Church of the Brethren Newsline
July 29, 2009
At least two churches of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) have been destroyed in Maiduguri, and several Brethren members killed in violence that has swept across northeastern Nigeria since the beginning of this week. The churches named in a report from EYN leaders include EYN Maiduguri/Wulari (or Maiduguri No. 1 church), which was burned down, and EYN Jajeri.
The report was received from EYN General Secretary Jinatu Wamdeo and a leading EYN pastor from Maiduguri who also is a former chairperson of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Borno State Branch. (His name is being withheld to help ensure his safety.)
“EYN Wulari–the biggest EYN church–is bombed,” the report said. “Three EYN members of Local Church Council Jajeri were killed, the assistant pastor injured. The security and the driver of EYN Maiduguri (were) injured.”
Violence also has been threatened in Mubi, the closest town to the headquarters of EYN.
The Maiduguri churches were destroyed early in the morning on Monday, July 27, during a wave of terrorist-type violence that began Sunday and included bombings of police stations and barracks, and attacks on police across the area, according to news reports. The violence reportedly has been perpetrated by members of an obscure fundamentalist Islamic sect that is opposed to Western-style education.
This is the third time violence has affected EYN churches in recent years: EYN members were injured in the town of Jos in central Nigeria during rioting in December 2008, and at least five EYN churches in Maiduguri were destroyed or damaged in February 2006, in violence sparked by the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
At least 13 churches have been destroyed and more than 50 Christians have been killed in Maiduguri, the EYN leaders reported. The churches that were destroyed included the COCIN (Church of Christ in Nigeria) Railway church, whose pastor was among those killed. “The brutal murder of Pastor Sabo of COCIN Railway was a sad one,” the EYN leaders wrote.
Government officials may have had warning of imminent attacks by the Islamic sect, the report indicates. Prior to the outbreak of violence, leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria had expressed concern to the police commissioner and other officials. “On Friday the State Governor in a state-wide radio and television broadcast assured all that adequate security measures were put in place and no cause to fear, but alas,” the report said.
The report ended with a plea for prayer: “Please pray for all Christians in northern Nigeria, more especially in Bauchi, Yobe, and Borno States. Pray for peace in Nigeria and these places.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
“From compost to gardens for new vegetables,” Reporter News, North Penn, Pa. (July 19, 2009). Peter Becker Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Franconia, Pa., is reaping tasty new rewards for recycling. Its dining service, Cura Hospitality, has begun on-site composting, with the final result to be used for the residents’ vegetable gardens. “So far it’s been very successful,” said Bill Richman, the Cura general manager. http://www.thereporteronline.com/articles/2009/07/
“Rockingham Native Continues Brethren Link With Nigeria,” Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, Va. (June 23, 2009). More than eight decades after his Church of the Brethren forefathers brought Christianity to Nigeria, and a year after his denomination reached its third century, Rockingham County native Ben Barlow took part in yet another of his faith’s historic firsts. Barlow, 33, recently spent two weeks in northeastern Nigeria as one of four young adults invited by Church of the Brethren leaders in the West African nation. The four took part in a conference, held earlier this spring in Kwarhi, Nigeria, which for the first time included guests from the US. http://www.rocktownweekly.com/news_
“Vegetable Basket program offers harvest to pantries,” Montgomery News, Fort Washington, Pa. (July 8, 2009). Hatfield (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is one of the partners in the “Vegetable Basket Program” sponsored by the Community Nutrition Coalition, several food pantries, and several Mennonite congregations in the North Penn and Indian Valley areas of Pennsylvania. This is the third year for the program that donates excess fresh produce to food banks. http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2009/07/08/
“Elementary principal departs to spread God’s word,” News Leader, Staunton, Va. (June 29, 2009). After 17 years with the Staunton, Va., school district, Randy Simmons is retiring as principal of Bessie Weller Elementary School and heading into a new career. “This is a new call. A new path for me,” said Simmons, who will become part-time pastor of Mount Vernon Church of the Brethren in Stuarts Draft, Va. Simmons, 56, double majored in philosophy of religion and elementary education. He was a part-time pastor while he taught fourth- and fifth-grades, but once he became principal he has focused his energy on developing a sense of family at the school. http://www.newsleader.com/article/
Obituary: Odell B. Reynolds, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (July 20, 2009). Odell Byers Reynolds, 83, of Buena Vista, died on July 18 at her home in Stuarts Draft, Va. She was a life long member of Oronoco Church of the Brethren in Vesuvius, Va. She was retired from Kenney’s in Buena Vista. She was preceded in death by her first husband, H. Warren Byers, and her second husband Harry Reynolds. http://www.newsleader.com/article/
