Newsline for Jan. 14, 2015

1) National Council of Churches stands with Muslims in condemning French attack
2) World Council of Churches expresses shock over killings in Nigeria
3) A Nigerian’s response to the Baga news
4) Five years after the earthquake: A ‘God thing’ in Haiti

5) Congregational Life Ministries makes personnel changes
6) Brethren Benefit Trust announces new Client Relations department and related personnel changes

7) Clergy Tax Seminar is offered onsite at Bethany Seminary and online, other upcoming webinars address family matters and ministry ‘after Christendom’

8) Brethren bits: Remembering Eleanor Rowe and R. Jan Thompson, celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nominating Committee, interns at On Earth Peace, service trip to South Sudan, HIS Way co-hosts Spanish-speaking convocation, “Together for Nigeria,” more

Quote of the week:
“All is forgiven.”
– A statement on the cover of this week’s issue of “Charlie Hebdo,” the satirical French magazine that suffered a terrorist attack in which 12 people were murdered including members of the editorial staff and cartoonists. In an interview with the BBC yesterday, Jan. 13, one of magazine’s columnists was asked what the statement means. She replied that it is meant as a statement of forgiveness for the two gunmen–who themselves were killed in a shootout with authorities after they fled the scene and took a hostage. Zineb El Rhazoui, a Charlie Hebdo columnist who was on holiday in Morocco when the attack happened, told the BBC, “We know that the struggle is not with people but with an ideology…. Everyone must think about this forgiveness.” Listen to the BBC interview at .

1) National Council of Churches stands with Muslims in condemning French attack

The US National Council of Churches issued this statement following the terrorist attack and shootings at the Paris office of “Charlie Hebdo”:

The National Council of Churches joins the world in expressing outrage upon the news of the killings of the 12 employees of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. We condemn the killings, along with any ideology that seeks to silence voices of comment and criticism, especially with the use of extremist violence fueled by political ideology or misguided religious zeal. We also defend the rights of those who critique even that which is deemed sacred and untouchable to others, even as we ask that this critique always take place in a spirit of charity because of the inherent sensitivities.

At the same time, we fear that this defense of free expression may feed anti-Muslim sentiment and bring further division between Christians and Muslims. We are also aware that this same defense of free expression may be further misinterpreted by extremists as being against Islam itself. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, as we speak out against this act of senseless violence and its perpetrators, we join with Muslims across the globe who are also horrified by this evil.

“Around the world, millions of Muslims have struggled against oppression in their own societies in order to obtain the very rights that the Paris attackers have attempted to silence,” said NCC president and general secretary James Winkler. “These freedoms are treasured by people of faith everywhere, except by those who follow politically motivated ideologies that seek to violently to stifle them and sow seeds of fear.”

NCC associate general secretary for interfaith relations Tony Kireopoulos said, “Freedom of expression is one of the cornerstones of a democratic society, and we condemn, not only the attack on the victims of the violence, but the attack on this fundamental right.” He added:  “Likewise, freedom of religion is another cornerstone of a democratic society. Therefore we also stand against those who would use this occasion to avenge this attack by perpetrating violence against Muslims in our own communities. We’ve seen it before, we do not want to see it again.”

The National Council of Churches is a partner with the Shoulder-to-Shoulder campaign, an effort to resist Islamophobia. We also co-sponsor the National Muslim-Christian Initiative, an ongoing dialogue between Muslims and Christians.

“Tragedies like these, and the unfortunate aftermath that usually follows, underscores the importance of efforts like the ongoing Muslim-Christian dialogue,” said NCC chair Roy Medley. “We are always pleased to work with our dialogue partners, people who show forth the true nature of faith.”

One of our dialogue partners and a co-convener of the dialogue, Naeem Baig of the Islamic Circle of North America and the moderator of Religions for Peace USA, said in response to the killings: “All of the world’s religions are founded on messages of peace and condemn violence. What makes this attack particularly egregious is its attempt to threaten the fundamental human right of freedom of speech.”

The National Council of Churches is proud to join with a multitude of voices calling people worldwide to stand together and use this attack as an opportunity to engage in dialogue and peacemaking.

2) World Council of Churches expresses shock over killings in Nigeria

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has issued a statement expressing shock over the latest and perhaps most violent attacks by the extremist insurgent group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. The attacks on the Nigerian town of Baga and several surrounding villages along the shore of Lake Chad murdered of hundreds of people, according to some reports up to 2,000 people. The Baga area is not in the “heartland” of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and EYN leaders have not reported that Nigerian Brethren were among those who lost their lives or were displaced by the attacks. It is reported that thousands of Nigerians fled over the border to Chad following the attacks.

