Brethren bits for June 1, 2019




Pentecost Offering 2019

The Church of the Brethren’s Pentecost Offering is scheduled for Sunday, June 9, to support denominational ministries. Worship resources are available at https://blog.brethren.org/2019/pentecost-offering-2019 . (Photo by Glenn Riegel)

-- Remembrance: Monroe Good, 95, of Lancaster, Pa., a former Nigeria mission worker and district executive for the Church of the Brethren, passed away on May 3. He served in Nigeria with his wife, Ada, from 1952-64, working at a mission-operated primary school, and again from 1984-88, when they both taught at Kulp Bible School, working with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). In the years between the service in Nigeria, he was pastor of Dundalk Church of the Brethren, Baltimore, Md., for 15 years and was district executive for Middle Pennsylvania District for 4 years. Information about services will be announced. Memorial gifts are received to the Emergency Disaster Fund, earmarked for the Nigeria Crisis Fund. A full obituary is at https://lancasteronline.com/obituaries/monroe-c-good/article_020f2b84-b322-5e54-9b03-5af04c720ccb.html .

-- Tori Bateman, who has served for two years in the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C., is completing her term with Brethren Volunteer Service. She will begin work as policy advocacy coordinator with the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that puts faith into action by promoting lasting peace with justice. She will continue to represent the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy this summer at National Junior High Conference and Annual Conference.

-- The Church of the Brethren seeks a systems specialist to fill a full-time hourly position in information technology at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The systems specialist provides strategic and tactical support by analyzing and interpreting system data to provide creative solutions; plans, coordinates, tests, and implements changes to computer databases; assists in website-related projects including online registration forms; maps data from web applications into the Raiser’s Edge database. Required skills and knowledge include skilled competency in database management and queries; communication and problem solving skills; ability to tend to multiple simultaneous projects; detail orientation; customer service skills; ability to maintain confidentiality. Computer software and database experience is required. An associate’s degree or equivalent experience is required. A bachelor’s degree is preferred. The following experience is helpful: Raiser’s Edge or other customer relationship (CRM) system; Convio or other web-building solution experience; and/or Crystal Reports. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to COBApply@brethren.org or to Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

-- Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., seeks a full-time admissions recruiter to oversee contact with potential students to help generate robust enrollment and to work with students to complete the application process. This person will engage in face-to-face interactions and must be able to demonstrate excitement and enthusiasm in a wide variety of recruitment situations, and discuss discernment with prospective students to solidify a start date. This position requires extensive travel in the US. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications. Among responsibilities are increasing potential student lists and engaging in proactive recruitment; promoting and creating interest in Bethany; assisting the Youth Engagement Office with summer youth programs; initiating connections with potential students using social media and electronic communication; carrying responsibilities for admissions web pages; supporting a goal to develop a more multicultural student body; connecting with college and university personnel to increase referrals and a presence on their campuses; attending and tabling at conferences and fairs. Qualifications include admissions or relevant sales and marketing experience in higher education; bachelor’s degree; familiarity with seminaries and theological education; affinity with the values and mission of the seminary; understanding of the Church of the Brethren in the Anabaptist-Pietist tradition; collaborative working style; oral and written communication skills; use of active listening and discernment skills; command of computer software; facility with marketing and promoting on social media and through electronic communications. Physical requirements include ability to plan and independently travel via car, bus, or plane; valid driver's license; good driving history; ability to set up displays and handle boxes up to 50 pounds. 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 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. Find a full job description at https://bethanyseminary.edu/jobs .

Young adult workcamp in China, June 2019

Young adult workcamp in China, June 2019

-- The Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry has tweeted a picture from the young adult workcamp group in China. “The China workcamp is off and running!” said the tweet. “Day one...The Great Wall! #cobworkcamps2019.” The workcampers will partner with You’ai Care (hospice) and You’ai Hospital, organizations inspired by the Church of the Brethren mission that was active in China from 1910 to 1951. Work will include preparing food for and visiting with the patients as well as beautifying the hospital grounds. Participants will learn about the Church of the Brethren legacy in the area. Emily Tyler, director of Brethren Volunteer Service, and Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, are leading the workcamp. Ruoxia Li and Eric Miller, Church of the Brethren members and directors of You’ai Care, are site coordinators.

