Newsline for Nov. 10, 2017




Peace dove

Quotes of the week:

“The holiday’s original intent as Armistice Day, to be ‘a day dedicated to the cause of world peace,’ as it was celebrated at the ending of World War I when the world came together to recognize the need for lasting peace.”

-- From a statement from the group Veterans for Peace, urging the reclaiming of the original meaning of the Nov. 11 holiday ( www.veteransforpeace.org/take-action/armistice-day ).


“It is our conviction as humble followers of Christ, that all war is sin. We cannot therefore encourage, engage in, or willingly profit from armed conflict at home or abroad. We cannot, in the event of war, accept military service or support the military machine in any capacity.”

-- Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, 1934.

“Hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience” (1 Timothy 3:9).
 

NEWS
1) Brethren staff take part in Churches for Middle East Peace delegation meeting with Palestinian president
2) Food distributions in Nigeria continue during 'lean period'
3) Soybean Value Chain initiative advances in Nigeria

PERSONNEL
4) Debbie Eisenbise concludes work with Congregational Life Ministries

UPCOMING EVENTS
5) Young Adult Conference 2018 will ‘Teach with Your Life’
6) Sixth Brethren World Assembly is set for August in Indiana

RESOURCES
7) ‘The Magnificent Story’ is the 2017 Advent devotional from Brethren Press

8) Brethren bits: Remembrances, personnel, jobs, NYC speakers, Congressional Briefing on Nigeria, BVS Christmas card list, PowerHouse regional youth conference, and more


**********


1) Brethren staff take part in Churches for Middle East Peace delegation meeting with Palestinian president

From a CMEP release

A Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) delegation that included two Church of the Brethren staff members--Nathan Hosler, director of the Office of Public Witness, and Roy Winter, associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries--has met with Palestinian President Abbas on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

Nov. 2 marked the 100th anniversary of the historic declaration by Lord Balfour of Great Britain that “[viewed] with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The Balfour Declaration also stated “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

CMEP executive director Mae Elise Cannon, CMEP board chair Nathan Hosler, and a delegation from CMEP member denominations including Church of the Brethren and the Christian Reformed Church in North America, met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. During the meeting, President Abbas expressed appreciation to Rev. Dr. Cannon for CMEP’s work. 

The Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) delegation at St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem. At right is Nathan Hosler, director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness, who is serving as chair of the CMEP board. Third from left is Roy Winter, associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries.
Photo courtesy of CMEP

The Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) delegation at St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem. At right is Nathan Hosler, director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness, who is serving as chair of the CMEP board. Third from left is Roy Winter, associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries.

CMEP’s delegation also attended an event hosted by President Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, recognizing nine British citizens who walked more than 3,000 kilometers over 4.5 months to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. Called a “Just Walk to Jerusalem,” the journey was organized by Holy Land Trust and Amos Trust. At various times, more than 60 British pilgrims joined the walk “in penance for Britain’s failure to ensure the Balfour Declaration’s promise.” Watch a video from one of the participants at www.youtube.com/watch?v=djvwafyJBzU&feature=youtu.be .


Churches for Middle East Peace lamented the unilateral translation of the Balfour Declaration into support of one people group over another.

CMEP is committed to a just and durable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which Israelis and Palestinians realize the vision of a just peace, which illuminates human dignity and cultivates thriving relationships. CMEP works for an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, and seeks to promote a solution that advances security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians.

CMEP’s executive director Elise. Cannon wrote from Ramallah: “Today is a day of celebration for many within the Jewish community and of devastating loss for the Palestinians. In the midst of these contradictory realities, may church leaders be committed to justice and equal rights, security, and opportunities for a prosperous future, for all people living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace is a coalition of 27 national church denominations and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions, that works to encourage US policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. CMEP works to mobilize US Christians to embrace a holistic perspective and to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East.

-- Jessica Pollock-Kim provided this release from Churches for Middle East Peace.





2) Food distributions in Nigeria continue during 'lean period'

 EYN staff distribute food during this year's 'lean period' in northeast Nigeria
 A crowd gathers for an outdoor food distribution in the Maiduguri area

by Roxane Hill

The months from July until late October are called the “lean period” in Nigeria because food from last year’s harvest is almost gone, and the new crop is not yet ready. The Boko Haram insurgency has compounded this problem with a decreased ability to even plant crops. Statistics from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Nigeria) states that 8.5 million people in the area are still in need of humanitarian assistance.

