is open once a month, on the third Monday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and will open for emergencies. Call 208-452-3356 or -4372.

-- Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren pastor Pamela A. Reist and her husband, Dave, will be working for a short time with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and during their time in Nigeria will work with EYN in the purchase of two tractors. The Elizabethtown congregation has helped to underwrite the cost of one of the tractors, as of Reist’s report to Newsline raising $31,228.51 in just over three weeks. “This total does not include a $5,000 donation sent earlier by one of members,” she wrote. “If we factor that in, the total raised by E’town is over $36,000. The generosity of our congregation has blown us away--it is a real act of love.”   

-- The Fellowship of Brethren Homes and Cross Keys Village are co-sponsoring a webinar on Wednesday, May 17, at 3 p.m. (Eastern time) titled “Becoming a Leader in Memory Care.” “In 2014 Cross Keys Village created the position of Director of Memory Support and re-energized their existing Memory Care program through comprehensive training and a wide-ranging outreach initiative,” said an announcement. The webinar will review “what worked well, what we would do differently now, and where we are today.” It will be presented by Dr. Joy Bodnar, COO, and Jennifer Holcomb, director of Memory Support at Cross Keys Village-The Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa. Register at https://join.onstreammedia.com/register/crosskeysvillage/leader .

-- The 2017 Brethren Bible Institute, sponsored for 43 years by the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF), will be held July 24-28 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. A variety of courses will be offered led by instructors Craig Alan Myers, Eric Brubaker, Carl Brubaker, Wilmer Horst, and Steve Hershey. Cost is $250 for those staying on campus; $100 for commuting students. Applications must be completed by June 25. Request application forms from Brethren Bible Institute, 155 Denver Rd., Denver, Pa. 17517.

-- Registration is open for the fall comprehensive Springs Academy, which take place as a telephone conference call for pastors and ministers. The opening session is Tuesday morning, Sept. 12, 8-10 a.m., and thereafter on Oct. 3 and 24, Nov. 14, and Dec. 5. “In these five, two-hour sessions, participants engage in spiritual disciplines for a Christ-centered approach and take a thorough course in servant-led church revitalization to go the next step,” said an announcement. “Three to five persons from the local church walk alongside, having discussions with their pastors. The primary texts are ‘Celebration of Discipline, The Path to Spiritual Growth’ by Richard Foster and ‘Springs of Living Water, Christ-centered Church Renewal’ by David Young.” Three videos made by David Sollenberger are free on the Springs website. Participants receive 1 continuing education credit. Contact David and Joan Young at 717-615-4515 or davidyoung@churchrenewalservant.org or go to www.churchrenewalservant.org .          
           
-- Bread for the World has released a new series of reports, “The Hunger Reports,” warning that “climate change is already impacting global hunger as well as agriculture in the United States,” said a release. “Many Americans do not think of climate change as a cause of hunger,” said Asma Lateef, director of Bread for the World Institute. “Yet changing climate patterns are resulting in droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events across the globe. People are no longer able to grow food in places they have been farming for generations. Climate change is a contributing factor to the strife and famine we are witnessing today.” The Hunger Reports video, “Too Wet, Too Dry, Too Hungry,” debuts in time for the celebration of Earth Day this weekend. Watch the video and get more information at www.hungerreports.org .

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