Brethren bits for Feb. 11, 2017




“Living up to our church name: Prince of Peace!” commented Gail Erisman Valeta
in a Facebook post sharing this church sign at Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Littleton, Colo.
Photo by Gail Erisman Valeta

“Living up to our church name: Prince of Peace!” commented Gail Erisman Valeta in a Facebook post sharing this church sign at Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Littleton, Colo.

-- Emma Jean Woodard has resigned as associate district executive minister for Virlina District. Her resignation is effective May 22. She has been a member of the district staff for over 17 years, said the district newsletter. She served first as an interim in the position, from Jan. 2000 until Oct. 2001, when she became the associate district executive. Previously she served as an interim pastor and as a church secretary. “She has been a faithful servant of Christ and the church,” said the district announcement.

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-- Trent Turner was hired on Jan. 23 as warehouse assistant for the Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The Church of the Brethren Material Resources staff warehouse, process, and ship disaster relief and other material aid on behalf of a number of ecumenical partners. Turner began his work in the warehouse as a contract employee in April last year. 

-- Bethany Theological Seminary, the seminary of the Church of the Brethren, announces an opening for the full-time position of administrative assistant for Institutional Advancement, with an immediate starting date. This is an opportunity for a person with strengths in caring for details and supporting colleagues in the mission of the Institutional Advancement Department. Responsibilities include overseeing gift receipting, serving as data manager for the department’s portion of the Salesforce data management system, and coordinating logistics for department travel. Eligible applicants will hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Affinity with the values and mission of the seminary is required. Experience in gift receipting and handling confidential materials is preferred. Applicants will be personable, able to be self-directed, manage a complex workload with attention to details, able to quickly respond to phone and e-mail requests from donors. Experience with Salesforce is preferred; proficiency with Microsoft Office is required. A complete job description is available at https://bethanyseminary.edu . Application review will begin Feb. 15 and will continue until an appointment is made. To apply send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to advancement@bethanyseminary.edu , Attention: Mark Lancaster, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374. Bethany Theological Seminary’s policy prohibits discrimination in employment opportunities or practices with regard to race, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or religion.

-- Camp Pine Lake is seeking a camp director. The Church of the Brethren camp borders Pine Lake State Park near Eldora, Iowa. An enthusiastic, multi-talented individual is sought to serve in a position that includes working with the camp board, general operation of the camp (including office and business management, personnel management, maintenance, etc.), district/public relations, and other responsibilities. In addition to hosting Church of the Brethren camps and events, Camp Pine Lake’s facilities are available for rental by other church groups, families, and individuals. Qualifications include strong hospitality, administrative, accounting, and clerical skills; enthusiasm for the mission of Camp Pine Lake; leadership skills; a spirit of cooperation; and a desire to promote the ministries provided to the Northern Plains District through outdoor experiences. The camp director should be a committed Christian who supports the principles of the Church of the Brethren. A college degree is preferred, along with experience in Christian camping leadership, public relations, promotional activities, and communications. The board is open to including other property management or programming duties in the position for the right candidate. Health benefits are not included but a salary, on-site housing (in the form of a separate dwelling), and utilities are provided. For more information visit www.camppinelake.com/employmentopportunities.html . Apply by sending a cover letter and resume to camppinelake@heartofiowa.net .

-- “New Orleans East was hit by one of several tornadoes in Louisiana Tuesday morning,” reported David Young, a Church of the Brethren member and founder of Capstone Community Gardens and Orchards in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, La. “The actual touch down was about five miles (as the crow flies) from our Capstone sites. We have some wind-blown things but nothing serious. It was a blessing that there were no fatalities,” he said via Facebook message. Young reported that about 20 people from the area hit by the tornado were transported to hospitals with non life-threatening injuries, and about 60 houses and buildings were heavily damaged or destroyed, with some 3,200 without power as of Thursday, Feb. 9. “The Red Cross has opened  an emergency shelter in anticipation of serving 400 people and the area is being  guarded for looting by the National Guard,” he wrote. “The support form the community has been good with many offering sheltering for those displaced. There is much to be restored but the people of this city have shown their resilience in the past and with God’s blessings will come back from this disaster also.” Capstone is a recipient of Global Food Initiative grants and is a partner in the denomination’s Going to the Garden initiative.