The Disaster Ministry Response team of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren) has been very active in the last few months with eight food distributions. A lot of planning and effort goes into providing an organized distribution to around 300 families at a time. Food must be bought in the local market, loaded on trucks, and taken to the distribution point (often a church). The district leaders must have a list of needy families in their area and have contacted them to convene for the distribution.

The food distributions include a lot of waiting as the process unfolds. They are a visual reminder of the insecurity in the area and the devastation that has affected the people’s lives, when they receive the food in a destroyed church. There is happiness, however, in receiving the much needed food.

Please continue to pray for the people of northeast Nigeria.

-- Roxane Hill is coordinator of the Nigeria Crisis Response, a joint effort of EYN and the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries. For more information go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .





3) Soybean Value Chain initiative advances in Nigeria

by Dennis Thompson

The Soybean Value Chain initiative is led by a steering committee of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) with the goal to increase awareness of soybeans as a commercial crop and develop a soybean value chain that will provide sustainable economic benefits to farmers and farming communities.

The soybean project has been funded through the Global Food Initiative of the Church of the Brethren, and the Nigeria Crisis Response which is a joint effort with EYN. It is part of the rebuilding phase of the Nigeria Crisis Response.

Collaboration first began between the US Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) and the Church of the Brethren in 2016. The church sponsored a study tour for a joint Nigerian and Liberian delegation to spend time with me at the Soybean Innovation Lab’s SMART FARM in Ghana to discuss and learn about the power of the soybean value chain.

Church of the Brethren Global Food Initiative manager Jeffrey Boshart, who was born in Jos, Nigeria, spearheads this unique collaboration between the US Brethren, EYN, and SIL. He recently led a three-member US delegation to visit his EYN brothers and sisters. Accompanying Boshart was Pennsylvania Church of the Brethren pastor and dairy farmer Christian Elliot and me. The purpose of our visit was to interact with EYN leadership, EYN steering committee members, and participating farmers who were learning more about the scope of the soybean value chain.
 
The team made 20 visits to soybean production locations in the areas of Gombi, Kwarhi, Biu, Abuja, and Jos. The visits allowed ample observation of soybean field operations and interactions with individual farmers, farmer groups and the numerous EYN soybean value chain project support personnel who trained and worked with the farmers. The experience was beneficial in that it allowed observation of pilot project strategy effectiveness and program implementation effectiveness.

As a direct result of the 2017 EYN Soybean Value Chain pilot project, 100,000 farmers increased knowledge and awareness of the potential of soybeans as a commercial crop providing the soybean value chain can be further developed. Development will be necessary to assure the presence of sustained economic benefit to farmers, communities and supporting industries comprising the agricultural economy.

I was extremely impressed with the level of commitment and particularly of the level of personal implementation involvement that can be attributed to the seven highly talented individuals who comprise the EYN Soybean Value Chain steering committee. The results they have brought forth to-date (awareness and practical soybean production) are quite meaningful and their collective efforts most exemplary.
 
The next key piece of the puzzle is now underway. The steering committee is working toward the successful structuring of an effective and equitable marketing program that will inspire confidence in buyers and sellers alike--one that provides opportunity and assurance of economic benefit to all parties, whether directly or indirectly involved in the production and or utilization of soybeans.
 
The steering committee and I were elated to learn that the Church of the Brethren will provide project continuation funding to EYN for the 2018 year. I look forward to an opportunity for a return engagement to further interact with and support steering committee members as they consider program modifications that will further their work during 2018, and better serve farmers in the future.

-- Dennis Thompson is a principal investigator for US Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.





4) Debbie Eisenbise concludes work with Congregational Life Ministries

Debbie Eisenbise’s work with the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries has concluded, as of Wednesday, Nov. 8. She had worked for almost three years as director of Intergenerational Ministries.

Eisenbise started in the position on Jan. 15, 2015. Her work included coordinating Inspiration 2017, this year’s National Older Adult Conference (NOAC), as well as serving as staff for the Disabilities Ministry, and connecting with the Church of the Brethren’s spiritual directors, among other responsibilities.





5) Young Adult Conference 2018 will ‘Teach with Your Life’

by Becky Ullom Naugle

Logo for Young Adult Conference 2018

Young adults are invited to attend Young Adult Conference 2018. YAC will be held at Camp Brethren Woods (near Keezletown, Va.) on May 25-27, and is planned specifically to enrich the faith journeys of those aged 18-35. This year’s theme is “Teach with Your Life,” based on 1 Timothy 4:11-16.

