Newsline for March 22, 2019




There is no fear in love - text with red flowers
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

NEWS
1) Housing allowance is upheld by appeals court
2) Faith, civil, and human rights groups join to urge official visit by UN independent expert to investigate racism in the United States
3) Sili buried beside husband at Chibok, among recent losses of EYN members
4) Nigeria Crisis Response work continues amidst the violence

PERSONNEL
5) BVS volunteers complete first ‘fast track’ orientation

UPCOMING EVENTS
6) Summer workcamps still have openings, registration closes April 1

7) Brethren bits: Remembering Charles Lunkley, personnel, jobs, Messenger Online offers “So many changes! How the new tax code affects you” by Deb Oskin, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy recommends “Faith Over Fear” training, “Look at Life” conference at Bethany, more


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For the latest Brethren news go to the main Newsline page

Quotes of the week:

“Lord we pray for your peace in a world where wars rage; where people live in fear; where people use their energy to hurt rather than to heal and to divide people rather than unite them. But we also give thanks because we see glimpses of hope: people who reach out to help each other after earthquakes, floods, and storms; people who offer schools instead of guns in a war zone.... Lord, remind us again there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear! Amen.”

-- From a prayer in Northern Ohio District’s “Take a Moment to Pray for Peace” bulletin insert for this week. Go to www.nohcob.org/upload/documents/peace_news/40_march_20_2019_bulletin.pdf .


“We share with sisters and brothers in the wider ecumenical family our pain and grief in one of New Zealand’s darkest hours and crave [your] prayers for the many Muslim families grieving at this time."

-- Read the whole statement from the World Council of Churches (WCC) at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/wcc-condemns-terror-attacks-on-mosques-in-new-zealand-calls-for-end-to-violence . Shoulder to Shoulder suggests the following actions: 1. Show up for Muslim neighbors as they attend Friday prayers, offering solidarity through word and action. No one should fear for their safety at their place of worship. 2. Post solidarity statements on social media using hashtag #christchurchmosqueshooting.

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Please note that several registration deadlines for Church of the Brethren youth and young adult events are looming. April 1 is the deadline to register for a summer workcamp, go to www.brethren.org/workcamp . April 1 also is the date when the registration fee for National Junior High Conference increases to $210 per person, go to www.brethren.org/yya/njhc . Register for Young Adult Conference by April 30 to avoid a late fee, go to www.brethren.org/yac .

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1) Housing allowance is upheld by appeals court

By Nevin Dulabaum, Brethren Benefit Trust

The housing allowance provision that provides pastors with a tax benefit for their housing expenses is constitutional. That decision was announced on March 15 by the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court, which is located in Chicago.

The case, heard by the appeals court last Oct. 24, originally was heard by Wisconsin District Court Judge Barbara Crabb, who ruled in favor of Freedom From Religion Foundation that the housing allowance was unconstitutional. However, in announcing its verdict, the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court cited a number of court cases and actions by Congress in its 29-page ruling, before simply ruling, “We conclude (Internal Revenue Code, Chapter 1, Section 107 that describes the housing allowance) is constitutional. The judgment of the district court is REVERSED.”

“Although FFRF can appeal this decision and ask that the US Supreme Court hear this case, the decision by the Chicago appeals court is a major victory for pastors, regardless of denominational affiliation,” said Nevin Dulabaum, president of Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). “Many church budgets are tight, as is compensation to pastors. The housing allowance is one provision that provides much-needed tax savings to pastors; without it, many pastors would be hard pressed to take on an additional tax burden.”

The scope of this benefit extends beyond actively employed pastors. For example, all retirement payments issued by BBT to Brethren Pension Plan retired clergy have the potential to be claimed as housing allowance. The significance of the ruling today is that, for the indefinite future, retired pastors who live on fixed incomes will not receive an unexpected tax increase that could be several thousand dollars or more.

The ruling was announced recently, and so this notice is just a brief reporting of that news and the ramifications for the court’s decision. No doubt there will be more information coming, to further interpret the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court’s decision, and to also follow whether this case ultimately is addressed by the US Supreme Court.

