Newsline for April 7, 2018




The cover of Messenger magazine, April 1968

“I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28).


NEWS
1) April 4 events mark 50 years since death of Martin Luther King Jr.
2) Compelling Vision Process Team to begin its work
3) ‘Mission Advancement’ is new name for denomination’s Donor Relations
4) EYN celebrates its 95th anniversary

5) Brethren bits: Remembering Laura Sewell, personnel, Mission Alive, registration for “Dikaios and Discipleship,” “Inglenook Desserts” discounts deadline, logo contest for the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, and more


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Quote of the week:

“If the dream dies it is not because Martin Luther King dreams no more; it will be because we who could have walked by his side and worked by his side were too willing to step aside and let just a few persons bear the weight of the struggle for freedom and justice for all.... Remember that the dream of Martin Luther King was not his alone. You can find it in the Old Testament prophets; you can see it in the face of Jesus. And if you call yourself by his name, you go on dreaming and reaching out your hands to your brothers--even when the city of man is darkened by the smoke from a thousand fires.”

--The conclusion of an editorial by “Messenger” editor Kenneth I. Morse, published just days after King’s assassination in April 1968. This 1963 photo of Dr. King, by Church of the Brethren staff member Howard Royer, appeared on the magazine’s cover.

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1) April 4 events mark 50 years since death of Martin Luther King Jr.

Some Church of the Brethren members gathered for a photo during the ACT rally in Washington, D.C., on April 4: (from left) Doris Abdullah, Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations; Joan and Orlando Redekopp; Tori Bateman, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker at the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy; and Gimbiya Kettering, director of Intercultural Ministries. Orlando Redekopp is a former pastor at First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, and wrote a short history of the church that includes a special link with Martin Luther King Jr.’s time in the city: http://firstcob.org/fcob-history . More about the ACT rally can be found at www.rally2endracism.org .

Some Church of the Brethren members gathered for a photo during the ACT rally in Washington, D.C., on April 4: (from left) Doris Abdullah, Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations; Joan and Orlando Redekopp; Tori Bateman, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker at the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy; and Gimbiya Kettering, director of Intercultural Ministries. Orlando Redekopp is a former pastor at First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, and wrote a short history of the church that includes a special link with Martin Luther King Jr.’s time in the city: http://firstcob.org/fcob-history . More about the ACT rally can be found at www.rally2endracism.org .

The Church of the Brethren was represented at the “A.C.T.--Awaken, Confront, Transform--to End Racism” rally in Washington, D.C., on April 4 by Gimbiya Kettering, director of Intercultural Ministries. Also in attendance were Tori Bateman of the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy and the denomination’s representative to the United Nations, Doris Abdullah, along with other church members from various parts of the country.

The event began with hundreds of people gathering, “then hundreds more, the crowd growing and marching in silence to the beat of a drum as dawn broke on April 4, 50 years to the day since Rev. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered in Memphis, Tenn.,” reported a release from the World Council of Churches. Led by organizers from the National Council of Churches, “people moved past the memorial statue of King in Washington, D.C., finding their way to the downtown mall, where they spent the rest of the day trying to find the words to frame what have become crucial--and painful--questions about racism in today’s United States.”

Speakers and rally-goers emphasized the importance of developing moral capacity to not just fight racism but to go further and build a society that honors the dignity of every person, the release said. Among other speakers, it quoted W. Franklyn Richardson, chair of the Conference of National Black Churches, who said that racism remains a stain on the soul of America.

“When black and brown people seeing a better life in our country are cast as drug dealers and rapists, that stain is made visible,” Richardson said. “We cannot continue business as usual. We cannot wait any longer. We must move beyond our guilt.” Read the full WCC release at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/dear-white-christians-what-now . More about the ACT rally can be found at www.rally2endracism.org .

Commemorations of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life were held in a number of cities across the nation on Wednesday. In Chicago, First Church of the Brethren hosted “The Last March,” an event focusing on the last year of King’s life. Partner organizations were the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago and McCormick Theological Seminary. For some months in 1967, the First Church congregation hosted King and provided office space for him when he was fighting for open housing in Chicago. The April 4 evening event at the church engaged artists, clergy, scholars, and members of the community in contemplative reflection on King’s life and work during that last year before his death. Explained an announcement: “Memories of Dr. King tend to neglect his challenges of justice he articulated toward the end of his life.”

