Brethren Bits for Dec. 22, 2015

Photo courtesy of Debbie Eisenbise
Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in South Bend, Ind., has erected a peace pole at the church featuring the phrase “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in Hausa, a West African language commonly spoken in northern Nigeria.

— Atlantic Southeast District seeks a district executive minister to serve in a half-time position (100 hours of work per month) available June 1, 2016. The cistrict comprises 17 congregations and 2 fellowships in Florida. The district is culturally, ethnically, and theologically diverse. Its congregations are rural, suburban, and urban. The district has a strong interest in new church development and church renewal. The preferred candidate is a spiritually wise pastoral leader who offers inspiration and works collaboratively to envision the work of the district. Responsibilities include to serve as the administrator of the board of the district, facilitating and giving general oversight to the planning and implementation of its ministries as directed by District Conference and the District Board, and providing linkages to congregations, the Church of the Brethren, and Annual Conference agencies; assist congregations and pastors with placement; facilitate and encourage the calling and credentialing of persons to set-apart ministry; build and strengthen relationships with congregations and pastors; use mediation skills to work with congregations in conflict; promote unity in the district. Qualifications include a clear commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrated by a vibrant spiritual life with a commitment to New Testament values and to Church of the Brethren faith and heritage; membership in the Church of the Brethren required; ordination preferred; bachelor’s degree required, master of divinity degree or beyond preferred; pastoral experience preferred; strong relational, communication, mediation, and conflict resolution skills; strong administrative and organizational skills; competence with technology and ability to work in virtual office; passion for mission and ministry of the church with an appreciation for cultural diversity; bi-lingual preferred; flexibility in working with staff, volunteer, pastoral and lay leadership. Apply by sending a letter of interest and a resume via e-mail to . Applicants are requested to contact three or four persons who are willing to provide a letter of reference. Upon receipt of the resume the individual will be sent a candidate profile that must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. The application deadline is Feb. 14, 2016.

— Missouri and Arkansas District seeks a district executive minister for a part-time (20 hours per week) available Jan. 1, 2016. The district comprises 13 congregations and is culturally and theologically diverse. Its congregations are rural and urban. The district’s mission is to challenge and equip congregations to discover anew and live God’s grace, spirit and love. The preferred candidate is a person with dedication to Christ and the Church with good interpersonal and organizational skills. Responsibilities include pastoral placement; pastoral support; communications; relating to the District Leadership Team; managing office functions; professional growth; and leadership development. Qualifications include a clear commitment to Jesus Christ; membership in the Church of the Brethren; ordination preferred; pastoral experience preferred; strong relational, communication and conflict resolution skills; administrative and organizational skills; comfortable with modern technology. Apply by sending a letter of interest and a resume via e-mail to . Applicants are requested to contact three or four people who are willing to provide a letter of reference. Upon receipt of the resume the individual will be sent a candidate profile that must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. The application deadline is Feb. 15, 2016.

— Children’s Aid Society (CAS), a ministry of Southern Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren, seeks an executive director to lead an organization committed to helping children and their families build stronger, healthier lives through compassionate and professional services. Headquartered in New Oxford, Pa., approximately 30 miles south of Harrisburg, CAS provides a wide array of services through its three locations; Frances Leiter Center in Chambersburg, Lehman Center in York, and Nicarry Center in New Oxford. Services include a crisis nursery, art and play therapy for children and adolescents, crisis hotline, family advocacy, parent support groups, and referral services. Serving more than 600 children and 3,296 adults annually, this 103-year-old ministry offers an exciting opportunity for a passionate leader to continue building the ministry. The position reports to a board of directors and has responsibility for a $1.5 million budget and 40 employees. Qualified candidates will have the following: a bachelor’s degree with preference for a master’s degree, desire to work in a faith-based setting, executive experience related to budgeting/team building/constituent development, and appreciation for the Church of the Brethren tradition. Interested persons should contact Kirk Stiffney with MHS Consulting at 574-537-8736 or .

