Newsline for June 10, 2015

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

1) Emergency Disaster Fund grants support Shalom in Burundi, CWS aid to Haitian Dominicans
2) Interfaith community is built for Nigerians displaced by Boko Haram

3) EYN teams available to visit churches this summer, choir tour itinerary is updated
4) ‘Glory of Gardening’ webinar discusses spiritual benefits, wellness brought by gardening
5) Registration closes soon for Ministers’ Association pre-Conference event

6) Message from the moderator of Annual Conference 2015
7) WCC general secretary urges a ‘spirituality of justice and peace’

8) Brethren bits: Remembering Kathy Hess, Youth and Young Adult Ministry seeks volunteer, Brethren Disaster Ministries assess needs after Colorado tornado, Brethren leader signs letter about Israel’s plan to forcibly transfer Palestinians from West Bank, EYN president interviewed by Nigerian news, N. Indiana District hosts auction in support of Nigeria Crisis Response, Bill and Betty Hare celebrate 50 years at Camp Emmaus, and more

A reminder from the Conference Office: Today, June 10, is the last day for online registration and online housing reservations for the 2015 Annual Conference in Tampa, Fla., on July 11-15. After today, on-site registration will be available only in Tampa prior to the start of the Conference, and will cost an additional fee. Register now at .

1) Emergency Disaster Fund grants support Shalom in Burundi, CWS aid to Haitian Dominicans

The Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed two grants from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to support the Shalom ministry’s work with Burundi refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to the work of Church World Service to assist Haitians living in the Dominican Republic.

Burundi refugees

An EDF allocation of $11,500 responds to the refugee crisis caused by violence in Burundi, working through the Shalom Ministry of the Congolese Brethren. An attempted coup and violence followed Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement that he would run for a third term in office in mid-May. “Some analysts share grave concern that this situation is similar to the beginning of the Rwanda genocide,” said the grant request from Brethren Disaster Ministries. “Many are fleeing this violence in hopes of saving their families. The United Nations High Commission on Refugees reports that more than 105,000 people have fled to neighboring countries.”

Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development is a ministry of the Congolese Brethren, who have a relationship with the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service, although not yet recognized as an official Church of the Brethren body. The grant helps Shalom Ministry provide 350 refugee families with emergency food including corn flour, beans, cooking oil, and salt. When this distribution is completed, Brethren Disaster Ministries will consider a grant for a second phase of the response to distribute laundry soap, household or cooking kits, and clothing.

Haitians in the DR

An EDF allocation of $2,000 supports the work Church World Service (CWS) is doing to assist in the naturalization of ethnic Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. “Tens of thousands people born in the DR to undocumented Haitian parents are stateless, jobless, and in need of international assistance,” said the grant request from Brethren Disaster Ministries. “A court ruling last year allows those who can provide proof of their birth in Dominican territory to undocumented parents to obtain a migratory permit and apply for naturalization after continuing to reside in the country for another two years.”

CWS is assisting Haitians born in the DR to register for national identity cards by the deadline of June 16, working with local partner SSID to provide case managers to help eligible individuals gather necessary documentation. This grant, along with funding from other denominations, will aid around 700 people.

For more about the Emergency Disaster Fund go to .

2) Interfaith community is built for Nigerians displaced by Boko Haram

A view of the construction for the interfaith community in Nigeria

By Peggy Faw Gish

Children sat watching, under a shady tree. Women in colorful Nigerian dress, carrying babies on their backs, wandered by to greet us. The sound of hammers filled the air at the building site, shortly after I arrived in Nigeria in late March. Men were nailing sheets of metal roofing on the three-room houses that would make up the Gurku Interfaith Camp for families who fled the violence of Boko Haram and lost everything.

Near the houses were latrines and small block structures for kitchens that two families will share. Families moving into the camp have done much of the building, from making mud bricks, cured in the sun, to building the walls and roofs.

