Newsline for Oct. 2, 2015

1) Children’s Disaster Services cares for families affected by California fire

2) Bethany Seminary welcomes new students

3) Office of Public Witness staff write op-ed piece on Nigeria for ‘UN Dispatch’

4) The stones cry out: Displaced people face difficult situation in Nigeria, Boko Haram attacks continue

5) Freed from the smoke and ashes: Reflecting on Pope Francis’s service of prayer for 9/11

6) Kim Ebersole retires as director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries

7) Annual Conference registration fees to remain the same for next year

8) Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center offers event on the Gospel of Mark

9) Frederick Church hosts Children’s Disaster Services Volunteer Workshop

10) Brethren bits: Remembrances, letter on Syrian refugees, upcoming webinars, EAD2016, church anniversaries, Camp Bethel cancels festival, Brethren Voices has Mutual Kumquat, more

Quote of the week:
“There’s been another mass shooting in America…. Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough…. This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America…. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”
— President Barack Obama responding to the most recent incident of gun violence on a college campus, an attack at Umpqua Community College in Oregon in which nine people were murdered and nine others were injured.

1) Children’s Disaster Services cares for families affected by California fire

Photo courtesy of CDS
A child receives care at the CDS center

“Our California team has cared for over 218 children in Calistoga, Calif., in response to the wildfires,” reports Children’s Disaster Services associate director Kathy Fry-Miller. “They are serving at a Local Assistance Center for families.”

The Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) program, which is a part of Brethren Disaster Ministries, offers care for children and families affected by disasters. The CDS volunteers, who are trained and certified, serve in cooperation with FEMA and the American Red Cross, working to set up child care centers in shelters and assistance centers.

One of the CDS volunteers currently serving in California shared, “We have had two boys come in for the past few days. While chatting with the dad he told me the other services in the area didn’t matter. We [Children’s Disaster Services] were what mattered to him and the families.

“He thanked us for being so safe. He was just overjoyed to have us here. He said all the families were talking about us and how happy the kids are when they leave.”

Fry-Miller noted in her brief e-mail report from the response in Calistoga, that “the children’s needs are being attended to, and they are feeling well cared for in the midst of the chaos of their difficult situation.”

For more information about the work of Children’s Disaster Services go to www.brethren.org/cds . To support this work financially give to the Emergency Disaster Fund at www.brethren.org/edf .

2) Bethany Seminary welcomes new students

By Jenny Williams

With the opening of the fall semester on Aug. 27, 12 new students began their studies toward a graduate degree or certificate at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Two ecumenical students joined 10 Church of the Brethren students from 8 districts, among whom is Bethany’s first student from the new Puerto Rico District. One additional person has enrolled as an occasional student.

Beginning students joined faculty, staff, and current students for two days of orientation, beginning with a breakfast for all members of the Bethany community and the neighboring Earlham School of Religion community. Sessions with academic advisors, the registrar, and financial aid staff were interspersed with time for worship and fellowship, obtaining books and IDs, and personal introductions of faculty members from both schools.

New to incoming Bethany students this year is the Conscious Financial Living workshop, programming developed by Bethany staff through a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. The grant’s initiative is to help seminaries address economic issues that many seeking to serve in ministry will face. Coordinated by Courtney Hess, grant project director at Bethany, the workshop sessions will cover topics such as stewardship practices, financial management, and personal choice, taking the whole person into account.

Two current Bethany students are changing from the Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies (CATS) program to degree programs, one working toward a master of divinity degree and one toward a master of arts degree. One current master of divinity student has chosen to pursue an master of arts degree as well.

— Jenny Williams is director of Communications at Bethany Theological Seminary.

3) Office of Public Witness staff write op-ed piece on Nigeria for ‘UN Dispatch’

An op-ed piece sounding an alarm on the crisis situation in Nigeria, titled “Nigeria Has Deteriorated into a Major Humanitarian Crisis,” has been written for the “UN Dispatch” publication by two staff of the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness. Kate Edelen who initiative the piece is serving in a temporary position in the Office of Public Witness, working on the Nigeria crisis, and also has been a research associate at the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, D.C. Hosler is director of the Office of Public Witness

“Amid similar announcements made by his European counterparts, Secretary of State John Kerry, announced that the US would accept 85,000 Syrian refugees in 2016 and 100,000 by 2017,” said the op-ed piece, in part. “This, no doubt, is welcomed news. Yet, while we celebrate this extension of good will to Syria’s refugees, there is another conflict that rages on with little attention to the humanitarian crisis it has wrought. In Nigeria, humanitarian interventions remain woefully under-resourced by the international community, leaving Nigerian civilians and churches to fill the void unsupported. The international community must and can do more.”

