Brethren Bits for April 1, 2014


Eighty-five people gathered at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren on March 18 to celebrate the peacemaking witness of Heifer Project’s seagoing cowboys, reports Jim Miller in a release to Newsline. Twelve persons were recognized by Shenandoah District’s Pastors for Peace, following a presentation by Peggy Reiff Miller.

Shown above: The seagoing cowboys recognized included (standing, from left) Robert McFadden, Harold Armstrong, David Flora, Chester Bowman, Harold McNett, Richard Wright, Walt Daggett; (seated, from left) David Brightbill, Jesse Robertson, Olive Roop, Ralph Shively, and Elllis Harsh. (Photo by Dale Ulrich)

Reiff Miller’s presentation included many photos from the work beginning in 1945, and continuing for the next decade. Over 300,000 heifers, bulls, mules, and horses were sent from North American farms in the care of the seagoing cowboys who had responsibility for the animals on the ships crossing dangerous post-war oceans. Over 4,000 heifers were donated by Church of the Brethren and others through Heifer Project. Reiff Miller has documented the involvement of over 400 cowboys and cowgirls (for more about her research visit and click on Seagoing Cowboys).

Pastors for Peace is a Shenandoah District fellowship that began seven years ago and sponsors an annual spring banquet recognizing Living Peacemakers and a fall continuing education event for pastors. Active support and challenge to district youth is a new focus getting underway this year.

Remembrance: Carl E. Myers, 88, a former district executive minister for Illinois and Wisconsin District of the Church of the Brethren, died on March 22 at Timbercrest, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in North Manchester, Ind. He and his late wife Doreen were longtime members of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill. He was a graduate of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and Bethany Theological Seminary. He served pastorates in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, before serving on the denominational staff and then as district executive minister in Illinois and Wisconsin until his retirement in 1990. He is survived by son Stephen Merryweather of Elgin, Ill., and daughters Judith A. (Richard) Myers-Walls of Lafayette, Ind., Linda M. (Lee) Swanson of Elgin, and Karen (Clay) Myers-Bowman of Manhattan, Kan., grandchildren and a great-grandchild. A memorial service was held March 25, in the chapel at Timbercrest. Memorial gifts are received to the Alzheimer’s Association, Church World Service, and Heifer International.

Shenandoah District is remembering Mildred F. “Millie” Mundy, who died March 5 at the Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community at age 94. She held the title of administrative assistant for the Shenandoah District (and its precursor, the Tri-District) from 1965-76, often carrying the functions of an associate district executive. She was a long-time teacher of Weekday Religious Education in Rockingham County, and also energetically promoted outdoor ministry through her work with Camp Bethel and Brethren Woods. She was a graduate of Bridgewater College and Bethany Theological Seminary, and completed a degree at Columbia University. Her home church was Mill Creek Church of the Brethren, and she had been a member of Bridgewater Church of the Brethren for the last several decades. A memorial service was held on March 22 at the Bridgewater Retirement Community.

Larry Holsinger  of Mill Creek Church of the Brethren has joined the Shenandoah District staff as part-time financial secretary/bookkeeper. He succeeds Sarah Long, who resigned to move to the Roanoke area as administrator with the church renewal service E3. Holsinger retired as auditing director at James Madison University after 34 years there, and previously worked in public accounting. He holds a master’s degree in accounting and is a Certified Fraud Examiner.

R. Jan Thompson of Bridgewater, Va., who was one of the Church of the Brethren members at the World Council of Churches General Assembly in Korea last November, has prepared a PowerPoint presentation on his experience and is available to present it for Sunday school classes, small group gatherings, and other meetings. Contact him at 540-515-3581 or .

Carlisle (Pa.) Church of the Brethren will celebrate its 100th Anniversary on June 21-22. “You are invited to attend their celebration–full of pictures, history, worship, and song,” said an announcement from Southern Pennsylvania District.

Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren will host the Bridgewater College Choir in concert on Friday, April 25, at 7 p.m.

In more news from the Manassas Church, the congregation is hosting student interns from South University in Savannah, Ga., as an expression of the Brethren commitment to be of service to the community, said a newsletter announcement. “Starting in April, our church will be hosting several students from South University who will be involved in a Medical Internship program that involves South University and Prince William Hospital.” During the five-week program the students will live in the church parsonage.

The Brethren Housing Association in Harrisburg, Pa., is holding “Honor Thy Mother by Golfing or Biking” on May 9-10. “You can honor your mother and the moms at Brethren Housing Association recovering their home by golfing or biking on Mother’s Day Weekend,” said an announcement. May 9 is the Golf Tournament at ParLine Golf Course in Elizabethtown, Pa., from 12 noon-6:30 p.m. with plenty of contests and fun prizes. May 10 is the Spring Thaw Bike Tour starting at Mt. Wilson (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. This year’s bike event includes two road loops (50 or 25 miles) and a family-friendly option on the Lancaster-Lebanon Rail Trail, followed by a Bike Rodeo, lunch, and prizes. Contact Chris Fitz at or 717-233-6016 or visit .

Brethren Woods, a camp and outdoor ministry center near Keezletown, Va., holds its Spring Festival on April 26. The event offers “a full day of great activities that are fun and help raise money to support the Shenandoah District’s outdoor ministry program” including a fishing contest, pancake breakfast, craft demonstrations, paddle boat rides, hike-a-thon, children’s games, petting zoo, Dunk-the-Dunkard, live auction, and entertainment, said the district newsletter.

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit has expressed deep worry over a court decision in Egypt. The death sentence for 529 supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi came on March 25, and an appeal is expected said the WCC release. “While being hopeful that the judgment will be overturned on the first appeal, the WCC remains concerned over the reversal of the recent signs of hope which had suggested that the vibrant Egyptian society was progressing towards respect of human dignity and the rule of law,” Tveit said. His statement echoes concerns of human rights organizations and the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, who have condemned the outcome of the mass trial as a “clear breach of international law.” Tveit concluded, “We believe that only a peaceful and inclusive process, in which all political parties and civil society organizations and actors work together” will lead the country to “national unity and to justice and peace.” His full statement is at .

The number of people displaced by a militant Islamist insurgency and terror attacks in northeastern Nigeria has grown to three million people since January, according to media reports posted on on March 27, originally reported by the “Vanguard” newspaper and the “Cameroon Tribune.” The report also cited a figure of no fewer than 1,000 Nigerians killed in the region in three months. The “Vanguard” said the figures came from the director-general of Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, Mohammad Sani-Sidi, who was speaking with donor agencies about the humanitarian situation. In response, the head of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Nigeria said the organization would spend $75 million on humanitarian assistance in Nigeria. A leader of the Nigerian Red Cross was quoted saying the humanitarian situation is “unprecedented.”

The contribution of the late Claire Stine to the start of Heifer Project, now Heifer International, was noted with a commemorate feature in a special edition of Heifer’s “World Ark” magazine this spring. The magazine is celebrating the 70th anniversary of Heifer International, which began as a Church of the Brethren program. Stine, who passed away last year, raised the first heifer–the famous “Faith the Cow”–as a Brethren teenager living on a farm in Indiana. Later he also traveled with a Heifer shipment of animals to Germany as one of the program’s sea-going cowboys. Read more about Stine’s life and work in an online version of the spring issue of “World Ark” at



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