Church World Service (CWS) has created new worship resources to highlight this year’s CROP Hunger Walk, for the nine Sundays leading up to and including World Communion Sunday on Oct. 7. Churches are invited to begin using the resources as early as this Sunday, Aug. 5. The resources are lectionary-based and include videos, mission moments, and litanies that lift up the issues of refugees, hunger, and water. “We hope these may be useful to you in your worship settings,” said an announcement from CWS. Download the worship resources in pdf format at https://resources.crophungerwalk.org/resource/crop-hunger-walk-worship-resource .
-- Carol Spicher Waggy began July 15 as interim district executive minister for South/Central Indiana District, to conclude at the end of the year. She will serve in the interim position while Beth Sollenberger takes a leave of absence from her leadership in the district in order to devote her attention to ongoing duties as interim district executive for Michigan District. Since January of this year, Sollenberger has been serving quarter time with Michigan District in addition to her role as half time executive for South/Central Indiana. Spicher Waggy is a retired ordained minister from Goshen, Ind., who has served previously as interim district executive for both Northern Indiana and South/Central Indiana Districts. She is a graduate of Goshen College and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary with degrees in social work and pastoral counseling, has training as a mediator/facilitator, and served as a missionary in Nigeria from 1983-88. She currently is a member of the Mission Advisory Committee for the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service and volunteers with Children’s Disaster Services. She is an active member of Rock Run Church of the Brethren in Goshen.
-- Harrison Jarrett, director of youth ministries for Shenandoah District, has resigned effective July 31, to pursue other areas of ministry.
-- Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) Unit 319 has begun two and a half weeks of orientation hosted at Camp Colorado, a Church of the Brethren camp in Western Plains District. The volunteers will spend their time building community, discerning their project sites for the next one to two years, serving at the camp and in Denver, and discussing topics such as vocation, peace, and identity and privilege. For more about BVS go to www.brethren.org/bvs .
-- A new blogpost reviews the visit of Yuguda Mdurvwa, disaster ministries leader from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) to observe and participate at project sites of Brethren Disaster Ministries in the United States. Go to http://blog.brethren.org .
-- The theme for the International Day of Peace in 2018 is “The Right to Peace--The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70,” according to an announcement from On Earth Peace. This year’s Peace Day 2018 will lift up that vision, said the announcement, “which connects deeply to God's dream for all humanity.” Peace Day is observed on Sept. 21.
-- Roanoke (Va.) First Church of the Brethren is celebrating 125 years on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m. A meal will follow. The speakers will be former pastor David Racy Miller and others.
-- Marion (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is celebrating 100 years, according to a notice in the "Marion Star." The celebration Sunday was July 29. “Throughout its 100 years serving the Marion community, the congregation has supported local people and programs such as providing school supplies, health kits, blankets for the homeless, community dinners, Angel Tree gifts, free community brunch on the second Saturday of each month, financial donations and more,” said the newspaper article.
-- In the news, two Manchester University coaches accompanying a Church of the Brethren workcamp to New York. “A trip to New York City in mid-July was beyond any ‘dad moment’ for Manchester University head baseball coach Rick Espeset and Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Brian Cashdollar,” reports the “Times Union” newspaper. “The duo stepped in as advisors for one of the Church of the Brethren’s 2018 summer work camp events due to the retirement of the North Manchester church’s youth pastor.” Espeset said, “It was truly an experience not to forget with so many wonderful moments that we were part of.” Find the story at https://timesuniononline.com/Content/Local-News/Sports/Article/Manchester-University-Coaches-Share-Work-Camp-Experiences/2/226/114240 .
-- Also in the news is White Oak Church of the Brethren's Manheim Project in the area around Manheim, Pa. "Volunteers wearing blue Manheim Project t-shirts were a familiar sight in Manheim Borough and parts of Rapho and Penn Townships from July 23 through 31," reports the "Lititz Record Express." "Even a rainy week that dumped nearly 12 inches of rain on the area didn’t discourage volunteers from 11 area churches from participating.... The Manheim Project was launched in 2013 by White Oak Church of the Brethren as a one-week 'mission trip' in its own community." Nate Minnich, one of the coordinators, told the newspaper the project has grown to include more churches and more volunteers, and now reaches out to encompass the entire Manheim Central School District. Read more at http://lititzrecord.com/manheim/the-manheim-project-provides-assistance-to-local-families .
-- Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on July 8 hosted a celebration in honor of Brad and Lori Ortenzi on their completion of a cross-country bicycle trip to raise funds to end child labor and sex trafficking. The "Ephrata Review" reports that their “Road of Justice” bike ride raised more than $283,000 for ZOE International, a Christian nonprofit that strives to put an end to labor and sex trafficking of children. The husband and wife team are Christian missionaries currently based in Thailand. Read the article at www.ephratareview.com/news/quite-the-spokespersons .
-- Northern Plains District has announced the closing of Beaver (Iowa) Church of the Brethren. “The District Board appointed a committee consisting of Dan Heefner, Rhonda Bingman, Barbara Wise Lewczak, and Tim Button-Harrison to work on proper transfer and disposal of church properties and assets, care of remaining members, and planning for a final worship service to remember and celebrate the congregation's 117 years of faithful ministry,” said the district e-newsletter. That service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 11 a.m., followed by a lunch at the Beaver Community Center. “Members and friends of the Beaver congregation and the Northern Plains District are warmly invited to come and share in this service and the meal following,” the announcement said.
-- The 2018 Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction raised $208,599.38 to support disaster relief efforts, reports the district e-newsletter. “That brings our 26-year auction total to exactly $4,745,635,” said the newsletter. “Thanks to everyone who helped in any way with the auction.” Catherine Lantz, chair of the auction coordinating committee, shared her gratitude: “We of the Shenandoah District have reason to rejoice that we can come together at our annual disaster ministries auction to meet old friends, make new ones, share with the larger community and mostly importantly raise funds for those who have been affected by the ravages of hurricanes, earthquakes, and crisis caused by humans.... The funds raised support the cost of sending our volunteers on Brethren Disaster Ministries projects and the remainder is sent to the Emergency Disaster Fund to be used by Brethren Disaster Ministries as needed around the world.”
-- Southern Ohio and Kentucky District is holding its 12th Annual Ice Cream Social to support the district’s disaster ministries. It will be hosted at Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Clayton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4, 4-7 p.m. The menu includes chicken and noodles, chili dogs, BBQ sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, cowboy beans, and a variety of pies and ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, peach, and maple pecan), reported the district e-newsletter.
-- “Sing Me High” takes place Aug. 24-25 at CrossRoads Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va. This two-day music festival begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 24, and continues all day on Saturday, Aug. 25. A highlight is a new production combining Ted & Co. with the Walking Roots Band at 8:15 p.m. Friday. Saturday opens with harmonia sacra singing at 10 a.m. Both evenings close with campfires. Go to www.vbmhc.org/sing-me-high-music-festival .
-- In the latest Dunker Punks Podcast, Jerry Crouse introduces several members of Warrensburg (Mo.) Church of the Brethren who discuss why the chose to and continue to be members of the church. The Dunker Punks Podcast is an audio show created by more than a dozen Brethren young adults across the country. Listen at http://bit.ly/DPP_Episode62 or subscribe on iTunes at http://bit.ly/DPP_iTunes .