Brethren bits for June 17, 2017




Rebecca Dali represented Nigerian NGOs at a UN conference on refugees, June 2017

Nigerian Brethren leader Rebecca Dali has been in Geneva, Switzerland, for a United Nations consultation on the “Global Compact and Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework.” She has been posting photos from the consultation on Facebook, and commented, “I thank God am privileged to be chosen by UNHCR in Nigeria to represent them and also to register Centre for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives [CCEPI] as one of the 481 humanitarian NGOs in the World. I am the only Nigerian this famous UNHCR annual consultation.”

-- The Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, seeks an executive director. The center “has been growing in its mission of serving during its first 14 years [and] has now reached a level of maturity in which is it ready to employ a full time executive director,” said an announcement. The center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the heritage of the various religious groups who trace their heritage to the first seven Brethren who were baptized in the Eder River in Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708. The center collects historical Brethren materials and focuses on research and teaching. A team of approximately 25 volunteers operates the center, which is open three days a week. The executive director, working with the board, will manage all aspects of the center including strategic planning; policies and procedures; outreach; fundraising; donor relations; supervision of staff, students, volunteers; guidance of the collection development, acquisition, preservation, and reference activities; management of endowments and special funds; promoting the archives regionally, nationally, and internationally. Salary and benefits are negotiable. For more information contact amack1708@brethrenheritagecenter.org or 937-833-5222.

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-- Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks a communications coordinator to facilitate amplifying the voices of CPT partners and articulate the organization’s mission, vision, and values through the framework of undoing oppressions. The position involves working closely with field teams to strategize and coordinate CPT’s story-telling vehicles and mechanisms in ways that engage world-wide supporters to take action for peace. Responsibilities include coordinating the ongoing development, assessment, and implementation of organization-wide communications plans, managing the organization’s web platforms and social media presence, producing promotional, educational, and fundraising materials, and participating in the overall work of CPT’s Administrative Team that cares for the whole “web” of the organization. This person works closely with field teams and others in the areas of development and outreach. The position involves some international travel to meetings and project sites each year. Candidates should demonstrate excellent writing, editing, and verbal communication capabilities in English, commitment to grow in the work of undoing oppressions, and ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a dispersed team across continents. CPT is a Christian-identified organization with multi-faith/spiritually diverse membership, which got its start in the Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers). CPT seeks individuals who are capable, responsible, and rooted in faith/spirituality to work for peace as members of teams trained in the disciplines of nonviolence. CPT is committed to building an organization that reflects the rich diversity of the human family in ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender identity, language, national origin, race, and sexual orientation. Salary is $24,000 per year, with 100 percent employer-paid health, dental, and vision coverage, and four weeks annual vacation. Location is negotiable, with Chicago preferred. Start date is negotiable, with July 13 preferred. Apply by submitting, electronically and in English, the following to hiring@cpt.org : a cover letter, resume, two-page English writing sample, list of three references with e-mail and daytime telephone numbers, links to multimedia content including videos, infographics, interactives, etc. Applications are due by June 25.

-- The Alliance for Fair Food seeks an experienced organizer to co-coordinate the involvement of people of faith in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Campaign for Fair Food. Ideal candidates are highly responsible, work well in teams as part of a fast-paced environment, and possess excellent written and verbal skills. To learn more go to https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54481a36e4b005db391f3e20/t/59271885f7e0abf5227a553c/1495734406579/17_AFF_Faith_Job_Announcement.pdf .

-- Interfaith Power and Light, an interfaith coalition working on environmental concerns, seeks a program manager to serve as the second core staff person working with director Joelle Novey. The program manager will help deliver programs and support advocacy campaigns that engage local religious communities in the restoration of the planet. Find more information at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qJ_lLRN3AWKgNH6H7EUdqoPG_m4QE0wtiIILfNcvkPE/edit?ts=59235266 .

-- The Washington Office on Latin America seeks to fill two open positions: an entry-level administrative staff person to work on the Citizen Security and Border programs, providing administrative and research support to senior staff; and an entry-level administrative staff person to work on the Mexico program, providing administrative and some research assistance to senior staff. The Washington Office on Latin America is a fast-paced human rights organization working in Washington, D.C., and in Latin America. For more information about these two positions go to www.wola.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/CitSec-Border-PA-Final-PDF.pdf and www.wola.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Mexico-PA-PDF-Final.pdf .

