Brethren Couple to Join Faculty of North Korean University

Church of the Brethren Newsline
Jan. 29, 2010

A Church of the Brethren couple from Kansas, Robert and Linda Shank, are to teach at North Korea’s new Pyongyang University of Science and Techology opening this spring. The Shanks will be working in North Korea under the auspices of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships and the church’s Global Food Crisis Fund.

Their road to North Korea has taken the Shanks through a succession of agricultural assignments in developing countries: Ethiopia, Liberia, Nepal, and Belize. Robert holds a doctorate in wheat breeding and has conducted rice research. Linda holds a master’s degree in counseling and learning disabilities.

In North Korea, the Shanks will work with both graduate and undergraduate students at the new university, which is funded largely by Christians in South Korea and the United States. The new university is currently in the process of assembling a volunteer faculty of professionals in science, agriculture, and technology from around the world.

For more about the new Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, read a report on a visit to the school made by Global Mission Partnerships executive Jay Wittmeyer last September, go to . Also available online is a photo album from the university’s dedication ceremony, go to .

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

“Brethren Home Assembles Kits For Haiti,” WHIO TV Channel 7, Dayton, Ohio (Jan. 27, 2010). Video clip and the story of residents of the Brethren Retirement Center in Greenville, Ohio, who have assembled emergency hygiene kits to send to the survivors of the earthquake in Haiti. The effort was part of the Southern Ohio District of the Church of the Brethren Disaster Ministries.

“Haiti earthquakes propel students in charitable efforts,” Etownian, Elizabethtown (Pa.) College (Jan. 28, 2010). Elizabethtown College students and staff are collecting donations toward the Church of the Brethren’s relief effort in Haiti and also making hygiene kits for the earthquake effort. An article in the student newspaper also warns not to be taken in by scam collections for Haiti.

“Frederick team delivers milk, initial aid to hospital,” Frederick (Md.) News-Post (Jan. 28, 2010). The most recent report from the Haiti trip by a team of Brethren from Frederick, Md., along with Dominican Brethren pastors, and accompanied by a reporter from the Frederick “News-Post.” On Tuesday, Dr. Choe and Mark Zimmerman of Frederick Church of the Brethren became the first people from the US to help an overwhelmed hospital with economic assistance and food supplies. They donated and delivered $500 worth of powered milk, enough to last 50 children at the hospital for more than a month. Dominican Brethren pastor Onelis Rivas helped carry in the donation.

“Searching in vain: Bodies remain on Port-au-Prince streets; food and water not reaching those in need,” Frederick (Md.) News-Post (Jan. 26, 2010). A report from Ron Cassie, accompanying Dr. Julian Choe and Mark Zimmerman of Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren in their medical relief work in Haiti. Cassie also interviews Roy Winter, executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, who confirmed that food and water distribution is not reaching survivors: “We haven’t seen any assistance in our neighborhood here and I don’t know where to tell people they need to go,” Winter said.

“Local men fly south to aid Haitians,” Frederick (Md.) News-Post (Jan. 23, 2010). Dr. Julian Choe and Mark Zimmerman of Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren have received donations of more than $3,000 from members of their congregation to support a trip to Haiti to provide medical care. Accompanied by “News-Post” reporter Ron Cassie, Choe and Zimmerman flew to the DR on Friday, where they were met by Dominican Brethren pastor Onelis Rivas who is traveling with them to Haiti.

See also: “Local aid workers have history of giving,” WTOP (Jan. 23, 2010).

“Facing the unimaginable: Hospital struggles to serve young earthquake victims,” Frederick News-Post (Jan. 24, 2010).

“Medical Supplies for Haiti,” WCBC 1270 AM, Cumberland, Md. (Jan. 27, 2010). Living Stone Church of the Brethren in Cumberland, Md., is serving as a collection point for donations of medical supplies to Haiti. The collection is sponsored by Fishers International Missions, a mission organization relating to a Haitian congregation, founded by Living Stone pastor Chester Fisher.

