Newsline for March 13, 2018




Meme of Ephesians 3:20

NEWS 
1) Mission and Ministry Board approves grants, adopts statement on gun violence, holds conversations on race and mission at spring meetings

2) ‘Lukewarm No More’ calls for repentance and action on gun violence

3) Discipleship Ministries represents new name, new vision for former Congregational Life Ministries

4) Brethren Disaster Ministries, Puerto Rico District plan for long-term hurricane recovery

5) Brethren Disaster Ministries closes out site in Missouri, continues work in Carolinas

6) Boko Haram attacks, abductions affect Nigerian Brethren

7) Special relief benefits 658 Muslim and Christian families in Nigeria

8) New steering committee of women in ministry is created

9) Comité directivo de ocho mujeres en el ministerio

PERSONNEL
10) Tara Hornbacker to retire from Bethany Seminary

UPCOMING EVENTS
11) Diana Butler Bass headlines Ministers’ Association continuing education event

RESOURCES
12) Brethren Press announces summer release for Inglenook Desserts

13) Brethren bits: Personnel, job opening, Mission Alive webcasts, action alert on Yemen, Lifetime Achievement Award for BHLA archivist, and more news by, for, and about Brethren

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Quote of the week:

“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference.”

-- Closing of a prayer by the late Archbishop Oscar Romero, one of the worship resources made available for the One Great Hour of Sharing offering on Sunday, March 18. This special offering is a common endeavor of various Christian bodies across the country, held each year as a witness to the work of Christ’s church in the world. Gifts to the Church of the Brethren through this special offering will empower ministries like Global Mission and Service, Congregational Life Ministries, Brethren Disaster Ministries, Brethren Volunteer Service, the Workcamp Ministry, the Global Food Initiative, and many others. Find the worship resources and additional information at www.brethren.org/oghs .

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1) Mission and Ministry Board approves grants, adopts statement on gun violence, holds conversations on race and mission at spring meetings

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

"Table talk" during the spring 2018 meetings of the Mission and Ministry Board

A large Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) allocation for long-term hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico, a statement on gun violence, Wieand Trust grants to Chicago-area projects, and new names for some denominational ministries were on the agenda of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board. The board held spring meetings March 9-12 at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., led by chair Connie Davis and chair-elect Patrick Starkey.

Davis reported as board chair on correspondence leadership has received from a variety of church members since Annual Conference, revealing some troubling aspects that depart from long-standing Brethren beliefs and practices. Her report was followed by presentations by staff about Church of the Brethren structure related to the authority of church leadership, and the significance of our Anabaptist and Pietist history.

In-depth conversations were held on race and on issues related to international mission. Among numerous reports, the board received positive financial year-end review for 2017, initial information from the new “Stewardship of Property 2" group carrying out an Annual Conference mandate to assess stewardship of the General Offices, and an update from Annual Conference officers on work toward a “compelling vision.”

Ministry formation students from Bethany Seminary were among guests at the meeting, accompanied by professor Tara Hornbacker. According to long-standing practice, each year the seminary sends the current ministry formation class to observe a meeting of the board and to lead as a class one worship service, as part of their education for ministry in the Church of the Brethren. 

‘Lukewarm no more’

The board adopted a statement on gun violence calling the denomination to repentance and action. The statement was initiated by staff of Global Mission and Service. It quotes from the Bible and previous church statements in its call to the wider church to recommit to the work of peacemaking, suggesting four action steps for church members, congregations, and ministries.

“Our sister churches pray for us as an American church in a time of violence, as we undergo repeated acts of mass shootings, and they express love and concern for us,” said Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, explaining some background to the statement. He recently returned from a trip to the emerging Brethren body in Venezuela.

Wittmeyer noted the scripture’s call for Christians not to lose their “saltiness.” In Venezuela, that may mean considering how the church may be “salt of the earth” in that country’s economic crisis. Here in the US, he commented, “if we have continued gun violence and we have ready access to guns, and mass shootings, and children are unsafe in schools, don’t we have to ask the question whether the church has lost its saltiness?”

See the full story at www.brethren.org/news/2018/lukewarm-no-more-statement-gun-violence.html .

Ministry name changes

Staff reported name changes for three denominational ministries:
-- The Office of Public Witness is now named the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy: A Witness of the Church of the Brethren.
-- Donor Relations and Donor Communications are now called Mission Advancement.
-- Congregational Life Ministries is now called Discipleship Ministries.

Along with a new name, staff of Discipleship Ministries also are articulating a new vision and are adopting a change of strategy for carrying out the work. Three new strategic emphases will connect and inform all the work of the team: make and grow disciples, form and develop leaders, and transform communities. These emphases will shape the events, resources, and relationships overseen and cultivated by the team. To facilitate this work, the team will be comprised of director-level staff alongside two administrative support staff. In addition, Discipleship Ministries will develop a team of contractors who will provide leadership in congregations and districts related to specific ministries such as evangelism, conflict transformation, and Christian education.

See the full story at www.brethren.org/news/2018/discipleship-ministries-new-name-for-clm.html .

Allocations and grants

An allocation of $200,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) was approved by the board for work by Brethren Disaster Ministries and Puerto Rico District. The money will fund long-term recovery on the island, following the 2017 hurricanes. See the full story at www.brethren.org/news/2018/bdm-puerto-rico-district-plan-longterm-recovery.html .

A Global Food Initiative (GFI) allocation of $15,440 was approved to fund expansion of the gardening program of Lybrook Community Ministries in Cuba, N.M. The goal is to expand the gardening program to include more Navajo families in six communities in the area. Lybrook Community Ministries works closely with the community gardening project of Tokahookaadi Church of the Brethren.

The board approved grants from the Wieand Trust for two projects of Illinois and Wisconsin District in the Chicago area: the Parables Community, hosted at York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., and the Gathering Chicago, which meets in a high-rise in the Hyde Park neighborhood. The Parables Community will receive $34,135 for the rest of this year, 2018, and $46,288 for 2019. The Gathering Chicago will receive $85,100 for the rest of this year, 2018, and $87,000 for 2019. Christian work in the inner city of Chicago is one of the three purposes for grants from the David J. and Mary Elizabeth Wieand Trust.

