Newsline Special for April 22, 2009

“Stop and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14b).

1) Environmental resources recommended by Brethren, ecumenical groups.
2) Brethren bits for Earth Day.

3) Annual Conference to address five new business items, ends online registration May 8.
4) Cross Cultural Celebration to be webcast from Miami.
5) International Day of Prayer for Peace Campaign to focus on economic crisis.
6) May is Older Adult Month on the theme, ‘Become Your Legacy.’
7) Book signings are scheduled for ‘Beyond Our Means.’
8) More upcoming events.

Contact cobnews@brethren.org for information about how to subscribe or unsubscribe to Newsline. For more Church of the Brethren news go to www.brethren.org and click on “News.”

1) Environmental resources recommended by Brethren, ecumenical groups.

On the occasion of Earth Day, a number of environmental resources are recommended by Brethren organizations and ecumenical groups in which the church participates:

The Green Bible: “The Green Bible” in the NRSV version is a new specialty Bible published by Harper Collins with the Eco-Justice Program of the National Council of Churches, the Sierra Club, and the Humane Society. Passages that speak to God’s care for creation are in green, and a study guide is included by contributors such as Brian McLaren and Desmond Tutu, among others. The Bible is printed on recycled paper using a soy-based ink. Order through Brethren Press for $29.95 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712.

Mindful Living Resources: From the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program, these are recommended for Christians to learn about environmental health and ways to protect God’s creation and vulnerable populations. The program is offering “Mindful Living: Human Health, Pollution, and Toxics” offering a faith and justice exploration of health risks caused by toxic chemicals. The “Mindful Living Gathering Guide” provides a straightforward, step by step process for publicizing and facilitating an adult Christian education session on the issues. The program also suggests that congregations offer a Mindful Living Gathering for the community and then get back in touch with the program to “tell us what you learned, changes that you made, and how your faith sustains you in caring for Creation on Earth Day and every day.” Go to www.nccecojustice.org.

Resource for Endangered Species Day: A resource on biodiversity titled “Tending the Garden,” Also from the NCC Eco-Justice Program, is offered for those wanting to observe May 15 as Endangered Species Day. The resource is designed to help congregations remember those beings of God’s Creation at risk for extinction. Go to www.nccecojustice.org.

“Green” Certification Program for Religious Institutions: The NCC Eco-Justice Program is publicizing a GreenFaith Certification Program offered by GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental coalition. The program is for houses of worship, designed to help churches earn recognition as environmental leaders by carrying out a number of environmental activities over a two year period. “From eco-themed worship services and religious education to “green” facility management and environmental justice advocacy, GreenFaith provides a variety of resources and opportunities for religious-environmental action,” the announcement said. Information and application materials can be found at www.greenfaith.org. The first application deadline for the program is May 1.

Postcard Campaign on Global Summit: Church World Service (CWS) is giving people an opportunity to take immediate action to fight climate change by participating in a national postcard “Countdown to Copenhagen” advocacy campaign aimed at the Obama administration and members of Congress. The campaign urges people to send President Barack Obama and lawmakers in Washington the following message: Attend the upcoming global summit on climate change; agree to cut carbon emissions that cause climate change; and provide fair and just funding to help poor countries deal with global warming. The agreement to be worked out at the Dec. 2009 meeting of world leaders in Copenhagen, Denmark, would replace the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement on climate change that expires in 2012. The campaign is part of CWS’ broader “Enough for All” initiative and also outlines lifestyle changes individuals can personally commit to in order to lower their own carbon footprints. The Church of the Brethren is one of numerous Christian denominations to endorse the campaign. Go to www.churchworldservice.org for more information.

One Day Resource from the New Community Project: The New Community Project, a Church of the Brethren related nonprofit, is offering “ONE DAY” statistics in honor of Earth Day. The statistics give “a picture of one day in the life of our consumer society and of the planet as a whole, followed by ideas for making the world a better place for all living things,” said director David Radcliff:

— “Earth Day impacts USA: 40 million water bottles and 150 million aluminum cans tossed, along with 1.8 billion pounds of other household trash; 9 billion miles driven (as much as the rest of the world combined) creating 9 billion pounds of CO2; 10 million hours in the shower emitting 150 million pounds of of CO2 (and that’s just the teenagers!); 18,000 tons of beef consumed, requiring around 180,000 tons of grain and 37 billion gallons of water to produce; 400,000 cell phones tossed; 17 million tons of CO2 put into the atmosphere (from all activities); 375 million pounds of food spoiled/thrown away; 10 million pounds toxic chemicals released into the ecosystem; 200 people die from causes related to air pollution.

