Newsline for May 16, 2011


May 16, 2011

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace…” (Luke 2:14a, RSV).

NEWS
1) Brethren delegation to attend International Ecumenical Peace Convocation.
2) Board and members approve CoBCU merger with CAFCU.
3) Emergency Disaster Fund distributes more than $360,00 in grants.
4) An update from Nigeria: Brethren again affected by violence.
5) New Believers Church Bible Commentary highlights 1, 2, 3 John.

FEATURES
6) Iraq reflection: Like kerosene on a wound.
7) Indentured as children, empowered for life: CWS aids children in Haiti.

8) Brethren bits: Annual Conference birthdays, personnel, bookstore reminder, CPS website, more.


1) Brethren delegation to attend International Ecumenical Peace Convocation.

The World Sunday for Peace is scheduled for May 22, in concert with the 1,000 Christians who will be attending the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica. The convocation is the culminating event of the Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2011.


New at Brethren.org:
The second in a series of study papers from the National Council of Churches is online at the church website. “Christian Understanding of War in an Age of Terror(ism)” was prepared ecumenically with each of four sessions written by a person from a different tradition–Brethren, Mennonite, Disciples, and Quaker. Jordan Blevins of the church’s peace witness ministry helped compile the document, and Liz Bidgood-Enders is the Brethren contributor. The study paper will help Brethren walk alongside representatives from churches worldwide attending the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Jamaica, May 17-25. Find the paper at www.brethren.org/NCCpapers
.

The International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) begins tomorrow at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, the culminating event of the Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2011. The event is organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC). Major speakers include Martin Luther King III, WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit, and many other leaders from churches and religious communities around the world. “Glory to God and Peace on Earth” is the theme, aimed at witnessing to the peace of God as a gift and responsibility of the churches and the world.

Bethany Theological Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen is the Church of the Brethren representative to the convocation. Also in the Brethren delegation are Scott Holland, professor of theology and culture and director of peace studies at Bethany Seminary, who also was on the WCC writing group that prepared the study document for the convocation; general secretary Stan Noffsinger; Jordan Blevins, peace witness advocacy officer; Robert C. Johansen, director of doctoral studies at the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame; and Bradley J. Yoder, professor of sociology and social work at Manchester College in N. Manchester, Ind.

Newsline editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford also will be onsite at the IEPC and will post online reports and a photo album from Jamaica beginning May 18, as Internet access allows.

The IEPC is the culmination of the DOV program authorized by the WCC at its 1998 Harare Assembly. The event will bring together some 1,000 participants representing WCC member constituencies, ecumenical and civil society networks working in the area of peace and justice. Hosted by the Jamaican Council of Churches and the Caribbean Council of Churches, the IEPC will be the major ecumenical event prior to the 10th Assembly of the WCC in 2013 in Korea.

“The IEPC comes at a time when the world is experiencing significant political paradigm shifts, and much of this is coming with violence and conflict,” said WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit in a release. “This event brings the peace movements and church leaders together and offers space and time to explore the role of the church and religion as peacemaker. We will ask one another what it means to follow Christ today and tomorrow.”

“But peace is not just about ending conflicts,” Tveit continued. “It is also about seeking justice and building sustainable conditions for peace. We find the need for just peace in the economy, peace among peoples and cultures, and peace within communities and with the earth.”

According to the WCC, the primary goal of the convocation is to contribute to the efforts to create a culture of just peace and to facilitate new networks that will focus on peace in communities and the world. The four themes of the meeting will be on peace in the community, peace with the earth, peace in the marketplace, and peace among the peoples. These themes will be addressed through various components of the convocation–spiritual life, Bible studies, plenary sessions, workshops, and seminars. On Friday, May 20, a peace concert will be held in Emancipation Park in Kingston, featuring a number of Jamaican acts including the Fab Five, one of the top bands in Jamaica.

