Brethren Bits for Jan. 14, 2015

Church of the Brethren celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. include:

“Peace in the City: MLK, Jr. Nonviolence and Community Transformation Workshop,” on Saturday, Jan. 24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill. Samuel Sarpiya, pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Rockford, Ill., is the speaker and lead facilitator. “As you may remember First Church of the Brethren Chicago hosted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1966 as one of their office locations for the housing and justice campaigns,” said an invitation from First Chicago lead pastor LaDonna Nkosi, in the Illinois and Wisconsin District newsletter. “Please be welcome to join us as we share together in engaging nonviolence and community transformation in our times.”

The 47th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance and Rededication Ceremony hosted by Manchester University on Feb. 4. The event will feature Brenda J. Allen, author of “Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity,” speaking at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 4 in Cordier Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. The Feb. 4 observance honors King’s last speech at a college campus, which took place at Manchester when he presented a speech on “The Future of Integration” on Feb. 1, 1968, two months before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. Allen is a professor of communication and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Colorado Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week on Jan. 19-23 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, with Ann Marie Kirk, director of Art for Justice, speakomg about prison art and the partnership exhibit taking place at the College and Philadelphia Free Library. Her talk on “Promoting Justice and Humanity through Art” is at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 in the Brinser Lecture Room in Steinman Center. The exhibit of prisoner art, which aims to stimulate public dialogue on how to prevent crime, reduce levels of incarceration, and find effective, humane ways to improve the criminal justice system, is on display beginning Jan. 19, in the second-floor hallway of the Brossman Commons. The exhibit reception is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Jan. 23. Additional tributes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement in which he was so instrumental, take place throughout the week and include on Jan. 19, the “I Have Dream” Candlelight March at 6:15 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by the MLK Gospel Extravaganza in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center. At 1 p.m. on Jan. 20, the college hosts an Interfaith Prayer Service in the Tower Room of Brossman Commons. In addition, the winter and spring Diversity Film Series at Elizabethtown College will observe National Black History month.

Lois Moses, a celebrated poet and actress, creating a dramatic program at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. The program will combine spoken-word poetry, theater, and music on the theme “Celebrating the Dream…The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” at 4 p.m., Jan. 19, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. The program is free and open to the public. Moses is involved in several literary projects, most notably, “Poe-X,” which creates panel discussions and workshops with poets, and the “National Black Authors Tour.” She has extensive theater experience as an actor, performing with Pittsburgh’s Kuntu Repertory and the National Black Theatre of Harlem, and is an acting instructor and playwright/director for Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia.

— Remembrance: Eleanor Jane Rowe, 82, of Westminster, Md., died on Nov. 1, 2014. She had served on the Church of the Brethren denominational staff as an office administrator at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Born Aug. 15, 1932, in Toledo, Ohio, she was the daughter of Alvah and Margaret Garner. She had been married to Donald E. Rowe, who died in 2004. She was a longstanding member of the Church of the Brethren, and her service to the church included serving as treasurer for the Mid-Atlantic District. She also was a musician and played the drums, accordion, organ, and piano, and directed both children’s and adult choirs at church. She is survived by children Robert Rowe and wife Sandy of Durham, N.C., and Donald Rowe and wife Chris of Westminster, Md., and grandchildren. A memorial service was held Dec. 6, 2014, at Westminster Church of the Brethren, which is where memorial contributions also are received. For a full obituary see .

— Remembrance: R. Jan Thompson, who spent many years on the denominational staff of the Church of the Brethren working in disaster relief and global mission, died on Jan. 12 in the Huffman Health Center of Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community. He served the denomination in many capacities throughout his life, including Brethren Volunteer Service (1954-1956), mission work in Nigeria (1967-1970), director of Refugee/Disaster program (1978-1987), member of the former General Board (1998-2003), and interim executive director of Global Mission and Service (2008). He was the first person hired fulltime to direct the denomination’s fledgling Refugee/Disaster Program, which is now Brethren Disaster Ministries. During that term of service, Thompson and his wife, Roma Jo Thompson, envisioned and developed what is now Children’s Disaster Services (CDS). After retirement, he served as a CDS volunteer project manager, and the Thompsons served together as Brethren Disaster Ministries project leaders. He attended the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, South Korea, in late 2013 as alternate delegate for the Church of the Brethren. In the 1970s he was assistant dean of students for Manchester College, now Manchester University in Manchester, Ind., from 1971-1978. He served with the Sudan Council of Churches and the Presbyterian Church in Sudan from 1989-1991. In retirement he was a disaster consultant for Church World Service. Survivors include his wife, Roma Jo, who served with him in many of his work assignments for the Church of the Brethren. Together, the Thompsons wrote a detailed history of the Brethren Service Center, titled “Beyond Our Means: How the Brethren Service Center Dared to Embrace the World,” published by Brethren Press in 2009. Details of a celebration of life service, which likely will be held in March 2015, will be forthcoming when they are available.

