Brethren Bits for March 18, 2015

Wilfried Warneck

— Remembrance: The Brethren Service office in Europe has shared a remembrance of Wilfried Warneck, a leader of Church and Peace who passed away on March 10 at age 85 in Wethen, Germany, where he lived for the last 11 years. “We celebrate his life which was dedicated to following Jesus, his roots in the community life of Laurentiuskonvent, and his tireless engagement to challenge the churches to commit themselves to a biblical life of nonviolence and justice,” said a notice from Church and Peace, which has been a partner with Brethren Volunteer Service for some decades. Church and Peace is a European ecumenical network made up of congregations, communities, organizations, and individuals committed to active witness for peace. Warneck served as executive secretary from 1975-1990. A funeral service was held on Monday, March 16. Memorial donations are received for Church and Peace.

— The Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness has shared information about a leadership search by the National Farm Worker Ministry. The National Farm Worker Ministry, a faith-based organization committed to justice for and empowerment of farm workers, seeks a dynamic, passionate executive director with demonstrated nonprofit leadership skills and commitment to social justice. Further position and application information can be found on the NFWM website at NFWM Executive-Director Position Announcement. Review of applications will begin April 6 and will continue until filled. Go to http://nfwm.org .

— Congregational Life Ministries executive Jonathan Shively is the presenter for a two-day continuing education event in Illinois and Wisconsin District on the topic “Congregational Vitality: The Shape and Practices of the Church in Mission.” The event takes place at Dickson Valley Retreat Center in Newark, Ill., on Monday, April 20, from 7-9 p.m., through Tuesday, April 21, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. “A congregation’s mission effectiveness is integrally tied to its vitality,” said an announcement from the district. “Its vitality is an indicator of the capacity of the congregation to recognize and release the spiritual gifts with which God has graced it. Spiritual gifts are an expression of discipleship. This workshop will explore congregational mission vitality as an outgrowth of spiritual gifts rooted in discipleship. The discipleship process will be explored, gifts will be defined, vitality will be described, and practical tools will be shared to promote health and mission for your congregation. Bring your questions, experience, and best practices as we learn together.” Cost is $50 for workshop, lunch, lodging, and .8 continuing education units. Registrations are due by March 20. Contact Illinois/Wisconsin District Office, 269 E. Chestnut St., Canton, IL  61520; 309-649-6008; bethc.iwdcob@att.net .

— More than a year ago, Congregational Life Ministries set out to document the markers of Congregational Vitality–gathering, calling, forming, and sending–using dozens of examples shared from within the denomination. With the recently published issue of “Basin and Towel” on “Sending,” this four-issue series is now complete. If you are not a regular subscriber or if you would like to be able to share additional copies of this series, it is now available as a set. Numbers are limited. Contact Randi Rowan at rrowan@brethren.org or 800-323-8039. Cost for the set, including shipping, is $15.

— Material Resources has packed and shipped a 40-foot truckload of bandages and medical supplies donated by the White Cross to American Baptist International Ministries hospitals in the Congo. Material Resources is a Church of the Brethren program working out of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The program stores, processes, packs, and ships relief materials within the United States and around the world, on behalf of ecumenical partners. The White Cross is a volunteer ministry of American Baptist women and churches. Among other things, they roll bandages and give money to buy hospital supplies. “Rolled bandages save lives!” said a release from the International Ministries. “What does a Band-Aid cost? Ten cents? Now imagine running a hospital serving patients who make less than a dollar a day. The cost of daily dressing changes for a burn, surgery, or deep laceration, paid at US rates, might exceed a year’s income for most patients.” Read the release at www.internationalministries.org/read/56658-the-white-cross-container-arrived .

— A guest post by Church of the Brethren young adult Jenna Walmer has been shared on the Office of Public Witness blog. Walmer, who will attend Bridgewater (Va.) College in the fall, writes about her work to discern a calling in life, and how it relates to a “job shadowing” visit she made to the Office of Public Witness. She had been preparing to become a physical therapist, but “being raised in the Church of the Brethren provided me with a passion for peace, and as I grow up that passion burns brighter,” she wrote. “Fast forward to this past summer in Colorado, I had a change of heart. I spent a few days with seminary professors before National Youth Conference exploring my call. During Exploring Your Call, we explored ways we know it is God’s will for what we are pursuing. One that especially applies to me is the compelling of the Holy Spirit, or nudges from God.  Over the past few years, the word “peace” has been etched in my heart, and during that week I recognized that this is where I was being ‘nudged.’” Read her full blogpost at https://www.brethren.org/testblog/2015/guest-post-jenna-walmer-reflects-on-her-call-and-a-visit-to-the-office-of-public-witness .