Churches around the world are invited to participate along with the convocation in worship on Sunday, May 22, when Christians worldwide will celebrate God’s gift of peace. “Those who take part will be together in spirit, song, and prayer with the IEPC participants in Jamaica, united in the hope of peace,” said the WCC. Worship resources are available at www.overcomingviolence.org  including

The WCC plans to provide daily streaming video from plenary sessions and discussions at the IEPC, go to www.overcomingviolence.org . The main discussion document for the convocation, “An Ecumenical Call to Just Peace,” is at www.overcomingviolence.org/en/peace-convocation.html  . Go to www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/audio.html   to listen to an interview with Grub Cooper, who has written the IEPC theme song. Sheet music is at www.oikoumene.org/fileadmin/dov/files/iepc/resources/IEPC_theme_song.pdf  . For daily reports and a photo album beginning May 18, go to www.brethren.org   and click on “News.”

(This article includes information from a release provided by the World Council of Churches.)

2) Board and members approve CoBCU merger with CAFCU.

During a specially called members meeting April 29, Church of the Brethren Credit Union (CoBCU) members overwhelmingly approved a merger with Corporate America Family Credit Union (CAFCU) that will lead to a greater variety of products, service hours, and locations.

After more than 72 years of serving the Church of the Brethren with savings and loan opportunities, as well as checking accounts and online banking, CoBCU’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a merger proposal with CAFCU in March. CoBCU’s board was pressed to seek a partnership with a larger credit union due to the impact of a fragile economy, a declining demand for loans, and the inability for an institution of its size to offer adequate products and services while maintaining a balanced budget.

The state of Illinois approved the merger April 1, and the merger is set to be complete June 1. The vote by the CoBCU membership was the final step in completing the process.

“The Credit Union Board worked tirelessly to find a merger partner that would bring improved services and expanded locations for our members,” said Nevin Dulabaum, president of Brethren Benefit Trust and a CoBCU member for 27 years and board member. “We feel that CAFCU is the best choice, and it’s great to know that our members agree. This will be a great new chapter in the life of our denomination’s credit union.”

Over 50 members attended the meeting, and more than 300 members voted to approve the merger via proxy ballots that were sent out at the beginning of April. Both CoBCU and CAFCU staff were present to answer questions, including CAFCU president Peter Paulson.

Now that CoBCU members have approved the merger, they should anticipate receiving information from CAFCU ahead of the June 1 transition, as well as debit cards and checks where applicable.

After performing a thorough search of potential merger candidates across the country, the CoBCU board accepted a merger proposal from CAFCU, a $550 million credit union based in Elgin, Ill., that serves nearly 60,000 members across the country. This decision was based on CAFCU’s mission statement, excellent member service track record, familiarity with credit union mergers, financial stability, and impressive list of products and branch locations. Direct questions concerning CoBCU to Lynnae Rodeffer, director of Credit Union special projects, at 847-622-3384, or learn more about CAFCU at www.cafcu.org or by calling 800-359-1939.

— Brian Solem is publications coordinator for Brethren Benefit Trust.

3) Emergency Disaster Fund distributes more than $360,00 in grants.


The concrete block building that is being constructed in Haiti to serve as a hospitality center to house US guests and volunteers, and to provide a national office for Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). Photo courtesy of Brethren Disaster Ministries/Klebert Exceus

The Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) has distributed $362,500 in grants for disaster relief and rebuilding in Haiti, Japan, Libya, and Tennessee and other areas of the South and Midwest affected by tornadoes and flooding.

An allocation of $300,000 continues support for the Church of the Brethren’s work in Haiti following the devastating earthquake of January 2010. This grant will provide funding to continue the collaborative response of Brethren Disaster Ministries with Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) and the Church of the Brethren Global Mission Partnerships. The five grants given to this project in 2010 totaled $700,000.

This year, the Brethren earthquake related work in Haiti has the following goals: to build 25 new homes and repair 25 damaged homes in 2011; provide safe drinking water in locations with clusters of Brethren-built homes; support sustainable agricultural development in communities impacted by the earthquake or receiving survivors; build a hospitality center (building) to house US guests/volunteers and to provide a national office for the Haitian Church of the Brethren; support partners in improving health care for all Haitians; support pastors and church members in emotional and spiritual recovery from the trauma of disasters.

A grant of $30,000 has been given to establish a Brethren Disaster Ministries work project site in Brentwood, Tenn., to assist residents affected by the devastating floods of May 2010. Funds will be used to underwrite operational expenses related to volunteer support, including housing, food, and travel expenses incurred onsite as well as volunteer training, tools, and equipment needed for rebuilding and repair of homes. The project site opens in June.