Read the full op-ed piece at www.undispatch.com/nigeria-has-deteriorated-into-a-major-humanitarian-crisis .

4) The stones cry out: Displaced people still face difficult situation in Nigeria

Picture #refugees posted by Ramyar Hassani on Facebook

By Roxane Hill

As the crowd cheered Jesus on Palm Sunday, the Pharisees told him to quiet the crowd. Jesus responded, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Later Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem and its future destruction, saying, “They will not leave one stone on another.” These are two opposing references to stones in Luke 19; one of celebration and acknowledgement of Christ, the second of destruction for those who did not recognize him.

What does this have to do with displaced people in Nigeria? The stones in the above picture, titled “Refugees,” cried out to me. They spoke of fleeing, of children being swept along, and of how few of one’s possessions can be carried on foot. This depiction of flight is only the beginning of the story. Where will they live? What will they eat? Will their children be able to go to school?

Jesus used stones to illustrate both celebration and destruction. The Nigerians do the same. They grieve over the destruction of lives and property, yet they continue to lift their voices in praise and acknowledgement of Jesus Christ.

Boko Haram attacks continue

Rev. Yuguda, manager of the Disaster Team of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), sent the following information about recent attacks by the Islamist extremists in northeast Nigeria. Here is a report of what has happened in the last several days as a result of Boko Haram attacks:

In Bakin Dutse, a village located between Madagali and Gulak, Boko Haram members burnt 19 houses to ashes, and people fled to Yola and Mubi.

In Sabongari Hyembula, a village close to Madagali, one life was lost and three houses were burned down.

In Kafin Hausa, also a village close to Madagali, 19 houses were burned down.

All of these above mentioned communities are along the main road to Madagali and Gwoza, which had previously been the headquarters of the Boko Haram. The attacks took place on Friday to Saturday morning, Sept. 25-26.

Pumbum, a village close to Lassa, was attacked on Monday, Sept. 28. Fifteen people were killed and many houses were burned down.

In addition, on Thursday at least 14 people were killed and more than 30 injured in suicide bombings in Maiduguri, and on Friday night two bomb blasts in outlying areas of the capital city Abuja caused at least 15 deaths among many other people who were injured.

“May God continue to help us,” said Rev. Yuguda in his report.

— Roxane and Carl Hill serve as co-directors of Nigeria Crisis Response, a cooperative effort of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

5) Freed from the smoke and ashes: Reflecting on Pope Francis’s service of prayer for 9/11

By Doris Abdullah

“Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised” (Isaiah 9).

We lined up two by two in rows on Liberty Street in Manhattan to enter onto the Foot Prints grounds where the Twin Towers had once stood. In the line were the families of survivors and those like myself, representatives of our faith communities. As the line began to move you first hear the sounds of the water flowing, and then all eyes beheld the sight of the mighty pool of never-ending, streaming waters.

The Multi-Religious Gathering with Pope Francis held on Sept. 25 at the National 9-11 Memorial Museum World Trade Center was officially labeled “A Witness to Peace,” but will be remembered by me as a multicultural prayer service. A prayer service held in conjunction with more than 500 religious leaders from the New York City area representing most of the world’s religions and spiritual beliefs.

I was personally freed, during the service, from the smell of smoke that has lingered in my nostrils for the last 14 years, by the prayers uttered by my brothers and sisters from the faiths gathered together: Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian. My brain had refused to let go of the terrible smells of fires after the Towers fell. The billowing smoke and ashes crossed the waters of Manhattan into my home in Brooklyn for months afterward.