“We all have a story, gifts, and powerful experiences to share. Our paths might not always be clear or steadfast, but this scripture teaches us to persevere. In times of uncertainty, fear, and hatred, we must continue to be empowered and inspire others to spread God’s word and love,” said Jessie Houff. “What can you teach the world?”

Leadership for the weekend includes preachers Christopher Michael, Dawna Welch, and Logan Schrag; music coordinator Jacob Crouse; and worship coordinator Sarah Neher. In addition to four worship services, the weekend will include workshops, recreation, and plenty of time for fellowship and fun.

Online registration opens Feb. 1, 2018, at www.brethren.org . The registration fee of $150 includes programming, lodging, and food. A non-refundable deposit of $75 is due within two weeks of registering. BVS scholarships and local church scholarships are available by request (contact Becky Ullom Naugle, bullomnaugle@brethren.org). After April 30, a late registration fee of $25 will be applied.

YAC is planned by the Young Adult Steering Committee: Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred (Washington D.C.), Emmy Goering (McPherson, Kan.), Jessie Houff (Baltimore, Md.), Krystal Bellis (Ankeny, Iowa), Renee Neher (Lombard, Ill.), and Rudy Amaya (Pasadena, Calif.). Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, facilitates the committee’s work.





6) Sixth Brethren World Assembly is set for August in Indiana

A feetwashing basin and Bible on the worship center at the 5th Brethren World Assembly
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

A feetwashing basin and Bible on the worship center at the 5th Brethren World Assembly

A release from the Brethren Encyclopedia Project, Inc.

Plans are being finalized for the Sixth Brethren World Assembly, to be held Aug. 9-12, 2018, in Winona Lake, Ind. This gathering happens every five years for Brethren groups descended from Alexander Mack in 1708, and is sponsored by the Brethren Encyclopedia Project, Inc.

“Brethren Intersections: History, Identity, Crosscurrents” is the working theme for the four-day assembly, which will be hosted by the Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church. The event is open to all, and will feature lectures, panel discussions, historical tours, worship services, and much more.

The first day of the assembly will be Thursday, Aug. 9, with several plenary sessions focusing on historical and religious intersections for the Brethren, and it will conclude with a worship service and ice cream social. The second day, Friday, Aug. 10, will include sessions that focus on the Brethren-evangelical relationship in the eras of Charles G. Finney, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham. Afternoon panels and sessions will include a bus tour of sites in and around historic Winona Lake, once home of the world’s largest Bible conference, and a central conference point for Brethren groups since the 1880s.

The third day, Saturday, Aug. 11, will focus on themes of social justice, relationship with the military, gender questions, and will include a bus tour of historic Brethren sites at Arnold’s Grove in Milford, Ind., and Camp Alexander Mack on Lake Waubee. On Sunday, attendees are encouraged to worship with local Brethren congregations not of their own groups.

A modest registration fee will include meals, admittance to all sessions, ice cream socials, a follow-up book containing all proceedings, and more. Attenders will be responsible for finding their own lodging in the Warsaw/Winona Lake area. Complete registration information will be available shortly after the first of the year. Those interested in attending are encouraged now to save the dates of Aug. 9-12, 2018.

The Brethren Encyclopedia publishes encyclopedias and monographs of Brethren interest. The group comprises representatives of the seven groups descended from Alexander Mack, which include Church of the Brethren, The Brethren Church, Dunkard Brethren Church, Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, Conservative Grace Brethren Churches International, and two groups from the Old Order German Baptist Brethren heritage. For more information log onto www.brethrenencyclopedia.org .

-- Terry White provided this release.





7) ‘The Magnificent Story’ is the 2017 Advent devotional from Brethren Press

2017 Advent Devotional, The Magnificent Story by Jim Lehman

This year’s Advent devotional booklet published by Brethren Press is titled “The Magnificent Story” and written by James H. Lehman. The Brethren Press devotional series is published twice a year, in anticipation of the Advent and Lenten seasons. The pocket sized paperback booklet is suitable for individual devotions as well as for congregations to give to their members, and costs $3.50 for regular print, or $6.95 for large print.

In other news from Brethren Press, the theme and author for the Lenten devotional for 2018 have been announced: “Growing in God’s Garden” by Erin Matteson.

Also, the Winter quarter of “A Guide for Biblical Studies” is now available, for use by adult Sunday school classes and small groups in the months of December 2017 and January and February 2018. “Faith in Action” is the theme for the Winter book, written by Harold S. Martin, with Frank Ramirez writing the “Out of Context” feature. “Guide” offers a chapter for each week of study, daily scripture texts for individual devotional reading, study questions, and more.