Lillian Daniel

Lillian Daniel

-- The Church of the Brethren Ministers’ Association has announced dates and leadership for the pre-Annual Conference continuing education event in Grand Rapids, Mich. Dates are June 27-28. Keynote presenter Lillian Daniel is author of “Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong to: Spirituality Without Stereotypes, Religion Without Ranting,” and has taught preaching at a number of schools, including Chicago Theological Seminary, the University of Chicago Divinity School, and her alma mater, Yale Divinity School. Participants will receive a free copy of her most recent book. Three keynote sessions will be offered: Session 1: Four Types of Nones (Tuesday, June 27, 6-9 p.m.); Session 2: Spirituality Without Stereotypes (Wednesday, June 28, 9-11:45 a.m.); Session 3: Religion Without Ranting (Wednesday, June 28, 1-3:45 p.m.). This continuing education event is for all licensed, commissioned, and ordained ministers in the Church of the Brethren. Advance registration fees are $85 per person or $135 per couple, with a price for first-timers of $45 and a price of $50 for current seminary students and students in EFSM and TRIM. Registration fees go up at the door. Find out more and register at www.brethren.org/ministryoffice/sustaining.html .

-- Global Mission and Service worker Grace Mishler is part of a professional team developing an outreach ministry to help track 6,000 Vietnamese families with children who need eye care treatment, reports the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission office. “Pray for their efforts in researching and educating about diagnoses, treatment options, and aftercare follow-up,” said a prayer concern earlier this week. “A significant problem is retinal detachment in premature babies, a condition which can lead to blindness. Doctors lack capacity and equipment to adequately treat the large numbers of cases, and poor, rural families have difficulty accessing the treatment that is available. Pray for these families and for improved eye care services in Vietnam.”

-- Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) is providing a webinar on “The Ins and Outs of Long-Term Care.” The webinar will be offered twice on April 6, at 10 a.m. and at 7 p.m. Each session will include 30 minutes of presentation followed by time for questions. The event will be led by Randy Yoder, independent agent for BBT and a long-term care specialist. “According to the US Department of Health and Human Services 70 percent of people age 65 or more will sometime in their life need care for 90 days or longer,” said an announcement. “That means whether you are young or old, the odds are high that there will be a time sooner or later when you will need long-term care. With the Baby Boomers coming into retirement age, the need for long-term care facilities is rising, pushing up the cost of such care. Are you prepared for this?” The webinar will introduce and explain long-term care insurance and answer the questions, What is it? Who needs it? What are the options? And what are the basic costs? Contact Randy Yoder at 847-849-0205 or ryoder@cobbt.org for questions about the webinar or a consultation by phone, a personal visit, or a group presentation for congregations. For more information go to
www.cobbt.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/Insurance%20pdfs/LTCI%20Webinar%20for%20website.pdf .

-- On Earth Peace is offering a Racial Justice Organizer Clinic each month. The February clinic is planned for Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). Sign up at http://bit.ly/FebOEPRJClinic . “Join us for our monthly racial justice organizer clinic--a time to talk about and receive support for what you are doing or what you would like to do to work for racial justice in your community and congregation,” said an invitation from On Earth Peace’s congregational peace and justice organizer Bryan Hanger. For more information contact organizing@onearthpeace.org or 540-798-9325.

-- Bush Creek Church of the Brethren in Monrovia, Md., is hosting the Mid-Atlantic District's Disaster Relief Auction dinner on April 8 at 6 p.m. “Come an enjoy an evening of good food and great fun,” said an invitation from the district.

-- Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren has received a commendation from WSLS Channel 10, which reports, “Recycling pays off for a church in Floyd. Parishioners at Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren collected more than 500 pounds of plastic refuse as part of a recycling program with Trex, a company which manufactures wood-alternative decking products. The refuse includes everything from grocery bags to bread bags, cereal and dry cleaning bags, as well as newspaper sleeves, food storage bags, and produce bags.” Read the news article about this church’s effort to care for creation at http://wsls.com/2017/02/07/floyd-church-recycles-plastic-bags-for-composite-bench .

-- “Many people say they want to change the world, yet few will make an effort to inspire change. But one local group has decided to do what they can to make things better in the community,” reported The Record Herald. A group of women at Waynesboro (Va.) Church of the Brethren have started a Women’s Ministry to reach people in the community to help those in need. The group has evolved from a women's fellowship ministry. “The group organized last month and is already up and running with a paint night on Saturday to benefit Jamie Stevens, a Waynesboro mother battling cancer,” reported the newspaper. Find the article at www.therecordherald.com/news/20170209/women-change-world-one-month-at-time .

