Brethren bits for March 23, 2018




 "The Last March" at First Church of the Brethren in Chicago

First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Illinois, and the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago are partnering with McCormick Theological Seminary to present “The Last March” at 7 p.m. on April 4. This will be an evening of spoken word, song, and discussion commemorating the final year of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. “National populist memories of Dr. King tend to neglect the challenges of justice he articulated toward the end of his life,” said an announcement. “The Last March” will feature Nanette Banks, Benjamin Reynolds, Johari Jabir, Benneth Lee, and other artists, clergy, scholars, and members of the community. The event will engage in contemplative reflection on the last year of Dr. King’s life, leading up to his final hours in Memphis, Tenn. The event is free and open to the public.

-- Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks to fill two positions:
     A client manager for the Brethren Foundation. The primary function is to provide field presence and backup support for the director of the Brethren Foundation and the manager of Brethren Foundation Operations. This position will allow for increased capacity of servicing clients and will provide backup support for Foundation staff. The ideal candidate will have an undergraduate degree in business and a strong working knowledge of investments. The successful candidate may be required to obtain additional financial credentials. This position requires a person who enjoys working with people; is detail oriented and has the ability to prioritize workloads; is proficient with computer systems and applications; and possesses exceptional organizational skills. Impeccable follow-up abilities are a must. BBT seeks candidates with strong verbal and written communications skills, proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, demonstrated track record of providing superior customer service, and a willingness and ability to expand knowledge and effectiveness through classes and workshops. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required.

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A retirement planning consultant. The primary function is to provide financial education and appropriate resources to members in our Pension Plan and Insurance Plans, aiding them in their goals to get them to and through retirement. Duties include creating and administering a financial planning program that empowers members in their retirement readiness preparations. Identifying and promoting appropriate financial planning tools (i.e. pension recordkeeping interface, Money Tree software, and other planning tools), while supporting participants in meeting their personal financial goals. The ideal candidate will have an undergraduate degree in business and a strong working knowledge of financial planning/investments. Additional designations will be required to obtain (i.e. CRPC or CFP). This position requires a person who enjoys working with people; is detail oriented and has the ability to prioritize workloads; proficient with computer systems and applications; and exceptional organizational skills. Impeccable follow-up abilities are a must. BBT seeks candidates with strong verbal and written communications skills, proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, and a demonstrated track record of providing superior customer service and a willingness and ability to expand knowledge and effectiveness through classes and workshops. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. This position requires some business travel.
     These are full-time, exempt positions based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Salary and benefits are competitive with organizations of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Send a letter of interest, résumé, three professional references, and salary-range expectation to Donna March at 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or dmarch@cobbt.org . For more information about Brethren Benefit Trust visit www.cobbt.org .

National Youth Conference 2018 logo

-- National Youth Sunday materials are now available online at www.brethren.org/yya/national-youth-sunday.html . The suggested Sunday for youth leadership in worship is May 6. The theme for this year is the National Youth Conference (NYC) theme, inspired by Colossians 3:12-15: “Bound Together: Clothed in Christ.” Materials include original worship resources such as prayers, calls to worship, invocations, scripture jams, a children’s story, music suggestions, and a sample sermon, among others.

-- Brethren are invited by the Intercultural Ministries to an online conversation about the “Black Panther” film. The event takes place Thursday, March 29, at 1 p.m. (Eastern time). Join via video at https://redbooth.com/vc/e32c17ebab699ba7 . Join via phone by dialing +1 415 762 9988 (meeting ID is 604705231, no participant ID is required). Why join the conversation? asked an announcement. “Because this movie is a cultural phenomena,” it answered. “Because no one believed a movie starring an African American cast could become an international blockbuster. Because it has sparked many interesting conversations about race in the United States. Because comic books draw on Judeo-Christan images of the chosen people and messiah characters. Because you have a stash of mint-condition comic books and never thought you would get to brag on a denominational conference call. Because you went and watched the movie--more than once. Because no one else in your congregation is talking about it. Because you want to be part of a multicultural conversation about this movie.” Also available is a short survey, that may be found on the webpage with the announcement at http://support.brethren.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=37246.0&dlv_id=45353 . For questions or feedback, contact Intercultural Ministries director Gimbiya Kettering at gkettering@brethren.org .

-- Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has announced a training to take place on May 11-12 in Chicago, Ill. The event will take place at St. Josaphat School at 2245 North Southport Avenue. Participants will receive training to become CDS volunteers who aid children and families after disaster strikes. The local contact is Melissa Ockerman, 614-226-9664 or melissa.ockerman@depaul.edu . For more information see www.brethren.org/cds .

