Newsline for June 25, 2014

“With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me” (Psalm 69:13-15).

1) Situation in Nigeria is ‘awful,’ EYN continues effort to aid Chibok parents and refugees
2) Rebecca Dali to visit and speak at several places in the US in July
3) CWS international situation report: Nigeria displacement crisis
4) NYC theme song is released, available online
5) Observance of 150th anniversary of John Kline’s death
6) Tour canceled for National Youth Orchestra of Iraq

7) International guests to be welcomed at the 2014 Annual Conference
8) Congregations are invited to bring cards for Nigeria to Annual Conference

9) James Risser to serve as director of Brethren Disaster Ministries

10) Brethren bits: Youth Peace Travel Team blogs, On Earth Peace personnel and interns, bear sighting at Pine Crest, “Tears and Ashes” bus tour, peace retreat at Camp Bethel, Korean churches advance peace, Heeding God’s Call needs volunteers, more

Quote of the week:

“As violent struggles continue for control of key Iraqi cities, Kurdistan focuses on power and security. With the conflict unfolding, and our work with partners locked in land struggles with oil companies continuing, your support and prayers are appreciated for our team and for peace for the Iraqi and Kurdish people.”

— A prayer request from the Iraqi Kurdistan team of Christian Peacemaker Teams. CPT regularly shares “Prayers for Peacemakers” by e-mail with a scripture text from Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary readings and a link to an online photo–dubbed an “epixel” snapshot. To view this prayer request online with accompanying photo, go to . Find out more about CPT at .

1) Situation in Nigeria is ‘awful,’ EYN continues effort to aid Chibok parents and refugees

Distribution of relief goods in Maiduguri, Nigeria, at a church of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).  Photo by Zakariya Musa.


“It is awful,” wrote Rebecca Dali, a leading member of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in a text on Saturday. At the time she was in Chibok meeting with parents of the abducted schoolgirls, when the Boko Haram extremist insurgents began attacking nearby villages.

Dali, who is married to EYN president Samuel Dante Dali, has founded the Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI) to aid those affected by the violence in Nigeria. She and CCEPI have visited with and brought aid to the parents of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok in mid-April, most of whom are from EYN.

Dali texted: “Right now CCEPI is in Chibox with 181 parents of the 189 registered Chibox girls. Pray for us because Boko Haram is attacking three villages less than five kilometers away from where we are. Parents from these villages are trapped. They [Boko Haram] killed more than 27 people. It is awful.”

In related news from EYN, the church at Maiduguri provided relief materials to 3,456 refugees last week, according to Zakariya Musa, who provided a picture of the crowd of refugees receiving help. He is secretary of “Sabon Haske,” an EYN publication.

Church of the Brethren mission worker Carol Smith reported by e-mail today that she is fine, following a bombing in the capital city of Abuja where she is serving with EYN. She lives in a different part of the city than the shopping mall that was bombed today.

Multiple incidents of violence since the weekend

Since last weekend, multiple incidents of violence have hit different parts of north and central Nigeria, in addition to the kidnappings and killings in the area near Chibok.

Today a bombing at an upscale shopping mall in Abuja, in central Nigeria, killed at least 21 people and injured 17, according to media reports. The Associated Press and ABC News reported that the explosion is blamed on the Boko Haram insurgents, and may have been timed during the World Cup match in Brazil in which Nigeria played Argentina. “Witnesses said body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in Abuja’s upscale Wuse 2 suburb. One witness said he thought the bomb was dropped at the entrance to the mall by a motorcyclist…. Soldiers shot and killed one suspect as he tried to escape on a power bike and police detained a second suspect,” the report said. Read it at .

Yesterday, at least 21 soldiers and 5 civilians were attacked and killed and other people abducted at a military checkpoint near Damboa, some 85 kilometers from the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the AP report added.

On Monday, a bombing at a medical school in the city of Kano killed at least 8 people and wounded at least 12, according to the Associated Press and ABC News.

Also on Monday night 38 people were killed in two villages in the Kaduna area, in an attack by gunmen, reported by the “Premium Times” and posted on The newspaper noted that “the attack is believed be more out of ethno-communal crisis in the area, which borders Plateau State, than by terrorists.”

