Newsline for August 9, 2012

Quote of the week:

“As the fellowship increases at the tables, we may soon be having full-blown covered dish picnics at each table.”

— From an evaluation filled out by a table facilitator at the Annual Conference in July, shared by moderator Tim Harvey. The 2012 Conference, for the first time at least in recent memory, seated delegates at round tables. By the end of the Conference, many of the table groups had become known for the goodies they were sharing.

“As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion” (Psalm 103:13).

1) Church leaders express heartache at shootings, call for action on gun violence.
2) Children’s Disaster Services works in Oklahoma.
3) Disaster grants announced for Haiti, Angola, summer storms in US.
4) New Global Mission Advocate Network is begun.
5) Seminary receives $20,000 grant for ministry formation program.

6) Haiti theological training to focus on the church’s foundation in Christ.
7) Deacon Ministry announces fall workshops.
8) Brethren Academy releases updated list of courses.

9) ‘My 2¢ Worth’ has a new look, new collection label.

10) Have mercy on us: A prayer response.
11) Peace: A world without borders.

12) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, Peace Day, invitation from the moderator, and more.

1) Church leaders express heartache at shootings, call for action on gun violence.

Brethren leaders have joined others in the American Christian community in expressing sorrow and calling for prayer following shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin this past Sunday. At least seven Sikh worshipers were killed and three others injured. The gunman, who had connections with radical right racist groups, committed suicide after being wounded by police gunfire.

Statements have been made by Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger, along with Belita Mitchell who is a Brethren leader in Heeding God’s Call, and Doris Abdullah, the denomination’s representative to the United Nations. Ecumenical partners who are speaking out include the National Council of Churches.

Noffsinger shared in the grief of the families affected in this act of violence. He also expressed frustration with repeated incidents in recent weeks, referring to the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., as well as the daily incidents of handgun violence across the country.

“Loss of life through gun violence occurs every day in American society, one person at a time,” Noffsinger said. “Now we’ve had two larger events. How many people have to die in America before we come to the realization that there is a problem with assault weapons and handguns in our country? It is time for church and society to call for a thorough re-examination of the laws governing the purchase and ownership of guns and munitions.”

An “Ending Gun Violence” resolution from the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board is just the most recent call for Brethren to join with other Christians to work against handgun violence in particular. The statement was made in 2010 in support of the National Council of Churches Governing Board and includes links to relevant statements issued in previous years by the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. Find it at .

NCC calls shootings a ‘tragedy of violence’

In a release this week, the National Council of Churches (NCC) called the shootings in Wisconsin a “tragedy of violence.” Council president Kathryn Lohre expressed heartache for the Sikh community across the country.

“As children of God, we mourn the tragedy of violence wherever it occurs, whether in a movie theater or a house of prayer,” Lohre said. “We pray for healing and wholeness for all affected by today’s events and stand in solidarity with our Sikh brothers and sisters in this frightening time.”

The NCC noted that Sikhs originated in the Punjab region of India in the 15th century but now live all over the world, with about 1.3 million in the US and Canada. The release said that Sikhs are known for their devotion to peace, their belief that all persons are equal, and their belief in one God.

Brethren representative to the UN calls for prayer

A request for people of faith to join in prayer vigils with the Sikh community has been shared by Doris Abdullah, the Church of the Brethren’s representative to the United Nations.

“In response to the awful violent attack at their place of worship…one request calls for the faith community to show solidarity through prayer vigils,” Abdullah said. “I hope that we can extend their request to our greater community.”

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
“Act to End Gun Violence” reads a banner at the first Heeding God’s Call event in Philadelphia in 2009. Since then the organization has worked against “straw sales” and other activities that help put guns on the streets of American cities. Heeding God’s Call was started at a meeting of the three Historic Peace Churches–Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers–during the Decade to Overcome Violence.

Abdullah also represents the Brethren on an NGO committee related to the UN, the Human Rights Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism. She noted that the Sikhs have recently joined the group. “I have extended personal sympathy to them on the tragedy,” she reported. “Finding ‘common ground’ among the various faith traditions and beliefs is another one of the challenges put forward to civil societies by the UN to help eliminate racism.”

Abdullah shared a “United Sikh” newsletter that is calling the interfaith community to show solidarity by holding prayer vigils in their own places of worship. (Find her own prayer response under “Features” below.)

Mitchell speaks on behalf of Heeding God’s Call, Harrisburg

Brethren minister and past Annual Conference moderator Belita Mitchell was quoted this week in a press release from Heeding God’s Call. She pastors First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., and coordinates the Heeding God’s Call chapter there.

Heeding God’s Call has been working against gun violence on the streets of America’s cities since it’s beginnings at a meeting of the Historic Peace Churches (Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers) in Philadelphia some years ago.

“We at Heeding God’s Call grieve for those killed and injured and their families, friends, neighbors, and co-religionists,” Mitchell said. “Americans believe that houses of worship should be places of safety and refuge, not places of carnage and terror. But, as long as we allow people intent on mayhem to gain guns with ease, often illegally, houses of worship will be as dangerous as so many neighborhoods and communities are now in our country.”