-- Nevin Dulabaum is president of Brethren Benefit Trust. Find out more about the ministries of BBT at www.cobbt.org .





2) Faith, civil, and human rights groups join to urge official visit by UN independent expert to investigate racism in the United States

From a National Council of Churches release

Today, March 21, a broad coalition of religious and civil rights leaders will deliver a letter to Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo requesting an official invitation to professor E. Tendayi Achiume, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, to the United States.

The Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has signed the letter and its staff were at the initial planning meeting, reports director Nathan Hosler.

This letter, signed by approximately 100 organizations, requests that Achiume “conduct an official fact-finding visit to examine the historic and present marks of racism and racial discrimination that have presented new and renewed, alarming trends of racism in the United States.” It also points out that “the last Special Rapporteur on Racism visit to the United States was in 2008 at the invitation of the George W. Bush administration. That timely visit enjoyed bipartisan support.”

March 21 is the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, commemorating the 1960 massacre of 69 persons at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, as they protested the apartheid "pass laws." The United Nations notes that “racist extremist movements based on ideologies that seek to promote populist, nationalist agendas are spreading in various parts of the world, fueling racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, often targeting migrants and refugees as well as people of African descent.”

This timely letter states: “While we appreciate the US’s stated commitment to fighting racism, we believe that commitment ought to manifest itself in tangible actions rather than only words. We are deeply concerned by credible reports indicating a frightening resurgence in white supremacy, which has led to a rise in racism and hate crimes against racial, ethnic, and religious minority communities both in the US and abroad as evidenced by the recent horrific and unspeakable mass murder in New Zealand.”

-- Steven D. Martin is communications staff for the National Council of Churches. For more about the NCC go to http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us .





3) Sili buried beside husband at Chibok, among recent losses of EYN members

The funeral for Ma Sili Ibrahim
Photo copyright EYN / Zakariya Musa

The funeral for Ma Sili Ibrahim

From releases by Zakariya Musa, EYN Communications

Ma Sili Ibrahim, aged 102, was buried beside her late husband Ibrahim Ndiriza at her home town of Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria. She was among recent losses of members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

In two releases this week, EYN communications reported losses among members and an attack on the town of Michika. In related news, reported by EYN President Joel S. Billi and others, two women who are members of EYN Ngurthlavu were abducted by Boko Haram during an attack on Wednesday, March 13.

Sili was born in 1917 and died on March 16, 2019. The burial was officiated by the secretary of the EYN Minister’s Council, Lalai Bukar, who also represented EYN president Joel S. Billi. He challenged Christians to work faithfully, as if they were to die today, adding that not everyone will reach the age of Mama Sili. In a sermon during the funeral service, Amos S. Duwala read from Hebrews 9:27 and admonished the mourners to consider the service as a celebration of Sili’s transfer to glory. 

Andrawus Zakariya has lost his wife, the mother of many children including professor Dauda A. Gava, provost of Kulp Theological Seminary, after a month of treatment at the Federal Medical Centre in Yola.

The father of pastor Joseph Tizhe Kwaha, lead pastor at EYN Maiduguri #1 which is the largest congregation in EYN, was killed by Boko Haram in an attack by insurgents on the town of Michika. He was laid to glory on March 20.

Attack on Michika

Boko Haram terrorists burned a Union Bank, killed many, and forced many to relocate to different directions in the attack on Michika. Although officials are yet to know the number of lives lost in the attack, about eight people were killed. One of them was Rev. Kwaha's father.

One of those fleeing from Michika met this reporter at Mararaba with his family members, and said that he saw five people dead and that about 18 were killed in the Monday evening attack.

The terrorists tried to take two cars at the EYN district compound but did not succeed, said Lawan Andimi, who was away during the attack.

Security authorities have confirmed the attack was repelled by military from Gulak, Madagali, and other commands in the area, which forced the terrorists to flee through Lassa where they also killed two people. Reports are that the attackers were overpowered by a military ambush, killing many of them as they headed back to Sambisa.

-- Zakariya Musa is communications staff for Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).





