Newsline for April 21, 2017




Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

NEWS
1) Group receives training in ‘Farming God’s Way’ in Africa
2) New scholarship program is offered by Bethany Seminary
3) On Earth Peace board continues its anti-racism emphasis

PERSONNEL
4) Bob Chase retires from leadership of SERRV, Loreen Epp named president and CEO

UPCOMING EVENTS
5) Celebrate the generations during Older Adult Month, National Youth Sunday
6) Bethany Seminary commencement is scheduled

REFLECTION
7) ‘Feetwashing’ in the garden: The most meaningful love feast ever!

8) Brethren bits: Correction, remembering Marie Flory, personnel, job openings, congregational news, “Becoming a Leader in Memory Care” webinar, the 2017 Brethren Bible Institute, an Easter hope message from South Sudan, and more


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Quote of the week:

“In a baffling demonstration of grace, three of his children publicly forgave their father’s killer the next day. His daughter Tonya Godwin-Baines said, ‘Each one of us forgives the killer, the murderer. … We want to wrap our arms around him.’ Godwin’s son said, ‘I forgive him because we are all sinners.’ What seemed like an impossible act was the fruit of faith. ‘Our father … taught us about God,’ Godwin-Baines said. ‘How to fear God, how to love God and how to forgive.’ In the aftermath of his gruesome death, Robert Godwin Sr. is still teaching people about the fear of God and forgiveness, and his audience just got a lot bigger. Forgiveness is a hallmark of the Christian faith, a powerful act African American Christians facing racism have continually offered.”

-- Jemar Tisby writing in the “Washington Post” about the forgiveness displayed by the family of murder victim Robert Godwin Sr. Find the article, “His murder was put on Facebook. But his family’s message of forgiveness could be his legac,” at www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/04/19/his-murder-was-put-on-facebook-but-his-familys-message-of-forgiveness-could-be-his-legacy .

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1) Group receives training in ‘Farming God’s Way’ in Africa

Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Global Food Initiative recently worked together to send representatives from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), representatives from South Sudan, and a Church of the Brethren representative from the United States to Kenya to receive training in a program called Farming God’s Way with an organization called Care of Creation, Kenya.

Those who took part from EYN were James T. Mamza, director of ICBDP; Yakubu Peter, head of the agriculture department; and Timothy Mohammed, head of the crop production unit. Participating from South Sudan were Phillip Oriho, Kori Aliardo Ubur, and James Ongala Obale. Christian Elliot, a pastor and farmer from Knobsville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, represented the Church of the Brethren in the US.

Following are excerpts from a report about the training by James T. Mamza:

“These are topics facilitated on the first day: group discussion on health of Kenya, Africa’s agriculture, environment, God’s creation cares, cancer of the land or an environment diagnosis, onion harvest (outdoor activity).... We learned that the health problems of Africa at large are the same as Southern Sudan, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Kenya itself: deforestation; strong wind; soil erosion; lack of water; streams, rivers, and lakes are disappearing; hunger; low crop production; loss of animals; poverty; land degradation; and shortage of rainfall.

“We learned how to care for God’s creation especially protecting our water sources from plastic and leather...because when eaten by fish and the fish consumed by man, it causes cancer to human beings....

“Later we went for outdoor activities where a plot of onion was harvested and compared between conventional farming and farming in God’s way plots. The...differences is up to five times the one of conventional farming....

“What is at the heart of our agricultural problem? How we can bring change through biblical basis for agriculture stewardship, farming that brings glory to God. We can personally bring changes or solution through understanding what we mean by ‘FGW,’ by implementing and management of high standards....

“The lesson learned is love your neighbor as you love yourself....”

The training also included tree planting for reforestation, compost making, bee keeping, manure application, sowing of maize, fireless cookers, and characteristics of a well watered garden, among other topics and additional Bible study.

For more about Brethren Disaster Ministries go to www.brethren.org/bdm . For more about the Global Food Initiative go to www.brethren.org/gfi .