In other business

-- The board approved several updates to the denomination’s financial policies representing clarifications, changes of nomenclature and titles, or revisions to bring policies up to date with current practice.

-- Kelley Brenneman was appointed to the Brethren Historical Committee. She is the archivist at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, and previously served as an intern at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives from 2014-15. She is a member of Agape Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Find a link to an album of photos of the meeting at www.brethren.org/album .





2) ‘Lukewarm No More’ calls for repentance and action on gun violence

The Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren adopted a statement on gun violence at its spring meetings held at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on March 9-12. The statement was initiated by staff of Global Mission and Service, and quotes from the Bible and previous Annual Conference statements in its call to the wider church.

“Our sister churches pray for us as an American church in a time of violence, as we undergo repeated acts of mass shootings, and they express love and concern for us,” said Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, who recently returned from a trip to the emerging Brethren body in Venezuela. He noted the scripture’s call for Christians not to lose their “saltiness.” In Venezuela, that may mean considering how the church may be “salt of the earth” in that country’s economic crisis. Here in the US, he commented, “if we have continued gun violence and we have ready access to guns, and mass shootings, and children are unsafe in schools, don’t we have to ask the question whether the church has lost its saltiness?”

The statement adopted by the board says, in part, “In the wake of repeated mass shootings and the proliferation of gun violence, we are called to remind and recommit ourselves to the work of peacemaking,” and suggests four action steps for church members, congregations, and ministries:

1. Pursue discipleship that is biblical, risk-taking, and confirms the baptismal vows that place Christ before all other loyalties.

2. Refocus on our Church of the Brethren history of peacemaking in order to discern our present ministry of reconciliation.

3. Consider ways in which our personal and institutional decisions--in the economic, social, and community spheres--provide a creative means to decrease the prevalence and ease of access to guns designed to destroy human life.

4. Join with larger efforts to change policies that favor or inadequately oppose access and use of weapons that do not further the incarnate healing of Christ.


The full text of the statement follows:

Lukewarm no more: A call for repentance and action on gun violence

“A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more” (Matthew 2:18).

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?” (Matthew 5:13a)

The Church of the Brethren has spoken and acted for peace and healing throughout our history of discerning the leading of the Holy Spirit. While we have not always lived this as we should, we have marked our way in this discernment through publicly recalling the scriptures and our mutual understanding found in Annual Conference statements.

In the wake of repeated mass shootings and the proliferation of gun violence, we are called to remind and recommit ourselves to the work of peacemaking.

In 1999 our Annual Conference wrote:

“We call on congregations to teach peace and pursue it within their fellowship, and to take the lead in advocating for peace within their communities, nation, and world. We also encourage congregations to actively approach school boards and other appropriate public policy agencies to request the establishment of school-based curricular instruction in conflict resolution, peace education, anger control, and the tolerance of others.

“We call our members, especially the youth of the church, to turn away from the culture of violence in its many manifestations in our society and to live as people of peace.

“In addition we call for more effective gun control legislation, especially legislation that would protect our children from gun-related violence, and encourage our members to actively support such legislation.” ( www.brethren.org/ac/statements/1999childrenviolence.html)

The work of the church is pastoral and public. We must preach the Gospel in word and deed. In this work, we call ourselves to repent for the ways that we have failed to be “the salt of the earth.” We have fallen short of discipleship in the way of Jesus, lost sight of Christ’s reconciling work, grown weary in doing good, become numb to shootings, and tolerant of widespread violence in our nation. We call ourselves into greater and more energetic care for all people through direct service, bold peacemaking, and the work of challenging policies that do not lead to well-being and God’s shalom.

Aware that shooting deaths occur on the streets of our cities every week, and with the wounds of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting weighing, we urge our members, congregations, and ministries to:

1. Pursue discipleship that is biblical, risk-taking, and confirms the baptismal vows that place Christ before all other loyalties.

2. Refocus on our Church of the Brethren history of peacemaking in order to discern our present ministry of reconciliation.

3. Consider ways in which our personal and institutional decisions--in the economic, social, and community spheres--provide a creative means to decrease the prevalence and ease of access to guns designed to destroy human life.

4. Join with larger efforts to change policies that favor or inadequately oppose access and use of weapons that do not further the incarnate healing of Christ.

“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.... Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:16-17, 19b-20a).

We are called, as a church, to consider how we have become accustomed to these tragedies. We are called into a fuller embodiment of Jesus’s way of peace.

Additional Church of the Brethren statements and resolutions:

2010 resolution supporting the National Council of Churches’ “Ending Gun Violence” statement ( www.brethren.org/about/statements/2010-gun-violence.pdf ):

“Therefore, the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board endorses this resolution and encourages Church of the Brethren members to:

“1) call upon our local, state, and federal legislators to enact reforms that limit access to assault weapons and handguns, including closing the so-called federal “gun show loophole,” which allows for the purchase of firearms from private sellers without submitting to a background check, or providing documentation of the purchase;

“2) participate with movements such as “Heeding God’s Call” (www.heedinggodscall.org) to insist that commercial sellers adopt and adhere to responsible sales practices; and

“3) prayerfully, financially, and otherwise support the NCC in ecumenical efforts for gun violence reduction, including preparing educational materials about the magnitude of gun violence, developing avenues for dialogue among gun owners and gun control advocates within our congregations, and offering a faithful witness in cooperating with inter-faith and nonreligious anti-gun violence advocacy organizations.”

From the 1999 Annual Conference statement, “Children and Violence” ( www.brethren.org/ac/statements/1999childrenviolence.html ):

“In addition we call for more effective gun control legislation, especially legislation that would protect our children from gun-related violence, and encourage our members to actively support such legislation.”

From the 1978 Annual Conference statement on “Violence and the Use of Firearms,” which provided a detailed report that included research into opinions of Brethren on guns in the 1970s ( www.brethren.org/ac/statements/1978-violence-firearms.html ):

“We urge Congress to develop and enact further legislation to restrict the availability of handguns. Alternatives should be considered ranging from steps to increase uniformity (and, therefore, effectiveness) of state and local gun control measures, to initiation of a national handgun control program. Any new legislation should include procedures to verify an individual’s identity and lack of criminal background in order to purchase or possess a handgun, and to regulate transfers within the existing private inventory of handguns, not just new handguns.