Heeding God’s Call is rapidly growing, the release said, and now includes active chapters in Northwest and Northeast Philadelphia, on the Main Line, in Harrisburg, Pa., Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C. For more about the organization go to .

2) Children’s Disaster Services works in Oklahoma.

Photo by Julie Heisey
Children in a CDS center work together to play rebuilding a house following the tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., last year. The centers provided by Children’s Disaster Services not only care for children while their parents seek help to rebuild their lives following disasters, but also guide children to engage in play that helps them regain their emotional health in disaster situations.

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) on Tuesday, Aug. 7, opened a child care center in Glencoe, Okla., to aid families affected by fires. The center is located at the Methodist Church where the American Red Cross has a Multi Agency Resource Center (MARC). CDS volunteers will care for children while their parents apply for aid to help them put their lives back together.

CDS is a part of Brethren Disaster Ministries and places trained and certified volunteer teams in disaster areas to help care for children and families, in partnership with FEMA and the American Red Cross.

Wildfires in Oklahoma have destroyed at least 121 homes, said an e-mail report from CDS associate director Judy Bezon. “There are fires in eight counties and the weather forecast for next week is for 10 -20 mile-per-hour winds, temperatures from 95 to 100 degrees, and continued drought conditions, making it difficult to for firefighters to contain the fires,” she wrote.

Myrna Jones, the CDS representative to Oklahoma VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) has been participating in daily conference calls that review the disaster, the response, and the needs of survivors.

Two Multi Agency Resource Centers (MARC) sponsored by the American Red Cross are opening in Oklahoma this week, one on Tuesday in Glencoe, the other on on Wednesday or Thursday in Payne County. Agencies that offer aid to disaster survivors will have space at the MARC to offer their services.

“In past responses, the MARC have been our busiest sites,” Bezon noted. “Both parents and agency volunteers were grateful for our presence, as having children safely in the CDS center freed them to concentrate on the application process without needing to tend to children’s needs.”

A CDS workshop held last November has resulted in enough certified volunteers in northeastern Oklahoma to support this response. The volunteers live locally and will drive in on a daily basis and return home at night, giving more volunteers a chance to serve and saving on transportation and housing costs. The CDS response in Oklahoma is funded by a $5,000 grant from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund.

In more news from Children’s Disaster Services, the program has scheduled a series of workshops this fall at which prospective volunteers may receive the required training. CDS training events are planned for

Sept. 7-8 at Johnson City (Texas) United Methodist Church;

Oct. 5-6 at Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren;

Oct. 5-6 at New Hope Christian Church in Oklahoma City, Okla.;

Oct. 12-13 at Camp Brethren Heights in Rodney, Mich.; Oct. 27-28 at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla.; and

Nov. 2-3 at Highland Christian Church in Denver, Colo.

For more information about the training events and requirements for becoming a CDS volunteer, visit . Find out more about CDS at and see photos from recent CDS work at (click for CDS and BDM albums). Give to the disaster work of the Church of the Brethren through donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund at .

3) Disaster grants announced for Haiti, Angola, summer storms in US.

Several grants have been given recently by the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). Heading the list is a grant continuing the post-earthquake work of Brethren Disaster Ministries in Haiti.

The EDF grant of $48,000 continues funding for earthquake recovery work in Haiti by Brethren Disaster Ministries in cooperation with L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). The response is nearing completion, with the current need in Haiti less related to the 2010 earthquake and more a problem of pervasive poverty and unemployment, said the grant request.

“Long-term recovery programming has focused on lifting earthquake survivors into a sustainable living situation,” the grant request explained. “Building homes for the many homeless has been an important part of the story, but is far from the whole response. By focusing on systemic issues in Haiti that were brought to light by the disaster, we are building capacity–meaning caring for people emotionally and spiritually, encouraging and equipping Haitian leadership to lead in social ministries, creating work for unemployed construction workers, and creating a physical location for the Haitian Church of the Brethren to expand and continue service ministries in partnership with the US church.”

This grant will support continued home construction and repair for earthquake survivors, completion of a guesthouse for volunteers and a manager’s house at the Ministry Center of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens, along with purchase of furnishings and a new generator, provide volunteer support and staff salaries for security and maintenance, support work groups needing housing in Haiti, continue to expand the Wozo program providing emotional and spiritual care through a three-year program cycle with STAR Haiti–Seminars on Trauma Awareness and Resiliency, and develop and produce a wrap-up DVD and reports summarizing the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries in Haiti.

Previous allocations to this project total $1,300,000. The funds have been given in seven grants between Jan. 14, 2010, and Oct. 12, 2011.

In Angola, the EDF is giving a grant of $3,500 to support the work of the Church World Service (CWS) Development and Humanitarian Assistance Program. More than 114,000 refugees from the decades of civil war are returning to Angola, the grant request reports, and they are finding a country in drought and without resources to support the re-establishment of their livelihoods and households. This grant will provide emergency food and longer-term supplies including food, utensils, tools, shelter, and seeds to help the refugees establish temporary homes in host communities.