— The memorial service for Wilbur Mullen will be held along with a reception at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 17 at Oakland Church of the Brethren in Gettysburg, Ohio. “All are welcome to attend and celebrate Wilbur’s life,” said an invitation. Find the remembrance notice in the Oct. 28, 2014, issue of Newsline at .

— The Conference Office welcomed the Nominating Committee of Standing Committee to the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., last week. Members of the committee met for two days to finalize nominations for positions of church leadership to be elected by the Standing Committee of district delegates and the delegates to the 2015 Annual Conference. The members of the committee are Jim Beckwith, Annual Conference secretary; George Bowers of Woodstock, Va.; Duane Grady of Goshen, Ind.; Joel Kline of Elgin, Ill.; Roy McVey of Collinsville, Va.; John Moyers of Maysville, W.Va.; Jim Myer of Lititz, Pa.; John Shelly of Chambersburg, Pa.; and Ellen Wile of Hurlock, Md.

— On Earth Peace has introduced new interns Madeline Dulabaum, who will serve as editor of the “Peacebuilder” newsletter, and Michael Himlie who will be youth peace coordinator. Dulabaum will prepare each issue of the newsletter and will be exploring a new look for the publication. She is a student at DePaul University in Chicago, Ill., and has served on the news teams for Annual Conference and National Youth Conference, as well as editor for her high school magazine. Himlie’s duties will include coordinating peace retreats at congregations and districts, leading workshops at regional youth conferences, and connecting with youth throughout the denomination. He is a student at Manchester University and recently completed a year of Brethren Volunteer Service where he served with New Community Project and took part in a delegation to the Middle East with Christian Peacemaker Teams. He also has served with On Earth Peace as part of Ministry of Reconciliation teams at Annual Conference and National Youth Conference.

— “Join with Global Mission and Service in a service and learning trip to South Sudan, April 21-May 2,” said an invitation from the Global Mission and Service office of the Church of the Brethren. The experience will include construction work at the Brethren Peace Center in Torit and potentially at a Bible school in Katire and a primary school in Lohila, as well as opportunities to meet Sudanese church and community leaders. Living conditions will be basic, and meals will be prepared and shared in local fashion. The trip will cost approximately $2,500 per participant, including travel, meals, and accommodations. For more information, contact Kendra Harbeck at or 847-429-4388.

— His Way Church of the Brethren (Iglesia Jesucristo El Camino) in Mills River, N.C., is co-hosting Convocando a Las Iglesias de Las Montañas (A Call to the Churches of the Mountains) on Jan. 23-24. Extending an invitation to all the Hispanic churches in Asheville/Hendersonville, the purpose of the two-day event is to impact the leadership of the Spanish-speaking churches in western North Carolina for spiritual growth and working together in unity, said a notice of the event. Friday night, Jan. 23, 7-9 p.m., is Clamor de Naciones (Cry of the Nations)–a night of praise and worship led by Pastor Zulay Corrales from Costa Rica and a worship team consisting of individuals from four different area churches. Saturday, Jan. 24, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., is a day of training and impartation from Pastor Luis Azofeifa from Costa Rica, president of the Wesleyan church in Costa Rica, and superintendent for the Wesleyan church in South and Central America, Spain, Guinea Ecuatorial, and Cuba. Saturday themes include Worship in Spirit and Truth, Transformational Leadership, Intercessory Prayer, Praise and Worship, and a Challenge to Leadership. The event is co-hosted with Iglesia La Casa Del Alfarero (The Potter’s House Church) of Asheville. All scheduled events will be held at Rapha House, 127 School House Road, Mills River, NC 28759, and will only be in Spanish. For more information, call 828-713-5978.