— Bethany Theological Seminary’s Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults has issued a reminder that registration is still open for “Anabaptism, the Next Generation,” an event held at the seminary in Richmond, Ind., on April 17-19. The event is for those in ministry with young adults and welcomes all who want to explore the growing edges of Anabaptism. Go to www.bethanyseminary.edu/YAForum2015 for more information and to register.

— Pike Run Church of the Brethren in Somerset, Pa., is celebrating its 100th anniversary on Sunday, April 19. “We are inviting friends of the district and community to share in the afternoon service at 3 p.m.,” said an invitation in the Western Pennsylvania District newsletter. A meal will follow the service.

— An “Early Christian Meal” will be held at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community Church of the Brethren on Good Friday evening April 3, at 6:30 p.m. “Space is limited, so please make your reservations by Palm Sunday morning,” said an invitation in the Western Plains District newsletter. A donation of $6 per person is requested. “Because this is a somber and reflective experience, it may not be suitable for your younger children,” said the invitation. The experience will recreate the biblical account: “This is the night that will be recreated at the Early Christian Meal. Those of us who have known Jesus will gather together in a time of sorrow, doubt, reflection, worship, questioning, mourning. In the crowd will be people we may recognize from our own experiences, people like Peter, or Mary Magdalene, or Zaccheus. They, with us, will recall their experiences with Jesus and share their feelings on this evening. Followers will recall the last supper and remember Christ’s words in the sharing of the bread and the wine. The setting and mood will be one of worship and reflection as we share a traditional meal of the time and as we remember Christ’s influence on each of our lives. As a follower of Jesus, you are invited to share in this special experience.” For more information or to make reservations call coordinators June Switzer (620-728-5810) or Terri Torres (620-960-0523).

— A 3rd Annual Spring Fair is planned for Saturday, May 9, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa. All Star York Suburban Jazz Band and the York Jr. Symphony Wind Ensemble, as well as the EHMIS Show Choir are featured, and the event includes food options such as rotisserie chicken, and pit beef. A bounce house, a Silent Auction, and a butterfly release are part of the activities. The event benefits the Lazarus Food Pantry of Carroll County, Md. Contact 717-637-6170 or see www.blackrockchurch.org .

— An all-district “Auction and Relief Sale for Nigeria” is planned by Northern Indiana District for June 27 at Creekside Church of the Brethren in Elkhart, Ind. The fundraiser for Nigeria crisis relief is to include an auction, a bake sale, food, entertainment, and children’s activities. “We envision it as an opportunity to showcase the gifts and generosity of the N. Indiana district on behalf of persecuted and displaced people in Nigeria,” said an invitation written by Rosanna McFadden on behalf of the district board and the Creekside Church Outreach Team. The district hopes that the EYN Women’s Choir may be able to be present on the day of the auction. In an additional effort, the district’s children are invited to get involved in “Kids for Change,” a program in which children collect 40 quarters ($10) to dedicate to Nigeria. “We will collect and consecrate the canisters at district conference in September,” McFadden wrote.

— Camp Bethel’s annual Sounds of the Mountains Festival of Music and Storytelling is April 17-18. It will be the 14th festival hosted by the camp located near Fincastle, Va. This year’s event features nationally known tellers Donald Davis, Dolores Hydock, Patrick Ball, and Baba Jamal Koram, as well as performances by After Jack and the Back Porch Studio Cloggers. Tickets and information are available at www.soundsofthemountains.org .

— Shepherd’s Spring, a camp and outdoor ministry center in Mid-Atlantic District, is holding a Birdwatcher Retreat on May 1-3. The event is for beginner to intermediate birders and is “a great family opportunity,” said an announcement. “It will include some basic bird watching techniques, bird games, migration information, planting and feeding suggestions for your backyard, and time to listen to the sounds of the birds in the area.” The retreat is led by professional ornithologist and executive director of the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory Chris Eberly, and University of Maryland- Eastern Shore biology professor Doug Ruby. Cost for the full retreat package including two night’s lodging and four meals is $125. A reduced price is available for those who do not wish to stay overnight. Bring your own binoculars and field guides. Call 301-223-8193.