— “Earth Day planetary impacts: 50-150 species of plants or animals go extinct; 86,000 acres of rainforest are cut down; 100,000 acres of semi-arid land lost to desertification; 70 million tons of CO2 enter the atmosphere from human activities; the world’s glaciers thin an average of 1/10th of an inch as a result of global warming; 500 people die as a result of global warming impacts (increased infectious disease, hunger, floods, and heat waves); 14,000 children die, at least in part due to an unhealthy environment.

— “Earth Day ‘Go’ actions for a healthier planet: go local, support local producers; go bicycle, make car driving the luxury it is; go lower on the food chain, a typical fast food burger meal requires 1,400 gallons of water and produces a pound of trash; go higher, let elected officials know you are for preserving nature, taxing harmful behavior, and not paying corporations to trash the planet (governments give $900 billion in tax breaks every year to corporations, often in support of actions that harm the planet); go public, get over your embarrassment at loving the planet (fish recyclables out of the trash or scavenge uneaten food off your friend’s plateit won’t save the world, but it will make a statement!); go Amazon, get involved in saving one of the most important parts of God’s creation, the Amazon Rainforest. For more information go to www.newcommunityproject.org or contact New Community Project director David Radcliff at 888-800-2985.

2) Brethren bits for Earth Day.

— Camp Myrtlewood near Myrtle Point, Ore., has announced a new ecostewardship project. The camp is related to the Church of the Brethren’s Oregon and Washington Disrict. “We are going to buy 34 acres of land which borders the upstream boundary of the camp,” wrote managers John and Margaret Jones in the district newsletter. “The new land acquisition will assure that the acreage will be carefully stewarded and prevent any notion of clear cutting…. The parcel also has about a quarter mile of creek frontage, which is most important to riparian/wildlife habitat and the camp’s watershed. The Jones announced that the camp was able to make a very significant down payment on the purchase thanks to a major gift from the Jess and LaVaune Dunning Memorial Fund and use of some reserve funds. The camp soon will be kicking off a major fundraising drive to help pay the balance.

— Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren is hosting an event on April 24 to kick off a “Take Charge” campaign that pits local communities against each other in a race to see which can save the most energy over the next year, according to the “Daily News” of Hays, Kan. At the event, the Hays-based Midwest Energy company is to showcase its “How$mart” program, which has been honored by the Environmental Defense Fund as among the top 15 innovations in the nation, with the potential to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent. “The How$mart program essentially lends money to Midwest customers for energy efficiency efforts, such as upgrading heating and air conditioning systems or installing insulation,” the newspaper said. Competing communities include Quinter, Kinsley, Merriam, Mount Hope-Haven, Wellington, and Salina. The community that saves the most will win a small wind turbine, solar panels, or cash. “Because Quinter already has a wind turbine at its high school, it likely would go for the solar panels or the cash,” the newspaper commented. Go to www.takechargekansas.org to watch the ongoing race in tracking how many incandescent bulb have been switched to CFLs. http://www.takechargekansas.org.

— Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren and Portland Parks and Recreation have begun a partnership to provide a community garden. The Peace Community Garden opened on the last weekend of March on an unused parking lot on church property. The garden offers 16 plots, one of which will be shared with the day shelter that the church hosts for homeless families.

— Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Caver, Va., has a new approach to funding missions, including its crop garden for hunger relief–and a community with a taste for entertainment is “eating it up,” according to the “Daily News Record.” Starting April 2, the church held its fourth annual dinner theater to help finance church projects, this year an irrigation system for one of three tracts of land on which Pleasant Valley grows produce for the Verona Food Pantry.

— Today to celebrate Earth Day, Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., is holding its first-ever “Blessing of the Bikes” and will be painting a rain barrel for the Gail Borden Library’s “Rain Barrels on Parade” campaign (www.gailborden.info/m/content/view/807/1/). Church members and the congregation’s children have been invited to bring their bicycles to receive a special blessing.

— The confectionery firm Mars has said it will certify its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner by 2020, in an announcement distributed by the Foods Resource Bank. The Church of the Brethren participates in the Foods Resource Bank through the Global Food Crisis Fund. Mars and the Rainforest Alliance, an international not-for-profit organization, have announced a multi-year, multi-country collaboration to achieve certification of 100,000 metric tonnes of cocoa annually for use in Mars products. As part of the Mars global strategy to secure its supply of cocoa and improve the livelihood of farmers, Mars will be using Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa in its Galaxy Chocolate, sold in the UK and Ireland, beginning in 2010. Rainforest Alliance and Mars have been sharing ideas and expertise since the First International Workshop on Sustainable Cocoa Farming in 1998.