-- Two Church of the Brethren congregations are looking forward to 100th anniversary celebrations in the fall:
     Prairie City Church in Northern Plains District is celebrating 100 years on Oct. 14-15. “Save the date,” said an announcement. “We will have Jeff Bach, former pastor at PCCOB, and current director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, as our guest. Jeff will assist in our Love Feast service on Saturday, October 14, and preach on Sunday morning, October 15. We invite you to join us.”
     Green Hill Church in Salem, Va., will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 22, with Virlina District executive minister David K. Shumate as speaker, and former pastors participating. J.R. Cannaday will be the guest organist. A potluck meal will follow the service. An informal program will be held in the afternoon featuring former members, including Bill Kinzie and David Tate performing musical selections.

-- “Fans needed for local refugee families,” said an announcement from Southern Ohio District, which has created a Refugee Resettlement Task Team. In conversation with Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley--the only agency in the area of Dayton, Ohio, that works with the state department to resettle refugees--the team discovered that the agency has a need for box fans. “Due to budget restraints, local refugee’s apartments do not have air conditioning,” said the district announcement. The agency is seeking donations to provide a box fan for each bedroom housing refugees. During the week beginning on Father’s Day, June 18, Southern Ohio District will be collecting box fans at four locations in the Dayton area: Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren, Happy Corner Church of the Brethren, Troy Church of the Brethren, and Oakland Church of the Brethren. For more information contact Linda Brandon at lbrandon@woh.rr.com or 937-232-8084.

Dunker Punks Podcast logo

-- “Fans of the Brethren Voices TV show will enjoy the tables being turned to hear the story behind their stories!” said an announcement of the latest Dunker Punks podcast, an audio show by Church of the Brethren young adults from across the country, hosted by Arlington (Va.) Church of the Brethren. The podcast features the ‘Brethren Voices’ community access television show about what Brethren do as a matter of faith. Listen to Kevin Schatz's interview with Ed Groff and Brent Carlson on the showpage arlingtoncob.org/dpp or subscribe on itunes at http://bit.ly/DPP_iTunes . Other recent Dunker Punks podcast episodes include special music by Jacob Crouse, an episode on refugee services by Ashley Haldeman, and Emmett Eldred interviewing Annual Conference moderator-elect Samuel Sarpiya.

-- Senior Citizen’s Camp was held at Camp Galilee in West Marva District on June 6, with 43 people in attendance. “There is always lots of food, fun, laughter, and good Christian fellowship,” said the district newsletter. “We appreciate the team (Grover Duling, Randy Shoemaker and Fred and Marge Roy) who work so hard to prepare for the day’s activities.” The senior citizens group gave a freewill offering of $154 to the Camp Galilee mission project of the year, which is Heifer International.

-- Virlina District’s 2017 Practice of Ministry Day will be Saturday, Aug. 5, 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Summerdean Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va. The theme will be “Addressing Difficult Issues in Pastoral Care.” Leadership will be provided by Bryan Harness, an ordained minister and a hospital chaplain, and Beth Jarrett, pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va. Ministers may received continuing education credit for attending. 

-- A new Springs Academy for the Saints (or laity) is announced by Springs of Living Water, an initiative for church renewal. “Using Ephesians 4 where pastors are to equip the saints for the work of ministry, this new academy over the phone will be similar in design to the well-received Springs Academy for Pastors,” said the announcement. “Beginning with renewal through spiritual disciplines using ‘Celebration of Discipline, the Path to Spiritual Growth’ by Richard Foster, the disciplines will be integrated into 5 sessions over 12 weeks on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. [eastern time] starting September 17. A course guide will move through the path of church renewal that builds on the strengths of the church.... Each church discerns a biblical passage for a vision and plan and moves to thorough training and implementing a three-year plan to start. Just as in the Academy for Pastors, Saints walk along; in this case with Saints, pastors walk along with readings and discussions.” The first course is tentatively set to begin Sunday, Sept. 17, concluding Dec. 10. For more information go to www.churchrenewalservant.org . To register, call David or Joan Young at 717 615-4515 or e-mail davidyoung@churchrenewalservant.org .

-- Bread for the World has announced a mobilization of Christian leaders from across the theological and political spectrum to oppose proposed federal budget cuts “that would harm people living in hunger and poverty. The leaders will be flying in from across the country to personally deliver their message,” said a release. The Christian leaders belong to the Circle of Protection. They will release a statement during a press conference on June 21 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and then will go to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress. Proposed cuts that the group opposes include cuts to programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps), Medicaid, and foreign assistance. The Circle of Protection is calling on “political leaders in the House and the Senate to express their faith convictions in their votes.” Christian leaders who are taking part represent a wide variety of denominations and organizations, ranging from the Sojourners community to the Salvation Army, the National Association of Evangelicals to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Major ecumenical partners of the Church of the Brethren also are represented, including Christian Churches Together in the USA and the National Council of Churches. For more information go to www.circleofprotection.us .

