8) Brethren bits: Personnel notes, book signing, Peace Day, Election Day, webinar, anniversaries, district news, college news, and more news for, by, and about Brethren.
Quote of the week:
“Not everyone’s year of service is hard. But in most cases the setting is unfamiliar and the culture is new (after all, any placement site is a new culture for the volunteer). The volunteer must develop connections and friendships just to survive. Those experiences of growth can influence a whole lifetime of living. The saying is true: BVS does “ruin” you for life.”
— Dan McFadden, outgoing director of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS), reflecting on his 20-plus years in the role for the “eBrethren” newsletter
Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM) and its associated programs have had an especially busy few weeks and they have monitored Hurricane Florence’s advance toward the United States and begun response efforts following the hurricane’s landfall on the North Carolina coast on Thursday, Sept. 13.
BDM has already had a long-term presence in the Carolinas, with teams working at rebuilding projects since fall 2016 in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Work began in the area of Columbia, S.C., and later moved to MarionCounty before expanding earlier this year to sites in both North and South Carolina, sending more than 30 volunteers and leaders each week. The current work housing site has been in Lumberton, N.C.
Volunteers from Atlantic Northeast, South/Central Indiana, and Virlina districts scheduled for the week of Sept. 9-15 still traveled to the area and did what rebuilding they could ahead of the storm, including a completely new roof on the Wednesday morning before the storm hit, replacing one that had been damaged in 2016. The volunteers then traveled home that day ahead of Florence’s landfall.
Project leaders Steve Keim, Kim Gingerich, Henry Elsea, and Rob and Barb Siney stayed behind in Lumberton, however, to prepare for Florence, as the host church—located in the northern part of the city—had avoided flooding in 2016. They filled water coolers, set up a generator, moved vehicles and trailers to safer spots, and strapped down several trailers.
The Lumberton site experienced several power outages during Florence, but power had returned Sunday night, according to the team. There were also several roof leaks, but the site remained safe even as the lower-lying southern part of the city flooded. The affected area included a warehouse that BDM shares with United Methodist partners to store construction materials. Volunteers had worked earlier in the week to move items to higher shelves.
Volunteers were also keeping an eye on Nichols, S.C., where a large amount of clean-up and rebuilding work has taken place in the past year. Only about half the affected residents had returned prior to Florence, with some of them just recently having their homes completed. The water began entering Nichols on Sept. 18 and eventually flooded all the homes that BDM had worked on plus some that had not flooded in 2016.
As of yesterday, reports said that rivers in both North and South Carolina might not crest until the middle of next week. BDM said it would “continue to wait out the storm and flooding and have volunteers return as soon as possible,” according to a release. North Carolina state officials had been asking this past week that no one travel in or to the state due to numerous road closures and ongoing rescue operations. “When the flood waters recede,” BDM said, “volunteers will work with our local partners to identify how best to help at attempt to contact past clients who might have been re-affected.”
Meanwhile, BDM’s Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) also began monitoring the hurricane’s approach about a week before landfall and, at the request of the National Red Cross, began creating multiple standby teams to respond once needs were assessed. The initial child care teams were activated for deployment on Sept. 15: one team to South Carolina and three to North Carolina, arriving on Sept. 17.
As of the most recent report, 17 CDS volunteers were on the ground in the two states providing care for children in shelters. The South Carolina team was first assigned to a shelter in Dillon, but they were not able to travel safely to the area due to increased flooding. The team was instead reassigned to North Carolina and is now working at the Pender High School shelter in a rural area in the southern part of the state.
“While frustrating, this shows how quickly response work changes soon after the disaster, especially when flooding is continuing,” a CDS release said.
The North Carolina volunteers have been stationed along the coast, at Topsail Beach, where they set up a CDS Center for the children at the shelter there. The school they are using sustained significant water damage and was soon closed as the shelter population moved to other shelters further inland. The volunteers were expected to be working in several new locations by this weekend depending on the size of the shelter population. Additional CDS volunteers are standing by to deploy as needs arise or to provide relief to current teams stationed in the Carolinas.
