Brethren bits for June 3, 2017




Participants in the young adult workcamp in Nepal, June 2017

The Global Mission and Service office is requesting prayer for the Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry. In particular, the prayer request mentioned the 14 participants in a young adult work traveling in Nepal this week to serve families affected by the 2015 earthquake. The disaster “killed thousands of people and devastated whole communities. The workcamp is partnering with Heifer International to assist in rebuilding homes and livelihood buildings. Pray for the families they will work with and learn from. Pray for safety and good health for all involved.”

-- Terry Goodger has been hired by the Church of the Brethren as program assistant for the Brethren Disaster Ministries home rebuilding program, starting June 5. She will work out of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. In previous service to the church, she worked from Sept. 13, 2006, until Sept. 2, 2016, as office coordinator for Material Resources.

For the latest Brethren news go to the main Newsline page

-- Kayla Alphonse is transitioning out of her full-time work with l’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) in order to serve as pastor at Miami (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren. She will travel regularly to Haiti to continue building leadership capacity in the church’s theological training, student scholarship, and student health programs.

-- Northern Plains District has announced the hiring of Doug Riggs as a new director for Camp Pine Lake, joining long-time staff program director/pastor Barbara Wise Lewczak and property manager Matt Kuecker. “We are excited about this trio of leaders as they further the ministry of CPL,” said the district newsletter. The camp is located adjacent to Pine Lake State Park outside Eldora, Iowa.

-- Camp Bethel in Fincastle, Va., seeks a food services coordinator to fill a full-time salaried position. Culinary experience or training is required, and staff management experience is preferred. This position was available beginning May 30, and must be filled no later than July 1. Employee will overlap and work with the current coordinator until July 31. Starting benefits package includes salary of $29,000, optional family medical insurance plan, a pension plan, and professional growth funds. Read the online application instructions, a detailed position description, and more at www.CampBethelVirginia.org/jobs .

-- Camp Bethel’s current food services coordinator, Brigitte Burton, will enter Law School this fall and her last day at the camp will be July 31. “Since 2011 she has fed thousands during summer camps, retreats, and banquets. We celebrate with a big ‘Thank You!’ to Brigitte for seven excellent years of service in Camp Bethel’s Ark Dining Hall,” said an announcement in the Virlina District newsletter.

-- Chambersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is accepting applications for two teaching positions for the church’s Nursery School, starting with the 2017-18 school year. Preferred background includes some early childhood training and/or two years of teaching experience, a Christian worldview, a love for young children, and an out-going personality. Send a resume to the church at 260 S. Fourth St., Chambersburg, PA 17201; or by e-mail to chambcob@gmail.com attention Jamie Rhodes. For questions call the church at 717-264-6957. The deadline for resume submission is June 30.

-- Church of the Brethren general secretary David Steele is holding Listening Sessions in Northern Ohio District on June 7-8. On June 7, at 2 p.m., a session will be offered at the Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria, Ohio. At 7 p.m. that evening, Ashland (Ohio) First Church of the Brethren will host a session. On June 8, at 7 p.m., a session will be held at Akron (Ohio) Springfield Church of the Brethren. “Come for a time of conversation with our new general secretary and fellowship with other supporters of the denomination,” said an invitation. “All are welcome.”

-- Ministry Summer Service orientation began June 2, when the six interns to serve in MSS this summer arrived at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Their mentors arrive Monday, June 5, and the orientation ends Wednesday, June 7. The interns this year are: Brooks Eisenbise of Kalamazoo, Mich., who will serve at Hollidaysburg Church of the Brethren with mentor Marlys Hershberger; Laura Hay of Modesto, Calif., who will serve at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren with mentor Chris Bowman; Cassie Imhoff of Sterling, Ohio, who will serve at Camp Mardela with mentor Gieta Gresh; Nolan McBride of Elkhart, Ind., who will serve at Camp Mack with mentor Gene Hollenberg; Monica McFadden of Elgin, Ill., who will serve at the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., with mentor Nate Hosler; and Kaylie Penner of Huntindgon, Pa., who will serve at Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren with mentor Rachel Witkovsky.