-- West Charleston Church of the Brethren in Tipp City, Ohio, is hosting a performance of “Listening for Grace,” a new play by Ted and Co. The performance takes place on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. The play “uses Ted Schwartz’s distinctive humor to give voice to our fears and hopes when a faith community engages in questions around sexuality and same-gender relationships,” said an announcement in the Southern Ohio District newsletter. “The main character in the play is challenged by many different viewpoints and experiences. Those interested may stay after the presentation for a half hour of facilitated conversation in small groups. All perspectives will be welcome and respected,” said the announcement. Admission is free but donations are appreciated.

-- “Did you hear about that time when even Jesus changed his mind? Have you thought about inaction to injustice as complicity? Do you consider what people are hearing when they look at your life?” asks an announcement of the latest Dunker Punks podcasts. Episodes tackle these big questions: Episode 22 features Josh Brockway and Jarrod McKenna talking about continuing the story of the New Testament by embodying the character of our faith; Episode 23 features Sarah Ullom-Minnich telling about a 23-year-old battle for environmental justice in Ecuador; Episode 24 includes a theological chat between Dana Cassell and Lauree Hersch Meyer exploring Matthew 15. Find these episodes and more on the Dunker Punks Podcast show page at arlingtoncob.org/dpp .

-- Nancy Fitzgerald, pastor at Arlington (Va.) Church of the Brethren, has been interviewed by “Brethren Voices” for the show’s February program. Brethren Voices is a community television show produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. Host Brent Carlson met with Fitzgerald to learn of the ways that her congregation is “going beyond the walls” to reach out to the local community. Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat, as well as podcasts are some of the tools that are used in their witness. “The new technology is probably no more difficult than the first telephone,” Fitzgerald says. “Do we use the telephone or do we keep walking next door? Do we use the car or keep using the horse just because we have one? God has given humankind the brains to develop so many things. Why wouldn’t we want to communicate even better and faster and more cleverer?” Contact Ed Groff, groffprod1@msn.com .

-- Greenville (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is hosting a sewing bee to make bags for Church World Service school kits. “There is a great demand in the US and internationally for Church World Service school kits,” said an announcement. The event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25, starting at 9 a.m. Bring a sewing machine, an extension cord, and a sack lunch. For more information, call 937-336-2442.

-- Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a Youth Peace Retreat for students in grades 6-12 on the weekend of March 17-18. Leaders will include Andy Murray, 2016 Annual Conference moderator; Musa Mambula of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria; and On Earth Peace facilitators. Registration is due by March 12.

-- “Wildfire in Our Very Souls” is the topic for the Roundtable regional youth conference on March 31-April 2 at Bridgewater (Va.) College. Presenters include Chelsea and Tyler Goss as the the featured speakers, and Mutual Kumquat giving a concert on Friday night. Roundtable is for senior high students and their advisors. The registration deadline is March 17. More information is at http://iycroundtable.wix.com/iycbc .

-- McPherson (Kan.) College is hosting a Regional Youth Conference on Feb. 24-26. Eric Landrum is the featured speaker, with the music group Mutual Kumquat. The theme is “Oneness and Strength: Bound Together in Unity.” Registration is at www.mcpherson.edu/ryc .

-- Elizabethtown (Pa.) College School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) and Lancaster (Pa.) Theological Seminary are partnering to offer an exclusive accelerated admission process, according to a release from the college. Elizabethtown College is related to the Church of the Brethren and Lancaster Theological Seminary is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. The accelerated admissions process is “for students who are interested in pursuing a Master of Divinity but do not have a bachelor’s degree, which is required for graduate studies,” the release said. “Under the agreement, students who complete one of the eight SCPS accelerated bachelor degree programs will qualify for an exclusive accelerated admission process into the Master of Divinity program at Lancaster Seminary. The accelerated admission process is designed for adult students who are working full-time and need educational options and schedules that fit into their busy lives. Some SCPS classes will be held on-site at Lancaster Seminary, other classes will be held at SCPS locations in Lancaster, Elizabethtown, York, and Harrisburg, and some will be either fully online or in a blended format that combines online learning with classroom education.” Find our more about Elizabethtown College’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies at  www.etowndegrees.com .

