Newsline for Nov. 25, 2014

“Learn to do good. Seek justice: help the oppressed” (Isaiah 1:17a).

1) Brethren Disaster Ministries surpasses goal of Sandy recovery grant from Red Cross
2) EYN Compassion Fund has distributed more than $200,000 to aid Nigerian Brethren
3) Musa Mambula speaking tour to extend into mid-January
4) Global Food Crisis Fund grant supports agriculture training in east Africa

5) Advent worship resources are online for the 2014 Advent offering

6) Brethren bits: BDM trains ecumenical partners, DC briefing on Nigeria, first mission point in Nigeria suffers attack, selection of Advent and Christmas events, Indiana Court of Appeals ruling, ecumenical and interfaith statements on immigration and Ferguson, more

Quote of the week:

“Peace is not merely the absence of conflict; it is also the presence of justice. Peace is found in the ability to dialogue, to see each others’ side, and to come to a point where relationships are transformed from those of conflict to conversation. The bridge between justice and peace is mercy and grace, and as people of faith, we affirm this bridge, and that the Church, its pastors, and its members, must be those who proclaim it. In the weeks that will follow these days of anger, indignation, and accusation, we call for peace–one full of robust love that utilizes our best qualities as human beings.”

— The National Council of Churches (NCC) governing board, in a statement made last week from Ferguson, Mo., as the community waited for release of the grand jury decision in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger was among the NCC leaders who met in Ferguson last week. Find the NCC’s full statement in last week’s news report at .
     In related news, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) issued its own statement today by e-mail and provided links to numerous statements on the Ferguson decision from a wide variety of partner groups and ecumenical and interfaith organizations. Find the list in the Brethren bits section of today’s Newsline.

1) Brethren Disaster Ministries surpasses goal of Sandy recovery grant from Red Cross

By Jane Yount

Photo by Jenn Dorsch
Volunteers from Frederick Church of the Brethren at Sandy recovery site in Spotswood, N.J.

A Hurricane Sandy recovery grant that Brethren Disaster Ministries was awarded last year from the American Red Cross (ARC) provided the financial backing needed to expand Brethren Disaster Ministries’ efforts in New Jersey from one project in Toms River to a second project based in Spotswood.

As a recipient of this grant, the Brethren Disaster Ministries goal was to repair or rebuild 75 homes by the end of 2014. We are pleased to announce that by the end of the third quarter of 2014, 74 homes have been completed at both sites, with 9 more in progress in the Spotswood area. (The current work in Toms River is exempt from the grant.

Brethren Disaster Ministries’ main concern is to engage our volunteers in helping disaster survivors who are most in need. All of our cases are now being received from the Monmouth County Long Term Recovery Group (MCLTRG), which is providing a steady flow of appropriate work for our volunteers to do on behalf of Sandy survivors.

Some of the people we are helping include single mothers with one or two children and no insurance, an older couple who ran out of money and are still traumatized by the flood, a very poor couple with a child, and numerous others like these. Brethren Disaster Ministries therefore has decided to continue recovery work in Spotswood into the spring of 2015 and possibly longer.

Trinity United Methodist hosts volunteers

At the beginning of this year, Trinity United Methodist Church opened its doors as a housing facility for Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers responding to Hurricane Sandy in Spotswood, N.J.

“The fact that BDM ended up in this particular church is truly a match made in heaven,” said Ruth Warfield, volunteer household manager who served from July through September. Her predecessor, Doretta Dorsch, had started joint dinners for church members and disaster volunteers on Wednesday nights, a weekly tradition that has continued and has borne much spiritual fruit.

Warfield shared story after story about how this invitation to dinner has had a profound impact on people’s lives and pulled the church together into a much stronger community. Different members of the congregation have gotten up during Sunday services and told the congregation that Brethren Disaster Ministries’ presence at the church and having these suppers together has changed their lives.

One person, who had been strongly opposed to sharing the church facilities with outsiders, said the inspiring example of the Brethren volunteers made him change his mind. One woman said her husband had pretty much stopped talking due to the incredible stress her family is undergoing. She told the congregation that he’d been talking again during the last three Wednesday night suppers, and for the first time in a year seems to enjoy life again. Another woman has a husband with dementia, and another has Alzheimer’s, but you wouldn’t know it on Wednesdays.

Something holy is happening on those nights.