Advent devotional

“We are invited to encounter the people and places and events of the Advent story, and even some ideas it has inspired, in order to come closer to the One who gave us the story,” said a Brethren Press announcement of the devotional. “In the midst of the activities and challenges of the Christmas season, may these daily devotions give us moments of quiet and joy.... May we open our hearts, once again, to this magnificent story and allow its drama to remind us of the mystery and beauty and power of God’s love.”

The announcement noted that becoming a seasonal subscriber to the devotional series is easy, saves money, and costs only $6 a year for both the Advent and Lenten booklet in regular print, or $12 a year for both booklets in large print. Subscriptions are renewed automatically each year at the discounted rate, and bulk quantities can be adjusted with a simple call. Subscribers can cancel their enrollment in the program at any time.

To purchase the Advent devotional or “A Guide for Biblical Studies,” call Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or order online at www.brethrenpress.com . To sign up for the seasonal devotional standing order program, call 800-441-3712.





8) Brethren bits

 NYC 2018 - meme for speaker announcements

Starting next week, until the week registration opens for National Youth Conference, the NYC office will announce one speaker a week. The speakers will be announced on social media every Tuesday, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. The list of speakers will be released in Newsline as the information becomes available. “Don’t miss out on this really exciting news!” said the announcement, that urged youth to follow @cobnyc2018 on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, and to “like” the “National Youth Conference 2018” Facebook page.

-- Remembrance: Shirley Brubaker, 87, died in Barrington, Ill., on Oct. 21. She had held a position at the Church of the Brethren’s Messenger magazine offices, in earlier years. She was a resident of Elgin, Ill., since 1951, and was a long-time member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin. She was a leader in several civic organizations in the Elgin area. She and Edward Brubaker were married 54 years, until his death in 2005. Survivors include daughters Tricia Hernandez and Sally Vincent (William) and grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Highland Avenue Church on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., with a reception following.

-- Remembrance: Merilyn Foltz Tansil, 78, died Sept. 6 in Lebanon, Ohio, where she resided at Otterbein Retirement Community the past two years. She served as receptionist at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and was a former employee of Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). She grew up in Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, where she was active in music, playing bells and flute. In later years she was a special friend of Ron Rocke until his death in 2003. Prior to moving to Ohio, she resided for a decade in Columbus, Ind., remaining close with members of the Rocke family. A memorial service was conducted Sept. 16 at Otterbein Home.

-- Joe Detrick has completed an interim assignment as director of the Office of Ministry for the Church of the Brethren. His last day is Friday, Nov. 10. He has worked in the position for more than a year, since June 22, 2016. He is retired from serving the denomination as a pastor and a district executive. He also is former staff for Brethren Volunteer Service.

-- Margie Paris is retiring as program assistant in the Office of Ministry for the Church of the Brethren, effective Feb. 8, 2018. She has worked at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., for more than 28 years. She began her service on Aug. 30, 1989, as the assistant Yearbook coordinator. In 1996 she became the Yearbook coordinator and in August 1999 she began in her current role. A key focus of her work in the Office of Ministry has been facilitating daily operation of the denomination’s Pastoral Placement system, working closing with district executives and district administrative assistants. She has provided administrative support for the director of Ministry and has facilitated support for the director’s work with various committees and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership.

-- Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced the appointment of Jonathan Shively as interim administrative director. Shively is a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., and has worked for the Church of the Brethren denomination in various capacities at the administrative level, including eight years as executive director of Congregational Life Ministries. He holds a certificate in nonprofit management from North Park University. Said Jason Boone, CPT Steering Committee chair and coordinating minister for the Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA, in a release: “With the completion of Sarah Thompson’s term as Executive Director, we wanted to take the opportunity of this transition to explore next steps with intentionality. Jonathan’s particular leadership skills will help position CPT to move our mission of building partnerships to transform violence and oppression forward with healthy vigor.” In addition to serving half-time with CPT for the next year, Shively continues as director of Advancement for Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mt. Morris, Ill.

-- Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership seeks a coordinator of Spanish-Language Ministry Training Programs. The academy is a ministry training partnership of the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Seminary. The coordinator will communicate and work with liaisons and students from the districts involved in the certificate-level ministry training programs, with the director and faculty provided by the Mennonite Education Agency (ecumenical partner in the SeBAH program), and with other constituent groups. Qualifications include fluency in Spanish and English, both in oral and written communication; experience in the Latino church, either in the United States or abroad; completed ministry or theological training in the Anabaptist tradition; practical experience in pastoral ministry; ability to travel as needed. Qualifications preferred include Spanish as a first language; licensing or ordination in the Church of the Brethren or another Anabaptist tradition; a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an appropriate field for the position. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt and will be accepted until the position is filled. Interested candidates should send their resumes, a letter of interest, and contact information for three references by e-mail to Janet L. Ober Lambert, Director, Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374; spanishacademy@bethanyseminary.edu . Bethany Theological Seminary’s policy prohibits discrimination in employment opportunities or practices with regard to race, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or religion. Find the full position description and more information at https://bethanyseminary.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Spanish-Language-Coord-Description_Rev.pdf .

-- A Congressional Briefing on Nigeria is hosted by the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness on Nov. 13, 2:30-3:30 p.m., at the Rayburn House Office Building Room 2103 in Washington, D.C. “This year, the Nigerian government embarked on a 60 day ‘surge’ to eliminate Boko Haram, but following the surge the country still faces insurgency and humanitarian crisis,” said an invitation to the event. “Partnering with Nigeria to solve the multi-faceted issues the nation faces is no easy task. Our panel of experts will share their insights into the holistic work that must be done in the country.” The event will address a host of issues including the humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria, accessibility to the region, government accountability, Congress' role in security reform, human rights, and peacebuilding/recovery work.

-- Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) invites church members and friends to send Christmas cards to BVS volunteers this December. The BVS office is sharing a list of the names and addresses of the current BVSers with the invitation. “Our volunteers love receiving cards and greetings from Brethren congregations!” the invitation says. Find the 2017 address list at www.brethren.org/bvs/files/2017-volunteer-list.pdf .

-- On Nov. 18-19 the PowerHouse regional youth conference will return to Camp Mack in Indiana, providing a weekend of worship, workshops, music, recreation, and more for senior high youth in the Midwest and their advisors. This year’s speaker is Jamie Makatche and she will speak on the theme "Who Am I?" based on 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. The cost is $90 for youth, $80 for advisors. Find out more information and register today by visiting the PowerHouse website: www.manchester.edu/powerhouse . This event is sponsored by Manchester University’s church relations office.

-- University Baptist and Brethren Church in State College, Pa., received rave reviews from StateCollege.com, which reported that “anyone seeking the true spirit of Christmas needs to look no further than the University Baptist and Brethren Church’s annual Alternative Christmas Fair.” Started in 1982, the fair has raised more than $600,000 for local, national, and international nonprofit organizations over the past 34 years. The article about the event “was in the monthly Town and Gown magazine that is circulated at all the hotels and businesses in State College,” reports pastor Bonnie Kline Smeltzer. Find the article at www.statecollege.com/news/town-and-gown/alternative-christmas-fair,1474340 .

 Christian Elliott carries letter to EYN president Joel Billi

Christian Elliott, pastor of Knobsville Church of the Brethren in Southern Pennsylvania District, traveled to Nigeria recently with Jeff Boshart, manager of the Global Food Initiative, to evaluate an agriculture project. “We carried with us a letter from Chambersburg, Pa. (Southern Pennsylvania District) Church of the Brethren pastor Joel Nogle,” he reports. “Included were drawings from a number of children in the congregation. In the attached photo, I am shown presenting the letter to EYN (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria) president Joel Billi. We are standing in front of EYN headquarters. It didn't get past us that both pastors are named Joel!”

-- District conference season in the Church of the Brethren closes out in November. On Nov. 3-4, Atlantic Southeast District Conference met at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., and Illinois and Wisconsin District Conference met at York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill. Pacific Southwest District holds its conference at Hillcrest, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in La Verne, Calif., on Nov. 10-12. Virlina District gathers in Roanoke, Va., on Nov. 10-11. Puerto Rico District has yet to determine the location and date for its district conference this year.

-- Western Pennsylvania District Conference on Oct. 21 received a special offering to assist the  Puerto Rico Brethren affected by Hurricane Maria. Donations from churches and individuals totaled $7,555, reported district executive minister Bill Wenger. The district is extending the opportunity to give to the special offering up through Thanksgiving, so that more people in the district can participate and the total can grow. The funds will be sent to the Puerto Rico District to support its disaster response program, which is being done in partnership with Brethren Disaster Ministries. Wenger commented on the personal nature of this giving. “Since we have a Puerto Rico District it helps us focus on that,” he said. “These are folks we know.”