Obituary: Harold (Hal) V. Heisey, Des Moines (Iowa) Register (July 13, 2009). Harold (Hal) V. Heisey, 79, died on July 11 at the Indianola Good Samaritan Center. He was a member of Panther Creek Church of the Brethren near Adel, Iowa. He was a graduate of McPherson (Kan.) College and Drake University. In 1952 he married Elinor Stine, who survives him. His career included teaching and coaching for 12 years at Southeast Warren and Indianola, building Indian Lanes Bowling Alley in Indianola, building homes and renovating commercial and residential properties. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090713/
Obituary: Paul C. Hulvey, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (July 13, 2009). Paul Calvin Hulvey, 90, of Mount Sidney, Va., died on July 13 at Rockingham Memorial Hospital. He was a member of Lebanon Church of the Brethren in Mount Sidney, where he served as a deacon. In 1945, he married Priscilla Bock Hulvey, who survives. He was employed as a farmer, brick mason, and an animal control warden for the state of Virginia and Augusta County. http://www.newsleader.com/article/20090713/OBITUARIES/
“Free dinner for military, veterans, and family members,” Indianapolis Star (July 1, 2009). The monthly Military and Veterans Dinner, sponsored by Christ Our Shepherd Church of the Brethren in Greenwood, Ind., is part of that congregation’s Welcome Home Project for veterans and their families. http://www.indystar.com/article/20090701/LOCAL040206/
“Johnstown pair raises funds for pulmonary fibrosis research,” Our Town, Johnstown, Pa. (July 1, 2009). Arbutus Church of the Brethren is hosting a fundraiser, “Breathing for Dean,” organized by Candie Rievel and her mother Jerrie Schell to raise money for pulmonary fibrosis research. The event pays tribute to Dean Schell, a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, husband, singer, barber, community member and victim of the disease, who passed away in 2008. http://www.ourtownonline.biz/articles/2009/02/27/
Obituary: Edna M. Young, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (July 10, 2009). Edna “Marie” Young, 86, a resident of Bridgewater (Va.) Home, passed away on July 10 at the home. She was a very active member of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va., and was Sunday School superintendant for a number of years. She was a switchboard operator for Rockingham Poultry for 20 years before retiring. http://www.newsleader.com/article/20090710/
Obituary: Glen Torrence, Toledo (Ohio) Blade (July 9, 2009). Glen Torrence, 82, died of cancer in Hospice of Northwest Ohio. He was a member of Heatherdowns Church of the Brethren in Toledo, Ohio. He retired in the 1980s as a vice president of Torrence Sound Equipment, which his father started in 1928. In retirement, he was a supporter of Sunshine Inc., which helps people with developmental disabilities; was a founding member of the MultiFaith Council of Northwest Ohio; and led nature tours of his Monclova Township land where he reassembled an 1857 barn and tended an apple orchard. His wife of 60 years, Jean, survives him. http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090709/
Obituary: Blanche Marie Shimer Ducca, Salem (Ohio) News (July 8, 2009). Blanche Marie Shimer Ducca, 99, passed away early in the morning on July 7 at Parkside Health Care Center in Columbiana, Ohio. She was a member of Zion Hill Church of the Brethren in Columbiana. She was retired as a clerk at Redwood City Community Store in California, where she had worked for 20 years. http://www.salemnews.net/page/content.detail/id/
Obituary: Ethel D. Davis, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (June 28, 2009). Ethel Lee (Dudley) Davis, 80, of Waynesboro, Va., passed away on June 25 at the Shenandoah House of Augusta Health. She was a member of Blue Ridge Chapel Church of the Brethren in Waynesboro. She was employed at Hardee’s as assistant manager before retiring in 1981 with 19 years of service. She was preceded in death by her husband, Austin Davis, in 2003. http://www.newsleader.com/article/20090628/
“Whitby earns Eagle Scout rank,” Free-Lance Star, Fredericksburg, Va. (June 28, 2009). Jonathon B. Whitby, a member of the youth group at Hollywood Church of the Brethren in Fredericksburg, Va., has received his Eagle Scout rank. He is a member of Boy Scout Troop 179. His Eagle project consisted of fundraising, painting, cleaning and setting up a youth center at Hollywood Church. http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2009/062009/06282009/473804
Obituary: Frances D. Geiman, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (June 22, 2009). Frances Elizabeth Davis Geiman, 92, died on June 20 at her home. She was a longtime member of Middle River Church of the Brethren in Fort Defiance, Va., and a cofounder of the church museum. She later was an associate member of Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren. She had been employed by Dupont, Roy’s Florist, and Wetsel Seed Co. She also was a homemaker, ran an upholstery business in retirement, and was an award-winning gardener and a member of Hope Valley Garden Club. She sang in the Shenandoah Valley Choral Society and New Hope Chorus. Her husband, David Samuel Geiman Sr., preceded her in death in 1991. http://www.newsleader.com/article/20090622/