According to Ruth Warfield, the ladies of the church gradually began to take ownership of the dinners and “have begun to feel like family.” She anticipated as many as 50 people at the next dinner. “Watching this community become strong and vibrant–there just aren’t words to describe it,” she said.

— Jane Yount serves as coordinator of the Brethren Disaster Ministries office at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

2) EYN Compassion Fund has distributed more than $200,000 to aid Nigerian Brethren

Since a special appeal for the Nigeria crisis at the 2014 Annual Conference in early July, giving to the EYN Compassion Fund topped $168,459, according to the Church of the Brethren finance office. That amount is in addition to the $120,210.45 collected in the first half of this year.

Since its inception, the EYN Compassion Fund has collected donations totaling $305,821.

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

This fall a new Nigeria Crisis Fund began receiving donations toward a matching challenge of $500,000 from the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board, and the EYN Compassion Fund is being closed out.

Over the past two years, the EYN Compassion Fund has received more than $288,670 in donations for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and has distributed $201,645.92 to EYN. All the donations received have been sent directly to EYN, except the remaining balance of about $87,000, which will be sent soon.

Large gifts made since July include $17,050 from Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and a grant of $10,000 from the United Church of Christ (UCC). A rebate of $8,750 that the Church of the Brethren received from Brotherhood Mutual through the Brethren Mutual Aid Agency, was part of a distribution from the EYN Compassion Fund that was sent to EYN earlier this year.

The money collected in the EYN Compassion Fund was used for a variety of purposes, as determined and distributed by EYN leadership–in particular the EYN Relief Committee and the EYN district church councils. The money helped the families of EYN pastors who lost loved ones or homes or churches in the violence, aided other affected EYN families, and as the insurgency grew also was used for larger food and material aid distributions and helped EYN begin building relocation sites for displaced people.

Prior to receiving donations for this fund, the Church of the Brethren had received donations to help EYN rebuild churches that had been burned in rioting and civil unrest. The EYN Compassion Fund was started to broaden the use for donations when it became clear there was a much greater need emerging in Nigeria.

For more about the new Nigeria Crisis Fund, find a link on the page  .

— Pat Marsh of the Church of the Brethren finance office contributed to this report.

3) Musa Mambula speaking tour to extend into mid-January

Musa Mambula, National Spiritual Advisor to Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)

Nigerian Brethren church leader Musa Mambula has begun a speaking tour in the Pennsylvania area, giving presentations at a variety of Church of the Brethren congregations. His list of speaking engagements extends through December and into January. His presentations focus on the persecution of Christians by Boko Haram terrorists in northern Nigeria and the church’s response.

Mambula is a writer, educator, and current National Spiritual Advisor for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). He is a 1983 graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary at its former location in Oakbrook, Ill., and in 2007 was a fellow at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. He received his doctorate degree in education from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, in 1995.

Helping to plan and publicize his speaking schedule are Monroe Good, a former Church of the Brethren mission worker in Nigeria; and Don Fitzkee, chair elect of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board and director of Development for COBYS Family Services.

Musa Mambula’s upcoming speaking engagements or attendance at Church of the Brethren congregations (this list may not be comprehensive):

Nov. 30:

Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, 8:15 a.m. early worship followed by Sunday school at 9:15 a.m. and worship at 10:30 a.m.

Mount Wilson Church of the Brethren in Lebanon, Pa., 7 p.m.

Dec. 3:

Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren in Quarryville, Pa., 5:30 p.m. fellowship meal followed by a Sharing Session

Dec. 7:

Mountville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, 10:15 a.m. worship followed by a fellowship meal and a Sharing Session

Dec. 10:

Knobsville Church of the Brethren in McConnelsburg, Pa., 7:30 p.m. Information and Sharing Session

Dec. 14:

University Baptist and Brethren Church in State College, Pa., 9:30 a.m. worship followed by Sunday school forum at 11 a.m.

Dec. 21:

Union Bridge (Md.) Church of the Brethren, 9:20 a.m. Sunday school followed by worship at 10:30 a.m.

Dec. 28:

Buffalo Valley Church of the Brethren in Mifflinburg, Pa., 8 a.m. early worship with a second worship service at 10:30 a.m.

Bermudian Church of the Brethren in East Berlin, Pa., 7 p.m.

Jan. 4, 2015:

Middle Creek Church of the Brethren in Lititz, Pa., 9 a.m. Sunday school followed by worship at 10 a.m.