-- The Church World Service (CWS) kit collection in Shenandoah District has filled a trailer with emergency clean-up buckets and hygiene and health kits. The donations totaled 748 clean-up buckets, 1,323 hygiene kits, and 380 school kits.

-- Pinecrest Manor, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Mt. Morris, Ill., appears in the number 1 spot in a list of the 73 Illinois nursing homes labeled as "top performing" with overall ratings of 4.5 or greater. This new set of ratings places nearly 2,300 nursing homes in the United States as top care providers in the country for 2017-18. The “Nursing Home Finder” was released by “US News and World Report” at the end of October, and evaluates more than 15,000 nursing homes across the country. “To create the "Nursing Home Finder," U.S. News used data from Nursing Home Compare, a program run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,” reports “Across Illinois Patch.” The nursing homes were rated "poor" to "top-performing" on a scale of 1 to 5. Pinecrest Manor received a 5 rating. Find the article at https://patch.com/illinois/across-il/73-illinois-nursing-homes-rated-best-state-u-s-news .

-- Camp Mack is offering Cookie Days in early December, with three times to sign up. “Fill your cookie jar for the holiday,” said an announcement. Cost is $45 dollars for a four-hour session and about 12 dozen cookies, with lunch or dinner provided. “And we clean up the mess!” the announcement noted. The camp provides the ingredients, measuring utensils, and mixing bowls. Participants may bring along family members, and will mix the dough, sample cookies, and sip hot chocolate. Choose 4 batches of cookies (each makes about 3 dozen) Choose from a variety of cookie recipes. Sessions are offered on Dec. 2 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 12 noon-4 p.m., and Dec. 3 from 12 noon-4 p.m. Go to www.campmack.org/christmas .

-- The Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, is hosting a Nigeria Crisis Update and Reception for special guests Samuel and Rebecca Dali on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. Samuel Dali is a past president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Rebecca Dali is the founder and leader of the Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI), a Nigerian nonprofit serving victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, and recent recipient of the United Nation’s . The event is co-sponsored by the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren and EYN. Find out more about the Nigeria Crisis Response at www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .

One of the burned buildlings in Tijuana, Mexico, related to Bittersweet Ministries

One of the burned buildlings in Tijuana, Mexico, related to Bittersweet Ministries

-- A building of Bittersweet Ministries in Tijuana, Mexico, and four nearby homes were destroyed by a fire recently. Bittersweet Ministries is a Church of the Brethren-related ministry serving children and others in need in the Tijuana area, with leadership from Brethren minister Gilbert Romero among others. The fire destroyed a newly renovated daycare center building, but an older established center in a different neighborhood was unharmed. The fire started in a neighboring building, but it could not be stopped as the government had turned off water to the neighborhood several days before, reported Bittersweet leader Gilbert Romero to Jeff Boshart of the Global Food Initiative, which has helped fund some of the ministry’s work in Tijuana. Bittersweet has plans to rebuild three of the destroyed homes next summer, reported Boshart, and is looking for help to rebuild one home and the daycare center immediately, he added. “The location of the fire is where he [Romero] has had a desire to plant a Church of the Brethren preaching point for some years,” Boshart said. A prayer request from other supporters of the ministry asked, “Pray for those who have been affected and displaced, and for the ability of the ministry to help this community get back on their feet again.”

-- An action alert from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition is being shared by Church World Service (CWS), regarding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consideration of whether or not to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the United States. The DHS decision is expected before Thanksgiving. “Given the recent TPS terminations for Sudan and Nicaragua, we are deeply concerned that DHS will end TPS for Haitians altogether,” the alert said. “Haiti's recovery since the devastating 2010 earthquake has been interrupted by a series of other natural disasters that resulted in widespread housing and food insecurity, exacerbated the cholera epidemic, and led to public health crises.” CWS is encouraging calls to elected leaders in support of Haitians who are living in the United States with TPS status. “Haitians should be allowed to remain in the United States while Haiti continues to recover,” the alert said. The situation affects about 58,000 Haitians--including some members of the Church of the Brethren--who have been in the United States since Jan. 12, 2011, Find the full text of the action alert at www.interfaithimmigration.org/2017/11/09/take-action-today-urge-congress-and-dhs-to-protect-haitians .


**********
Newsline is the e-mail news service of the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Please send news tips and submissions to editor--Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren, at cobnews@brethren.org . Contributors to this issue also include Shamek Cardona, Scott Duffey, Roxane Hill, Rebekah Houff, Kelsey Murray, Becky Ullom Naugle. Howard Royer, Dennis Thompson, Bill Wenger, and Terry White.

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.