Pope Francis told us that in this place “we weep and we throw away revenge and hatred.” The Young People’s Chorus of New York City sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” We wept as the escalators descended deep, deeper, and still deeper underground to reach the museum’s last level. A cold, not well lit, and uninviting place was filled with memories and memorabilia of what once was.

I wept as the Meditations on Peace began to be recited in sacred tongues, and I wept as I heard the Greek uttering from Archbishop Demetrios: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Bless are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I wept as Imam Khalid Latif prayed in Arabic, and Dr. Sarah Sayeed broke her translation with sobs: “O Allah! You are Peace and all peace is from you, and all peace returns to You. (silence) Grant us to live with the salutation of peace, and lead us to your abode of peace. You are blessed, our Lord, and Exalted, O Owner of Magnificence and Honor!”

I wept with the Hindu prayer from Dr. Uma Mysorekar: “Om…. May he protect us both (gug and disciple). May he cause us to enjoy (the Supreme). May we both work with great energy. May our study become brilliant. May we not hate each other. Om…. Peace, peace, peace. Lead me from unreal to real; lead me from darkness to light; lead me from death to immortality. Om…. Peace, peace, peace.”

I wept with the Buddhist words of Rev. Yasuko Niwano: “Victory begets enmity; the defeated dwell in pain; the peaceful live happily, discarding both victory and defeat. One should not do any slight wrong which the wise might censure. May all beings be happy and secure! May all beings have happy minds! PEACE!”

I wept with the Sikh words of Dr. Satpal Singh: “God judges us according to our deeds, not the coat that we wear: that Truth is above everything, and the highest deed is truthful living. Know that we attain God when we love, and only that victory endures, in consequence of which no one is defeated.”

And I wept with the Jewish Prayer in Honor of the Deceased sung by Cantor Azi Schwartz: “O G-d, full of compassion, Who dwells on high, grant true rest upon the wings of the Shechinah,in the exalted spheres of the holy and pure, who shine as the resplendence of the firmament, to the souls of Victims of September 11th who (have) gone to their eternal home; may their place of rest be in Gan Eden, therefore, may the All-Merciful One shelter them with cover of his wings forever, and bind their souls in the bond of life. The Lord is their heritage, may they rest in peace and us say: Amen!”

In exiting, Pope Francis reminded us to always pray–pray for each other, pray for peace, and pray for him. We hugged and gave the sign of peace to each other before departing upward, and up, until finally we reach the sunshine. I could hear the sound of the water flowing from the memorial pool and these words came into my head: “Come to the waters all who are thirsty and weak. Come to the waters that you may have life.”

— Doris Abdullah is the Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations.


Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Kim Ebersole

6) Kim Ebersole retires as director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries

Kim Ebersole has tendered her resignation effective Oct. 9. She has been serving on the Church of the Brethren denominational staff as director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries.

She began in the position in 2006, working for the former Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC). The 2008 merger between ABC and the Church of the Brethren staff merged her position into the Caring Ministries of the Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren.

Among her many accomplishments, Ebersole successfully coordinated five National Older Adult Conferences, including the most recent NOAC held on Sept. 7-11 at Lake Junaluska (N.C.) Conference Center. She has worked effectively with the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, and under her leadership an emphasis on child protection was heightened and important resources developed. She contributed in numerous ways to successful Annual Conferences and collaborative staff projects.

“Kim exemplified teamwork, detailed follow-through, a caring manner, creativity, artistic talent, and servant leadership, all characterized by an excellence which consistently defined her work,” said Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries. “We deeply appreciate Kim’s years of service and pray for a joy-filled retirement.”


7) Annual Conference registration fees to remain the same for next year

Basic costs for the 2016 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, to be held in Greensboro, N.C., have been shared by the Conference Office. “Program and Arrangements Committee met and decided to make no increases in registration costs for delegates or non-delegates,” reported Conference director Chris Douglas.

The early delegate registration fee will remain at $285. Early registration for non-delegate adult participants will remain at $105.

In terms of housing costs, in Greensboro the convention center and the hotel are all in one building and so there will be only one Annual Conference hotel, the Sheraton. Douglas said, “Our hotel rate is $108 plus 12.75 percent tax which makes it a total of $121.77 inclusive” per room per night. The Sheraton is including free parking and free wi-fi in this inclusive cost.