On Saturday the number of people kidnapped by Boko Haram was between 60 and 91 women, girls, and boys, according to media reports, which varied widely. The people were abducted from a village in Borno State in Damboa area, and some villages in the Askira/Uba area which shares a border with Chibok, said one report posted on As few as 4 village men and as many as 33 were reported killed in the attack, and at least one village reportedly completely destroyed. Another media report said the abductions took place over a few days. A vigilante group fighting Boko Haram claimed to have killed some 25 of the attackers. However, Nigerian security forces and some politicians have denied or are unable to confirm the weekend attacks and kidnappings, reports added. A Voice of America report included a timeline of major incidents of Boko Haram violence in Nigeria beginning in 2009 to the present, find it at .

General secretary, Global Mission executive call for continued prayer

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger and Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, sent an e-mail message to the district offices and denominational leaders sharing Rebecca Dali’s note and calling for continued prayer for Nigeria.

“Take time right now to pray for this situation,” the e-mail said. “Share this news of this situation and the ongoing violence in Nigeria with your congregation during worship tomorrow. The season of prayer and fasting has not come to an end. Encourage members of your congregations to send notes and cards of encouragement and support to sisters and brothers in Nigeria, with your Annual Conference delegates.  They will have a special time to gather this offering of words.”

The communication closed with Psalm 46, a scripture that had been shared at a gathering of church leaders in the Middle East to consider the violence in Syria and the situation of refugees from that conflict, and the phrase, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” from Matthew 5:9.

Contributions toward the relief effort and the continuing mission work in Nigeria are received to the Global Mission and Service Nigeria program , the EYN Compassion Fund , or the Emergency Disaster Fund .

2) Rebecca Dali to visit and speak at several places in the US in July

Dr. Rebecca Dali shows pictures of the violence going on in Nigeria; part of her work heading up CCEPI (Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives) is to collect the stories of survivors and pictures of the attacks that have occurred. Photo by Stan Noffsinger.

Rebecca Dali, a leading member of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), will visit and speak at several venues in the United States in July, including the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio, on July 2-6.

Also providing presentations on Nigeria are Carl and Roxane Hill, Church of the Brethren mission workers who in May completed a term serving with EYN in Nigeria.

Carol Smith, a Brethren mission worker placed with EYN in Abuja, Nigeria, is helping organize Dr. Dali’s speaking engagements, working with Kendra Harbeck at the Global Mission and Service office.

Opportunities to hear Rebecca Dali speak

Rebecca Dali, wife of EYN president Samuel Dante Dali, has founded a nonprofit organization to aid those affected by the violence in northeastern Nigeria. The Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI) was begun in order to serve the most vulnerable victims of the violence–widows and orphans. In recent months as violence has escalated, CCEPI has begun providing aid to the thousands of refugees fleeing to neighboring Cameroon or internally displaced within Nigeria.

Dali’s speaking engagements at Annual Conference as well as several Church of the Brethren congregations and other sites:

— South Bend, Ind., June 30: Dali is scheduled to be at a South Bend Peace Vigil at 5 p.m. in downtown South Bend, hosted by Lois Clark.

— Columbus, Ohio, July 3: Dali has been invited to share informally about the situation in Nigeria at the “conversation circle” in the Annual Conference Exhibit Hall hosted by Global Women’s Project. The Womaen’s Caucus, Brethren Mennonite Council, and the Open Table Cooperative also are sponsoring the “conversation circle.” The conversation with Rebecca Dali will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 3.

— Columbus, Ohio, July 5: Dali will address the delegate body of the Annual Conference at the start of the afternoon business session on Saturday, July 5, at 1:55 p.m. The church will be invited into a time of prayer for Nigeria, and congregations will be invited to bring forward their cards for EYN.

— Beavercreek, Ohio, July 6: Beavercreek Church of the Brethren will host a presentation at 6:30-8 p.m. The event is planned “to give us some insight to the struggles in Nigeria” an invitation said. “We welcome Dr. Rebecca Dali…who will share her experiences as founder of CCEPI in helping the families of northeastern Nigeria. At the Headquarters and Kulp Bible College of the EYN, Dr. Dali and the staff of the CCEPI, with the help of Church of the Brethren mission workers, distributed 4,292 articles of clothing, 2,000 kilograms of corn, and buckets and cups to 509 refugees who had lost at least one member of their family and were forced to leave their homes because of attacks by the Boko Haram. In May, Dr. Dali visited with the families of the abducted girls in Chibok, bringing relief supplies for those who lost homes, listening to their concerns and frustration and offering prayers and support.”