A grant of $15,000 responds to an appeal from the Asia Rural Institute in Japan for help with earthquake damage. ARI is a partner of the Church of the Brethren through the Global Food Crisis Fund and has applied to be a project site for Brethren Volunteer Service. The disaster in Japan resulted in expensive damage to the ARI training facility, estimated at over $4,500,000. The institute has relocated its 2011 training to Tokyo as part of a disaster management plan. This grant will support the repair and rebuilding of ARI facilities.

An allocation of $10,000 responds to a Church World Service (CWS) appeal following the displacement of families from violence in Libya. This grant will support critical humanitarian aid, income generation programs, and trauma support for displaced families now living in Egypt.

A grant of $7,500 responds to a CWS appeal following the severe storms and tornadoes that caused loss of life and property damage across the Midwest and South of the United States. Record flooding along the Mississippi River continues to affect communities in its path as well. The money will support shipment of material aid and resources and training in the development of long-term recovery groups. Shortly following the storms, CWS responded by shipping cleanup buckets, hygiene kits, school kits, baby kits, and blankets. CWS staff also will begin training for local long-term recovery groups, which play an integral role in linking survivors to outside resources and support, such as the Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding program.

4) An update from Nigeria: Brethren again affected by violence.

Nigeria mission staff Nathan and Jennifer Hosler have provided the following update on post-election violence in Nigeria and how it has affected Brethren congregations there, and how Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) is responding. The Hoslers are teaching at EYN’s Kulp Bible College and working with the EYN Peace Program:

Horrific headlines yet again feature violence in northern Nigeria. While this violence was ignited by presidential election results, longstanding issues are involved.

Nigeria held a presidential election on April 16. The winner, Goodluck Jonathan, is a Christian southerner. A Muslim northern candidate, General Buhari, won in the north. Goodluck Jonathan was able to get at least 25 percent of the vote in northern states and he held the entire south.

Many Muslim supporters in the north were certain that because they supported Buhari he was sure to win. When Buhari lost, rioting erupted all across northern cities: Maiduguri, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola, and more. Small Mubi and Michika (towns close to Kulp Bible College and EYN Headquarters) also experienced violence. There was an allegation of corruption by the loser but all the international observers concurred that the election was relatively free and fair (a huge step for Nigeria).

In total, five EYN churches were attacked. Four were burnt in Biu and one damaged in Kaduna. Other denominations were also affected; the targets of attack were anything Christian, or Muslim supporters of the Christian candidate.

There is long-standing intolerance in Nigeria. Divisions are often north/south but predominantly along religious lines. Both southern and northern Christians were attacked in the north. The issue is power–which religion has it–and to a slightly lesser extent, which regional or ethnic group is in control. Many northern Muslims think northern Muslims should be in charge of the country.

Poverty and lack of education are also factors. The north is extremely underdeveloped compared to the south and there are large amounts of jobless, unemployed young men with little education. These factors create a tinderbox which can ignite a fire at the slightest provocation. In this case, the election set off the current round of violence.

In the aftermath of the violence, EYN will press forward. Much of its ministry will continue as normal, while also picking up the pieces, rebuilding, and trying to heal from the trauma of burnt homes, shops, and churches. With the crisis reaching new places that had never experienced violence (Mubi, Michika), it makes one wonder how far reaching the next crisis will be. We have heard people say, “How can this happen in little Michika, a fairly small community that hasn’t experience violence?”

Encouraging events in Michika include a unified response. There were no revenge attacks in Michika. Community elders were able to stop people from retaliating. In Michika, Christians also are finding nonviolent ways of expressing their displeasure with the violence, organizing a community boycott of a specific market day.

While prevention work can be done, the long-term circumstances of the conflict have not changed. The next crisis could be just around the corner. Yet the church is not standing still, waiting for crisis to break out. Jesus commanded his followers to be “as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, KJV). Peace work will press forward, cautiously. Trust has been broken–and there was not much trust between Muslim and Christian communities to begin with. A needed initiative is a conflict monitoring system, a communication structure in place that involves paying heed to warning signs, rumors, and alerting authorities before violence occurs.