CDS has created several resources in both English and Spanish. Anyone able to use them with parents or caregivers should feel free to print them out on card stock or place an order by sending an email to email@example.com:
- CDS From fear to hope: Helping children cope with war, terrorism, and other acts of violence
- CDS Trauma and your children: For parents or guardians after disasters or traumatic events
Children’s Disaster Services tiene los siguientes recursos en inglés y español. Si puede usarlos con los padres o cuidadores, no dude en imprimirlos en cartulinas o hacer un pedido para ellos, enviando un correo electrónico a firstname.lastname@example.org:
- CDS Del miedo a la esperanza: Ayudar a los niños a lidiar con la guerra, el terrorismo y otros actos de violencia
- CDS El trauma y sus hijos: Para padres o cuidadores después de desastres or eventos traumáticos.
Two Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) units held orientation over the summer and have begun their service at project locations across the country and around the world.
BVS Unit 319, among the larger recent units, met at Camp Colorado (Sedalia, Colo.) from late July to early August. Volunteers and their placements are: Julia Bambauer of Trier, Germany and Judith Blaik of Bingen, Germany are serving with Good Samaritan Services in Ephrata, Pa.; Donthia Browne of Freetown, Sierra Leone, is serving with Project PLASE in Baltimore, Md.; Lauren Capasso of Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren is serving with Casa de Esperanza de los Ninos in Houston, Texas; Kathy Edmark and Roger Edmark of Olympic View Community Church of the Brethren in Seattle will be serving at World Friendship Center, Hiroshima, Japan, starting in summer 2019.
Elly Green of Louisville, Ky., is serving with the Corrymeela Community in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland; Lukas Kuhn of Brackenheim, Germany, is serving with Highland Park Elementary School in Roanoke, Va.; Pauline Liu of Parker, Colo., serving with L’Arche Kilkenny in the Republic of Ireland. Lisa-Maire Mayerle of Hoechstaedt, Germany, is serving with the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren and Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor MinistryCenter in Maryland; Monica McFadden of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren (Elgin, Ill.) is serving with the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, Washington, D.C.
Caitlin O’Quinn of Gary, Ind., is serving with the Asian Rural Institute in Japan; Alex Parker of Community Church of the Brethren (Hutchinson, Kan.) is serving with Quaker Cottage in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Holden Stehle of Greensboro, Md., is serving with ABODE Services, Fremont, Calif.; Judy Stout of San Diego (Calif.) Church of the Brethren California is serving with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria); and Ben Zaspel of Offenburg, Germany, is serving with SnowCap Community Charities in Portland, Ore.
BVS/Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) Unit 320 met at Camp Swatara (Bethel, Pa.) in August. Volunteers and their placements are:
Emily Kline of White Oak Church of the Brethren (Manheim, Pa.) and Carson Ocker of Upton Church of the Brethren (Greencastle, Pa.) are serving with The Root Cellar in Lewiston, Maine; Jolene and Sheldon Shank from the Heidelberg Church of the Brethren (Newmanstown, Pa.) are serving as house parents for the BRF unit and living in Lewiston, Maine, along with their children, Cameron, Megan, Ryan, Courtney, Sara, Breanne, Autumn, and Judah. In addition to serving as a house parent, Sheldon Shank is also serving with The Root Cellar.
BVS Unit 321 will hold orientation Sept. 30-Oct. 19 at CampPine Lake, Eldora, Iowa. For more information about Brethren Volunteer Service visit www.brethren.org/BVS.
Inspired by 2 Peter 1:5-8 (The Message), the theme for the 2019 Church of the Brethren workcamp season is “Grow.” This theme focuses on complementing basic faith with qualities that encourage steady and active growth. Workcampers will connect to 2 Peter’s spiritual principles through the stages of a plant and explore God’s call, Christ’s example, and living with purpose. More information and a complete schedule will be available online by the middle of October. Registration will open January 17, 2019, at 7:00pm Central Time. Visit www.brethren.org/workcamps to stay up to date.