Atlantic Northeast District Special Evening Service hosted by Hempfield Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa., 7 p.m. on the theme “A Call to Support Our Nigerian Brothers and Sisters”

Jan. 5-9, 2015:

Trip to Bethany Theological Seminary (details to be announced)

Jan. 11, 2015:

Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, 8:30 a.m. traditional worship followed by Sunday school at 9:45 a.m. and contemporary worship at 10:45 a.m.

Indian Creek Church of the Brethren in Harleysville, Pa., 5 p.m. Information and Sharing Session followed by a special service at 7 p.m. to be arranged by Atlantic Northeast District

Jan. 18, 2015:

New Fairview Church of the Brethren in York, Pa.

Coventry Church of the Brethren in Pottstown, Pa., 7 p.m.

Mambula also has received some media attention, including a report from his presentation at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The article titled “Nigerian church leader asks Elizabethtown church: we need your prayers, and your support, against terrorists” is published by Lancaster Online at  .

4) Global Food Crisis Fund grant supports agriculture training in east Africa

An allocation of $4,300 from the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) has been given to support the attendance of six people at an agriculture training event in Kenya. The training is being provided by Care of Creation, Kenya (CCK), a former GFCF grant recipient.

The training will focus on teaching conservation agriculture or “no-till” techniques, combined with biblical teaching on ways to transform farming practices in Africa. The six people whose participation is funded will come from Eglise des Freres au Congo, the budding Brethren group in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Gisenyi Evangelical Friends Church in Rwanda; and Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services in Burundi.

Each of these groups has received grants from the GFCF for agricultural initiatives in the past, and will be asked to invite one church leader and one agronomist to represent their organization at the training event. The GFCF grant will cover travel expenses for the six participants.


5) Advent worship resources are online for the 2014 Advent offering

“Our God, in this time of year when we intentionally seek out the familiar, you challenge us
with something new. While we are busy dusting off old traditions that rekindle sentimental
feelings of time past, you invite us to imagine your presence among us in a new way, a way that
helps us reevaluate everything we have ever done and anything we might do.”

This quote from an invocation prayer written by Tim Harvey for the 2014 Advent offering in the Church of the Brethren provides a sample of the free Advent worship materials that are now available online.

The suggested date for the Advent offering is Sunday, Dec. 14. The theme is “Hope: See the Unexpected” (Luke 1:39-45). The special Advent offering supports core Church of the Brethren denominational ministries with a focus on international partnerships with brothers and sisters in Nigeria, Haiti, South Sudan, and many other places around the world, as well as events and ministries that provide opportunities for people of all ages to give voice to the fulfilled promises of God through action.

The resources offered online include worship resources written by Harvey, pastor of Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va.; an “Advent offering exegesis” on the text from Luke 1:39-45 by Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship for the Church of the Brethren; a bulletin insert with children’s activities; and more.

Go to .

6) Brethren bits

A selection of Advent and Christmas events at Church of the Brethren congregations and organizations across the country:

The Chicago Area Churches of the Brethren are holding a Holiday Bazaar Fundraiser on Dec. 6, from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., hosted by York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill. The event will benefit Heifer International. Sponsoring congregations include York Center, Highland Avenue, First Church Chicago, and Neighborhood Church. “Start the Christmas season off right and make a purchase that will help change the world!” said an invitation. Gifts will be available from Heifer International, Brethren Press, Equal Exchange, Ten Thousand Villages, and Cal’s Candy. Baked goods also will be on sale. The event will feature Christmas music, children’s activities and crafts, and refreshments including coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cider, and popcorn.

“Come to Bethlehem and See…” is the theme for an outdoor live nativity program at Bethlehem Church of the Brethren in Boones Mill, Va., on Dec. 20 between 5 and 8 p.m. “Come experience the story of Christmas as you walk by scenes of Mary and Joseph, shepherds with their sheep, angels, and wisemen,” said an invitation. “Then come into Bethlehem Church of the Brethren for cookies, hot chocolate, and warm fellowship. Golf carts rides are available to assist your tour.” The program will be held rain or shine. For more information contact 540-493-7252.

Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., is holding an Advent Prayer Vigil on Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the chapel. “Please join us during this season of darkness, of diminishing light, in remembering the people in the world, particularly our Nigerian brothers and sisters, victimized by the pain of violence, separation, and poverty,” said an invitation in the South Central Indiana District newsletter. “Let us join together as a community of faith. Utilizing scripture, prayer, and song, may we be reminded of the promise of the coming hope of the one who would bring peace and justice and righteousness to the world.”