One change being made with the 2016 Annual Conference is to open early registration for delegates and nondelegates at the same time. Early registration for delegates and non-delegates will open online at www.brethren.org on Feb. 17, 2016.

This change “will simplify making housing reservations for delegate registration to open at the same time as everything else,” Douglas noted. “Please feel free to share this information with congregations,” she requested.

For questions, contact the Conference Office at 847-429-4365 or annualconference@brethren.org .

8) Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center offers event on the Gospel of Mark

“The Gospel of Mark and 21st Century Ministry” is the theme of a continuing education event sponsored by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center and held on the campus of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.. The event is planned for Monday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the college’s Von Liebig Center.

Keynote speaker for the event is Dan Ulrich, professor of New Testament at Bethany Theological Seminary. Alongside his address, the event also features a panel of speakers including Belita Mitchell, pastor of Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren and a former Annual Conference moderator; Eric Brubaker, pastor of Middle Creek Church of the Brethren; David Witkovsky, chaplain of Juniata College; Steven Schweitzer, academic dean at Bethany Seminary; and Jeff Carter, president of the seminary.

“How can followers of Jesus bear faithful witness to God’s reign in the 21st-century?” asks a promotional flier for the event. “Whereas churches in the United States were once part of the dominant culture, cultural marginality seems more likely now and in the future. Dan Ulrich will describe how the Gospel of Mark challenged its original audience to be faithful in spite of (or even because of) their marginality, sufferings, and misunderstandings. While interpreting the anointing of Jesus (Mark 14:1-11) and other key passages, Dan will explore how Mark can help us envision life-giving ministries for our times and places.”

The panel will bring responses from several distinct Brethren ministry settings, sharing how insights from Mark may be understood and lived out in their own ministry contexts.

Cost is $60 and includes light breakfast, lunch, and .6 continuing education units. More information and registration are available online at www.etown.edu/programs/svmc/index.aspx . Register by Oct. 19. For questions contact 717-361-1450 or svmc@etown.edu .

9) Frederick Church hosts Children’s Disaster Services Volunteer Workshop

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is offering a workshop to train volunteers on Friday, Oct. 30, at 5 p.m., to Saturday, Oct. 31, at 7:30 p.m., at Frederick Church of the Brethren, 201 Fairview Avenue, Frederick, Md.

The workshop is in response to the need to have Children’s Disaster Training in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Frederick Church of the Brethren offers many opportunities for individuals to volunteer to rebuild homes through Brethren Disaster Ministries. This workshop is an opportunity for those who cannot do construction work to be able to volunteer by serving families after a disaster.

Children’s Disaster Services has been meeting the needs of children since 1980, working cooperatively with FEMA and the American Red Cross to provide care for children and families following disasters. Children’s Disaster Services is a part of Brethren Disaster Ministries.

CDS volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos that follows disaster, by setting up and operating special child care centers in disaster locations. Parents are then able to apply for assistance and begin to put their lives back together, knowing their children are safe.

Information learned at the volunteer workshop can be beneficial to anyone working with children. The CDS workshops train participants to understand and respond to children who have experienced a disaster. The training is designed for people who have a heart and passion for children, and will help participants recognize and understand the fears and other emotions children experience during and following a disaster. Participants also learn how child-led play and various art mediums can start the healing process in children. Participants will experience a simulated shelter, sleeping on cots and eating simple meals.

Once the training is completed, participants have the opportunity to become a certified Children’s Disaster Services volunteer by providing two personal references and completion of background checks. Although many volunteers are motivated by faith, CDS workshops are open to anyone over 18 years of age.

Cost for attending the workshop is $45 for registration before Oct. 9, and $55 for registrations made after that date. Scholarships for registration fees are available from CDS for those with limited personal resources. Many organizations choose to offer partial or full scholarships as a way of showing their support for volunteer service. The fee covers costs of the Volunteer Training Manual and a portion of the administrative costs for travel, materials, and processing new volunteers. When needed, scholarships are available for the background checks required for certification.

To register visit www.brethren.org/cds/training/dates.html . For more information, contact Jim Dorsch, the local CDS coordinator, at 301-698-9640 or deijim@aol.com or go to www.brethren.org/cds . The Children’s Disaster Services office may be contacted at cds@brethren.org or 800-451-4407 ext. 5.

