Newsline for Aug. 5, 2017




“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent--its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord" (Isaiah 65:25).

Photo courtesy of the WCC / photo by Paul Jeffrey

"No more war" - a photo taken at a commemoration of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan

NEWS
1) Brethren Academy launches EFSM program in Spanish
2) La Academia Hermanos lanza el programa de EPMC
3) New urban ministry experience is offered by Bethany Seminary
4) Minister’s manual project will not continue
5) UN holds hearing on Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons

PERSONNEL
6) William Wenger to serve as executive minister for Western Pennsylvania District

UPCOMING EVENTS
7) Children’s Disaster Services offers volunteer training workshops
8) SVMC offers continuing education on Christology and ministry with older and younger people
9) Annual Dunker Church Service will be 47th held at Antietam
10) Springs initiative offers new class designed for laity

11) Brethren bits: Updated remembrance for Florence Daté Smith, personnel, jobs, Rebecca Dali honored by UN, Nigerian Brethren report Boko Haram attacks, Material Resources shipments, BVS newsletter, and more news by, for, and about Brethren





Quotes of the week:

“Pray for the Yazidi people of Iraq whose genocide began three years ago. Pray for freedom and restoration of life for several thousand women and children still in the hands of ISIL.”

-- From the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) “Prayers for Peacemakers” for Aug. 3. Find the full prayer request at https://cpt.org/cptnet/2017/08/03/prayers-peacemakers-3-august-2017 .

“The world can find hope in a new treaty, the text of which has been negotiated and agreed by a large majority of the world’s governments, to outlaw nuclear weapons.”

-- From a World Council of Churches (WCC) release noting this weekend’s 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombings of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. “For the survivors of the atomic bombings in 1945, and for all who seek the complete elimination of nuclear weapons on humanitarian, ethical and moral grounds, the new draft Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons agreed at the United Nations on 7 July 2017 is cause for thanksgiving and a catalyst for renewed resolve,” said WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit, in the release. “This new development in international law is best understood against the mass destruction of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945 and the suffering and abiding sorrow that ensued.” A WCC release about the treaty is at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/banning-nuclear-weapons-122-governments-take-leadership-where-nuclear-powers-have-failed .

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1) Brethren Academy launches EFSM program in Spanish

by Nancy Sollenberger Heishman

Cristo Sion pastors, laity, and district volunteers: (front from left) Martha Barrios, Rosario Luna B., Clara Díaz, Berkley Davis; (back from left) Francisco Villegas García, Víctor Maldonado, David Flores, Gerald Davis, Rita Flores, Elizabeth Rowan, Cándido Rodríguez.

Pastores y laicos de Cristo Sion, mas algunos voluntarios del distrito: Fila 1 (de la izquierda) Martha Barrios, Rosario Luna B., Clara Díaz, Berkley Davis; Fila 2 (de la izquierda) Francisco Villegas García, Víctor Maldonado, David Flores, Gerald Davis, Rita Flores, Elizabeth Rowan, Cándido Rodríguez.
Photo by Nancy Sollenberger Heishman

Cristo Sion pastors, laity, and district volunteers: (front from left) Martha Barrios, Rosario Luna B., Clara Díaz, Berkley Davis; (back from left) Francisco Villegas García, Víctor Maldonado, David Flores, Gerald Davis, Rita Flores, Elizabeth Rowan, Cándido Rodríguez. Pastores y laicos de Cristo Sion, mas algunos voluntarios del distrito: Fila 1 (de la izquierda) Martha Barrios, Rosario Luna B., Clara Díaz, Berkley Davis; Fila 2 (de la izquierda) Francisco Villegas García, Víctor Maldonado, David Flores, Gerald Davis, Rita Flores, Elizabeth Rowan, Cándido Rodríguez.

For over 30 years, the Education for Shared Ministry (EFSM) program has been nurturing and equipping ministers and laity together in small Anglo churches. Now the program is being made available to Spanish-speaking congregations. The unique design of EFSM offers opportunities for ministers in training and lay leaders to discern goals and objectives together and to encourage one another in sharpening their skills while learning about the Christian faith and ministries of the church. The program’s strength is in equipping the entire congregation as they support their set-apart ministers in meeting the educational and theological requirements for credentialing.

In the Pacific Southwest District, pastors David and Rita Flores of the Cristo Sion congregation chose to finish the ministry training they had begun through SeBAH-CoB by participating in EFSM. Six lay leaders joined the couple in a March weekend orientation in which they familiarized themselves with the program, set goals for their first learning unit, and dedicated themselves as a congregation to the process. During these past few months, they have explored Brethren beliefs and theology in greater depth through book studies, heritage-focused congregational outreach projects in the neighborhood, and by enriching their congregational life through giving and finding new meaning in the practice of Brethren ordinances such as love feast. If all goes according to schedule, they will graduate from the program in the summer of 2018.

In the Shenandoah District, a congregation with almost a decade of informal relationship with the district was recently welcomed officially and is exploring participation in the EFSM program. Pastors Julio and Sonia Argueta of Iglesia Pentecostal Buenas Nuevas Church of the Brethren in Waynesboro, Va., lead a warm and vibrant fellowship that shares the building with the Anglo Brethren of Waynesboro. The Church Planting Team of the district is giving support as together they explore the prospect of participating in the EFSM program.

