Newsline for Feb. 3, 2015

1) Church of the Brethren funds give grants for work in Africa and Haiti

2) Co-directors of Nigeria Crisis Response praise God for ‘phenomenal’ giving

3) Youth Peace Travel Team is named for 2015

4) White Gift Offerings, an Ivester tradition of ministry and outreach

5) Concerned about uncertainties of the Affordable Care Act? Help is on the way

6) Ministers’ Association ‘Delving Deeply into Compassion’ at pre-Conference event

7) Romans 12 provides theme for National Junior High Conference

8) Bethany Seminary to host ‘Anabaptism, the Next Generation’

9) Drone warfare: Easy and cheap

10) Brethren bits: Fahrney-Keedy CEO to retire, Church of the Brethren gets new rep on Brethren Encyclopedia board, plea for Alexander Mack Museum, Glick as Kline is available for Nigeria-focused program, Roundtable at Bridgewater, S. Pennsylvania challenge, more

1) Church of the Brethren funds give grants for work in Africa and Haiti

Grants have gone to several ministries in Africa and Haiti from two funds of the Church of the Brethren, the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) and the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). The four grants total $49,330.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed an EDF allocation of $23,000 for response to major flooding following three days of rain in the far western edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In the poor neighborhoods of the city of Uvira more than 980 homes were destroyed, leaving families without most of their belongings, access to drinking water, stored food, clothing, and shelter. The recipient of the grant, Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (Shalom Ministry), is a ministry of the “Congolese Church of the Brethren,” which while in relationship with Global Mission and Service staff is not yet recognized as an official Church of the Brethren body. The money will provide emergency food, household supplies, and tools to 300 of the most vulnerable households, including 1,000 children, 300 infants, and 800 women. It also will support construction of shelters for two widows.

A GFCF additional allocation of $10,000 supports agriculture work in the DRC. The recipient of the grant, Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (SHAMIRED), is a ministry of Eglise des Freres au Congo (Church of the Brethren in the Congo). The grant will fund tools, agricultural inputs, training in agricultural techniques, and monitoring activities as part of SHAMIRED’s continued work among the Twa people. The Twa are historically a hunter-gatherer society that was evicted from traditional lands in recent decades and brought into conflict, often violent conflict, with its farming neighbors. The new grant request will expand the work to include new Twa families in the cultivation of cassava and bananas/plantains. Twa families that have received training in past years would begin a new vegetable raising initiative, together with Congolese Brethren families who are in need. Previous allocations to this project include: December 2011 $2,500; March 2013 $5,000; March 2014 $5,000.


A GFCF allocation of $10,000 is supporting agriculture work in Rwanda among the Twa (Batwa) people. The project is being administered by ETOMR (Evangelistic Training Outreach Ministries of Rwanda), a ministry of the Evangelical Friends Church of Rwanda. Funds for agricultural inputs and land rental will be used for the expansion of the project to include 60 new families in both an existing potato growing effort and a new maize (corn) growing initiative. A major benefit of the project beyond the potatoes grown for consumption comes from the sale of potatoes to buy annual health insurance for participating families. Previous GFCF grants to this organization in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 totaled $14,026. Since 2011, Carlisle (Pa.) Church of the Brethren also has been supporting this project.


A GFCF allocation of $4,900 supports the attendance of six staff members of the Rural Development Program of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) at an agricultural development forum in Accra, Ghana. Participants will represent EYN’s Agriculture and Integrated Community-Based Development Programs. The conference, organized by the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO), will be geared toward “enabling networking related to alleviating hunger and poverty by those persons serving Africa’s poor.” Funds will cover the travel and lodging costs of these six participants.


A GFCF allocation of $1,430 pays for an engineering study in Acajou, Haiti. This study is for a combination drinking water and irrigation project jointly undertaken by the agricultural staff of Eglise des Freres (Church of the Brethren in Haiti) and the Haiti Medical Project’s community development staff. Future expenses related to the drinking water portion of this project will be supported through the Haiti Medical Project.

For more information about the Global Food Crisis Fund go to . For more information about the Emergency Disaster Fund go to .

2) Co-directors of Nigeria Crisis Response praise God for ‘phenomenal’ giving

By Roxane and Carl Hill

Photo courtesy of Cliff Kindy
Cliff Kindy (right) is pictured here at the site for a camp for displaced people in central Nigeria, near the capital Abuja. This camp sponsored by a nonprofit led by Markus Gamache, staff liaison for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), was originally planned for 10 families from both the Christian and Muslim faiths. Since then, the numbers of displaced people has dramatically increased and the camp is now harboring some 100 families.