5) New Believers Church Bible Commentary highlights 1, 2, 3 John.

J.E. McDermond is the author of the newest volume in the Believers Church Bible Commentary on 1, 2, 3 John, now available from Brethren Press. The 344 page volume is published by Herald Press as part of a a cooperative project of the Church of the Brethren, the Brethren in Christ Church, Brethren Church, Mennonite Brethren Church, Mennonite Church USA, and Mennonite Church Canada.

The New Testament letters of 1, 2, 3 John were “written during a time of church schism that has left Christians confused and questioning their status before God,” says a review from the publisher. The author of the three letters “argues that the Christian life has two fundamental markers: acceptance of Jesus Christ’s role in God’s plan of salvation, and the need to practice love in interactions with other believers.” In his commentary, which is the 24th volume in the commentary series, J.E. McDermond “shows that these two crucial concepts are as relevant and important today as they were back then,” according to the review.

Order the new commentary from Brethren Press for $18.75 plus shipping and handling. Call 800-441-3712 or go to www.brethrenpress.com.

Also new from Brethren Press is this summer’s Guide for Biblical Studies, the Church of the Brethren curriculum for adults. The June, July, August 2011 curriculum on the theme “God Instructs the People of God” is written by Robert W. Neff with study questions and “Out of Context” feature written by Frank Ramirez. Order from Brethren Press for $4 or $6.95 large print, plus shipping and handling. Call 800-441-3712 or go to www.brethrenpress.com .

6) Iraq reflection: Like kerosene on a wound.

The following report from the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) in Iraq is by Peggy Gish, a Church of the Brethren member and long-term volunteer with CPT. She recently rejoined CPT’s Iraq team in Suleimaniya, in the Kurdish north of the country. The CPT team has been monitoring the violent response of the Kurdistan Regional Government to a nonviolent people’s campaign that started Feb. 17 inspired by the “Arab Spring” movements for democracy in many areas of the Middle East:

Lightning and thunder burst over Suleimaniya as thousands of new security forces carrying batons lined city streets. It was April 19, and the backup soldiers positioned around the outskirts of the city got drenched in the storm. A day earlier, the forces occupied the main square after removing protesters who had been a constant presence there for 62 days. Demonstrations were banned, with a “shoot to kill” order that was later changed to “shoot the legs” of anyone who disobeyed.

“I don’t know what is happening to our society. Now our leaders are killing their own people,” a university student told us, her eyes full of pain and disgust. She too was walking around in the city center assessing the situation the day after soldiers took over the square.

When we asked one of the soldiers from another Kurdish city what he thought about the protests, he said, “These are just people trying to cause problems. We are here to keep the peace.”

On our way home, another team member and I stopped when we saw a crowd of students milling around peacefully in front of Suleimaniya University. About 15 students sat down quietly in the middle of the crowd.

“Sixteen buses of students were kidnapped when they drove to the court house this morning,” a young woman told me. “They intended to ask the judge why he is not doing anything about the crimes of killing demonstrators. We are going to stay here until they are returned.” Another student said, “We are being denied the right to speak out our concerns freely.”

Soon security police arrived and stood in a line along the street. I walked up and greeted several of them in Kurdish, with little response. My attempt to find and talk to their commander was interrupted when the police started spraying water over the crowd. Then they charged into the crowd, beating students with batons. We followed students as they hurriedly fled the area. A block away we heard shooting and later found out that 75 students had been injured and 100 arrested.

“They took our buses to a deserted area, and we were told not to phone anyone or we would be beaten,” one of the students who had been taken captive on the buses told us the following day. “At first they took off the buses any student organizers, teachers, or members of opposition parties, beat them, and took them away. Then any woman with a head covering or any man with a beard were told to come down, and some were beaten.”

He explained that after keeping them about eight hours, security forces let the people go two by two to walk back to the edge of the city. When we asked him how he thought this would affect the students who had been protesting, he said, “It is like putting kerosene on a wound.”

Though public protests have been banned, many here tell us that the determination of the people for change has not been crushed.

