Board Receives Report on Sustainable Community Development in North Korea

Church of the Brethren Newsline
Oct. 28, 2009

A highlight of the reports received at the October meeting of the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board was a presentation on work against hunger in North Korea, given by Pilju Kim Joo of Agglobe Services International, and Global Food Crisis Fund manager Howard Royer.

Through annual grants and other efforts, the church is supporting four farm cooperatives in North Korea, in partnership with Joo’s nonprofit agency. In addition, the church has been invited to help provide faculty to teach at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, which has just opened outside the North Korean capital city Pyongyang. The university is a unique venture made possible through cooperative work by faith-based groups with the countries of North and South Korea.

Joo emphasized her endebtedness to the Church of the Brethren, which has been working with Agglobe Services International since 1997. Her wide-ranging slide presentation encompassed a variety of efforts taking place at the four farm cooperatives where some 15,000 people live, from the testing of new varieties of crops to providing basic farm equipment to the feeding of orphans–all under the heading “sustainable community development.” At the conclusion of her presentation, the board rose in a standing ovation in appreciation for her work.

Go to  for a photo album of the farm rehabilitation project in North Korea. Go to  for a photo album featuring the opening of the new university in North Korea. Go to  for more about the work of the Global Food Crisis Fund.

The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contact to receive Newsline by e-mail or to submit news to the editor. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.


Brethren in the News

“Peace museum angling for Obama’s peace prize money,” Associated Press (Oct. 27, 2009). A fledging peace museum founded by Church of the Brethren members Christine and Ralph Dull, longtime peace activists who live in the area of Dayton, Ohio, is hoping its mission is just what President Barack Obama is looking for when he decides what to do with the $1.4 million cash award that comes with his Nobel Peace Prize, according to this AP report. Volunteers and supporters of the Dayton International Peace Museum are writing letters to Obama in hopes of swaying him to make a donation.

“A Veteran’s Story: Mervin DeLong objected, but served his country,” Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal (Oct. 26, 2009). For Mervin DeLong, the Lord’s commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” was the final word. DeLong’s stubborn defense of his status as a conscientious objector kept him out of the infantry during World War II. Instead, he became a medic and worked in a military hospital in Guam. He turned from killing to healing. A week away from his 90th birthday, DeLong will be honored by friends and fellow members of the First Church of the Brethren in Mansfield, Ohio.

“Potluck of locally grown foods is tonight,” Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (Oct. 25, 2009). Church of the Brethren member Anna Lisa Gross, who is a student at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., is coordinating “100-mile Radius Potlucks.” The potluck events have been taking place every month since July 2008. “The potlucks began as a way to celebrate local food and educate people about our local ecosystem,” she told the newspaper.

“Kids learn art of Taiko drumming,” News Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Ind. (Oct. 24, 2009). Taiko drumming is one of the classes taught at the Blue Jean Diner program at Lincolnshire Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Blue Jean Diner is a supervised, free program held each Monday and Wednesday for children in kindergarten through grade 6. During the meetings, the children receive help from volunteers with homework, play sports, and eat a hot meal.

“Four Mile celebrates 200 years,” Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (Oct. 23, 2009). For 200 years, sermons have been preached at the Four Mile Church of the Brethren. It is the oldest Brethren church in Indiana. On Oct. 24-25, that tradition continued in commemoration of the church’s bicentennial. Clyde Hylton, who retired as pastor in 2004, gave the sermon during the service Sunday with special music by the youth and by the Faithful Sons, followed by a carry-in dinner.

“Corn grown in Western Md. helps farmers in Nicaragua,” Frederick (Md.) News Post (Oct. 19, 2009). Corn grown in Frederick County, Md., is helping farmers in Nicaragua become sustainable. That’s the premise behind the Growing Project, a labor of love for eight churches: the Grossnickle, Welty, Myersville , Hagerstown, Harmony and Beaver Creek churches of the Brethren, the Christ Reformed United Church of Christ of Middletown, and the Holy Family Catholic Community.

 “Elgin-area Church gives woman human rights award,” Daily Herald, suburban Chicago, Ill. (Oct. 18, 2009). Tana Durnbaugh, a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., is the 2009 recipient of the Elgin-South Elgin Church Women United Human Rights Award. Her peace and justice ministry includes activities with Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice, Christian Peacemaker Teams and the Friends in Chicago. She is a retired nurse educator and works with the Honduran Mission Project of Northern Illinois and serves on the board of Pinecrest Community in Mount Morris, Ill.

“Mountain View: Invisible world,” Southwest Virginia Today (Oct. 16, 2009). Columnist Mark Sage tells the story of an incident from the life of Geraldine Plunkett, a Church of the Brethren member in her eighties who lives in an assisted-living facility in Roanoke, Va. An incident in the home reminded Plunkett of “the foot-washings her Brethren church had regularly held throughout her life. She suddenly understood, on a raw level, the symbolism of that kind of kneeling-to-serve, and the hidden world of God’s kingdom that could open up through an ordinary act here in grubby, imperfect old molecule-land.”

“Churches will ‘Rock the Block,'” Clovis (N.M.) News Journal (October, 2009). Three churches in north Clovis, N.M., are teaming up to host a block party, including Clovis Church of the Brethren, Highland Baptist Church, and Kingswood United Methodist Church. Pastor Jim Kelly with the Church of the Brethren said the event helps the churches get acquainted with the neighborhood and vice versa.

Obituary: Angela F. Kania, Staunton (Va.) News Leader (Oct. 15, 2009). Angela Faith Kania, 16, died on Oct. 14 at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, of injuries sustained in a car accident. Angela was a daughter of Phillip Michael Kania and Cathy Irene (Cupp) VanLear. She was a member of Lebanon Church of the Brethren in Mount Sidney, Va., and served on the Shenandoah District Church of the Brethren Youth Cabinet.

Obituary: Lizzie R. Pleasants, Staunton (Va.) News Leader (Oct. 14, 2009). Lizzie Frances Reid Pleasants, 91, passed away on Oct. 13 at Envoy Health of Staunton, Va. She was a member of Forest Chapel Church of the Brethren in Crimora, Va., where she was active in Sunday school and the Women’s Group. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul Pleasants.

“Public theology and historic peace churches topic of Menno Simons Lectures,” Bethel College News, North Newton, Kan. (Oct. 14, 2009). Theology, culture, and peace are topics that Scott Holland of Bethany Theological Seminary will treat in the 58th annual Menno Simons Lectures at Bethel College Nov. 1-3. Holland is completing a decade at Bethany, the Church of the Brethren seminary and graduate school. As associate professor of theology and culture, he teaches in the general area of church and society, which includes directing both the peace studies and cross-cultural studies programs.

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