David Jehnsen of Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Columbus, Ohio, was one of the speakers at a commemoration event at the Ohio Statehouse. He had led a Chicago delegation to the famous 1963 March on Washington. “What we’re seeing today is a revival of the spirit of nonviolence,” Jehnsen said, as quoted in the “Columbus Dispatch.” “It’s young people who are taking the lead. Yes, they’re going to use different methodologies, different tactics, but it’s very important that we support them.” Read the Columbus Dispatch report at www.dispatch.com/news/20180404/ohio-mlk-ceremony-they-couldnt-assassinate-dream .

“To have met Martin Luther King personally in Selma at the service we had prior to the march--that was one of the high points of my life,” said Don Shank, now retired but formerly pastor of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill. He was interviewed in the “Courier News” alongside Nathaniel L. Edmond, pastor of Elgin’s Second Baptist Church, in an article that was posted on the website of the “Chicago Tribune” on April 3. Shank “joined members of his Elgin congregation for both the March on Washington in August 1963 and the march to Selma, Ala., in 1965,” the paper reported. “Both longtime Elgin ministers and activists are reflecting this week on the April 4, 1968, assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , and how his death and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s continue to affect their lives today. The two have also become friends over the years. Since 2001, the two churches have come together on the last Sunday in January leading into African-American History Month.” Find the article at www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-mlk-anniversary-elgin-st-0404-20180403-story.html .





2) Compelling Vision Process Team to begin its work

The nine people who will make up the Compelling Vision Process Team have been named. The team’s first meeting will be April 17-19 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

Through recent Annual Conference decisions, the Leadership Team of the denomination along with the Council of District Executives were called to develop a process through which the church will engage in conversations that lead to a “compelling vision” for our life together. The Compelling Vision Process Team will work during Annual Conference 2018 and 2019 and alongside district gatherings to engage the denomination in conversations generating themes that lead to the “compelling vision.”

Members of the team for 2018-19 are Michaela Alphonse of Miami, Fla.; Kevin Daggett of Bridgewater, Va.; Rhonda Pittman Gingrich of Minneapolis, Minn.; Brian Messler of Lititz, Pa.; Alan Stucky of Wichita, Kan.; Kay Weaver of Strasburg, Pa.; Annual Conference moderator Samuel Sarpiya; Annual Conference moderator-elect Donita Keister; and Annual Conference director Chris Douglas.

Previously, a Compelling Vision Working Group was created including general secretary David Steele, Sarpiya, Keister, Douglas, and district executives Colleen Michael and John Janzi. The 2020 moderator will join the group following the 2018 Annual Conference. In recent months, this group has set in place the process by which the denomination will be led through this time of visioning.





3) ‘Mission Advancement’ is new name for denomination’s Donor Relations

Giving is made easier through new web pages of the Mission Advancement ministry of the Church of the Brethren

Giving is made easier through new web pages of the Mission Advancement ministry of the Church of the Brethren

by Traci Rabenstein

The office of Donor Relations is delighted to announce a new team name, the office of Mission Advancement. This new name better clarifies the intentional focus to cultivate passion to advance the mission of the Church of the Brethren. The team is working to provide ways for passionate supporters to offer each gift as “a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (from Philippians 4:18) to sustain and support the ministry of the larger church.

The team is discerning how best to communicate the work of domestic and international ministries, and to invite current and new supporters to partner in these important endeavors. Mission Advancement will explore new and creative ways for supporters to partner in fundraising efforts, additional offering opportunities, and sharing stories of how the ministries and resources of the Church of the Brethren have inspired individuals and congregations.

As a step forward, Mission Advancement is inviting all people who are passionate about denominational ministries to give through new online giving pages that allow supporters to quickly and easily make gifts to the Church of the Brethren on any electronic device. Visit one of these new giving pages and give today at www.brethren.org/give .

Thank you for the many ways you contribute to our ministry--your gifts do great things!

-- Traci Rabenstein is director of Mission Advancement for the Church of the Brethren.





4) EYN celebrates its 95th anniversary

by Zakariya Musa 

A Founder's Day cake celebrates EYN's 95th anniversary
Photo courtesy of Ulea Madaki

A Founder's Day cake celebrates EYN's 95th anniversary

President Joel S. Billi of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has said EYN will remain one until Christ returns, and warns any attempt to divide the denomination. He said this in a message at EYN’s 95th Anniversary during Sunday service at Kulp Bible College Chapel on March 18. March 17 is the date of the anniversary and considered “Founder’s Day” by the Nigerian church.