-- A Candlelight Vigil on Family Separation will be held at the 2019 Annual Conference in Greensboro, N.C., sponsored by the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy. The office invites Brethren to join the vigil immediately after worship in the North Lobby of the convention center on Wednesday, June 3, at around 8:30 p.m. The vigil will “stand in solidarity with those impacted by family separation policies. We will sing and pray together, hear stories from members of the Church of the Brethren, and learn about ways to get involved in the issue.” Find a Facebook event page with more information and the option to RSVP at www.facebook.com/events/1088467161363758 .

-- A report on an African Dialogue Series at United Nations headquarters in New York on May 21-22 was provided to Newsline by Church of the Brethren UN representative Doris Abdullah. The event focused “Towards Durable Solutions for Forcibly Displaced Persons in Africa.” The African Union 2019 Series provided a two-day program highlighting the complexity of the situation of refugees and internally displaced people in Africa from a humanitarian model. “Jesus' model, welcoming the stranger with compassion and taking responsibility to treat the stranger as you would want to be treated, meet in the African Union's humanitarian and development model,” Abdullah wrote. “The discussants spoke on IDPs’ inclusion and integration into the host country where valid documents are issued allowing for work, children attending school, medical care being provided and a life beyond fear, being free of fear behind walls, trying to climb walls, or living in dangerous overcrowded tent cities. The fear for millions of fleeing refugees and IDP persons [is] being labeled as criminals and imprisoned or the nightmare of being trafficked into slavery.” Expected outcomes from the series include increased awareness of the solutions to forced displacement of refugees in Africa; a showcase of best practices and lessons learned on African solidarity in dealing with forced displacement, including those to support women and girls; bringing out the voice of IDPs in finding solutions; concrete and action-oriented recommendations and UN-coherent support on the key issues; and regional conferences leading to a Global Forum for Refugees to be held in December. Abdullah added, “80 percent of the refugees and Internally Displaced Persons around the globe are fleeing violent conflicts and all too often meet with more violence at the border or internally in the country where they flee. The humanitarian model reminds us that we are all humans in this world together and whatever happens to my neighbor can happen to me.”
      
-- Continued prayer is requested for Nigeria. In an email from the Global Mission and Service office, prayer is requested “for members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and all those in northeastern Nigeria suffering from continued violence by Boko Haram. Militants recently attacked the villages of Dille and Lassa, located roughly 30 miles from EYN headquarters. Yuguda Mdurvwa, director of EYN’s disaster ministry, reports, ‘The security situation is getting worse in our region. People have fled these communities [Lassa and Dille], while the neighboring villages are living in panic. We only trust and depend on God for his mercy.’” More information on the attacks can be found on the Church of the Brethren blog at https://blog.brethren.org/category/nigeria .

-- Civilian casualty reporting is the topic of the latest action alert from the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, highlighted in the context of the office's work against the use of military drones in warfare. “Since 2013, the Church of the Brethren has stood firmly against the use of drones in warfare,” said the alert. “The ‘Resolution Against Drone Warfare’ specifically called out the US drone program for it's secretive nature, saying that ‘concealment of covert activities generates confusion, results in the deaths of countless targeted people and bystanders, and undermines international law and cooperation.’ This past March, President Trump officially stopped reporting the number of airstrikes carried out by the CIA outside of areas of active hostility, as well as the number of civilians killed by these strikes. This is a huge gap in the information available to the US public. Without this reporting, we don't know where the CIA is carrying out drone strikes, how frequently it happens, or how many civilians have died as a result.” The alert gives Brethren the opportunity to encourage an effort currently underway in Congress to fix this problem by including reporting requirements in the National Defense Authorization Act. Find the alert at https://mailchi.mp/brethren/civilian-casualty-reporting .

-- An ecumenical and interfaith letter supporting religious travel and remittances to Cuba faith communities has been signed by Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren, among various other faith leaders in the US. The letter was sent May 16 to the White House. The letter expressed concern “about the measures recently announced by Trump Administration officials to place new limitations on travel by US citizens to Cuba and to tighten restrictions on remittances to Cuban citizens.” It said, in part, “The proposed restrictions will have a harmful impact on the churches, temples, and communities of faith with whom we partner in Cuba. Accordingly, we write to urge the retention of the current rules for religious travel under general license and for the ability to express support to Cuban religious organizations through remittances. People of faith in the United States, including staff of national denominations and religious bodies, faith-based agencies, and members of local faith communities, travel to Cuba regularly to engage with and support sister communities. We share with them in worship, offer our human solidarity, support their pastoral and social service programs, and learn from them in return. Our visits, our moral support, and our financial assistance in many cases help sustain these faith communities and contribute to religious expression and religious liberty in Cuba.” Signers represented Church World Service, the National Council of Churches, American Friends Service Committee, Mennonite Central Committee US, Alliance of Baptists, United Church of Christ, Union for Reform Judaism, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Reformed Church, Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), state councils of churches, and Roman Catholic religious congregations and orders.