SeBAH-CoB classes continue as the alfa cohort finishes a preaching course with Mennonite professor, Byron Pellecer. The beta cohort is studying the Theology of Pastoral Ministry with Tony Brun. Both courses are totally online. Additionally, video conference technology gives students in the preaching course opportunity to discuss in more depth the fundamental principles of sermon preparation. It is obvious that all the students greatly enjoy the interaction between Californian, Pennsylvanian, and Puerto Rican Brethren and the Colombian Mennonite students in the course.

This year as part of satisfying the program requirements for attendance at Annual Conference, three SeBAH-CoB students were present in Grand Rapids.

-- Nancy Sollenberger Heishman is coordinator of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership’s Seminario Biblico Anabautista Hispano--de la Iglesia de los Hermanos (SeBAH-CoB).





2) La Academia Hermanos lanza el programa de EPMC

Nancy Sollenberger Heishman

Durante más de treinta años, el programa de Educación para un Ministerio Compartido (EPMC) ha estado nutriendo y equipando ministros y laicos en pequeñas iglesias angloamericanas. Ahora, el programa está siendo puesto a disposición de las congregaciones en cual se habla español. El diseño único de EPMC ofrece oportunidades para que los ministros en formación y líderes laicos disciernen objetivos y metas juntos y se animen mutuamente a afilar sus habilidades mientras aprenden sobre la fe cristiana y los ministerios de la iglesia. La fuerza del programa es enfocarse en el equipamiento de toda la congregación, ya que apoyan a sus ministros apartados en el cumplimiento de los requisitos educativos y teológicas para sus credenciales.

En el Distrito del Suroeste del Pacífico, los pastores David y Rita Flores de la congregación Cristo Sion eligieron terminar la capacitación ministerial que habían comenzado a través de SeBAH-CoB por participar en EPMC. Seis líderes laicos se unieron a los Flores en una orientación de fin de semana en el que se familiarizaron con el programa, establecieron metas para su primera unidad de aprendizaje, y se dedicaron como congregación al proceso. Durante estos últimos meses, han explorado las creencias y la teología de la Iglesia de los Hermanos en mayor profundidad. Ellos han estudiado libros y llevaron a cabo proyectos de alcance congregacional al vecindario. La vida congregacional ha sido enriquecida también a través de dar y encontrar un nuevo significado en la práctica de las ordenanzas tales como el lavado de los pies. Si todo va de acuerdo al horario, se graduarán del programa el próximo verano de 2018.

En el distrito de Shenandoah, una congregación con casi una década de relación informal con el distrito fue recibida oficialmente recientemente y está explorando la participación en el programa EPMC. Pastores Julio y Sonia Argueta de la Iglesia Pentecostal Buenas Nuevas Iglesia de los Hermanos en Waynesboro, Virginia están dirigiendo una comunidad cálida y vibrante que comparte el edificio con los Hermanos Anglo de Waynesboro. El Equipo de Plantación de Iglesias del distrito está dando su apoyo ya que juntos exploran la perspectiva de participar en el programa EPMC.

Las clases de SeBAH-CoB continúan mientras el grupo Alfa termina un curso de predicación con el profesor menonita Byron Pellecer. El grupo Beta está estudiando la Teología del Ministerio Pastoral con el Dr. Tony Brun. Ambos cursos son totalmente en línea. Además, la tecnología de videoconferencia ofrece a los estudiantes del curso de predicación la oportunidad para discutir en profundidad los principios fundamentales de la preparación del sermón. Es obvio que todos los estudiantes disfrutan mucho de la interacción entre estudiantes de California, Pensilvania y Puerto Rico y los estudiantes menonitas colombianos en el curso.

Este año como parte de satisfacer los requisitos del programa para la asistencia a una conferencia anual, tres estudiantes de SeBAH-CoB estarán en Grand Rapids.





3) New urban ministry experience is offered by Bethany Seminary

by Jenny Williams
 
A new partnership with a nonprofit in Atlanta, Ga., is giving Bethany Theological Seminary students a unique ministry opportunity. From Jan. 2-12, 2018, the new course titled “A Place of Refuge: Ministry in an Urban Context” will take students to Atlanta to explore both the complexities of ministry with marginalized communities in urban areas and options for addressing the issues.
 
Designed as an immersion experience, the course includes both practical engagement and reflection. City of Refuge Ministries, located in one of Atlanta’s most impoverished neighborhoods, is the primary partner organization and will involve the students directly in its various programs, giving them hands-on experience. The group also will work with other faith-based ministries, exposing them to a variety of styles, strategies, and ministry niches employed in working with marginalized populations.
 
In studying various approaches to urban ministry, students will be introduced to networking structures and processes that make ministry partnerships possible. This will include exploring the collective impact when three major sectors of society--nonprofit, public, and government--collaborate to support and assist the voiceless and, more specifically, how the church can have an effective role.
 
“This course combines evangelical gospel witness with a deep concern for social justice in an urban context,” says Steven Schweitzer, academic dean at Bethany. “We desire to bring together students and practitioners for diverse perspectives on effective urban ministry.”
 
The partnership began when Jeff Carter, president of Bethany, made the acquaintance of former pastor Bruce Deel, founder and CEO of City of Refuge. When representatives from Bethany visited the organization to explore connections with the seminary, Church of the Brethren staff David Steele, general secretary, and Josh Brockway, director of spiritual life and discipleship, joined them by invitation. From vocational training to care for trafficking victims, the varied programs at City of Refuge became the foundation for a Bethany Seminary course and a Brethren Academy course. Information about the organization can be found at www.cityofrefugeatl.org .
 