3) Annual Conference to address five new business items, ends online registration May 8.

The Church of the Brethren Annual Conference will address five items of new business when it meets in San Diego, Calif., on June 26-30: “A Statement of Confession and Commitment” from the Standing Committee of district delegates, a revision of “A Structural Framework for Dealing with Strongly Controversial Issues,” revised bylaws for the Church of the Brethren, “Query: Language on Same-Sex Covenantal Relationships,” and “Query: Secret Oath-Bound Societies.” Online registration for the Conference ends May 8, go to www.brethren.org/ac to register.

The Conference will meet on the theme, “The old has gone! The new has come! All this is from God!” from 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, with leadership by moderator David Shumate, district executive for Virlina District. No items of unfinished business are scheduled. Also on the agenda will be elections for denominational offices, reports from agencies of the church and committees of the Conference, as well as other items of information.

“A Statement of Confession and Commitment” was adopted by Standing Committee at last year’s Conference. The one-page document addresses the issue of homosexuality as one that “continues to bring tension and division within our Body” and confesses that, “We are not of one mind on this matter.” The statement declares that the church’s 1983 paper on Human Sexuality “remains our official position,” but also acknowledges tension between different parts of the 1983 paper. The statement confesses “meanness and fighting” over the issue, and calls the church to stop unchristian behavior.

The revision of the document for dealing with strongly controversial issues follows up on a decision of the 2002 Conference, which referred an update of the original 1988 document to the former Annual Conference Council. The council in turn appointed a committee to update the paper and present a revision. The revision gives guidelines for how Standing Committee and Annual Conference will identify and deal with queries that may generate adversarial stances. The proposed three-year process includes appointment of a “Resource Committee” representing diverse perspectives on the issue to develop study materials; facilitated hearings at Annual Conference and in districts; and a special procedure for presenting such queries to the Conference.

Revised bylaws for the Church of the Brethren follow on the decision of last year’s Annual Conference approving merger of the former Association of Brethren Caregivers with the former General Board to form a new entity called the Church of the Brethren.

“Query: Language on Same-Sex Covenantal Relationships” was initiated by Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., and approved by Northern Indiana District. Stating in part that the denomination “has a history and practice of seeking reconciliation” and that it “has experienced deep division and brokenness related to the language from the 1983 Human Sexuality Paper that same-sex covenantal relationships are not acceptable,” the query petitions Conference “to consider whether it is the will of the church that this language on same-sex covenantal relationships will continue to guide our journey together.”

“Query: Secret Oath-Bound Societies” was initiated by Dry Run (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and approved by Southern Pennyslvania District. Citing a number of scriptures, among others 2 Timothy 3:16-17, John 8:31-32, Matthew 5:33-34, 2 Corinthians 6:14-17, and Ephesians 5:7-17, the query states in part that “it is clear that membership in these societies constitutes a dual allegiance” and that there is confusion among Brethren about secret oath-bound societies. The query requests Conference to take action to give clarity to the issue.

Online registration for the Conference ends May 8, go to www.brethren.org/ac to register. Registrations also may be mailed to the Annual Conference Office using the form in the Annual Conference Information Packet that has been mailed to all Church of the Brethren congregations. After May 8, participants will register for the Conference as they arrive onsite in San Diego. On-site registrations will be charged an additional fee.

The Annual Conference schedule also has been posted online, go to www.cobannualconference.org/sandiego/schedule.html to download it as a pdf document. The schedule provides detailed information about worship services, meal events, insight sessions, age group activities, and more.

In another note on the Conference schedule, the Mission and Ministry Board meeting on June 26 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. is incorrectly listed as “by invitation only.” That meeting is open to the public.

For more information about Annual Conference in San Diego, call the Conference office at 800-688-5186 or 410-635-8740.

4) Cross Cultural Celebration to be webcast from Miami.

The Church of the Brethren’s Cross Cultural Consultation and Celebration in Miami, Fla., this week is to be available to view online. The worship services and large group sessions at the event will be webcast, through a partnership between Bethany Theological Seminary with the Church of the Brethren’s Cross Cultural Ministries and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership.

