Brethren Bits for Sept. 26, 2014

Brethren Disaster Ministries posted a Facebook photo album from the week when youth from Mohican Church of the Brethren in Ohio volunteered at the disaster rebuilding project site at Toms River, N.J. “Mohican CoB Youth Group rock out a house in a week–June 9-13, 2014! From decking to trusses,” read the Facebook post. Find more pictures at .

— Correction:  Newsline previously gave an incorrect link for a flier and registration information for “The Book of Job and Brethren Tradition.” This continuing education event sponsored by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, Elizabethtown (Pa.) College Department of Religious Studies, and Bethany Theological Seminary, takes place at the college on Nov. 5. Find the correct link at .

— Church of the Brethren program volunteers Linda and Robert Shank are returning this fall to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) to teach for a ninth semester at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST). From the Global Mission and Service office comes this prayer request: “Pray for health and energy as they continue English and agriculture instruction.” Find daily prayers for other mission workers and areas of Brethren mission work around the world in the Global Prayer Guide at .

— Northern Indiana District is giving thanks for the service of interim district executive minister Carol Spicher Waggy, who closed out her term of service with the district on Sept. 20. She began as interim district executive in January 2013. “We are grateful for the ways that Carol facilitated our transition to a permanent DE, but also for the faithfulness, commitment, and compassion which she has shared for years in the service of Christ and the church,” said a note from Rosanna McFadden, District Board chair. There was a recognition of Spicher Waggy’s service at the district conference on Sept. 20.

— The Church of the Brethren seeks candidates for a director level position in Congregational Life Ministries. This full-time salaried position is located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and is available in January 2014. Congregational Life Ministries is in a staffing transition and seeks a gifted and dynamic colleague to sustain a variety of commitments. The director will have comprehensive oversight and responsibility for planning the biennial National Older Adult Conference (NOAC). Over the course of the two year cycle of the event, approximately one half of the director’s time is committed to NOAC. With the other half time in the portfolio, the director will provide leadership in one or more of the following areas: children and families; disabilities, mental health, child protection and domestic violence; aging; intergenerational ministries; church planting; deacon ministries; publications editing. Final determination of work responsibilities will be made by the Executive Director of Congregational Life Ministries in consultation with the General Secretary. Required skills and knowledge include grounding in Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; experience relevant to the areas of responsibility, project management, group facilitation, work as part of a team, public speaking, and organizational best practices. A bachelor’s degree is required, with a master’s degree in a related field preferred. Ordination is preferred. Applications will be reviewed beginning Oct. 20 and thereafter on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Request the application packet by contacting the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; . The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

— The Church of the Brethren seeks to fill two temporary positions located at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.: temporary full-time baler, and temporary full-time box car helper. Both positions work within the Material Resources department which processes, warehouses, and distributes relief goods on behalf of a variety of ecumenical and humanitarian organizations.
The baler supports the work of Material Resources by using a baler to bale quilts, folding quilts, filling tables, lifting boxes, and assisting with cardboard baling and other warehouse duties. The preferred candidate must be age 18 or older, able to use baling equipment, able to lift up to 65 pounds, and able to stack bales three high on pallets. A high school diploma or the equivalent is required.
The box car helper is responsible for loading and unloading boxes from train cars and trailers, working mostly outside with some warehouse duties included. The preferred candidate will have experience assisting with loading and unloading train cars and trailers, must be able to lift a limit of 65 pounds, must work well with a team and be reliable and flexible.
Applications will be received and reviewed beginning immediately until the positions are filled. Request the application packet and complete job description by contacting the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; . The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

— Orientation for Unit 307 of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) will be held from Sept. 28-Oct. 17 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The 17 new volunteers come from half a dozen states in the US as well as Germany. During the orientation there will be sessions on diversity, peacemaking, spirituality, conflict resolution, homelessness, globalization, and other challenging issues that affect the world today. The volunteers will participate in workdays in the local community, at the Brethren Service Center, and in Harrisburg, Pa. For more information about BVS, please visit .

— An invitation to a teleconference on “Advocating for a just peace in Palestine and Israel–What can US Christians do?” comes from the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness. The event is offered through the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy on Oct. 1 from 8-9 p.m. (Eastern time). Dial 866-740-1260 and use participant access code 2419972#. The event will take a look at recent events, notes the announcement. “The aftermath of 50 days of fighting has left devastation in Gaza which still struggles under a suffocating blockade. More and more land continues to be confiscated for expanding settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The occupation of Palestinian lands continues unchecked. Israelis and Palestinians both suffer from the lack of a peaceful resolution.  Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers look to the international community for support in their efforts to change the status quo and work toward a just peace. With the breakdown in peace talks, what direction should U.S. policy take? How can persons of faith be part of the solution through their public policy advocacy? Presenters are Catherine Gordon, representative for International Issues for the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness; Mike Merryman-Lotze, Israel-Palestine program director for the American Friends Service Committee; and Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, director of Mennonite Central Committee US Washington Office.

— Several new blog posts are available on the Brethren Blog, including stories and pictures from this summer’s Youth Peace Travel Team, reflections on the recent work of the Office of Public Witness, more about the “Dunker Punks” movement that started at National Youth Conference, and stories from Brethren Volunteer Service. Find the blog at .