“We urge federal legislation that provides for swift and fair prosecution of violators.

“We urge that legislation on this subject contain provisions for periodic evaluation. In general, the cost of any gun licensing or registration system depends on the system’s requirements, especially the thoroughness and efficiency of its screening process. The dollar cost issue, though real, should not be evaluated alone. A comparative assessment should be made of benefits to society resulting from expected lower homicide rates and dollar costs needed for the system to obtain a balanced view of the impact of handgun control.”





3) Discipleship Ministries represents new name, new vision for former Congregational Life Ministries

The new name and vision for Discipleship Ministries is presented to the Mission and Ministry Board by Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship.
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

The new name and vision for Discipleship Ministries is presented to the Mission and Ministry Board by Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship.

by Joshua Brockway

At the spring meeting of the Mission and Ministry Board, Congregational Life Ministries staff announced a new team name and strategy. Now titled Discipleship Ministries, the team envisions a “people of God, new and renewed, that embodies and articulates their faith.” Along with a new name, staff of Discipleship Ministries also outlined new strategic emphases and a staffing plan to carry out the work.

Discipleship Ministries staff named three strategic emphases that connect and inform all the work of the team: make and grow disciples, form and develop leaders, and transform communities. These emphases will shape the events, resources, and relationships overseen and cultivated by the team.

To facilitate this work, the team will include director-level staff alongside two administrative support staff. In addition, Discipleship Ministries will develop a team of contractors who will provide leadership in congregations and districts related to specific ministries such as evangelism, conflict transformation, and Christian education. Discipleship Ministries will work in collaboration with a number of volunteer committees to further the vision for denominational events. Such teams include the National Older Adult Conference Planning Team, National Youth Cabinet, and New Church Advisory Committee. This structure will expand the offerings of Discipleship Ministries, and allow more opportunities for director-level staff to work directly with congregations and districts

Moving forward, Discipleship Ministries will evaluate position descriptions to align them with the vision and strategy. The team will soon announce new titles for its members. The current director-level staff are Stan Dueck, co-coordinator and director of Transforming Practices; Joshua Brockway, co-coordinator and director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship; Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries; and Gimbiya Kettering, director of Intercultural Ministries

The team will announce a new administrative position in the coming weeks. This new member of the team will coordinate the many details for the events hosted by Discipleship Ministries.
 
-- Joshua Brockway is co-coordinator of Discipleship Ministries and director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship for the Church of the Brethren.





4) Brethren Disaster Ministries, Puerto Rico District plan for long-term hurricane recovery

Members of Puerto Rico District distribute food to people affected by the hurricanes
Photo by Jose Calleja Otero

Members of Puerto Rico District distribute food to people affected by the hurricanes

Brethren Disaster Ministries is working with Puerto Rico District to plan its response following last year’s hurricanes. An allocation of $200,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) has been approved by the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board to provide funding for the effort.

Roy Winter, associate executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Global Mission and Service, attended the Puerto Rico District conference in January, and held meetings with church leaders on the island to discuss the disaster recovery effort.

Puerto Rico has continued to suffer effects of last year’s hurricanes, including a continuing loss of population, according to the Washington Post on March 6. “Experts say the storm and its widespread devastation undoubtedly have sped up the pace of migration as residents have dealt with extended power outages, communication lapses, infrastructure failures and, in some cases, isolation.” However, the newspaper reported that “even before [Hurricane] Maria strafed the region, a record number of Puerto Ricans were realizing that the declining island might be where their heart is but cannot be where their feet stay. Nearly 500,000 people left Puerto Rico for the mainland during the past decade.... The government of Puerto Rico’s guess is that by the end of 2018, 200,000 more residents will have left the US territory for good.”

Brethren Disaster Ministries’ plan in coordination with the district include a focus on the island’s poorest residents who were disproportionately affected by the hurricanes. Those who have the fewest resources to rebuild experienced the most damage, and many of them live in rural communities and hard-to-reach areas of the mountains which are expected to be the last areas to regain access to water and electricity services. This area includes three of the seven Churches of the Bethren in Puerto Rico.

At this time, 34 homes of Brethren members--some from each congregation in Puerto Rico--are known to have suffered major damage or flooding. Other homes in the communities around all of the district churches also were damaged. Each congregation has completed assessments and has organized disaster assistance in their community and to affected members.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is supporting and partnering with the district to implement a long-term recovery program that will support the efforts of the congregations by providing funds, disaster response expertise, response planning, skilled labor, and a container of critical supplies.

Response programming through January

The response effort so far has included:

-- Staff trips to Puerto Rico to work with district leaders in assessing, organizing, providing training, planning the response program, and attending and presenting at the district conference. In October, staff hand-carried cash, solar charging panels, flash lights, batteries, and food.

-- Shipping of a container of supplies that included canned chicken, water filters, tarps, tools, generators, and solar lights. Total purchased supplies and shipping costs came to $31,658.

-- Support for two volunteer work trips organized by volunteers with Caimito Church of the Brethren, including $10,700 in funds for building materials and volunteer support, and the sending of a trained project leader.

-- Funding of $48,300 provided to the district for church-based relief programs including member support, community programs, pastor support, and other emergency needs such as feeding programs, food distributions, small grants for home repairs, water distributions, medical clinics, and related transportation and logistics.

Planning for long-term recovery

Long-term recovery will center on creation of a Puerto Rico District Recovery Committee and naming of a Puerto Rica-based response coordinator and related response staff. This group will carry out case management, funding approvals, volunteer management, and volunteer-based home repair and construction.

Brethren Disaster Ministries will work closely with these staff and the recovery committee to provide training, develop response guidelines, support with trained volunteers as needed, and provide coordination of volunteers from outside Puerto Rico and related efforts to support Puerto Rico. 

The district conference in January supported this plan and asked the district board to appoint the Recovery Committee and response coordinators. Once case managers have been identified and trained, Brethren Disaster Ministries will set schedules for volunteer rebuilding programs led by trained construction managers.