“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise…. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made” (Psalm 145:3a, 9).

Praise God for what he has been doing through all of you. Your response to the Nigeria Crisis Fund has been phenomenal! In December alone we received donations of $369,000 from 365 churches and individuals. Eleven churches gave over $5,000 each. In January, two churches donated $50,000 and $157,000 respectively.

Personal notes from churches and donors:

“My parents were missionaries there from mid 1930s to 1950. I feel heartbroken about the terrible tragedies taking place there, and my prayers go out to God on behalf of the people there.”

“I was at Garkida and Lassa as the only doctor in a 100-mile radius. I was also elected as the elder for the two small churches for the Chibok tribe. Pray for my people.”

“This effort has inspired and united our congregation in unimagined ways. We are grateful for your leadership in support of our sisters and brothers across the globe who are suffering at the hands of Boko Haram.”

The situation in Nigeria remains desperate. Additional funds are still needed. President Samuel Dali of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has expressed his appreciation for our fundraising efforts saying they couldn’t do it without us. Markus Gamache, EYN staff liaison, shares his anguish about, “hearing the cry of people with no wisdom to offer in solving their problems.”

Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteer Cliff Kindy provided a report by telephone today, Feb. 3. Here are some highlights:

— Helping organize Peace and Democracy Conference in Yola: promoting civic responsibility as the national elections draw near (scheduled for Feb. 14).

— He will accompany delegates from the Swiss Embassy as they visit IDP (internally displaced person) camps in Yola and survey the conditions in Mubi.

— Boko Haram insurgents continue their campaign of fear with bomb blasts in Gombe where President Goodluck Jonathan was campaigning earlier this week

— He has been instrumental in encouraging and participating in various Trauma Healing workshops. Mennonite Central Committee is sponsoring one for EYN leadership this week, helping these leaders to lead despite the trauma they may be experiencing.

— He received reports that the Nigerian military attacked Boko Haram headquarters in the Sambisi Forest. With the successful defense of the city of Maiduguri, it appears that Boko Haram is being limited to hit-and-run tactics.

— With his encouragement, EYN’s director of education has established a teacher-training program and set up locations to begin teaching at the five IDP camps in Jos.

— As most of us are digging out of the recent snow storm, he is enduring 100-degree heat with failing electricity, and fighting mosquitoes in humid east Nigeria.

— He is asking for prayers for his mother who was recently hospitalized; also, continued prayer for his safety and health as he continues his important work in Nigeria.

For more about the crisis response going on in Nigeria as a cooperative effort of Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Church of the Brethren working with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) go to .

— Roxane and Carl Hill are co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren.

3) Youth Peace Travel Team is named for 2015

By Becky Ullom Naugle

The 2015 Youth Peace Travel Team has been announced. The team is cooperatively sponsored by the Outdoor Ministries Association, On Earth Peace, Bethany Theological Seminary, and the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Public Witness and Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office.

The four team members for 2015 are:
Annika Harley of Madison (Wis.) Mennonite Church
Michael Himlie of Root River Church of the Brethren in Northern Plains District
Brianna Wenger of Woodbridge Church of the Brethren in Mid-Atlantic District
Kerrick van Asselt of McPherson Church of the Brethren in Western Plains District.

As the team spends time with youth this summer at camps across the denomination, they will teach about peace, justice, and reconciliation–all core values throughout the Church of the Brethren’s 300-plus year history.

Follow the ministry of the 2015 Youth Peace Travel Team by visiting .

— Becky Ullom Naugle is director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.

4) White Gift Offerings, an Ivester tradition of ministry and outreach

By Marlene Neher

Photo courtesy of Ivester Church of the Brethren
Ron Brunk, pictured during his most recent trip back to Hawaii where he grew up.

Following the aftermath of World War II, members of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Grundy Center, Iowa, began what has become a long tradition–the White Gift Offering. It began as an offering of clothing, bedding, or other household items for people in need. On a designated Sunday in Advent, members of the congregation were invited to bring a gift, wrapped in white, to place under the church Christmas tree during worship. The gifts were then sent to Church World Service for distribution to needy people.

In more recent years, members have been invited to bring a gift of money in a white envelope for one or more selected projects. Projects chosen usually include a local need and a national or an international need, or a ministry arm of the Church of the Brethren.

