Brethren Bits for Jan. 25, 2014

— The Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has announced the hiring of two new employees. Glenna Thompson has accepted the position of full-time office assistant for Material Resources starting Jan. 21. Most recently, she worked for IMA World Health as resource development associate and general administrator. Darlene Hylton has accepted the position of temporary part-time office assistant for the Brethren Disaster Ministries office, supporting the administrative and database work. Her most recent work has included assisting with the disaster ministry’s Church of the Brethren membership and IMA databases.

“Planning worship for Lent?” asks a Facebook note from Brethren Press. “View the updated lectionary, which highlights texts used in our bulletin series.” The Church of the Brethren offers an online page focused on the lectionary scripture readings for the year, with links to a listing of the scripture readings used in the Living Word Bulletins published by Brethren Press, and a guide for studying the lectionary scriptures with a discernment process and helpful questions. Go to . Living Word Bulletins may be purchased from Brethren Press at or by calling 800-441-3712.

— The Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness coordinator Nate Hosler is in California for the National Farm Worker Ministry’s board meeting. In a Facebook post, the office shares that Hosler joined interfaith leaders and other board members in a prayer for immigration reform outside House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s Bakersfield District Office. More information on the event is at!/notes/ufw/farm-worker-advocates-interfaith-leaders-to-hold-prayer-for-immigration-reform-o/10152130809599318 .

— Read the latest “Brethren in the News” at Topping online news reports from across the nation that feature Church of the Brethren members and congregations, is an article about the way Grossnickel Church of the Brethren continues its long-term support for the Foods Resource Bank. Also included are a number of other news pieces and obituaries.

— Northern Indiana District seeks a district executive to fill a three-quarter to full-time position available Sept. 1. The district includes 40 congregations with 1 in southern Michigan and 39 in the northern third of Indiana. Its congregations are a mix of rural, urban, and suburban with a healthy mix of theological diversity. The district board’s commitment is “Communicating, Coordinating, Connecting our family of churches” (Galatians 6:10). The preferred candidate is a personable/relational, curious, and competent administrator, who will serve as coach and team builder. The district envisions a creative model for team leadership where the district executive facilitates ministry priorities as noted by the district. The district office currently is located in Nappanee, Ind. Responsibilities include to serve as executive officer of the district board offering administrative leadership; equip, empower, inspire the board to leadership and good governance; build and strengthen relationships with congregations and pastors; use mediation skills to work with congregations in conflict; facilitate and encourage the calling of persons to set-apart ministry and lay leadership; facilitate the pastoral placement process with congregations and pastors. Qualifications include a clear commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrated by a vibrant spiritual life; grounding in Church of the Brethren faith and heritage, belief, and practice; valuing the infinite worth of each person and congregation; a collaborative leadership style that enables teamwork and shares tasks; curiosity; a vision and plan for the future; valuing all aspects of relationships with and within congregations; expertise in the dynamics of small church life and its vital mission and ministry; strong communication, mediation, and conflict resolution skills; strong administrative and management skills; respect for theological diversity; flexibility in working with staff, volunteer, pastoral, and lay leadership. Requirements include ordination in the Church of the Brethren, with a variety of ministry experiences preferred. Apply by sending a letter of interest and resume via e-mail to . Applicants are requested to contact three or four people to provide a letter of reference. A candidate profile must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. The application deadline is March 1.

— The annual Meat Canning Project of Southern Pennsylvania District and Mid-Atlantic District takes place April 21-24 at Christian Aid Ministries in Ephrata, Pa. A note from coordinator Terry Wueschinski publicized in church newsletter reports that the goal for this year is to can 45,000 pounds of chicken. The amount planned for has been reduced from previous years due primarily to the lack of financial backing, Wueschinski noted. Last year 67,000 pounds were processed and labeled by volunteers. The funds that support the project are used to purchase the chicken and pay for facility usage, labels, and shipping. The canned chicken is distributed to those in need in the two districts, with the possibility of a portion going to an overseas mission.

— Virlina District’s Childrens Cabinet will hold a “Back In Time” event for children kindergarten thru fifth grade and their parents on Saturday,  April 26, 9 a.m.-12 noon in the Deer Field Center at Camp Bethel. Activities will include living history demonstrations, presentations, music, games, and snacks.