In the United States, an EDF grant of $3,000 responds to a CWS appeal following summer storms and wildfires in multiple states. This grant supports CWS work to assist affected communities through training for construction management, volunteer management, emotional and spiritual care, and case management, as well as start-up grants for longterm recovery groups.

For more information about the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries go to . See photos from recent disaster rebuilding projects at (click for BDM and CDS albums). Give to the disaster work of the Church of the Brethren through donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund at .

4) New Global Mission Advocate Network is begun.

The Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service program has begun a network of congregational- and district-based mission advocates. The purpose of the new Global Mission Advocate Network is to equip districts and congregations to promote and invigorate Brethren mission efforts at the individual, congregational, and district levels.

Each district and congregation is being encouraged to name a mission advocate. The advocate will keep Brethren mission work before their district or congregation through newsletters, websites, conferences and other avenues, as well as communicate district mission efforts to the broader network. In addition, the advocate will encourage participation in funding of Church of the Brethren missions and consideration of mission service opportunities.

The Global Mission and Service office has committed to provide regular mission updates to the network including prayer requests, stories from the mission field, and opportunities for church members to become involved. The office also has committed to providing avenues for districts and churches to give support to Brethren mission work, to regularly host mission-focused events such as the Mission Alive conference, and to keep an active list of all district and congregational advocates.

The first issue of a newsletter for mission advocates was sent out recently by e-mail. The newsletter included a review of the upcoming theological training in Haiti (see story in “Upcoming Events” below), as well as a number of mission prayer requests and opportunities to become directly involved in mission work.

Mission advocates were requested to pray for peace in Nigeria and for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), as well as mission worker Carol Smith who is returning to Nigeria to teach math at the EYN Secondary School. Prayer also was requested for mission worker Grace Mishler who returns to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to continue her work of training others to compassionately mainstream the physically disabled.

Service opportunities that were shared include an invitation to join Bill Hare of Polo (Ill.) Church of the Brethren on a Jan. 9-19, 2013, trip to build homes in southern Honduras; an invitation to attend Mission Alive on Nov. 16-18 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren (go to for more information and online registration); and an invitation from Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer to consider traveling with him to an annual meeting of one of the other Church of the Brethren bodies around the world.

For more information about the Global Mission Advocate Network contact Anna Emrick at 847-429-4363.

5) Seminary receives $20,000 grant for ministry formation program.

Bethany Theological Seminary has received a $20,000 grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion for assessment and refinement of its Ministry Formation program. Entitled “Exploring Incarnational Ministry Formation through Contextual Pedagogy,” the project will help Bethany develop the best educational strategies to encourage personal, professional, and spiritual growth in both current and future ministerial leadership. The project’s time frame extends from the fall of 2012 to the spring of 2014.

For Bethany students earning a master of divinity degree, Ministry Formation is at the center of their course of study, incorporating traditional classes, spiritual formation groups, field placements, and group reflection and collaboration. As enrollment of distance-learning students has continued to grow since the establishment of the Connections program in 2003, alternate course formats have been incorporated, combining online sessions with onsite classes and discussion.

Grant writer Tara Hornbacker, professor of Ministry Formation, says, “We are constantly improving the ways in which we lead the Ministry Formation process at Bethany. Ministry Formation is the most natural place to expand learning beyond the classroom because our area is the place where classroom and context integrate in the most intentional manner.”

One question to be addressed by the project is how the online versus the onsite pedagogical approaches used in Ministry Formation are preparing students for ministry in the 21st century. Hornbacker notes that Bethany’s experience in online education puts the seminary in a good position to examine how the context of Ministry Formation preparation impacts the practice of ministry, specifically in contemporary settings.

A second question is how to define and shape Ministry Formation in light of the seminary’s current mission statement: “To equip spiritual and intellectual leaders with an Incarnational education for ministering, proclaiming, and living out God’s shalom and Christ’s peace.” As the grant proposal asks, “What signifies a well-formed ministering person embodying shalom-centered leadership?”

A primary objective in addressing these questions will be to ask those in leadership at current and prospective student placement sites to describe the qualities desired in those who minister. “This grant allows us to travel, observe, and ask questions of a variety of ministry settings so that the settings themselves have influence on the pedagogical strategies and shape of Ministry Formation for theological education,” explains Hornbacker.

The data gathered from site visits will be used to develop models for effective ministry in today’s contexts. It may also inform the work toward the additional project goals: crafting a definition of Ministry Formation that reflects the language of Bethany’s current mission statement and determining the best methods for teaching Ministry Formation in the distance-learning setting.

Led by Hornbacker, the project team includes Dan Poole, coordinator for Ministry Formation; Amy Ritchie, director of student development; and Enten Eller, director of electronic communication. According to Poole, the team has begun by examining how its work could set a new course for the program, specifically the distance-learning component; by addressing the logistics for collecting data from ministry sites; and by strengthening the team’s own working relationships. “We’ve given deeper expression to our hopes for how this process will benefit not only the Ministry Formation program but the seminary as a whole.” The next steps will be to invite participation from selected sites and to arrange for visits.