4) Nigeria Crisis Response work continues amidst the violence

Block molding for the new wall at the EYN headquarters
Courtesy of Nigeria Crisis Response

Block molding for the new wall at the EYN headquarters

By Roxane Hill

There have been new reports of violence and attacks in northeast Nigeria. Continue to pray for our brothers and sisters as they live in fear but continue to proclaim Jesus Christ as their strength. As security continues to remain a concern, the Disaster Team of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has provided monetary assistance for the building of a wall which will surround Kulp Theological Seminary and the EYN headquarters area.

This project is a huge undertaking. Ten teams of block molders helped produce 21,000 blocks. Numerous other volunteers helped move the dried blocks to where the bricklayers will construct the wall. Volunteers came from as far away as Maiduguri.

The EYN Peace Program continues to work on trauma consciousness and resilience training. In February, workshops were held to measure the work of the newly trained Community Based Facilitators and encouraged these volunteers at the local level. The Community Based Facilitators are local volunteers who have been trained to assist others in dealing with the extreme trauma everyone is facing. As listeners, they give people a chance to share their stories. They also teach some of the principles of trauma and encourage the forgiveness and resilience needed to live under such difficult circumstances. Four workshops took place in areas where Boko Haram is still active (Wagga, Madagali, Gulak, and Midlu). The Peace Program leaders had to travel back and forth from Michika each day as it was not safe to sleep in the towns holding the trainings.

All the churches in this eastern area of EYN have been burned and yet the churches continue to worship under temporary shelters. Some 81 facilitators, 22 females and 59 males, attended the four workshops; that represents 81 people at the local level trained to guide others through their trauma. Pray for all these volunteers and their trainers as they engage in such important work.

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




Members of the first BVS fast-track orientation Unit 321.1 (from left to right) Cory Alwais, Mycal Alwais, and Alyssa Parker.
Photo courtesy of BVS

Members of the first BVS fast-track orientation Unit 321.1 (from left to right) Cory Alwais, Mycal Alwais, and Alyssa Parker.

5) BVS volunteers complete first ‘fast track’ orientation

A new venture of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) is a “fast track” for orienting and placing volunteers. The arrangement allows for quicker filling of openings at projects and earlier placement of volunteers between regularly scheduled orientation units. Of the initial three fast-track volunteers, two filled assignments in Northern Ireland and one in Pennsylvania.

Cory (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Mycal Alwais of Community of Joy Church of the Brethren in Salisbury, Md., are serving with incredABLE in Richhill, Northern Ireland.

Alyssa Parker of Midland (Va.) Church of the Brethren is serving with Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren.

For more about Brethren Volunteer Service go to www.brethren.org/bvs .







6) Summer workcamps still have openings, registration closes April 1

2019  workcamp logo

The Workcamp Ministry of the Church of the Brethren reports that several of this summer’s workcamps still have openings, but registration must be received by April 1. That date also is the deadline for full payment by those who already have registered, and for all forms to be received by the Workcamp Office.

The following workcamps still have openings for participants:

Junior high events:
June 9-13 in Rodney, Mich., at Camp Brethren Heights
June 17-21 in Harrisonburg, Va., hosted by New Community Project
July 17-21 in Roanoke, Va.

Senior high events:
June 8-14 in New Meadows, Idaho, at Camp Wilbur Stover
June 16-22 in Miami, Fla.
June 23-29 in Lybrook, N.M.
July 22-28 in Waco, Texas, at the Family Abuse Center
July 29-Aug. 4 in Portland, Ore.
Aug. 4-10 in Cañon City, Colo., sponsored by the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF)
Aug. 5-11 in Washington, D.C., with the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy

Young adult events:
May 31-June 10 in China partnering with You’ai Care and You’ai Hospital, organizations inspired by the former Church of the Brethren mission that began in China in 1910
June 10-13 in Elgin, Ill., for those assisting with the We Are Able workcamp 

We Are Able event for intellectually disabled youth and young adults:
June 10-13 in Elgin, Ill., working with Fox River Valley of Northern Illinois

The following workcamps are filled and registrations are no longer accepted:

Junior high events:
South Bend, Ind.
Petersburg, Pa.
Harrisburg, Pa.