Anyone with a passion for urban ministry and a desire to impact their community is encouraged to enroll. Room and board and a voucher for travel to Atlanta are included in the cost of registration for both course levels. Students currently in the TRIM program can enroll for ministry studies, Bethany experience, or ecumenical event credit.
 
Graduate-level course: Instructor Dan Poole, coordinator of ministry formation at Bethany Seminary - 3.0 CEUs - application deadline Nov. 21. For information and to enroll contact admissions@bethanyseminary.edu or 800-287-8822.
 
Academy-level course: Instructor: Josh Brockway, director of spiritual life and discipleship for the Church of the Brethren - 2.0 CEUs - application deadline Nov. 1. For information and to enroll contact academy@bethanyseminary.edu or 800-287-8822.

-- Jenny Williams is director of Communications for Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.





4) Minister’s manual project will not continue

by Dana Cassell

Staff from the Office of Ministry and Brethren Press have announced the decision to conclude work on the new minister’s manual resource. This project has stretched over several years, in which transitions in the make up of the volunteer team and the staff in the Office of Ministry have brought significant challenges.

After evaluating the submissions received, it became clear that the work still needed to complete the project as envisioned is too great to continue. This decision is due in large part to the quantity and quality of the submissions and the significant gaps in the manual’s expected outline. At this time, there will not be a new resource published in the vein of “For All Who Minister.”

Staff encourage ministers and others leading in worship to utilize the Anabaptist Worship Exchange (AWE), an online platform for sharing worship resources with others. This Church of the Brethren ministry makes it easy to download resources others have written and to upload and share your own. Visit www.anabaptistworshipexchange.org to learn more.

We also are looking into ways to make available in digital form some of the most frequently used sections (such as wedding and funeral services) of “For All Who Minister.” Two possible online avenues for distributing these resources would be www.brethren.org and AWE.

-- Dana Cassell is pastor of Peace Covenant Church of the Brethren in Durham, N.C., and served on the committee that worked on a new minister’s manual resource.





5) UN holds hearing on Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons

by Doris Abdullah

Church of the Brethren United Nations representative Doris Abdullah
Photo courtesy of Doris Abdullah

Church of the Brethren United Nations representative Doris Abdullah

While we rightly call attention to the awful atrocities of Boko Haram in Nigeria, we often overlook the other great tragedy of trafficking in girls and women from Nigeria. The Central Mediterranean Route report show that nearly 80 percent of Nigerian girls and women, between the ages of 13-24, arriving in Europe are victims of sex trafficking.

Trafficking in persons is a transnational crime that devastates lives and causes untold suffering around the globe. All too many of the trafficked are children. The United Nations on June 23 held a hearing titled “The Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons,” addressing trafficking from the perspectives of human rights, armed conflicts, and prosecutions in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (STG).

The informal and interactive multi-stakeholders hearing was opened by the president of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, followed by statements from the co-facilitators--representatives from Qatar, Alya Al-Thani, and Belgium, Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, of the intergovernmental negotiation of the Global Plan of Action. The introductory statements came from trafficking survivor Withelma “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew, and UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov and UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

United Nations office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) data on human trafficking, which is also known as modern-day slavery, lists four main forms of trafficking:
 
1. Forced servitude or forced labor of young men and women. Usually these persons come from rural areas to work in urban manufacturing jobs. Many work on mega farms in India, Malaysia, and Bangladesh as well as the Americas and Europe. We use words like work or jobs, but these persons are usually coerced with the promise of a better life, sold outright by poor families, or stolen from their villages or neighborhoods.

2. Organ transplants usage. Persons from poor countries are either forcibly or volunteer to have taken from them their body parts. These parts are usually sold to the highest bidders in rich countries like the US.

3. Child soldiers usually young boys. Raids are conducted by terrorists in the war-ravished areas of the Middle East and in large swaths of Africa, and by gangs in Central and South America.

4. Trafficking in girls and women. Seventy-two percent of all trafficking is for sex. It is the most profitable of the slave trades.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #5 calls for “Gender Equality and Empowerment of all Girls and Women.” Goal 5.2 calls for eliminating all forms of violence against girls and women in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation. SDG #8 calls on states to “Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, Employment and Decent Work for All.” Goal #8.7 calls for immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, modern-day slavery, and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers by 2025 and end child labor in all its forms. The 193 nations of the United Nations signed onto these goals on the behalf of their citizens. It is up to all of us to carry them forward--or let them just be beautifully written words.

“T” as she is known, hails from Oakland, Calif. She was trafficked from the age of 10-17. It was the shock of her story that raised my awareness of the horrors of trafficking across America. This is a topic of moral imperative. It is far easier to speak about trafficking “over there,” in another land, than it is to own up to it in our own back yards. It is a fact that large numbers of missing children are trafficked children, and thousands of men in the US buy children for sex. I ask us in the church to see the girl child called “T” from California as our child, and not as a stranger. See her as our daughter, sister, niece, or mother.