To express interest in volunteering with Brethren Disaster Ministries, contact a district disaster coordinator or contact Terry Goodger in the Brethren Disaster Ministries office at tgoodger@brethren.org or 410-635-8730. Find out more about the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries at www.brethren.org/bdm .

-- Roy Winter, associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries, and Jenn Dorsch-Messler, Brethren Disaster Ministries director, contributed to this report.





5) Brethren Disaster Ministries closes out site in Missouri, continues work in Carolinas

A Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteer at work in South Carolina
Photo courtesy of BDM

A Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteer at work in South Carolina

Brethren Disaster Ministries is completing a rebuilding project site in Eureka, Mo., by the end of March. A rebuilding project site in Marion County, S.C., continues as the program seeks to extend its work into additional communities in North Carolina.

Marion County, S.C.

Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers have been at work with Hurricane Matthew Recovery, working with the Town of Nichols Steering Committee and the Marion County Longterm Recovery Group. The North Carolina Baptists, who have had a need for volunteers over the border in North Carolina, have invited the Brethren to help with 100 rebuilding cases in Lumberton, about 50 minutes from Marion, that were also hit by Hurricane Matthew.

Eureka, Mo.

This month, Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers are winding down their work in Eureka, and the project site is preparing to close during the last week of March. The cases the Brethren have been working on were damaged in floods, and were funded through the Salvation Army Disaster Case Management funding for the 2015 floods. That grant ended on Jan. 31. Brethren Disaster Ministries also has been working with the Eureka Disaster Relief Committee and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.

North Carolina

Brethren Disaster Ministries staff are in conversation with several North Carolina Long Term Recovery Groups and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) representatives in North Carolina to determine a project site to work on Hurricane Matthew Recovery. A second visit to these potential partners and volunteer housing sights will occur the week of March 12. More information will be shared when final decisions are made.

Lorida, Fla.

Brethren Disaster Ministries staff are thanking those who worked on this local response organized by Atlantic Southeast District disaster coordinator John Mueller, in Lorida, Fla., in January. Lorida Church of the Brethren and the Palm Estates, a church-related retirement community, both sustained damage during Hurricane Irma. Brethren volunteers, some who traveled to Florida for the response and others who are seasonal residents in Palm Estates, were joined by volunteers from other denominations to repair seven structures. The volunteers installed a total of 17,000 square feet of metal roofing, and repaired or replaced aluminum soffit and fascia, downspouts, and gutters. Volunteer numbers ranged from 21 to 32 per day in the first week and from 8 to 12 per day in the second week. Residents of Palm Estates stepped up to help feed and house the volunteers.

To express interest in volunteering with Brethren Disaster Ministries, contact a district disaster coordinator or contact Terry Goodger in the Brethren Disaster Ministries office at tgoodger@brethren.org or 410-635-8730. Find out more about the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries at www.brethren.org/bdm .

-- Jenn Dorsch-Messler, Brethren Disaster Ministries director, and Roy Winter, associate executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Global Mission and Service, contributed to this report.





6) Boko Haram attacks, abductions affect Nigerian Brethren

A thanksgiving service to celebrate the release of 10 women--including two members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)--who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram in June 2017 is planned this Sunday in Maiduguri, Nigeria. The service is planned by the EYN Maiduguri congregation and the Mdurvwa family.

One of the women who was released, Rifkatu Antikirya, is a sister to Yuguda Mdurvwa, director of EYN’s Disaster Relief Ministry, and a nurse who headed up accident and emergency at Maiduguri Specialist Hospital. Another was from the EYN Kano congregation. They were traveling with Nigerian policewomen when the kidnapping occurred last summer.

That kidnapping was just one of several incidents in recent weeks and months in which EYN members--among many other Nigerians--have been affected by the continuing violence of Boko Haram.

On Feb. 20, Boko Haram carried out a mass kidnapping of some 110 girls and young women from the Government Girls Science and Technical School in Dapchi, Yobe State, close to the Niger border. For many people, this recalled the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014. It is believed the girls abducted from Dapchi were mostly Muslim, and none are known to have connections with EYN.

On March 3, two health workers, Alice Adamu, also known as Alice Ngadda, and Hauwa Mohammed, were kidnapped by Boko Haram at Rann Camp, Kala Balge Local Government Area, Borno State. A report on the incident from EYN staff liaison Markus Gamache noted that some humanitarian staff were killed during the kidnapping, which happened close to the border with Cameroon.

Adamu’s guardian is church secretary of an EYN congregation in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja. She also is related to Rebecca Dali, wife of EYN’s past president Samuel Dali, who identified her in a Facebook post as a nurse working for UNICEF. She is the mother of two young children.

The EYN church at Utako Abuja is observing 40 days of prayer for the release of the two women, and the church secretary is sending out messages asking brothers and sisters in the faith to pray for Adamu and Mohammad, her Muslim colleague.

Yuguda Mdurvwa also shared in an e-mail to Church of the Brethren staff: “This last two weeks has seen a lot of attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, in Maiduguri, Kaduna, Jalingo, Numan, and Demsa in Adamawa State. We will continue to pray for Nigeria.” Jalingo and Numan are within 100 miles of the city of Yola. The EYN Disaster Ministry in December gave $2,800 to the Numan area following a Fulani attack. The Jalingo area is one of the new church districts in EYN.

Markus Gamache reported that “the church and our communities needs prayers without ceasing.... EYN and other churches in Nigeria are still undergoing different levels of threats. The southern Borno and northern Adamawa and part of Yobe States are still under threat of daily killings, kidnappings, and bombing. The other states like Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Plateau, and Taraba are under Fulani attack almost every week. There will be more mass burials this week for victims of Fulani killings in Benue and Taraba States.”




7) Special relief benefits 658 Muslim and Christian families in Nigeria

Corn distribution at Madagali, Nigeria
Photo by Markus Gamache

Corn distribution at Madagali, Nigeria

by Roxane Hill

Gurku Interfaith Community lies on the outskirts of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. Muslims and Christians live and work side by side. They are internally displaced people (IDPs) who are from the Madagali and Gwoza areas of northeast Nigeria, the area most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

In December and January, news of various attacks reached the Gurku community. Since communication with their remote home areas is so difficult, the community decided to send volunteers to find out first hand what had been happening.