— North Manchester, Ind., July 7: Dali will be at the North Manchester Public Library at 7 p.m., hosted by Sally Rich. The event will take place in the Blocher Room. An invitation notes that Dali and CCEPI “were among the first to visit the families of the abducted girls. Dr. Dali will share stories of her work not only with the Chibok families, but with the many other victims whose stories are not as well known, but equally important.” The talk is open to the public and is free; however, donations will be accepted.

— South Bend, Ind., July 8: Crest Manor Church of the Brethren will host a presentation by Dali at 7 p.m.

— Adel, Iowa, July 12: Panther Creek Church of the Brethren will host a presentation by Dali at 12 noon.

— Chicago area, July 11: Tentative plans are being made for a speaking engagement at one of the Church of the Brethren congregations in the Chicago area.

Opportunities to hear the Hills speak

Roxane and Carl Hill at the church planting conference in Richmond, Ind., after their return from completing a term of service as mission workers and teachers at Kulp Bible College in Nigeria. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.

Roxane and Carl Hill recently returned to the United States after completing a term of one-and-a-half years teaching at Kulp Bible College, a school of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria located in Kwarhi, near the EYN headquarters, in northeastern Nigeria.

The Hills have already begun a tour of presentations at Church of the Brethren congregations in the midwest, and they plan to be at Annual Conference. Most of their Sundays are booked through August, but congregations interested in hosting them for a mid-week event should contact Kendra Harbeck at .

The Hills’ summer schedule:

— Beavercreek, Ohio, on June 29, hosted by Beavercreek Church of the Brethren.

— Columbus, Ohio, on July 2-6, where the Hills will attend Annual Conference.

— Akron, Ohio, on July 13, hosted by Eastwood Church of the Brethren.

— Littleton, Ohio, on July 20, hosted by Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren.

— Online with Living Stream Church of the Brethren on July 27.

— Roanoke, Va., on Aug. 10, hosted by Peters Creek Church of the Brethren. Pastor Jack Lowe also hopes to host a Virlina District-wide event for the Hills that afternoon, in addition to welcoming them to the Sunday morning service.

— Manassas, Va., on Aug. 17, hosted by Manassas Church of the Brethren.

— McGaheysville, Va., on Aug. 20, hosted by Mountain View Fellowship.

— Johnstown, Pa., on Aug. 27, hosted by Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren.

— Mechanicsburg, Pa., on Aug. 31, hosted by Mechanicsburg Church of the Brethren.

For more information contact Kendra Harbeck, manager, Global Mission and Service Office, Church of the Brethren, 847-429-4388 or .

3) CWS international situation report: Nigeria displacement crisis

While the global community has been watching Nigeria following the April kidnapping of 223 girls by the Boko Haram extremists, that event has to be seen in the context of an even larger humanitarian problem. Religious, ethnic, and land-based conflicts have uprooted 3.3 million people in Nigeria, according to a recent report by the Norwegian Refugee Council. That makes the number of displaced in Nigeria the largest in Africa and the third largest (after Syria and Colombia) in the world.

The militarized conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government has made the humanitarian situation particularly dire in the states of Bomo, Yobe, and Adamawa, where more than 250,000 are displaced and where states of emergency have been imposed.

Unfortunately, churches have been targeted for violence. At the same time, churches are providing humanitarian support for uprooted communities.

Church World Service (CWS), members, and partners’ response

A number of CWS member communions and partner agencies that have churches and other ministry relationships in Nigeria are providing support and accompaniment to them and to their wider communities during this difficult time.

Among them:

— The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA’s partner in Nigeria is the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, and two global personnel are working with the Nigeria-based Mashian Foundation. The ELCA is in contact with these partners and personnel.

— Christian Reformed World Missions and sister agency World Renew, formerly the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, have historic and ongoing ministry relationships in Nigeria. The three closest Nigerian partner denominations are all members of the TEKAN fellowship, to which EYN–the Nigerian Brethren Church–also belongs. Most of the member congregations of these three denominations are located in the “middle-belt” states of Benue, Plateau, and Taraba.