Ultimately the team will present methods and conclusions to the Association of Theological Field Educators. “Bethany has been in the forefront of Ministry Formation in an online format, and other theological field educators look to our experience to guide their process. They are interested in how we involve the teaching settings in Ministry Formation as a context for learning and the appropriate use of technology to reflect upon the practice of ministry and spiritual formation for leadership,” says Hornbacker.

The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion is located on the Wabash College campus in Crawfordsville, Ind. It offers a variety of programs and resources for teachers of theology and religion in higher education, all of which are funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.

— Jenny Williams is director of communications and alumni/ae relations for Bethany Seminary.


6) Haiti theological training to focus on the church’s foundation in Christ.

Photo by Roselanne Cadet
Ludovic St. Fleur (center) with Haitian church leaders at a theological training in 2010. St. Fleur pastors two Haitian Brethren congregations in Florida, and is a key leader in the Haiti mission. He is one of those traveling from the US to help lead the 2012 theological training seminar for the Haitian church.

The sixth annual theological training seminar of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) will take place Aug. 13-16 and will conclude with a day of church business on Aug. 17. A final worship service will include the licensing of 19 new ministers.

A key text from 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 will form the theme for the week, “The Church’s Foundation Is Christ.” Participants will focus on the pre-eminence of Christ as a person for the Church of the Brethren, particularly represented in the church’s understanding of Jesus as the Prince of Peace.

The training will review related Church of the Brethren concepts, such as the idea that as followers of Jesus, the Church of the Brethren is a living peace church, and the Church of the Brethren peace position as evidenced in its church polity. The Haitian Brethren will consider as well the belief that there should be no force in religion.

Other aspects of church life that will be presented include the structure of an annual gathering of delegates to determine the church’s life together as a body and questions such as, What is a delegate? How are delegates determined? And the question, what constitutes a church? These are just a few of the church-formation issues the theological training seminar aims to address.

Approximately 75 leaders in the Haitian congregations are expected to attend, representing the 24 churches and preaching points in the denomination. Leadership will include Annual Conference moderator Robert Krouse, mission and service executive Jay Wittmeyer, Ludovic St. Fleur who pastors two Miami (Fla.) congregations, and Dominican pastors Isaias Santo Teña and Pedro Sanchez.

This annual seminar is intended to become the annual conference of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens. This year’s theme will reinforce that goal and give a framework to lead in this direction.

— Anna Emrick is coordinator of the Global Mission and Service Office of the Church of the Brethren.

7) Deacon Ministry announces fall workshops.

The Church of the Brethren Deacon Ministry has scheduled five workshops this fall, offering training for deacons in local congregations. Most of the workshops will offer a number of sessions on topics such as “What are Deacons Supposed to Do Anyway?” “Beyond Casseroles: Offering Support Creatively,” “Deacons and Pastors: The Pastoral Care Team,” and more.

The one-day events generally begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and opening worship at 9 a.m., and end by 3 p.m. Other schedules pertain to workshops held during district gatherings.

Following are dates and locations of workshops:

Saturday, Sept. 29, at East Chippewa Church of the Brethren in Orrville, Ohio

Saturday, Oct. 13, held as a Northern Plains District event at Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa

Saturday, Oct. 20, at Antioch Church of the Brethren, Rocky Mount, Va. (contact the Antioch Church at 540-483-2087 or to sign up for this event by Oct. 12)

Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 27-28, held during the Gathering event in Western Plains District, at Salina, Kan.

Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Village at Morrisons Cove, Martinsburg, Pa.

For more information about the workshops and training for deacons go to . For more about the denomination’s Deacon Ministry contact director Donna Kline at 800-323-8039 ext. 306 or .

8) Brethren Academy releases updated list of courses.

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership has released an updated list of courses for 2012 and into 2013. Courses are open to Training in Ministry (TRIM) students, pastors (who may earn continuing education units), and all interested persons.

The academy accepts students beyond the registration deadlines, but on those dates will determine whether enough students have registered to be able to offer the class. Many courses have required pre-course readings, and students need to be sure to allow time to complete those assignments. Courses noted below as “SVMC” require registration through the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, contact or 717-361-1450.

Registration brochures for these and other training opportunities are available through the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership website or by calling 800-287-8822 ext. 1824.

2012 courses:

“What Brethren Believe,” an online course with instructor Denise Kettering, Sept. 4-Nov. 5 (registration deadline was Aug. 3)

“The Book of Romans,” an online course with instructor Susan Jeffers, Sept. 24-Nov. 2, register by Sept. 12 (SVMC)

“Family Systems: Hints for Congregational Leadership” in New Oxford, Pa., with instructor Warren Eshbach, Oct. 5-6 and Nov. 2-3, register by Sept. 21 (SVMC)

“But Who Is My Neighbor? Christianity in a Global Context” at McPherson (Kan.) College with instructor Kent Eaton, Oct. 25-28, register by Sept. 24

2013 courses:

“The Word Alive: An Introduction to Preaching” at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., with instructor Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, professor of Preaching and Worship, Jan. 7-11, 2013, register by Dec. 10

“Introduction to New Testament,” an online course with instructor Susan Jeffers, Jan. 28-March 2, 2013, register by Jan. 7