Here is what they found: 9 villages had been attacked, 17 people killed, 39 homes burned, 28 businesses destroyed, and 5 villages had suffered looting of personal belongings and food supplies. With this devastating report, a committee was formed to plan a relief effort to the area. The committee included elders and youths from both faiths. The Nigeria Crisis Fund was able to provide $7,500 for the project.
 
Check points along the way

How do you get help to areas where it is almost impossible to travel? How do you let the remote areas know that help is coming? Who will be willing to travel to the area to take the relief? How do we get help to the most vulnerable? The committee dealt with all these logistical questions.

Three zones were designated to get the relief. The recipients of the relief were chosen from among the neediest. It was determined that 74 families who had lost loves ones would be given cash support. A total of 116 bags of corn would be divided among 580 families. The corn was purchased from nearby markets. Two vehicles and local hunters were engaged to transport the corn. Help was secured from military and security personnel.
 
After all the preparation, it was time to actually enter this highly unstable area and get the food and money to the people. Markus Gamache, the EYN staff liaison and one of the founders of the Gurku Interfaith Community, was invited to participate and take the relief to the three zones of Shuwa, Gulak, and Madagali.

Here are some of his reflections from the trip:

“I was given one Hilux truck full of hunters and we went speeding into those areas. We could only stop for 10 to 20 minutes to deliver the goods and encourage the people. We sped through villages that were dried up and in ruins with only a few people in the entire place. When we finally reached Madagali, where I had not been since May 2014, the only cars or motor bikes I saw belonged to security agents. I thank God I was even able to see my mother who is now living in Madagali. The entire trip was tension filled; there were four checkpoints where we had to get out and walk for some ways before getting back in the vehicle. As we drove through the villages, I saw people waving to me with big smiles on their faces, but this brought tears to my weak heart. These are my people and they are not free. How can I live comfortably in my home when so many are suffering?”
 
This project was only obtainable by the huge effort of the committee from Gurku, Markus Gamache, and countless other volunteers along the way. To receive the aid, people had to travel quite a distance to reach one of the three distribution points. Plans also were made in each zone to cover transportation of some of the corn to remote areas that were not accessible.

In all, 658 families were assisted. The families who received cash got about $30 each and they were very grateful. They said the cash would sustain them for months by helping purchase food, provide travel to fleeing families, or pay for medical services. The families who received corn also were extremely thankful. Some of these families had not eaten for three or four days due to recent attacks.

Thank you to everyone for their continued support of the Nigeria Crisis Response! Without your help, this special distribution would not have been possible.

-- Roxane Hill is coordinator of the Nigeria Crisis Response, a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).





8) New steering committee of women in ministry is created
 
A steering committee of eight women in ministry has been called by the Office of Ministry to facilitate programming, projects, and initiatives designed to support and encourage Brethren clergywomen. 
 
“Encouragement and tangible support need to be the response of the entire church to the sisters in ministry among us in a time in which many struggle with the obstacles created by sexism in the church,” commented Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, director of the Office of Ministry.
 
Proposed emphases include celebratory events in this 60th year since Annual Conference granted women “full and unrestricted rights to ordination.” A clergywomen’s retreat is anticipated in the coming year. Quarterly conference calls for women in leadership to reflect on societal issues impacting women are envisioned. The group also identified a need for district and regional support groups along with a renewed emphasis on calling and placement for clergywomen.
 
Clergywomen desiring to become involved in supporting these initiatives may contact officeofministry@brethren.org .




9) Comité directivo de ocho mujeres en el ministerio
 
Un comité directivo de ocho mujeres en el ministerio ha sido llamado por la Oficina del Ministerio para facilitar la programación, los proyectos y las iniciativas diseñadas para apoyar y alentar a las clérigas Hermanas.
 
"El estímulo y el apoyo tangible deben ser la respuesta de toda la iglesia a las hermanas en el ministerio entre nosotros en un momento en el que muchas luchan contra los obstáculos creados por el sexismo en la iglesia," comentó Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, la directora de la Oficina del Ministerio.
 
Los énfasis propuestos incluyen eventos de celebración en este 60º año desde que la Conferencia Anual otorgó a las mujeres "derechos de ordenación completos e irrestrictos." En el año que viene se prevé el retiro de clérigas. Se prevén llamadas de conferencias trimestrales para que las clérigas reflexionen sobre los problemas sociales que afectan a las mujeres en el ministerio. El grupo también identificó la necesidad de grupos de apoyo distritales y regionales, junto con un énfasis renovado en la vocación y la contratación de las clérigas.
 
Las clérigas que deseen involucrarse en el apoyo de estas iniciativas pueden comunicarse con officeofministry@brethren.org.





10) Tara Hornbacker to retire from Bethany Seminary

by Jenny Williams
 
After guiding a generation of students through the master of divinity program at Bethany Theological Seminary, professor Tara Hornbacker will retire as a seminary faculty member on July 1. Throughout her tenure at Bethany, she has been instrumental in developing and teaching the core curriculum for the master of divinity degree, known as the ministry formation sequence of courses.
 
Hornbacker began as assistant professor of ministry formation in August 1998 and was tasked with reconceiving and reformulating the program. She developed a series of courses and experiences that emphasize a holistic approach, addressing the spiritual, intellectual, and practical aspects of ministry. Believing that spiritual discernment is essential to the life and practice of ministry, Hornbacker incorporated this practice into all aspects of the program, balancing elements of Pietism with those of Anabaptism, as she says.
 
In the introductory course Hornbacker created, “Exegeting the Culture and Call of Ministry,” students participate in spiritual disciplines and group sharing, the latter of which is found at all levels of the program. The practice of ministry is emphasized in two required field placements, whereas many seminaries require just one. The importance of communication and relationship extends to placement site supervisors and lay committees, who meet with ministry formation faculty for training and participate in the students’ discernment process.
 
The appreciation that Bethany alumni have for the program’s format and content reflects Hornbacker’s influence, and they continually rank their field education experience and ministry preparedness higher than the average in surveys by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).