—  The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill a full-time hourly position of Brethren Press customer service/inventory and systems specialist. The customer service/inventory and systems specialist is part of the Brethren Press team and reports to the Director of Brethren Press Marketing and Sales. Major responsibilities include providing purchasing and inventory control functions, maintaining order systems, customer service and maintaining a thorough knowledge of products offered by Brethren Press. Additional responsibilities include answering the customer service phone line and processing orders, maintaining inventory levels and providing sales and marketing support services. Required skills and knowledge include skilled competency in Microsoft Office component applications including Outlook, Word, and Excel and the ability to comprehend new and existing systems and operate efficiently within them; ability to work on a team, handle multiple simultaneous projects, and meet deadlines; excellent customer service attitude and the ability to work within a religious setting. Training or experience in sales and customer service, inventory management and accounting and point-of-sale, inventory, website and customer database systems is required for this position. A high school diploma or equivalent is required and some college is preferred. This position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Applications will be received beginning immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to request the application form by contacting: Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; . The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

— Workcamp registration opens online on Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. (central time). Find the registration link at . Also at this website are sample registration pages to help guide the registration process. A list of the 2016 Church of the Brethren summer workcamps for junior high youth, senior high youth, young adults, the We Are Able group, and intergenerational groups may be found at .

— The Global Mission and Service office has requested prayer for the African nation of Burundi. “Continue to lift up the people of Burundi as violence continues to escalate,” said the prayer request. The request cited alarming trends, including opposition members attacking the military barracks in the capital city of Bujumbura, and government soldiers and police retaliating with home invasions and executions. Close to 100 people lost their lives. “Pray that leaders at all levels may seek peace and justice rather than personal gain and power,” said the request.

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) have joined in expressing grave concern for the people of Burundi. The African nation is experiencing a situation of extreme tension and escalating human rights violations. The political crisis in Burundi “has latterly been marked by brutal violence, targeted attacks, extrajudicial killings, severe oppression and the incitement of communal tensions,” said the joint statement. ”We appeal to the government and political leadership of Burundi to step back from the path of violence onto the path of peace.” The statement also calls for “responsible leadership that does not tolerate complicity in the killings and other serious violations now so obviously prevalent in the country…. In this Advent season, in which we await the nativity of the Christ Child, the Prince of Peace, we pray that all those who now espouse violence and division in Burundi will learn and pursue the things that make for peace in this wounded land.”

— Iglesia de los Hermanos, the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic, held a pastors’ retreat on Dec. 18-20 on the theme of “Challenge in the Call” (Daniel 3 and Acts 9). Leaders of the Dominican church expected about 100 participants to attend.

— Lybrook Community Ministries, a Church of the Brethren ministry and a Brethren Volunteer Service project site serving the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, now has a website at . The website is to provide news of the ministry’s work and needs.

— After more than 90 years of ministry, Waterford Church of the Brethren in Pacific Southwest District will close in January 2016. The district newsletter invited all who had been a part of the life of the Waterford congregation and others from throughout the district to join in a celebration of the church’s ministry, including a worship service and reflections on the ministry of the congregation throughout its life. A reception followed, with additional time for visiting and sharing.

— Pomona (Calif.) Fellowship Church of the Brethren is planning a fellowship trip to Nigeria to meet, talk, and worship with sisters and brothers in Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). “The purpose of this trip is a time to show solidarity with EYN as well as to see first hand what is happening, and draw attention to their plight when we return home,” said an announcement. The trip is planned for April 20-May 6, 2016, with an approximate cost of $3,000. Contact Pomona Fellowship at or 909-629-2548.

— Roanoke (Va.) Area Ministries has received a check from CROP Walk representing this year’s local part of the Church World Service CROP Walk for Hunger in the amount of $5,000. A news report from the “Roanoke Times” noted that a number of Church of the Brethren congregations took part in the area’s CROP Walk including Central Church of the Brethren, First Church of the Brethren, Oak Grove Church of the Brethren, Peters Creek Church of the Brethren, Summerdean Church of the Brethren, and Williamson Road Church of the Brethren. The funds will enable RAM House to continue its mission of providing a clean safe shelter and a hot meal to those in need 365 days a year. Read the full article at

Photo courtesy of Carl Hill
A group gathers at Fruitland (Idaho) Church of the Brethren to hear a presentation on Nigeria by Carl and Roxane Hill.