“The Book of Jonah,” an online course with instructor Susan Jeffers, Feb. 11-March 22, 2013, register by Feb. 1 (SVMC)

“Story of the Church: Reformation to the Modern Age” in Lewistown, Pa., with instructor Craig Gandy, Feb. 28-March 3, 2013, register by Feb. 14 (SVMC)

“Evangelism,” an online course with instructor Tara Hornbacker, associate professor of Ministry Formation at Bethany Theological Seminary, to be held in Spring 2013

“Introduction to Pastoral Care” at McPherson (Kan.) College with instructor Anna Lee Hisey Pierson, to be held in Spring 2013

Two educational travel experiences are planned for late Spring 2013: a trip to Iona, Scotland, led by Ottoni-Wilhelm; and a “Journey Through the Bible” trip to the Holy Land (Israel) led by Bethany’s professor of New Testament Dan Ulrich and TRIM coordinator Marilyn Lerch, for 12 days beginning June 3. Contact the Brethren Academy office to express interest in either trip and for more details, e-mail .

Additional classes offered by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (contact Amy Milligan at 717-361-1450 or ):

“Introduction to Old Testament” at the Middle Pennsylvania District Center with instructor David Banaszak, 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, 18, 25, Oct. 9, 16

“Reflections on the Care of Creation from the Perspective of the Hebrew Bible,” a continuing education event at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College with instructor Robert Neff, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Oct. 23, cost is $50 with an additional $10 for continuing education units

“Brethren Life” at the Middle Pennsylvania District Center with instructor Frank Ramirez, 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Jan. 15, 22, Feb. 5, 19, 26, 2013

“Teaching and Learning” at the Middle Pennsylvania District Center with instructor Donna Rhodes, 6:30-9:30 p.m. on March 18, April 1, 8, 22, 29, 2013


9) ‘My 2¢ Worth’ has a new look, new collection label.

A new look and a new label are now available for “My 2¢ Worth,” formerly Two Cents a Meal. My 2¢ Worth is a program of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF). The new look and label were showcased at Annual Conference and the labels, as well as envelopes, are now available from the Global Mission and Service office.

The GFCF is the primary way that the Church of the Brethren assists in developing food sovereignty around the world. Since 1983, the fund has provided grants upwards of $400,000 annually to community development programs in 32 countries. My 2¢ Worth donations help make it possible for the church, through the GFCF, to promote food sovereignty and mitigate hunger through sustainable agriculture development.

Write in to receive one or more free My 2¢ Worth labels for personal or congregational use. The labels are designed to wrap around tin cans or glass jars, turning them into attractive collection containers for change. A sample label and an order form will arrive at each congregation in the September Source packet.

For more information or to request labels and envelopes, contact GFCF manager Jeff Boshart at or 800-323-8039 ext. 332.


10) Have mercy on us: A prayer response.

On Sunday morning, Aug. 5, in a small town in Wisconsin six Sikhs worshipers were gunned down in their Gurdwara, place of worship, by a racist who then killed himself. On Sunday afternoon, the Sikh community issued a newsletter calling on the interfaith community to show solidarity with them by holding prayer vigils in our own places of worship. I do not know if my church will hold a prayer vigil. So I will pray my prayer and stand in silent worship in my home. — Doris Abdullah, Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations and chair of the Human Rights Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance

“And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat, and the whole multitude stood on the shore” (Matthew 13:2).


O Lord, you are in the boat, and we are standing on the shore. Have mercy on us, our failure to respond to the violent hatred that darts across our land against those who worship differently, or who are not perceived to be of pure European origins, or who are poor and uneducated.

If only we could drown all the hate in the waters of love that you offer to the people. Let us not go on watching you, Lord Jesus, from the shoreline. Let us abandon our fears and swim out to thank you for a life everlasting. Swim out and thank you for the oldest of those killed, 84 years of age. Thank you for the brave policeman who had been shot eight times but waved away help for himself so other injured could be helped. And thank you for all the lives that were saved from the gunman on Sunday morning.

Thank you for another day to show that in solidarity prayer, good fruits without the blemish of hate can come forth. Lord have mercy on us as we pray. Amen

11) Peace: A world without borders.

Photo by JoAnn and Larry Sims
Visitors take pictures of the Peace Bell in Hiroshima, Japan. This park is a call to peace, in a place forever marked by the horror unleashed by nuclear weapons.

Borders are everywhere. There are borders separating countries/nations, borders drawn between states or municipalities, and even borders that define factory areas or commerce areas within cities.

Some say we have to have borders. It keeps areas economically and culturally sound. It is said that borders keep your home safe and protect your family from dangerous “others.” If jobs were available regardless of national origin or immigration status those willing to work for less and employers eager to pay less would corrupt our Social Security system. So…borders are necessary to keep economies functioning and homes safe.

What if borders between countries didn’t exist? What if people could travel from one area to another without hostility? If there were no borders, would countries need weapons to keep people out or in?

The Peace Bell in Hiroshima’s Peace Park in Japan imagines such a world. The bell is a permanent part of the Peace Park. It was crafted in 1964. The bell displays the continents of the earth carved around its surface with no national borders. This design represents Hiroshima’s earnest hope that the world will become one in peace. Every Aug. 15 there is a ceremony at the Peace Bell to remind the world that on that day peace began after World War II.