Senior high events:
Knoxville, Tenn.
Boston, Mass.
Perryville, Ark.

For more information and to register for a workcamp this summer go to www.brethren.org/workcamps .





7) Brethren bits


 Bethany Seminary "Look at Life" conference 2019

“When faith and science meet, it's the start of an event you won't want to miss,” said an announcement of the “Look at Life” conference at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., on April 25-27. “Watch ‘parallel universes’ converge--the Sunday world of Christian faith, the Monday world of science and technology,” said the announcement. “Renowned scholar John Walton will explain hidden depths of Genesis, with plenty of time for Q and A.... Emi Smith will speak on ‘The Perfect Baby? The Promises and Perils of Gene Editing.’ She has worked with CRISPR and will help us think through the ethics of this new technology, which promises to cure genetic disorders.... Wes Tobin will explain why astrobiologists expect to find life on other planets--in our lifetime.” The conference is open to everyone--pastors, laypeople, schoolteachers, theologians, believers, questioners, others. Cost is $85, with discounts available for students and daily fees. For registration go to https://bethanyseminary.edu/look-at-life-conference-registration . For questions call 800-287-8822 or 765-983-1800.

-- Remembrance: Charles Lunkley, a former Nigeria mission worker and district executive in the Church of the Brethren, died on Monday, March 18, in Marion, Ind. A remembrance from Northern Plains District noted that he was ordained in Ottumwa (Iowa) Church of the Brethren and served as pastor for four different congregations in the Northern Plains District, and also served as a pastor in Indiana. “In 2012, Charles was able to come to our Northern Plains District Conference and be recognized for 70 years as an ordained minister,” reported district executive Tim Button-Harrison. Lunkley attended McPherson (Kan.) College and Bethany Theological Seminary. Lunkley served in Nigeria with his wife, Rozella, and their two children 1950-62. While in Nigeria, he served first as a churchman missionary and then he and Rozella served as chaplain and houseparents at Hillcrest School. From 1977-84, he was district executive minister of the Tri-Districts of Northern Plains, Missouri, and Southern Missouri and Arkansas. From 1984-87, he was chaplain at Timbercrest Church of the Brethren Home, a retirement community in North Manchester, Ind. After his retirement, he lived at the Suite Living Retirement community in Marion, Ind., and continued in ministry as the community’s volunteer chaplain as needed. A service celebrating his life will be held Friday, March 22, at 10 a.m., at Marion Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions are received for the Church of the Brethren Nigeria Crisis Response via the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). A full obituary with a slide show of pictures is at https://nswcares.com/tribute/details/20842/Rev-Charles-Lunkley/obituary.html .

-- Amy Beery, program director of youth engagement at Bethany Theological Seminary, will resign her position April 30. She began employment at Bethany in July 2016 as an admissions counselor and was named to her current position as of Nov. 1, 2017. Beery has had responsibility for planning and implementing the newly reconfigured youth program. Explore Your Call, a faith and vocation discernment program, is designed for high school students, while Immerse! engages junior high students in Bible study and denominational history. Beery graduated from Bethany in 2013 with a master of divinity degree and an emphasis in youth and young adult ministry. Seminary staff and faculty are continuing plans for this summer’s Explore Your Call event, to be held July 19-29 at Bethany in Richmond, Ind.

-- Debbie Butcher has accepted the position of employee benefits specialist at Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), starting March 25 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She comes to BBT after working for 24 years at a publishing company providing customer service. She also has served in various volunteer roles over more than a decade, primarily with the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America. She and her family live in Algonquin, Ill.

-- Camp Emmanuel in Astoria, Ill., is seeking a husband and wife team who seek a Christian ministry as camp managers. "Is God calling you to a ministry that will help introduce children, youth, and adults to the love of Jesus Christ?" said an announcement. Camp Emmanuel serves the southern section of Illinois and Wisconsin District of the Church of the Brethren and offers Christian camps for ages kindergarten through 12th grade, women, men, and families throughout the summer. The grounds and four housekeeping cabins are also available for rent. The camp  managers act as caretakers and administrators. They also provide on-site presence to interface with the community. For more details contact Richard Nichols at 217-502-3888 or rwnichols63@gmail.com .

