Newsline for Oct. 9, 2015

 “Let me hear what the Lord God says, because he speaks peace” (Psalm 85:8a, CEB).

1) GFCF supports agriculture in DR Congo and Alaska, nutrition in Roanoke area, BVSer in DC

2) Alaska and Louisiana: A tale of two tillers

3) Query focuses on relationship of On Earth Peace to the denomination

4) Bethany Seminary’s peace essay contest to highlight peacemakers

5) Manchester University students are pen pals with death-row inmates

6) NCC laments Umpqua shooting, asks NRA to join in gun violence reduction efforts

7) Bethany’s Presidential Forum promises to be intriguing event

8) National Junior High Sunday will be observed on Nov. 1

9) We are addicted to guns today: A reflection from the president of the NCC

10) Brethren bits: Job openings, NYAC 2016, prayer requests, Bread for the World Sunday, On Earth Peace Anti-Racism Transformation Team, CAS pictorial history, Elizabethtown’s new master of education degree, more

Quote of the week:

“At Children’s Disaster Services we have been in contact with the Red Cross about the disastrous flooding situation in South Carolina. We have volunteers alerted and ready to go if we are needed. Traveling into and through South Carolina is difficult right now, but we will go if we are called. Thank you for your prayers for these families.”

— Kathleen Fry-Miller, associate director of Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), which is a part of Brethren Disaster Ministries. CDS provides teams of trained and certified volunteers to help care for children and families affected by disasters, in cooperation with FEMA and the American Red Cross. Learn more at .

1) GFCF supports agriculture in DR Congo and Alaska, nutrition in Roanoke area, BVSer in DC

The Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) of the Church of the Brethren has provided several grants in recent months that support agriculture by a Brethren group in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a gardening project in Alaska, nutrition education and cooking classes for Spanish speaking population living around Roanoke, Va., and the work of a Brethren Volunteer Service worker at the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C.

DR Congo: A grant of $4,515 funds agriculture work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The recipient of the grant is Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (SHAMIRED), a nonprofit ministry with ties to a Brethren church group called Eglise des Freres du Congo. The funds will be used to purchase a grain and cassava mill to make flour as a value-added component to the ongoing agriculture work of SHAMIRED in the region. People from various ethnic groups will benefit from this mill. Previous GFCF allocations to the work of SHAMIRED include four grants which, starting in Dec. 2011, have provided a total of $22,500 to this agricultural development effort.

Alaska: A grant of $4,500 has purchased a tiller to be used in a vegetable gardening project in Circle, Alaska. Bill and Penny Gay, members of Pleasant Dale Church of the Brethren in Decatur, Ind., have worked each summer since 2003 with local residents in Alaska, to promote community gardening and the raising of fresh produce that otherwise is unavailable. The project also receives support from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The Alaska gardening project previously received two separate $1,000 grants through the Going to the Garden grant program of the GFCF and the Office of Public Witness.

Roanoke: A grant of $4,500 supports nutrition and cooking classes for Spanish-speaking residents of the Roanoke Valley of Virginia. The recipient of the grant, Casa Renacer, is related to but incorporated separately from the Renacer congregations of the Church of the Brethren. Casa Renacer began offering services earlier this year in order to help meet the immediate needs of the Latino community in the Roanoke area. This grant will fund four nutrition and cooking classes for 20 families over the course of 12 months. Classes will be led by a Family Nutrition Program assistant who works for the Virginia Cooperative Extension Roanoke Office.

BVS position: An allocation of up to $15,000 over 12 months will continue support for a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) position in the Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. This volunteer will continue working with the Going to the Garden initiative of the Office of Public Witness and the GFCF. The money funds a BVS stipend, volunteer housing, travel to visit community gardens, and other expenses as required by BVS and the Office of Public Witness.

Find out more about the ministry of the Global Food Crisis Fund at .

Photo by Penny Gay
Bill Gay gardens in Alaska

2) Alaska and Louisiana: A tale of two tillers

By Jeff Boshart

What do New Orleans, La., and Circle, Alaska, have in common? Community gardens in both places recently have purchased walk-behind tractors or tillers with funds provided by the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF).

In New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, Capstone 118 Inc. was started by David Young of Roanoke (La.) Church of the Brethren, after completing post-Hurricane Katrina volunteer work with Brethren Disaster Ministries. In Circle, Bill and Penny Gay of Pleasant Dale Church of the Brethren, Decatur, Ind., first traveled to Alaska with the New Community Project nine years ago and return every summer, most recently to the town of Circle.

Young shared that Capstone’s old tillers lacked the power necessary to break through the sod of the overgrown abandoned lots in the neighborhood where Capstone is working. A grant of $6,735 provided Capstone with a new tool to use in its efforts to reclaim and revitalize both vacant lots and devastated lives. He writes, “As we grow…it has become apparent that ground working equipment is a major priority need.” The second-hand equipment they purchased was not cutting it, literally. He expressed his thanks for the GFCF grant as community members are now expanding their gardens and producing more food for sale and personal consumption.