While the three Reformed denominations have not come close to suffering the level of EYN’s losses, they have lost members, pastors, and church buildings, according to reports. Many of the incidents in these middle-belt states have been attributed to “Fulani herdsmen” rather than to Boko Haram. Whether there is a link between the Fulani actions and Boko Haram is debated. Christian Reformed groups have North American personnel in Abuja and Jos, and both cities have been hit by Boko Haram bombings over the last three years.

— The Church of the Brethren has deep connections in Nigeria. The Nigerian Brethren Church comprises hundreds of thousands of members. The Church of the Brethren is aware of the many thousands of people who have been displaced from northern Nigeria. The Church of the Brethren in the United States has provided some small funds to the EYN Compassion Fund and would like to begin a much larger fundraising appeal and to encourage other communions to also join the effort. Current needs include food, housing, and schooling support.

Possible responses by CWS and its member communions and partners may be to collaborate on support to those who have been internally displaced. In addition, the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program may work with Nigerian refugees in Cameroon. This could include CWS assistance to urban refugees in Cameroon to become economically self-reliant.

An estimated 30,000 Nigerians have fled into neighboring Cameroon, with many living in camps and rural settlements. Limited access to rural livelihood opportunities is driving working age refugees to Cameroon’s capital, in search of income to support their families.

The refugee arrivals from Nigeria are in addition to the more than 200,000 men, women, and children from Central African Republic (CAR) who have sought protection in Cameroon, many fleeing in 2013 after renewed violence in the CAR. According to UNHCR, malnutrition rates among refugees are alarming. There is a high level of family separation and an increasing numbers of unaccompanied refugee children and single woman-headed households. There is also a noted infiltration of armed elements into the camps along with recruitment attempts.

Depending on the outcome of further discussions with the Church of the Brethren and others, CWS may issue an emergency appeal in support of response efforts such as the Church of the Brethren EYN Compassion Fund. In addition, CWS is considering how it might play a role in bringing those concerned from the ecumenical family in the United States to some common advocacy efforts around the Nigeria situation.

How to help

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit or call CWS: 800-297-1516.

Contributions toward the Church of the Brethren relief effort and continuing mission work in Nigeria are received to the Global Mission and Service Nigeria program , the EYN Compassion Fund , or the Emergency Disaster Fund .

4) NYC theme song is released, available online

Members of the NYC band recording at Andy Murray’s studio in Huntington, Pennsylvania, May 2-4. Photo courtesy of the NYC office.


“There are only 25 days until the opening worship service at NYC 2014, and we have big news!” reports the National Youth Conference office. “The NYC theme song has been released today!” The 2014 theme song was written by Brethren songwriter and musician Seth Hendricks, and was recorded last month by the NYC worship band at Andy Murray’s studio in Huntingdon, Pa. Download it from the NYC homepage: .

“Download the song today and put it on your phone, mp3 player, or computer,” the NYC office invited in an e-mail message to youth. “Can you have it memorized by the time you arrive in Fort Collins?”

The NYC e-mail added: “We hope all of you are growing more and more excited for NYC. Each day here in the office is busier and more exciting than the one before. We have been praying for you every day and we can’t wait to see you in Colorado. Blessings as you prepare for NYC over the next 25 days!”

National Youth Conference takes place in Fort Collins, Colo., on July 19-24. Coordinators for the conference are Katie Cummings, Tim Heishman, and Sarah Neher, working with the National Youth Cabinet and Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Find out more at . Follow the NYC Twitter stream via #cobnyc.

5) Observance of 150th anniversary of John Kline’s death

By Ron Keener

A play about the last few weeks in the life of martyr John Kline was an added feature in the 150th anniversary of the death of the Civil War-era Brethren leader, who was shot from ambush on June 15, 1864.

“Under the Shadow of the Almighty” was authored by Paul Roth, pastor of Linville Creek Church of the Brethren in Broadway, Va., and was one of several events of the June 13-14 observance. Historical presentations, a vesper service at the gravesite marker of Kline, tours of the Homestead and other family houses, and the John Kline Riders on their heritage ride were among events of the weekend.