Is a world without borders a dream today?

There is a medical NGO called, “Doctors without Borders.” The thrust of this group is to provide medical assistance to people who need help as a result of war, conflict, or natural disaster. These medical teams arrive in an area, set up a clinic–often in some sort of temporary tent, and work to provide medical help to people who come to them. Country of origin, location of home, religious preference, or political allegiance is not important. What is important is to tend to the medical needs of the patient.

At the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, many guests from around the world gather for breakfast each morning. The conversations often include the sharing of vocations, hobbies, and travel experiences.

A French couple explained that she lived in France and worked in Germany. Her companion lives in France and builds buildings wherever the job is. He works in both France and Germany.

A couple from India currently living in London said he was a computer systems sales and installation manager. He lives in London and works part of each week in Brussels. The wife works in London and frequently visits him in Brussels.

Families living near the border of Canada and the US frequently shop in the country where their wages have more purchasing power. They often travel from border to border weekly.

One traveler from Pakistan shared his hope for a Peace Museum on the border of India and Pakistan. His hope is to bring peace-loving people from both countries together at a place that celebrates peace, where boundaries are not important. What would be important would be the common heart for peace. His dream is like Hiroshima’s Peace Bell.

Peace: A world without borders is maybe not a dream at all, maybe it is already beginning to happen.

— JoAnn and Larry Sims are volunteer directors of the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan. The Sims are working in Hiroshima through Brethren Volunteer Service.

12) Brethren bits.

— Remembrance: Alma Maxine Moyers Long (86) passed away July 31 at Lima (Ohio) Memorial Health System surrounded by her family. She was one of the young people who in 1948 brought a proposal to Annual Conference for a volunteer program for Brethren youth. This resulted in the formation of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS), of which Alma was a member of the first unit. She was born Oct. 20, 1925, in Bruceton Mills, W.Va., to Charles and Stella Guthrie Moyers. On June 10, 1951, she married Urban L. Long, who survives her. She was a graduate of Bridgewater (Va.) College. She began her teaching career in the last one-room school in Preston County, W.Va., where her mother had also taught. She taught chemistry, biology, and earth science in the Upper Scioto Valley School System for 30 years and received the Acker Teaching Award and led many successful chemistry quiz bowl teams. Her involvements in the church included serving as the first female moderator for Northern Ohio District and, along with her husband, as a district youth counselor for many years. She was instrumental in establishing Inspiration Hills Camp and served on its board. At County Line Church of the Brethren she was a deacon, Sunday school teacher, and lay leader. She also was an avid gardener, especially of roses, and had exhibits in county fair flower shows as well as being a member of the Millstream Rose Society and the American Rose Society. In addition to her husband, survivors include sons, Doyle Long of Ada and Nolan Long of Dayton; daughter Carma (Michael) Sheely of Wapakoneta; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Services were held at County Line Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions are received to BVS. Condolences may be expressed at Dan McFadden, director of Brethren Volunteer Service, shared his memory of Alma from the BVS 60th anniversary celebration. “At 82 years of age,” McFadden recalled, “Alma still had a spring in her step and a gleam in her eye as she held us all spellbound with the story of the birth of BVS. She was a gift to all who knew her.”

— Rosella (Rosie) Reese is retiring a packer for Material Resources at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. She began employment at the center on June 2, 1986, when she was hired to work in the kitchen at the conference center. In 1989 she began work as a medical packer. Over the years she also has worked as needed in housekeeping and has served banquets. She currently packs medicine and hospital supplies for IMA World Health as well as white cross supplies for the American Baptist Church, Evangelical Covenant Church, and Presbyterian Church. As time permits, she folds Lutheran World Relief quilts and assists with truck unloading and other duties. Her ability to pack all sizes and shapes of items safely and securely is very appreciated. Material Resources director Loretta Wolf also notes that Reese has been photographed and interviewed by nearly every local newspaper and television news station, who have shown her packing supplies in response to disasters and needs around the world.

— Camp Swatara, in the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Northeast District, is seeking an administrator/CEO/CFO to begin in June 2013. The perfect candidate will have success in marketing and fundraising, manage a million dollar budget, and be a team builder/leader. He or she will be professional, hold a bachelor of science degree, and be technologically savvy. He or she will be the personification of Camp Swatara, a people person, enthusiastic, articulate, and innovative. Applications may be obtained after Sept. 1 from the Camp Swatara website or from Melisa Wenger at

— On Earth Peace is inviting churches and community groups to organize public prayer events with the theme “Praying for Ceasefire” on or near Sept. 21 as part of Peace Day 2012. Sept. 21 is recognized as an international day of peace by both the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the United Nations. Nearly 120 groups have registered for On Earth Peace’s Peace Day campaign, from the USA, Canada, Nigeria, India, El Salvador, Australia, Thailand, Jamaica, and the Philippines. Sixty-five congregations–many of them new to the effort–registered during the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. On Earth Peace is working with the WCC, National Council of Churches, and campaign co-sponsors the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Justice and Witness Ministries office of the United Church of Christ. Organizing resources and a list of current participants can be found at . The campaign is tweeting from @idopp using the hashtag #peaceday.