Markus Gamache, a staff member of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), spoke about the vision he and other members of the Lifeline Compassionate Global Initiatives (LCGI) have to bridge the growing divide between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. In a country where the Islamist militant group Boko Haram has generated a new wave of horrific Muslim-Christian violence, what better way to resist the growing religious tensions than to start a new community of displaced Muslims and Christians, representing many tribes, villages, and languages, to live mixed together as a model for inter-religious reconciliation?

Since Boko Haram escalated their violence against Christians in northeast Nigeria, but also against Muslims who won’t cooperate with their goals, Markus and other members of LCGI have been responding to help those affected, often at risk of their own lives. He travels to the northeast where Boko Haram has been attacking and meets with Christians and Muslims under threat. He has given money to Christians and Muslims to help them escape, and pay for rent and food where they resettle. He has helped young men forced into the Boko Haram ranks to escape and start a new life. He and his wife, Janada, have taken in many displaced families to stay in their home, and are currently caring for 52 men, women, and children.

Markus told me, “It is especially important now, if we are ever to have a peaceful society, that we work together to try to bridge the gap of mistrust and hatred between Christians and Muslims and work for reconciliation…. Christian and Muslim leaders must come together and acknowledge that terrorism is our joint problem…. People must meet face to face and participate from the heart. Otherwise it will not work.”

With a joyful celebration on May 12, with music and dancing, the Gurku Interfaith Camp was officially commissioned. Most of the families have now moved into the 62 completed 3-room homes. Christians and Muslims are interspersed evenly throughout the camp. Families are already starting to farm on the small plots of land they’ve been given. In a few weeks they hope to start building the new medical clinic [with funds provided by the Swiss Embassy], and after that, a school. In the fall, they hope to add more housing for another 71 families.

What may seem like a small project in the whole picture of what is happening in Nigerian society, is actually a bold step. LCGI hopes this will become a model for others to work for peaceful relations in their communities.

— Peggy Faw Gish has been volunteering with the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren and its Global Mission and Brethren Disaster Ministries, in cooperation with EYN. The Gurku camp and LCGI receive support and funding from the Nigeria Crisis Response and the Church of the Brethren’s Nigeria Crisis Fund. This report first appeared on Gish’s blog “Plotting Peace” at . For information about the Nigeria Crisis Response go to . Personal stories from Nigerian Brethren and more reports from the crisis response are on the Nigeria blog at .


3) EYN teams available to visit churches this summer, choir tour itinerary is updated

Nigerian Brethren teams will be available to visit churches this summer, in addition to the tour by the EYN Women’s Fellowship (ZME) Choir and the BEST group, according to the EYN Planning Committee. The committee is made up of members of three Pennsylvania congregations–Lancaster, Elizabethtown, and Mountville Churches of the Brethren–and is chaired by former Nigeria mission worker Monroe Good.

An updated itinerary for the EYN Women’s Fellowship (ZME) Choir tour this summer follows below.

The committee expects “around 60 sisters and brothers to be part of the EYN 2015 Fraternal Visit to Church of the Brethren churches here in the United States,” Good reported. “Some of them, who are not part of the Women’s Choir, are available to visit congregations in districts outside the choir tour route. They are available from June 27 to July 2.”

Thirty of the guests from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) are in the women’s choir. Twenty or more additional EYN visitors including members of the Brethren Evangelism Support Trust (BEST), a group of businesspeople and professionals, who will be available for additional visits to churches. The whole group will attend the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Tampa, Fla., July 11-15.

EYN team visits

Two-person EYN teams are available to visit congregations and districts to share about the situation of the Nigerian Brethren in the midst of persecution and suffering. The EYN teams will be available to visit from Saturday, June 27, through Thursday, July 2.

On June 27, the Nigerian guests will be in Elgin, Ill., and will leave from there to make any visits as requested. On July 2, all of the EYN teams must be at Washington Dulles Airport no later than 4 p.m. to meet up with the group.

Congregations or districts requesting a visit from an EYN team must pay for that team’s transportation from Elgin, Ill., to the visit location, and back to Washington Dulles Airport, plus any related expenses.

Send requests for an EYN team visit to Monroe Good at 717-341-3314 or . Requests will be received on a first come, first served basis.