Billi also called on the federal government of Nigeria to overhaul its security system and warned on the present political situation. “Most of Nigerian politicians have surrendered their national obligations to material benefits,” he added.

He reiterated that the EYN church has about 1, 000 ordained pastors, and 500 evangelists, and laity working under harsh situations. He further called on members to remain patriotic and shun violent conduct.

Excerpt of his message:

“Today marks the 95th year of EYN--Church of the Brethren in Nigeria...founded in 1923 through pioneer missionaries Rev. Dr. Stover Kulp and Dr. Albert D. Helser who left USA as a sacrifice to shine Christ’s light in this dark side of the world. They settled at Garkida where they had Sunday worship under a tamarind tree. Many of them suffered to the detriment of their lives in Nigeria in the course of changing the lives of many Nigerians through agriculture, education, health, roads, construction, and inescapably what most of us need today peaceful coexistence among communities. I am confident that their effort will not go unrewarded.

“The great work of our indigenous fathers cannot be overemphasized, most of them served in various positions with little or no pay, which led to where we are today, where material things tend to take the lead. The then rural-based denomination strove its way to urban areas in the 1980s, and now we have churches in almost half of the 36 states of Nigeria. It was initially founded in Borno and Adamawa States. We have churches in Cameroun, Togo, and Niger, seven directorates, seven church groups. I therefore call on Christians to persevere, whatever difficulty that comes our way. Rather, we should utilize the hard times for positive change.”

-- Zakariya Musa serves on the communications staff of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).





5) Brethren bits

 Mission Alive begins with worship

Mission Alive 2018 started Friday with worship and keynote speakers Alexandre Goncalves, a Brethren theologian from Brazil, and Michaela Alphonse, a former mission worker in Haiti and currently pastor of Miami (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren. This conference for mission-minded church members and mission workers from around the globe is held every few years. This year, it is hosted at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren through Sunday morning, April 8. The Global Mission and Service office of the Church of the Brethren provides sponsorship and leadership for the gathering. Worship and plenary sessions are being webcast, go to www.brethren.org/missionalive2018/webcasts.html . A photo album is online at www.bluemelon.com/churchofthebrethren/missionalive2018 .

-- Remembrance: Laura Sewell, long-time Church of the Brethren missionary to India, passed away on March 30 at age 97. Laura served in India from 1948 until her retirement in 1984. While there, she served the church as teacher, resource person, and librarian. After holding several leadership roles in the Church of North India Women’s Fellowship, she was called to be a member of the Executive Committee of the Church of North India as an at-large representative. In 1983, she became a member of the Synod Stewardship Standing Committee, where she had responsibility for Sunday schools throughout the diocese, vacation Bible schools, and leadership training for lay members. After returning to the US, she continued as a vibrant volunteer for church causes throughout the decades of her retirement. A memorial service is planned for April 14 in Portland, Oregon. Further information will be provided when it becomes available.

-- Kesla Klingler began April 2 as admissions recruiter at Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind. She will initiate and maintain relationships with prospective students, will guide students through the application process, and assist in recordkeeping and communications. She holds a degree in psychology with a minor in business from Indiana University East. Most recently she was employed with US Track and Field as an administrative coordinator. She also has worked with Boys and Girls Clubs in Wayne County and Indianapolis. She also provided tutoring services in the public school system at the intermediate and high school levels. She is originally from Beech Grove Church of the Brethren in Hollansburg, Ohio.

-- Camp Pine Lake in Iowa has announced its newest staff members: Abbey Beck Brunk, camp director, and Aaron Beck Brunk, kitchen manager. Abbey grew up in Holland, Iowa, studied business at Iowa Community College, and is a Mary Kay consultant and office assistant. Aaron grew up in Ivester Church of the Brethren and has served as head cook at the camp while earning a culinary degree. They join longterm staff members Matt Kuecker, property manager, and Program Director/Pastor Barbara Wise Lewczak, pastor and program director.