Lauren Flora and Marissa Witkovsky-Eldred are serving as assistant coordinators of workcamps for the 2019 season. They began their work together last month as volunteers through Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Flora graduated from Bridgewater College in 2018 with a degree in art and comes from Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren. Witkovsky-Eldred graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2015 with degrees in botany and zoology and grew up in Roaring Spring (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren.
By Linetta Ballew
Camp Swatara (Bethel, Pa.) is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2018 with a full year of special events and programs on the theme “Tell the Story: 75 Years at the Base of Blue Mountain.” The main celebration weekend was held Aug. 3-5, with hundreds of camp friends, including past campers and staff, attending.
On Aug. 3, camp staff and volunteers hosted "A Day in the Life of Camp," where participants could enjoy a camp class open house, family-style meals, recreation activities, and a vespers service led by Del Keeney. Friday evening featured a coffee house with individuals and groups sharing their various talents and traditional and new camp snacks for all.
Aug. 4 was the main celebration day, to "Tell the Story.” Early morning birding and a pancake breakfast started the day. Morning activity options were provided all over camp, including wagon rides, the barrel train, a mini-golf tournament, a nature lodge open house, a fishing contest, boating and swimming, a ping-pong tournament, indoor and outdoor games, and the climbing tower. Past administrator Marlin Houff led a “behind the scenes” tour, and unofficial camp historian Jon Wenger signed copies of the commemorative edition book he compiled, “Tell the Story: Camp Swatara, Seventy-Five Years of Outdoor Ministry.”
A history display set up by Tim Byerly was available for visitors to look at throughout the day. Exhibits included old models of camp facilities, a handmade “Swataraopoly” game, lots of photos, a camp T-shirt collection, and many other interesting items from throughout the years—including old slide reels to click through.
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Food trucks and stands provided lunch, and then guests gathered at informal “Decade Dinners” to catch up with friends from their years at camp. An afternoon program under the tent in the West Lodge playfield featured a "variety show" of acts including songs, speakers, skits, past manager/administrator and program staff panels, and historical tidbits spanning all of camp's 75 years. Board of trustees chair Dale Ziegler served as master of ceremonies.
The evening began with dinner, followed by recreation options like an evening swim, mini-golf, the splash pad, and a sunset Rockpile hike. A vespers service led by Kyle and Kaity Remnant at the Outdoor Cathedral and campfires concluded the day.
The weekend wrapped up with Sunday morning worship in the Family Camp Fellowship Hall. Special music was provided by the Yeater Sisters, and Ralph Moyer shared a sermon that brought the whole celebration together. He concluded with these words: “So here’s to the last 75 years—we celebrate you, Camp Swatara! And here’s to the next 75 years—to those who will serve and to those who will be coming to camp. May God continue to bless Camp Swatara and use it to help bring in God’s kingdom. Amen.”
Earlier in the year, regional event celebrations were held at three retirement communities, a Sweetheart Dinner was held at camp for couples connected to camp, and a History Hike was led on camp’s “birthday,” July 22. Events remaining in the year-long celebration include a celebration of the anniversary at the Fall Fun Food Fest (Sept. 29), observances at Atlantic Northeast District Conference (Oct. 5-6), and the Annual Contributor’s Dinner (Nov. 2). More information about these events can be found online at www.campswatara.org.
Linetta Ballew is co-administrator of Camp Swatara with her husband, Joel.
The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill the full-time salaried position of director of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). A successful candidate will be an energetic and dynamic leader who connects well with people of all ages, is skilled at leading through programmatic change and facilitates Christian discipleship formation. Major responsibilities include directing the program, ministry and staff of Brethren Volunteer Service and Brethren Workcamps. This position is part of the Global Mission and Service team and reports to the associate executive director.
Desired qualifications include five years proven experience in social services, program development, and administration and three years of experience in volunteer management, as well as skills in program development, management, budget development, and supervision. Applicants should be able to work within a multicultural and multigenerational environment and be able to articulate and operate out of the core values of the Church of the Brethren.
