Brethren Bits for June 10, 2015

Bill and Betty Hare’s 50 years at Camp Emmaus in Illinois and Wisconsin District, 1965-2015, will be celebrated this Saturday, June 13. A special dedication and program will be held at the camp’s lodge at 4 p.m. “Come enjoy refreshments and share memories with Bill and Betty all afternoon,” said an invitation. For those who cannot attend in person, memories and greetings may be shared care of Mount Morris Church of the Brethren, Attn: Dianne Swingel, P.O. Box 2055, Mount Morris, IL 61054.

— Remembrance: Katherine “Kathy” A. Hess, 63, a past chair of the Church of the Brethren General Board, died on June 4. She served on the General Board and was board chair in the 1990s, when she was active in the “redesign” of the denomination’s former General Board structure. She was born in Lawrenceville, Ill., on Dec. 18, 1951, to the late Durward and Idabelle Hays. She became a physician and practiced medicine in Ashland, Ohio, for 35 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University, and received her medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio-Toledo in 1977. During her time in Ashland, she served as medical director of Hospice of North Central Ohio, medical director of the EMS, and chair of the Ashland County Medical Association. At Samaritan Regional Health System, she served as medical staff president and chair of the Medical Executive Committee, and she was active in the Ashland Christian Health Center. She was very involved and faithful in her work at Ashland Dickey Church of the Brethren where she taught adult Sunday school classes in addition to serving as chair of the Deacon Board, chair of the Ministry Commission, and as a member of the Church Board. In Northern Ohio District, she served as moderator of the district conference as well as chair of the district board. On the denominational level, she served on the General Board 1992-97, serving as chair from 1995-97. She represented Northern Ohio District on the Annual Conference Standing Committee in 1999-2004. She is survived by her husband, Steve, and children Kevin (Megan) Hess, Jason (Emily) Hess, Nathan (Rebecca) Hess, as well as grandchildren. A celebration of her life was held on Monday, June 8, at Ashland Dickey Church of the Brethren. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are received to the Ashland Dickey Church of the Brethren’s Barnabas Fund, or to Hospice of North Central Ohio in Ashland, Ohio. Online condolences may be made at .

— The Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry is publicizing an opportunity for an individual who is interested in volunteer work to serve with the ministry beginning later this year. This Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) assignment is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and will include opportunity for a young adult to work in a professional environment that is spiritually rooted and serves young people in the Anabaptist and Pietist traditions. Additional opportunities include a communal living situation at the BVS Intentional Community House in Elgin, active mentorship by a member of the Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, spiritual formation support for individual growth, and administrative experience for national ministry programming. To express interest or for more information contact Becky Ullom Naugle, director of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, at .

— Over the weekend, Brethren Disaster Ministries staff and volunteers were assessing clean up needs after a tornado hit the area of Longmont, Colo., last Thursday, June 4. The storm reportedly damaged at least 25 homes in the area north of Denver. Brethren Disaster Ministries currently has a rebuilding project site in northeast Colorado, around Greeley. Northeast Colorado suffered loss or damage to nearly 19,000 homes in Sept. 2013 when flooding followed heavy rains. The Brethren response is focusing on some of the more severely impacted areas in Weld, Larimer, and Boulder Counties. The ecumenical project includes volunteers from the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ coming together to support the Brethren effort.

— A letter concerning Israel’s plans for a forcible transfer of Palestinian Bedouins from 46 communities in the West Bank has been sent by members organizations of the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy to Secretary of State John Kerry. Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has signed the letter along with many representatives of Christian traditions including United Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, United Church of the Christ, and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), among others, as well as organizations with whom the Brethren work closely including Church World Service, American Friends Service Committee, and Mennonite Central Committee. Also signing the letter were representatives of some international humanitarian organizations. The June 4 letter commended the US for strong opposition to Israel’s plans but warned that “Israel has recently made further advancements to its relocation plan” and spelled out details including the leveling of land and start of infrastructure works at one section of the Al Jabal relocation site, leveling of land and progress on different planning and zoning processes related to the Nuweimeh relocation site, and appointment of retired General Brigadier Dov Sedaka to oversee the transfer process. “Most recently, General Sedaka gave verbal notice to Palestinian residents of Abu Nwar, located within the E1 area, that they would not be allowed to remain in their community and that it would be in their best interest to immediately sign up for space at the Al Jabal relocation site,” the letter said, in part. “This action carries serious consequences, as it could constitute intent to carry out forced transfer. Forced transfer is prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention, regardless of the motive. A violation of this nature may be considered a Grave Breach of Article 49i, giving rise to individual criminal liability and codified as a war crime.” The letter raised alarms that, among other issues, “the transfer of Bedouin communities from Susiya and the E1 area for likely settlement expansion would make it impossible to achieve a contiguous, viable Palestinian state.” The letter urged the US to adopt a coordinated plan of action that would press Israel “to immediately freeze settlement activity and demolition orders and to cancel transfer plans.”

— Samuel Dante Dali, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has given an interview to the “Daily Trust” newspaper in Nigeria, published on June 7. Written by Onimisi Alao, the interview quotes Dali calling on the new Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari to “stick to the rule of law that he emphasizes and to see to it that nobody is above the law, because it is lawlessness that breeds criminal activities across the country. He should make sure that no individual is above the law, whatever the individual may be. He should also screen the military and weed out the sympathizers of the insurgents.” Dali also talked about how the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency has targeted EYN and its members. Go to .