The WCC statement follows:

The latest violent attacks and killings in northern Nigeria demand the full attention and engagement of the government of Nigeria, and the active solidarity of the international community. The World Council of Churches is shocked by the unprecedented scale and brutality of the reported attacks by the extremist group Boko Haram in Baga–where more than 2,000 people are thought to have been killed–and in Maiduguri and Potiskum–where children as young as 10 are said to have been used in suicide bomb attacks. A mindset which deploys young children as bombs and which indiscriminately slaughters women, children, and elderly people is beyond outrage, and disqualifies itself from any possible claim to religious justification.

The WCC calls on the Nigerian government to respond meaningfully to these attacks and to ensure by all reasonable means the protection of the people of northern Nigeria from further such atrocities. Election campaign commitments are superseded by this first and most fundamental responsibility.

The WCC joins with the Nigerian religious leaders who have called for the international community’s solidarity and engagement, and in expressing deep disappointment at the relative–even discriminatory–lack of international media coverage. As much as the WCC joins in the international solidarity with the people of France in the aftermath of the recent attacks in and near Paris, we are deeply saddened that the tragic events in Nigeria have not attracted equivalent international concern and solidarity.

Faced with these realities, the WCC is seeking to make a positive contribution to the situation in Nigeria. Following on a joint high level Christian-Muslim visit to Nigeria in May 2012, co-led by Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit [the WCC general secretary] and HRH Prince Ghazi of Jordan of the Royal Jordanian Aal Al-Bayt Institute (RABIIT), the WCC and RABIIT have been working together to establish a center to monitor incidents of religiously based violence and to work to promote interreligious harmony, justice, and peace. We are also working in partnership with local Christian and Muslim partners, including the Christian Council of Nigeria. It is hoped that the center, to be based in Abuja, will open during the first half of 2015.

3) A Nigerian’s response to the Baga news

By Carl Hill

Many stories are coming out of Nigeria concerning the violence in the Northeast part of the country. This is where the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, has been carrying out a destructive campaign to eliminate all who oppose their plan to create an Islamic “Caliphate” in this mostly Muslim populated region. Christians, especially those associated with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), have been one of the major targets of this uncontained violence. Killings, kidnappings, burning of villages, and looting are just a part of their fear tactics bent on clearing the area of all opposition. Moderate Muslims are not safe either.

Here, in America, it is difficult to know which news stories are accurate and which ones are just exaggerations? After being in Nigeria over the last two years, our opinion is that much of what we read in the papers and online is not totally reliable. For instance, many of the news stories published comes from reporters based in Abuja (the capitol) or Lagos (a large modern city located in the far southwest of the country). This would be like getting breaking stories of Ferguson, Mo., from a reporter based in Miami, Fla., or Los Angeles, Calif. While the story may have some basis in fact, more reliable reporting would come from a reporter much closer to the scene of action.

One of the things we are trying to provide with blogposts is to publish stories from our people in Nigeria! This could be a human interest story from American volunteers (like Cliff Kindy who is there now) or from Nigerians who have proven to us to be reliable sources of information.

Last week, many of you read about a massacre in a border town called Baga. Reports came in that the worst massacre in this long struggle took place there? I contacted our man in Nigeria, knowing that he had connections in both the Muslim community as well as the Christian one. Below is the communication he sent regarding events in Baga and the surrounding area.

The bottom line is that the situation in northern Nigeria remains very unstable. As the church, we need to continue to pray for all those embroiled in this senseless violence. This includes the misguided members of the Boko Haram. It appears that only through the intervention of God Himself will this crisis ever find resolution.

Dear brother,

Greetings to you from cold Jos.

Baga is a town that majors in fish business. Most of the fish we get from Chad basin comes through Baga. Baga is a big border (town) where most forces have their offices there. Forces from Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria (have been reported) to be there. My junior brother from Maiduguri told me that the whole town was overrun by BH (Boko Haram) and many people were killed. Since the beginning of August to December most Christians left the town because of fear and (the) threat from BH.

About the kidnapping and killing: No forces will tell you the number of casualties because most of the military have run away, but we got some information from a few Muslims that are there. Probably more than 200 people left dead and kidnappings have been going on daily. The movement for forceful recruitment into BH for young people is almost everywhere now. Women are kidnapped from almost every village and town. The towns of Michika, Madagali, Gwoza, and all other towns under the control of BH are facing kidnappings.

People that escaped from their custody will narrate their ordeal. God is helping lots of people coming out from different BH camps. Yola is collecting more and more people again. Jos and Abuja is the final destination.

We have been working on reducing people in my house (at last count there was over 40) but we are getting more from Cameroon though most of them are in transit.