A bachelor’s degree is required, and an advanced degree in a related field is preferred. This position is based at the Church of the Brethren headquarters in Elgin, Ill.
Applications will be received beginning immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to send a resume to COBApply@brethren.org.
On behalf of the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry, Amy Ritchie—a spiritual director and former Bethany Theological Seminary staff—has extended an invitation to women in ministry, ages 25-40, for a monthly virtual gathering.
This gathering will happen via Zoom videoconferencing on the second Tuesday of each month for one hour, beginning at noon (Eastern Time). Ritchie will facilitate the conversation, and the agenda will be brought by the participants who participate online. These calls will offer “a time of wisdom-sharing, idea generation, and support among young women.”
The first call will be Oct. 9. To receive the Zoom link, contact Ritchie at email@example.com. All young women in ministry, whether credentialed or non-credentialed, are welcome. “The space will be held with an intention of support, loving kindness, and the presence of God,” Ritchie says. The Office of Ministry envisions additional future conference calls and welcomes ideas and suggestions for ministry focus areas. For more details or further conversation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The October and November course offerings from the “Ventures in Christian Discipleship” program at McPherson (Kan.) College will be a two-part series focusing on trauma informed care. (Part 1 is not required as a prerequisite to take Part 2.)
Part 1 of the series, “Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)”, will be held online Saturday, Oct. 13, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. CDT. “The science of the past 30 years is painting a clear picture: When kids are exposed to overwhelming, unsupported adversity (abuse, neglect, domestic violence, etc.) there is a profound effect for them and for all of us,” a course description states. This class will introduce the ACE findings, briefly discuss the neurobiology of stress, and propose simple solutions that promote hope and healing. There will also be time at the end of the presentation for a dialogue regarding the implications for Ventures participants.
Part 2 of the series, “Trauma Informed Care (TIC),” will be held online Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. CST. Participants will briefly review and highlight the ACEs findings and dig deeper into the core concepts of TIC. “We will focus specifically on the core concepts of regulation, relationship, and reason to be as critical components of a connected and healthy world,” a course description said. “The strategies discussed are also relevant for managing conflict and other relevant challenges of modern life.”
Both classes will be taught by Tim Grove, chief clinical officer at SaintA, Milwaukee, Wis., who serves as the senior leader responsible for the trauma informed care initiatives across all agency programs. He was responsible for the implementation of SaintA’s trauma informed care philosophy and practices. Grove and the training team at SaintA have trained more than 50,000 people from diverse disciplines over the past 10 years.
All classes are donation-based, and continuing education credit is available for $10 per course. To learn more about Ventures in Christian Discipleship or to register for courses, visit www.mcpherson.edu/ventures.
In this issue: Personnel notes, book signing, Peace Day, Election Day, webinar, anniversaries, district news, college news, and more news for, by, and about Brethren.
-- Cherise Glunz resigned as program assistant for the office of Mission Advancement at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., effective Sept. 14. Glunz began her service on June 8, 2015.
-- Camp Swatara (Bethel, Pa.) is seeking a full-time office manager. Applications are due by Oct. 15 but will continue to be accepted until the position is filled. For more information and application materials, please visit www.campswatara.org or call 717-933-8510.
-- Alann Schmidt and Terry Barkley, co-authors of "September Mourn: The Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield," will present their book and sign books in the historic Dunker Church itself at the battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., tomorrow (Sept. 22) at 3:30 p.m. The event, which is free of charge and open to the public, is part of the "Aftermath" programs of Antietam National Battlefield highlighting the impact of the battle on the local population. The authors signed their book at Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, in July. "September Mourn" is available from Brethren Press.
-- Today, Sept. 21, is the annual Peace Day, or International Day of Prayer for Peace. Many congregations and other groups will hold special events and observances today or on Sunday. On Earth Peace is collecting stories and photos of these events on their Peace Day Facebook page, or contact peaceday@OnEarthPeace.org. The Church of the Brethren has signed on to an International Day of Peace statement. Details are at http://quno.org/timeline/2018/9/development-and-security-rely-peace-justice-and-inclusion-statement-peacebuilding.