— Fruitland (Idaho) Church of the Brethren hosted a presentation by Carl and Roxane Hill, co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response, in early December. The Hills presented latest information about the effort in Nigeria to the Idaho District, meeting at the Fruitland Church. They were well received by those present and many in attendance decided to get personally involved in the relief work, said a report. Elementary student Cyrus Filmore is embarking on a campaign to bring awareness to both his church and his school.

— Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren was represented by Illana Naylor at a Unity in Community event Sunday, Dec. 13, at Dar Al Noor, the Muslim Association of Virginia, and VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement). Interfaith friends were invited to share a meal and a dialogue focusing upon Muslim and Christian perspectives of sacred peace, Naylor said in a brief report from the event. “Given the ongoing acts of violence from multiple sectors of society, our gathered friends prayed for peace, justice, and understanding by building relationships with our neighbors and becoming committed to one another’s safety,” she wrote. Naylor presented Taalibah Hassan, interfaith coordinator for Dar Al Noor, with the gift of a poinsettia from the Manassas Church.

— South/Central Indiana District is advertising a performance of “12 Baskets and a Goat,” the Ted & Co. production in cooperation with Heifer International and the Church of the Brethren. “Please mark your calendars: Friday, Feb. 26, the Program and Arrangements Committee is sponsoring Ted & Company’s new production…in Indianapolis,” said an announcement. “This district-wide event is an opportunity for us to have fun and fellowship together. Plan now to attend.”

— Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., is showing off its new website, which features the camp’s 2016 schedule, and a new video on the camp’s YouTube channel. “With 1,209 campers during 7 summer camp weeks in 2015, did YOU make the video/slide show?” asks the announcement. “Watching gets us excited for Summer Camp 2016, ‘Not Afraid, Not Alone: Courage in Community!’” Find the Camp Bethel website at .

— “Letting the Light of Jesus Christ Shine Forth” is the title of the spiritual disciplines folder for the upcoming season of Epiphany or Season of Light, provided by the Springs of Living Water initiative in church vitality. The folder is for Jan. 10-Feb. 13, 2016, and offers daily scripture readings and a suggested prayer guide for daily prayer. The folder is for both individual and congregational use, to take up spiritual practices which lead to corporate spiritual growth. All can be coordinated with the Sunday worship service, and is coordinated with the Brethren Press bulletin series. Vince Cable, retired pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren, has worked in creating this disciplines folder and has written questions for individual or group Bible study. The Epiphany folder can be found on the Springs website at or e-mail .

— An appeal to nations to ratify the “International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families” was issued by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), along with the Conference of European Churches (CEC) on the occasion of International Migrants’ Day on Dec. 18. “The convention was adopted 25 years ago today and provides the most comprehensive and coherent international instrument to protect the rights of migrants and their families. Yet it remains poorly ratified, particularly by migrant-receiving countries in Europe,” said a WCC release. “For years, churches across Europe have called on European governments and EU institutions to ratify this important convention,” remarked CEC general secretary Guy Liagre, “Yet no EU Member State has taken this step.” The convention recognizes the human rights of migrant workers and promotes their access to justice as well as to humane and lawful working and living conditions. It provides guidance on the elaboration of national migration policies and for international cooperation based on respect for human rights and the rule of law. It also sets out provisions to combat abuse and exploitation of migrant workers and members of their families throughout the migration process. “This is very significant for future stability for both vulnerable people and societies as a whole,” explained WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit.

— Dawn M. Blackman Sr. has been interviewed for the “Getting Personal” feature in the Champaign/Urbana, Ill., “News-Gazette.” Included is a videotaped interview as well as a printed feature article. Blackman recently was announced as one of the recipients of the 2015 Purpose Prize Fellow award from for her achievements within the local community, including hosting a food pantry at Champaign Church of the Brethren and coordinating the community garden affiliated with the church. She is an associate minister at the Champaign Church, and also works part-time as a package handler at FedEx Ground. Find the full interview at .

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