Brethren Bits for Jan. 10

The Nominating Committee of Standing Committee of Annual Conference met at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Members are: Kathryn Bausman, chair, Twin Falls, Idaho; Ken Frantz, Fleming, Colo.; Joel Kline, Elgin, Ill.; Kathy Mack, Rochester, Minn.; Roy McVey, Collinsville, Va.; J. Roger Schrock, Mountain Grove, Mo.; John Shelly, Chambersburg, Pa.; Jim Beckwith, Annual Conference secretary, Lebanon, Pa.; and John Moyers, Maysville, W.Va., who participated by conference call. The committee’s task is to help discern leadership for the denomination in the coming year. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.

— Correction: Last week’s Newsline gave an incorrect location for the newspaper that interviewed Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker Michael Himlie. Himlie was interviewed by the “News-Record” of Harmony, Minn.

— Bethany Seminary’s Nicarry Chapel suffered water damage this week after two fire system sprinkler heads in the seminary in Richmond, Ind., broke in extreme subzero temperatures. In an e-mail to the seminary community dated Jan. 8, president Jeff Carter wrote that “a sprinkler head associated with the fire system broke due to freezing temperatures and showered the rear entrance area with water…. A second pipe feeding a sprinkler head in the Nicarry Chapel burst. The chapel floor was covered with water and a number of chairs, hymnals, and other worship resources were soaked.” Water damage was severe enough to destroy the chapel floor, which is being removed and a new floor will be installed. “Albeit a challenging situation, this community did what friends do,” Carter wrote. “We pitched in where we could, we encouraged when we had the chance, and we did not despair, but spoke of next steps. I am grateful for those service professionals who came to our aid, for talented and caring staff, faculty, and students, for our friends at Earlham, and for a community that cares deeply about this seminary.”

— Haitian Brethren are requesting prayer for the families of two members of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) who died in a boat accident. On Nov. 18, a sailboat left Haiti with about 100 Haitians on board, headed to the Bahamas in search of a better life. On Nov. 24 the boat capsized and only 32 of the 100-plus people were rescued. Among about 15 people from the Aux Plaines community who perished were Ronel Leon and Franky Gustave, two upstanding members of Aux Plaines Church of the Brethren in La Tortue, Haiti. “The unfortunate conditions in Haiti often drive people to risk their lives in the pursuit of a ‘better life,’” wrote Rose Cadet, who sent the information about the tragedy to Global Mission and Service staff.

— On the weekend that marks the 12th anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, the Office of Public Witness invites Brethren to join in prayer for an end to torture. Tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 11, the Office of Public Witness is co-sponsoring a rally in Washington, D.C., with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, to mark this grim anniversary and to call on President Obama to keep his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. “The Office of Public Witness invites you to participate in spirit by joining in a nationwide Prayer Circle to Close Guantanamo that is a part of this weekend’s activities,” said an invitation. More information about the prayer circle and how to get involved is in the latest Action Alert from the Office of Public Witness. Find the Action Alert at .

— “BVS needs your help!” says an invitation to complete a survey about Brethren Volunteer Service. People who are serving in BVS, people who have been BVS volunteers in the past, church members, and other interested people are asked to help provide feedback to the program. The input will help BVS determine areas of focus and growth for the future. Find the survey at .

— Sarah Long has announced her resignation as financial secretary for Shenandoah District and center coordinator of the district’s Christian Growth Institute, effective March 1. The district newsletter reports that she will be moving to the Roanoke, Va., area as administrator with the church renewal service, E3.

— Camp Peaceful Pines is seeking to fill the position of camp superintendent(s) for the 2014 season and beyond. Camp Peaceful Pines is an independent charitable non-profit corporation affiliated with the Pacific Southwest District of the Church of the Brethren. It is located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California in the Stanislaus National Forest on Sonora Pass. Staff members are primarily experienced and dedicated volunteers who love people, creation, and God. The board and program committee endeavor to recruit persons of mature Christian faith and leadership skills to direct each camp. The camp superintendent position supports daily operational needs from June 1 to Sept. 1. Compensation is based on a daily rate established by the camp board and includes food and housing provided. The camp superintendent is responsible for day-to-day operation of the camp, camp maintenance, and the greeting and coordination of camps with camp directors. This position reports to the camp board chair and provides reports to the camp board. To apply, submit an application with a resume and three references by March 1 to Garry W. Pearson, Board Chair, 2932 Prado Lane, Davis, Ca 95618; or submit electronically to ; phone 530-758-0474. The search team will select viable candidates for interviews during March. Camp Peaceful Pines is an Affirmative Action facility: acceptance and participation apply without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, or disability. For more information about the camp go to .