-- The Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy recently issued an “Action Alert” asking Brethren to contact their congressional offices to oppose the withdrawal of scheduled US humanitarian support for Palestinian refugees from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The US National Council of Churches of Christ (NCC) and World Council of Churches (WCC) have also called on the US government to reverse the funding decision.
-- Congregations and others who want to do an Election Day love feast, such as the one that took place at Brethren Woods (Keezletown, Va.) in 2016 (where another is planned this year) can find resources at https://electiondaylovefeast.wordpress.com. The website was created by Tim and Katie Heishman, who recently served as program directors for Brethren Woods and planned the 2016 event.
-- A church planting webinar titled “Seeding or Launching Congregations: The First Year Shapes the Church of Decades” will be offered by the Church of the Brethren Office of Discipleship Ministries Oct. 9, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. David Fitch, the B.R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary in Chicago, will be the presenter. Register in advance at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CsbF4qEGTeqRjPAShlIsbg.
-- Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, a multicultural congregation located in the Chicago area, marked the 50th anniversary in its current building earlier this month. Dennis Webb serves as pastor.
-- Topeka (Kan.) Church of the Brethren will hold “Dunkerfest” on Oct. 13, combining a fall festival with a celebration of the congregation’s 125th anniversary. Events will run from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
-- An exhibit is celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Cedars in McPherson, Kan., the “oldest continuously operating retirement home in Kansas,” according to “The McPherson Sentinel.” It began near Hutchinson before moving to McPherson.
-- The Brethren Home Community - Cross Keys Village in New Oxford, Pa., said that 104-year-old Heath Care resident Pauline King recently broke the record for oldest student ever at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC). The retirement community has an ongoing partnership with HACC for lifetime learning.
-- Shenandoah District recently sent an additional $92,000 in funds from this year’s district disaster auction proceeds to Brethren Disaster Funds, for a total of $192,000 this year. The annual auction is among the denomination’s largest.
-- Western Plains District will hold a “Day of Discussion” Oct. 22 at HeartlandSpirituality Center in Great Bend, Kan. The event, scheduled for 10 a.m.-4 p.m., invites people to come to “talk with one another, share ideas, and pray together.” It will begin and end with worship. Western Plains will also hold its annual “The Gathering” event Oct. 26-28 in Salina, Kan.
-- Middle Pennsylvania District will have an “Old-Fashioned Hymn Sing” Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. at Hollidaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.
-- Camp Harmony (Hooversville, Pa.) is holding its Harmony Fest event this weekend, Sept. 22-23. The schedule includes hay wagon rides, children’s activities, demonstrations, music, a campfire, and silent auction and flea market, and more. Details are at www.campharmony.org.
-- The Elizabethtown (Pa.) College Peace Fellowship will hold a presentation by Dr. John Reuwer on “Nonviolence: Power for Peace and Justice,” on Oct. 17, 7:30-8:30 p.m., in the Susquehanna Room of Myer Hall. Reuwer is adjunct professor of conflict resolution at St. Michael’s College in Vermont.
-- McPherson (Kan.) College has moved up three places on the “US News & World Report” Best Colleges rankings from last year and is the highest ranking Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) school on the Regional Colleges Midwest list.
-- Bridgewater (Va.) College this fall welcomed the second-largest class in history, with 600 freshmen beginning studies. It is a 12 percent increase from the fall 2017 freshman class. The Class of 2022 also has the largest enrollment ever of diverse students, making up 36 percent of the incoming class.
-- The September edition of “Brethren Voices,” a broadcast produced by Ed Groff out of Portland, Ore., Peace Church of the Brethren will feature Jerry O’Donnell of Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren, who serves as communications director and senior advisor for Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Nathan Hosler, director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington. The October edition will feature Doris Abdullah, the Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations. Episodes can be viewed at www.youtube.com/BrethrenVoices.