Brethren Bits for July 2, 2015

The EYN Women’s Fellowship Choir and BEST group have been a big hit as they tour the country in advance of Annual Conference. The tour is getting great coverage by press at many of its stops, and is receiving a warm welcome from Church of the Brethren congregations and districts along the way.
Gloria Casas, who writes for the Elgin “Courier-News” covered the June 26 concert and program in Elgin, Ill., hosted at the last minute by Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren after cold rainy weather forced the event indoors from its original park venue. The report was picked up by the “Chicago Tribune” online. Find it at .
“A big success” is how South Central Indiana District’s newsletter characterized the EYN Women’s Fellowship Choir concerts in North Manchester and Lafayette, Ind. The newsletter said that “the choir was well received by about 300 people at the Manchester Church of the Brethren and at least 500 at the Long Center in Lafayette. A huge thank you to the many many people who were involved in these events through organizing, publicity, food, housing, and donating funds. Thousands of dollars were raised for support of the tour, and for the Nigeria Crisis Fund. Please continue in prayer for the group as they continue their travels, as well as for the church in Nigeria, as it continues to cope with its great losses.”
WLFI Channel 18 reported on the concert in Lafayette, Ind., posting a news article and a video. Find the WLFI reporting by Ryan Delaney at .
Shenandoah District is hosting the EYN choir and BEST group for a few days in mid-week this week, and has planned some special outings for them in addition to the Wednesday evening concert at the Carter Center for Worship and Music at Bridgewater (Va.) College and the Thursday evening concert at Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va. Outings are also planned to visit Brethren Woods, the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center, Bridgewater Retirement Community, and a picnic on the Skyline Drive.
Virlina District will welcome the EYN tour with a dinner at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 9, at Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., followed by a concert and program. The dinner is for the choir “and all who would like to greet and fellowship with the choir members,” said the district newsletter. Cost of dinner will be $8 and reservations are needed. Make your reservation by contacting the District Resource Center at 540-362-1816, 800-847-5462, or .
The full tour schedule for the Nigerian group is at .

In related news: BBC and other news outlets have published interviews with women who have escaped or been rescued from insurgents in Nigeria, and who have brought back stories about the whereabouts and activities of Chibok schoolgirls who remain in the hands of Boko Haram. A variety of such reports, often contradictory, have surfaced in recent weeks. The Church of the Brethren staff have received no corroboration of any of the reports so far. “Please continue to pray for the girls and the names you have been given,” said Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer, referring to the names of girls that were shared with congregations shortly after the schoolgirls were abducted last year. “We really do not have solid information on any of the girls who are still held captive, and we pray for them and for the EYN Church.”

— Correction: The Youth and Young Adult Ministry has corrected the number of participants reported at the National Junior High Conference. There were 325 participants at the event at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College in mid-June.

— The Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry has announced the assistant coordinators for the 2016 season: Deanna Beckner of Columbia City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren, and Amanda McLearn-Montz of Panther Creek Church of the Brethren in Adel, Iowa. Beckner graduated from Manchester University in May with a degree in Communication Studies. McLearn-Montz graduated from Tulane University in May with a degree in Spanish and Public Health. The two assistant coordinators will begin their work in August, to plan for the 2016 workcamp season.

— The Church of the Brethren has hired Connie Bohn of Taneytown, Md., as part-time hospitality assistant at the Zigler Hospitality Center on the campus of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., beginning June 29. She brings to the job more than 20 years of experience as a secretary and receptionist, including her work as secretary for the New Windsor Conference Center from 1999-2011, before it was closed. She also worked as administrative support assistant at the Heifer International Mid-Atlantic Office from 1988-1998, when it was located at the Brethren Service Center. She has studied at Carroll Community College, where she received medical receptionist training, and at Abbie Business Institute in Frederick, Md., where she earned a Certificate in Office Assistance.

— Bethany Theological Seminary has announced new duties for Monica Rice, who as of July 1 adds responsibilities as coordinator for Alumni/ae Relations to her existing duties as administrative assistant of Institutional Advancement and coordinator of Congregational Relations. As a Bethany representative to congregations and at district and denominational events, she will foster a program of mutual support between the seminary and the Church of the Brethren congregations. In addition, she will continue to deepen relationships with alumni/ae of the seminary through programming and communication. In 2011, Rice graduated from Bethany with a master of arts degree, and since then has been serving on the staff of the seminary.

— The Church of the Brethren seeks candidates for three fulltime positions at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.: office manager for Brethren Disaster Ministries, program assistant for the Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuild program, and program assistant for Children’s Disaster Services. The office manager position is salaried; the program assistant positions are hourly. For details including responsibilities, required skills, and knowledge, go to the Jobs page at the Church of the Brethren website: . These positions all begin Sept. 1. Applications will be received beginning immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the positions are filled. Qualified candidates are invited to request an application form by contacting the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; .

— The Southeastern District of the Church of the Brethren has an opening for a director of a School of Spiritual Learning (SSL) Program that works with licensed and ordained ministers. This program provides training for completion of licensing requirements as well as continuing education credit for ministers to fulfill their five-year ordination reviews. The director’s responsibilities include working with SSL trustees and district executives to secure instructors and review the program for any needed changes; working with instructors to create course syllabus and to select textbooks; maintaining student records; communicating with the district financial officer regarding registration, fees, honorariums, and expenses; creating continuing education certificates; providing updates to the District Ministry Commission; reporting to the District Conference; reviewing student transcripts and providing student progress reports; and more. Send a resume with a letter of interest by e-mail to or by mail by Southeastern District Office, P.O. Box 8366, Gray, TN 37615. Resumes will be accepted through July 10.