Liz Bidgood Enders, who received her master of divinity degree in 2000, was in her second year when Hornbacker came to Bethany. “I had heard her as a candidate and thought that she was the most extroverted and charismatic pastor/professor I had encountered. What I discovered was that her passion also took the form of deeply centered spirituality, and her enthusiasm for ministry blended with a gifted ability to help students find their voice and pay attention to the Spirit's leading. Her teaching, mentoring, and listening had a profound impact on how I view my life in ministry and how I encourage others to discern the shape of their call.”
 
Hornbacker’s consistent participation in professional guilds and continuing education has helped her effectively evaluate and adjust the program curriculum as students’ needs change. When Bethany launched its Connections distance education program in 2003, Hornbacker adapted the ministry formation program to this new learning environment. Hybrid courses--a combination of on-campus and online class sessions--and online group interaction were incorporated. She was also awarded two grants from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, to rework the capstone Master of Divinity Review course and to research preparation of effective ministers in a 21st-century context. Her work has put Bethany at the forefront of ministry formation distance education, a program that other schools look to for guidance. The program’s strength was also noted by ATS in Bethany’s recent accreditation process.
 
“Tara Hornbacker has demonstrated excellence in her teaching and her administrative work for the seminary and in resourcing the denomination during her years at Bethany and in ordained ministry,” says Steve Schweitzer, academic dean. “She developed the ministry formation program into a robust set of courses that anchors the master of divinity curriculum in ways that are beneficial for student learning. Her deep commitment to students is also evidenced in her implementation of a distance education model for ministry formation. Bethany has been rewarded by her presence on the faculty.”
 
After earning a Training in Ministry certificate from the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, Hornbacker completed her master of divinity degree from Earlham School of Religion in 1994 and her doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2003. She was granted tenure at Bethany in 2005 and promoted to full professor of ministry formation, missional leadership, and evangelism in 2013. Prior to her seminary employment, she was ordained in the Church of the Brethren in 1989 and served nine years as pastor of Pleasant Hill (Ohio) Church of the Brethren.
 
Throughout her tenure, Hornbacker has been active in the Association of Theological Field Educators and since 2001, in the Evangelical Association of Theological Field Educators, serving as chair from 2010 to 2012 for the latter. She has written articles for professional and denominational publications as well as several book chapters, and her numerous presentations have included ministry training, keynote addresses, retreats, dinner speeches, insight sessions, workshops, and Bible studies. As a member of the Church of the Brethren Ministry Advisory Council, Hornbacker has assisted with oversight of ministerial education in the denomination and the recent revision of the Ministerial Leadership Paper. In her own Southern Ohio District, she is an educational advisor for the Missional Church Task Team and has served on district committees.
 
Hornbacker and her Bethany colleagues anticipate that she will continue to teach seminary courses as availability and opportunity allow. “As she transitions to retirement,” says Schweitzer, “her impact on us, our students, our graduates, and the denomination will continue well into the future. May God richly bless her in whatever good work she accomplishes in the coming years.”

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





11) Diana Butler Bass headlines Ministers’ Association continuing education event

Diana Butler Bass headlines the 2018 Ministers' Association event
Photo courtesy of the Ministers' Association

Diana Butler Bass headlines the 2018 Ministers' Association event

Theologian and author Diana Butler Bass is the featured speaker for the Church of the Brethren Ministers’ Association annual continuing education event this year, held just prior to Annual Conference. “Gratitude: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks” is the theme for the gathering on July 3-4 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“Amid division, stress, and anxiety, why should anyone care about gratitude?” said an announcement. “In ‘Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks’ (HarperOne; Hardcover; April 3, 2018) cultural observer and theologian Diana Butler Bass argues that gratitude is central to both our personal and political lives--and that it may be the single most important spiritual practice we can engage in times of turmoil and conflict.”

Butler Bass holds a doctorate in religious studies from Duke University, has taught at the college and graduate level, and currently is an independent scholar, teaching and preaching internationally on matters of religion and spirituality.

Three main sessions will be led by Butler Bass on Tuesday evening, July 3, and Wednesday morning and afternoon, July 4. Cost to attend ranges from $45 for first timers, to $50 for seminary and academy students, to $85 for an individual or $135 for a couple. These prices increase if paid at the door. A buffet luncheon on Wednesday, childcare, and continuing education credit for ordained ministers are available at additional cost.

For more information go to www.brethren.org/ministryoffice/sustaining.html . For a brochure and printable registration form go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/documents/brethren-ministers-association-event-2018.pdf . Online registration is at www.cognitoforms.com/ChurchOfTheBrethren1/BrethrenMinistersAssociation2018PreAnnualConferenceEvent .





12) Brethren Press announces summer release for 'Inglenook Desserts'

Brethren Press has announced a summer release date for a new cookbook in the Inglenook series, called “Inglenook Desserts.” “Keep your fork--something sweet is coming!” says the publishing house.

“Inglenook cookbooks are a Church of the Brethren tradition, dating back to 1901,” says Brethren Press. “Inglenook Desserts will be 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.”

“Inglenook Desserts” will include more than 175 dessert recipes along with reflections on traditions and celebrations that feature desserts. For pre-publication discounts, order by April 9 and save off the retail price of $25: order up to 9 copies for a pre-publication price of $21; or order 10 or more copies for a pre-publication price of $18.

Download the advance order form at www.brethren.org/bp and at www.inglenookcookbook.org . Call Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 for further details, or contact inglenook@brethren.org .










13) Brethren bits

A planning team has gotten together to start working on the 2019 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC). Here are the members of the group: (back row, from left) Stan Dueck (staff), Glenn Bollinger, Karen Dillon, Rex Miller, Josh Brockway (staff); (front, from left) Pat Roberts, Christy Waltersdorff.
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

A planning team has gotten together to start working on the 2019 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC). Here are the members of the group: (back row, from left) Stan Dueck (staff), Glenn Bollinger, Karen Dillon, Rex Miller, Josh Brockway (staff); (front, from left) Pat Roberts, Christy Waltersdorff.

-- Terri McDonough of Lebanon, Ohio, has been hired as financial aid and enrollment assistant at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., beginning March 5. She brings experience in banking as a customer service representative, universal banker, and loan servicer to the position. In her role at the seminary, she will serve as the financial aid officer, will maintain student accounts as well as all student records, will oversee the Federal Work-Study program, and provide support for admissions, student development, and alumni relations.