EYN teams visit in Pacific Southwest District

Already planned is a visit by four members of BEST to Pacific Southwest District, in conjunction with La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, from June 28-July 1. The visit is at the invitation of the La Verne Church, which is offering financial support for the travel expenses.

The district shared in a recent newsletter that “these guests will move through the district in teams of two, and will share the story of EYN with congregations and the communities around them. They will speak to the challenges and destruction EYN has faced in the last years from Boko Haram, how EYN has and continues to live out their faith, and to give thanks for the prayers and support of the Church of the Brethren and other partners in responding to their needs. With over 100,000 church members displaced, there is no one in EYN who does not have a personal connection to the situation.”

Contact the hosting congregation for exact time and details of the following events planned in Pacific Southwest District:

Sunday, June 28: Danjuma and Sahtu Gwany will be at worship at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren; Markus Gamache will preach at Principe de Paz Church of the Brethren in Santa Ana, Calif.; Zakaria Bulus will preach at Imperial Heights Church of the Brethren in Los Angeles, Calif.; and Markus Gamache and Zakaria Bulus will be at Pomona (Calif.) Fellowship Church of the Brethren for an evening event.

Monday, June 29: The Gwanys will be at Hillcrest, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in La Verne, in the morning; an evening event will be held at Glendale (Calif.) Church of the Brethren; location for an evening event for Markus Gamache and Zakaria Bulus is still being set.

Tuesday, June 30: The Gwanys will be at Church of the Living Savior in McFarland, Calif., for an evening event; Markus Gamache and Zakaria Bulus will be at First Church of the Brethren in San Diego for an evening event.

Wednesday, July 1: The Gwanys will be at Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren for an evening event; Markus Gamache and Zakaria Bulus will be at Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the afternoon, and will be Circle of Peace Church of the Brethren in Peoria, Ariz., for an evening event.

Updated choir itinerary

Here is an updated tour itinerary for the EYN Women’s Fellowship Choir and BEST:

June 22, 4 p.m.: Welcome Banquet at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.
June 23, 2 p.m.: An abbreviated concert at Fahrney-Keedy Village near Boonsboro, Md., Mid-Atlantic District
June 23, 7 p.m.: Concert at Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren, Mid-Atlantic District
June 24, 7 p.m.: Concert at Maple Spring Church of the Brethren in Hollsopple, Pa., Western Pennsylvania District
June 25, 7 p.m.: Concert at Maple Grove Church of the Brethren in Ashland, Ohio, Northern Ohio District
June 26, 7 p.m.: Concert in Elgin, Ill., arranged by Global Mission and Service. The choir and BEST group will hold a public concert at Elgin’s Wing Park bandshell under the title “Songs for Chibok.” A freewill offering will be taken to support the Nigeria Crisis Fund’s grants for education in northern Nigeria.
June 27, 1:30 p.m.: An abbreviated concert as part of an auction fundraiser for Nigeria at Creekside Church of the Brethren in Elkhart, Ind., Northern Indiana District
June 27, 7:30 p.m.: Concert at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., South/Central Indiana District
June 28, 9:30 a.m.: Worship with Manchester Church of the Brethren
June 28, 7 p.m.: Concert at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Lafayette, Ind., sponsored by the West Section of South/Central Indiana District
June 29, 10:30 a.m.: An abbreviated concert at Friends Fellowship Community in Richmond, Ind.
June 29: Lunch and visit at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.
June 29, 7 p.m.: Concert at Salem Church of the Brethren in Englewood, Ohio, Southern Ohio District
June 30, 7 p.m.: Concert at Oak Park Church of the Brethren in Oakland, Md., West Marva District
July 3, 7 p.m.: Concert at Cross Keys Brethren Home, in Southern Pennsylvania District
July 4, 2 p.m.: Concert at Lebanon Valley Brethren Home in Palmyra, Pa.
July 4, 7 p.m.: Concert at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, Atlantic Northeast District
July 5, 10:15 a.m.: Worship and concert at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, Atlantic Northeast District
July 5, 6 p.m.: Concert at Germantown Church of the Brethren in Philadelphia, Pa., Atlantic Northeast District
July 6, 2 p.m.: Concert at Peter Becker Community in Harleysville, Pa.
July 6, 7 p.m.: Concert at Coventry (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, Atlantic Northeast District
July 7, morning: Luncheon engagement in Washington, D.C.
July 7, 7 p.m.: Concert at Midway Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Northeast District
July 8, 7 a.m.: Prayer breakfast at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, Atlantic Northeast District
July 8, 7 p.m.: Concert at University Baptist/Brethren Church in State College, Pa., Middle Pennsylvania District
July 9, 7 p.m.: Concert at Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., in Virlina District
July 11-15: Annual Conference in Tampa, Fla.
July 15, time TBA: Concert at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., Atlantic Southeast District