-- The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) seeks candidates for the position of chief operating officer. The COO works closely with the general secretary/president in carrying out administrative and management functions. Duties include partnering with the general secretary/president to develop, implement, and administer the operational aspects of the office; serving as human resources director; playing a vital role in advancing the NCC’s racial justice efforts; providing leadership to the NCC strategic planning process and implementation of new programmatic initiatives; working with the development director to cultivate relationships with donors; among others. Qualifications include membership in an NCC member communion; strong administrative and management skills; strong financial oversight skills preferred; professional experience in a non-profit environment; effective relationship building skills and experience as a communicator with experience leading diverse work teams, developing an organization-wide strategy for program excellence, engaging community partners, and partnering with the general secretary/president, Governing Board, and staff; among others. Benefits include 22 vacation days, pension program, competitive salary, and health care subsidy. Applications are due March 31 and should include a cover letter and resume, and be addressed to info@nationalcouncilofchurches.us or NCC COO Search, Attn: Jim Winkler, 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002. For a full job description and more information go to http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/chief-operating-officer .

-- Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks a full-time development coordinator to serve as a member of the Peacemaker Corps in expanding financial capacity and building fiscal sustainability. Responsibilities include creating and implementing funding strategies, providing administrative oversight, cultivating major gifts, overseeing donor acquisition and renewal, writing and managing grants, organizing events, and participating in the overall work of the administrative team. The position involves close collaboration with a development working group and includes some international travel to meetings and/or project sites. Candidates should demonstrate passion for cultivating donors to support CPT work, commitment to grow in the journey of undoing oppression, and ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a dispersed team across continents. A candidate with development experience and a focus on grassroots social change organizations is preferred. This is a full time, 40 hours per week, three-year appointment. Compensation is $24,000 per year. Benefits include 100 percent employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance coverage; four weeks of annual vacation. Chicago location strongly preferred. Start date is negotiable; the position is available as of Aug. 1. To apply email in English the following documents to hiring@cpt.org : a cover letter stating motivation/reasons for interest in this position, a résumé/CV, a list of three references with e-mail and daytime telephone numbers. Application review begins April 12. See full position description at www.cpt.org . CPT is an international, faith-based, nonprofit organization that builds partnerships to transform violence and oppression. It seeks individuals who are capable, responsible, and rooted in faith/spirituality to work for peace as members of teams trained in the disciplines of nonviolence. CPT is committed to building an organization that reflects the rich diversity of the human family in ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender identity, language, national origin, race, and sexual orientation.

-- New from Messenger Online: “So many changes! How the new tax code affects you” by Deb Oskin, EA, NTPI Fellow. The author is a member of Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Columbus, Ohio, operates an independent tax service specializing in clergy taxes, and leads the annual Clergy Tax Seminar offered by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. Find the article at www.brethren.org/messenger/articles/2019/tax-changes.html .

-- The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has signed on to a letter sent March 13 by a diverse group of 42 organizations from across the political spectrum to chairman Elliot Engel and ranking member Michael McCaul of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The letter urges them to bring up Rep. Barbara Lee’s legislation to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force for prompt consideration in committee. The letter states, in part, that “the Executive Branch has expanded its interpretation of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) (PL 107-40) far beyond Congress’s original intent, in order to justify an ever-increasing number of military operations around the world. We therefore write to express our support for H.R.1274, which would repeal the 2001 AUMF eight months after enactment, and to ask that the Foreign Affairs Committee bring the bill up for prompt consideration. The Framers of the Constitution, recognizing the Executive Branch’s inclination to war, wisely and deliberately assigned to Congress the power to decide whether, when, and where the United States goes to war....” Find the full text of the letter at www.fcnl.org/updates/42-organizations-urge-support-for-aumf-repeal-1996 .