Two projects were supported this past Christmas: On Earth Peace and relief work for the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, or EYN).

On Earth Peace works as an educational arm of the Church of the Brethren to teach nonviolent ways to confront conflicts in schools, churches, and in everyday living. The White Gift Offering this year netted $734 for On Earth Peace.

During the past year the Nigerian church, EYN, has suffered great loss of lives, churches, property, and schools in the brutal attacks by Boko Haram. Many church members are living as refugees and in need of the basics of life–food and shelter. The offering for the Nigerian church amounted to $2,070. This amount is being matched at the denominational level!

The Missions and Outreach Team at Ivester is responsible for planning the White Gift Offering each year. Ron Brunk has been team leader for the Missions and Outreach Team for the past several years and just recently retired from that position. His leadership, devotion, and world-wide view has been appreciated as he has so faithfully served.

— Written by Marlene Neher and submitted by pastor Katie Shaw Thompson of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Grundy Center, Iowa.


5) Concerned about uncertainties of the Affordable Care Act? Help is on the way

From a Brethren Benefit Trust release

On Feb. 12, Danny Miller, who serves as legal counsel for benefits to Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), and also serves in that capacity for many mainline Protestant denominations because of his 40 years of experience working with the IRS and church benefit plans, will be discussing the latest news pertaining to the Affordable Care Act in a free webinar. He will be joined by Allison Gardner, a healthcare attorney, who works with him at the Connor and Winters law firm in Washington, D.C.

The webinar, which will begin at 1 p.m. (eastern time) on Thursday, Feb. 12, is sponsored by ECFA, a faith-based organization that focuses on best practice issues. The webinar is free for those who register, and an audio recording will be made available for those who can’t attend the webinar live.

There has been so much confusion about the Affordable Care Act and provisions that pertain to congregations,” said Nevin Dulabaum, BBT president. “This session will provide some context as to the reason for the changes and what they mean to individual congregations. Danny and Allison will hopefully take questions to clear up any remaining ambiguity that still exists after their presentation.”

BBT encourages Church of the Brethren pastors and district executives to sign up for the free webinar.

BBT’s role as an insurance provider within the denomination and as an official Annual Conference agency is to make sure members know which questions they should be asking of their respective accountants and legal counsel to help navigate through ACA rules and restrictions. This webinar gives Church of the Brethren members the opportunity to hear from the team that serves as BBT’s benefits counsel.

Participation is limited, so do not delay in signing up to participate live or to receive an audio recording after the fact. Go to for more information.

— To join the BBT Alert list and receive pertinent news about tax rules, ACA legislation, and more, please send a request via e-mail to Jean Bednar, Director of Communications, Brethren Benefit Trust, at .

6) Ministers’ Association ‘Delving Deeply into Compassion’ at pre-Conference event

By Erin Matteson

The Minister’s Association invites you to join them and Joyce Rupp in Tampa, Fla. Registration is up and running for the pre-Conference Meeting, “Delving Deeply into Compassion,” with Joyce Rupp.

Rupp has avidly researched and spoken on the topic of compassion for the past 10 years. She firmly believes that compassion can change a heart, change a life, change a world. Her presentations include foundational insights, as well as current trends related to being a compassionate presence. She will explore the depths of the vital quality of compassion from numerous dimensions, including scripture, science, medicine, spirituality, and psychology.

The focus of this continuing education event will be personal transformation and the renewal of vision and enthusiasm for ministry. Thus, time will be given for integration of the topic by including periods of dialogue and quiet reflection. Come and delve more deeply into a quality of Jesus meant to permeate the heart and life of the pastoral person.

Three sessions will be held: Friday evening, July 10, from 6-9 p.m.; Saturday, July 11 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. with a lunch break. Childcare is provided at a minimal cost. Continuing education units are available.

Register online at today or by mail using the 2015 Event Registration Form found on that webpage. For questions contact Erin Matteson, Ministers’ Association chair, at or 209-484-5937.

More about Joyce Rupp

Joyce Rupp is well known for her ministry as a writer, “spiritual midwife,” international retreat leader, and conference speaker. She is a member of the Servants of Mary religious community and the author of 22 award-winning books on spiritual growth. She has been a spiritual director for 30 years, and a volunteer for Hospice, and is currently the co-director of the Institute of Compassionate Presence. She resides in Des Moines, Iowa, and can be visited online at .