-- Upcoming online courses offered by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership include “Death and Dying” taught by Debbie Eisenbise from Sept. 4 to Oct. 29, with a registration deadline or July 13; and “Interim/Transitional Ministry: More than Mere Maintenance” taught by Tara Hornbacker from Sept. 25 to Nov. 19, with a registration deadline of Aug. 21. Contact the Brethren Academy at academy@bethanyseminary.edu or go to https://bethanyseminary.edu/brethren-academy .

Flora Coffman at the 2019 Shenandoah District disaster auction, and one of her quilts, from the Shenandoah Journal.
Photo courtesy of Shenandoah District

-- Shenandoah District’s “Shenandoah Journal” features a story about Flora Coffman, who “at age 102...could be resting on her laurels, wrapped up in one of her many quilts, reminiscing about the dozens of sewing projects she has been a part of since 1980. Yet, she and her daughter, Phyllis Zimmerman, along with the remnants of the Women's Fellowship at Valley Pike Church, have donated countless quilted items to the Shenandoah District Disaster Auction for nearly three decades.” The story by Brenda Sanford Diehl appears in the most recent issue, which focuses on the disaster auction and people who make it happen. The newsletter features a collage of faces from the auction along with the stories of Ned Conklin and his carved ducks and songbirds, and the late Ray Foster of the livestock auction committee whose grandchildren Hanna and Eston Foster, with their friend Wesley Cupp, have stepped up to carry on his legacy. Find links to past issues of the Shenandoah Journal at www.shencob.org/publications .

-- The University of La Verne, Calif., received attention in a piece published by the “New York Times” titled “The College Dropout Crisis.” The article reviewed 368 colleges across the country and why students are more successful at some rather than others, said an email from ULV president Devorah Lieberman. “This is a much-deserved recognition of the meaningful work we do to support our students and enhance our community,” she wrote. “The report identifies University of La Verne as ‘one of the country’s most impressive colleges’ due to our success in supporting and graduating lower-income and middle-income students. The piece highlights several reasons for that success, including: our connection with students; the $1 million set aside to help seniors overcome financial barriers to graduation; and the La Verne Experience academic initiative. And the article also highlights something deeper. It quotes Anyssa Ramirez, who graduated from University of La Verne in December with a degree in education (she plans to join Teach for America this summer). Anyssa described finding a welcoming environment and a connection to classmates and professors during her time in La Verne. Connections like these are the essence of the La Verne Experience, and evidence that our campus is a place where students, faculty, and staff feel that they belong.”

-- “Your commitment to eco-theology as a theme for ecumenical theological education is very important for the way we want to engage the churches,” World Council of Churches general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit told more than 30 theological educators, theologians, researchers, ministers, and practitioners at a meeting about eco-theology and theological education in mid-May at the Ecumenical Institute Bossey in Switzerland. Participants came from the Pacific, Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, and Europe to discuss the contribution of indigenous traditions to the understanding of human relations with creation. The discussion addressed “how this connectedness with all creation shapes a new approach in eco-theology,” said a WCC release. The consultation was planned by the WCC department on Ecumenical Theological Education and the Association of Protestant Churches Missions in Germany. “As the event closed, participants decided to continue the reflection on a green reformation and its significance for theological education,” the release said. “They will prepare a message with recommendations to churches and theological institutions.”

-- Abigail Houser of the youth group at North Liberty (Ind.) Church of the Brethren as well as North Liberty Church of Christ, was named valedictorian of the graduating class at John Glenn High School. She has participated in the National Honor Society, theatre company, student council, class board, League of Extraordinary Falcons, Spanish club, Suzuki Music School, and more. A news item in the "La Porte County Herald-Argus" notes that “Abigail's GPA is 4.36 on a 4 point scale. Abigail plans to attend Saint Mary's College in South Bend to major in Mathematics.” Find the news item at www.heraldargus.com/news/john-glenn-high-school-names-top-students-for-class-of/article_b8521590-4b56-5714-8889-360d46fd069e.html .

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