-- Children’s Disaster Services has wrapped up its response in Missouri following flooding. CDS sent two teams totaling eight volunteers to care for children in 12 communities across Missouri in May. Childcare centers were set up in MARCs (Multi Agency Resource Centers) to serve families who needed assistance following record spring flooding across the state. “The childcare centers offered an opportunity for children to engage in creative and expressive play, supervised by CDS volunteers trained to provide compassionate care for children after traumatic events,” reported CDS staff. “Cardboard boxes, play dough, and costumes for role play proved to be some of the children's favorite playthings. CDS reported 161 contacts with children during the ‘road trip’ across southern and eastern Missouri.” This response was in addition to the three MARCs at which CDS volunteers served earlier in the year following tornados.

A webinar organized by the Christian Peace Circle, which is part of the US church continuation of the Decade to Overcome Violence, is recommended by the Office of Public Witness. “Why Nonviolence? Faithful Practices and Active Resistance” takes place 12-1:30 p.m. (Eastern time) on Tuesday, June 6. “Join us for a live webinar and conversation with Sarah Thompson and Matt Guynn to learn more about the foundations of Kingian Nonviolence and how to put these practices into action when you see someone experiencing violence,” said the invitation. Sarah Thompson is executive director of Christian Peacemaker Teams. Matt Guynn is director of nonviolent social change organizing with On Earth Peace. Find instructions for logging in to the webinar and more information on the Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/830632293758514 .

-- A Deacon Workshop will be presented by Stan Dueck of the Congregational Life Ministries staff on June 10, hosted at Chambersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and lunch will be provided. Cost is $7 per person. Ministers may earn 0.4 continuing education units, at an additional cost of $10. Contact 717-264-6957.

-- “A Biblical Basis for Befriending Foreigners” on June 17 offers a day of biblical study sponsored by the Southern Ohio District’s Refugee Resettlement Committee and hosted at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. The event takes place in the Nicarry Chapel from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. “We live in a time when the fear of terrorists can lead to a more general fear of foreigners. God, however, wants to fill us with love that overcomes fear and opens the door to life-giving friendships,” said an announcement. The day will include a series of four lessons led by New Testament professor Dan Ulrich, lifting up various scriptures from both testaments that encourage pursuing “the love of foreigners” (Romans 12:13), and offer a biblical foundation for welcoming refugees and befriending other neighbors. Cost is $10 paid at the door. Continuing education credit will be offered to ministers upon request. Contact cschaub@spieglerusa.com or 937-681-5867. 

-- Ivester Church of the Brethren in Northern Plains District is celebrating 150 years on June 17-18, with events including a Cemetery Walk, hymn singing, special displays, Sunday morning worship, a Sunday afternoon program of “Plans and Dreams for the Future,” meals hosted at the church, and home made ice cream. Ivester’s Sesquicentennial Committee includes Alice Draper, Sabrina Russell, Marlene Neher, and Dorothy Sheller.

-- “Beyond the City Limits,” a one-day intercultural ministry conference hosted by Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, included participants from 15 congregations. A report in the newsletter of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa.--one of the congregations represented--reported that “the event was the brainchild of the Urban Ministries Initiative under the leadership of [Atlantic Northeast] District director of Witness and Outreach, Mary Etta Reinhart. The keynote speaker was a dynamic pastor and church planter from Harrisonburg, Va.... The originating idea behind this conference was to challenge and equip congregations to expand their horizons and consider new ways to connect with one another and their communities.” The day featured worship and workshops.

-- In related news, First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg is hosting students from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College in a “Christ centered multi cultural community in the inner city.” The church has hosted a class from Elizabethtown College, exploring how the congregation approaches music in its urban, multi-ethnic worship service. The project required the students to interview a select number of members and the ministerial staff. “This is just one example of the unfolding vision of First Church as a ‘teaching’ church,” the newsletter said. “Our additional opportunity lies in the making of disciples. This important work will require each of us to participate in sharing our gifts and walking alongside our newer members and attendees.”