Go to www.bethanyseminary.edu/crosscultural2009 to login and link to the webcasts from the Cross Cultural Celebration. The webcasts are to begin April 23 and continue through April 25, see the website for a more detailed schedule.

Those who participate in sessions, even over the Internet, have the possibility of earning continuing education credits through the Brethren Academy. For more information about this continuing education opportunity, contact the Brethren Academy at academy@bethanyseminary.edu or 765-983-1824.

5) International Day of Prayer for Peace Campaign to focus on economic crisis.

On Earth Peace is calling on churches and organizations to join its annual campaign to participate in the World Council of Churches’ International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDOPP) on Sept. 21. This year, a special emphasis is being given to the ways in which the current deep recession is affecting local communities.

“Times like these remind us that peace is always a local issue,” observed Matt Guynn, Peace Witness coordinator for On Earth Peace. “A severe recession is the economic equivalent to war. Families are being destroyed, and community life is disrupted. God calls us to lift up and pursue a positive vision of life that has community and family at its center.”

The On Earth Peace campaign is an ecumenical effort open to all faith traditions. Participating groups will have a variety of ways to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace, depending on their demographics, energy, and experience with peace and social justice issues.

“This is our third year for conducting a campaign around the International Day of Prayer for Peace,” said Michael Colvin, Peace Witness associate for On Earth Peace. “Our experience has taught us that churches and other community groups come to the campaign with a wide variety of expectations, and so we have geared our training and support to meet a variety of different needs.”

On Earth Peace is providing group registration, information, training, resources, and other assistance at its new International Day of Prayer for Peace website http://idopp.onearthpeace.org. Questions about the campaign may be directed to idopp@onearthpeace.org.

The International Day of Prayer for Peace was first proposed in 2004 during a meeting between World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia and then-United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan as one of the initiatives of the WCC’s Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV). It is celebrated annually on Sept. 21, or the closest Sunday to the UN International Day of Peace. In 2008, over 160 congregations and organizations from all over the United States, Puerto Rico, and four other countries took part in the second year of the On Earth Peace campaign.

6) May is Older Adult Month on the theme, ‘Become Your Legacy.’

Each May, the Older Adult Ministry Cabinet of the Church of the Brethren’s Caring Ministries sponsors Older Adult Month. The theme for 2009 is “Become Your Legacy.”

Rachael Freed, founder of Life Legacies, has described legacy as the “footprints we leave behind,” evidence that our lives have had meaning and that we have made a difference to the people our lives have touched. “Becoming your legacy” is a life-long process, one that we begin as children and continue throughout our lives as we lead the way by example, teaching and living life faithfully and striving toward the “hope to which we have been called.”

Resources have been created to help congregations explore “the hope to which you have been called” and ways to live out and preserve your legacy. Resources include “Sharing Our Legacy in the Connected Age,” “Living the Legacy: A Four-Session Study Series,” and “Sharing Wisdom through Stories: Grandparent-Grandchild Conversations” as well as worship resources, Sunday school and small group study sessions, intergenerational activities, and personal reflections available at www.brethren.org/oam. Click on Older Adult Month to download and print materials or contact Caring Ministries at 800-323-8039 for paper versions.

In a related event, the Church of the Brethren’s Health Promotion Sunday on May 17 is on the theme, “Coping with the challenges of aging.” When we think of the aging process we tend to think of events that generally occur later in life (which, depending on one’s perspective, could mean anything from age 30 on). Regardless, it’s important to keep in mind that aging begins as soon as we are born–how we face challenges throughout our lives plays a significant role in the options we have as we grow older.

Recognizing that reality, the theme of this year’s Health Promotion Sunday could just as easily be “Coping with the challenges of life.” This year’s resources support different components of a healthy life as it is lived over many years. Materials are offered on aging in its more traditional sense, as well as reissued materials from previous Health Promotion Sundays on the importance of family in creating and sustaining emotional health, the role of wellness in aging well, and the crucial nature of our faith communities to the health of our spirit.

— Kim Ebersole is director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.

7) Book signings are scheduled for ‘Beyond Our Means.’

R. Jan and Roma Jo Thompson will be at two book signing events in Carroll County, Md., to sign copies of their new Brethren Press book, “Beyond our Means, How the Brethren Service Center Dared the Embrace the World.” The Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has been responding to those in need around the world since 1944, and is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. It currently houses nine nonprofit organizations that work in relief and development, disaster response, fair trade, social justice, and hospitality.