Na gode sosai (which means: “I thank you very much”)

— A blogpost by Carl Hill, who with his wife, Roxane Hill, is a coordinator of the Nigeria Crisis Response working out of the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The new Nigeria blog at features stories from the crisis response and reports from church leaders and volunteers in Nigeria. The blog also features the EYN daily devotions for 2015, posted a week at a time and appearing in mid-week for the following week. EYN is providing the resource to the Church of the Brethren in the US for those who wish to join the Nigerian Brethren in their daily devotions.

4) Five years after the earthquake: A ‘God thing’ in Haiti

Monday, Jan. 12, was the fifth anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and surrounding communities in Haiti. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit at 4:53 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2010, with its epicenter in the city of Léogâne. The Church of the Brethren responded with disaster assistance, relief materials, the rebuilding of homes, and a medical delegation, all in cooperation and with leadership from Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). The following report to Haiti Medical Project donors, issued in Dec. 2014, reports on the new initiative in health care that has emerged from that Brethren response to the earthquake:

Haiti suffers from a heavy weight of poverty–it is by far the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Already suffering from poor nutrition and sanitation and related high infant/child mortality, Haiti suffered a series of devastating natural disasters–hurricanes/floods in 2008 and a crushing earthquake in 2010. Perhaps half a million persons were displaced.

Brethren responded to the natural disasters in a major way and perhaps almost unintentionally have been part of forming and nurturing a growing church in Haiti–beginning from a single congregation in 2003 and growing to 20 congregations currently, serving perhaps 2,000 persons! The miraculous development of this church and its vision for serving its communities has certainly been a “God thing.” How else can we explain it?

A part of the God thing has been the desire of Haitian leaders to see a life-giving health care response developed in partnership with these new congregations. Proposed as a response to the 2010 earthquake and a health response piloted by Brethren Disaster Ministries, an idea for a new pattern of mobile clinics developed–but there were no official denominational funds available to put it in motion. With the blessing of the Global Mission and Service arm of the Church of the Brethren, a new response–based on grassroots initiative and special over-and-above giving by congregations and individuals–was started.

The Haiti Medical Project has touched a nerve and resulted in a generous, fruitful, and rapidly growing response since 2012.

Mobile clinics

The initial vision for a health care response was the development of mobile clinics staffed entirely by Haitian doctors, nurses, and helpers. Geographically these clinics cover Haiti from near the southern coast to Haiti’s northern coast, and even across a sea crossing to the island of La Tortue. They are located in communities that have new Brethren congregations and are part of these congregations’ local outreach. The clinics address many types of infectious disease, often related to inadequate sanitation and nutrition. The clinics have been effective in raising the awareness of infectious disease and basic sanitation. They have been eagerly affirmed by the National Committee of Eglise des Freres Haitien and by the local congregations and are observed with growing interest by other members of the development community in Haiti. They also have been influential in building interest in longer term possibilities for addressing health issues.

From 12 clinics in 2012, the project has grown to 24 in 2013 and 48 in 2014—estimated to reach at least 7,000 patients!  In 2015 the preliminary plan calls for serving 16 communities with recurring mobile clinics, including several remote and difficult to reach villages.

The Mobile Clinic Coordinating Committee includes medical team physicians Solon and Emmerson; Ilexene Alphonse as onsite staff; and Eglise des Freres Haitiens representatives Rev. Yves Jean and Jean Altenor. Paul Ullom-Minnich, an American physician from Kansas and one of the doctors on the first Church of the Brethren medical delegation to Haiti after the earthquake, is convener.

Community health

From the start it has been the objective of Haiti Medical Project leaders to find ways to address some of the long-range issues that stand in the way of healthy communities. The majority of our related communities do not have access to pure drinking water and untreated water is a carrier of many diseases. The great majority of births in our related communities are attended at home by family members or other persons with no medical training. Infant mortality stands at about 57 infants lost per 1,000 births and mortality of children before their fifth birthday is 7.6 percent! These communities also experience an elevated number of mothers lost while giving birth. There are sanitation problems that could be helped by greater access to latrines. Basic education in sanitation and nutrition are needed basic building blocks. There is so much to do.

Last year 2014 has been a year of intentionally exploring possibilities to begin new work in community health, addressing long-range health issues. Leaders have been given several rounds of community development training. A delegation was sent to Honduras to visit successful community health programs there and came back with access to very helpful materials and professional support. Potential water projects were explored. A new pattern of giving staff focus to these issues was developed. A nurse from one of our congregations was given special training in leading short courses to untrained persons attending home births.