— The 32nd World Hunger Auction will be held at Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va., on Saturday, Aug. 8, starting at 9:30 a.m. The event is a culmination to a year of fundraising activities to address hunger. The auction includes the sale of crafts, quilts, toys, produce, baked and canned goods, special services, and more. “Come early for the best selection,” said an invitation from Virlina District. For more information go to www.worldhunger .

Photo courtesy of Black Rock Church
The children of Black Rock Church of the Brethren Vacation Bible School pose with pastor Dave Miller in front of the chart showing their giving to the Haiti Medical Project.

— Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Southern Pennsylvania District designated the offering from its 2015 Vacation Bible School to the Haiti Medical Project. “Over four days, June 22-25, 30 children contributed $300.16. This will be added to the $527.45 donated by the congregation for a total of $827.61 to help establish Mobile Clinics in Haiti,” reported pastor David W. Miller. Find out more about the Haiti Medical project at .

— A project honoring the late Charles “Chuck” Boyer has presented “Living Peace Church” certificates and helped plant Peace Poles at the 27 congregations of Pacific Southwest District in connection with the 40th anniversary of On Earth Peace, according to a report from Maurice Flora. Boyer, who served as moderator of Annual Conference and pastor of the La Verne Church, also was involved with the development of On Earth Peace. A group of On Earth Peace supporters arranged a presentation of framed certificates to the district’s congregations at the Pacific Southwest District Conference last year. “All congregations were presented with a new On Earth Peace certificate proclaiming each as a ‘Living Peace Church.’ Each congregation had been contacted beforehand to indicate they would be receiving the framed certificates recognizing them as part of the ‘Community of Practice,’” Flora reported. The certificates were developed by the University of La Verne and signed by the On Earth Peace executive director and board chair. As part of the project, congregations also were asked if they had a Peace Pole. Flora reports that 14 already had a Peace Pole, and 13 which did not were given plaques for a Peace Pole, one in English and one in Spanish. The group involved with the project included Shirley Campbell Boyer of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, Lucile Cayford Leard of Glendale (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, Linda Williams of San Diego (Calif.) First Church of the Brethren, Marty Farahat who is an On Earth Peace volunteer based in California, and Maurice Flora of the La Verne Church.

— District conference season in the Church of the Brethren opens later this month, with Northern Ohio District’s conference on July 24-25 at Mohican Church of the Brethren in West Salem, Ohio; and Southeastern District’s conference on July 24-26 at Mars Hill University in Mars Hill, N.C. The end of July see Northern Plains District meeting on July 31-Aug. 2 at West Des Moines (Iowa) Christian Church; and Western Plains District holding its conference on July 31-Aug. 2 at McPherson Church and McPherson College, both in McPherson, Kan.

— “Servant Leadership for Church Renewal, Shepherds by the Living Springs” is a new training DVD by David and Joan Young of the Springs of Living Water Initiative in Church Renewal.  Produced by David Sollenberger, the DVD is in four sessions with questions for individual and group reflection. A booklet of resources plus a page of uses is clipped in the DVD box. The DVD will be released at a Springs Insight Session at Annual Conference in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, July 13, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. as Tim Harvey shares about servant leadership and the round tables that are in use for delegate seating at the Conference, and Keith Funk shares about servant leadership and church renewal at Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. Receive this anniversary gift at the insight session or contact or 717-615-4515.

— “Everyone urged to join Zero Hunger Challenge,” said a release from the World Council of Churches (WCC) this week. The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, an initiative of the WCC, is calling churches and individuals to join in a world-wide “zero hunger” challenge initiative of the United Nations. “No one should be hungry, especially in a world that already produces more than enough food to feed everyone,” said Manoj Kurian, interim coordinator, who highlighted the challenge as part of the Food for Life Campaign. “We can build sustainable and waste-free food systems that nourish and support all people and empower the smallholder and family farms that produce the vast majority of the world’s food.” Three years ago, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon issued the Zero Hunger Challenge, and now all individuals and organizations are being asked to join the challenge and pledge to make a difference. The Zero Hunger pledge asks groups and individuals to actively work to eradicate hunger. “This includes advocating for actions and policies to reach zero stunted children less than two years, ensure 100 percent access to adequate food all year round, sustainable food systems, 100 percent increase in smallholder productivity and income, and zero loss or waste of food,” the release said. Churches and individuals can “Join the Challenge” by signing up at . More information is at .

— In more news from the World Council of Churches, a church pilgrimage is planned to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to seek action to end nuclear threats on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings. “In early August, the WCC representatives will embark on an unusual pilgrimage. A group of church leaders will travel to two cities devastated by the deadliest of weapons 70 years ago, then visit governments still willing to destroy thousands of cities in similar fashion today,” said a release. “The cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were attacked with atomic bombs on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945. A lifetime after that fearsome destruction, 40 governments still rely on nuclear weapons. Nine states possess nuclear arsenals and 31 other states are willing to have the United States use nuclear weapons on their behalf.” The church pilgrimage will take church leaders from eight of these countries to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to listen to A-bomb survivors, pray with local churches, reflect with other faiths on the plight of the two cities, then bring calls for action home to their own countries. “One key step is to urge their governments to join a new inter-governmental pledge to ‘close the legal gap’ and establish a formal ban on nuclear weapons. This humanitarian initiative already has the support of 110 countries,” said the release. The eight member churches involved in the pilgrimage are from the US, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, and Pakistan. Heading the delegation is Bishop Mary-Ann Swenson of the United Methodist Church in the US. Find out more at .

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