10) Brethren bits

Remembrance: Lydia Walker, a former national director of the Church of the Brethren’s Cooperative Disaster Child Care program, (now Children’s Disaster Services, or CDS), died on Tuesday, Sept. 29. “Lydia Walker was a beloved leader of the Children’s Disaster Services program in the ’90s and early 2000s,” wrote current CDS associate director Kathy Fry-Miller. “She and Roy Winter, new Brethren Disaster Ministries director at the time, led volunteer groups through the Sept. 11 child care response.” Information about services will be shared as it becomes available. “Please hold Lydia’s family and friends in your prayers,” said a request from the Office of the General Secretary.

Remembrance: Gerhard Ernst Spiegler, 86, a former president of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, died on Aug. 24. He served as the college’s president from 1985-96. During his tenure he oversaw the building of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, as well as other renovations, demolitions, and new buildings on the campus. His tenure saw the then brand-new High Library receive a digital upgrade, a first version of the Pledge of Integrity instated in the Student Handbook, and the first Environmental Science major. Previous to his leadership at Elizabethtown, he was provost and acting president at Haverford College, taught at the University of California in Berkeley, was provost of Temple University, and was a visiting professor at the University of Hamburg in Germany. Honors he received during his career included a University of Chicago Distinguished Research Award, and the Danforth Foundation lauded him for excellence in teaching. He was the author of several books that spanned subjects from theology and ideology to world politics and interfaith dialogue. When he retired, to honor his contributions to the college, Elizabethtown trustees and members of the college community established an endowment to support Prestigious Scholarships. Memorial gifts are received to the Salvation Army, the United Nations Refugee Agency, and the American Heart Association.

Remembrance: Gordon W. Bucher, 89, a former executive minister of the Church of the Brethren’s Northern Ohio District, died on Sept. 28 at Timbercrest Healthcare Center in North Manchester, Ind. He is reportedly had the longest tenure of any district executive in the denomination, having served Northern Ohio District for some 33 years, from 1958-91. He was born at Astoria, Ill., on June 20, 1926, to Harry and Ethel (David) Bucher. In the summer of 1945, he was a “sea-going cowboy” on the first ship to take 500 horses to Patras, Greece, from New Orleans for UNRRA, Heifer Project, and the Church of the Brethren. He married Darlene Fair in 1947. In the late 1940s and ’50s he worked as a teacher, and as a pastor, serving churches in Indiana and Illinois. He held degrees from Manchester College (now Manchester University) in North Manchester, Ind., Bethany Theological Seminary, and Northwestern University. Following retirement, the Buchers moved to North Manchester. Surviving him are his wife Darlene Bucher; sons Barry (Diana Eberly) Bucher of North Manchester, Brent (Janet Board) Bucher of Fresno, Ohio, and Brad (Therese Daley) Bucher of Plymouth, Ind.; grandchildren and great grandchildren. Family and friends may call on Friday, Oct. 2, from 6-8 p.m. at McKee Mortuary in North Manchester. The funeral service will be held Saturday, Oct. 3, at 2 p.m. at Manchester Church of the Brethren. Burial following the service will be in the Oaklawn Cemetery, North Manchester. Memorial gifts are received to Northern Ohio District, Manchester University, Timbercrest Senior Living Community, and Manchester Church of the Brethren. Condolences may be sent online at www.mckeemortuary.com .

General secretary Stanley J. Noffsinger has signed on to a letter to President Obama on behalf of the Church of the Brethren, addressing the growing need for nonviolent ways to address the current refugee crisis. Noffsinger was one of a number of church and religious leaders to sign the letter. According to a communication from the Office of Public Witness, the letter builds on the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference statement of 1982, which calls for the United States “To support and harbor refugees from war, oppression, famine, and natural disasters,” as the letter requests the US government to invite more refugees into the United States, decrease military involvement, and instead opt for diplomatic transformation and increased humanitarian aid. The letter encourages increased action in Syria to solve the root problems of the conflict, in addition to requesting aid for those displaced by the conflict, seeking to emphasize dissolving the source of the refugee crisis as a nonviolent, diplomatic approach reorienting US foreign policy in the Middle East away from militarism. Other involved in the effort to write and send the letter included the Mennonite Central Committee and the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy. Find the letter and list of those who have signed it at www.interfaithimmigration.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Religious-Leader-Letter-Welcome-Syrian-refugees-of-ALL-Faiths_10.01.15.pdf .