Nancy McCrickard

Nancy McCrickard

-- Nancy Timbrook McCrickard begins April 16 as a Donor Relations specialist for the Mission Advancement department of the Church of the Brethren. Most recently she worked at Carroll Community College in Maryland as an instructor for pre-diploma classes, and served as community spirit coordinator at Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater (Va.) College and a master’s degree in teaching from Hollins University.

-- Laura Hay of Fresno, Calif., and Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren has been called to serve the Church of the Brethren as youth peace advocate by the Youth Peace Travel Team coordinating team. The Youth Peace Travel Team is a cooperation of the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, the Outdoor Ministries Association, On Earth Peace, and Bethany Seminary. This summer, Hay will travel to church camps and National Youth Conference to teach about peace, justice, and reconciliation, all core values of the Church of the Brethren. Through the summer, look for updates from her travels at www.brethren.org/youthpeacetravelteam .

-- Registration is open for “Dikaios and Discipleship: Righteousness, Justice, and a History of Faith,” a pre-Annual Conference pilgrimage on July 3-4 in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Cincinnati is interwoven with the complicated history of race in our nation,” said an announcement of the event, sponsored by the Intercultural Ministries office of the Church of the Brethren, a part of the Discipleship Ministries of the denomination. “Christians along the Ohio River have wrestled with scripture in making decisions about how to live out their faith in the context of slavery, Jim Crow, and the ongoing manifestations of white supremacy. Many who participated in the Underground Railroad did so because their faith insisted on the sanctity of life and that we are all equals before God. Yet as recently as 2001, there have been protests as people struggle to be recognized as equal citizens before the law. Join us on a scripture-inspired tour of a region that has monuments to the Confederacy and a museum celebrating the Underground Railroad.” Go to www.cognitoforms.com/ChurchOfTheBrethren1/DikaiosDiscipleship .

-- “This is the week to take advantage of ‘Inglenook Desserts’ pre-publication discounts!” says an announcement from Brethren Press. The Church of the Brethren publishing has announced the summer release of the next in the series of Inglenook cookbooks, a Brethren tradition dating back to 1901. “‘Inglenook Desserts’ descends from that origin, with over 175 new recipes along with reflections on traditions and celebrations that feature desserts. A uniquely Brethren cookbook to satisfy the sweet tooth cravings in all of us. Brethren Press offers this cookbook as a simple yet profound way to unite our kitchens around memories and traditions of cooking and eating together.” A generous pre-publication discount is available through April 9. Go to www.brethren.org/bp to order online, or call 800-41-3712.

-- A design contest for a new logo for the newly renamed Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has been announced. “This name reflects the Church of the Brethren tradition of peacemaking, makes sense within the [Washington] DC context, and is easily understood by our partner organizations,” said the announcement. “Under our new office name, we will continue to advocate for Brethren values of peace and simplicity in the context of US policy. Our office engages in the NGO, government, ecumenical, and interfaith communities in DC for joint projects seeking to shift policies toward peace, food security, justice, and caring for the most vulnerable.” The new logo should include the words ‘Office of Peacebuilding and Policy’ and reflect themes of peace building and advocacy. The logo cannot use the Church of the Brethren logo image. Submit logo designs to vbateman@brethren.org by April 15. For questions contact Tori Bateman, associate in the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, at 717-333-1649.

-- Youth Roundtable is held this weekend, April 6-8, at Bridgewater (Va.) College. This is one of the regional youth conferences in the Church of the Brethren. Marcus Harden, program director at Camp Ithiel in Florida, will be the speaker on the theme, “Unsinkable Faith.” Friday night entertainment will be a carnival. The event is planned by the Interdistrict Youth Cabinet. For more information contact iycroundtable@gmail.com or see www.iycroundtable.wixsite.com/iycbc/roundtable .

-- Carol Scheppard, Bridgewater (Va.) College professor and moderator of the 2017 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, will present a seminar titled “Reflections of a Past Moderator” on April 12, 3:30 p.m., in the Bowman 109 room on the college campus. The seminar is sponsored by the Forum for Brethren Studies and will emphasize a question-and-answer format. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information contact Steve Longenecker at slongene@bridgewater.edu .

-- The April edition of “Brethren Voices,” the community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, interviews Gimbiya Kettering, director of Intercultural Ministries for the Church of the Brethren. Brent Carlson talks with Kettering about how she assists the denomination in becoming more effective in living out its intercultural vision. A DVD copy of the program may be obtained from Ed Groff, producer, at Groffprod1@msn.com or view the program online at www.youtube.com/Brethrenvoices .