Beginning in 2015, community health will be a second major thrust of the Haiti Medical Project alongside the mobile clinics. A Community Development Team has been named, led by Jean Bily Telfort, former president of the national church, and including Vildor Archange and Adias Docteur. A plan to partner with the Global Food Crisis Fund in projects of nutrition and economic development has begun. Vildor Archange, a Haitian and former development worker in the Dominican Republic, will give leadership in community health ministries.

Community Health Committees will be established in a growing number of our related communities, fostering community awareness of health issues and local initiative in addressing them. A program of “Matron Training” will be piloted to more adequately prepare persons attending home births. A program of initiating circles of pregnant women and nursing mothers to receive education in maternal care, sanitation, and nutrition will be launched, led by our staff and contracted nurses. A small number of pure water projects will be developed and used as demonstration projects to encourage others. Partnership with related communities will be sought all along the way.

Please pray for our staff as they launch new work, build new relationships and develop new insights. And help save lives.

Thank you for your support of the Haiti Medical Project. Please continue your partnership–joining with other Brethren and your brothers and sisters in Haiti in an exciting God thing!

If you are led to make a gift, send it to Mission and Ministry Board, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, and designate it for the Haiti Medical Project, specifying either for Immediate Need or Endowment.


5) Congregational Life Ministries makes personnel changes

The Church of the Brethren has hired Debbie Eisenbise to fill a director-level position in Congregational Life Ministries, effective Jan. 15. The main focus of her work will be the National Older Adult Conference (NOAC).

Kim Ebersole’s position as director of Family and Older Adult Ministries will be part-time, effective Jan. 1. As she moves toward retirement, NOAC will be her primary focus until leadership is fully transitioned.

Gimbiya Kettering was promoted from coordinator of Intercultural Ministries to director of Intercultural Ministries, effective Jan. 1. This promotion recognizes the evolving depth and breadth of the position.

Eisenbise to work with NOAC

Debbie Eisenbise is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, has served as a pastor, and has worked on the staff of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) and Bethany Theological Seminary. She first became acquainted with the Church of the Brethren as a volunteer with BVS. From 1989-93 she was coordinator of orientation and recruitment for BVS. In 1993-96 she was a staff member at Bethany Seminary, working for the Admissions and Alumnae Relations Office as development associate.

In other service to the denomination, she has been a district youth advisor for Pacific Southwest District and a counselor at Camp Peaceful Pines in northern California. Over the years she has provided leadership for numerous workcamps, workshops, retreats, and other events.

Eisenbise holds a bachelor of arts in religion from Davidson (N.C.) College, and a master of divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., and has completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. She also has studied spiritual direction.

6) Brethren Benefit Trust announces new Client Relations department and related personnel changes

By Donna March

“Serving the members and organizations of the Church of the Brethren is the directive Brethren Benefit Trust has been given by the Annual Conference,” said BBT president Nevin Dulabaum.  “At the forefront of that service are strong relationships with the denomination’s members and organizations. Thus, the creation of a new department that focuses on service, product development, and resources for the benefit of those we serve will help ensure that BBT fulfills its mandate for years to come. This is an exciting new chapter in the life of BBT!”

Dulabaum has moved forward in this strategic direction and there are four significant developments that will take place with this organizational change.

Scott Douglas has been named director of Client Relations effective Jan. 5. We are pleased that he has enthusiastically accepted the challenge of this new role and we look forward to his leadership. This position will report to BBT’s president and be a voting member on the Management Team. Douglas has served BBT well since Jan. 1, 2009, as director of the Pension Plan and Employee Financial Services and more recently director of Employee Benefits. He has been instrumental in moving the Pension Plan into a more user-friendly mode for its members, contracting with a third-party administrator, Great-West, and facilitating that transition. He also has been key in many other benefits aspects, including keeping members alert to new legislation, working with updates to the guidelines for the Church Workers’ Assistance Plan, and assuming responsibility for BBT’s insurance services. He has made regular in-person visits with employee benefits clients, adding new clients, and maintaining current client relations.

With the direction that BBT is headed based on its board-approved Strategic Plan, it is important to have a staff position that solely focuses on building client relationships–current and potential.  Douglas is a great fit for this position–he has a love of the Church of the Brethren, enjoys being with the church members and clients on their turf, and understands and can provide learning opportunities for the programs that BBT offers.