A Festival of Wreaths takes place at Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., on Dec. 13 from 3-7 p.m. “Join us for our Holiday Spectacular!” said an invitation. “Come see our display of more than 50 uniquely decorated wreaths and bid on your favorite at the Silent Auction, beginning Nov. 15. Enjoy baked goods from our Bake Sale while listening to holiday music, and take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through our community to see our dazzling Luminaria, presented by the Auxiliary.” Proceeds from the event benefit the Pastoral Care Ministries at Fahrney-Keedy.

Liberty Mills Church of the Brethren in South Central Indiana District is holding a new Live Nativity on Dec. 14 at 6 and 7 p.m. Also at Liberty Mills Church this year, on Dec. 13, at 5:30 p.m., the congregation will enjoy a “Fun and Crazy Christmas Sweater Soup Supper and Caroling” event.

Camp Eder’s Fourth Annual Christmas Tree Festival is Dec. 12, 13, and 14 from 5-8:30 p.m. This free event features a Christmas Tree Decorating Contest, cookies and hot beverages, Christmas carols at the campfire, and a candle-lit reading of the Nativity story each evening at 8 p.m. “Come and experience Camp Eder covered in Christmas Lights, vote on your favorite Christmas tree, and worship at one of the candlelight services,” said an invitation.

At Logansport Church of the Brethren in Indiana, members of the church are invited to celebrate Christmas Eve Communion from 4-6 p.m. on Dec. 24. “This is a time where people can take time from their busy schedules to pray, rejoice, thank the Lord for His blessings, or all of these. People come anytime they like and when they are ready they can remember why we celebrate Christmas through communion. One of the pastors administers communion to each family and prays a blessing over them for the new year,” said the district newsletter.

Peru (Ind.) Church of the Brethren is having a blanket give-away on Dec. 6, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The Open Table Cooperative issued an invitation “to engage the Advent season with creativity and an eye toward seeking God outside the lines. Based on Keri Smith’s ‘Wreck This Journal’ we hope you will join us as we use daily activities to discover where we are being called this Advent and Christmas season.” The invitation notes this all-ages journal can be used individually or as a family. “This journal is meant to be wrecked, as you may be able to tell from the title. The instructions may seem odd, but think outside the box and allow yourself to be surprised by where you are led! Have fun with it! Be open to finding renewal and new birth in unexpected places.” Download the journal from . The Open Table Cooperative also will collect photos of favorite journal pages on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #AdventJournal14 .

“Lights of Love” at Spindale Church of the Brethren in North Carolina offers church members an opportunity to honor a loved one with a light that will be lit through the month of December, according to a communication from Southeastern District. A suggested donation of $2 per name supports the effort.

Dupont (Ohio) Church of the Brethren presents an annual Christmas Dinner Theater on Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. This year the church presents “The Journal.” Call the church office for tickets at 419-596-4314; cost is by donation but a ticket is required for the meal. The meal includes ham, potato, vegetable, dessert, and drink.

— Brethren Disaster Ministries has been including non-Brethren denominations in its trainings, reports the disaster ministries office. At a hands-on Disaster Project Leadership Training in Bayville, N.J., from Aug. 26-Sept. 4, 5 of the 13 participants were members of the Disciples of Christ or United Church of Christ. Brethren Disaster Ministries is developing partnerships with other denominations, which eventually may lead to joint disaster response project sites.

— A briefing on Nigeria in the Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., featured an interfaith delegation connected with EYN. The briefing was co-sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness, the Islamic Society of North America, and the National Council of Churches, USA. It featured an interfaith delegation that has connections with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and included EYN member and leader Zakaria Bulus. Bulus is the former EYN national youth chairman and has been the youth coordinator of the African Continental Assembly of Mission 21. Presently he is the church secretary of the local congregation of Maiduguri, the largest congregation of Brethren in Nigeria, as well as a committee (board) member of the EYN peace program. In addition to his education in marketing (business), he has completed a theological basic education through distance learning, and has completed numerous ecclesiastic continuing education courses. For more information contact Nathan Hosler, director of the Office of Public Witness, at .