-- The United Church of Christ (UCC) has distributed a release opposing the federal administration’s proposed budget cuts that would phase out the US Institute of Peace within the next two years. “The Institute of Peace, an independent institute founded by Congress in 1984, traces its roots back to the UCC--particularly the former members and pastors of Rock Spring UCC in Arlington, Va.,” said the release. “UCC leaders believe a move to shutter the USIP would be short-sighted, should Congress authorize it in a spending bill. Michael Neuroth, international policy advocate for the UCC office on Capitol Hill, believes the Institute for Peace “plays a critical role in strengthening the peacebuilding work in the U.S. and around the world,” he said in the release. “The unique space USIP occupies between the government and civil society allows both policy experts and peace practitioners to come together and envision ways forward in some of the most intractable conflicts.” According to the release, the administration proposes a cut in funding for the Institute for Peace to $19 million for 2018, from $35 million in 2017, and then to no funding at all in 2019. “On the other side of that, the budget proposal calls for an increase of military spending by about $54 billion,” the release noted. Find the release at www.ucc.org/news_with_roots_in_the_ucc_us_institute_of_peace_faces_uncertain_future_06072017 .

-- Regina Cyzick Harlow, associate pastor of Mountain View Fellowship Church of the Brethren, has written a new hymn for Father’s Day, setting new lyrics to the tune of “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship.” The new lyrics are being shared by Shenandoah District. Harlow “uses both the faith of biblical men and also recognizes ordinary fathers, brothers, sons and men of simple lives,” said the district newsletter. “She shares the lyrics as a Father's Day gift to Shenandoah District congregations.” Click here for her new lyrics: http://files.constantcontact.com/071f413a201/737ec8fa-2270-4492-ad8b-382fbf1d63af.pdf .

-- “Take My Hand and Lead Me, Father” written by William Beery, was one of the hymns sung at a public hymn sing led by Brethren, Mennonite, and Amish hymn leaders in the Ephrata area of Pennsylvania. “Every couple of years, Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and the Swiss Pioneer Associates host a combined hymn sing,” reported Lancaster Online. John Dietz, a local Old Order River Brethren song leader, is quoted as saying: “We’re all different personalities. We’re all different temperaments. Singing is one way of merging that.” Read the article and find links to recordings at http://lancasteronline.com/features/together/listen-to-centuries-old-amish-brethren-and-mennonite-hymns-still/article_d2282404-4d47-11e7-bd81-53d177e361d5.html .

Two of the Chibok schoolgirls graduated from high school in the United States in early June, with help from Education Must Continue Initiative and a human rights lawyer who has facilitated several of the released girls' study in the US.
Photo by Becky Gadzama

Two of the Chibok schoolgirls graduated from high school in the United States in early June, with help from Education Must Continue Initiative and a human rights lawyer who has facilitated several of the released girls' study in the US.

-- A release from the Nigerian nonprofit Education Must Continue Initiative reports that two of the first Chibok schoolgirls to escape their captors successfully graduated from an American high school in early June. “The two girls known simply by their first names Debbie and Grace graduated after completing junior year (11th grade) and senior year (12 grade) at a prestigious private international school in the Washington metro area,” the release said. “Debbie and Grace were part of the first 57 girls who escaped from Boko Haram terrorists after the mass abduction of almost 300 Chibok schoolgirls in April 2014. Unlike most of their colleagues who jumped out of trucks en route, the two were taken all the way to the terrorists camp in Sambisa before they escaped and made it back home in a terrifying journey that took about a week with their captors in hot pursuit. They were the last to escape Boko Haram until last year's escape of Amina Ali after two years in captivity.” The two girls were among a dozen sponsored to study abroad by Education Must Continue Initiative. On hand to witness their graduation was a delegation from Nigeria including Education Must Continue founders Paul and Becky Gadzama; the parent of one of the girls, who traveled all the way from Chibok in northeast Nigeria; a Chibok girl currently pursuing a degree program in an American university, who cut short her summer vacation in Nigeria to return for the graduation; the girls’ American host families; and Emmanuel Ogebe, a human rights lawyer who has helped facilitate the girls’ study in the United States, and his family.

-- In related news, the current issue of “People” magazine features an interview with Lydia Pogu and Joy Bishara, two of the Chibok schoolgirls who escaped from their captors early on, and who are among the small group who have been living and studying in the United States. Find a preview of the interview online at http://people.com/human-interest/nigerian-teen-girls-escape-boko-haram .

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