2) New scholarship program is offered by Bethany Seminary

By Jenny Williams
 
Beginning with the 2017-18 academic year, residential students at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., will be able to take advantage of a unique opportunity. The new Pillars and Pathways Residency Scholarship, now open for applications, will enable students to complete their seminary education with no additional educational or consumer debt.
 
Designed as a cooperative effort between the student and the seminary, this scholarship covers the gap between the cost of attendance for residential students and the combination of Bethany financial aid and work income the student receives. Recipients commit to living in the Bethany Neighborhood and must maintain eligibility for the Academic Excellence Scholarship. The amount to be contributed by the student, calculated for the current academic year, can be earned through a certain number of work-study hours and summer employment.
 
The Pillars and Pathways program has been made possible through a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The $249,954 grant, made to Bethany Seminary in 2013, is part of Lilly Endowment’s program entitled Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers. The seminary is well aware of the factors that influence a student’s journey into graduate theological education, including decisions about career, family, and work, where to reside, the amount of financial investment, and a time frame for completion. Using Pillars and Pathways concepts, staff seek ways to (1) support students’ goals and values through financial aid, student development, and faculty advising, and (2) incorporate issues of finance into ongoing work with students.
 
Five pillars have been named to help students minimize debt while in seminary and to encourage a lifetime of sound financial practices: financial education, conscious consumption, financial aid, affordable housing, and employment assistance. All of these are incorporated into the new Residency Scholarship, which emphasizes student engagement along with academic standing. As residents of the Bethany Neighborhood, recipients will actively engage in community living and campus activities, meet for group reflection, volunteer a certain number of hours at a local nonprofit, and live within their means with support from the neighborhood community.
 
In fall 2016 Bethany received a second grant of $125,000 as part of the sustainability phase of Lilly Endowment’s economic challenges initiative. In addition to supporting the Residency Scholarship, this grant will help Bethany ensure the longevity of the Pillars and Pathways program. Plans are to incorporate the program’s concepts into strategic planning and curriculum redesign and to extend the benefits of the program to the wider denomination and the local community.
 
Applications for the Pillars and Pathways Residency Scholarship in 2017-18 are due June 1. For more information and to apply, visit www.bethanyseminary.edu/residency or contact the Admissions Office at 800-287-8822 or admissions@bethanyseminary.edu .

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.





3) On Earth Peace board continues its anti-racism emphasis

The spring 2017 meeting of the board of On Earth Peace
Photo courtesy of On Earth Peace

The spring 2017 meeting of the board of On Earth Peace

By Irv Heishman and Gail Erisman Valeta

The On Earth Peace Board met April 6-8 in Harrisburg, Pa. The meetings were hosted by First Church of the Brethren, a Christ centered, multi-ethnic community in the inner city. This was in keeping with an ongoing board commitment to meet in people of color majority spaces. First Church included the board in its regular Friday morning bilingual Spanish and English worship service. This service is jointly led by First Church and its partner congregation, Living Waters, for community people arriving for a weekly food distribution. 

On Thursday afternoon, the board received updates from On Earth Peace staff. Executive director Bill Scheurer, Marie Rhoades, and Lamar Gibson shared highlights of their work. A remote report via Zoom allowed Matt Guynn (who is concluding paternity leave) to report. Nathan Hosler and Russ Matteson brought greetings and reports from their respective denominational boards (the Church of the Brethren and the Council of District Executives). 

Board member Barbara Avent led a group-building exercise called Conocimiento (to know you). Participants were invited to share their family story of origin, immigration, generations, culture, and history of involvement in working for justice and peace. Later, On Earth Peace’s Anti-Racism Transformation Team (ARTT) members Amaha Sellassie and Carol Rose facilitated a group-building process. In particular, they helped the board focus on ways in which power and privilege play out in the board context. This led to new commitments to work at equity among all the various identities of board members, allies, and constituents, while a task team works on recommendations for implementing a shared power leadership structure and updating the calling process. The board called Barbara Avent and Jordan Bles to this task team.  Additional representatives will include ARTT members and a staff person. In the meantime, an acting co-chair model was affirmed until the fall meeting with leadership provided by Gail Erisman Valeta and Irvin Heishman. 