— In recent news from Nigeria, the town of Garkida has suffered a major attack by the Boko Haram insurgents. Garkida was the place where Church of the Brethren mission began in Nigeria, when mission founders H. Stover Kulp and Albert D. Helser settled there in March 1923  with assistance from three Nigerian men: Garba from Zaria, John from the Igbo tribe in the southeast, and translator Mr. Danboyi of the Pabir people. For more than 50 years Garkida served as the headquarters of the Church of the Brethren Mission in Nigeria and in addition to churches was the location of a hospital and a world-renowned leprosarium, and schools including a mechanics school. Staff liaison Markus Gamache of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) reports by e-mail that the town is not under Boko Haram control although the situation is unclear. Some people who fled Garkida have taken refuge in central Nigeria, he reports, but others are still in hiding in the area. He writes, in part: “Garkida was attacked and most people run away. Many were also killed. As I am writing this mail there is no BH in town of Garkida based on some report but people are afraid to go back…. There is confusion always when it comes to BH attack. We are not sure of any continuity in Garkida at the moment. Places like Hong and Gombi are said to be reclaimed back only few agreed to go back. Mubi recapture is not very clear yet. Most of the information are not showing the true picture of safety…. Thanks a lot for all your prayers and concern.”

— “We express our disappointment with the international community that with over 11,000 persons killed and over one million displaced, the international community has refused to notice the pogrom on northern Nigerian Christians. Rather they have shifted their attention and resources only to Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and Afghanistan, as if those killed in Nigeria are not human beings,” said a statement coming out of a meeting of Christians in northern Nigeria, hosted in the city of Jos by Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). “This Day” newspaper reported on the meeting along with a statement from a former Commonwealth Secretary-General in Nigeria who spoke about the need for all religions to treat one another with mutual respect. The statement from the Christian gathering came out of a meeting of some 2,000 people displaced from northern Nigerian states. Speakers at that meeting included the chair of the Christian Association of Nigeria North Central Zone Youth wing. He quoted the following figures regarding Nigerian Christians affected by the insurgent violence: more than 11,000 Christians killed including 8,000 members of EYN; over 700,000 members of EYN, mostly women and children, displaced among 1.56 million Nigerians displaced. “The Christian body therefore called on the United Nations to intervene and declare the North-eastern Nigeria its territory without further delay and send in peacekeeping troops to secure the lives of the remaining traumatised people,” the article concluded. Read the full article, dated Nov. 19, at .

— A ruling has been issued by the Indiana Court of Appeals in a dispute over a church property in Roann, Ind. “We received word on Nov. 17 that the Indiana Court of Appeals issued their opinion, rejecting our arguments on appeal with regard to the dispute with the Walk By Faith Community Church in Roann,” said an update from Beth Sollenberger, district executive minister of South Central Indiana District, in the December issue of the district newsletter. “I believe it is important to remember that the purpose of the appeal had far more to do with understanding our polity than with regaining the property,” she wrote. “As we all know, polity is generally most called upon in times of disagreement–this round of court appeal was primarily to discern whether or not our polity would stand up in a court process. In this instance, polity did not prevail. Our experience will be valuable as we work together to discern what makes useful polity for us as a denomination. Please keep the Roann Church of the Brethren in your prayers as we continue forward in faith.”

— Western Plains District has issued a “Save the Dates” notice of an upcoming leadership training evening in Great Bend, Kan. The event on Feb. 9-10, 2015, will feature leadership from Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

— Among the notable actions taken at the 2014 district conference in Shenandoah District was the receiving of an offering of more then $4,500 to aid emergency relief efforts in Nigeria, according to the district newsletter. The offering will go toward the matching challenge issued by the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board, so that amount will be matched to “boost the response to more than $9,000,” the newsletter noted.

— The Living Gift Market held at Timbercrest, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in North Manchester, Ind., on Nov. 15 “raised a whopping $22,000 for Heifer International!” reports South Central Indiana District. “Thanks to all those who participated.”

— The 2014 Heifer Global Village season at Shepherd’s Spring camp and outdoor ministry center near Sharpsburg, Md., “saw over 1,000 participants come from all over the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic United States to discover a little bit more about what life might be like for those less fortunate living in the US and around the world,” said a report in the Mid-Atlantic District newsletter. “We gladly welcomed the new addition of Alpacas to our livestock crew, which serve as valuable teachers in explaining Heifer International’s goal to end hunger and poverty through the gift of livestock.” For more information about the Heifer Global Village go to .