“Freed from rubble, back on the job,” Baltimore (Md.) Sun (Jan. 26, 2010). IMA World Health staffer Ann Varghese is back at work. She and two of her IMA colleagues survived the deadly earthquake in Haiti. All three work out of the IMA offices at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The Baltimore Sun was there to witness the warm welcome she received on her return to the Brethren Service Center campus.

“Aid workers recall ordeal in Port-Au-Prince rubble,” Frederick (Md.) News-Post (Jan. 27, 2010). The story of the rescue of IMA World Health staff Rick Santos, Sarla Chand, and Ann Varghese from the rubble of the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The three, who work out of IMA offices at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., were trapped in the collapsed hotel by the Jan. 12 earthquake, but managed to survive. Two United Methodist staff who were meeting them at the hotel for a meeting did not survive their injuries.

“Dayton Family Displaced by Fire,” WHSV Channel 3 TV, Harrisonburg, Va. (Jan. 27, 2010). Montezuma Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va., is hosting families who were displaced by a fire in an apartment building.

Obituary: Eugene D. Nolley, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (Jan. 27, 2010). Dr. Eugene Davis Nolley, 85, died on Jan. 26 at Augusta Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, Va. An ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, he was a member of Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren. He served several years as a pastor, at Elk Run Church of the Brethren for one year, at Richmond Church of the Brethren for two years, and at Free Union Church of the Brethren for one year. He also was a member of the board of directors of Bridgewater Home. He graduated from Bridgewater College and Medical College of Virginia, and had a family practice from which he retired in 1994. He was a past president of the King’s Daughters’ Hospital medical staff, and after retirement served as a physician consultant in quality control at Augusta Medical Center. His wife, the former Doris Kathryn Bowman, survives him.

“Manchester College ministry has new leader,” South Bend (Ind.) Tribune (Jan. 25, 2010). Walt Wiltschek, editor of the denominational “Messenger” magazine of the Church of the Brethren, will lead Manchester College’s campus ministry.

Obituary: Ivan E. Kramer, Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (Jan. 24, 2010). Ivan Edward Kramer, 87, of Eaton, Ohio, died on Jan. 21. He was an active member of Eaton Church of the Brethren. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Anna Marie (Wagner) Kramer, whom he married on Sept. 7, 1945. Memorial contributions are being received to the Haitian Relief Fund at Eaton Church of the Brethren, as well as to Gideon’s International, the Preble County Chapter.

“Church Gathers Hygiene Kits for Haiti ,” WHSV Channel 3 TV, Staunton, Va. (Jan. 21, 2010). The Church of the Brethren in Staunton, Va., is asking for help from the community to assemble hygiene kits. As of Jan. 20, the church had gathered 13 hygiene kits, and counting!

“Water filtration system on its way to Haiti from Elkhart church,” South Bend (Ind.) Tribune (Jan. 21, 2010). Creekside Church of the Brethren in Elkhart, Ind., is providing a water filtration system for Haiti. The church in separate e-mail communication with denominational staff has reported it is donating the water filtration system to the Brethren Disaster Ministries relief effort in Haiti.

“ULV hosts concert to raise funds for Haiti earthquake survivors,” San Gabriel Valley (Calif.) Tribune (Jan. 21, 2010). The University of La Verne (ULV) hosted a benefit concert at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren to raise money for those affected by the earthquake. Following his performance, Brethren musician Shawn Kirchner shared what he posted on Facebook, “Imagine wealth flowing as freely as water to the places of greatest need. Collectively we have a nearly infinite capacity to help/heal/restore/transform any situation. What could Haiti look like five years from now if we unleashed our generosity? Let’s find out.” Donations will be shared with Brethren Disaster Ministries, Doctors Without Borders, the American Red Cross, Partners in Health, Haitian Ministries, and Hope for Haiti.

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