Loyce Swartz Borgmann, who has served as manager of client relations as part of the Communications Department, is being promoted to assistant director of the new Client Relations Department. She has served BBT well since Jan. 2, 2001, beginning as interim eMountain Communications marketer/sales representative. Since that time, she has served as marketing coordinator, customer representative for the Brethren Foundation, coordinator of Client Relations, and most recently, manager of client relations. In her various roles, she has provided excellent leadership for BBT. She has worked at strengthening and building relationships with current and potential members, and has been instrumental in bringing in new business. Other achievements include serving with staff and board members on the Strategic Planning Committee, working with consultants to gather necessary data to assist in developing the strategic plan, and providing logistical leadership for BBT’s Annual Conference presence. Her love of the denomination and her accomplishments will lend themselves in her promotion to assistant director of Client Relations.

Nevin Dulabaum will continue to provide direction for the Employee Benefits department until the interim director of Employee Benefits begins.

Lynnae Rodeffer has been named interim director of Employee Benefits and will begin on Feb. 5. She will work in this capacity, utilizing her extensive skills and administrative abilities, balancing her time between the BBT office in Elgin, Ill., and her home office in Snohomish, Wash. She will be a voting member on the Management Team and report directly to BBT’s president. She has been a long-time member of the Church of the Brethren and is a seasoned manager with over 30 years in the financial services industry. She spent 17 years at Washington Mutual in Seattle, Wash., where she held the position of first vice president, senior group product manager. During her tenure at Washington Mutual she held a variety of national roles, including FVP of Account Management, national sales support manager, Mortgage Training manager, and Regional Loan Operations Center manager, among others. She also led a number of special projects and initiatives for the company related to mergers and acquisitions, community performance, customer service, and automation.

Prior to joining Washington Mutual, Rodeffer held such positions as Premier Mortgage Access Program manager for PaineWebber Mortgage, and Midwest Area Loan Operations administrator for First Nationwide Bank (owned by Ford Motor Credit). Most recently, she has been with HomeStreet Bank in Seattle. She is very active in her community, serving as president of the Washington State Dairy Women, youth advisor for the Washington Jersey Cattle Club, and has been a Sunday school teacher for 15 years.

Rodeffer also served as interim director of the Church of the Brethren Credit Union from Jan. 25, 2010, through Oct. 11, 2011. Over the last several years, she has conducted workshops at denominational events on behalf of BBT.

— Donna March is director of Office Operations for the Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust. Find out more about the ministries of BBT at .


7) Clergy Tax Seminar is offered onsite at Bethany Seminary and online, other upcoming webinars address family matters and ministry ‘after Christendom’

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership will host a Clergy Tax Seminar on Feb. 23. The seminar is recommended for all pastors and seminary students as well as other church leaders who wish to understand clergy taxes including church treasurers, steward commission chairs, and church board chairs. Attend in person at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., or online. The schedule includes a morning session from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (eastern) and an afternoon session from 2-4 p.m. (eastern).

Sessions will cover tax law for clergy, changes for 2014, and detailed assistance to correctly file the various forms and schedules that pertain to clergy including housing allowances, self-employment, W-2s, clergy reductions, and others. Participants will learn how to file clergy taxes correctly and legally and how to comply with regulations while maximizing tax deductions. Those who attend onsite or who attend the live webinar may earn 0.3 continuing education units.

This event is sponsored by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry, and Bethany Theological Seminary.

Registration costs $20 per person. Registration fees for current students at Bethany Seminary or Earlham School of Religion, or students in the TRIM/EFSM/SeBAH ministry training programs are fully subsidized, although registration is still required to reserve a seat and materials. Registrations are not complete until payment is received. For space and quality reasons, registrations may be capped at 25 people onsite and 85 online.

Leading the seminar is Deb Oskin, EA, NTPI Fellow, and a minister in the Church of the Brethren, who has been doing clergy tax returns since 1989. She has learned the problems and pitfalls associated with the IRS identification of clergy as “hybrid employees” from both personal experience and professional experience as an H&R Block agent. During her 12 years with H&R Block (2000-2011), she achieved the highest level of expertise certification as a master tax adviser, and teaching certification as a certified advanced instructor, and has earned the status of enrolled agent with the IRS who is qualified to represent clients to the IRS. She currently operates her own independent tax service specializing in clergy taxes.

To register for the seminar go to .

Other upcoming webinars

“The Family and How the Scriptures Are Passed to the Next Generation” is the next webinar in the “Family Matters” series co-sponsored by the Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren. It is scheduled for Jan. 15, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. (eastern time). Presenter Howard Worsley is a professor and researcher with a deep interest in children’s spirituality and their early perceptions, and author of the book, “A Child Sees God.” Ministers may receive 0.1 continuing education credit for attending the live event. Register at . For more information contact Stan Dueck at or 800-323-8039 ext.343.