— As part of the 70th anniversary observance of Heifer International, York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., will host a Beyond Hunger Breakfast on Friday, Oct. 9, at 9 a.m. The breakfast will be followed by a presentation from Oscar Castañeda, vice president of Heifer’s Americas Programs.

— District conferences are coming up this weekend in Middle Pennsylvania District at Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., on Sept. 26-27 (see more below); and in Pacific Northwest District at Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 26-28.

— On Sept. 26-27, Middle Pennsylvania District and Camp Blue Diamond will celebrate with a big weekend on the theme “Blessed” that combines the 2014 District Conference and the camp’s 34th annual Heritage Fair. Events will take place at Camp Blue Diamond near Petersburg, Pa. The conference will begin on Friday evening with a dinner, followed by a celebration of Camp Blue Diamond’s 50th Birthday. Saturday will be the day for the Heritage Fair, beginning with breakfast and continuing with music, food, fellowship, children’s activities, demonstrations, and auctions. All proceeds will support the ministries of Middle Pennsylvania District and Camp Blue Diamond. The District Conference will continue on Saturday afternoon, held under the tent from 2-5 p.m. Special offerings this year will be received for the EYN Compassion Fund, the Prince Gallitzin Park Ministry, and Pennies for Witness.

— On Oct. 4, Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a Middle Pennsylvania District Disaster Response Ham and Turkey Benefit Dinner, from 4-7 p.m. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children.

— Camp Eder in Fairfield, Pa., is holding its 36th Annual Fall Festival on Oct. 18, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. “Things to do” include a meal of pit-roasted pork and turkey, a Live Auction starting at 9:30 a.m., live music by the C.B. Pickers, apple butter making, a petting zoo, craft vendors, glass blowing demonstrations, children’s crafts and games, a bounce house, a food court and bake sale, and more. “Fall Festival is a Harvest and Heritage celebration designed for the whole family,” said the announcement.

— Also on Oct. 18, Camp Placid will host its Annual Fall Festival. Camp Placid is an outdoor ministry center of Southeastern District, located near Blountville, Tenn. The festival features events such as a Cornhole tournament, fishing tournament, story telling, children’s activities, as well as sales of handcrafts, food, theme baskets, and a silent auction. Items are donated by Church of the Brethren congregations and local businesses. Proceeds go to the Camp Placid Operating Fund. To contribute to the silent auction, contact 423-340-2890 or . To set up a booth as a vendor at the festival, contact 423-340-1501 or .

— “It’s coming! Plan now to attend,” said an announcement of the annual Gathering in Western Plains District. The Gathering is Oct. 24-26 in Topeka, Kan., with the theme “Blessed, Broken, and Inspired.” Registration is online at . Early bird registrations are due Oct. 13.

— The Bittersweet Gospel Band will tour from Oct. 22-26 in four Church of the Brethren districts: Northern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, Middle Pennsylvania, and Mid-Atlantic.  The schedule for Worship Concerts is: Oct. 22, 7 p.m., at Dupont Church of the Brethren in Ohio; Oct. 23, 7 p.m, at Ashland Dickey Church of the Brethren in Ohio; Oct. 24, 7 p.m., at Freeburg Church of the Brethren in Ohio; Oct. 25, 7 p.m., at Maple Spring Church of the Brethren in Pennsylvania; Oct. 26, 10:30 a.m., at New Enterprise Church of the Brethren in Pennsylvania; and Oct. 26, 4 p.m., at Manor Church of the Brethren in Maryland. The Bittersweet Gospel Band, made up of Church of the Brethren musicians, uses a variety of music styles to communicate a message of hope for all ages. Band members on this tour will include: Gilbert Romero (Los Angeles, Calif.); Scott Duffey (Staunton, Va.); Trey Curry (Staunton, Va.); Leah Hileman (East Berlin, Pa.); David Sollenberger (North Manchester, Ind.); Jose Mendoza (Roanoke, Va.); Andy Duffey (New Enterprise, Pa.). The band’s ministry began as an outreach project of Bittersweet Ministries, as a tool to reach out to young people to combat a drug and alcohol culture, and now it touches on a variety of justice issues and serves as a ministry of spiritual renewal. Gilbert Romero and Scott Duffey write most of the music. More information can be found at and on Facebook.

— Eight more governments are ratifying the Arms Trade Treaty during this week’s high-level meetings at the United Nations, reports a release from the World Council of Churches (WCC). “The latest actions mean that 53 governments, including several lobbied by the member churches of the WCC, have ratified the new treaty. The treaty will now come into effect by the end of 2014.” Armed conflict in the Middle East has preoccupied world leaders gathered in New York, the release noted. “To watch the news is to be reminded daily of how sorely a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty is needed,” said WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit. “Human life and human dignity, God’s great gifts to each of us, are being battered by armed violence in many places. Controlling the arms trade is a requirement for stopping the terror and violence in the world today.” Church advocates led by the WCC have lobbied for a strong and effective ATT with up to 50 governments for the past four years, often in collaboration with civil society partners. The ecumenical campaign has a focus on Africa, given the number of countries and communities suffering the consequences of the illicit arms trade in the region. In the Middle East, “recent research in Iraq and Syria shows that weapons made in the United States and China are being used by the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to a report by Conflict Armament Research,” the release added.

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