An interfaith march was held at the University of La Verne, Calif., on Feb. 3. Rudy Amaya, a member of the Church of the Brethren’s Young Adult Steering Committee, reported on the march with a Facebook post and photos. ABC Channel 7 news covered the event, find a video report at http://abc7.com/religion/students-interfaith-community-in-la-verne-protest-travel-ban/1736927 .
Photo by Rudy Amaya

An interfaith march was held at the University of La Verne, Calif., on Feb. 3. Rudy Amaya, a member of the Church of the Brethren’s Young Adult Steering Committee, reported on the march with a Facebook post and photos. ABC Channel 7 news covered the event, find a video report at http://abc7.com/religion/students-interfaith-community-in-la-verne-protest-travel-ban/1736927 .

-- “During Lent, a ‘carbon fast’ can honor God’s creation,” suggests a story shared by the World Council of Churches (WCC). “The Church of South India (CSI), Green Anglicans, and other groups are sharing creative ways to observe a ‘carbon fast’ during the Lenten season,” the WCC reports. “A carbon fast challenges people to examine their daily actions and reflect on how they impact the environment. The carbon fast campaigns are designed so that, over Lent, people can take small steps to reduce carbon dioxide output with the hope of helping the environment and bringing the world one step closer to a sustainable existence.” The WCC story quoted a letter from the moderator of the Church of South India, Thomas K. Oommen, urging churches all over the world to engage in a carbon fast. “In India, we are aware of climate change because of our warmer temperatures, swings between floods and droughts, and rising sea levels,” Oommen wrote. “Warmer temperatures and rising sea levels are undesirable because they will have negative impacts on agriculture, fishing, community developments, plants and animals that are important to our ecosystems, and the protection of our coastline.” The Green Anglicans (the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s Environmental Network) has produced a Lenten calendar with daily reflections and actions one can take to observe a carbon fast during Lent. Activities associated with carbon fasting also may help support the WCC’s Lenten campaign “Seven Weeks for Water,” offered by the Ecumenical Water Network. Find “Seven Weeks for Water” theological reflections and resources at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/seven-weeks-for-water . Find carbon fasting ideas and resources at www.greenanglicans.org/carbon-fast-lent-2015 .

-- Bread for the World has announced its 2017 Offering of Letters campaign on the theme, “Doing Our Part to End Hunger.” The annual campaign is designed to help individuals and churches urge Congress to make funding decisions “that put us on track to end hunger by 2030,” said the announcement. “We have made substantial progress against hunger and poverty in recent decades. So we know that it is possible to further reduce and perhaps virtually end hunger when we all do our part, including government.” Printed Offering of Letters kits will be available in March and can be ordered from the online “store” at http://bread.org . The website currently offers the following resources in English (Spanish materials are coming soon): a biblical reflection on the importance of meeting people’s most basic need to be physically nourished; an in-depth explanation of what participants will be asking of Congress and why; and a sample letter to get started.

-- More than 500 evangelical Christian pastors and leaders representing every state in the US have signed on to a letter expressing concerns over the dramatic reduction in refugee resettlement included within a presidential executive order. The letter said, in part: “We live in a dangerous world and affirm the crucial role of government in protecting us from harm and in setting the terms on refugee admissions. However, compassion and security can coexist, as they have for decades. While we are eager to welcome persecuted Christians, we also welcome vulnerable Muslims and people of other faiths or no faith at all. This executive order dramatically reduces the overall number of refugees allowed this year, robbing families of hope and a future.” Published as a full page ad in “The Washington Post,” the letter was affirmed by “many of the most prominent evangelical leaders in the country including authors Tim and Kathy Keller, Senior Pastor Bill Hybels and author Lynne Hybels, and Northland Church Senior Pastor Joel Hunter. Various other evangelical denominational leaders, authors, seminary presidents, and ministry leaders--among them National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson, New York Times bestselling author Ann Voskamp, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin, and Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry—also affirmed the letter,” said a release from World Relief, a global Christian humanitarian aid organization that coordinated the letter. World Relief has posted the letter and list of signers and invites others to add their name to the letter at www.worldrelief.org/refugee-letter .

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Paula Stover Wivell (at right) with her Air Race Classic Team
Photo by Chris Rose

Paula Stover Wivell (at right) with her Air Race Classic Team

- Paula Stover Wivell, a member at Union Bridge (Md.) Church of the Brethren, has been accepted to participate in the all women Air Race Classic. “This year it departs from Frederick MD and ends in Santa Fe NM,” she reported via Facebook. “Kathy, Luz and I work together and we are so excited for this opportunity. Can’t wait to check this off of my bucket list! We have a lot of work to do to prepare for June, but we have a ton of support.” Chris Rose took this photo of the team, with Wivell at right.

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