The laying of a wreath on John Kline’s grave took place during a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of his death. Kline was a Civil War-era Brethren elder and a martyr for peace. Photo provided by Ron Keener.


Roth, president of the Homestead Foundation which purchased the site of the 1822 home four years ago, says he wrote the play to recount the final month and a half of John Kline’s life, gleaning information from local historical sources.

Roth will give a lecture on the reasons Kline was killed at the Annual Conference in Columbus in July, at an Insight session, and the Homestead will exhibit at the Conference.

“All the events mentioned in the play actually occurred,” Roth says, “and the characters were real people, cast in a conversation and settings to bring the story of John Kline to life.” Hymns of the period were sung throughout the play at intervals between scenes, adding to the dramatization.

John Kline is significant to the Brethren movement for several reasons, including his mentoring of the church during the Civil War. He has been one of the most beloved Brethren leaders. “Personally,” says Roth, “I have found Kline to be a dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ who lived with courage and conviction during the troubling times of the Civil War. He engaged community, government and military leaders to explain the Brethren beliefs, requesting they honor the commitment of the Brethren to be faithful to their calling to not take up arms against another.”

Kline took the stance of nonresistance and, says Roth, “even amid the anxiety of war, he remained centered on his faith in Jesus, believing that nothing could shake him from his appointed task as a minister of the gospel of the Prince of Peace.”

Candlelight dinners will be offered at the John Kline Homestead on Nov. 21-22 and Dec. 19-20 and reservations can be made by calling the Linville Creek Church at 540-896-5001. The dinners are family-style and seating is limited to 32 each night.

The Foundation board has an opportunity to purchase an additional five acres of land adjacent to the home and will meet July 21 to consider a capital fund campaign.

— Ron Keener of Chambersburg, Pa., is a fourth generation Kline through his grandfather William David Kline of Manassas, Va., and Palmyra, Pa., and his mother Helen Kline. Keener also is a former member of the communications staff of the Church of the Brethren.

6) Tour canceled for National Youth Orchestra of Iraq

Courtesy of EYSO

The United States tour of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq has been canceled because of the instability and violence happening in that nation. This announcement was received through the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, which was to host the Iraqi group in what would have been its American debut.

“We regretfully announce that we have cancelled our US tour scheduled for this August,” said the announcement from the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Iraq. “Instability in Iraq has made it impossible for orchestra members to complete the visa process that would allow them to travel, though thankfully all NYOI musicians are currently safe.

“As we look toward the summer of 2015, we are so grateful for all the support shown to us in the US so far. We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra in the future, and we encourage everyone to stay up to date with both orchestras by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.”


7) International guests to be welcomed at the 2014 Annual Conference

A number of international guests are to be welcomed at this year’s Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, which takes places July 2-6 in Columbus, Ohio. Guests are expected from Nigeria, Brazil, and India. Global Mission and Service workers also will be attending from Nigeria, South Sudan, Haiti, and Honduras.

— Rebecca Dali will be attending from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). She is the wife of EYN president Samuel Dante Dali, and founder of a nonprofit organization that is aiding those affected by the violence in northeastern Nigeria, CCEPI, the Center for Compassion, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives.

— Also hoping to attend from EYN are several members of the BEST group of Nigerian Brethren business people: Apagu Ali Abbas, Njidda M. Gadzama, Dauda Madubu, Saratu Dauda Madubu, Esther Mangzha. Some of the BEST group’s attendance may depend on whether they receive visas to enter the United States in time for the Conference.

— Darryl Sankey will be at Annual Conference from the First District Church of the Brethren in India, accompanied by two Indian youth who also will attend this year’s National Youth Conference in Colorado later in July: Darryl’s son Hiren Sankey, and Supreet Makwan.

— Attending from the Church of North India (CNI) are the Rt. Rev. Silvans S. Christian, Bishop of Gujarat; and Rev. Sanjivkumar Sunderlal Christian, Presbyter in charge of the CNI Church at Valsad.

— Alexandre Goncalves and his wife Gislaine Reginaldo of Igreja da Irmandade-Brasil (the Church of the Brethren in Brazil). Alexandre is currently pursuing a master of divinity degree at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., and has served as a pastor in Brazil.

