Brethren Bits for June 3, 2015

— Betsy Mullich has resigned as program assistant in the Brethren Disaster Ministries office at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Her resignation takes effect on June 12. She has served in this role since Feb. 16, 2009. Mullich became “the hub of the BDM wheel keeping many moving parts working and flowing,” said the notice of her resignation. She has been “information hub” and “part of a database guru duo” for Brethren Disaster Ministries, and also has served as greeter for visitors to the office and warehouse facilities in New Windsor, handling both little details and vital relationships. “The stability that Betsy has provided to BDM has allowed the ministry to expand its programs to meet many different current needs for disaster relief for families in the US and in the world,” said the announcement.

— Aaron Neff will serve as the 2015-16 intern for the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. He is a 2015 graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., where he received a bachelor of arts degree in music and history. A member of the Church of the Brethren, he has attended National Youth Conference, the Christian Citizenship Seminar, and the Bridgewater (Va.) College Round Table.

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks a personnel coordinator and Palestine Project support coordinator. Starting date for the personnel coordinator is Dec. 1, 2015, with likely participation in CPT’s peacemaker training in October. The position is a 100 percent full-time equivalent, two-year term, with a possibility of a third year. Stipend is a CPT stipend, need-based, up to $2,000 per month for full-time work. Full health coverage is provided. Location is Chicago, Ill., in an office equipped with accessible ramp and facilities on the ground floor. Application and relevant materials must be sent electronically to hiring@cpt.org by June 30. Find details at www.cpt.org/personnelcoordinator . Starting date for the support coordinator for the Palestine Project based in Al-Khalil/Hebron is Sept. 1. The position is a 50 percent full-time equivalent, with a three-year renewable contract. Stipend is a CPT stipend, need-based, up to $1,000 per month for part-time work. Full health coverage is provided. Preferred location is global, with ability to enter Israel, Palestine, and the United States. An exception is for Palestinian applicants living in the West Bank. Application and relevant materials must be sent electronically to hiring@cpt.org by June 30. CPT is engaged in an organization-wide process of transformation to undo racism and other oppressions and is working towards more truly reflecting the wide human diversity. Persons of the global majority are strongly encouraged to apply. Details are at www.cpt.org/palestinecoordinator . The mission of Christian Peacemaker Teams is building partnerships to transform violence and oppression, with a vision of a world of communities that together embrace the diversity of the human family and live justly and peaceably with all creation. CPT is committed to work and relationships that: honor and reflect the presence of faith and spirituality; strengthen grassroots initiatives; transform structures of domination and oppression; embody creative nonviolence and liberating love. For more information about CPT go to www.cpt.org .

— Nigerian Brethren are giving thanks for 35 people from EYN families who escaped from Gwoza, a community overtaken by Boko Haram early in the insurgency. Boko Haram had claimed Gwoza as its headquarters but recently has been forced out of the area by the military. EYN sent the Nigeria Crisis Response staff a list of 16 adults, many of whom escaped Gwoza with one or more children. Most of the people on the list were from the EYN congregations of Gavva No. 1, Gavva No. 2, and Gavva No. 3. It was reported that the escapees spent four days on the way from Gwoza before the Nigerian military took them to safety in Maiduguri.

— Amnesty International has released a 130-page report documenting horrific human rights abuses by the Nigerian military in recent years, as it has battled against the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency. “In the course of security operations against Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria, Nigerian military forces have extrajudicially executed more than 1,200 people; they have arbitrarily arrested at least 20,000 people, mostly young men and boys; and have committed countless acts of torture. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Nigerians have become victims of enforced disappearance; and at least 7,000 people have died in military detention,” said the introduction to the lengthy and detailed document. “Amnesty International has concluded that these acts, committed in the context of a non-international armed conflict, constitute war crimes for which military commanders bear both individual and command responsibility, and may amount to crimes against humanity.” Amnesty International is calling on the US Congress and the Obama administration to work with the new Buhari government in Nigeria to end the use of torture and break the culture of impunity, and is specifically calling for investigation of nine senior Nigerian military figures for war crimes. “Leaked internal military documents show categorically that senior military officials were regularly updated on the high rates of deaths among detainees through daily field reports, letters, and assessment reports sent by field commanders to the defense and army headquarters. Nigeria’s military leadership therefore knew, or should have known, about the nature and scale of the crimes being committed,” said Amnesty International general secretary Salil Shetty in an opinion piece originally published in “Foreign Policy.” Read the opinion piece at http://allafrica.com/stories/201506031517.html . Find the full Amnesty report at www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr44/1657/2015/en .

— The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership is providing a “Healthy Boundaries 201″ training session at Annual Conference this year in Tampa, Fla. Licensed and ordained clergy needing this training along with the overview of the 2008 Ethics in Ministry Relation Paper are invited to register for this continuing education event. This training session will take place at Tampa’s Marriott Waterside Hotel on Friday, July 10, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., with a break for lunch. Leadership is provided by Lois Grove, who recently retired as Minister of Leadership Development for Northern Plains District and who has served as TRIM coordinator for the district, and by Tim Button-Harrison, district executive for Northern Plains District. If interested in attending this Healthy Boundaries 201 training, please contact the Brethren Academy at academy@bethanyseminary.edu . Instruction for the training will be offered in English. A resource book is available in Spanish. The fee is $20. The registration deadline is June 30. Mail registration and fee to the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374. For questions contact Fran Massie at academy@bethanyseminary.edu or academy@brethren.org or go to www.bethanyseminary.edu/academy .