-- A Run for Peace 5K is hosted by Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on Saturday, June 10, at 9-11 a.m. "A local tradition since 1982, the Run-Walk for Peace 5K supports local and global efforts to promote peace," said an announcement. "This family-friendly event invites participation by peacemakers of all ages. In addition to the race, younger participants can complete the Kids' Fun Run. We will also make Equal Exchange fair trade products available for purchase, along with sneaker recycling and baked-good door prizes. Age-group winners will receive fair-trade awards." Find out more at the Facebook event page www.facebook.com/events/750554221750381 .

-- A fire forced the evacuation of Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on Sunday morning, reported Lancaster Online. The church’s 8 a.m. worship service was interrupted after firefighters responded to “reports of flickering lights and smoky conditions,” the report said. Some 50 people were evacuated, and no one was injured. The small fire was in a ceiling in only one section of the building. After the evacuation “a number of worshipers convened outside for an impromptu service, conducted by Senior Pastor Jeffrey Rill,” the report said. Read it at http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lancaster-church-of-the-brethren-evacuated-as-fire-breaks-out/article_a5bd5b9c-43be-11e7-87d2-9b6251b9f943.html .

-- Organist Jonathan Emmons, who has played at recent Annual Conferences and at National Older Adult Conference, will preview some of the music he is to play at a concert at this year’s Conference. The event starts at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 11, at Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va. It is part of the congregation’s annual World Hunger Auction.

-- “The 19th annual Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction Golf Tournament turned out to be a big day for Bob Curns, pastor of Mathias Church of the Brethren,” reported the Shenandoah District newsletter. He made a hole-in-one during the tournament. The winning team included Wes Allred, Doug Painter, Frank Thacker, and Larry Wittig. “Organizers expect that the 2017 tournament matched or exceeded the $21,000-plus raised last year,” according to the newsletter.

-- In more news from Shenandoah District, the Church World Service (CWS) Kit Depot housed at the Brethren Disaster Ministries Center at the district office this spring “was a huge success,” the district newsletter reported. “On Thursday, May 25, a crew of volunteers loaded approximately 6,230 pounds of school kits, health kits, and clean-up buckets onto the tractor trailer headed to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. ...Included were 39 boxes of school kits (1,560 kits), 14 boxes of health kits (1,120 kits), and 178 clean-up buckets, including the 85 sponsored and packed by the youth of New Hope Church of the Brethren in Dunmore, W.Va. Additionally, 129 boxes of quilts and kits donated by Lutheran World Relief were packed into the trailer.”

-- On June 9, the Lehman Center in York, Pa., which is a part of the Children’s Aid Society of Southern Pennsylvania District, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Events begin at 2 p.m.

-- Southern Ohio District’s new Connections Commission is announcing a District Deacons Ministry. “Many of us are familiar with the way deacon ministry functions on a congregational level, now we are learning and creating what the deacon ministry would look like on a district wide level,” said the announcement in the district newsletter. “Our goal is to comprise a team of 50 or so members paired into 25 teams of 2 who will serve 2 to 3 congregations each for 3 to 5 years. This team will covenant to pray for, support, and visit their assigned congregations annually.” Keeping with the tradition of calling deacons on a congregational level, the district is collecting prayerfully considered nominations for those who would be gifted in spiritual caregiving.

-- Roger and Carolyn Schrock are giving two presentations at the Wellness Center of the Cedars, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in McPherson, Kan. On Wednesday, June 7, they will speak on the topic “Africa: A Place to Love”; and on Wednesday, June 21, they will present “Sudan Rivers We’ve Been Up.” Both presentations start at 7 p.m. The Schrocks are former mission workers for the Church of the Brethren who lived and worked in Nigeria and Sudan. “Having resided in Africa for 17 years, Roger and Carolyn Schrock, residents of the Cedars Village, are willing to share their knowledge, experiences and love for Africa through slides and stories,” said the announcement. “You’re welcome to invite your friends and family for this informative presentation.” Refreshments will be served, and donations will be received to help with expenses.