“Hospitality and Community after Christendom” is the next webinar in a series focused on issues facing the church “after Christendom” which is co-sponsored by the Congregational Life Ministries. It is scheduled for Jan. 29, at 2:30-3:30 p.m. (eastern). Leader Andrew Francis is author of the book by the same name and the book “What in God’s Name Are You Eating.” He has been the UK Anabaptist Network’s first development worker and executive vice-chair of the UK Mennonite Trust. Ministers may receive 0.1 continuing education credit for attending the live event. Register at . For more information contact Stan Dueck at or 800-323-8039 ext.343.

8) Brethren bits

Church of the Brethren celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. include:

“Peace in the City: MLK, Jr. Nonviolence and Community Transformation Workshop,” to be offered on Saturday, Jan. 24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill. Samuel Sarpiya, pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Rockford, Ill., is the speaker and lead facilitator. “As you may remember First Church of the Brethren Chicago hosted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1966 as one of their office locations for the housing and justice campaigns,” said an invitation from First Chicago lead pastor LaDonna Nkosi, in the Illinois and Wisconsin District newsletter. “Please be welcome to join us as we share together in engaging nonviolence and community transformation in our times.”

The 47th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance and Rededication Ceremony hosted by Manchester University on Feb. 4. The event will feature Brenda J. Allen, author of “Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity,” speaking at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 4 in Cordier Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. The Feb. 4 observance honors King’s last speech at a college campus, which took place at Manchester when he presented a speech on “The Future of Integration” on Feb. 1, 1968, two months before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. Allen is a professor of communication and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Colorado Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week on Jan. 19-23 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, with Ann Marie Kirk, director of Art for Justice, speakomg about prison art and the partnership exhibit taking place at the College and Philadelphia Free Library. Her talk on “Promoting Justice and Humanity through Art” is at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 in the Brinser Lecture Room in Steinman Center. The exhibit of prisoner art, which aims to stimulate public dialogue on how to prevent crime, reduce levels of incarceration, and find effective, humane ways to improve the criminal justice system, is on display beginning Jan. 19, in the second-floor hallway of the Brossman Commons. The exhibit reception is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Jan. 23. Additional tributes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement in which he was so instrumental, take place throughout the week and include on Jan. 19, the “I Have Dream” Candlelight March at 6:15 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by the MLK Gospel Extravaganza in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center. At 1 p.m. on Jan. 20, the college hosts an Interfaith Prayer Service in the Tower Room of Brossman Commons. In addition, the winter and spring Diversity Film Series at Elizabethtown College will observe National Black History month.

Lois Moses, a celebrated poet and actress, creating a dramatic program at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. The program will combine spoken-word poetry, theater, and music on the theme “Celebrating the Dream…The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” at 4 p.m., Jan. 19, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. The program is free and open to the public. Moses is involved in several literary projects, most notably, “Poe-X,” which creates panel discussions and workshops with poets, and the “National Black Authors Tour.” She has extensive theater experience as an actor, performing with Pittsburgh’s Kuntu Repertory and the National Black Theatre of Harlem, and is an acting instructor and playwright/director for Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia.

— Remembrance: Eleanor Jane Rowe, 82, of Westminster, Md., died on Nov. 1, 2014. She had served on the Church of the Brethren denominational staff as an office administrator at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Born Aug. 15, 1932, in Toledo, Ohio, she was the daughter of Alvah and Margaret Garner. She had been married to Donald E. Rowe, who died in 2004. She was a longstanding member of the Church of the Brethren, and her service to the church included serving as treasurer for the Mid-Atlantic District. She also was a musician and played the drums, accordion, organ, and piano, and directed both children’s and adult choirs at church. She is survived by children Robert Rowe and wife Sandy of Durham, N.C., and Donald Rowe and wife Chris of Westminster, Md., and grandchildren. A memorial service was held Dec. 6, 2014, at Westminster Church of the Brethren, which is where memorial contributions also are received. For a full obituary see .

— Remembrance: R. Jan Thompson, who spent many years on the denominational staff of the Church of the Brethren working in disaster relief and global mission, died on Jan. 12 in the Huffman Health Center of Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community. He served the denomination in many capacities throughout his life, including Brethren Volunteer Service (1954-1956), mission work in Nigeria (1967-1970), director of Refugee/Disaster program (1978-1987), member of the former General Board (1998-2003), and interim executive director of Global Mission and Service (2008). He was the first person hired fulltime to direct the denomination’s fledgling Refugee/Disaster Program, which is now Brethren Disaster Ministries. During that term of service, Thompson and his wife, Roma Jo Thompson, envisioned and developed what is now Children’s Disaster Services (CDS). After retirement, he served as a CDS volunteer project manager, and the Thompsons served together as Brethren Disaster Ministries project leaders. He attended the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, South Korea, in late 2013 as alternate delegate for the Church of the Brethren. In the 1970s he was assistant dean of students for Manchester College, now Manchester University in Manchester, Ind., from 1971-1978. He served with the Sudan Council of Churches and the Presbyterian Church in Sudan from 1989-1991. In retirement he was a disaster consultant for Church World Service. Survivors include his wife, Roma Jo, who served with him in many of his work assignments for the Church of the Brethren. Together, the Thompsons wrote a detailed history of the Brethren Service Center, titled “Beyond Our Means: How the Brethren Service Center Dared to Embrace the World,” published by Brethren Press in 2009. Details of a celebration of life service, which likely will be held in March 2015, will be forthcoming when they are available.