“T” was trafficked throughout the western states of America for seven years. Through her voice, and with the aid of pictures, I became an eye witness to her story, to girls younger than 10 put out naked in the street to attract men. Some were using their crayons to draw clothing on themselves. These girls wanted to cover their nakedness with crayons. I wanted to divert my eyes from the shame of not being able to protect them from such horror. 

The kidnapping of Brethren girls in Nigeria has made all Brethren more aware of what happens to young women caught by terrorists in armed conflict zones. A panel member also called attention to the findings of raped girls and women in 40 mass graves left by ISIL (Da’esh) and alarm about girls being sold for $10 in some refugee camps. Some girls in the refugee camps even commit suicide, rather than risk being raped.

One panel spoke on the legal matters of criminal investigations, convictions, and sentences. We are all aware that some societies punish the victims and let the perpetrators go free. The legal becomes wrapped up in social norms, culturally acceptable behavior, and so forth .

Ruchira Gupta, founder and president of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, was on one of the panels. She reminded the meeting that the trafficked girl child is used until she is deemed useless. Useless trafficked girls are thrown out with the trash to die, as “T” was. She has no worker’s rights, because forced prostitution is not a job. “T” was abused as a child, denied an education, and never negotiated for any wages. One could say that she was worse off than a prisoner, because she could be denied food, shelter, and clothing by her owners.

Trafficking is a moral issue for the church, and deviant behavior for those who take part in it. What will we do about it? That is work for us to face up to.

-- Doris Abdullah is the Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations.





PERSONNEL

6) William Wenger to serve as executive minister for Western Pennsylvania District

Western Pennsylvania District has called William Wenger to serve as district executive minister beginning Sept. 1. He has served as interim district executive since January.

He began his pastoral work in 1982 at Denton (Md.) Church of the Brethren. He was ordained in 1990 at Mount Zion Road Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Northeast District, and also pastored other congregations. From 1997-2001, he was the chaplain at Peter Becker Community, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Harleysville, Pa.

Wenger holds a bachelor’s degree in religion from Messiah College and a master of divinity degree from Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, Pa. Over the past 15 years, he has taught courses in Old Testament, Biblical hermeneutics, and church history for the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, and currently serves there as a board member. 





UPCOMING EVENTS

7) Children’s Disaster Services offers volunteer training workshops

by Kathleen Fry-Miller

A CDS volunteer cares for children in North Carolina
Photo courtesy of Children's Disaster Services

A CDS volunteer cares for children in North Carolina

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) workshops are scheduled for this fall. The website link for registrations is www.brethren.org/cds/training/dates.html . CDS and its trained and certified volunteers provide care for children and families following disasters.

The 27-hour overnight workshops provide required training for volunteers who wish to serve in the program. Anyone age 18 or over is welcome to attend and become a certified CDS caregiver. References and background checks are also required for certification. Once caregivers complete certification, all expenses are paid for disaster responses.

The training is an overnight experience, simulating a shelter situation, and includes an overview of our work, understanding phases of disaster and how we fit in, working with disaster partners and children and family needs following disaster, supporting resilience in children, setting up a children’s center with a Kit of Comfort, ethical guidelines, and the certification process.

Here are the fall 2017 locations, dates, and contact information:

Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren, Sept. 22-23, contact Gladys Remnant at 540-810-4999 or gremnant@aol.com

Florida Christian Church in Jacksonville, Fla., Sept. 29-30, contact Tina Christian, CDS Gulf Coast Coordinator, at 561-889-2323 or cdsgulfcoast@gmail.com

Ward Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Northville, Mich., Nov. 10-11, contact Jen Pifer at 734-776-1667 or cakegirl680@gmail.com

Little Swatara Church of the Brethren in Bethel, Pa., Nov. 17-18, contact Jean Myers at 610- 678-5247 or Jean@aol.com

In addition, a training workshop is scheduled specifically for Child Life Specialists (CLS) in New York, N.Y., on Sept. 16, 2017. For more information regarding the details of this child life specialized training, visit http://cldisasterrelief.org/childrens-disaster-services-training . To register and send payment, use this link: http://cldisasterrelief.org/new-york-new-york-registration .

-- Kathleen Fry-Miller is associate director of Children's Disaster Services, a program of the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service. For more information go to www.brethren.org/cds .





8) SVMC offers continuing education on Christology and ministry with older and younger people

SVMC continuing education banner

The Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College announces three upcoming continuing education events: “Go and Do Likewise: The Practices of Christology,” “Enriching the Lives of Older Adults,” and “Science, Theology, and the Church Today--Ministry with Youth and Young Adults.” Registration forms are available at www.etown.edu/programs/svmc/continuing-education or by contacting Karen Hodges at 717-361-1450 or svmc@etown.edu .

“Go and Do Likewise: The Practices of Christology” is offered on Nov. 2 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., led by Nate Inglis, assistant professor of Theological Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary. This symposium will consider Jesus by starting with the practices that he taught his disciples. Presentations and discussion groups will consider how Christology is first and foremost “showing who Christ is,” and will reflect on what it means to practice Christology today. Cost is $60 and includes a light breakfast, lunch, and 0.6 continuing education credit.