— Moscow Church of the Brethren in Mount Solon, Va., celebrates 50 years with a Homecoming Service at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 14. Mark Liller is the guest speaker.

Photo courtesy of Black Rock Church
Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa., designated proceeds from its third annual Spring Fair on May 9 to the food pantry of Lazarus United Church of Christ in Lineboro, Md. Shown here: (standing, from left) Donna Hanke, Alma Shaffer, Helen Geisler, Jen Hanke, Jan Croasmun (Black Rock representative), Samantha Dickmyer, Sophia Dickmyer, Helen Warner, Sara Dickmeyer; (seated) pastor Sam Chamelin, pastor David Miller.

— Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa., designated proceeds from its third annual Spring Fair on May 9 to the food pantry of Lazarus United Church of Christ in Lineboro, Md., reports a release from the church. Lazarus Church started a food pantry for needy families several years ago. After the Lazarus Church building burned down in 2013, the congregation continued to operate the food pantry out of a mobile classroom donated by another church. The food pantry relies on donations from individuals, groups, and local businesses, providing bags of groceries to families on the third Saturday of each month. A check for $1,965.52 was presented to Lazarus pastor Sam Chamelin by Black Rock pastor David Miller on Sunday, June 7, in the food pantry facility with several pantry volunteers and the chair of the Spring Fair present. These two churches have a history of uniting with each other for special activities and musical events. The 2015 Spring Fair is just one more tradition that both churches hope to continue.

— Mount Pleasant Church of the Brethren in North Canton, Ohio, is getting attention for its work on a community garden. “Looking for a small piece of ground to grow a few fresh vegetables this summer? Mount Pleasant Community Garden…has just the right spot. The ground has already been tilled and it’s waiting for planting,” said the opening sentences of a news report on the church’s garden, published in “The Suburbanite” of Canton, Ohio. The garden was started in 2011 as a way to donate fresh vegetables to the Stark County Hunger Task Force. Since then it has donated more than 35,000 pounds of food to the task force, and has opened up a number of plots to the community for use by local gardeners. Last year 24 growers participated, and the church said there is enough area to allow many more, the news piece reported. See .

— Limestone Church of the Brethren is hosting a “Crusin’ for Christ Summer Car Show” on June 27 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at Grandview School parking lot in Telford, Tenn. An invitation from Southeastern District said, “Bring your antique classic and come join the fun. Open to all class divisions. First 50 cars entered will receive free dash plaque. Admission is free. Concessions will be sold. Donations appreciated.” All money received will go to help finish the church’s fellowship hall. For more information contact Patty Broyles at 423-534-0450 or pastor Jim Griffith at 423-306-2716.

— In more news from Southeastern District, the district is asking for volunteers to work at the Thunder Valley Nationals, a drag race at the Bristol Motor Speedway, on June 19, 20, and 21 as a fundraiser for Camp Placid. “All who worked the last race had lots of fun!” said the announcement. “This is Father’s Day weekend, so it has been harder to get enough people. You must be at least 18 years old.” Times are 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, and 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday. Contact Kathy Blair at 423-753-7346.

— Northern Indiana District is hosting an auction in support of the Nigeria Crisis Response, reports district executive minister Torin Eikler. The Auction and Relief Sale for Nigeria will be held Saturday, June 27, at Creekside Church of the Brethren, 60455 CR 113, Elkhart, Ind. Doors open at 9 a.m., and the auction begins at 10 a.m. “Thanks to the support of several congregations, we are looking forward to a wonderful event with on-site food, a bake sale, a silent auction, and the main auction event,” said the announcement. “As a special treat, the EYN Women’s Choir will be providing a concert following the auction at 1:30 p.m. The concert is provided freely, and donations will be accepted.” All proceeds will go to the Church of the Brethren’s Nigeria Crisis Fund. Credit cards will be accepted. For more information contact the Northern Indiana District Office at 574-773-3149.

— Dates have been set for the next Western Regional Youth Conference in 2016, to be held over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, Jan. 15-17, on the campus of the University of La Verne in southern California. The theme will be “Becoming the Beloved Community” (Luke 17:20). Registration, fees, details about leadership, and information on special events will be made available later this summer, said an announcement from Pacific Southwest District.

— The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., presents the theatrical production “Jordan’s Stormy Banks” on June 12-14. A drama in two acts, “Jordan’s Stormy Banks” tells the story of one Shenandoah Valley family’s struggles during the Civil War and how they reconcile loyalty to family, to country, and to their Lord. Under the direction of Alisha Huber, the production will be staged at Eastern Mennonite University Main Stage Theater. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on June 12, 13 and 14 and at 3 p.m. as a matinee on June 14. Tickets cost $15 for adults; $12 for seniors, students, and groups of 10 or more; and $6 for children 7-12 years old. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 540-438-1275. “Jordan’s Stormy Banks” is an original production commissioned by the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center and written by Liz Beachy Hansen. Last performed in 2012, “Jordan’s Stormy Banks” is being presented as a part of the Valley Brethren Mennonite Heritage Center’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center seeks to share and celebrate the story of Jesus Christ as it has been reflected in the lives of the Mennonites and Brethren in the Shenandoah Valley. For more information visit or call 540-438-1275.

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