Donations are received to support the expenses of the tour. Make checks to Lancaster Church of the Brethren, with “EYN 2015 Tour” in the memo line. Mail donations to Lancaster Church of the Brethren, 1601 Sunset Ave., Lancaster, PA 17601. For questions contact Monroe Good at 717-391-3614 or .

4) ‘Glory of Gardening’ webinar discusses spiritual benefits, wellness brought by gardening

A webinar titled “The Glory of Gardening: The Hidden Promises of Community Gardening” will take place on Monday, June 15, at 7 p.m.  (Eastern time). This is the final event in a webinar series sponsored by the Going to the Garden initiative of the Office of Public Witness and the Global Food Crisis Fund.

“Through the spring Going to the Garden webinar series, we have explored how to start community gardens and how environmental degradation affects conflicts,” said an invitation from Katie Furrow, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker at the Office of Public Witness. “Join us for this final webinar of the series as we discuss the hidden benefits of community gardens including spiritual wellness, relationship building, and trauma healing.

“Gardening is about more than plants and the hopeful harvest of fruits and vegetables that they promise. Gardens provide a space to bring people from all walks of life together, while also facilitating emotional healing and spiritual growth.”


Tom Benevento gives leadership to New Community Project’s Undoing Global Warming campaign based out of Spring Village Ecology Center in Harrisonburg, Va. He holds a degree in Sustainable Systems, and has worked with Brethren Volunteer Service in Central America.

Myeasha J. Taylor manages Perlman Place Farm of Civic Works Real Food, a 1.5 acre urban farm in Baltimore, Md. She is a native Washingtonian dedicated to growing fresh food in urban communities. She has grown food in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and North Carolina.

Laura Stone is a theologian and church musician who most recently has been studying at Boston University. She will soon move back to Indiana, where she grew up, to be a hospital chaplain. She has worked at Gould Farm, a working farm and therapeutic community for adults with mental illnesses, and at Waltham Fields Community Farms, a Boston CSA with an emphasis on urban food access.

Register for the webinar at . Participants will be eligible to receive 0.1 continuing education credit. Direct questions and continuing education requests to .

5) Registration closes soon for Ministers’ Association pre-Conference event

Registration closes on Monday, June 15, for the Minister’s Association pre-Annual Conference event in Tampa, Fla., on July 10-11. This continuing education event for licensed and ordained ministers is titled “Delving Deeply into Compassion,” and will be led by Joyce Rupp, an author and speaker on the topic of compassion.

Rupp’s 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 the ministers’ gathering will be personal transformation and the renewal of vision and enthusiasm for ministry. Time will be given for integration of the topic through dialogue and quiet reflection.

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

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


6) Message from the moderator of Annual Conference 2015

By David Steele

Dear Friends, grace and peace to you in the name of our God whose love is a powerful gift to us and to the world.

In just a few short weeks we will be gathering together in Tampa for start of the 2015 Annual Conference. It is hard for me to believe how quickly this year has passed. Yet as I reflect on the many miles I have traveled to meet among you at your district conferences and gatherings, Annual Conference briefings, it brings me great joy to recount how we have strengthened our relationships through the bonds of Christ’s love.