“Enriching the Lives of Older Adults” is offered on Oct. 23 at Cross Keys Village in New Oxford, Pa., from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., led by Linda Titzell, Jenn Holcomb, and team. This event will explore spiritual nurturing of older adults, the impact of loneliness and boredom in the older adult, and what aging in place means to the older adult and what available resources support aging in place. Cost is $60 and includes a light breakfast, lunch, and 0.5 continuing education credit.
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“Science, Theology, and the Church Today--Ministry with Youth and Young Adults” is offered on March 24, 2018, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Elizabethtown College’s Susquehanna Room, led by Russell Haitch, professor of Christian Education at Bethany Theological Seminary. By focusing mainly on ministry with youth and young adults--the church of the future, which is also the church today--this seminar offers information and insights into key areas of science and theology, including what neuroscience is discovering about adolescent brain development and what it means for parenting and pastoring; evolution, the anthropic principle, biblical creation and how to help young people form a coherent understanding of human origins; what social science is really saying about the “nones” and why churches have been getting the wrong message; the challenge of rising atheism and scientism and how Christians can respond in word and deed; the proliferation of social media technology and how it can help or hinder young people longing for community. Cost is $60 and includes a light breakfast, lunch, and 0.6 continuing education credit.





9) Annual Dunker Church Service will be 47th held at Antietam

The interior of the Dunker Church at the Antietam Civil War battlefield
Courtesy of Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey

The interior of the Dunker Church at the Antietam Civil War battlefield

by Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey

The 47th Annual Dunker Church Service will be held in the restored Dunker Church at the Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 3 p.m. This service will take place on the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, and commemorates the peace witness of the Brethren during the Civil War.

Nick Patler, from Staunton, Va., will bring the message titled “Escaping the Civil War: The Brethren-Mennonite Underground Railroad in Rockingham County, Virginia.” He has received masters degrees from both Harvard University Extension School and Bethany Theological Seminary, and has served as an adjunct professor for both Elizabeth City State University and West Virginia State University. He is published on topics relating to African-American history, war and nonviolence, and politics.

The Annual Dunker Church Service is sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic District and is open to the public. For more information, call Eddie Edmonds at 304-267-4135; Audrey Hollenberg-Duffe at 301-733-3565, or Ed Poling at 301-766-9005.

-- Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey is co-pastor of Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren.





10) Springs initiative offers new class designed for laity

by David Young

The Springs Academy for the Saints is the newest addition to the Springs Academy and is designed for laity. Its format is similar to the Springs Academy for Pastors, introduced in 2013. The Springs Academy for the Saints enables laity to discover their gifts and train for ministry as saints, as Paul says in Ephesians 4:12, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.”

Saints Academy participants experience a guided course on learning and practicing spiritual disciplines that lead them in a closer walk with Christ. They study servant leadership from scripture and learn a renewal process that builds on the strengths of a church. They practice dialogue and spiritual discernment and to learn how to apply it in discovering a biblical text that will center and lead them into to a vision and plan. 

Two special guest speakers will be featured: Elwood Hipkins, who served in Brethren Volunteer Service in Falfurrias, Texas, who will speak about his witness as a Christian farmer; and Musa Adziba Mambula, a leader in Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), currently an international scholar at Bethany Theological Seminary, who will speak on the importance of discipling and understanding the concept and conditions for discipleship in the church.

Classes are held via telephone conference call on the following Sundays from 4-6 p.m. (Eastern time): Sept. 17, Oct. 8, Oct. 29, Nov. 19, and Dec.10. The registration deadline is Aug. 31. Those who register by Aug. 15 will receive a CD of Anna Mow speaking on anointing. A “no church left behind” policy applies. Through one church’s generosity, scholarships are available. Tuition is $80. If more than one person from a church takes the course, a group discount applies.

In addition to and concurrent with the Academy for the Saints are five sessions of the Springs Academy for Pastors, held via telephone conference on the following Tuesday mornings from 8-10 a.m. (Eastern time): Sept. 12, Oct. 3, Oct. 24, Nov. 14, and Dec. 5. They are designed for both full-time and bi-vocational ministers. Classes will follow similar topics as the Saints. A team from their church will walk along with each pastor to have dialogue during the period of study. 

Along with the Bible, the two needed books for both classes are “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster and “Springs of Living Water, Christ-centered Church Renewal” by David Young. Both books are available from Brethren Press. Additional resources, such as videos produced by David Sollenberger and essential background articles, are on the Springs website at www.churchrenewalservant.org .

A Springs Certificate of Achievement will be awarded to the laity who participate, and ministers may earn 1.0 continuing education credit. Subsequent classes on implementation are anticipated in the winter or spring.

-- David and Joan Young are leaders of the Springs of Living Water, a Brethren-related initiative for church renewal. Contact davidyoung@churchrenewalservant.org or call 717-615-4515.





11) Brethren bits

Dr. Rebecca Dali

Rebecca Dali, founder of the Centre for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI), and a leader in Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has won the 2017 Sérgio Vieira de Mello award in recognition of her humanitarian services in the northeast of Nigeria. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has announced that the award ceremony will take place on Aug. 21 in Geneva, Switzerland, during the celebration of this year’s World Humanitarian Day. Read “Live Your Life in the Hand of God,” a 2016 Newsline interview with Dali about her work with victims of the Boko Haram insurgency at www.brethren.org/news/2016/live-your-life-in-the-hand-of-god.html .