— For more about the work of CPT in Iraq go to www.cpt.org . Initiated by the historic peace churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers) CPT seeks to enlist the whole church in organized, nonviolent alternatives to war and places teams of trained peacemakers in regions of lethal conflict.

7) Indentured as children, empowered for life: CWS aids children in Haiti.

Just by sheer numbers alone, young people in Haiti are a vital force in society–roughly half of the country’s population of about 10 million is now under the age of 20. But young people face enormous challenges: in a country where still only half of the population is literate, acquiring an education is not easy, with students and parents struggling to pay fees or enroll in schools.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of children and teenagers find themselves in some type of indentured servitude. In Haiti, youths who are domestic servants are called “restaveks.”

There are not many havens for restaveks–but luckily Church World Service partners with one. The building housing the Ecumenical Center for Peace and Justice, known by the French acronym FOPJ, was destroyed in the Jan. 2010 earthquake. But thanks to about $100,000 in support from CWS, its US church partners, and other supporters, the center quickly revived and re-opened its doors in late 2010.

With its training classes for cooks, hairdressers, masons, electricians, and others in a comfortable, airy space, the center is like an oasis in the din of Haiti’s capital city. Nearly 400 students attend classes here. FOPJ is not only a haven for restavek children and youths. It is also providing support and educational training for former gang members and teenage mothers.

“It would make a big difference if there was a center like this in every neighborhood in Port-au-Prince,” said CWS Haiti program manager Burton Joseph.

“Any day I don’t go to the center, I feel awful,” said 22-year-old Mikency Jean, a native of the city of Cape Haitian. Jean came to Port-au-Prince at age 11 to work as a restavek for her aunt. That experience proved difficult–12-hour days of cleaning and cooking without pay. But Jean has been determined to do something better, and has taken cooking classes and training at the center, embracing a hoped-for vocation in cooking. Jean’s specialty and love is making salads – she wants to work at a restaurant someday.

She and classmates know that the future remains uncertain in Haiti–“we talk about it all the time”–and it is by no means certain that there will be jobs for them. But with the training at FOPJ, Jean and others will be ready.

“Oh yes, I’m hopeful,” said Jean’s classmate, Moise Raphael, as he and Jean prepared kibbe, a dish of bulgar wheat and minced meat. “What’s most important is the knowledge and training I’ve received here,” Jean said, adding that the camaraderie and fellowship has also been important. “That’s what makes me feel good about FOPJ.”

“The things we get here, we don’t get anywhere else.”

Polycarpe Joseph, head of FOPJ, said his center’s programs, with the support of CWS, its denominational partners, and others, is an example of grassroots, sustainable development that gives Haitians a voice in their future. “This is a living example of the partnership between the US churches and the people of Haiti.”

— Chris Herlinger is a writer and photographer with Church World Service. CWS is a partner organization for the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Church of the Brethren in Haiti. CWS celebrates its 65th anniversary this month, “and we’re continuing to build a world where there’s enough for all,” said an announcement in the “Service” e-newsletter. A timeline of highlights from CWS history is online at www.churchworldservice.org/site/DocServer/CWStimeline.pdf?docID=4921 .

8) Brethren bits: Annual Conference birthdays, personnel, bookstore reminder, CPS website, more.

 
The Family Abuse Center in Waco, Texas, honored Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) with an award for “Volunteer Group of the Year.” The center, led by former Church of the Brethren associate general secretary Kathy Reid (above right), has been providing a safe haven for victims of domestic violence in Waco since 1980. It provides services to more than 600 victims each year as well as prevention efforts through education, intervention, and outreach to a service area that includes seven central Texas counties. BVS director Dan McFadden (left) visited the center to receive the award in person. At center above is Rebecca Rahe, one of the two BVS volunteers who currently work at the center.

— The three Annual Conference officers for 2011 all have birthdays this month–and moderator-elect Tim Harvey is using this unusual occasion as a call for prayers of celebration. He and Conference secretary Fred W. Swartz share a birthday on May 27, and moderator Robert E. Alley’s birthday is May 25.