-- A March For Our Lives Breakfast Gathering on Saturday, March 24, is co-hosted by the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy and the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Washington Office. The breakfast starts at 9:30 a.m. at Washington City Church of the Brethren, 337 North Carolina Ave. SE, in Washington, D.C. Those attending the March for Our Lives event against gun violence are invited to start their day at the Brethren and Mennonite morning gathering. Go to the Facebook event page www.facebook.com/events/1915849375100605 .

-- An “ACT NOW: Unite to End Racism” rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is scheduled for April 4, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy of the Church of the Brethren is volunteering at the event, encouraging Church of the Brethren congregations to attend, and working to provide hospitality/coordination for Church of the Brethren march participants. On Tuesday evening, April 3, an ecumenical worship service will be held. On Wednesday morning, April 4, a silent prayer walk will proceed to the National Mall, culminating in an interfaith prayer service preceding the 9 a.m. anti-racism rally. Thursday, April 5 is slated for advocacy and action efforts in the nation’s capital. “Fifty years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. went to Memphis, Tenn., to support 1,300 striking sanitation workers battling deadly working conditions, low wages and white supremacy,” said an announcement of the rally. “The night before he was murdered standing on a hotel balcony on April 4, 1968, he told them, ‘We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through.” The event is being held with several ecumenical partners including the National Council of Churches (NCC) and several of its 38 member communions. Next week, the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy will be sending out an Action Alert about the rally with more information.

-- On Earth Peace has endorsed the “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival” and is inviting congregations to join with the campaign’s efforts in their own states. The Poor People’s Campaign is reigniting an effort to bring people who are poor and disenfranchised together as happened in the months before the assassination of the Martin Luther King Jr. On the upcoming of the 50th anniversary of King’s death, the organizers are commemorating that work. At least 40 states have groups now organizing as part of the campaign. The campaign’s core principles are founded in nonviolence, power to the disenfranchised, justice, building a “Peace Economy,” organizing in local communities and more. On Earth Peace staff member Matt Guynn is co-chair for Nonviolent Moral Fusion direct action training and strategy in the state of Oregon. He shares, “The Poor People’s Campaign is a call for moral revival--a time for those of us in church communities to re-examine what we’re willing to do for justice, as an expression of our faith commitment. This is an opportunity for so many of us in faith communities and people of good will to put our values into action.” On Earth Peace is inviting congregations to get involved in the Poor People’s Campaign in their own states. Sign up at https://poorpeoplescampaign.org . Contact On Earth Peace to let the staff know of congregational involvement in the campaign with an email to racialjustice@onearthpeace.org . Alyssa Parker is serving as an intern with On Earth Peace on this effort.

-- Manchester University will be holding an “MLK50 Bell Toll Service” on April 4, beginning at 6:30 p.m., on its campus in North Manchester, Ind. “Manchester joins campuses and churches across the nation and around the world in a solemn reflection marking the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr,” said an announcement. “At 7:05 p.m. local time, bells will ring 39 times to mark the number of years Dr. King dwelled on this Earth.”

This Evil Thing poster

-- Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., is hosting and co-sponsoring a performance of "This Evil Thing," a one-man play written and performed by Michael Mears. The performance is scheduled for April 13 at 7:30 p.m. Co-sponsors are Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) and the Center for Conscience and War. The play tells the story of English conscientious objectors during World War I. “‘This Evil Thing’ is the compelling, inspiring and rarely told story of the men who said no to war; and the men and women who supported them,” said an announcement, “involving a dizzying journey from a chapel in Yorkshire to the House of Commons; from an English country garden to a quarry in Aberdeen; from a cell in Richmond Castle to a firing squad in France. With military conscription still in force in many countries today, and prisoners of conscience still languishing in jails, the questions posed are as relevant and urgent as they were 100 years ago.” A free-will offering will be received.

-- Actor and playwright Michael Mears is also bringing his one-man play, “This Evil Thing,” to Manchester University on March 27, at 7 p.m. in Wine Recital Hall. The play about conscription of soldiers during World War I and the conscientious objectors who refused to take up arms, is free and open to the public. “Mears portrays a gallery of characters,” said a release from the college, “from conscientious objectors to army generals, from prime ministers to stretcher-bearers--with breathtaking physical and vocal dexterity. This critically acclaimed, original piece of storytelling uses verbatim testimonies and a multi-layered sound landscape. The lone actor uses just a few simple wooden props.” This program is brought to Manchester by the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, with support from the Timothy Wayne Rieman and Gwen Radebach Rieman Fund; the Office of Religious Life, with support from the Christian Leadership Endowment Fund, and the Peace Studies Institute.

-- Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Littleton, Colo., hosted an after school event on March 14 where “dozens of Heritage High School students crammed into the basement,” the “Littleton Independent” reported. The event was intended to help the gun violence walkout participants “to take their activism beyond schoolyard walkouts into actionable public policy. Pastor Gail Erisman-Valeta organized a meeting between walkout participants and adults who could help them further their goals.” Leadership came from former state Senator Linda Newell who taught a course in introducing bills to the legislature; Tom Mauser, father of Columbine massacre victim Daniel Mauser and a longtime gun control advocate, who held a roundtable discussion; and Jacob Sankara from north Denver's Conflict Center who presented anger-management and conflict-resolution resources, among others. “Gun violence touches every single life, and we believe in the sanctity of life,” Erisman-Valeta said. Find the article at http://littletonindependent.net/stories/walkout-participants-go-extracurricular,259507 .

-- An upcoming Ventures Course will focus on “Congregations Nurturing a Culture of Call: Why It Matters.” This is the April course offering of the Ventures in Christian Discipleship program at McPherson (Kan.) College. The interactive course will focus on the distinctive role congregations play in the calling and nurturing of ministerial leadership. Participants will hear testimonies of those who have answered the call--from biblical times to the present, and examples of congregations who have excelled in creating a climate for calling. The course will examine the new Ministerial Leadership (2014) paper, highlighting various components of “discerning the call” toward credentialed ministry, and will identify 10 practical ways congregations and districts can partner in the calling, training, and sustaining of qualified ministerial leaders for the local, district, and national ministry needs. The class will be held online Saturday, April 14, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (central time). The instructor is Joe Detrick, who recently completed a term as interim director of ministry for the Church of the Brethren and is a former district executive. All classes are donation-based and continuing education credit is available for $10 per course. To learn more about Ventures and to register visit www.mcpherson.edu/ventures .

-- “Creating a Culture of Call” will be held at Camp Bethel in Virginia on April 20, 2-4 p.m. A preliminary event to the “Calling the Called” conference of Virlina and Shenandoah Districts, the workshop will be led by Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry. Churches will consider how they may maintain a steady focus of identifying, calling, and training pastoral leadership from within their own congregations. How many of our future church leaders are currently sitting in our pews? Cost is $10 per person, which will cover the cost of continuing education credit. For more information and for registration forms, visit www.virlina.org .

-- “Calling the Called: Discernment-Discipleship-Direction” is an event jointly organized by the Shenandoah and Virlina Districts as an intentional time away from the routine of life for persons to discern what it means to be called by God to the set-apart ministry. “Whether you are someone actively exploring the possibility of ministry or someone unsure of God’s calling this will be a helpful time of discernment and discovery,” said an announcement. “Come and hear personal call stories, come and wrestle with biblical call stories, come and learn about the process of entering the set-apart ministry in the Church of the Brethren. Come for worship and fellowship; come and discover what it means to be a people called by God.” The event begins at 5 p.m. April 20, through 4 p.m. April 21, at Camp Bethel in Virginia. Cost of registration is $50 per person, which includes lodging at Camp Bethel, meals, classes, and materials. Continuing education credits will be available for ordained ministers for an extra $10 fee. Information and registration forms are available at www.virlina.org .

-- In the latest episode of the Dunker Punks Podcast, Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred shares his interview with Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy of the Catholics Mobilizing Network(CMN). Learn more about how CMN is working to abolish the death penalty and hear thoughts on Christian advocacy in the political scene. Listen on the episode page at http://bit.ly/DPP_Episode53 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes at http://bit.ly/DPP_iTunes .

-- An “Introduction to Human Trafficking” has been written by Doris Abdullah, Church of the Brethren United Nations representative, and posted on the denominational blog at http://blog.brethren.org/2018/introduction-to-human-trafficking . The report begins with a story of one young girl who was trafficked, and then goes on to explore the topic in some depth. “The nurse looked at the face of the young girl wrapped from head to toe in white gauze and tape,” the post begins, “The chart listed her name as Jane Doe and her age of 12 /15 had a question mark beside it. The policewoman spoke up to say: ‘Lucky she is alive. We found her in a dumpster beside the highway.’ The above composite of a girl child found beaten and near death occurs all to frequently in rural areas, near small towns and cities around the world. Jane Doe is a victim of human trafficking and she can just as easily be found hospitalized in Cincinnati, Ohio, Lima, Peru, Tokyo, Japan, Melbourne, Australia, Jos, Nigeria, Bangkok, Thailand, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Ghouta, Syria or Moscow, Russia. Human Trafficking, also known as Modern Day Slavery, is a worldwide phenomenon.” Read more at http://blog.brethren.org/2018/introduction-to-human-trafficking .

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