— This year the Outdoor Ministries Team of Western Plains District offers a new experience for campers: “On the Edge” Survival Camp held Aug. 2-7 at Camp Mt. Hermon in Kansas. The camp is limited to 12 campers (half girls, half boys) who have completed grades 7 to 10. Leaders/co-directors will be Randall Westfall and Jan Hurst. Cheryl Mishler will be the spiritual adviser and nurse. Learn more at www.westernplainschurchofthebrethren.org/2015/02/22/new-on-the-edge-survival-camp-in-august .

— Jean Lichty Hendricks, a 1969 graduate of McPherson (Kan.) College, is one of this year’s recipients of the college’s Citation of Merit award for most distinguished alumni. Hendricks is a member of the Church of the Brethren who has been a teacher, and a minister in the church, and served for seven years as president and general manager of the Mutual Aid Association for the Church of the Brethren. She also has worked for McPherson College as director of church relations and in several volunteer roles. For more about the award and its recipients, see a report in the “McPherson Sentinel” at www.mcphersonsentinel.com/article/20150311/NEWS/150319821/-1/news .

— The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College holds its annual banquet on April 9 at 5:30 p.m. The meal will be followed by a program at 7 p.m. that includes the Durnbaugh Lecture given by Donald Kraybill on the topic, “The Young Center: From Swamp to International Center of Scholarship.” Kraybill is Distinguished College Professor and Senior Fellow at the Young Center. Cost for the dinner is $15. Reservations are required by March 26. The lecture is free of charge and reservations are not required. On April 10, from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Kraybill and others will present the Durnbaugh Seminar on the topic, “How a Maverick Amish Group Impacted Federal Hate Crimes.” Cost for the seminar, which includes lunch, is $10 and reservations are required by March 26. For more information, call 717-361-1470 or visit www.etown.edu/youngctr/events .

— “Living Out Our Relationship with the Living Lord” is the title for the next Spiritual Disciplines folder for the Easter season, from the Springs of Living Water church renewal initiative led by David and Joan Young. The folder runs from April 12 through Pentecost on May 30. “Along with the Epiphany Season, the Easter Season is one of the two seasons of joy in the Christian year with the resurrection celebrated and baptisms held,” says the announcement of the new folder. The folder follows the books of 1 and 2 Corinthians and assists individuals and congregations in scripture reading and prayer, following the Brethren practice to live the meaning of the text each day. An insert provides an overview of spiritual disciplines and ways to put them into practice. Both the folder and the Bible study questions, which can be used for group study, are written by Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren south of Pittsburgh, Pa. Find the folder and Bible study questions at www.churchrenewalservant.org under the Springs button at II, B. For more information contact David and Joan Young at 717-615-4515.

— Applications for the Peace First Prize Fellowship program for young people age 8 to 22 are due by March 30 at 5 p.m. (eastern time). The prize celebrates the contributions of youth peacemakers by recognizing five young people for their compassion, courage, and ability to create collaborative change. “Through a two-year $25,000 Peace First Fellowship, we will invest in their leadership as peacemakers and share their stories with the nation,” said an announcement of the program. For US-based peacemakers only, the program is a two-year investment in young people with a track record of making change in their communities in the United States. Go to http://peacefirst.org for more information.

— The “Goshen (Ind.) News” has published a piece about the many ways Nelda and Dana Snider have been active in service work, as an expression of their faith. The couple are members of Middlebury Church of the Brethren and recently were honored by the Middlebury Chamber of Commerce as Volunteers of the Year. Find the news piece at www.goshennews.com/news/local_news/you-should-know-nelda-and-dana-snider/article_b15cf751-e312-5c36-9880-72cb581bbdfc.html

— The “1,000-plus Letters for Nigeria” campaign is close to achieving a landmark 200 days of writing letters about the situation of Nigerian Brethren to people and organizations of influence across the United States. The campaign is led by Dunker Punks blogger Emmett Eldred. Today–day 198 of the campaign–letters went to Cross-Lines Community Outreach in Kansas City, Kan.; Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, based in Mission, Kan.; and Inter-faith Ministries of Wichita, Kan. Find out more about the campaign and the Dunker Punks movement at http://dunkerpunks.com .