Faith over Fear event

-- In more from the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, a “Faith Over Fear” training will be held in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., just outside of Detroit, on April 11-12. “This training is especially designed for faith leaders (clergy and lay) who are interested in deepening their knowledge, skills, and connections to make an impact on the issue of anti-Muslim bigotry in their own communities,” said an announcement. Shoulder to Shoulder and the Muslim Unity Center are hosting the training to share up-to-date research, tools, and effective strategies for the work of faith and community leaders who wish to counter anti-Muslim bias, discrimination, and violence in the United States. Find out more at www.memberplanet.com/s/muslinunitycenter/faithoverfear .

-- Brethren Community Ministries or bcmPEACE, the outreach arm of Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, is participating in the Highmark Walk fundraiser in Harrisburg. “The event is to help raise funds for bcmPEACE’s ministry in the Allison Hill Community of Harrisburg,” said an announcement. “Allison Hill has the largest concentration of low-income families between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Brethren Community Ministries has committed itself to serving this neighborhood through a food distribution ministry, a computer class ministry, a youth nonviolence and leadership program, and other forms of social service. The Harrisburg First Church community has been challenged by illness and injury over the past few months, so our outreach organization is facing a financial burden. If anyone is interested in offering support or donations, contact Ron Tilley at rtilley.bcm@gmail.com or Melanee Hamilton at mhamilton.bcm@gmail.com or visit bcmpeace.org .”

-- York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren hosts a concert of the Hershey Handbell Ensemble featuring handbells and other instruments on Saturday, April 27, at 7 p.m. “They are an auditioned group with a large following in the York-Harrisburg-Hanover area, and we look forward to a ‘full house’ for their first visit to York First,” said an announcement from the church.

-- Southern Ohio/Kentucky District’s refugee resettlement program has issued an update and a request for assistance. “Some changes have occurred with the housing of the supplies that support refugees who are resettling in our area,” said an announcement. “For the past several years the warehouse space has been donated to Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley (CSSMV) to be used for this purpose, but it has now been rented to a different organization. They have asked CSSMV to have everything out by April 1. Michael Murphy at CSSMV is searching for a new home for the refugee resettlement warehouse. He has asked for our help with the move.” A packing session is scheduled for Saturday, March 23, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Contact lindabrandon76gmail.com .

-- The Mid-Atlantic District Relief Auction Dinner is co-hosted by Bush Creek Church of the Brethren and Union Bridge Church of the Brethren on Saturday, April 6, at 6 p.m. "Join us for an evening of fine food and specialty food items auction to follow the dinner," said an invitation. The menu includes baked chicken, ham loaf, shrimp, homemade breads and rolls, and dessert. Tickets are available by reservation, cost is $30 per person. Contact 443-547-5958 or jamckee26@msn.com .

-- Camp Alexander Mack is “Planting the Future” with a capital campaign, according to a recent release. The camp located near Milford, Ind., has launched the campaign to bring renewed energy to its programs and growth in the mission “to provide a sanctuary where people connect with God, experience creation, and build Christian community.” Camp Mack is aiming to raise $1.1 million focused on expanding the reach of summer camps, operating more year-round programing, modernizing facilities, and providing resources to the community. “This campaign will enable Camp Mack to grow 1,000 summer campers, achieve 60 percent occupancy of our facilities during the winter months, and the creation of a robust outdoor education program for local schools,” the release said. “This is a pivotal time in the life of Camp Mack,” writes executive director Gene Hollenberg in the release. “In the 93 years of our ministry, generations of children and adults have had their faith sparked, their understanding of God reinforced, and their spiritual lives renewed and refreshed through the sanctuary experience created here.” As of Feb. 25, 2019, more than $450,000 had been raised or pledged including more than $15,000 from staff commitments and over $50,000 from the Indiana Camp Board, Camp Mack’s governing body. The goal is to reach $1.1 million by the end of 2021. To join in the campaign, visit www.campmack.org or contact Todd Eastis at 574-658-4831 or todd@campmack.org .

-- The 18th Annual Sounds of the Mountains Festival, a storytelling and music festival at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., will be held on April 12-13. “This event features excellent and nationally known performers,” said an announcement from Virlina District. Performers include Donald Davis, Josh Goforth, Bil Lepp, and Gayle Ross. Also on the schedule are food, exhibits, and a Friday campfire. Tickets, schedule, and sponsor information are at www.SoundsoftheMountains.org .