Photo by Glenn Riegel
David Steele, district executive minister of Middle Pennsylvania District, is serving as moderator of the 2015 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren

Our Annual Conference provides an ideal setting to continue to strengthen the ties that bind us together–renewing relationships, meeting new friends and recognizing that we are part of the Body of Christ that encompasses the global community. I believe that we are at our best as the Church of the Brethren when we are all together.

Your Program and Arrangements Committee has been hard at work these last months in our continued efforts to cultivate a family-friendly conference where our children and youth continue to have opportunities to be nurtured in their relationship with God and grow in their faith. They have also made preparations for the many insight sessions that remain a significant setting to inform you of the ministries of the Church, to equip you in your ministries with your local congregation, and to strengthen and nurture your ministry gifts.

Worship continues to be central to the Annual Conference experience and nothing stirs my soul quite like singing in four-part harmony with my sisters and brothers in Christ. I am excited about the Worship Team that has been called to prayerfully and thoughtfully plan our worships together with the speakers who have been invited that will help us come together focusing on how God is calling and inviting us to live out the 2015 Annual Conference theme: “Abide in My Love…And Bear Fruit.”

In these final days leading up to our “big meeting,” I would encourage you first and foremost to be in prayer–that we come with open hearts and minds ready to be inspired and moved by the Holy Spirit. It is my hope that our work together will be worship-filled and motivated not by our personal agendas, but by love. Gail O’Day writes in the Gospel of John: The New Interpreters Bible, that “There is only one measure of one’s place in the faith community–to love as Jesus has loved–and all, great and small, ordained and lay, young and old, male and female, are equally accountable to one standard.” As we prepare to gather together, may we reflect on her words with John 15: 9-17 in mind and come ready to be held accountable to that standard–that we love as Jesus has loved.

Until our time together, may we all Abide in Christ’s Love and Bear Fruit!

Your servant in Christ,

David A. Steele
2015 Annual Conference Moderator

— Go to to register for Annual Conference in Tampa this summer, July 11-15, or to get more information about the plans for the Conference, the schedule, special events, continuing education opportunities, and more. Online registration and online housing reservations end today, June 10.

7) WCC general secretary urges a ‘spirituality of justice and peace’

Photo courtesy of WCC / Marianne Edjersten
WCC general secretary Olav Fykes Tveit speaks at the 2015 Kirchentag

From a World Council of Churches release

Christians need a “spirituality of resistance” to face oppression, violence, and experiences of defeat, the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Olav Fykse Tveit, said in an address at Germany’s biggest Protestant gathering.

“We are all aware that the world and the church, action and spirituality, service to the world and faith belong together,” Tveit said on June 6 at the German Protestant Kirchentag, a church convention that brought almost 100,000 people to the city of Stuttgart.

Spirituality, Tveit said, “includes prayer, meditation, and contemplation, not as ends in themselves, but to deepen the readiness to engage in symbolic action and to develop a common witness in the world.”

Such spirituality is part of the “pilgrimage of justice and peace” launched after the WCC 10th Assembly in 2013 in Busan, Republic of Korea, Tveit said in his address at a podium on “Spirituality in the Context of Violence and Peace.” The pilgrimage aims to encourage Christians and all people of good will to work together on important issues of justice and peace, in a world of conflict, injustice and pain.

In his address, Tveit praised the insights of the German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed 70 years ago by the Nazis because of his resistance to Adolf Hitler. Bonhoeffer’s vision of spirituality was that of a “committed fellowship in Christ.”

He also referred to the Indian ecumenist and WCC leader M.M. Thomas, who inspired the vision of the “spirituality of resistance and combat” within the ecumenical movement. This vision implied engaging in resistance to everything that threatens and destroys life. “Thus the spirituality of resistance is in reality a creative spirituality of justice and peace,” Tveit said.

In 2015, the issue of climate justice is the main focus for the pilgrimage in advance of the United Nations climate conference in December in Paris. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon told religious leaders that the faith and the ethical convictions of the religions are needed to make the movement for climate justice so strong that politics will have to follow. Ban, said Tveit, “knows just how little progress there actually is in the negotiations for the climate conference.”