— The memorial service for Wilbur Mullen will be held along with a reception at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 17 at Oakland Church of the Brethren in Gettysburg, Ohio. “All are welcome to attend and celebrate Wilbur’s life,” said an invitation. Find the remembrance notice in the Oct. 28, 2014, issue of Newsline at .

— The Conference Office welcomed the Nominating Committee of Standing Committee to the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., last week. Members of the committee met for two days to finalize nominations for positions of church leadership to be elected by the Standing Committee of district delegates and the delegates to the 2015 Annual Conference. The members of the committee are Jim Beckwith, Annual Conference secretary; George Bowers of Woodstock, Va.; Duane Grady of Goshen, Ind.; Joel Kline of Elgin, Ill.; Roy McVey of Collinsville, Va.; John Moyers of Maysville, W.Va.; Jim Myer of Lititz, Pa.; John Shelly of Chambersburg, Pa.; and Ellen Wile of Hurlock, Md.

— On Earth Peace has introduced new interns Madeline Dulabaum, who will serve as editor of the “Peacebuilder” newsletter, and Michael Himlie who will be youth peace coordinator. Dulabaum will prepare each issue of the newsletter and will be exploring a new look for the publication. She is a student at DePaul University in Chicago, Ill., and has served on the news teams for Annual Conference and National Youth Conference, as well as editor for her high school magazine. Himlie’s duties will include coordinating peace retreats at congregations and districts, leading workshops at regional youth conferences, and connecting with youth throughout the denomination. He is a student at Manchester University and recently completed a year of Brethren Volunteer Service where he served with New Community Project and took part in a delegation to the Middle East with Christian Peacemaker Teams. He also has served with On Earth Peace as part of Ministry of Reconciliation teams at Annual Conference and National Youth Conference.

— “Join with Global Mission and Service in a service and learning trip to South Sudan, April 21-May 2,” said an invitation from the Global Mission and Service office of the Church of the Brethren. The experience will include construction work at the Brethren Peace Center in Torit and potentially at a Bible school in Katire and a primary school in Lohila, as well as opportunities to meet Sudanese church and community leaders. Living conditions will be basic, and meals will be prepared and shared in local fashion. The trip will cost approximately $2,500 per participant, including travel, meals, and accommodations. For more information, contact Kendra Harbeck at or 847-429-4388.

— His Way Church of the Brethren (Iglesia Jesucristo El Camino) in Mills River, N.C., is co-hosting Convocando a Las Iglesias de Las Montañas (A Call to the Churches of the Mountains) on Jan. 23-24. Extending an invitation to all the Hispanic churches in Asheville/Hendersonville, the purpose of the two-day event is to impact the leadership of the Spanish-speaking churches in western North Carolina for spiritual growth and working together in unity, said a notice of the event. Friday night, Jan. 23, 7-9 p.m., is Clamor de Naciones (Cry of the Nations)–a night of praise and worship led by Pastor Zulay Corrales from Costa Rica and a worship team consisting of individuals from four different area churches. Saturday, Jan. 24, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., is a day of training and impartation from Pastor Luis Azofeifa from Costa Rica, president of the Wesleyan church in Costa Rica, and superintendent for the Wesleyan church in South and Central America, Spain, Guinea Ecuatorial, and Cuba. Saturday themes include Worship in Spirit and Truth, Transformational Leadership, Intercessory Prayer, Praise and Worship, and a Challenge to Leadership. The event is co-hosted with Iglesia La Casa Del Alfarero (The Potter’s House Church) of Asheville. All scheduled events will be held at Rapha House, 127 School House Road, Mills River, NC 28759, and will only be in Spanish. For more information, call 828-713-5978.