Prayer is requested for Nigerian Brethren affected by a Boko Haram attack this week. Yuguda Mdurvwa of the disaster response staff of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) reported to Brethren Disaster Ministries executive director Roy Winter on Thursday by e-mail that there had been an attack on the Midlu community in Madagali area. “Midlu village was attacked by Boko Haram Wednesday night, eight members were killed, many houses were burnt down and many people fled the Town,” he wrote. “Midlu is one of our focus areas this year. These frequent attacks shows that the insurgency is still strong in the Sambisa [Forest] and that many people are still suffering in need of food, shelter, and comfort. We pray that the Lord will continue to guide and protect his people.” For information about the Nigeria Crisis Response of EYN and the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries, go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis

-- Remembrance (updated): Florence Daté Smith (96) of Eugene, Ore., died peacefully on June 26 at Sacred Heart Hospital University District with family and friends at her side. She was a survivor of internment at the Topaz Internment Camp during World War II, and was a prominent Church of the Brethren peace activist. She was born in San Francisco, Calif., raised in Berkeley, Calif., and attended the University of California/Berkeley. Just prior to graduation she was interned at the Topaz Internment Camp from 1942-44. She began her 70 years as an active educator teaching 4th and 5th grade children there. Upon being released, she worked at the Presbyterian Christopher Settlement House in Chicago, where she met and married her husband, Russel. She graduated from the University of Chicago. Together the couple raised their family in the inter-racial, intercultural, and interfaith York Center Co-operative Community in Lombard, Ill., which had ties to the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Theological Seminary. There she helped found a nursery school and a co-op buying club. She worked as a Learning Specialist teacher at Elmhurst District 205 in Illinois and obtained her master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Oregon. The couple moved to Eugene, Ore., in 1978, and she began teaching in the Springfield Oregon Public Schools. In December 2009 she was given an honorary degree from UCAL/Berkeley. She was active in local and international projects of the Church of the Brethren including serving on the board of the Global Women’s Project. Her ecumenical involvements included service on the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Oregon Bach Festival/War and Reconciliation. She participated in the Historic Peace Church Teacher Exchange with the World Friendship Center Hiroshima, Japan. As a lifetime educator, she continued to share her personal internment experiences with youth and adults until her death. Her Topaz Internment Story is viewable at https://youtu.be/64a-3RYR3K8 . Her husband, Russel, preceded her in death in 2008. She is survived by her children Barbara, Norman, and Roger, and grandchildren. A celebration of her life will be held on Friday, Aug. 25, at 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Eugene, Ore. The family will hold a private gathering sometime at a future date. A multimedia memorial website for the community will be available at https://florencedatesmith.wordpress.com . Memorial gifts are received to On Earth Peace, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and CALC in Eugene, Ore.

-- Emmy Goering’s last day as a Peacebuilding and Policy Associate at the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., was Aug. 4. She began serving in the office as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker on Aug. 8, 2016.

-- Chasity Gunn has resigned as conference and event assistant for Congregational Life Ministries, serving at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She began in the position on Dec. 14, 2016.

-- Church World Service (CWS) is seeking to fill two positions:
     CWS seeks a creative and visionary leader to fill the position of media associate. The ideal candidate will live and breathe a commitment to immigrants’ rights and a coalition approach to advocacy, and thrive in a creative environment in which no day is the same. This team member will join and be at the intersection of the CWS Advocacy, Communications, and Immigration and Refugee Program staff teams. To learn more go to https://cwsglobal.org/1295-media-associate-washington-dc .
     CWS seeks a savvy digital media intern to support its communications work. This internship offers valuable real-world experience in digital media outreach, online organizing, and graphic design. To learn more go to https://cwsglobal.org/digital-media-intern .

-- The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) seeks a full-time director of US Prisons Program to coordinate national interfaith organizing and strategic state and federal advocacy for its interfaith members working to end the torture of solitary confinement in US prisons, jails, and detention centers. NRCAT has a strong preference for the position to be based in its Washington, D.C., office, although it is open to possibility of remote work. To learn more go to http://nrcat.org/about-us/leadership-aamp-staff/job-openings .

-- Material Resources has reported making several shipments of relief goods and materials in recent weeks. Material Resources is a Church of the Brethren program housed in warehouse space at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. A Church World Service (CWS) shipment was made to Illinois for flood response in Lake and McHenry Counties, containing 229 clean-up buckets for the American Red Cross in Round Lake, Ill. On behalf of Lutheran World Relief, five 40-foot containers were loaded for shipment to Burkina Faso, containing 80 bales of blankets, 800 bales of quilts, 600 cartons of  personal care kits, 100 cartons of school kits, 600 cartons of baby care kits, 60 cartons of fabric kits, and 100 cartons of soap. These nonfood items are donated by American Lutheran supporters to help meet vulnerable families’ most urgent needs.
  
-- The summer 2017 edition of the Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) newsletter, “The Volunteer,” includes articles by Sarah Uhl, Andrew Bollinger, Pat Krabacher, Gillian Miller, and Greg Davidson Laszakovits on the topic of “Resiliency.” Find the newsletter online at www.brethren.org/bvs/files/newsletter/bvs-volunteer-newsletter-2017-7.pdf .
     “BVS is always looking for volunteers!” the announcement of the newsletter added. “Please call Jocelyn Snyder, BVS Orientation Coordinator, if you’re interested in beginning a year or two or service.” She can be reached at 847-429-4384.