Webinars and more webinars! A number of upcoming webinars are being offered that are of interest to Brethren:
The Office of Public Witness is publicizing a webinar on the federal budget titled “What’s Happening and Where Is All the Money Going?” on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 3 p.m. (Eastern time). Leadership will be provided by a number of ecumenical partners including the United Church of Christ, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and the American Friends Service Committee, among others. Go to http://bit.ly/oct7-webinar .
There is a new webinar series on the topic, “The Heart of Anabaptism,” offered with Anabaptist-related groups in the United Kingdom in cooperation with the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries. The seven webinars in the series will explore the “seven core convictions of the UK Anabaptist Network.” So far, the first three webinars in the series have been announced: on Oct. 22 at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time) led by Joshua T. Searle, tutor in Theology and Public Thought and assistant director of Postgraduate Research at Spurgeon’s College in England; on Nov. 23 at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern) led by Alexandra Ellish, a development worker with the Mennonite Trust and UK Anabaptist Network; on Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern) led by Andrew Suderman, director of the Anabaptist Network in South Africa. The seven core convictions of the Anabaptist Network can be found at www.anabaptistnetwork.com/coreconvictions .

Every year, the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness works with ecumenical partners to organize Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice (EAD). EAD is an event that invites Christians from all over the country to come to Washington, D.C., to learn about a specific area of public policy. The event concludes with EAD’s Lobby Day, when a prepared legislative “Ask” is taken to members of Congress by gathering participants. EAD 2016 is entitled “Lift Every Voice! Racism, Class, and Power” and will take place April 15-18, 2016, at the DoubleTree Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Va. Visit www.AdvocacyDays.org for more information and to register for this opportunity for Christian citizenship.

Mill Creek Church of the Brethren in Port Republic, Va., will celebrate 175 years as a congregation on Sunday, Oct. 18. According to an announcement in the Shenandoah District newsletter, the 10 a.m. worship service will feature leadership from Jim Rhen, who served as student pastor at Mill Creek in 1984. During the Sunday school hour at 11 a.m., children will participate in a scavenger hunt to discover historical objects in the church and adults will learn about Brethren Valley migration and the start of the Mill Creek congregation in a presentation led by Paul Roth, retired pastor at Linville Creek Church of the Brethren. After a carry-in meal, participants will enjoy “A Walk with the Witnesses,” which includes a tour of the church cemetery and stories of faith and witness of former church leaders. Historical displays will be featured in the library and gathering area. All are invited to join in the celebration.

Grottoes (Va.) Church of the Brethren celebrates its 100th anniversary with a special worship service at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 18. Randy Simmons, pastor of Mt. Vernon Church of the Brethren, will bring the message. Special music will be provided by Southern Grace. A fellowship meal will follow.

Stover Memorial Church of the Brethren is holding a 70th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Oct. 17, at 3 p.m. “Please join us in this important celebration in the life of our congregation,” said an invitation from pastor Barbara Wise Lewczak. The church has been in existence from 1945 through 2015, having started out with 50 charter members meeting at the YMCA of Des Moines, Iowa. It moved to the current location in the Oak Park and Highland Park neighborhoods of Des Moines in 1949, after having been named “Congregation of the Year” by the denomination in 1947. Its name, Stover Memorial, was chosen in honor of missionaries Wilbur and Mary Stover. Among the church’s first pastors were Harvey S. Kline, accompanied by spouse Ruth, and Dale Brown, accompanied by his wife Lois, “and many other gifted pastors and their families” have served over the years, Lewczak noted. “We continue to plant and water knowing that God will provide the growth in God’s time. We provide ministry to our community through the Food Pantry, DMARC, Lap Quilts to care centers, hospitals, the homeless, shut ins–to name a few of the ways we try to live our lives in Jesus’ example, Simply, Peacefully, Together.” The anniversary speakers are Tim Button-Harrison, Northern Plains District executive; Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, district moderator; pastor Lewczak; Leadership Team members Jess Hoffert and Thomas McMullin; and long-time member Gene Wallace. Music will be brought by Rhonda Kiefer of Dallas Center Church of the Brethren, the Hoffert family, and Doris Covalt. Refreshments and sharing will follow the program. The Stover Memorial Leadership Team includes Harley Wise, chair Doris Covalt, Jess Hoffert, Thomas McMullin, secretary Marilyn Richards, and the pastor. Friends of the church who cannot attend are invited to send memories and/or photos to the church. For more information contact 515-240-0060 or bwlewczak@minburncomm.net .