In 2016, the pilgrimage should focus on the Middle East, Tveit continued. “The spirituality of peace and justice pushes us to engage in nothing more and nothing less than a just peace between Israel and Palestine.”

He gave his support to the South African Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu for an “open letter to the Kirchentag” in which Tutu called for an end to the occupation of Palestine. “From our love for the people in Israel and Palestine, we cannot simply accept the current situation as the outcome of the conflict,” Tveit said. “New settlements and the building of the Wall create new facts on the ground that only deepen the conflict and increase injustice.”

Instead of building walls, the WCC general secretary said, “we need to create alternative spaces for encounter and reconciliation, in which peace and justice can grow and flourish.

“Wherever life is threatened, we need to find paths towards each other and spaces to encounter each other that point to the promise of God’s justice and peace. This is how we find the power to engage in resistance against injustice and violence and to overcome enmity and everything that divides.”

— This release was provided by the World Council of Churches. Find out more about the council and its ministries at .

8) Brethren bits

— Remembrance: Katherine “Kathy” A. Hess, 63, a past chair of the Church of the Brethren General Board, died on June 4. She served on the General Board and was board chair in the 1990s, when she was active in the “redesign” of the denomination’s former General Board structure. She was born in Lawrenceville, Ill., on Dec. 18, 1951, to the late Durward and Idabelle Hays. She became a physician and practiced medicine in Ashland, Ohio, for 35 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University, and received her medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio-Toledo in 1977. During her time in Ashland, she served as medical director of Hospice of North Central Ohio, medical director of the EMS, and chair of the Ashland County Medical Association. At Samaritan Regional Health System, she served as medical staff president and chair of the Medical Executive Committee, and she was active in the Ashland Christian Health Center. She was very involved and faithful in her work at Ashland Dickey Church of the Brethren where she taught adult Sunday school classes in addition to serving as chair of the Deacon Board, chair of the Ministry Commission, and as a member of the Church Board. In Northern Ohio District, she served as moderator of the district conference as well as chair of the district board. On the denominational level, she served on the General Board 1992-97, serving as chair from 1995-97. She represented Northern Ohio District on the Annual Conference Standing Committee in 1999-2004. She is survived by her husband, Steve, and children Kevin (Megan) Hess, Jason (Emily) Hess, Nathan (Rebecca) Hess, as well as grandchildren. A celebration of her life was held on Monday, June 8, at Ashland Dickey Church of the Brethren. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are received to the Ashland Dickey Church of the Brethren’s Barnabas Fund, or to Hospice of North Central Ohio in Ashland, Ohio. Online condolences may be made at .


Bill and Betty Hare’s 50 years at Camp Emmaus in Illinois and Wisconsin District, 1965-2015, will be celebrated this Saturday, June 13. A special dedication and program will be held at the camp’s lodge at 4 p.m. “Come enjoy refreshments and share memories with Bill and Betty all afternoon,” said an invitation. For those who cannot attend in person, memories and greetings may be shared care of Mount Morris Church of the Brethren, Attn: Dianne Swingel, P.O. Box 2055, Mount Morris, IL 61054.

— The Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry is publicizing an opportunity for an individual who is interested in volunteer work to serve with the ministry beginning later this year. This Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) assignment is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and will include opportunity for a young adult to work in a professional environment that is spiritually rooted and serves young people in the Anabaptist and Pietist traditions. Additional opportunities include a communal living situation at the BVS Intentional Community House in Elgin, active mentorship by a member of the Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, spiritual formation support for individual growth, and administrative experience for national ministry programming. To express interest or for more information contact Becky Ullom Naugle, director of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, at .