“Beyond our Means” traces the history of the campus from its days as a college beginning in 1849 through the present. The Church of the Brethren purchased 26 acres and four college buildings in 1944 as a relief center to ship material resources to war-torn Europe. It is a story of partnerships with many organizations to offer a helping hand both in the US and overseas. The book is dedicated to the thousands who have volunteered and worked in ministries and education on the campus and to the millions who have benefited.

The authors will be autographing books at the following locations and dates: on April 30 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the SERRV Store at the Brethren Service Center; and on May 2 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Mid-Atlantic District Disaster Auction in Westminster, Md.

Order the book from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712, or buy it at one of the book signings.

— Kathleen Campanella is director of Partner and Public Relations at the Brethren Service Center.

8) More upcoming events.

— Next week an international group of Brethren representatives will be at a steering committee meeting to start planning for the Historic Peace Churches of the Americas conference in 2010. The event will be the fourth continental gathering of the Historic Peace Churches, connected to the Decade to Overcome Violence. Brethren representatives include Irvin Heishman and Felix Arias Mateo from Iglesia de los Hermanos, Dominican Republic (Church of the Brethren in the DR); Marcos Inhauser from Igreja da Irmandade (Church of the Brethren in Brazil); and Stan Noffsinger and Don Miller from the Church of the Brethren in the US. The steering committee also includes Mennonite and Quaker representatives from across the Americas.

— A small group of Church of the Brethren young adults are scheduled to attend a “Youth Retreat” in Nigeria held by Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The event is for EYN church members age 18-35. The Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Global Mission Partnerships Office have selected Ben Barlow and Jenn and Nate Hosler to attend on behalf of the Brethren in the US. The retreat will be held at the EYN Headquarters near the town of Mubi in northeastern Nigeria. The group is scheduled to depart for Nigeria on April 25 and return on May 9.

— The Ministry of Reconciliation of On Earth Peace is offering a “Grow Healthy Congregations” workshop on May 9 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. “In times of significant change, the health or lack of health of our congregations becomes increasingly evident,” said an announcement. “In this introductory workshop, you will be invited to explore the congregation as an emotional system and delineate the attributes of a healthy faith community.” The event will be led by Del Keeney, a certified Healthy Congregations Trainer and pastor of Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Register by sending name, contact information, and number of participants to banspaugh@ane-cob.org or go to www.ane-cob.org to register online. Cost is $40 and includes continuing education credit.

— Glendale (Calif.) Church of the Brethren is celebrating its 80th anniversary on April 25-26. An event titled “This Is My Story, This Is My Song–The History of the Brethren on the Pacific Slope,” will be held at 7 p.m. on April 25. Anniversary events on Sunday, April 26, begin at 9:30 a.m. with Sunday school led by former pastor Todd Hammond; worship featuring re-consecration of the church’s restored sanctuary at 10:45 a.m. with former pastor Matt Meyer; and a community meal after worship with a message by former pastor John Martin.

— Harrisburg (Pa.) Mayor Stephen R. Reed will be the guest speaker at the third annual Agape-Satyagraha Recognition Banquet at Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren, according to an announcement in the “Patriot-News.” The event begins at 6 p.m. on April 29. The banquet is held by Brethren Community Ministries to recognize youth involved in training to develop leadership skills in resolving family, neighborhood, and peer conflicts without violence. Tickets are $15, contact Gerald W. Rhoades at GeraldWR@aol.com or 717-234-0415 ext. 12.

— A program director of the Foods Resource Bank’s food security program in eastern Zambia, Tim Bootsma, is to speak on May 2 at 7 p.m. at Pleasant Chapel Church of the Brethren in Ashley, Ind. The joint growing project of Pleasant Chapel with Peace United Church of Christ in Fort Wayne, Ind., has supported the Zambia-Eastern program for the past two years.

— Glendora (Calif.) Church of the Brethren and Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren are hosting Pacific Southwest District workshops on May 2-3 led by Carl Bowman, Church of the Brethren sociologist and author of “Portrait of a People: The Church of the Brethren at 300” (available through Brethren Press). Ministers who attend will receive continuing education credit. The workshop is offered on May 2 at the Glendora Church, and on May 3 at the Modesto Church. Cost is $25 per person, or $100 for unlimited attendees from a church.