— Michael Colvin has resigned from On Earth Peace, effective May 18. Since May 2008, he has worked as a full or three-quarter time volunteer in key organizational roles, including coordinating the International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDPP) campaign and providing web design and maintenance. With Colvin’s undergirding service, On Earth Peace’s IDPP campaign has emerged as an offering of global reach, and a gateway through which hundreds of community groups partner with On Earth Peace each year. He was also central in the early development of the Change for Peace program. He is moving on to greater involvement with local activism in Portland, Ore., an expanding web consulting business, and preparations for his June 4 wedding to Susan Shepard.

— Dawna Welch began May 1 as youth advisor for Pacific Southwest District. She is a licensed minister in the Training in Ministry (TRIM) program, and for the past seven years has been director of the Children and Young Families Ministries at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. In her work for the district, she will be establishing a District Youth Cabinet and helping organize junior and senior high events.

— On July 11, Virginia Harness will begin a one-year internship in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. She is completing a bachelor’s degree at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., and carried out an internship with Lost Towns Project in Annapolis. She also has worked as an archaeology intern in both the field and laboratory. She and her family are Church of the Brethren members, most recently from Kansas, and now from Lynchburg, Va.

— Brethren Press reminds those planning to attend Annual Conference 2011 to “remember your tax exempt letters for bookstore purchases.” Tax exempt purchases for church congregations at the Conference bookstore will require an accompanying tax exempt letter from the congregation. A copy of this letter can be left with Brethren Press and will cover purchases for the week. In addition to the letter, the state of Michigan requires a short form to be filled out for each purchase. Brethren Press will have a supply of short forms at the registers and encourages churches to consolidate their purchases to cut down on paperwork. Purchases that do not follow these guidelines will be subject to sales tax.

— The new website for Civilian Public Service (CPS) has been launched and is now live at http://civilianpublicservice.org . The launch took place May 15 at a 70th anniversary celebration of the first CPS camp opening at Patapsco Camp, now in Patapsco Valley State Park near Relay, Md. On the program were speakers Edward Orser, a historian who has examined the Patapsco Camp; Cassandra Costley of the Selective Service; J.E. McNeil from the Center on Conscience and War; and John Lapp, former director of Mennonite Central Committee; among others.

— May 17-19, 2012, are the dates for the next New Church Development Conference, to be held in Richmond, Ind., on the theme “Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully.” The event is for church planters, core teams, committees, district leaders, and established congregations called to support new church development. Keynote leaders will be Tom Johnston and Mike Chong Perkinson of Praxis Ministries. Worship, prayer, workshops, and networking are key features of the event. Sponsored by the Church of the Brethren New Church Development Advisory Committee and Congregational Life Ministries and hosted by Bethany Theological Seminary.

— On Memorial Day weekend, Brethren young adults will gather for the 2011 Young Adult Conference at Camp Inspiration Hills near Burbank, Ohio. The event takes place May 28-30 on the theme, “Re: Thinking Church” (Acts 2:1-4). For information go to www.brethren.org/yac .

— The Church of the Brethren is joining in the national “Let’s Move!” initiative to end childhood obesity. The emphasis for May “is all about simplicity, an important concept whenever we consider changing long-ingrained habits,” said a note from Donna Kline of the Congregational Life Ministries staff. Learn more about all aspects of the program at www.brethren.org/letsmove . “And then share this information with everyone who cares about the health and future of our children,” Kline said in an announcement. “Be sure to use the link on the page to share your stories with us so we can celebrate our successes together!”

— York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., is now hosting the new Chicago area office of Heifer International.

— Codorus Church of the Brethren in Dallastown, Pa., was damaged last week when a seed planter broke loose on a nearby farm and rolled through the wall of the church. The York (Pa.) Daily Record reported on May 13 that farmer Dan Innerst was planting soybeans when the hitch on his tractor broke and his grain drill swung free and began rolling down a sloping field, coming to rest in the junior and senior high Sunday school classrooms of the church. No one was hurt, but a crew from the fire company and area rescue squads worked on the building to shore up the roof. Read the story at www.ydr.com/ci_18058035?source=most_emailed   and see a video from WGAL Channel 8 at www.wgal.com/news/27888490/detail.html  .