— Annual Conference moderator Bob Krouse, who will preside in Charlotte, N.C., at the 2013 Conference from June 29-July 3, is welcoming invitations to speak at congregations and district events in the coming year. “While he may not be able to accept every invitation he receives, he hopes to visit many of our districts during the coming year,” said a memo from Conference Office director Chris Douglas. “These opportunities provide districts and congregations ways to maintain contact with Annual Conference, as well as giving the moderator important feedback on the pulse of our denomination.” When requesting a moderator visit, please know that honoraria is not accepted. However, the Conference Office hopes the hosting body will provide travel reimbursement to the Annual Conference fund. Checks for travel reimbursement should be made payable to “Annual Conference” marked “Moderator Travel Expenses,” and sent to: Annual Conference Office, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120. Extend invitations to the moderator care of .

— Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., has announced its 2013 “Exploring Your Call” event for rising juniors and seniors in high school. The dates of the event will be June 14-24. Participation is limited to 25 students. This grant-funded program is free for participants. Students only have to pay for transportation to and from the event. Applications will be accepted starting Sept. 1. Go to .

— San Diego (Calif.) Church of the Brethren is celebrating its 100th anniversary with special events on the theme “Unbroken Circle of Love-100 years of Ministry.” A kickoff event is Aug. 11, when the church hosts the Fairmount Neighborhood Block Party. Worship on Sunday, Aug. 12, will celebrate the anniversary with guest speaker Susan Boyer and historic videos from 100 years of ministry shown before worship.

— Antioch Church of the Brethren in Virlina District hosts the World Hunger Auction on Aug. 11, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The church is located in Rocky Mount, Va. “Unique and interesting things will be available again this year including quilts, art work, a drum from Kenya, hand-made dolls, baked and canned goods, and a bowl crafted from walnut,” reports the district newsletter. Breakfast, lunch, and ice cream will be served. Also for sale are some “Special Services” such as a nature excursion–including a boat ride–to view a currently inhabited eagle’s nest (starting bid $250), and eight hours of professional interior house painting (starting bid $200) and more.

— Baugo Church of the Brethren in Wakarusa, Ind., has hosted mission speaker Kuaying Teng, a pastor with the Mennonite Mission Network, speaking on “Laos: An Interreligious Dialogue about Building Up Peacemaking Communities.” A Sunday school class was held with the Laotian community, followed by a potluck. In related news, Grace Mishler who serves in Vietnam as a Global Mission and Service program volunteer for the Church of the Brethren, has been invited by Pastor Teng to visit peace-building communities that are emerging in Laos.

— East Chippewa (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is beginning its third year of ECHO (East Chippewa Helping Out), an effort to help working parents and assist children with school homework and other meaningful activities after school. “I am very excited for the new school year,” commented Jodi Conrow, director and one of the ECHO teachers, in a release. “In addition to our homework help we also have a reading incentive program that the students really get excited about reading for rewards. Sort of a Summer Reading Program that lasts all school year.” More information is available by contacting 330-669-3262 or .

— Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., holds an interfaith Creation Care Day for youth on Aug. 25 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. “It will be a community experience of outdoor, hands-on Interfaith Creation Care: a day of fun, faith, food, and finding joy in Creation,” said the Virlina District newsletter. The camp is partnering with the interfaith “Spirituality and Ecology” group to host the day, rain or shine, for youth from all faith expressions. Cost is $15 and includes lunch, program leadership, plus pool time. Register or find more information at .

— “Steeped in the Past, Standing in the Present, Looking Toward the Future: How to Help Your Congregation Respond to a Violent World” is the title of a peace retreat co-sponsored by the Brethren Peace Fellowship and three Church of the Brethren districts: Mid-Atlantic, Southern Pennsylvania, and Atlantic Northeast. The event on Aug. 25 from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. is at the Miller Homestead in Spring Grove, Pa. “This retreat is calling together all who find themselves in the often lonely outposts of peacemaking both within and outside of their congregations,” said an announcement. Leadership will be provided by Joel Gibbel, Jon Brenneman, Cindy Laprade Lattimer, and Bill Scheurer, who recently began as executive director of On Earth Peace.

— As part of a series of district wide worship services, Southern Ohio District will worship together on Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. at Oakland Church of the Brethren. Moderator-elect Julie Hostetter will speak on the theme, “God’s Kingdom for all People” (John 4:1-42). In addition, the district “will celebrate our young people with a display of over 100 pieces of artwork which our children have created at Camp Woodland Altars during the 2012 camping season,” said an invitation. More information is at .

— Michigan District Conference will be Aug. 17-18 at Camp Brethren Heights in Rodney, Mich.