View Rupp’s video invitation to the Minister’s Association meeting at .

— Erin Matteson is chair of the Church of the Brethren Minister’s Association and co-pastor of Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren.

7) Romans 12 provides theme for National Junior High Conference

By Becky Ullom Naugle

National Junior High Conference will be held June 19-21 on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. The conference will invite youth and their advisors to consider Romans 12:1-2. The theme, “Living the Change: Our Offering to God,” asks participants to consider taking their everyday, ordinary life–our sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life–and place it before God as an offering.

As junior high youth encounter a number of changes in their lives, the conference will encourage them to live the changes in ways pleasing to God. The event will be enriched by worship speakers Lauren Seganos, Steve Schweitzer, Amy Gall Ritchie, and Eric Bishop. Seth Hendricks will be coordinating music, and worship will be coordinated by Rebekah Houff and Trent Smith.

In addition to four celebrations of worship, there will be time for learning during workshops and time for play during recreation and evening activities.

Online registration is open at . Register now to take advantage of early bird rates! Through March 31, the cost is $160 per person. After March 31, the cost for regular registration is $185 per person. Travel scholarships are available to those who live west of the Mississippi River.

For more information and to register, visit or call 847-429-4389. National Junior High Conference is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Office.

— Becky Ullom Naugle is director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.

8) Bethany Seminary to host ‘Anabaptism, the Next Generation’

By Jenny Williams

There is talk about “the new Anabaptist.” What images might this bring to mind? Radical discipleship? Searching for authentic community? Working for peace? Loving Jesus? Simple living? Creation care?

The Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., is hosting a new event that will delve into values long held as traditional to Anabaptism and now appealing to new audiences. “Anabaptism, the Next Generation,” to be held April 17-19, targets those in ministry with young adults and welcomes all who want to explore the growing edges of Anabaptism.

“More young people are drawn toward Anabaptist themes of community and simplicity, perhaps as a countercurrent to pervasive individualism and consumerism,” says Russell Haitch, professor of Christian education and director of the Institute. “Peacemaking is also a concern because of outrageous violence in the global village or even because of domestic conflict. And some are even wanting to know how to become radical disciples of Jesus. So, for all these reasons, we thought it would be great to have a conference focused on what Anabaptism means to this next generation.”

Among the leadership for the forum are the following Brethren and ecumenical voices:

— Chuck Bomar, writer and pastor, is also the founder of iampeople, empowering volunteers to serve others in their communities, and of CollegeLeader, a website of resources for college ministry.

— Josh Brockway, director of spiritual life and discipleship for the Church of the Brethren, brings perspective on how the Brethren are poised well for this new movement in Anabaptism.

— Dana Cassell, minister of youth formation at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, offers expertise on discernment in community among young people.

— Laura Stone, a lifelong Church of the Brethren member and a doctoral student of practical theology and Anabaptism, has a passion for expression of faith through music.

— Dennis Webb, pastor of Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, explores the intersection of Anabaptism and multiculturalism.

— Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, spiritual author and speaker, is the founder of the School of Conversion, building community through prison reform, among the disadvantaged, and in community-based education.

In the style of the increasingly popular TED talks in today’s media, speakers will present topics of relevance and value for community and culture in a series of 20-minute sessions. Leaders also will facilitate discussion groups on topics related to their presentations or other subjects of interest to the group. Participants are encouraged to bring their own questions for conversation with colleagues and forum leadership.

Bekah Houff, coordinator of outreach programs at Bethany, is helping coordinate the event. “The format of this forum came mostly from conversations I’ve had with Brethren young adults across the denomination. Someone suggested a forum in which the speakers gave presentations similar to TED talks instead of longer plenary sessions. People were excited about this idea. Even now as we finalize our leadership and invite people to attend the forum, there is good energy for the format. I’m excited to experience it!”

For those who choose to travel home early, a break in the schedule will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday, with additional group activity and discussion continuing that evening. A formal worship service will be held Sunday morning in addition to scheduled times for singing and worship throughout the forum. Registration begins at noon on Friday. Dinner Friday evening and lunch on Saturday are included in the cost. Early registration will be discounted to $99 through Friday, April 3; the regular cost of $129 will be charged after that date. All students and those in Brethren Volunteer Service can register at any time for $50.

Attendees are encouraged to reserve housing in Richmond early, as several community events are being held that weekend. Blocks of rooms are available at some local hotels, and lodging with host families is an option to reduce costs. Registrants will receive details on housing after their registration has been received. More information and online registration are available at . For assistance contact or 765-983-1809.