In Alaska, the Gays were concerned by the lack of fresh produce in the local diet in the community of Circle. Working with community members, the Gays started by building unheated green houses to protect plants from the cold. This extends the gardening season on both ends of Alaska’s short summer. “I can’t believe how God is using us,” said Bill Gay. This year they introduced crops that have never been grown in Circle: asparagus, corn, watermelons, and celery. Through the addition of a new tiller, provided by a $4,500 GFCF grant, the community plans to triple its square footage of fresh produce next season. The Gays believe the Holy Spirit is leading in their efforts and plan to return for many years to come.

— Jeff Boshart is manager of the Global Food Crisis Fund and the Emerging Global Mission Fund, serving on the staff of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service. Find out more about the ministry of the GFCF at .

3) Query focuses on relationship of On Earth Peace to the denomination

West Marva District Conference has adopted a query titled “On Earth Peace Reportability / Accountability to Annual Conference.” This query, initiated by Bear Creek Church of the Brethren, asks “if it is the will of Annual Conference for On Earth Peace to remain an agency of the Church of the Brethren with reportability and accountability to Annual Conference.”

In Southeastern District, a second query focused on On Earth Peace is in process and may be considered at a specially called district conference later this fall (see the Newsline report at ).

On Earth Peace is an Annual Conference agency. Beginning in 2011, On Earth Peace has received criticism for issuing a “Statement of Inclusion” that reads: “We are troubled by attitudes and actions in the church, which exclude persons on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or any other aspect of human identity. We believe God calls the church to welcome all persons into full participation in the life of the faith community.”

The Standing Committee of district delegates to Annual Conference expressed concern about the “Statement of Inclusion” in July 2012, when it released its own statement in response (see ).

Since then, the Standing Committee has held a series of meetings and discussions with the board and executive staff of On Earth Peace, including sending two delegations to meet with the full board of On Earth Peace.

In 2014, the Standing Committee issued another statement after holding a conversation with On Earth Peace executive director Bill Scheurer and board chair Jordan Bles. The brief statement said: “Standing Committee does not support the 2011 Statement of Inclusion of On Earth Peace as an agency of the church, but we will continue to commit ourselves to walk in love together in the face of differing interpretations of scripture and Annual Conference statements and decisions.”

4) Bethany Seminary’s peace essay contest to highlight peacemakers

By Jenny Williams

How and why are some individuals inspired and inspiring? The 2016 Bethany Peace Essay Contest–“Inspired and Inspiring Peacemakers”–asks student writers to share in a public voice about someone they consider to be an inspiring peacemaker. Sponsored by the peace studies program at the seminary, the contest is open to seminary, graduate school, college, and high school students who are fully enrolled in a program en route to a degree. Prizes of $2,000, $1,000, and $500 will be awarded for the top three essays.

This theme is intended to be inclusive and expansive in terms of possible topics. The World Council of Churches’ paper “An Ecumenical Call to Just Peace” has defined peace building and seeking cultures of peace under four broad categories: peace in the community, peace with the earth, peace in the marketplace, and peace among the peoples. Essays are encouraged on individuals whose vision, voice, and work inspire peacemaking in any or all of these categories. Contestants may write on a familiar peacemaker like Martin Luther King or Wangari Maathai or cover lesser known figures such as Ted Studebaker, Leymah Gbowee, or Ella Baker. Submissions on peacemakers whose stories have not yet been told are also welcome.

“Words like inspired and inspiring have fallen out of fashion for many in an era of cynicism and the politics of realism. Yet we remain fascinated by the spiritual and social sources of inspiration,” says Scott Holland, Slabaugh Professor of Theology and Culture and the director of Bethany’s peace studies program. “The inspiration for this theme came in part from conversations I had with Gary Studebaker, a brother of slain Brethren peacemaker Ted Studebaker. Gary and his brother Doug are currently writing a book about Ted’s work and witness. It seemed appropriate this year to invite students to write on a peacemaker they find inspiring.”

The contest is underwritten by the Jennie Calhoun Baker Endowment, funded by John C. Baker in honor of his mother. Described as a “Church of the Brethren woman ahead of her time,” she was known for actively pursuing peacemaking by meeting the needs of others, providing community leadership, and upholding the value of creative and independent thinking in education. John Baker, a philanthropist for peace with a distinguished career in higher education, and his wife had also helped establish the peace studies program at Bethany with an earlier endowment gift.

Ecumenical partnership helps make the contest possible, with peace church representatives serving as judges along with Holland: Joanna Shenk, associate pastor at First Mennonite Church, San Francisco, Calif.; Matt Guynn, director of organizing for On Earth Peace; and Judi Hetrick, assistant professor of journalism at Earlham College. Bekah Houff, coordinator of outreach programs at Bethany, assists Holland in administering the contest.