— A COBYS Bike & Hike is set for Sept. 9, to begin at 1:30 p.m. at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. “$100,000 and 550 participants. Those are the ambitious goals for the 16th annual COBYS Bike & Hike,” said a release from COBYS Family Services. The Bike & Hike includes a three-mile walk through Lititz, 10- and 25-mile bicycle rides on rural roads around Lititz, and the 65-mile Dutch Country Motorcycle Ride. This year’s motorcycle ride for the first time crosses the Susquehanna River. Sites include the Columbia/Wrightsville Bridge, expansive pastures of Lauxmont Farms, views of the river at Long Level, Sam Lewis State Park, and some Lancaster County back roads and bridges. Participants choose their event and either pay a minimum registration fee or obtain sponsors. Last year, despite severe flooding a few days before, the Bike & Hike set an income record of more than $89,000. Youth groups who raise $1,500 or more win a free gym and pizza night. Grand prizes donated by area businesses will be awarded to the top three fundraisers. Brochures, sponsor sheets, and routes are at .

— An expanded wastewater treatment plant is in operation for Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md. Local and state officials joined Fahrney-Keedy executives and board members on July 16 to mark the end of more than a year of construction. The improvements bring the wastewater treatment plant into compliance with Maryland Department of the Environment regulations. The US Department of Agriculture Rural Development program assisted in the project with a low-interest loan of $3,692,000. In a release, Keith Bryan, Fahrney-Keedy’s president and CEO, said, “USDA’s oversight before and during the construction phase has been immeasurable; without USDA’s low-interest loan this project would have been very difficult to undertake.”

—  Brethren Woods is offering a Tubing Adventure Day on Aug. 25. “Join us for a fun morning or afternoon of tubing on the Shenandoah River!” said an announcement. Participants will gather at Mountain View-McGaheysville (Va.) Church of the Brethren at 9:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. Brethren Woods staff including a certified lifeguard will provide orientation to tubing and safety on the river. Groups will float a stretch of river from Power Dam Road to Island Ford and return to the church about 12 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Cost is $15 and includes transportation, certified staff leadership, innertube, lifejacket, and some additional gear. Registration forms and more information are available online at . Registrations are due Aug. 17.

— The Bridgewater (Va.) College Alumni Choir presents a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. The choir was founded by Jesse E. Hopkins, Edwin L. Turner Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus, according to a release. In addition to Hopkins, the 32-member choir will be directed by David L. Tate and Ryan E. Keebaugh. Among other works, the ensemble will perform original works by Bridgewater alumni composers: “Peace I Leave with You,” by Aaron Garber ’05, and “The Suffering Servant,” by Ryan Keebaugh ’02. Hopkins recently retired from the college after 35 years.

— McPherson (Kan.) College has an agreement with Fort Hays State University in support of new graduate courses in education. Thanks to the agreement, McPherson will be able to follow an innovative approach to its new graduate-level courses in education while allowing those credits to apply for school leadership certification, said a release. McPherson will begin offering its graduate-level courses this fall. Mark Malaby, director of the graduate courses in education and associate professor of education, has developed the entrepreneurial curriculum. Classes will allow professionals who take the courses to learn through developing programs or initiatives that improve the quality of education in their own communities. Extensive use of project-based learning and collaborative projects has meant the new courses don’t always fit traditional certification paths such as those required for school principals and administrators. The partnership with Fort Hays State allows graduate credits obtained at McPherson to be accepted by the Educational Leadership program at the university. See .

— Manchester University in N. Manchester, Ind., is appearing on “The Chronicle of Higher Education” Honor Roll of 2012 Great Colleges to Work For, for the third straight year. A release from the university notes that “The Chronicle says Manchester University is a ‘Great College to Work For’ because of its teaching environment, job satisfaction, respect and appreciation, confidence in senior leadership, work/life balance, professional/career development programs, supervisor/department chair relationship, tenure clarity and process, collaborative governance.” The Honor Roll of 42 colleges and universities is based on a nationwide survey of more than 46,000 faculty, administrators, and professional support staff at 294 institutions, plus demographics and workplace policies.

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is reporting a success in its work in northern Iraq. The Iraq team has spent years working against attacks on displaced residents of villages along Iraq’s borders with Turkey and Iran, according to a release. In 2006, CPT began visiting people forced to evacuate their homes every year, conducted investigations, and detailed impacts on civilians. In 2011, Iranian mortar, rocket, and shelling attacks, and bombing from Turkish fighter jets damaged and destroyed more life and property than in any year since the operations began. Last August the CPT team started a series of public events to raise awareness of the attacks, as the villagers themselves feared personal repercussions from speaking out against the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq. The CPT team witnessed outside the Iranian, Turkish, and US consulates and the KRG parliament; visited the KRG Human Rights Committee; and, on behalf of village partners, delivered letters and goodwill gifts to the Turkish and Iranian consulates. “They asked that 2012 be a year of no attacks on border residents…. So far this year, no attacks have affected civilians living in villages along the borders,” the release concluded. The full report is at .

— Marie Frantz’s 101st birthday on Aug. 7 has been celebrated by Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind. The congregation sent cards to Frantz, who is living in Leo, Ind.


Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Deb Brehm, Anna Emrick, Don Fitzkee, Matt Guynn, Mary Kay Heatwole, Philip E. Jenks, Jeri S. Kornegay, Nancy Miner, Glen Sargent, Roy Winter, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Look for the next regularly scheduled issue on Aug. 22. Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences go to