— Over the weekend, Brethren Disaster Ministries staff and volunteers were assessing clean up needs after a tornado hit the area of Longmont, Colo., last Thursday, June 4. The storm reportedly damaged at least 25 homes in the area north of Denver. Brethren Disaster Ministries currently has a rebuilding project site in northeast Colorado, around Greeley. Northeast Colorado suffered loss or damage to nearly 19,000 homes in Sept. 2013 when flooding followed heavy rains. The Brethren response is focusing on some of the more severely impacted areas in Weld, Larimer, and Boulder Counties. The ecumenical project includes volunteers from the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ coming together to support the Brethren effort.

— A letter concerning Israel’s plans for a forcible transfer of Palestinian Bedouins from 46 communities in the West Bank has been sent by members organizations of the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy to Secretary of State John Kerry. Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has signed the letter along with many representatives of Christian traditions including United Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, United Church of the Christ, and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), among others, as well as organizations with whom the Brethren work closely including Church World Service, American Friends Service Committee, and Mennonite Central Committee. Also signing the letter were representatives of some international humanitarian organizations. The June 4 letter commended the US for strong opposition to Israel’s plans but warned that “Israel has recently made further advancements to its relocation plan” and spelled out details including the leveling of land and start of infrastructure works at one section of the Al Jabal relocation site, leveling of land and progress on different planning and zoning processes related to the Nuweimeh relocation site, and appointment of retired General Brigadier Dov Sedaka to oversee the transfer process. “Most recently, General Sedaka gave verbal notice to Palestinian residents of Abu Nwar, located within the E1 area, that they would not be allowed to remain in their community and that it would be in their best interest to immediately sign up for space at the Al Jabal relocation site,” the letter said, in part. “This action carries serious consequences, as it could constitute intent to carry out forced transfer. Forced transfer is prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention, regardless of the motive. A violation of this nature may be considered a Grave Breach of Article 49i, giving rise to individual criminal liability and codified as a war crime.” The letter raised alarms that, among other issues, “the transfer of Bedouin communities from Susiya and the E1 area for likely settlement expansion would make it impossible to achieve a contiguous, viable Palestinian state.” The letter urged the US to adopt a coordinated plan of action that would press Israel “to immediately freeze settlement activity and demolition orders and to cancel transfer plans.”

— Samuel Dante Dali, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has given an interview to the “Daily Trust” newspaper in Nigeria, published on June 7. Written by Onimisi Alao, the interview quotes Dali calling on the new Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari to “stick to the rule of law that he emphasizes and to see to it that nobody is above the law, because it is lawlessness that breeds criminal activities across the country. He should make sure that no individual is above the law, whatever the individual may be. He should also screen the military and weed out the sympathizers of the insurgents.” Dali also talked about how the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency has targeted EYN and its members. Go to .

— Moscow Church of the Brethren in Mount Solon, Va., celebrates 50 years with a Homecoming Service at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 14. Mark Liller is the guest speaker.

Photo courtesy of Black Rock Church
Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa., designated proceeds from its third annual Spring Fair on May 9 to the food pantry of Lazarus United Church of Christ in Lineboro, Md. Shown here: (standing, from left) Donna Hanke, Alma Shaffer, Helen Geisler, Jen Hanke, Jan Croasmun (Black Rock representative), Samantha Dickmyer, Sophia Dickmyer, Helen Warner, Sara Dickmeyer; (seated) pastor Sam Chamelin, pastor David Miller.

— Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa., designated proceeds from its third annual Spring Fair on May 9 to the food pantry of Lazarus United Church of Christ in Lineboro, Md., reports a release from the church. Lazarus Church started a food pantry for needy families several years ago. After the Lazarus Church building burned down in 2013, the congregation continued to operate the food pantry out of a mobile classroom donated by another church. The food pantry relies on donations from individuals, groups, and local businesses, providing bags of groceries to families on the third Saturday of each month. A check for $1,965.52 was presented to Lazarus pastor Sam Chamelin by Black Rock pastor David Miller on Sunday, June 7, in the food pantry facility with several pantry volunteers and the chair of the Spring Fair present. These two churches have a history of uniting with each other for special activities and musical events. The 2015 Spring Fair is just one more tradition that both churches hope to continue.