-- Volunteer groups from two Church of the Brethren congregations have been serving in the Caribbean: volunteers from Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren have been serving with Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti), assisting with a mobile medical clinic and a children’s program for around 125 children from various Eglise des Freres congregations; and some 25 volunteers from Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa., have been serving with Iglesia de los Hermanos (the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic), helping with construction projects and assisting with a youth conference where 200 Brethren youth from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Puerto Rico were expected. 

-- Antelope Park Church of the Brethren is one of the sponsors of the 34th annual Lincoln (Neb.) Lantern Float from 7-9 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6, Hiroshima Day. The event is held on the northeast side of Holmes Lake. The theme will be “Hiroshima-Nagasaki: the Past, Present, and Future of Nuclear Weapons.” A report in the Lincoln Journal Star noted that “recently, the lantern float has been used across the world to remember the souls inflamed in nuclear holocaust in 1945, later nuclear tests, and some nuclear plant accidents. This year’s event will contemplate the history and future of the use and control of nuclear weapons because the United Nations on July 7, at the urging of the first victims of nuclear war--the Japanese hibakusha--passed a ban on nuclear weapons, making their possession and use a violation of international law. However, the US and other nuclear-armed nations rejected this ban, and President Trump has said he might use nuclear weapons in future situations.” Star. Read more at http://journalstar.com/niche/neighborhood-extra/lantern-float-to-contemplate-un-nuclear-ban/article_71e660cf-dab8-5a53-a8cb-4b6b3ae22a42.html .

-- On Saturday, Aug. 12, Dranesville Church of the Brethren in Herndon, Va., is hosting a presentation by Roxane Hill, coordinator of the Nigeria Crisis Response, and a yard sale to benefit the families of the Nigerian Brethren girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. The Nigeria Crisis Response is a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The presentation starts at 6 p.m. The yard sale takes place from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

-- Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren holds its Annual Missions Golf Tournament at the Maryland National Golf Course on Aug. 27. Sign up at FCOB.net . Shotgun start is at 1 p.m., registration begins at 11:30 a.m.

-- Rocky Mount (Va.) First Church of the Brethren collected close to $1,000 for the Franklin County Perinatal Education Center as part of its Baby Bottle Campaign, reports the Franklin News-Post. “The members of the church spent six weeks soliciting donations with baby bottles used as money collection containers. In all, they raised $966.50,” the newspaper reported. Read the article and see a picture of the congregation at www.thefranklinnewspost.com/news/church-donates-nearly-in-baby-bottle-drive/article_20101b4a-7395-11e7-bcf8-177af56a960c.html .

-- South Waterloo (Iowa) Church of the Brethren partnered with Orange Elementary School in a summer bookmobile project in which the book mobile traveled to different sites every week on Wednesdays. The church provided ice cream and other treats at the park shelter during a visit by the book mobile to Lichty Park, said a newspaper report. Read more at http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/education/bookmobile-keeping-kids-reading-across-orange-attendance-area/article_ec9bac5e-6891-56cb-abdf-fc969299508f.html .

-- The Mt. Morris Loaves and Fish Food Pantry hosted at Mt. Morris (Ill.) Church of the Brethren received a gold rating in an assessment conducted by an education representative from the University of Illinois Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. “The gold rating was awarded for implementing many best practices identified for food pantries. The report noted the large garden maintained by volunteers to provide fresh produce to pantry guests, the use of shopping style distribution, well-stocked pantry shelves and the use of the food pyramid as a nutritional guide for pantry guests,” said a report on RRStar.com . Find the news report at www.rrstar.com/news/20170725/mt-morris-loaves-amp-fish-food-pantry-receives-gold-rating .

-- July saw the start of district conference “season” in the Church of the Brethren. Southeastern District met in Mars Hill, N.C., on July 21-23; Northern Ohio District met at Hartville (Ohio) Church of the Brethren on July 28-29; and Western Plains District met at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and McPherson College on July 28-30. This weekend, the plains districts hold their annual meetings: Southern Plains District meets at Cushing (Okla.) Church of the Brethren on Aug. 3-4, and Northern Plains District meets at South Waterloo (Iowa) Church of the Brethren on Aug. 4-6.

-- “Leadership and Anxiety in the Church” is the topic for a workshop sponsored by Pacific Southwest District’s Ministry Commission on Sept. 27 in Woodland Hills, Calif. The workshop is led by the Lombard (Ill.) Mennonite Peace Center. Contact the district office at P.O. Box 219, LaVerne, CA 91750 no later than Sept. 5 to register.

-- Mark Flory Steury will be the guest speaker on the topic of 500 years of the Reformation, at Camp Mardela’s Family Camp 2017 held over Labor Day weekend Sept. 1-3. The camp is located near Denton, Md.

-- A report on Camp Bethel’s celebration of 90 years was published by WDBJ Channel 7. The camp is located near Fincastle, Va. “Hundreds, even thousands of people, might have called a special place home during a summer or two while growing up,” said the report, which interviews camp director Barry LeNoir. Go to www.wdbj7.com/content/news/Camp-Bethel-in-Botetourt-County-celebrates-90-years--436391333.html .

-- A Prayer Service for the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria will be held at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 6:15 p.m. An annual Labor Day potluck will follow. “Prayers will be offered for the Chibok girls who have returned home, those who are still missing, and the ongoing threat of violence experienced by the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria and the trauma it causes,” said an announcement from Virlina District. The service will be led by members of the district’s Peace Affairs Committee.