Community Church of the Brethren in Hutchinson, Kan., made the “Hutchinson News” on Sept. 25 for its leadership of a renewed local CROP Walk focused on fighting hunger. “A group of local churches wants to educate Reno County residents about hunger and walk to end it,” said the article, in part. “The Reno County CROP Walk is slated for 1:15 p.m. Oct. 4 at Rice Park. The Community Church of the Brethren and several other Hutchinson congregations are leading the renewed effort to raise money for US and global hunger.” Find the article at www.hutchnews.com/lifestyle/religion/local-c-r-o-p-walk-will-focus-on-fighting/article_e2eb456f-d20a-57eb-aeed-2888d1668143.html .

Atlantic Northeast District holds its district conference this weekend, on Oct. 3, at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s Leffler Chapel.

The 10th Annual Western Pennsylvania District Auction is planned for Saturday, Nov. 7, at Camp Harmony near Hooversville, Pa. The event includes auctions, food including fresh baked pies, and more. This year, an announcement from the district noted that 10 percent of the auction profits will go to the Nigeria Crisis Fund.

West Marva District has honored the following ordained ministers for their years of service: Chester Fisher 45 years, Roger Leatherman 25 years, Philip Matthews 10 years, Kevin Staggs 10 years, Barry Adkins 10 years, Brian Moreland 10 years, Charles Twigg 10 years, Mike Bernard 5 years, Terry Gower 5 years, and Sherri Ziler 5 years.

Camp Bethel has canceled its annual Heritage Day Festival, which was scheduled for Oct. 3, because of concerns about weather, safety, and participation. The camp is located near Fincastle, Va. “However, on Oct. 17 the Summerdean Church of the Brethren (6604 Plantation Rd, Roanoke) will host Heritage Day Light from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. for any congregation wishing to sell accumulated crafts and foods,” said an announcement from the camp. Contact Rick Beard at rickbeard.rb24@gmail.com by Oct. 8 to participate. Also, apple butter will be made at Camp Bethel overnight tonight, Friday, Oct. 2, and canned and sold hot on Saturday morning, Oct. 3 in Deer Field Gym from 9-9:30 a.m. Cost is $5 per pint and $10 per quart. “Big thanks to each congregation holding an event or offering in honor of Camp Bethel,” continued the announcement. “Heritage Day is our most important fundraiser of the year, providing over 6 percent of our total budget. Thank you to ALL the hundreds of persons who have already committed so much time and effort into this event. Camp Bethel is very blessed to have so many wonderfully supportive congregations and families!” To make a donation to Camp Bethel’s ministries in honor of Heritage Day, go to www.CampBethelVirginia.org .

Bridgewater (Va.) College will open its new Center for Engaged Learning with a reception on Oct. 14, said a release from the school. “The Center for Engaged Learning, located at Third and East Broad streets, unites three important institutional initiatives at Bridgewater–the Zane D. Showker Institute for Responsible Leadership, the Kline-Bowman Institute for Creative Peacebuilding, and the new Institute for Teaching and Learning. In addition, several existing programs under the office of academic affairs, including the Foundations in Liberal Arts (FILA) general education program, the Center for Cultural Engagement, study abroad, endowed lectures and convocations, and the Flory Honors Program will also find a home in the Center for Engaged Learning,” the release said. Jamie Frueh, professor of history and political science, is the director of the new center.