— Olympic View (Wash.) Community Church will reach out internationally when Lily Ghebral becomes an Ambassador of Goodwill, traveling to Iran with filmmaker Abdi Sami. She is a senior at Lakeside School in Seattle. The Oregon/Washington District newsletter quoted her comment from the church newsletter: “I believe that this trip will help me develop a deeper understanding of Iran and Muslim culture, but also help me represent Americans in a positive light.”

— The historic First Church of the Brethren in Chicago needs some $100,000 to repair its roof, according to the Illinois and Wisconsin District newsletter. The church building served for many years as home congregation for Bethany Theological Seminary when it was on the west side of Chicago, and also provided office space for Martin Luther King Jr. during a period when he worked in the city. “The majestic trusses that lift the sanctuary roof have rotted out at the point where they meet the pillars,” said the newsletter.

— Olathe (Kan.) Church of the Brethren successfully planned a surprise celebration on April 9 for Truman and Retta Reinoehl, for 45 years of service in ministry in the Church of the Brethren.

— World Hunger Auction events began in Virlina District on May 1 with a six-mile Hunger Walk starting and ending at Antioch Church of the Church. Events continued May 14 with a bike ride through the mountains and valleys of Franklin and Floyd Counties. A golf tournament on May 25 will take place at Mariner’s Landing Golf and Country Club. An organ and vocal concert on June 19 at 4 p.m. at Antioch Church of the Brethren will feature organist Jonathan Emmons joined by a vocal quartet. The World Hunger Auction itself will be Aug. 13 at the Antioch Church. For more information go to www.worldhungerauction.org .

— Steven J. Schweitzer, academic dean at Bethany Theological Seminary, is leading a “Practice of Ministry” day in Virlina District on June 4. “The Sermon on the Mount: Jesus and the Old Testament” will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Summerdean Church of the Brethren. A .6 continuing education credit is available to ordained ministers. Cost is $25, which includes lunch.

— Retiring Elizabethtown (Pa.) College president Theodore E. Long will offer the final address of his presidency during the college’s 108th commencement on May 21, beginning at 11 a.m. Approximately 500 undergraduate and graduate students will have met the requirements to receive their diplomas. The event will be held on the lawn in front of the Alpha Administration Building. Long also will receive an honorary degree, and has been granted emeritus status by the college board of trustees. On April 29, a new Steinway D grand piano appeared in the college’s Leffler Chapel and Performance Center, given by the trustees in appreciation for his 15 years of service as Elizabethtown president.

— Commencement at Manchester College in N. Manchester, Ind., will include awarding of an honorary degree to alumna Janis Johnston of Oak Park, Ill., a family psychologist and philanthropist. She will speak for commencement on May 22, when 201 students are to receive degrees. Baccalaureate services begin at 11 a.m. in Cordier Auditorium; commencement begins at 2:30 p.m. in the Physical Education and Recreation Center.

— Two of the Manchester students graduating this May are recipients of Fulbright grants, including Brethren member Katy McFadden. She is a member of Creekside Church of the Brethren in Elkhart, Ind. Of Manchester College’s 28 Fulbright recipients through the years, 13 (46 percent) have been members of the Church of the Brethren. This represents more Fulbrights per student than at any other Indiana college or university, according to a release from the college. McFadden will spend a year teaching English in Indonesia.

— Four students at Bridgewater (Va.) College have been awarded Summer Christian Experience Scholarships and will spend 10 weeks working at church-related camps. Each student was awarded $2,750 from the scholarship program, which is funded by the college endowment fund. Receiving the scholarship are: Abram Rittenhouse of Green Bank, W.Va., who will serve at Brethren Woods in Keezletown, Va.; Jennifer Stacy of Inman, S.C., who will serve at Camp Bethel in Fincastle, Va.; Whitney Fitzgerald of Lexington, Va., who will serve at Shepherd’s Spring in Sharpsburg, Md.; and Amanda A. Hahn of Culpeper, Va., who also will serve at Shepherd’s Spring.

 


Contributors to this issue of the Church of the Brethren Newsline include Charles Culbertson, Virginia Feaster, Elizabeth Harvey, Gimbiya Kettering, Donna Kline, Jeri S. Kornegay, Karin L. Krog, Jeff Lennard, Nancy Miner, Jonathan Shively, Roy Winter. This issue was edited by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Please look for the next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline on June 1.