Obituary: Thomas J. Mullen, Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (June 22, 2009). Thomas James Mullen, 74, died unexpectedly on June 19 of a massive stroke at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. He was a well-known professor, speaker, humorist, and author of 14 books. He graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., in 1956 and received his Master of Divinity degree from Yale University in 1959. He served as pastor of New Castle Friends Meeting for seven years before returning to Earlham to become campus minister and later Dean of Students. He joined the faculty of Earlham School of Religion in 1972, where he served for many years as professor of applied theology. He was an early and enthusiastic proponent of the affiliation of Bethany Theological Seminary with ESR. His first wife, Nancy Kortepeter Mullen, died in 1998 at the age of 64. His second wife, fellow seminary professor Nancy Faus, survives him. http://www.pal-item.com/article/20090622/
“Hispanics setting aside denominational differences to work on issues,” Georgia Bulletin (June 17, 2009). Juan Martinez, Church of the Brethren member and director of the Hispanic church studies department at Fuller Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Ga., is quoted in a brief piece originally from Catholic News Service reporting on the Bread For the World conference on hunger issues, held in Washington, D.C. http://www.georgiabulletin.org/world/2009/06/16/US-1/
“HIV/AIDS walk to be held,” Frederick (Md.) News-Post (June 16, 2009). The Frederick AIDS Awareness 5K Walk was sponsored by Frederick Church of the Brethren along with the Frederick County Health Department and Positive Influence Inc. The date was chosen because it is National HIV Testing Day. Volunteers collected panels for a Frederick community AIDS quilt. http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/art_life/
“Secret Life of an American Teenager: A program encourages teens and parents to talk about sex,” Hagerstown (Md.) Herald-Mail (June 16, 2009). Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren in Hagerstown, Md., has been one of the congregations offering a teen sex education program. The biblically based course covered an extensive range of issues related to sexuality and relationships. http://www.herald-mail.com/?cmd=displaystory&story_id
“Scout landscapes water slide area at church camp,” Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa. (June 14, 2009). Cody Miller, a 17 year old and an active member at Maple Spring Church of the Brethren in Hollsopple, Pa., is climbing the rungs in the Boy Scouts through a project others can see as they slide downhill. For his Eagle Scout project, he landscaped the huge area surrounding the water slide at Camp Harmony, a Church of the Brethren complex. He started the project by sending a letter to each of the 70 congregations in the Western Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren asking for support. He also asked local businesses for help. The response was tremendous, according to the newspaper report. http://www.tribune-democrat.com/local/
“McPherson College receives generous gift for Christian service,” McPherson (Kan.) College News (June 12, 2009). McPherson College, a Church of the Brethren school in McPherson, Kan., has received a $2.7 million gift from the estate of Donna Rose McChesney Allen of DuBois, Pa. The gift establishes the Elsie Whitmer McChesney of Zenda, Kansas Endowment Fund to educate students in Christian service and to prepare them for a life of Christian ministry and service. The gift is named for Allen’s mother. Allen was actively pursuing a master of divinity degree at the time of her death and had completed the Church of the Brethren’s Training in Ministry (TRIM) program. She received degrees from St. Francis Hospital School of Medical Technology in Wichita, Kan., in 1943, and later from the University of Kansas, and worked as a clinical laboratory technologist for several hospitals in Pennsylvania. Later in life, she took religion courses at McPherson College. http://www.mcpherson.edu/news/index.asp?action=fullnews&id=1802
Obituary: Vernon Baker, Floyd (Va.) Press (June 11, 2009). A funeral service for Vernon Baker, 74, was held on June 3 at Topeco Church of the Brethren in Floyd, Va., where he was a leading member and has served as church board chair, as a deacon and a member of the property committee. In his younger years, he worked as project engineer for the highway department just as the department was starting the interstate system, with the assignment to oversee I-95 in Richmond, Va. In 1963, with his wife he bought half partnership in Harris Furniture and Appliance. In 1970 the business was incorporated and the name changed to Harris and Baker. He became a leading businessman in the Floyd community. http://www.swvatoday.com/comments/business_leader_
“Brethren Home opens new housing,” Our Town, Johnstown, Pa. (June 9, 2009). The official opening of Coventry Place independent living apartments was held on the campus of the Brethren Home Community in Windber, Pa., on June 4. Tom Reckner, CEO of the Brethren Home Community, gave the welcome at the ribbon cutting. The facilities, he said, “continue the mission of superior elder care by the Church of the Brethren and … help to expand and enhance our hometown of Windber.” http://www.ourtownonline.biz//somerset_news/news/local/news588.txt