— Jenny Williams is director of Communications and Alumni/ae Relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.


9) Drone warfare: Easy and cheap

By Jim Winkler, National Council of Churches

Last summer my extended family gathered for a beach vacation. One afternoon as we were happily enjoying the sun and surf we realized a small drone, much like the one that crashed on the grounds of the White House this week, was hovering over us. For a couple of minutes we found it to be interesting but as the drone remained over us and it became clear the operator was particularly focusing on the women in our family we found it to be unnerving and intrusive. It is estimated some 15,000 consumer drone models are being sold each month in the US alone.

In Palestine, Pakistan, Yemen, and other places much larger, weaponized drones sometimes hover and emit a significant buzzing noise within view of those on the ground. Obviously, this is intended to frighten people. By now, thousands of people in a number of countries have been killed by US drones.

This past weekend, I attended an interfaith conference on drone warfare at Princeton Theological Seminary. We heard from numerous experts on international law, political and international affairs, and moral and ethical thinkers. Rev. Mike Neuroth, co-convener of the NCC Convening Table on Justice and Peace, also attended and moderated a discussion at the conference.

My sense is that drone warfare is demonic. In fact, the General Atomics MQ-9 drone, developed for the US Air Force, is known as the “Reaper,” the symbol of death. Drone warfare has an allure because it permits military and political leaders to say two things you never want to hear said about war: it’s easy and cheap.

Ironically, a 2009 secret CIA report concluded, “The potential negative effect of (High Level Target) operations include increasing the level of insurgent support…strengthening an armed group’s bonds with the population, radicalizing an insurgent group’s remaining leaders, creating a vacuum into which more radical groups can enter, and escalating or de-escalating a conflict in ways that favor the insurgents.”

In other words, if you terrorize a population by firing missiles at them from the sky which result in the deaths of thousands of bystanders, including hundreds of children, you can expect to drive more and more people into the ranks of your enemies.

The smart thing to do would be for President Obama to rescind the authority of the CIA and the US military to use lethal drones and to work with the international community to negotiate a treaty to ban autonomous weapons systems.

The interfaith drone warfare conference is one milestone on a long spiritual journey many people have been on as we confront what Martin Luther King Jr. referred to when he said, “We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

His words are as true today as they were in 1967. It’s time for us to get a move on and bring an end to war.

— Jim Winkler is general secretary and president of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. This reflection appeared in a recent e-mail newsletter from the NCC.

10) Brethren bits

As Brethren seek ways to reach out to members of our sister church in Nigeria, Larry Glick is available to present a special program. Glick is well known for his portrayals of leaders from Brethren history including Brethren founder A. Mack (Alexander Mack Sr.) and Civil War-era elder and martyr for peace John Kline. The special program for Nigeria will include a time of worship, the story of Elder John Kline, a video presentation on the crisis in Nigeria, and will conclude with an opportunity to contribute to the Nigeria Crisis Fund. Contact Larry Glick at .

— Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren-related continuing care retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., has announced the retirement of CEO and president Keith Bryan. Bryan, who has been the chief executive since 2010, will retire on Dec. 31. He shared in a release: “The time has come for me to begin planning for my retirement… This decision does not come without prayer and discussion with my family.” Chair of the Board of Directors, Lerry Fogle, commented, “During his tenure as CEO/president, Keith has guided us through some challenging times.  He has returned the organization to financial soundness, restructured and worked on operational efficiency, strongly networked Fahrney-Keedy with the larger community, worked to strengthen the executive team and the board, and played a significant role in developing strategic and master plans for future expansion and development.  Fahrney-Keedy is a better community because of Keith’s valued leadership. We will be looking for a chief executive to continue strong leadership, strategic thinking, and overall excellence for the community into the future.” The Board of Directors has begun an executive search, said the release.