-- Harrisonburg (Va.) First Church of the Brethren will present a performance of “Songs of Ascent” composed by Church of the Brethren member Shawn Kirchner, on April 14 at 7:30 p.m. Kirchner, who is a member of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, will be in attendance at the performance by Winchester Musica Viva. Ken Nafziger of Eastern Mennonite University is artistic director of Winchester Musica Viva. For more information visit winchestermusicaviva.org or www.shawnkirchner.com .

-- Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren hosts an annual Spiritual Renewal Weekend on April 14-15 with guest leaders Audrey and Tim Hollenberg-Duffey, co-pastors of Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren, and Eric Landram, lead pastor at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The theme is “Do Not Be Afraid--How God Is Still Guiding the Church.” The event includes a Saturday morning workshop followed by table talk and lunch, with an evening dessert time in homes to continue the conversations. On Sunday morning, Tim Hollenberg-Duffey and Eric Landram will preach for a worship service after a carry-in breakfast. The weekend will end with a musical concert by “Spiritual Steel,” a steel drum band from Roanoke, Va. The concert is open to the public at 4 p.m. 

-- Covington (Wash.) Community Church of the Brethren hosts Nigerian Brethren speaker Ibrahim Dauda on Sunday, April 15. Dauda will be speaking during Sunday worship. He recently arrived in the Kent area from his home in Nigeria to complete his training with Montessori, reported the church’s e-newsletter. “Like most of our Nigerian Brethren, Ibrahim, his family, and our brothers and sisters in Christ have suffered tremendous violence at the hands of Boko Haram. His stories of faith in Christ in the face of such imaginable suffering will be guaranteed to challenge and encourage us,” the newsletter said. “Ibrahim worked as a farmer and headmaster of a school before insurgents destroyed his village. Fleeing for his life, he and his family ended up in a refugee camp where they remain. His ministry in the camp (and beyond) includes: teacher and principal of a Montessori school, teacher at a literacy class for widows, facilitator of trauma healing, church accountant and occasional preacher at his local Brethren church, and a leader of the Boy's Brigade. In addition, he and his family farm a small plot of land to grow produce for his family of eight children!”

-- “There is still a great need for volunteers,” said a message from the organizers of the annual meat-canning project of Mid-Atlantic and Southern Pennsylvania Districts. “With less than two weeks until the start of meat canning we are in need of additional help.” Volunteers are needed for shifts on April 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, and 26. To volunteer, contact Richard Shaffer at joyrich41@comcast.net .

-- Mid-Atlantic District is holding its Relief Auction Dinner this Saturday, April 7, at 6 p.m. "Join us for an evening of fine food and specialty food items auction to follow the dinner," said an announcement. The dinner is co-Hosted by Bush Creek Church of the Brethren and Union Bridge Church of the Brethren in Maryland. Tickets are available by reservation, at the cost of $25 per person. Contact Jeff McKee at 443-547-5958.

-- May 5 is the date of the Disaster Response Auction in Mid-Atlantic District. This will be the 38th annual Disaster Response Auction in the district, and will be held at the Carroll County Agricultural Center in Westminster, Md. “In 2017, $60,000 was given to the Emergency Disaster Fund of the Church of the Brethren to help victims recover from many disasters all around our world,” said an announcement. There is no admission charged for this annual event that is open to the public and features three auctions, plants, crafts, food and baked goods, books, and a white elephant table.

-- The 8th annual Shenandoah District Peace Feast, sponsored by Pastors for Peace, is scheduled for May 1, starting at 6:30 p.m. The Living Peace Award this year will be presented in recognition of the district’s work with Brethren Disaster Ministries. Larry Glick, former associate district executive, will be the guest speaker. Linville Creek Church of the Brethren in Broadway, Va., is hosting the banquet, serving a pork tenderloin dinner as well as a vegetarian lasagna option. Cost is $15 for adults and $10 for students.

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Tree cookies needed by Camp Bethel
Photo courtesy of Camp Bethel

Camp Bethel staff are requesting donations of “tree cookies.” Said an announcement: “We need your help cutting THOUSANDS of Tree Cookies for our 2018 programs. We use over 4,000 yearly for name tags, environmental ed, crafts, and more. Any hard wood and any cross-cut showing tree rings works for us.” More information is at www.campbethelvirginia.org/april-7-spring-workday.html .