-- Bethany Theological Seminary is seeking a director of student development and alumni relations. This person will have primary responsibility to design, implement, and review a student development plan and a retention plan for Bethany students. The director will lead a vibrant program to engage Bethany alumni, collaborating with the Institutional Advancement Department when appropriate. This is an opportunity for a person with strengths in caring for details and supporting colleagues in the mission of the Admissions and Student Services Department. Eligible applicants will hold the minimum of a master’s degree; a master of divinity is preferred. Affinity with the values and mission of the seminary is required. Qualified applicants will be personable and able to be self-directed, manage a complex workload with attention to details, offer support to colleagues, and have the ability to connect with current students as they become alumni. Multi-tasking skills are needed to manage the current student development needs while working to connect with alumni, regionally and nationally, in various ways. This position has an immediate start date. For a complete job description, visit www.bethanyseminary.edu/about/employment . Application review will begin immediately and will continue until an appointment is made. To apply, send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to recruitment@bethanyseminary.edu or Attn: Lori Current, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374. 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. Bethany Theological Seminary equips spiritual and intellectual leaders with an Incarnational education for ministering, proclaiming, and living out God’s shalom and Christ’s peace in the church and world.

-- The Mission Alive conference will be webcast, announces the Global Mission and Service office. “We are only four weeks out from Mission Alive 2018, your chance to celebrate and explore the global Church of the Brethren!” said the announcement. “For those not able to attend in person, you can experience the conference via webcast. The webcast will include worships, keynote speakers, and selected workshops.” Find a link on the conference website. Registrations are still being accepted at www.brethren.org/missionalive2018 .

-- An action alert on military involvement in Yemen has been issued by the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C. Citing the church’s longstanding opposition to war, it calls Brethren to communicate with their senators about the nature of the US military involvement. “From Afghanistan to Yemen, the United States military is actively engaging in violent conflict. Most of these military engagements have not been debated or authorized by Congress- instead, they have been justified under legislation originally meant to enable the US government to go after al-Qaeda and its affiliates,” said the alert. “This legislation (the Authorization to Use Military Force) has had far-reaching impacts--including in Yemen. Using an overly-broad interpretation of the legislation, the United States has partnered with Saudi Arabia to provide military support to the Yemeni government. The US also continues to carry out drone strikes and intelligence operations within Yemeni borders.” The alert noted the dire results for Yemeni civilians, citing statistics that more than 10 million people lack adequate food and water, and that the war in Yemen has killed over 10,000 civilians and injured an additional 40,000. The alert urges support for Senate Joint Resolution 54, which would require Congress to debate and vote on legislation authorizing US military involvement in Yemen. Find the full alert online at http://cob.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=37238.0&dlv_id=45294 .

-- “Our community is lucky and I consider myself really blessed.... I appreciate your friendship, your kindness, and your hard work to make life more comfortable for some local families who might be facing a few uncertainties,” wrote Joe Wars, the local organizer for the Martin Luther King Day Food Drive in Elgin, Ill. The warehouse at the Church of the Brethren General Offices is the collection and distribution point for the annual food drive. “Just when I thought we were not going to make our goal this year, you came through again,” Wars wrote in a recent thank you to participants. He reported that the drive achieved its goal of collecting 10 tons of food for distribution to area food pantries, soup kitchens, and other outlets for those in need.

-- A Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to Bill Kostlevy, archivist and director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., by the Wesleyan Theological Society. The presentation took place at the society’s 2018 annual meeting March 8-9 in Cleveland, Tenn.

-- “Brethren Go Baroque” was the name of a group who represented the Church of the Brethren General Offices at a “Bach Around the Clock” event at First United Methodist Church in Elgin, Ill. Led by flautist Emily Tyler of the Workcamp Ministry and pianist Nancy Miner of the General Secretary’s Office, the group included Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden, Youth and Young Adult Ministry director Becky Ullom Naugle, Annual Conference assistant Jon Kobel, and News Services director Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, with Joel and Chris Brumbaugh-Cayford filling out the bass line. One of their pieces was a hymn text written by Brethren founder Alexander Mack Sr., set to music by Bach.

Onekama (Mich.) Church of the Brethren held a fundraiser for Puerto Rico disaster relief in February, successfully raising $5,725. “People from the community were as eager as congregation members to donate and bid on silent auction items or donate directly,” pastor Frances Townsend reported to Newsline. The event included a concert and soup supper in addition to a silent auction.
Photo by Frances Townsend

Onekama (Mich.) Church of the Brethren held a fundraiser for Puerto Rico disaster relief in February, successfully raising $5,725. “People from the community were as eager as congregation members to donate and bid on silent auction items or donate directly,” pastor Frances Townsend reported to Newsline. The event included a concert and soup supper in addition to a silent auction.

-- Members of Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren will be among the hundreds of thousands of people expected at the "March for Our Lives" rally for stricter gun laws in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 24, reports Lancaster Online. “The Washington march, which is expected to attract as many as 500,000 people, is the signature event in a series of marches that are scheduled in various cities that day. When the Rev. Bob Kettering, interim associate pastor at Lancaster Church of the Brethren, 1601 Sunset Ave., heard about the march, he immediately booked a 56-seat bus to take members of the church and the community to Washington. For Kettering, the march represents a way to live out the church’s creed  as a peace church,” the news site reported. It quoted Kettering, “I’ve always said, ‘I want to be more than a historic peace church; I want to be a living peace church.’” The question, he said, is “How can we do what Jesus called us to do in the Sermon on the Mount--to be peacemakers?” Find the news report at http://lancasteronline.com/features/faith_values/lancaster-church-of-the-brethren-charters-bus-for-march-for/article_7ebc1ff8-2318-11e8-8157-6b7baf8254e7.html .

-- Bridgewater (Va.) College hosts a presentation by Oscar Arias, two-time president of Costa Rica and winner of the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize, who will present an endowed lecture on March 15. He will speak on “Peace and Justice in the 21st Century” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Cole Hall. “Arias served as president of Costa Rica from 1986-90 and from 2006-10,” said a release from the college. “When he assumed office in 1986, civil wars raged in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Working with the other presidents of the region, Arias drafted a peace plan that sought to end the regional crisis by linking democracy to peace. ... In that same year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1988 Arias used the monetary award from the Nobel Peace Prize to establish the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress. Under the auspices of the Foundation, and subsequently with the support of a group of Nobel laureates, Arias became a leader in the decades-long effort to establish the United Nation’s Arms Trade Treaty, which entered into force in 2014.” Sponsored by the Kline-Bowman Institute for Creative Peacebuilding, the lecture is free and open to the public.