-- Brethren Woods is sponsoring a weekend conference on the historic Brethren value of simple living. “Simplify: A Simple Living Weekend” will be held Nov. 10-11, beginning after dinner on Friday and continuing through late afternoon on Saturday. The weekend registration fee of $35 covers housing, food, and all activities. The Saturday-only fee is $20. Students may attend for $10. Find a letter of information with more details at http://files.constantcontact.com/071f413a201/ea6e4326-301d-4027-b13c-99cdfb4b56bf.pdf . To register, go to www.brethrenwoods.org/simplify . The camp and retreat center is located near Keezletown, Va.

-- Bridgewater (Va.) College has received a significant gift, according to a release published by the August Free Press. “Five Smith family members and the Smith-Midland Corporation have donated $1 million toward the expansion and renovation of the college’s library,” the report said. “Their donation is the third seven-figure gift in Bridgewater’s march toward what will become the John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons. The $1 million gift of Rodney Smith, his four sons Ashley, Roderick, Matthew, and Jeremy and the Smith-Midland Corp. will name the first-floor café in the building the Smith Family Learning Commons Café.” Rodney Smith has served on the college board of trustees since 1980 and was named a life trustee in 2011. Read more at http://augustafreepress.com/bridgewater-college-secures-third-seven-figure-gift-learning-commons .

-- The first offering in the 2017-18 Ventures in Christian Discipleship webinar series from McPherson (Kan.) College will be Saturday, Sept. 16, from 9 a.m.-12 noon (central time). The presenter will be Kirk MacGregor, assistant professor of philosophy and religion at McPherson College, speaking on the topic “Welcoming Muslims: Understanding the Differences Between 98 Percent of the World’s Muslims, Islamists, and Jihadists.” Continuing education credit is available for ministers, go to www.mcpherson.edu/ventures .

-- The August episode of “Brethren Voices,” a community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features “Stories of Survival by the Nigerian Brethren” as told to Carol Mason of Centralia, Wash. Mason served as a Church of the Brethren mission worker in Nigeria for 10 years, and recently returned to Nigeria to compile 300 stories and photographs of Nigerians who have survived the violence of the Boko Haram insurgency for a book to be published by Brethren Press.
     The September episode will feature Katie Schreckengast, a member of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren who will be Miss Pennsylvania in the Miss America Pageant to be held in Atlantic City on Sept. 10. Also, Church of the Brethren general secretary David Steele is featured as he tours the Church of the Brethren districts in a “Listening Tour.”
     DVD copies of the program are available from producer Ed Groff at Groffprod1@msn.com . Programs also may be viewed at www.youtube.com/brethrenvoices .

-- The Bittersweet Gospel Band will tour in Maryland and Virginia in August. Church of the Brethren members Gilbert Romero, Scott Duffey, Leah Hileman, Dan Shaffer, David Sollenberger, Trey Curry, Andy Duffey, and Kevin Walsh will all participate in various parts of the tour. Several Church of the Brethren congregations will host concerts including Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren, Aug. 23, 7 p.m., benefiting the Hagerstown Area Religious Council which works locally on issues of food security, education readiness, and poverty alleviation; and at Wakeman’s Grove Church of the Brethren in Edinburg, Va., Aug. 24, 7 p.m. Mt. Zion-Linville Church of the Brethren, Aug. 26, 6 p.m.; Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren, Aug. 27, leading an outdoor worship service at 10:30 a.m., followed by an annual all church picnic; Summerdean and Renacer Churches of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., Aug. 27, 5 p.m. On Aug. 25 the band will visit the Staunton (Va.) Juvenile Detention Center during day, and then participate in the “Sing Me High” Music Festival in Harrisonburg, Va., beginning at 5 p.m. The band will give their festival concert on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 1 p.m. at “Sing Me High” benefiting the Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va. Tickets for the event can be purchased online. The public is invited to any and all worship concerts.

-- Aug. 13 is the date of a joint north-south prayer service sponsored by the councils of churches in North Korea and South Korea. A memorial worship service will be held at a church in Seoul recognizing the anniversary of the division of the Korean Peninsula that took place on Aug. 15, 1945. The prayer service is jointly written by Christians in both countries. Find out more about the Christian ecumenical effort for a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula at www.kncc.or.kr/eng/sub04/sub03.php?ptype=view&idx=18389&page=1&code=eng_board_04_2 .

-- In June, 97-year-old George Etzweiler became the oldest person to make it to the peak of Mount Washington in the annual race up the 6,288-foot mountain. Bonnie Kline Smeltzer, pastor of University Baptist and Brethren Church in State College, Pa., where Etzweiler is a member, shared his accomplishment with Newsline. She commented that it is “amazing news about one of UBBC’s saints!” Etzweiler was the subject of an article published by the Centre Daily, which reported that “it is the 12th time he has finished the race, which follows the 7.6-mile road up the peak in northern New Hampshire, with an elevation gain of 4,727 feet.” Read the article at www.centredaily.com/sports/article156810234.html .


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Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Doris Abdullah, Scott Duffey, Kathleen Fry-Miller, Kendra Harbeck, Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey, Bonnie Kline Smeltzer, Glenna Thompson, Jenny Williams, David Young, and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Over the summer, Newsline will go to an every-other-week schedule, to allow for vacation time for staff. Please continue to send news tips and submissions to the editor at cobnews@brethren.org .

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.