— Skippack Church of the Brethren in Collegeville, Pa., is hosting a Prayer Summit on May 5-6 sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Evangelical Network (COBEN). The network is described in a district announcement as “a loosely organized list-serve group for e-mail discussion among Brethren of like evangelical convictions.” The moderator of the group is pastor Phil Reynolds of Bear Creek Church of the Brethren in Southern Ohio District. The prayer summit is “for renewal, for wisdom, and for the Lord’s will to be done in our denomination,” the announcement said.

— Camp Bethel is holding its 8th Annual Sounds of the Mountains Story and Music Festival on April 24-25. Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., is an outdoor ministry center of the Church of the Brethren’s Virlina District. Featured are Donald Davis, Odds Bodkin, Kim Weitkamp, Joseph Helfrich, and the Celtibillies. Go to www.soundsofthemountains.org.

— The Juniata College Choral Union will highlight its spring concert with “Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day,” by Georg Friedrich Handel, at 7:30 p.m. on April 28 in Rosenberger Auditorium on the campus in Huntingdon, Pa. The Choral Union is directed by Russell Shelley, Elma Stine Heckler Associate Professor of Music. It is the largest choral ensemble at Juniata with a student membership of more than 90 and about 25 members from the area.

— The Brethren Heritage Center in Ohio welcomes the public to a Grand Re-Opening Celebration on May 2, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and on May 3 from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. The Center, a library, museum, and archive of cultural heritage materials documenting the various branches of the (German Baptist) Brethren movement, opened in 2003 and has recently expanded and renovated its space to better serve the public. The Grand Re-Opening weekend will include guided tours, live music, the first public viewing of a traveling exhibit on Bethany Theological Seminary’s Rare Book Collections, presentations by William Eberly (Manchester College) and Murray Wagner (Bethany Theological Seminary) and Heritage Center staff members, a silent quilt auction on Saturday, new and used books sale on Saturday, and home-made refreshments. The Brethren Heritage Center is located in Brookside Plaza, 428 Wolf Creek St., Brookville, Ohio.  The committee is inviting all the Brethren denominations to help provide music. If you would like to represent your congregation and the Church of the Brethren musically, call Tim Binkley at 937-890-6299 to sign up for a time slot. For directions or more details, call 937-833-5222 or see www.brethrenheritagecenter.org.

— The Springs of Living Water initiative led by Church of the Brethren minister David Young, which aids congregations and districts to work for church renewal, has requested prayer for three upcoming events: on April 25, renewal teams in Northern Ohio District meet at Mohican Church of the Brethren for a training event; on May 2, all of the churches in Western Pennsylvania District have been invited for an interpretative leadership training event at Somerset Churchof the Brethren; and on June 6, Shenandoah District is holding a training event for church renewal teams. Young also reported that “Net Results” magazine plans to publish an article on Springs of Living Water titled, “Church Renewal in Times of Fear and Opportunity.”

— The annual Christian Peace Witness for Iraq in Washington, D.C., on April 29-30, is marking the 100th day of the new administration. Organizers are inviting participants to affirm, “Yes We Can…End the War.” The April 29 opening convocation at National City Church features speakers Diana Butler Bass, an Episcopalian author and Senior Fellow at the Cathedral College of Washington National Cathedral, and Noah Baker Merrill, a Quaker and co-founder of Direct Aid Iraq. The evening worship at the Washington Convention Center includes speakers Fr. Daniel Berrigan, Jesuit priest and peace activist, and Tony Campolo, Baptist speaker and social activist, among others. Worship will be followed by a candlelight procession to the White House. On April 30, the event concludes with a 9 a.m. witness and nonviolent action on the steps of the Capitol building. Go to www.ChristianPeaceWitness.org for more information.

— Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is holding its annual conference June 7-9 at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., on the theme, “Israeli-Palestinian Peace: Hope for Things Unseen.” “The recent Gaza crisis demonstrates the urgent need for US engagement to bring about a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said a flyer for the event. “Your elected officials need to hear from American Christians who care about the two peoples of the Holy Land and expect robust US diplomatic action in 2009.” Speakers at the conference include Amjad Attalah, Michael Kinnamon, Daniel Levy, Trita Parsi, and Daniel Seidemann. Participants also will have an opportunity meet with elected officials. CMEP is a coalition of 22 US churches and church organizations including the Church of the Brethren. Go to www.cmep.org to register.

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, cobnews@brethren.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Tim Binkley, Michael Colvin, Audrey deCoursey, Chris Douglas, Enten Eller, Lerry Fogle, David Radcliff, John Wall, Dana Weaver contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for May 6. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. For more Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine, call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

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