Global Mission and Service workers also will be attending Annual Conference including:

— Carol Smith, who is serving in Abuja, Nigeria;

— Carl and Roxane Hill, who recently completed a term of service as teachers at Kulp Bible College in Nigeria;

— Athanasus Ungang, who is serving with the Church of the Brethren mission in South Sudan;

— Ilexene and Kayla Alphonse, who are mission workers in Haiti serving at the guesthouse and headquarters of the Haitian Church of the Brethren near Port-au-Prince.

Also at Conference will be Chet and Lizzeth Thomas, who serve with Proyecto Aldea Global (Project Global Village) in Honduras.

8) Congregations are invited to bring cards for Nigeria to Annual Conference

All congregations in the Church of the Brethren are invited to send with their Conference delegate to Annual Conference a card of encouragement and prayerful concern for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

The Annual Conference takes place in Columbus, Ohio, on July 2-6. Find out more about the Conference schedule at .

The cards for Nigeria will be gathered on Saturday, July 5, at the beginning of the afternoon business session during a time of remembrance and prayer for EYN.  Rebecca Dali, a leading member of the Nigerian church and wife of EYN president Samuel Dante Dali, is expected to briefly address the Conference at the start of that business session.

The cards will be delivered to EYN by denominational staff at the next available opportunity.


9) James Risser to serve as director of Brethren Disaster Ministries

James K. (Jamie) Risser of Sterling, Va., will begin July 1 as director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, working with Roy Winter, associate executive director of Global Mission and Service. Risser will work out of offices at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Coming from a farm background, he has worked in various aspects of home construction including carpentry, drywall, electrical, roofing, and siding. His construction experience includes volunteering with Habitat for Humanity starting in high school and continuing in college when he was a Habitat volunteer and chapter president as well as a local member of the board. He has served as a board member for the McPherson Area Habitat for Humanity.

An ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, he has training in clinical pastoral education. Most recently he pastored Dranesville Church of the Brethren in Herndon, Va. He also has served churches and chaplaincies in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion from McPherson (Kan.) College, and a master of divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary. He completed a year of Brethren Volunteer Service at Koinonia Partners in Americus, Ga.

His previous professional positions have included service as a residential supervisor with Multi Community Diversified Services in McPherson, working with individuals living with disabilities, and a position as chaplain with the Valley Hope Association in Moundridge, Kan. He is currently a staff chaplain at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma, Park, Md.

10) Brethren bits

— This summer’s Youth Peace Travel Team includes Christopher Bache, Christy Crouse, Jake Frye, and Shelley West.  They will be traveling to Church of the Brethren camps and conferences to share peacemaking skills with youth. The first post to the team blog can be found at .

— On Earth Peace is welcoming Elizabeth Ullery as Peace Day campaign organizer. “Elizabeth brings social media, photography and graphic design skills to our team. Her position focuses on making social media connections to recruit congregations to hold prayers for peace on Sept. 21, and building deeper relationships with people working for peace and reconciliation,” said an announcement. Ullery has been serving as director of church operations for the United Churches of Olympia (Washington), and is convener of the board of directors for the Open Table Cooperative. Connect with the Peace Day planning for this year via Twitter at @PeaceDayPray.

— On Earth Peace is working with six summer interns this year, including two master of divinity students at Bethany Theological Seminary, and the four members of the Youth Peace Travel Team which is a shared ministry of the Church of the Brethren, On Earth Peace, and the Outdoor Ministry Association. The two seminary students are Samuel Sarpiya and Karen Duhai. Both will be working primarily with the Ministry of Reconciliation, and will Annual Conference and National Youth Conference. The agency also has announced a new three-month internship program for college students “to offer skill development and personal growth for emerging peacebuilders in a faith-based nonprofit setting, fulfilling our mission to develop leadership for peace in each generation.” For more information go to .

— “Bear Sightings Provoke Frenzy in Ogle County” was the title of a Channel 5 NBC Chicago report on June 19, of “a black bear making its way through Illinois.” Among places where the bear was spotted: Pine Crest, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mount Morris, Ill. “Even though this is kind of exciting for our small town, a bear is not a normal occurrence. Leave it be and let it head where it is going to go. It is a wild animal. If provoked, it could turn against us,” said one community leader quoted in the report. Find it at .