-- In more news from the Cedars, the community is offering residents an educational tour of Ellsworth Correctional Facility on June 23. The group will see the industrial yard and the woodworking and welding areas where bicycles and wheelchairs are refurbished by offenders, will visit the chapel that was built by offenders, will hear about the dog training program and the band and drama groups, will go into a cell in the dorm “cube,” and after the offenders eat, will eat in the same lunch room and have the same menu that will be served to the offenders that day. The tour will end with a time of learning more about prison life and an opportunity for questions. In the announcement of the event in the Cedars newsletter, it was noted that participants in the tour must abide by a dress code, may not carry cell phones, metal items, jewelry, purses, or keys, should be prepared to remove shoes and belts, and have to provide their date of birth in advance to organizers Dave and Bonnie Fruth.

Camp Swatara Trail Trek 2017

-- Camp Swatara holds its Trail Trek fundraiser on June 24. The camp is located near Bethel, Pa. “Hike one (or more) of our four designated Trail Trek routes at camp to obtain the most ‘punches,’” said an announcement. “The more punches you find, the more opportunities you will have to win prizes. At the conclusion of your hike, join us for ice cream in the West Area!” To participate, hikers must collect at least $10 worth of sponsorships. Children age 5 and younger are free. The group of five or more people who raise the most money receives a free weekend in one of the camp facilities. Register at www.bridges.campswatara.org/trail-trek .

"Peace" in the Holy Land

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling Christians all over the world to join in a prayer for justice and peace on Monday, June 5, the day after Pentecost. A release explained: “The prayer, initiated by church leaders in Jerusalem, is being held 50 years after Israel began its occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights after a six-day war in 1967 by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.” The Peace Prayer service in Jerusalem takes place at 11 a.m. on Monday, at the Dormition Abbey. The WCC release included a prayer by Ecumenical Patriarch Constantinople, Bartholomew: “Almighty Father, who created all things out of love and fashioned all people in your image, who sent your only Son for the life of the world, to bring light to those dwelling in darkness: look down from the heavens and hear our prayer for unity and peace.” Find more prayers from church leaders at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/spiritual-life/pentecost-prayers-for-unity-and-just-peace-in-the-holy-land-from-church-leaders-worldwide-1 . Share your prayer via Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/430771483944008 . Find the prayer wall where shared prayers are displayed at www.oikoumene.org/en/what-we-do/spirituality-and-worship/share-your-prayer-for-just-peace-in-the-holy-land . An order of service for “The Global Day of Prayer for Just Peace in the Holy Land” is at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/spiritual-life/pentecost-ecumenical-prayer-for-unity-and-just-peace-pentecost-2017 .

-- The June edition of “Brethren Voices,” the community television program of Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features the Dunker Punks Podcasts, a creation of Arlington (Va.) Church of the Brethren. “On the evening of July 23, 2014, Jarrod McKenna, a teaching pastor of the West City Church, Wembly, Western Australia, labeled the eight German founders of the Church of the Brethren as Dunker Punks,” explained an announcement of the program. “In the same light, he challenged the youth of the Church of the Brethren 2014 National Youth Conference to embrace their spiritual heritage. Referring to the ‘Mustard Seed Revolution’ that heralded to the genesis of the Church of the Brethren and Jesus’ plan to plant the kingdom of Heaven here on Earth, he challenged the Dunker Punks of today, to radically follow Jesus by offering themselves in service to others. Feeling that youth get their information from a new technology of podcasts, the Arlington Church of the Brethren put together a team and created the Dunker Punk Podcasts.” The program features an interview with Suzanne Lay,
communications minister, and pastor Nancy Fitzgerald, with Laura Weimer and Melody Foster Fitzgerald. For more information about “Brethren Voices” contact producer Ed Groff at groffprod1@msn.com .

-- The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is inviting participation in activities during June, which is Torture Awareness Month. “On June 26, 1987, the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into force and the United Nations later declared June 26th The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture,” a release explained. NRCAT’s core message is that “Torture is a Moral Issue.” For resources to involve communities in Torture Awareness Month go to www.nrcat.org/tam .

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