-- Cross Keys Village is hosting a Business and Wellness Expo on April 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be in the Nicarry Meetinghouse on the campus of the church-related retirement community in New Oxford, Pa. Guests may visit with area agencies and businesses, and discover the services they offer to older adults with wellness as a special focus of the event. Proceeds benefit the Good Samaritan Fund that provides annual charity care to over half of the residents in the Health Care Center. For more information go to www.crosskeysvillage.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2018EXPO.pdf .

-- The Brethren and Mennonite Underground Railroad during the Civil War is the topic for the spring lecture in the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center series. Speaker Nick Patler is a history professor at West Virginia State University, and will be sharing research and reflections from his current work on the subject. The lecture will be hosted by Sangerville Church of the Brethren in Bridgewater, Va., at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 22. An offering will be received to support the mission of the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center. For more information call 540-438-1275.

-- Elizabeth Ullery-Swenson brings back a panel of young adults in the latest Dunker Punks Podcast, in order to continue conversation around the Church of the Brethren’s “Compelling Vision” process. Panelists include Jennifer Keeney Scarr, Tim Heishman, and Colin Scott, who share their thoughts, concerns, and hopes for the future 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_Episode54 or subscribe on iTunes at http://bit.ly/DPP_iTunes .

-- Church World Service (CWS) has a new video about the work of CROP around the world. Titled “Meet Your Neighbors,” this 3.5-minute video features testimonies and views of the work of CROP in Nicaragua, Haiti, Serbia, Bosnia, Indonesia, and the United States. There also is footage from Myanmar, Cambodia, Argentina (Chaco), and Kenya. See “Meet Your Neighbors” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOCMQlVI-Rg&feature=youtu.be .

-- Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is condemning the Israel Defense Forces’ “use of live fire to suppress unarmed civilian demonstrators along the Gaza border on Friday, March 30, and over the weekend.” The event “constitutes unwarranted and excessive use of military force condemnable under international law,” said a release. The Church of the Brethren is one of the Christian denominations that participates in CMEP. The violence “resulted in 18 fatalities and more than 1,400 casualties, at least 750 of which were from live fire,” the release continued. “We fully affirm the right of the Palestinian people to engage in nonviolent resistance. The participation of 30,000 Palestinians in demonstrations along the Gaza fence in observance of ‘Land Day,’ was a nonviolent act of political protest commemorating the death of six Palestinians during the general strike of 1976. The event’s endorsement by all major political parties in Gaza--including Hamas--does not delegitimize the peaceful actions of the demonstrators nor justify the classification of the protest area as a ‘combat zone.’ While the assembly of tens of thousands of civilians along the border fence and attempts of a few isolated individuals to breach the fence are legitimate causes for security concerns, resorting to live fire against unarmed demonstrators is a negligent and inexcusable response that failed to distinguish between those who came to protest peacefully and those with more malicious intentions.”
  
-- A call to pray for peace on the Korean peninsula was issued March 27 by a wide-ranging group of evangelical leaders and pastors from the United States. “The joint statement expresses concern for the millions of lives that would be threatened by an escalation of conflict there,” said a release from the World Council of Churches, which reported “signatories include leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals, Faith and Community Empowerment, Evangelicals for Peace, the Kairos Company, Evangelicals for Social Action, along with a politically diverse group of more than 80 evangelical leaders from former Southern Baptist Convention presidents Ronnie Floyd and Jack Graham to Sojourners founder Jim Wallis.” The call to prayer read, in part, “We are heartened by proposals for dialogue between our national leaders at a time when increasing tensions seemed to be marching our countries perilously in the direction of greater conflict, if not war. We call on all Christians everywhere to join us in praying for a just and peaceful resolution.... We pray for wisdom for our political, diplomatic and military leaders as they work across differences toward a goal of peace, security and freedom. We pray that God will bless the efforts of citizens who seek to bridge the vast differences between our countries.” See www.evangelicalsforpeace.org/northkorea .


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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 Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren, at cobnews@brethren.org . Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Tori Bateman, Chris Douglas, Scott Duffey, Ed Groff, Nancy Miner, Traci Rabenstein, Kevin Schatz, Jenny Williams, Roy Winter, Jay Wittmeyer.

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.