-- The 27th Annual Benefit Auction for the Children’s Aid Society will be presented by the Lehman Center Auxiliary on April 24, at the York County 4-H Center in York, Pa. The event includes a live auction and a kitchen serving home-made soup, barbecue, pies, and more. For more information, call 717-845-5771 or visit www.cassd.org .

-- In the latest episode of the Dunker Punks Podcast, Manchester College student Nolan McBride shares his search for a church-going experience similar to that of the Church of the Brethren while he studies abroad in the United Kingdom. Nolan compares and contrasts his experience in the UK to his experiences being raised in the Church of the Brethren. The Dunker Punks Podcast is an audio show created by more than a dozen Brethren young adults across the country. Listen to the latest on the episode page at bit.ly/DPP_Episode52 or subscribe on iTunes at http://bit.ly/DPP_iTunes .

Junior highs say

Junior highs say "thank you" to Northern Ohio District with this e-postcard that was shared by the district office.

-- "Brethren Voices" the community television program produced monthly by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, traveled to Kansas City to get the latest episode’s story about Brethren during the WW I era. “The WW I Museum in Kansas City, Mo., is dedicated to those who fought and died in that war and also to those who were opposed to participating in the destruction that war makes,” said an announcement. “The war effort  introduced mass conscription and the US government energized it with patriotic rallies and the promotion of war bonds. For the Brethren, there were no provisions made for those opposing to participate in the war effort.” The World War I Museum recently held a symposium, “Remembering Muted Voices,” about conscience, dissent, resistance, and civil liberties in World War l through today.  "Brethren Voices" host, Brent Carlson met with conference organizer Andrew Bolton of the Community of Christ Church of England. Bill Kostlevy, director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, in this episode also shares about the reactions of the Brethren during World War I and Kirk MacGregor of McPherson College is featured with historical perspective of the US reaction to the unpopular war. DVD copies may be obtained from Ed Groff at Groffprod1@msn.com .  The program will be featured on WWW.Youtube.com/Brethrenvoices  in mid March.

-- The World Council of Churches (WCC) welcomed historic meetings on March 5-6 between a South Korean special envoy delegation and North Korean leadership in Pyongyang. These were the first high-level direct talks between the two Koreas in more than a decade, a WCC release said, welcoming them as “a powerful sign of hope.” The WCC release said that “these developments took place while representatives of Korean churches and international partners--including the WCC--were gathered in a conference organized by the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) in Seoul on the 30th anniversary of the NCCK 1988 Declaration of the Churches of Korea on National Reunification and Peace.” Find a communique from participants in the NCCK conference, titled “Cultivating Peace, Proclaiming Hope,” at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/public-witness/peace-building-cf/cultivating-peace-proclaiming-hope .

-- A series of four Bible studies prepared for the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism are available online from the World Council of Churches (WCC). Today is the last day of the conference, which has been taking place in Arusha, Tanzania, on the theme “Moving in the Spirit: Called to Transforming Discipleship.” The conference committee commissioned theologians from diverse theological and cultural backgrounds to write studies related to the conference theme. “Following Jesus: Becoming Disciples,” studies Mark 6:1-13 and is written by Merlyn Hyde Riley of the Jamaica Baptist Union, also president of the Jamaican Council of Churches (www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/commissions/mission-and-evangelism/bible-study-1-cwme-arusha-tanzania ). “Transforming the World, According to Jesus’ Vision of the Kingdom,” studies Matthew 5:1-16 and is written by Roman Catholic priest and psychologist Sahaya G. Selvam of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Kenya (www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/commissions/mission-and-evangelism/bible-study-2-cwme-arusha-tanzania ). “Transforming the World: Equipping Disciples,” studies 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 and is writte by Lutheran scholar Kenneth Mtata of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/commissions/mission-and-evangelism/bible-study-3-cwme-arusha-tanzania ). “Equipped Disciples: Embracing the Cross,” studies Luke 24:1-12 and is written by Jennifer S. Leath of Illiff School of Theology in Denver, Colo., where she also pastors Campbell Chapel AME Church (www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/commissions/mission-and-evangelism/bible-study-4-cwme-arusha-tanzania ).

-- J. Manley Garber of Woodbridge (Va.) Church of the Brethren received the Charles J. Colgan Visionary Award from the Prince William Chamber of Commerce at its annual awards banquet on Feb. 28, according to Inside Nova, a northern Virginia news site. Garber turned 93 on Jan. 26, the report said. “Garber pushed to bring electricity to much of county in the 1940s when the investor-owned electric utility refused to provide service to any home or business not along a main road,” the report said. “Because of Garber’s efforts, members of the Prince William Electric Cooperative elected him to the board of directors in 1950. He served as secretary before being elected chairman in 1974. Prince William Electric Cooperative consolidated with Tri-County Electric Cooperative in 1983 and formed Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative. The new utility’s board elected Garber chairman of NOVEC’s board, and he remained in that position until 2008. In recent years, he has served as a director. He has served 67 years on electric cooperative boards, more than any other co-op board member in the United States.” His son, Dan, told Inside Nova that “On Easter, Dad still gets up at 4:45 a.m. to make fresh sausage gravy for the entire church family.... He has it ready in time for breakfast at 7 a.m., after sunrise service.” Read the full report at www.insidenova.com/news/business/prince_william/j-manley-garber-hepburn-sons-competitive-edge-win-top-prince/article_78df46e2-1c82-11e8-ab09-7bbc7d7cfc65.html .


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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 the editor--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, Joshua Brockway, Jenn Dorsch-Messler, Markus Gamache, Ed Groff, Kendra Harbeck, Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Roxane Hill, Nathan Hosler, Jeff Lennard, Wendy McFadden, Nancy Miner, Kevin Schatz, David Steele, Joe Wars, 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.