Revised anti-discrimination language for the staff polity manual was approved, as well as logistics for implementing anti-racism training for new board members and staff. The board also reviewed Annual Conference plans for the On Earth Peace booth, insight sessions, and the two recommendations coming as new business items at Annual Conference. 

It is hoped that these recommendations serve the denomination well by illustrating the important choices that must be made. Will the denomination choose to be together in a way that values both community and conscience? Or will the denomination value conformity over conscience--more than being together in community? 

The board closed with a service of anointing, calling each into continuing work for justice and peace.

-- Irv Heishman and Gail Erisman Valeta are acting co-chairs for On Earth Peace.





PERSONNEL

4) Bob Chase retires from leadership of SERRV, Loreen Epp named president and CEO

SERRV logo

Bob Chase has announced his retirement from his long-term leadership of SERRV International, Inc., as of the end of April. SERRV is a fair trade organization that had its start as a Church of the Brethren program. Chase is retiring as president and CEO, and has been part of the SERRV team and part of the global fair trade community for more than 27 years.

SERRV International board chair Cathy Dowdell has announced the appointment of Loreen Epp as president and CEO effective April 1. Epp, who grew up in Canada, was most recently chief creative strategist for Room Planners, Inc., New York, and previously held merchandising leadership positions for Staples and Levitz Home Furnishings. She has a history of community involvement, serving as a board member for Ten Thousand Villages Canada and volunteering with the Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative and the Long Island Cares Food Bank.

“I am so glad that SERRV was able to secure a person of Loreen Epp’s experience, commitment,
and expertise to lead the organization,” said a statement from Chase. “I am confident that the many skills she brings to SERRV, especially in the area of merchandising and product development, will allow the organization to grow and serve an increasing number of artisans across the globe.”

Chase will be retiring from full-time employment with SERRV at the end of April , but will continue to serve on the World Fair Trade Organization Board of Directors and will work on a part-time basis at SERRV to oversee the organization’s Loan Fund.





UPCOMING EVENTS

5) Celebrate the generations during Older Adult Month, National Youth Sunday

Logos for National Youth Sunday and Older Adult Month, May 2017

By Debbie Eisenbise

Each May congregations are encouraged to celebrate the contributions of members of all generations to our life together. The first Sunday in May (May 7) is National Youth Sunday, a day when youth are engaged in planning, organizing, and leading worship. The entire month is designated as Older Adult Month, an opportunity for congregations to celebrate God’s gift of aging and the contributions of elders in our midst.

This year’s theme for both is “Generations Celebrating Faith” based on Psalm 145:4: “One generation shall laud God’s work to another and shall declare God’s mighty acts.” Worship resources based on this reading and Acts 2:42-47 can be found at www.brethren.org/yya/national-youth-sunday.html and  www.brethren.org/oam/older-adult-month.html .

These resources were written collaboratively by people from different generations. The Congregational Life Ministries staff thanks David and Rachel Witkovsky, Dana and Karen Cassell, and Tyler Roebuck for their contributions.

For additional intergenerational activities, see the 2016 Older Adult Month page at www.brethren.org/oam/2016-oam-month.html . Also, since Psalm 145:4 is the theme for Inspiration 2017, this year’s National Older Adult Conference, and registration is now underway, congregations are encouraged to promote this opportunity during May. For more information go to www.brethren.org/noac .

-- Debbie Eisenbise is director of Intergenerational Ministries for the Church of the Brethren and a member of the staff of Congregational Life Ministries.





6) Bethany Seminary commencement is scheduled

Dennis Webb, commencement speaker

Dennis Webb, commencement speaker

By Jenny Williams

Bethany Theological Seminary anticipates celebrating the graduation of 15 seminarians on Saturday, May 6. In addition to honoring students earning master of divinity and master of arts degrees, this academic ceremony will also recognize the first recipients of the seminary’s new specialized graduate certificates. Held at 10 a.m. in Bethany’s Nicarry Chapel in Richmond, Ind., the ceremony will be by invitation only; however, a recording of the event will be posted on Bethany’s website in the weeks following.