-- The Village at Morrisons Cove, Pa., is holding its Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Friday, April 12, from 6-7:30 p.m. The event includes an egg hunt, prizes, arts and crafts, and pictures with the Easter Bunny. Children are requested to bring their own Easter baskets. Pictures begin at 6 p.m. Egg hunts begin at the following times: 6:15 p.m. for non-walkers in the Activity Hall; 6:30 p.m. for walkers through 2 years old in the Main Lounge; 6:45 p.m. for 3 and 4 year olds in the Activity Hall; 7 p.m. for 5 to 7 year olds in the Main Lounge; 7:15 p.m. for 8 to 12 year olds in the Ground Floor Hallways.

-- Elizabethtown (Pa.) College held a dedication for the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies on March 14, after the center underwent a $2 million expansion. According to Lancaster Online, “The 3,500-square-foot expansion includes offices, an enlarged classroom and reading room, and a new gallery. As visitors enter, they can view a timeline displaying the beginnings of the Anabaptist and Pietest movements in Europe (in 1525 and 1670, respectively) and the arrival of both groups in this country in the late 17th century.” Find the article at https://lancasteronline.com/features/faith_values/elizabethtown-college-dedicates-young-center-considered-the-top-institution-for/article_3517df2c-474d-11e9-b187-0b6b5d9db8f0.html .

-- The Concert Choir, Chorale, and Handbell Choir of Bridgewater (Va.) College is on a spring tour from March 29-31. Among the tour stops are Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren, where a concert will be given at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 29; and Arlington (Va.) Church of the Brethren, where a concert will be given at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 31; among others. The choir and chorale are under the direction of Curtis Nolley, a 1976 graduate of Bridgewater College and visiting director of choral music. Lacey Johnson, a 2007 graduate and instructor of music, will accompany on the piano. The student-led handbell choir is under the co-direction of Jenna K. Hallock, a senior psychology and music double major from Frederick, Md., and Noah Flint, a sophomore music major from Rocky Mount, Va. The concerts are free and open to the public.

-- This year’s Brethren Prayer and Worship Summit on the theme “Praying for the Vision” takes place March 29-30 at Rockingham County (Va.) Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg. The scripture theme is from Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Register at  www.eventbrite.com/e/brethren-prayer-and-worship-summit-2019-registration-50622977689 .

-- “More than 100,000 people are still stranded from massive flooding caused by a devastating cyclone and heavy rainfall in Mozambique and neighboring southeastern African countries,” said a release from the World Council of Churches (WCC). “As the numbers of victims and people displaced are still unfolding, churches in the region are calling everyone to join in prayers for the wellbeing and protection of those affected. With winds of more than 177 km/h, the cyclone has moved inland across Zimbabwe and Malawi. Leaving a trail of devastation which is still to be apprehended, Cyclone Idai may become the worst disaster in the southern hemisphere.” The release dated March 21 cited reports from Mozambique that 3,000 people have already been rescued, but 15,000 are still trapped by the flooding and need to be rescued. It also reported that the death toll has risen to 300 people in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and that the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that a total of 1.6 million people have been affected in three countries. “We feel saddened by the news of so many people who have lost their lives in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe through this cyclone, and many more people have been displaced,” said Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri in the release. She is WCC deputy general secretary, and was born in Malawi.


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Newsline is the email news service of the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Jan Fischer Bachman, Jeff Boshart, Tim Button-Harrison, Nevin Dulabaum, Melanee Hamilton, Roxane Hill, Donna March, Nancy Miner, Zakariya Musa, Jocelyn Siakula, Jenny Williams, Marissa Witkovsky-Eldred, and Newsline editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren, contributed to this issue. Please send news tips and submissions to cobnews@brethren.org . Find the Newsline archive at www.brethren.org/news . Sign up for Newsline and other Church of the Brethren emails, or make changes to your subscription, at www.brethren.org/intouch .

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.