Brethren Bits for June 24, 2015

The EYN Women’s Fellowship Choir and BEST group from Nigeria arrived in the US Monday afternoon, and began their summer tour that evening with a dinner hosted by the Zigler Hospitality Center at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. “Carroll County Times” was there to report on the event, and videotaped the choir singing for those welcomed them to Maryland. Video, photos, and a news report appeared as the first story on the newspaper’s website yesterday at . A direct link is at .
Other newspapers have published stories in advance of the choir’s arrival in their communities including “The Reporter” which published an interview with a Nigeria volunteer and local pastor in advance of a concert at the Peter Becker Community in Pennsylvania. Interviewed were Donna Parcell, who has returned from volunteering with the Nigeria Crisis Response, and pastor Mark Baliles of Indian Creek Church of the Brethren; go to . The piece has been picked up by the Montgomery News as well, see .
An interview with Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer appeared in the “Courier-News” of Elgin, Ill., in advance of Friday’s concert, see .
The Hagerstown (Md.) “Herald-Mail” helped share news about the choir’s Tuesday evening concert with an article quoting pastor Tim Hollenberg-Duffey, at .

On July 7, at noon, the EYN Women’s Fellowship Choir and BEST group will be at an event of singing, conversation, and lunch at the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness. The event at the building located at 100 Maryland Ave N.E., Washington, DC 20002, is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested to help the organizers prepare enough food for the lunch. Send RSVPs to Nate Hosler, Director, Office of Public Witness, .

A potluck is being held for the EYN team who will visit San Diego (Calif.) First Church of the Brethren on Tuesday, June 30. “Please join us for potluck with members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria,” said an invitation from church members, posted on Facebook. The San Diego Church is located at 3850 Westgate Place, on the “peace campus” by the junction of Routes 805 and 94. The potluck begins at 6 p.m. (Pacific time), followed by a program at 7 p.m. The series of paintings of the Chibok girls being created by artist Brian Meyer will be on display. Speaking at the event will be Markus Gamache, staff liaison for EYN, and Zakaria Bulus, who has chaired EYN’s national youth program. “They will describe how EYN continues to live out their faith and to give thanks for the prayers and support of the Church of the Brethren and other partners in responding to their needs,” said the announcement. For more information call the church office at 619-262-1988.

BBC’s World Update radio program on June 19 aired a segment about four of the Chibok schoolgirls who escaped from Boko Haram, who have been living in the US. More than 200 of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram are still missing but four who managed to escape are now living in Oregon, having been brought by a nonprofit group to the US in order to continue their education in America. The BBC interviewed “Cosmopolitan” magazine’s Abigail Pesta, who spent time with the four girls named Mercy, Sarah, Deborah, and Grace. Listen to the radio segment at .

(Shown above: EYN Women’s Fellowship Choir performing in Nigeria, photo by Carol Smith)

— Kelley Brenneman is concluding her service as intern for the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA). Next week, the BHLA will welcome Aaron Neff as the archival intern for 2015-16. He is a member of New Covenant Church of the Brethren in Gotha, Fla., and a graduate of the history department at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., where he earned a bachelor of arts in history and a bachelor of arts in music. At the college, he undertook a project to digitize historical documents and study microfiche records. His involvement with the Church of the Brethren has included attendance at Christian Citizenship Seminar, National Youth Conference, and the Bridgewater (Va.) College Roundtable. He has worked on the staff of Camp Ithiel in Gotha, where he has been a lifeguard and maintenance staff since 2009. He also has played the bass and violin and has been part of the chorus at First Congregational Church of Winter Park. Since 2011 he has worked as a professional violinist, performing professionally with other musicians in a variety of ensembles, and has tutored string students.

— The Church of the Brethren has hired Jeremy Dyer of Frederick, Md., as warehouse assistant at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. His primary responsibilities include supporting the work in Material Resources by assisting with folding quilts, baling, and loading and unloading trailers. He attends Frederick Church of the Brethren.

— Brian Gumm has resigned as minister of Leadership Development in Northern Plains District, in order to take a more limited role related to district communications. The district newsletter has announced a search for candidates for the following three part-time positions: minister of Leadership Development (detailed information at ); minister of Communications (details at
); and District Conference support (go to
). For more information contact Beth Cage, Northern Plains District Board president, at , or Tim Button-Harrison, Northern Plains District executive minister, at .

— Pastor Brian Flory of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., is one of the young Christian leaders interviewed in a “New York Times” article on faith and environment. “For Faithful, Social Justice Goals Demand Action on Environment” also interviews a young Mennonite leader from Illinois, and others who are making the connection between care for the earth and a Christian response to poverty including Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. It follows up on a “sweeping encyclical” issued by Roman Catholic Pope Francis that “may prove to be a watershed, highlighting the issues of social justice at the heart of the environmental crisis,” the article states. On the print edition, Flory photo appears on the front page. Go to .

— On Earth Peace has announced that it is “developing a series of opportunities to connect with people in our constituency who are wanting to work for racial justice.” In a recent e-mail newsletter, the Church of the Brethren agency announced that “this summer we are working to develop a multi-racial and multi-ethnic community of practice for racial justice organizing–people from different backgrounds and life experiences who are working for racial justice or exploring their call to do so. Participants in the community will gain nourishment, inspiration, and ideas for action, and offer their own wisdom and gifts to others seeking their next steps as racial justice workers.” One part of this effort has been briefings before and after a June 23 conference call offered by SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) on the topic “Basebuilding: Organizing from a Place of Mutual Interest.” The next call is scheduled for June 25 at 2-3 p.m. (Eastern time). For more about SURJ go to . Contact to express interest in the work for racial justice.

— Bassett Church of the Brethren in Virlina District will celebrate its 90th anniversary on Sunday, Aug. 23. According to an announcement from the district, the day will begin with a 10 a.m. service featuring memories and special messages from former pastors and members. The 11 a.m. worship service will feature David Shumate, Virlina District executive minister, as guest speaker. A covered dish lunch will follow. A special invitation is extended to all former pastors and members of the church.

— Donna Rhodes, executive director of the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, was one of two students to receive Juniata College’s first diplomas in a new master’s degree program in nonprofit leadership. At this year’s commencement ceremony at the school in Huntingdon, Pa., Rhodes joined Adam Miller, director of emergency management for Huntingdon County, as the historic first recipients for Juniata’s master’s degree in nonprofit leadership, according to a college release. The program is directed by Celia Cook-Huffman, professor of conflict resolution. Both recipients hold bachelor degrees from Juniata, Rhodes having earned hers in 1984, and Miller earning his in 2008. The release noted that Rhodes holds a ministry training certificate from the Church of the Brethren and worked early in her career to coordinate the educational ministry at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon. “Even though my current job is a ministry, there are so many other aspects of governance related to a nonprofit business,” she explained in the release. “Juniata’s nonprofit leadership degree enhanced my administrative skills.”

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