Brethren Bits for May 5, 2015

A webinar on “How Not to Fix People, Including Yourself” will help explore what is it that we may be assuming and impeding when acting to “fix” other people, said an announcement from Stan Dueck, the Church of the Brethren’s director of Transforming Practices. “We are well conditioned to believe that it is our job to fix others and solve their problems for them. If we see someone struggling or uncertain, we are quick to race in and save them from his or her challenges. We have been trained to see this as an act of care, a gift to another. However, is it really?” Presenter Ben Payne works for Remedi, one of the United Kingdom’s leading deliverers of restorative justice. The webinar is offered on Tuesday, May 12, at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time). Ministers may earn .1 continuing education unit for attending the live event. Registration and information is at .

The next webinar in the After Christendom series is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, May 6, at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time). “Join us as Rev. Dr. Simon Perry presents on the topic of Atheism after Christendom,” said an invitation from Stan Dueck, the Church of the Brethren’s director of Transforming Practices. The webinar will explore the role of atheism, particularly in Western culture. Simon Perry is chaplain to Robinson College, University of Cambridge Ministry Team, and Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London. He is author of “Atheism after Christendom: Disbelief in an Age of Encounter” (2015) and “Jesus for Humanists” (2014) as well as other books. The webinar is offered by the Congregational Life Ministries in collaboration with the Anabaptist Network and the Centre for Anabaptist Studies at Bristol Baptist College in the United Kingdom. Registration and information is at .

— The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill the part-time position of hospitality program assistant. This part-time position works directly with the manager of hospitality at the Zigler Hospitality Center on the Brethren Service Center campus in New Windsor, Md. Responsibilities include practical and administrative support of the work in hospitality for the Brethren Service Center including assistance with scheduling volunteers, guests, meetings, community events, and other activities; supervising housekeeping work groups and assisting with dining hall meal service, as needed. Some weekend work may be required. The preferred candidate will exhibit professional verbal and written communication skills, proficiency in organizational skills, strong interpersonal and customer service skills, and must effectively manage multiple simultaneous tasks while working collaboratively in a team environment with integrity and respect. The person who fills this position must be able to support and operate out of the vision, mission, and core values of the Church of the Brethren (go to ). A high school diploma or equivalent and competency in Microsoft Office Outlook, Word, and Excel is required, as is at least one year of experience in hospitality or other customer service environment. Experience with hotel reservations software is preferred. Applications will be received and reviewed beginning immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to request the application packet and complete job description by contacting: Church of the Brethren, Office of Human Resources, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; .

— The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund (NCPTF) and the Peace Tax Foundation (PTF) based in Washington, D.C., seek a qualified individual to assume the part-time position (averaging 24 hours per week) of executive director. NCPTF is a not-for-profit 501(c)(4) organization which advocates for the passage of legislation enabling conscientious objectors to legally direct their taxes to nonmilitary uses. Currently, the bill representing its efforts in the US Congress is The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act (HR 2483). PTF is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that serves to inform and educate the public about conscientious objection to military tax payment and alternatives based on moral, ethical, and religious opposition to participation in war. Decision-making in both organizations is largely consensus-based and depends on a high level of cooperation and consultation between the Executive Director and the Boards of the two organizations. The organizations are seeking an executive director who demonstrates commitment to the non-violent life, to active peacemaking, and to the missions of the NCPTF and the PTF, with a passion for conscientious objection to war; exhibits the gifts and skills to supervise a small staff, office processes, logistical and program deadlines, and budgets while adhering to the policies and practices of the two organizations; can build and organize relationships with leaders of denominations, congregations, and other compatible interest groups to increase awareness of the NCPTF and PTF goals and programs; demonstrates a solid understanding of the legislative process and is comfortable working with Representatives, Senators, their office staffs, and Congressional committee staffs to promote NCPTF and PTF goals and programs; among other requirements. For a full description, see the job posting at . To apply submit a resume and other pertinent materials including a brief (1-4 pages) writing sample (a grant application, an article, a sermon, etc.) to the chairperson of the Personnel Committee of the NCPTF/PTF Boards of Directors, Bob Macfarlane, at prior to June 1.

— “Are you a Dr., nurse practitioner, RN, LPN, or EMT?” said an invitation from the Conference Office. The First Aid Office at Annual Conference in Tampa, Fla., is looking for physicians, nurses with RN or LPN certification, and EMTs willing to volunteer a few hours during Annual Conference this summer. Kathi Horrell is coordinating the First Aid Office at the Conference in Tampa and would be glad to hear from willing volunteers. Please contact her at .

— Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community is seeking candidates for its 2015 Junior Volunteer Program. The Junior Volunteer program will begin with a mandatory orientation on June 17 and 18 and continue through the end of July. “Are you age 12-18?” said an invitation. “Do you want to make a difference in your community? Do you genuinely care about people? Do you want to learn more about the healthcare field?” For more information, please contact Laura Ipock, Director of Volunteer Services, at 828-2682 or .

— A Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) Connections dinner is scheduled for Friday, May 15, at 6:30 p.m. “Whether you’re a long-time supporter or interested in learning more about Brethren Volunteer Service, come join us at York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill.,” said an invitation from Ben Bear, BVS volunteer assistant for recruitment. The evening will include food, fellowship, and stories. BVS will provide a free simple meal of pasta (gluten-free option available) and salad, “while we gather to share stories from any current or alumni volunteers present,” the invitation said. One of the BVS staff will be present to talk about BVS, its work in our world, and how to become involved. RSVP to Ben Bear by e-mail at or call/text 703-835-3612, or “attend” the event on the BVS Facebook page.

— Another BVS information session and dinner will be hosted by BVSer Jessie Houff in Roanoke, Va., this Friday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m. “We invite anyone in the Virlina District who is interested to come to Peters Creek Church of the Brethren for pizza and ice cream AND an informative question and answer session with BVSer Jessie Houff!” said the invitation. “We will meet other BVSers as well as alumni of the organization to share stories and experiences. If you are curious about BVS, this is your time to gather with other youth, young adults, and interested persons to see what it is all about!” RSVP to . For more information go to the Facebook event page at .

— Cliff Kindy, who spent some months volunteering in Nigeria with the Church of the Brethren Nigeria Crisis Response, was on an interfaith panel discussing the Nigeria crisis and how to respond. Lansing (Mich.) Church of the Brethren and the Church of the Brethren’s Michigan District were co-sponsors of the April 18 event along with the Islamic Center of East Lansing, Mich., Edgewood United Church Justice and Peace Task Force, Peace Education Center, Greater Lansing United Nations Association, Michigan Conference United Church of Christ, Haslett Community Church, MSU Muslim Studies Center, All Saints Episcopal Church, Shalom Center for Justice and Peace (Central United Methodist Church), Red Cedar Friends Meeting Peace and Social Justice Committee, People’s Church, Pax Christi Michigan, and others. The forum “presented how Americans and faith communities understand the devastating disorder and inhumanity in Nigeria and respond to it in peaceful, responsible, ethical, and caring ways,” said a description on YouTube. In addition to Kindy, panelists included Thasin Sardar, outreach coordinator at the Islamic Center of East Lansing; and Dauda Abubakar, a Nigerian scholar and assistant professor in the Departments of Africana Studies and Political Science at the University of Michigan-Flint. The moderator was Paul Brun Del Re, a board member of the Peace Education Center. Lucinda Barnum-Steggerda, a Church of the Brethren minister, offered a “Prayer for Peace and for Nigeria and Nigerians” along with Rabbi Michael Zimmerman. The event was videotaped and may be viewed at . Find Cliff Kindy’s presentation starting at .

— Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., celebrated its 90th anniversary with guest speaker former pastor David L. Rogers, according to Virlina District e-mail. May 3 marked the 90th anniversary. Rogers was pastor at Central Church from 1961-69. “During his tenure at Central, David developed inner city ministries for children and youth and cooperative ministries with other churches and community organizations,” said the e-mail announcement. “He co-chaired ‘People, Religion, and Change,’ a major conference which looked at human resources and human needs in the Roanoke area. David left Central to become the senior pastor at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., from 1969 to 1983. Then, until 1998, David was Director of EAP Services at the Otis R. Bowen Center for Human Services. His duties there also included staff development, counseling, consulting, and training. Currently, David is director of the San Raphael Health Clinic in El Salvador. He is President of the North Manchester Shepherd’s Center, Board Member Emeritus of Indiana Mental Health America, and Board Member of Wabash Mental Health America. He also serves on the Witness Commission of Manchester Church of the Brethren…. In retirement, he continues to work as a therapist, consultant, and lecturer.” Following the morning service, the church held a carry-in lunch. A short program followed the meal.

— Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., held a concert on April 17 to join the broader effort to raise funds for victims of the crisis in Nigeria. Reports Marty Keeney, choir director at the Stone Church and the primary organizer of the event: “The members of Stone Church along with others from the local community provided an evening of varied music. This included choral and bell-choir music from the Stone Church music program, keyboard duets from Loren and Donna Rhodes, humorous and inspirational music from Terry and Andy Murray, a men’s choir composed of local physicians, and energetic singing from the church’s children. About 200 generous people were in attendance. We are happy to report that over $16,000 were raised to boost the groundswell of support from the denomination at large. It is interesting to note that Harriet Beahm Kaylor and Naomi Kulp Keeney, both born in Nigeria in the early years of the Brethren mission in Nigeria, were in attendance. Also, a beautiful display of Nigerian items from the Kulp, Kaylor, and Murray families graced the worship center, and an interesting pictorial display from Harriet Kaylor offered pictures of the church in Nigeria from the early years during her childhood, as well as in a follow up visit in 1992…. There was also a great deal of support from pastors Christy and Dale Dowdy, Stone’s worship team which is chaired by Joanne Krugh, and bell director Sharon Yohn. We are all most appreciative of the generosity of the congregation of Stone Church and the broader Huntington community.”

— La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren helped host the 8th annual La Verne Celebration of the Arts this past weekend, according to an article in the “Daily Bulletin” newspaper. The celebration of visual and performing arts included a performance by the Hillcrest Choir, made up of member of the Church of the Brethren-related Hillcrest retirement community, among other groups. Also part of the celebration were displays of art by Church of the Brethren members Eric Davis and Gerald Pence, who is a resident of Hillcrest. Find the newspaper report at

— Penn Run (Pa.) Church of the Brethren was the subject of an “In the Spotlight” feature in the “Indiana Gazette” newspaper. Find the article and a photo of pastor Jeff A. Fackler photographed in the sanctuary at,21839229 .

— As the situation of conflict in South Sudan moves into its 17th month, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is inviting member churches to a special day of prayer  for those affected by the South Sudanese conflict, for the revival of fruitful peace talks, and for new ways ahead on Sunday, May 10. “The WCC has accompanied the churches in South Sudan for more than 40 years,” said a WCC release. “In April this year, the WCC in collaboration with the South Sudan Council of Churches convened 20 church leaders and representatives from South Sudan and Ethiopia, along with related agencies, in Addis Ababa, to reflect on the tragic situation of conflict in South Sudan, the recent collapse of peace talks among the parties to the conflict, and fresh ways forward.” Said WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit, in the release, “The South Sudanese are waiting in excruciating pain for the return of peace…. The church leaders are playing a significant role to bring peace to South Sudan. The churches are representing the people and the civil society and could unite the country. Therefore, the WCC invites its member churches and Christians worldwide to offer special prayers, to restore hope to all people affected by this situation of conflict, and to strengthen all well-intended initiatives.” Worship materials including a prayer, hymn, and photo slideshow on the theme of life in South Sudan are made available on the WCC website at .

— In more news from the WCC, an interfaith initiative at the United Nations has called on governments to ban nuclear weapons. “Nuclear weapons are incompatible with the values upheld by our respective faith traditions,” representatives of some 50 Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish organizations said on May 1. “The inter-religious statement came in a joint call to the 191 governments participating in the world’s largest disarmament treaty,” the WCC release said. “The call, co-sponsored by the World Council of Churches, was made during civil society presentations to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York City.” The statement delivered at the UN by Emily Welty, vice-moderator of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, said in part: “We raise our voices in the name of the shared values of humanity. We reject the immorality of holding whole populations hostage…. There is no countervailing imperative that justifies the continued existence [of nuclear weapons], much less their use.” The signatories, from Europe, Asia, and North America, pledged to make their respective faith communities more aware of the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons, urged governments to heed the voices of atomic bomb survivors, and to begin negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons “in a forum open to all states and blockable by none.”
The 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki loomed over this year’s NPT conference, the release noted. “Aging survivors of the atomic attacks–most already in their 80s–reiterated their calls for nuclear abolition. Many may not be able to attend the next NPT review conference in 2020.” The call to NPT statement, “Faith Communities Concerned about the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons,” may be viewed at .

— Dave Hubner of Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren, was featured in a “Frederick News Post” article about the Frederick Running Festival. “For Dave Hubner, finishing the Frederick Running Festival half marathon meant far more than miles logged or new ‘PR.’” the newspaper reported. “With every step taken, every corner rounded, Hubner…was contributing to a cause near and dear to his heart: Food for the children and staff in the orphanage from which he and his wife adopted their 8-year-old daughter, Ila. ‘It felt like something I was called to do,’ Hubner said.” Find the full article at .

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