Bethany alumnus Dennis Webb, pastor of Naperville (Illinois) Church of the Brethren, will give the commencement address. Referencing Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus’ Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations,” Webb’s address is entitled “Ministry--Praxis, Peril, and Promise.”

A native of Jamaica, Webb was ordained in the Jamaica Baptist Union in 1991 after graduating from the United Theological College of the West Indies. Several years after moving to the United States, he was called to the Naperville church in 2002, where he has been active in intercultural ministry. He graduated from Bethany with an MA in 2012. A current member of the Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren, Webb has served on the Illinois and Wisconsin District Deacon Board and the denomination’s Intercultural Consultation and Celebration Committee. He has also preached at Annual Conference and spoken at National Youth Conference and Brethren district events.

Reflecting a change in the commencement weekend schedule, a worship service led by the graduating seniors will be held on Friday, May 5, at 5 p.m. in Nicarry Chapel. It is open to the public and will also be posted on Bethany’s website.

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.





REFLECTION

7) ‘Feetwashing’ in the garden: The most meaningful love feast ever!

By Martin Hutchison

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Photo courtesy of Martin Hutchison

A "garden love feast" of Community of Joy Church of the Brethren was held in 2017 at the community garden that is related to the congregation. The garden is receiving a grant from the Global Food Initiative.

In my 27 years of pastoral ministry tonight was the most meaningful Maundy Thursday love feast experience ever for me! Any other church I have been part of would have fired me on the spot for messing with the “Holy Ground,” but not Community of Joy.

Normally on the Thursday of Holy Week we host a love feast which is attended by 20 to 25 people. It is a “holy huddle” for the church, and for many is a high moment in our worship life as a congregation. It consists of a simple meal, washing one another’s feet, and communion. It is modeled after Jesus’ last meal with his followers found in John 13.

On Palm Sunday, I shared the Lord’s instructions to the disciples when he sent them to get a donkey for him to ride into Jerusalem. He told them untie it and, if asked why they were doing that, to say, “The Lord needs it.” I challenged the church to figure out what we had to untie to become vessels for Jesus in the world--and sometimes that means untying ourselves from our past and our traditions. Then I announced that we would be untying love feast. Instead of huddling, we would open the ministry center for half an hour for drop by quiet time with God and communion. Then we would arrive at the community garden at 6 p.m. for a simple meal, which Sharon and I provided. Then the “feetwashing” would be to work in the garden.

Upon arriving at the garden, I was swarmed by 12 to 15 children, all wanting to help and all hungry and wanting to eat with us. We had made provisions to have enough for all. In total, with church folk and community folk, we had between 40 and 45 people engaged in the love feast. One family of four I met by “God-incidence” on Wednesday in the garden, and they were looking for a church to connect with. The kids knew me from my work at Pinehurst Elementary School and from a field trip to the garden last year.  

We enjoyed eating together and then worked until dark, with kids coming and going, many engaging in deep ways in the work and in the ever-deepening of relationships. It was indeed a holy moment where the church left the building to put into practice Jesus’ command to love one another as he loves us, and to become known by our love.

-- Martin Hutchison is pastor of Community of Joy Church of the Brethren and founder of Camden Community Garden in Salisbury, Md. This is from an e-mail he sent to Jeff Boshart, manager of the Global Food Initiative which has given grants in support of the community garden. In a closing note to Boshart and other friends of the church and the community garden, he wrote: “Thank you for your role in our lives and for supporting our crazy ideas to follow Jesus out of our building and into our community where we are growing more than veggies!” Find out more about the Global Food Initiative at www.brethren.org/gfi .





8) Brethren bits


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.

-- 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.

-- 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 .

-- “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.


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Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jean Bednar, Jeff Boshart, Bob Chase, Chris Ford, Martin Hutchison, James T. Mamza, Donna March, Stan Noffsinger, Pamela A. Reist, Jenny Williams, Jay Wittmeyer, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at cobnews@brethren.org . Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

Go to www.brethren.org/Newsline to subscribe to the Church of the Brethren Newsline free e-mail news service and receive church news every week.