— Jeffrey A. Bach, director of the Young Center and associate professor of religious studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, has succeeded Dale. V. Ulrich as the Church of the Brethren member of the Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc. Board of Directors. The announcement came in the Winter 2014 issue of “Brethren Encyclopedia News.” Bach has served as editor of the Brethren Encyclopedia Monograph Series since 2007. Ulrich retired from the board in Oct. 2013 and was appointed to an Honorary Membership after serving as secretary since the board’s formation in 1977–a position he held for 36 years. He is the only surviving original member of the Brethren Encyclopedia Inc. Board of Directors and was a participant in the first meeting of the Brethren bodies called by M.R. Zigler in June 1973. He attended each of the board’s biannual meetings, recorded the proceedings, wrote the minutes of the meetings, participated in development of five Brethren World Assemblies, and playing a large role in preparation of Volume 4 of the Brethren Encyclopedia after the death of Donald F. Durnbaugh. In 2005 he began producing the catalog, and since 2002 he has published the annual newsletter. Previously he was a professor of physics at Bridgewater (Va.) College for 14 years, dean of the college for 15 years, and provost for 9 years.

— In more news from the Brethren Encyclopedia Inc., the organization has made a plea for financial help for the Alexander Mack Museum in Schwarzenau, Germany–the village that witnessed the birth of the Brethren movement and the first baptisms in the Eder River in 1708. With initiative from the late Donald F. Durnbaugh, an endowment was created in the 1980s to support a museum in the Hüttental area above Schwarzenau where the first Brethren lived. “The endowment for the Alexander Mack Museum (now $40,000) was sufficient to support operations for many years,” the newsletter reported. “Because investments in Germany are yielding exceedingly low interest rates at this time, the endowment produced an income of only $500 in 2013–far below the $4,300 needed.” The board of the Brethren Encyclopedia Inc. has set a goal of establishing an additional endowment of $40,000 invested in the US, “which would provide adequate diversity of investment and stable support for the Museum.” Contact Brethren Encyclopedia Inc., 10 South Broad St., Lititz, PA 17543.

— Lakewood Church of the Brethren in Millbury, Ohio, will host a presentation by Carl and Roxane Hill, co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren, tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 4. The event was announced in the “Sentinel-Tribune” of Bowling Green, Ohio. The Hills previously have served as mission workers at Kulp Bible College of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa in Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). “The presentation will conclude a local church sponsored day of fasting and prayer for the people ravaged by the terrorists in Nigeria,” the newspaper reported. The Hills’ presentation will start at 7 p.m., preceded by a light dinner served at 6 p.m. for anyone wishing to attend.

— Roundtable, a Church of the Brethren regional youth conference, takes place at Bridgewater (Va.) College on March 20-22. The theme, “Follower and Friend: Our Relationship with God,” is inspired by John 15:12-17. The speaker will be Carol Elmore, minister of youth and music at Oak Grove Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va. Friday night entertainment will feature Jessica Crawford, a Christian recording artist and former member of the youth group at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. The event also includes small groups, workshops, a variety show, singing, vespers, recreation, and more. Participants will stay on the college campus for the weekend and eat their meals in the dining hall. Estimated cost is $50 per participant. The event is for high school age youth and adult advisors. Information is being posted, with registration opening soon, at . For questions e-mail .

— Southern Pennsylvania District is challenging its congregations and members to raise $250,000 for the Nigeria Crisis Fund by the time of the 2015 district conference in September. The challenge was issued by the district board, and shared in the district newsletter. As a way of celebrating attaining the goal, two district members–Larry Dentler, an ardent Farmall fan, and Chris Elliott, a John Deere aficionado–will exchange tractors for a day, the newsletter said. “Brother Dentler is already being teased by Brother Elliott about how wonderful it will be to see him on a green tractor.”

— Each year, McPherson (Kan.) College offers travel opportunities during spring break that students can spend their time serving others, said an announcement in the Western Plains District newsletter. Two Alternative Spring Break trips will be offered this year from March 16-20. One option will take students to the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas, with opportunities to experience team building, along with service activities like milking a goats or harvesting vegetables, while learning how Heifer International functions. The second Alternative Spring Break trip is to the Lybrook Community Ministries and Tokahookaadi Church of the Brethren in New Mexico. “The Lybrook Community Ministries is experiencing growth and rejuvenation and our students will have the opportunity to be a part of it,” said the newsletter. “They will spend the week working on houses in the community, assist with cooking at the mission, work in the thrift store, and possibly assist with setting up the spring garden. The evenings will be spent participating in community activities offered by Lybrook Community Ministries such as GED class, craft night, carpentry class, etc. They might even have an opportunity to learn some of the Navajo native language.” Students are not asked to pay for the cost of Alternative Spring Break trips. Some of the necessary funds are raised, but the college is still looking for 20 people to sponsor a student’s Alternative Spring Break trip at $150 each. Contact Jen Jensen, director of Spiritual Life and Service Learning, at or 620-242-0503.