— An Advent/Christmas Spiritual Disciplines folder on the theme “Proclaim: For There Is Born to You a Savior Who is Christ the Lord” is available from the Springs of Living Water church renewal initiative, suitable for individual and congregational use. The folder is available on the Springs website under the “Springs” button. Using Sunday and daily lectionary texts, the folder follows the Brethren Press bulletin series. “A suggested prayer pattern has a Lectio reading of scripture along with use of a devotional guide which tells of others living the faith,” said an announcement from Springs leader David Young. “On the insert, persons can select the next spiritual discipline to which they feel God is inviting them during this Advent/Christmas season.” Young reports the creativity of congregations in using the folders is spreading. In one example from Kansas, churches will be using the folders with their congregations, pastors will write a daily devotional guide following the lectionary, and donations for the use of the devotional will be sent to the migrant ministries at Garden City, Kan. As an extension of the Uniontown Church of the Brethren, pastored by Vince Cable who has written study questions for the folders, copies continue to be sent to the  Fayette County prison south of Pittsburgh, Pa. Find the current folder at or contact .

— Two key ecumenical organizations in which the Church of the Brethren participates–the National Council of Churches (NCC) and Church World Service (CWS)–celebrate President Obama’s “Immigrant Accountability Executive Action,” according to press releases. “The National Council of Churches welcomes President Obama’s announcement of new steps on immigration,” said the NCC release. “The President’s proposals will make life better for millions of immigrants who are exploited and live in fear of deportation. Still, less than half of the undocumented immigrants living in the US will benefit from the changes announced by the President.” The NCC has long stood for the rights of immigrants, the release notes, citing NCC statements from 1952, when the organization stated its concern for displaced people in the aftermath of World War II, along with subsequent statements on immigration made in 1962, 1981, 2008, and most recently 2010 when the NCC called for action on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. CWS “welcomes President Obama’s decision to offer millions of US undocumented community members the opportunity to apply for temporary relief from deportation,” said a release from that church-based humanitarian organization. “Our immigration system has been broken for far too long,” said CWS president and CEO John L. McCullough in the CWS release. “The president has the full constitutional authority, and a moral obligation to keep families together and stop needless deportations. We applaud his historic leadership and we urge all members of Congress to support the implementation of this executive action. We celebrate alongside millions of our immigrant brothers and sisters who will be able to shed the fear of deportation and live anew. But we also remember the millions who are still in need of relief. As people of faith, we believe in the dignity of all people, in the unity of all families, and in the power of redemption, and that the implementation of this executive action should reflect those values.” Read the full CWS release at .

— The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) issued a statement today about the outcome of the grand jury case in Ferguson, Mo., and included a collection of statements from a wide variety of partner groups and ecumenical and interfaith organizations. “Our shared work to end torture in US policy, practice, and culture is rooted in the reality that our religious traditions teach us that we belong to one another in community,” NRCAT said. “When and where human rights and human dignity are violated, where systemic violence, racism, and brutality are met with impunity, whether on our streets or in our prisons and places of confinement, we must stand together and work boldly for justice.” The list of statements from other groups included:
American Friends Service Committee “MO grand jury shows impact of systemic racism”
Central Reform Congregation “Letter From Missouri: Why I Stand With the Ferguson Protestors”
Methodist Federation for Social Action “Press Release: United Methodist Justice-Seekers: Ferguson Cannot Be an End to Conversation of Power and Privilege in the Church”
National Council of Churches “National Council of Churches statement on the grand jury action in Ferguson, MO”
Presbyterian Church (USA) “PC(USA) Stated Clerk responds to Ferguson grand jury decision”
Reconciling Ministries Network “Practicing Biblical Obedience in a racist nation”
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference “Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Response to the Refusal to Prosecute Darren Wilson for Killing Michael Brown, Jr.”
Sojourners “A Sad Night for America”
T’ruah The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights “T’ruah responds to the Michael Brown grand jury verdict”
Union for Reform Judaism and Central Conference of American Rabbis “Reform Movement Responds to Ferguson Grand Jury Decision”
United Church of Christ: “After Ferguson decision, Geoffrey Black calls for courage in the struggle for justice and peace” .
For an updated list of statements and other resources, visit the NRCAT website at .

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jeff Boshart, Monroe Good, Kendra Harbeck, Nathan Hosler, Pat Marsh, Nancy Miner, Dale Minnich, Frances Townsend, Elizabeth Ullery, Paul Ullom-Minnich, Jay Wittmeyer, Ed Woolf, David Young, Jane Yount, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. The next issue of Newsline is scheduled for Dec. 2.

Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at . Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

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