Brethren Bits for Feb. 10, 2015

Carl and Roxane Hill, co-directors of the denomination’s Nigeria Crisis Response, were hosted last week by Lakewood Church of the Brethren in Millbury, Ohio. Church members observed a day of fasting before enjoying a wonderful dinner and fellowship together. Afterwards, the Hills presented a slide show about life in Nigeria, the violence that is taking place now, and the church’s response to the crisis. If your church or district wants to hear more about what is happening in Nigeria and what the Church of the Brethren is doing to walk with our sisters and brothers in the Nigerian Church of the Brethren, contact Kendra Harbeck at 847-429-4388. She can arrange speakers to come to churches or districts to present on Nigeria including Carl and Roxane Hill, Jay Wittmeyer of the Global Mission and Service, Roy Winter of Brethren Disaster Ministries, or Larry Glick who is offering presentations in the persona of Elder John Kline. Photo by Barbara Wilch

— Remembrance: Sidney Elizabeth King of Nampa, Idaho, passed away on Jan. 27 following a long illness. She had served as district executive minister for the Church of the Brethren’s Idaho District from Nov. 1989 through Dec. 1998. She also served as treasurer of the Council of District Executives. Prior to that, she served on the denomination’s General Board from 1986-1989. Other church involvements included the Womaen’s Caucus. She was a licensed minister, and a public accountant, and had a business providing bookkeeping and income-tax services. A celebration of life service was to be held today, Feb. 10, at Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, Idaho.

— More information about “All God’s People Say Amen,” an intercultural retreat on May 1-3 hosted by Atlantic Northeast District and Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, is now available at . The retreat is co-sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries and Intercultural Ministries. The schedule includes plenary sessions, workshops, and worship. Craig Smith, district executive minister of Atlantic Northeast District, will preach on Sunday, May 3, at a joint service. The plenary sessions will be led by Congregational Life Ministries executive director Jonathan Shively, “Anablacktivist” Drew Hart who writes and speaks about Christian response to the issues of race and ethnicity, and Joel Peña, pastor of Alpha-Omega congregation in Lancaster, Pa. Early bird registration costs $40, or $35 per person for groups of three or more (valid until April 1). Find more information and registration at . For questions contact Intercultural Ministries director Gimbiya Kettering at or 847-429-4387.

— Congregational Life Ministries executive Jonathan Shively will provide leadership for “Cultivating for a Great Harvest”–the annual church development conference of Shenandoah District. The conference takes place Feb. 21, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Mountain View Fellowship Church of the Brethren in McGaheysville, Va. Shively’s presentation will be on calling and equipping leadership. Cost to attend is $25 per person or $20 per person for groups of more than five from a congregation. For a brochure and more information go to .

— “With Winter comes Spring, Spring comes rain, help us build the Ark one board at a time…” said an announcement of a fundraiser for a Noah’s Ark Playground at Camp Placid in Blountville, Tenn., in Southeastern District. A love offering event is planned for March 22, at Camp Placid. A quartet will sing starting at 6:30 p.m.

— “Christ the Lord Has Risen; Alleluia; And He Goes Before Us Today” is the title for the Springs of Living Water Spiritual Disciplines folder for the season of Lent and Easter, running from Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, through Resurrection Day, April 5, and Easter week. The Springs of Living Water church renewal initiative is led by David and Joan Young. “With Lent a season of preparation and repentance, Easter is a season of new life and knowledge that the Risen Christ goes before,” said the announcement. Using Sunday and daily lectionary readings that follow the Brethren Press bulletin series, the folder helps individuals and congregations in daily prayer, following the Brethren practice to live the meaning of the text each day. The folder also has Bible study questions written by Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren south of Pittsburgh, Pa. The folder can be used for individual or group Bible study. Find the folder and Bible study questions on the Springs website at under the Springs button. The use of the folders has now spread to three prisons, the Youngs report, as congregations reach out in their ministries. For more information contact David and Joan Young at 717-615-4515.

— Former students and graduates of the peace studies program at Manchester University in N. Manchester, Ind., are showcased in a new “Peacemakers Project” online. So far, profiles of the current work of six peace studies grads have been posted including Natalie Rivera (2003), Matt Guynn (1995), Sarah Hall (2007), Yvonne Dilling (1979), Rachel E. Long (2006), and Kourtney Reed (2013). Go to .

— Bridgewater (Va.) College will host a presentation by David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project, titled “1,000 Piece Puzzle” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 in the Carter Center for Worship and Music. “Radcliff, who has just returned from Myanmar and South Sudan, will share stories and photos from his journey, which was undertaken to promote peace,” said a release from the college. Radcliff teaches courses at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College in the areas of globalization, environmental care, and poverty and hunger, and leads Learning Tours to the Arctic, Amazon, Nepal, Myanmar, Sudan, and Central America. He is a 1975 Bridgewater graduate and recipient of the college’s 2008 West/Whitelow Humanitarian Award. His presentation is sponsored by the Glen E. Weimer Peace Lecture Series. The program is free and open to the public.

— In more news from Bridgewater College, Stephen Longenecker, the Edwin L. Turner Distinguished Professor of History, will speak about his book “Gettysburg Religion: Refinement, Diversity, and Race in the Antebellum and Civil War Border North” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in the Carter Center for Worship and Music. Longenecker’s book explores the religious history of antebellum and Civil War era Gettysburg, shedding light on the diversity of American religion and the intricate ways it interacted with the broader culture, a release said. He has written five other books, including “Shenandoah Religion: Outsiders and the Mainstream, 1716-1865″ and “The Brethren During the Age of World War: The Church of the Brethren Encounter with Modernization, 1914-1950: A Source Book.” Sponsored by the Anna B. Mow Lecture Series, the event is free and open to the public.

— The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation has awarded a grant to the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests to initiate an online Center for Queer Anabaptist/Pietist Studies. The announcement of the initiative came in the BMC NewsNet e-mail newsletter. “The project, which will be developed over the next three years, will have three primary areas of focus,” the newsletter said: “I. Holding Sacred Memory–The Oral History Project, featuring films and interviews collected from individuals, families and congregations. II. Enhancing Competency and Awareness–The Online Training and Resource Center, offering lgbtq related courses, webinars and resources for pastors, parents and allies. III. Building Connections–The Network for Queer Scholars, Seminarians and Artists, a means to encourage, develop, showcase, and connect scholars and artists who are doing lgbtq related work.”

— Final policy recommendations of the Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare have been released online at . The Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness staff were involved in planning for the event, and reported on it in Newsline on Jan. 27 ( ). Headlined, “Immediately Halt Lethal Drone Strikes,” the document quotes from various religious traditions including the New Testament (1 Peter 3:11), and states that the recommendations emerge from “our growing concern about the use of lethal drones by the United States and other countries” centered on “the nature of lethal drones as a weapon, namely their use in targeted killings of specific individuals most of whom are Muslims, their impact upon targeted communities, their operation by remote control, and the consequences that drones increase hostilities.” In addition to the recommendation to immediately halt targeted lethal drone strikes, other recommendations call for transparency and accountability on the part of the US administration in acknowledging the strikes, accounting for victims, explaining official criteria for the “kill list,” and more. The document also calls on Congress to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force and calls on the President “to rescind the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency, Joint Special Operations Command, or any other government agency or contractor to use weaponized or lethal drones,” among other measures. Find the full document at



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