The Global Women’s Project Steering Committee was hosted for its fall meeting by Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill. The project “invites all women to live in solidarity with women around the world and seeks to empower women and girls in their own communities in living a life of dignity and respect,” said an announcement. The meeting was held Sept. 25-27 to discuss the work of the project and do shared discernment of continuing woman’s projects around the world as well as within the United States. “We covet your thoughts as we review project updates, discuss donations and the stewardship of what has been generously contributed  to GWP,” the announcement said. “Gratitude is said to be the highest possible emotion we can experience, it is an experience of love. The Global Women’s Project Steering Committee experiences gratitude for your care and support. We dwell in it and allow it to nourish our spirits.”

The School of the Americas (SOA) Watch is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the movement to close the military training school with a special event on Nov. 20-22. In past years, peace studies student groups from various Church of the Brethren-related colleges and universities and other Brethren have regularly joined in the annual SOA Watch vigil outside the gates of Fort Benning. This year the special anniversary event will also call for the closure of the Stewart Detention Center, “one of the largest private for-profit immigrant prisons in the country,” said the announcement. “It is incumbent upon us to continue making the connections between SOA violence and the root causes of migration. Join us as we continue to denounce the failed US policies, which have left a brutal legacy of impunity and human rights violations throughout the hemisphere. Since 1990, our movement has brought together torture survivors, human rights defenders, students, teachers, families, inter-faith groups, labor activists, migrants, and immigrant rights activists for a weekend of collective action, education, commemoration, and solidarity across all fronts of the struggle.” For more information go to www.SOAW.org or call 202-234-3440.

War Resisters International is organizing a 2nd International Week of Action Against the Militarization of Youth from Nov. 14-20. “The week is a concerted effort of anti-militarist action across the world to raise awareness of, and challenge, the ways young people are militarized, and to give voice to alternatives,” said an announcement. “Any planned activity can be added to this international action to show solidarity to ending a global culture of war, even if it is just your local event!” Find out more at http://antimili-youth.net/articles/2015/09/international-week-action-against-militarisation-youth .

Leaders of major religious faiths and interfaith networks have joined forces with some politicians and city mayors, urging world leaders to commit to nuclear abolition and replace nuclear deterrence with shared security approaches to conflicts, according to a recent article from Inter-Press Service (IPS). “A joint statement, presented to Mogens Lykketoft, the President of the UN General Assembly, calls specifically on world leaders to negotiate ‘a nuclear weapons convention or framework of agreements that eliminate nuclear weapons,’ a proposal advanced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and supported by over 130 countries,” said the report, in part. “The joint statement was adopted in Hiroshima on August 6th–the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of that city, and is endorsed by religious leaders, mayors and parliamentarians from Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, and Zimbabwe.” Find the full report at www.ipsnews.net/2015/09/religious-leaders-legislators-in-nuclear-abolition-call .

Mutual Kumquat is featured in the October edition of the community television program “Brethren Voices” produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. “So, what’s a Mutual Kumquat?” said an announcement from producer Ed Groff. “Mutual Kumquat is widely known in Brethren circles as an inspirational group of musicians who are known for their creativity. Mutual Kumquat has regularly performed during the past 15 years at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conferences and National Youth Conferences and have traveled across country to perform for numerous congregations, colleges, and festivals. Over the years, they have recorded five albums.” Also featured in the October edition of Brethren Voices are Brethren Volunteer Service workers Debbie Kossmann of Duisburg, Germany, who is serving at Sisters of the Road in Portland, and Anna Zakelj of Modoc, Ind., who is a volunteer at SnowCap Community Ministries serving families of East Multnomah County, Ore. DVD copies of the program are available, contact groffprod1@msn.com . Many of the Brethren Voices shows can be viewed at www.youtube.com/Brethrenvoices . Become a subscriber and receive monthly notices of newly released programs.

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Doris Abdullah, John Ballinger, Deborah Brehm, Jim Dorsch, Chris Douglas, Kate Edelen, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Kathy Fry-Miller, Ed Groff, Mary Kay Heatwole, Roxane Hill, Nate Hosler, Barbara Wise Lewczak, Nancy Miner, Jenny Williams, Jesse Winter, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at cobnews@brethren.org . Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. The next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is set for Oct. 8.

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