— The Church of the Brethren’s Office of Public Witness is inviting Brethren to a webinar about World Refugee Day. The webinar is hosted by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition on June 15 at 4 p.m. (Eastern time). Titled “Standing in Solidarity with Refugees on World Refugee Day and Beyond” the webinar anticipates World Refugee Day on June 20, and will include advocacy updates about Syrian refugees, protections for Central American children and families fleeing violence, and positive refugee legislation. “We will discuss how people of faith can advocate around these important issues,” said the announcement. “As June 29-July 2 is Refugee Community Advocacy week, we’re encouraging everyone to schedule local, in-district visits with Senators and Representatives while they are in their local district offices.” RSVP at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16eunXY1jD9Px09ooeOddQi5F44aFRo2EV1s0YPpqJJ0 . The call-in number is 805-399-1000, code 104402. The link for the visual portion of the webinar is http://join.me/faith4immigration .

— “Historical documents wanted,” said an announcement from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. “In an effort to reclaim storage space, church leaders often discard documents, not realizing that they tell the story of the work of people of God in communities around the world. If you have items relating to the history of your congregation, district, or even ministries of the national church, even bulletins from special services, please forward them to the BHLA.” The archives’ addreess is BHLA, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

— The 26th annual World Hunger Auction Bike Ride is scheduled for June 6, beginning at 8 a.m. at Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va. “The World Hunger Auction and its other local events have raised more than $1 million over the past 30 years,” reports an article about the bike ride, published in the “Franklin News-Post.” “Funds have been distributed through Heifer International, Roanoke Area Ministries, Heavenly Manna, and Church of the Brethren Global Food Crisis Fund. In 2014, the bike ride included 37 riders and generated over $4,100. Last year’s World Hunger Auction events raised a total of $50,750.” The ride will include routes for every age and fitness level, including 5, 10, 25, and 50 mile routes, and rest stops with refreshments for the 25 and 50 mile routes. Support will be available for all the riders in case of repairs or other needs. Read the article at www.thefranklinnewspost.com/article.cfm?ID=30047 . Registration and pledge forms are at www.worldhungerauction.org and registration forms will be available the morning of the ride. Contact pastor Eric Anspaugh at 540-488-4630.

— “Play golf and help children!” said an announcement of the 4th Annual Franklin County Golf Tournament to benefit the Children’s Aid Society. The benefit specifically aids the Frances Leiter Center in Chambersburg, Pa. The Children’s Aid Society (CAS) is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren’s Southern Pennsylvania District. The golf tournament takes place June 25 at the Chambersburg Country Club, with registration from 12 noon-1 p.m. and the tournament start at 1 p.m. Fee for the four-person scramble is $85 for an individual player and $320 for a foursome team. Registration includes a box lunch, greens fees, carts, range balls, snacks, prizes, and appetizers following the tournament. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For a registration form and sponsorship information go to http://files.ctctcdn.com/5abcefe1301/cd7c7622-9701-4ea0-a49b-284960a36fca.pdf . For more information about the Children’s Aid Society go to www.cassd.org .

— “Practical Renewal, Celebrating the Joy of Following Jesus” is the title for the Spring of Living Water Spiritual Disciplines folder this summer. Springs of Living Water church renewal initiative is led by David and Joan Young. The folder provides daily readings of scriptures according to the theme, along with questions for each passage following the Brethren practice to live the meaning of the text each day. The folder is written by Thomas Hanks, pastor of Friends Run and Smith Creek Church of the Brethren near Franklin, W.Va. Find the folder on the Springs website at www.churchrenewalservant.org . “The folders are very helpful in developing new spiritual energy for individuals and congregations as they seek their next step in their spiritual journey,” said a note from the Springs Initiative. For more information, contact David and Joan Young at 717-615-4515.

— On June 13, Mission 21 is celebrating “200 Years of Basel Mission” with a reception and gala dinner at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Mission 21, formerly Basel Mission, is one of the Church of the Brethren’s partners in the Nigeria Crisis Response and for many years has been a partner in mission with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Mission 21 has posted a short video to help celebrate the anniversary. View it at www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis/response.html . Find out more about Mission 21 at www.mission-21.org .

— Reuters has reported news from the World Food Program (WFP), that food shortages threaten some 200,000 people in northern Cameroon “after cross-border raids by Islamist sect Boko Haram forced people to flee their homes and fields.” Dated May 29, the report anticipated that “food production in one of Cameroon’s poorest regions is likely to be further hit by insecurity just as food reserves run low with the approach of the lean season,” and cited United Nations expectations for more refugees and displaced people in northwest Cameroon even though military efforts in Nigeria have been pushing Boko Haram insurgents out of areas they had been overtaking earlier this year. Reuters cited a statistic from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, that “the number of people in northern Cameroon who have fled their homes due to cross-border violence has tripled since January to 106,000,” and that in the past six months the WFP has struggled to get funds and “was only able to provide food assistance to 68,000 displaced people in April in May, and only for two weeks.” A WFP spokesperson said 35 percent of children in border areas are malnourished. Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has said that thousands of EYN church members are among the refugees who have fled into Cameroon in order to get away from the insurgent violence that has plagued northeast Nigeria. Find the Reuters reports at http://allafrica.com/stories/201506010293.html .