— Mount Pleasant Church of the Brethren in North Canton, Ohio, is getting attention for its work on a community garden. “Looking for a small piece of ground to grow a few fresh vegetables this summer? Mount Pleasant Community Garden…has just the right spot. The ground has already been tilled and it’s waiting for planting,” said the opening sentences of a news report on the church’s garden, published in “The Suburbanite” of Canton, Ohio. The garden was started in 2011 as a way to donate fresh vegetables to the Stark County Hunger Task Force. Since then it has donated more than 35,000 pounds of food to the task force, and has opened up a number of plots to the community for use by local gardeners. Last year 24 growers participated, and the church said there is enough area to allow many more, the news piece reported. See .

— Limestone Church of the Brethren is hosting a “Crusin’ for Christ Summer Car Show” on June 27 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at Grandview School parking lot in Telford, Tenn. An invitation from Southeastern District said, “Bring your antique classic and come join the fun. Open to all class divisions. First 50 cars entered will receive free dash plaque. Admission is free. Concessions will be sold. Donations appreciated.” All money received will go to help finish the church’s fellowship hall. For more information contact Patty Broyles at 423-534-0450 or pastor Jim Griffith at 423-306-2716.

— In more news from Southeastern District, the district is asking for volunteers to work at the Thunder Valley Nationals, a drag race at the Bristol Motor Speedway, on June 19, 20, and 21 as a fundraiser for Camp Placid. “All who worked the last race had lots of fun!” said the announcement. “This is Father’s Day weekend, so it has been harder to get enough people. You must be at least 18 years old.” Times are 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, and 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday. Contact Kathy Blair at 423-753-7346.

— Northern Indiana District is hosting an auction in support of the Nigeria Crisis Response, reports district executive minister Torin Eikler. The Auction and Relief Sale for Nigeria will be held Saturday, June 27, at Creekside Church of the Brethren, 60455 CR 113, Elkhart, Ind. Doors open at 9 a.m., and the auction begins at 10 a.m. “Thanks to the support of several congregations, we are looking forward to a wonderful event with on-site food, a bake sale, a silent auction, and the main auction event,” said the announcement. “As a special treat, the EYN Women’s Choir will be providing a concert following the auction at 1:30 p.m. The concert is provided freely, and donations will be accepted.” All proceeds will go to the Church of the Brethren’s Nigeria Crisis Fund. Credit cards will be accepted. For more information contact the Northern Indiana District Office at 574-773-3149.

— Dates have been set for the next Western Regional Youth Conference in 2016, to be held over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, Jan. 15-17, on the campus of the University of La Verne in southern California. The theme will be “Becoming the Beloved Community” (Luke 17:20). Registration, fees, details about leadership, and information on special events will be made available later this summer, said an announcement from Pacific Southwest District.

— The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., presents the theatrical production “Jordan’s Stormy Banks” on June 12-14. A drama in two acts, “Jordan’s Stormy Banks” tells the story of one Shenandoah Valley family’s struggles during the Civil War and how they reconcile loyalty to family, to country, and to their Lord. Under the direction of Alisha Huber, the production will be staged at Eastern Mennonite University Main Stage Theater. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on June 12, 13 and 14 and at 3 p.m. as a matinee on June 14. Tickets cost $15 for adults; $12 for seniors, students, and groups of 10 or more; and $6 for children 7-12 years old. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 540-438-1275. “Jordan’s Stormy Banks” is an original production commissioned by the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center and written by Liz Beachy Hansen. Last performed in 2012, “Jordan’s Stormy Banks” is being presented as a part of the Valley Brethren Mennonite Heritage Center’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center seeks to share and celebrate the story of Jesus Christ as it has been reflected in the lives of the Mennonites and Brethren in the Shenandoah Valley. For more information visit or call 540-438-1275.


Contributors to this Newsline include Jane Collins, Joan Daggett, Jenn Dorsch, Torin Eikler, Katie Furrow, Peggy Faw Gish, Monroe Good, Bryan Hanger, Erin Matteson, Russ Matteson, David Miller, Nancy Miner, David Steele, 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 June 16. 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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