— The 2014 “Peace Feast” in Shenandoah District will be March 18, at 6:30 p.m., at Sangerville (Va.) Church of the Brethren. The event will celebrate the service of the Seagoing Cowboys of Heifer Project (now Heifer International).

— The Brethren Housing Association broke ground Jan. 23 on its Hummel Street Townhouses, a major housing renovation project in the distressed Allison Hill neighborhood of Harrisburg, Pa., said a release. In partnership with PinnacleHealth Systems and affiliated construction contractors, the association was able to purchase or procure five lots on Hummel St. across from Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren. “In place of crumbling buildings, BHA plans to erect five townhouse apartments for its transitional housing program serving mothers and their children recovering from homelessness” said the release. “More than 80 supporters and officials celebrated the project’s groundbreaking, estimated at $950,000, of which approximately half has been pledged so far.” For more information contact Chris Fitz at 717-233-6016 or . See photos on Facebook, search for brethrenhousing. Find a “Patriot-News” article about this project at .

— In more news from the Brethren Housing Association, the group has thanked the more than 250 volunteers who turned out for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Events took place at the Brethren Housing Association and Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren on Jan. 20 in conjunction with other neighborhood organizations including Brethren Community Ministries, the YWCA, Tri-County Community Action, Habitat for Humanity, and more, a release said. Volunteers renovated several apartments and a volunteer house, and did outside cleanup. Church groups who would like to be involved in an urban renewal project, especially involving carpentry, drywall, masonry, painting, and/or cleaning, are invited to contact Dennis Saylor at 717-233-6016 or .

— A $2,500 grant to Bridgewater (Va.) College from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation will fund the purchase of an electric-powered utility vehicle for use in the college’s recycling program reports a release. The foundation is the philanthropic arm of the company that operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent A Car brands. According to Teshome Molalenge, director of the college Center for Sustainability, the purchase of a used, extended-cab electric utility vehicle will double the recycling transportation options available to the student-run  recycling program. Eight students currently work in the program and share one small electric utility cart and a student-assembled Bike Cargo to transport recycling items throughout the 240-acre campus.

— The board of Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., has approved a comprehensive Master Plan that “lays out three phases that will affect every aspect of Fahrney-Keedy while spanning a timeframe of up to 20 years,” said a release. Some key components of the plan include ensuring that revenue-generating projects are developed, combining a number of financing options to make the plan work, increasing short-term rehabilitation, expanding independent-living cottage and apartment homes as the market demands, expanding parking, completing a perimeter road, preserving campus green space, and constructing a water storage tank for present and future needs, said the release.   A major project will be the eventual replacement of the skilled nursing center. “The plan took months to research, write, and complete, involving many hours of board and staff time,” said president and CEO Keith Bryan. “Implementing the plan will involve everyone at Fahrney-Keedy.” Visit for additional details.

— Another congregation of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has suffered an attack as terrorist violence has continued in northern Nigeria this January, carried out by extremist Islamist group Boko Haram according to media reports. The EYN building in Bzuba village was destroyed in an attack on Jan. 8, reports “Christian Today” of Australia, in an article that asserts that “Islamic extremists have attacked villages in three states in Nigeria every Sunday this month, killing at least 15 Christians.” Another wave of violence also has wracked Nigeria as anti-gay violence broke out following a recent law that bans gay marriages and activities, according to African media. “Gay individuals have reportedly inundated some foreign embassies in Lagos to seek asylum,” said a CAJ News piece posted today at . “The law stipulates 14-year jail term for any person found to be nurturing gay relations or promoting gay activities…. Officials have already begun the implementation of the law with the arrest and arraignment of five suspected gays in the northern part of the country.” A source told the CAJ news agency that “embassy authorities would likely give genuine considerations to visa applicants who were gay and might be in obvious danger.”

— Jerry Dick of Penn Run Church of the Brethren has been named volunteer of the month by Community Action Inc. He has been a member of the Indiana County (Pa.) Senior Corps-RSVP since May last year, reports the “Indiana (Pa.) Gazette.” He volunteers for Aging Services Inc.’s Two Lick Valley Social Center and Indiana County Community Action Program’s White Township Food Pantry, and is a volunteer firefighter for the Cherryhill Township Fire Department.

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