Howard E. Royer is retiring as manager of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) on Dec. 31. He has completed eight years as GFCF manager, serving three-quarter time on a contract/volunteer basis.
Also ending its work is the GFCF Grant Review Panel composed of three former international mission workers: Shantilal Bhagat of La Verne, Calif.; Peggy Boshart of Fort Atkinson, Wis.; and Ralph Royer of Claypool, Ind. The three served as volunteers.
This is the second time that Howard Royer has retired from service on the Church of the Brethren staff. He previously served on the denominational staff for 50 consecutive years from 1953-2003, starting out as a 1-W conscientious objector and volunteer in stewardship. He then filled successive roles as youth editor, news director, editor of “Messenger” magazine, coordinator of a salvation and justice program, and director of interpretation.
Over the span of his career, he served terms as national president of the Associated Church Press and the Religious Public Relations Council and as executive of the Council on Church and Media. He has carried out media assignments with the National Council of Churches, Church World Service, Religion News Service, and the World Council of Churches. He served six years on the board of SERRV International, eight years on the board of the Foods Resource Bank, and as a regular participant with inter-faith hunger directors.
Royer is credited with initiating the REGNUH campaign to “Turn Hunger Around” and a very successful food pantry matching grant project. He encouraged Brethren congregations across the country to become involved in growing projects to fight hunger and build denominational ties with the Foods Resource Bank, having the Brethren take the lead on FRB hunger projects in such places as Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and most notably North Korea. His efforts were instrumental in establishing a Church of the Brethren staff presence in North Korea.
The Global Food Crisis Fund continues as a program of Global Mission and Service. Since its beginning in 1983, the fund has issued grants of several millions dollars to foster sustainable food security in more than 30 countries. It issued grants totaling approximately $325,000 in 2011. Find out more at www.brethren.org/gfcf .