— The Shenandoah District Service Ministries Team is awarding grants to congregations that are ready to take on a new service project, said an announcement in the district newsletter. “In 2014, the Service Ministries Team approved seven $1,000 grants to congregations across the District,” the newsletter reported, listing some of the service projects supported: Antioch Church’s “Welcome Home” ministry for persons moving from homelessness to new homes; Briery Branch’s restoration of a local residence for a family of five; Concord’s new well and associated plumbing; the start of a new thrift shop by Mt. Zion/Linville to support an orphanage in Haiti; Mt. Zion/Luray’s support for a pre-med student who volunteers in Kenya; Staunton workcamp experience in Mexico; an outreach ministry called the Connection by White Hill joining with other Stuarts Draft congregations. “Christ’s work is being done in the Shenandoah District!” the newsletter said.

— Shenandoah District’s Pastors for Peace will hold its annual “Peace Feast” Living Peace Recognition Banquet at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, at Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren. This fifth annual banquet will recognize the work of Church of the Brethren peacemakers the late R. Jan Thompson and Roma Jo Thompson, who have been members of Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren. Evan Knappenberger, a member of Veterans for Peace, will speak; and special music will be provided by Scott Duffey. Cost is $15 for adults and $10 for students. Registration and payment are due to the district office by March 10. For a flier go to .

— The first event in celebration of the 90th Anniversary of Camp Mack in Milford, Ind., is a Sweetheart Banquet “for all those who love Camp Mack,” said an invitation. The Sweetheart Banquet is on Feb 14. “This will be a very special evening beginning with hors d’oeuvres at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Special recognition will go to those who met or were married at Camp Mack,” said the invitation. The banquet features a photo booth, dancing, shrimp cocktail, prime rib, chocolate, and flowers. Register online at or call 574-658-4831.

— Southeastern District Church of the Brethren has issued an invitation to a reception for Mandy Rocker, administrator of the John M. Reed Home Home and Healthcare, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Limestone, Tenn. The celebration takes place on Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. “Come and meet the staff, see the remodeled facilities, and share in the celebration of Mandy’s graduation and licensing as well as the Five Star rating from the State,” said the invitation. Contact 423-257-6122.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College and 14 other private, nonprofit colleges in the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia and the US Department of Energy have joined forces to help develop comprehensive plans for implementing solar power on area campuses, said a Bridgewater release. “Money for the three-year program will come through the CICV via an $807,000 award provided by the Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. The program will help Bridgewater and partner schools navigate complex legal, regulatory, and technical challenges associated with installing solar-powered systems. It will also provide group purchasing to achieve price reductions for hardware and installation services and create a learning network accessible by other organizations considering solar power.” Consulting services will be provided by Optony, Inc., a global consulting firm focused on solar energy. The project is to create and implement a replicable plan for participating institutions to deploy solar electricity within five years.

— The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) in North Newton, Kan., is offering a two-day course “Managing Differences within Faith Communities” on April 23-24 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. “Differences in the congregation don’t have to result in a polarization that leaves a congregation stuck in disagreement,” said an announcement. “Resilient congregations understand this. Still, many of us feel ill prepared to handle conflict within our faith communities.” The course will help participants learn how to transform conflict into spiritual and community renewal, focusing on biblical and theological principles; congregations as family systems; levels of conflict within faith communities; collaborative and transparent decision-making principles; structured dialogue in high-anxiety situations; and congregational discernment processes. Cost is $300 per person or, for congregations sending more than one member, $250 per person for two people or $200 per person for three or more. The course will be held at KIPCOR’s Kaufman House Training Facility at Bethel College. Academic credit, continuing education credit, and seminary credit are available. The instructors are Robert Yutzy, senior associate, Congregational Ministries; and Kirsten Zerger, KIPCOR director of Education and Training. Go to . For questions contact Doug Lengel, office manager, at 316-284-5217 or .

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jean Bednar, Jeffrey S. Boshart, Nevin Dulabaum, Gary Flory, Larry Glick, Mary Kay Heatwole, Carl Hill, Roxane Hill, Cliff Kindy, Ellen K. Layman, Erin Matteson, Nancy Miner, Becky Ullom Naugle, Marlene Neher, Glen Sargent, Katie Shaw Thompson, Vonna Walter, Jenny Williams, Jim Winkler, Roy Winter, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. The next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is set for Feb. 10. Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at . Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

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