— The “Tears and Ashes Bus Tour” offered by CrossRoads Mennonite and Brethren Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., will return later this summer with a day-long bus tour of Civil War sites important to Mennonites and Brethren on Saturday, Aug. 16. The tour will be led by Norman Wenger and David Rodes. Cost is $65, which includes a tour booklet and a box lunch. Seats are limited, make reservations by calling 540-438-1275.

— A peace retreat, “Let’s Get It Together: Conflict Transformation in the Congregation (and Beyond!)” will be held on Sept. 27 in the House of Pillars at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va. Registration will start at 8:30 a.m. and the retreat will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m.  The retreat will be presented by the Virlina District Peace Affairs Committee and the Ministry of Reconciliation of On Earth Peace. “A well-equipped Christian is able to deal with conflict as it arises,” said an announcement from the district. “In this highly interactive workshop, participants will be introduced to basic conflict transformation skills in the morning session. In the afternoon specialized sessions run concurrently for pastors, deacons, youth advisors, and other congregational leaders, and youth.” Cost is $25, and continuing education credit is available. Register by e-mailing or call 540-362-1816. A retreat flier is available by request, e-mail and use PEACE RETREAT as the subject line.

— Church leaders have met and agreed to advance peace on Korean Peninsula, at a Korea consultation sponsored by the World Council of Churches. “In a first meeting since 2009 and since the 2013 appointment of a new leader for the Korea Christian Federation (KCF) of North Korea, an international group of church leaders from 34 countries, including North and South Korea, met near Geneva, Switzerland, to seek ways to advance reconciliation and peace on the peninsula,” said a WCC release. The group agreed to seek new initiatives to advance peace, such as increasing visits between churches in North and South Korea, inviting younger people around the world to become involved in working for peace on the peninsula, and calling for an annual day of prayer for peace on the peninsula. The group also recommends promoting annual ecumenical meetings and consultations involving Christians from both countries in conjunction with the day of prayer.

— Heeding God’s Call, a gun violence prevention group that began at a meeting of the Historic Peace Churches, and based in Philadelphia, Pa., is calling for volunteers. “Volunteers are the backbone of our organization,” said the release. “They serve a variety of functions, from administrative and financial tasks to outreach and fundraising. Volunteering at Heeding is a life-changing and life affirming experience–we rely on the generosity of our volunteers to keep our programs going.” For more information, contact 267-519-5302 or . The group also has started a new YouTube channel and posted its first video recently. Find it at .

— In more news from Heeding God’s Call, the group is joining with Delco United’s Walk and Rally for Universal Background Checks, on Saturday, June 28, in Chester, Pa. The event is intended to let politicians know of the desire for every sale of a firearm to be accompanied by a background check. “Over 30,000 Americans die from gun violence every year, but we don’t even screen every person who tries to buy a gun to see if he or she is prohibited from owning one because of a history of domestic violence, criminal activity, or dangerous mental health problems,” said the announcement. “Requiring a background check on every gun sale is a simple change that is long overdue.” The walk begins at 10 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Marker at Calvary Baptist Church in Chester. For more information see .

— IMA World Health has made a campaign on domestic and sexual violence a priority in recent years, called WeWillSpeakOut. IMA World Health is a partner organization to the Church of the Brethren, which its offices on the Brethren Service Center campus in New Windsor, Md. In recent news, IMA World Health and Sojourners partnered to release a report detailing the attitudes of Protestant pastors in the US on the issue of sexual and domestic violence. “The results are compelling and in some instances, troubling,” said a release. “The telephone survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors conducted by LifeWay Research found that an overwhelming majority of the faith leaders surveyed (75%) underestimate the level of sexual and domestic violence experienced within their congregations. Despite its prevalence in society, two out of three (66%) pastors speak one time a year or less about the issue, and when they do speak out, the poll suggests they may be providing support that does more harm than good.” The release added, “The good news is that 80 percent of pastors said they would take appropriate action to reduce sexual and domestic violence if they had the training and resources to do so–revealing a great opportunity to turn this uncertain and unprepared group into powerful advocates for prevention, intervention and healing.” More information is at .

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Deborah Brehm, Kendra Harbeck, Stan Noffsinger, Roy Winter, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. The next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is planned for Tuesday, July 1.

Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at . Newsline appears at the end of every 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 .

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