— “Together For Nigeria” is the theme of a special event at Onekama (Mich.) Church of the Brethren, with leadership from Tim Joseph who participated in a workcamp to Nigeria in 2009. “It was, to say the least, a life-changing experience, and I carry in my heart the smiles and love of the generous and open-hearted people I met and traveled, worshiped and worked with there,” he wrote in a letter of invitation for the special event. The Onekama congregation in partnership with other congregations in Michigan is planning a fundraising event on Jan. 31, including music, prayer, food, and a silent auction. A service of prayer and sacred music starts at 4 p.m., followed by a meal of soup and bread, and a concert featuring many kinds of music, starting at 7 p.m. The concurrent silent auction will feature services as well as valuable items. For more information contact 231-477-5381 or .

— Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Cave, Va., has issued an invitation to an afternoon of food and fun featuring a performance of “Peace, Pies, and Prophets!” by Ted & Company with Ted Swartz and Tim Ruebke. The event is on Sunday, Jan. 18, at 4 p.m. There is no charge for the performance, but proceeds from the pie auction of home-made Valley Church pies will benefit the Fairfield Center which provides creative alternatives to disputes, with mediators and programs serving Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro and Augusta and Rockingham counties. “Please come for a fun get-together and important ideas about how each of us can be peacemakers,” said the invitation.

— Eaton (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is holding a Sewing Bee for Church World Service on Jan. 24. “Come join brothers and sisters as we sew school bags and assemble school kits for Church World Service,” said an announcement in the district newsletter. The Sewing Bee is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Participants are asked to bring their sewing machines, or to bring scissors for cutting out school bags or baby gowns.

— A commercial for the Regional Youth Conference hosted by McPherson (Kan.) College on March 6-8 is online at . The Regional Youth Conference will feature leadership by special guests David Radcliff of the New Community Project, Mutual Kumquat, and Ted & Co. The event is for youth in grades 9-12 and their adult advisors. Special pricing is available for college students willing to volunteer part of their time to assist with the weekend. Workshops are provided respectively for youth, youth leaders, college students. Registration will open later in January. More information will be made available soon. Contact Jen Jensen, McPherson College Director of Spiritual Life, with any questions at or 620-242-0503.

— Bridgewater Retirement Community will kick off its 50th anniversary celebration on Jan. 15, in the Houff Community Center of Maple Terrace. According to an announcement from Shenandoah District, then-and-now videos will be shown in the Shenandoah Room from 2:30-4:30 p.m., and a living history panel will share recollections from the early days at 3-4 p.m. in Mack A&B rooms in the Houff Center. Photos from the early years of the community will be displayed along with medical equipment of the late Dr. Jacob Huffman, a founder of the Bridgewater Home. The facility opened May 1, 1965.

— The January program of “Brethren Voices,” a community TV show produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features two segments this month. “Our Community–Our Responsibility” highlights the work of Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren and its mission to serve the needs of the Allison Hill Community of Harrisburg for over 109 years. In a second segment, a music video presents the plight of the Nigerian Church of the Brethren, with a performance by the Bittersweet Gospel Band in a video produced and illustrated by David Sollenberger with music written by Scott Duffey. Contact Ed Groff at for copies of this program that can be used as a Sunday school resource or shown locally on community access stations.

— In the category of new books by Brethren authors, Brian Gumm, Northern Plains District minister of Communications and Leadership Development, has been involved in a book publishing project with a blogging collective called MennoNerds. “This past December our book was finally published!” he announced in the district newsletter. The book “A Living Alternative: Anabaptist Christianity in a Post-Christendom World” is a collection of essays from a diverse set of Anabaptist-minded thinkers, both people inside and outside of traditional Anabaptist groups such as Mennonites and Brethren, he reported. The book “is designed to be read in faith communities, as each chapter contains a series of study and reflection questions to help you apply the learning from each chapter,” the announcement said. Gumm’s contribution is titled “Seeking the Peace of the Farm Town: Anabaptist Mission and Ministry in the Rural Midwest.”

— “Elizabethtown’s West Green Tree Church of the Brethren has a new choir director, and he’s just 16 years-old. He is Ryan Arndt,” reports LancasterOnline, a website of the “Intelligencer Journal” and “Lancaster New Era and Sunday News.” A son of Clint and Julie Arndt of Palmyra, Pa., he is a high school junior. “Officially, I was the choir director here before I could drive with a permit,” said Arndt in the newspaper interview. Read it at .

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