— “Together For Nigeria” is the theme of a special event at Onekama (Mich.) Church of the Brethren, with leadership from Tim Joseph who participated in a workcamp to Nigeria in 2009. “It was, to say the least, a life-changing experience, and I carry in my heart the smiles and love of the generous and open-hearted people I met and traveled, worshiped and worked with there,” he wrote in a letter of invitation for the special event. The Onekama congregation in partnership with other congregations in Michigan is planning a fundraising event on Jan. 31, including music, prayer, food, and a silent auction. A service of prayer and sacred music starts at 4 p.m., followed by a meal of soup and bread, and a concert featuring many kinds of music, starting at 7 p.m. The concurrent silent auction will feature services as well as valuable items. For more information contact 231-477-5381 or .

— Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Cave, Va., has issued an invitation to an afternoon of food and fun featuring a performance of “Peace, Pies, and Prophets!” by Ted & Company with Ted Swartz and Tim Ruebke. The event is on Sunday, Jan. 18, at 4 p.m. There is no charge for the performance, but proceeds from the pie auction of home-made Valley Church pies will benefit the Fairfield Center which provides creative alternatives to disputes, with mediators and programs serving Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro and Augusta and Rockingham counties. “Please come for a fun get-together and important ideas about how each of us can be peacemakers,” said the invitation.

— Eaton (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is holding a Sewing Bee for Church World Service on Jan. 24. “Come join brothers and sisters as we sew school bags and assemble school kits for Church World Service,” said an announcement in the district newsletter. The Sewing Bee is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Participants are asked to bring their sewing machines, or to bring scissors for cutting out school bags or baby gowns.

— A commercial for the Regional Youth Conference hosted by McPherson (Kan.) College on March 6-8 is online at . The Regional Youth Conference will feature leadership by special guests David Radcliff of the New Community Project, Mutual Kumquat, and Ted & Co. The event is for youth in grades 9-12 and their adult advisors. Special pricing is available for college students willing to volunteer part of their time to assist with the weekend. Workshops are provided respectively for youth, youth leaders, college students. Registration will open later in January. More information will be made available soon. Contact Jen Jensen, McPherson College Director of Spiritual Life, with any questions at or 620-242-0503.

— Bridgewater Retirement Community will kick off its 50th anniversary celebration on Jan. 15, in the Houff Community Center of Maple Terrace. According to an announcement from Shenandoah District, then-and-now videos will be shown in the Shenandoah Room from 2:30-4:30 p.m., and a living history panel will share recollections from the early days at 3-4 p.m. in Mack A&B rooms in the Houff Center. Photos from the early years of the community will be displayed along with medical equipment of the late Dr. Jacob Huffman, a founder of the Bridgewater Home. The facility opened May 1, 1965.

— The January program of “Brethren Voices,” a community TV show produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features two segments this month. “Our Community–Our Responsibility” highlights the work of Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren and its mission to serve the needs of the Allison Hill Community of Harrisburg for over 109 years. In a second segment, a music video presents the plight of the Nigerian Church of the Brethren, with a performance by the Bittersweet Gospel Band in a video produced and illustrated by David Sollenberger with music written by Scott Duffey. Contact Ed Groff at for copies of this program that can be used as a Sunday school resource or shown locally on community access stations.

— In the category of new books by Brethren authors, Brian Gumm, Northern Plains District minister of Communications and Leadership Development, has been involved in a book publishing project with a blogging collective called MennoNerds. “This past December our book was finally published!” he announced in the district newsletter. The book “A Living Alternative: Anabaptist Christianity in a Post-Christendom World” is a collection of essays from a diverse set of Anabaptist-minded thinkers, both people inside and outside of traditional Anabaptist groups such as Mennonites and Brethren, he reported. The book “is designed to be read in faith communities, as each chapter contains a series of study and reflection questions to help you apply the learning from each chapter,” the announcement said. Gumm’s contribution is titled “Seeking the Peace of the Farm Town: Anabaptist Mission and Ministry in the Rural Midwest.”

— “Elizabethtown’s West Green Tree Church of the Brethren has a new choir director, and he’s just 16 years-old. He is Ryan Arndt,” reports LancasterOnline, a website of the “Intelligencer Journal” and “Lancaster New Era and Sunday News.” A son of Clint and Julie Arndt of Palmyra, Pa., he is a high school junior. “Officially, I was the choir director here before I could drive with a permit,” said Arndt in the newspaper interview. Read it at .

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Lynda Baker-Sheffer, Deborah Brehm, Jeffery W. Carr, Jenn Dorsch, Anne Gregory, Ed Groff, Brian Gumm, Al Hansell, Kendra Harbeck, Elizabeth Harvey, Carl Hill, Jen Jensen, Tim Joseph, Jon Kobel, Donna March, Fran Massie, Nancy Miner, Dale Minnich, John Wall, David Yeazell, Jane Yount, 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 Jan. 20. 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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