— Lebanon Church of the Brethren in Mt. Sidney, Va., dedicates its new organ with a concert at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19. The Shenandoah District newsletter reports that the organ was purchased through the generosity of a bequest from a life-long member of the congregation.

— Northern Plains District is planning several “cluster gatherings” over the next few months. There will be a gathering in each of the five geographical clusters of the district. “The purpose is to provide encouragement to one another and build cooperative and supportive relationships between sister congregations,” according to the district newsletter. The “Central Iowa Cluster” of congregations is holding a pulpit exchange on Sunday, Feb. 16, centered on passages from 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 (“You are God’s field”) or 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a (“One body with many members”), or the 2014 District Conference theme (“God Is in the Details”). The district newsletter reports that the concept of a pulpit exchange is based on part of Northern Plains’ Vision and Mission statement: “We will call our pastors and congregations to work together toward a shared ministry.”

— Also from Northern Plains, the district newsletter reports that a new blog from the Iowa Peace Network is being managed by Ivester Church of the Brethren member Jon Overton. Find the blog at .

— Workshop opportunities for church leaders to develop relationship and listening skills are hosted by McPherson (Kan.) College, as part of the new Ventures in Christian Discipleship series. A workshop on Jan. 25, “Building Healthy Relationships: Tools for Harmony within Diversity,” will offer tools for building harmonious relationships in the church community. A workshop on Jan. 26, “Deep Compassionate Listening,” will help develop skills for more caring interpersonal communication. The workshops are held at the college with Barbara Daté as facilitator. Cost is $50 for the Jan. 25 workshop and $25 for the Jan. 26 workshop. To enroll, contact .

— Elizabethtown (Pa.) College is planning special events honoring the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Begun in 2005, the annual week-long celebration is sponsored by the college’s Office of Diversity, said a release. The week kicks off Jan. 20 with a 10:30 a.m. opportunity to view the 50th Anniversary March on Washington at the Blue Bean Café on campus. At 2 p.m. that afternoon will be a presentation titled “Six Voices Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. in Sixty Minutes” in the High Library. The day rounds out with a 6:15 p.m. candlelight march from the Brossman Commons to the Leffler Chapel and Performance Center where at 7 p.m. an MLK Gospel Extravaganza and Awards event will feature choirs, musicians, soloist, and dancers giving a special evening of culture and music. For a full list of events go to . All events sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee are free. For more information contact Diane Elliott at or 717-361-1198.

— Daniel Ellsberg will speak at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., on Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m., on the topic “Surveillance and Secrecy.” Ellsberg is former strategic analyst for the RAND Corporation and the central figure in the 1971 publication of a study on “Decision-making in Vietnam 1945-1968” that later became widely known as “The Pentagon Papers.” A release from the college notes that in preparation for the lecture, on Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Juniata will screen “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.” The film will be shown in the Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science. The lecture by Ellsberg takes place in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. Both the film and the lecture are free and open to the public.

— The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., holds its annual meeting and dinner at 6:30 p.m. on  Feb. 7, at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church. The program will highlight 2013 accomplishments and plans for 2014, and the work of artisans and interpreters involved in the field trips offered to elementary school students. Seating is limited, make reservations by Feb. 1. Contact 540-438-1275 or .

— The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally celebrated between Jan. 18-25 (in the northern hemisphere) or at Pentecost (in the southern hemisphere), by congregations all over the world. Resources for the week are provided through the World Council of Churches, and this year focus on the theme and a question: “Has Christ been divided?” (1 Corinthians 1:1-17). Each year Christians from a different region of the world help prepare the resources, and this year initial work on the theme was prepared by a group of representatives from Canada. Go to .

— Christian Peacemaker Teams has announced “a bold new step for CPT in Europe,” in a recent release. The organization, which had its start in the Historic Peace Churches including the Church of the Brethren, is beginning exploration of new work with refugees and migrants in Europe. “The systematic closure and militarization of Europe’s borders with its neighbors in recent years contrast sharply with the European Union’s rhetoric of democracy and universal human rights,” said a release. “Thousands of refugees have died along EU borders in recent years. Miles of barbed wire and military-style border controls are forcing migrants to take the most dangerous routes–crossing the Mediterranean Sea or the narrow straits between Greece and Turkey. Those who make it face racism, violence, institutional incompetence, and frequently confinement or deportation.” CPT in Europe, which has a strong partnership with the German Mennonite Peace Committee, is planning an initial exploratory delegation to the Greek-Turkey border to meet with refugees, civil society organizations and activists, build relationships, and develop an understanding of the situation, the release said. The delegation will take place in April. For more go to .

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