Essays can be submitted between Jan. 1-25, 2016, and results will be announced by the end of Feb. 2016. Winning essays will appear in selected publications of the Church of the Brethren, Friends, and Mennonite faith communities. For guidelines, terms, and submission procedures, go to . Contact Bekah Houff at or 765-983-1809 for additional information.

— Jenny Williams is director of communications for Bethany Theological Seminary.

Photo courtesy of Manchester University
Andrea Brewster of Albion, Ind., is a first-year student at Manchester University who is taking part in the letter writing effort with the Death Row Support Project.

5) Manchester University students are pen pals with death-row inmates

By Emily Barrand

Hand-writing a letter is uncommon these days. Hand-writing letters to death-row inmates is even less common. However, more than 40 Manchester University students are writing letters to 56 such inmates.

Based out of Liberty Mills, Ind., the Death Row Support Project of the Church of the Brethren is an organization “that facilitates pen pal relationships between those on death row and those on the outside,” according to its website.

Rachel Gross, director of the project, contacted Manchester sophomore Annika Harley of Madison, Wis., to begin the program at Manchester University.

Prisoners on death row may spend as many as 23 hours alone each day. Often, even their families stop corresponding with them. The program allows inmates to have an outlet to the outside, to know about what is occurring beyond the prison walls.

“It’s mostly a communication avenue,” said Carole Miller-Patrick, director of the university’s Center for Service Opportunities. “A lot of these people are in solitary confinement; a lot of them have restricted mail, even. It’s an opening to the outside world.”

Stacy Erickson-Pesetski, associate dean for academic resources and associate professor of English, is teaching a first-year seminar course this semester called “Orange Is Not the New Black,” inspired by her sabbatical work last year at Pendleton Correctional Facility. Erickson-Pesetski suggested her students participate in the Death Row Support Project to help them connect course material to the real world.

“This isn’t from a book; these are real prisoners,” she said. “They still need human contact. They deserve some humanity.”

Although participating is optional, 17 of Erickson-Pesetski’s 19 students in the seminar chose to do so. Any student who signs up for the program must commit to writing for one year. “You’ve got someone in prison looking forward to your letters,” Miller-Patrick said.

What do students write about? Sports, TV shows, and books, or just the daily life of a college student. Students do not seal the letters they write until someone in the CSO office has looked them over. “It’s not that we don’t trust our students; we read them over to make sure that the correspondence is safe,” Miller-Patrick said. No one edits the letters or tells students not to ask certain questions, she said. They merely supervise. “We’re just safeguarding.”

No one reads the letters from the prisoners, except for the student pen pal.

“The students share what they get back openly,” Miler-Patrick added. “We bring them together a couple of times a year to discuss what it’s like and what kind of letters they are getting.”

Students interested in being pen pals may go to the CSO office in Calvin Ulrey Hall, where Miller-Patrick will show them a folder of letters written by eligible inmates. They may read through the letters and choose someone.

Members of the public may sign up at where there is more information about the Death Row Support Project.

— This report was prepared by Emily Barrand, Manchester University communications assistant, and distributed by Anne Gregory who works in media relations at the university in North Manchester, Ind. For more information about the university go to .

Image courtesy of the National Council of Churches

6) NCC laments Umpqua shooting, asks NRA to join in gun violence reduction efforts

A release from the National Council of Churches

The National Council of Churches (NCC) laments the loss of 10 lives in the incident of gun violence at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. This school shooting is the 45th this year, and the 142nd since the massacre on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. We join in grief with the families and loved ones of the dead, and in prayer for the nine injured in this senseless incident.

“It is astounding to me that there is still no meaningful effort to enact common-sense laws to stop these mass killings from taking place,” said Jim Winkler, president and general secretary of the NCC, a coalition of 37 Christian communions in the United States, including the Church of the Brethren. “Even as these events continue to take place, and as they are actually increasing in frequency, I refuse to become numb to this horrible part of our life together as American people.”

The NCC, through its partnership with Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, calls upon each and every congregation to join in the annual Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath and pledge to strive toward a society in which we no longer have to fear attending a movie, a worship service, or school.

The NCC asks the National Rifle Association to work with us to urge Congress to enact meaningful legislation that preserves 2nd Amendment freedoms while dramatically reducing gun violence in this nation.

We remember the words of scripture, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, but violence takes lives away” (Proverbs 11:30).

–Steven D. Martin of the National Council of Churches communication staff provided this report.


Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Fernando Enns, at right, is shown here with Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger–two peace church leaders who were in the delegate body to support the statement on just peace adopted at the World Council of Churches’ 10th Assembly.

7) Bethany’s Presidential Forum promises to be intriguing event

By Jenny Williams

Come explore just peace–globally, communally, and personally–at Bethany Seminary’s 2015 Presidential Forum weekend, Oct. 29-31. Several internationally known speakers and leaders will be featured, sharing firsthand from their experience and work across continents and cultures:
— Fernando Enns of the World Council of Churches Central Committee, and a leader among German Mennonites;
— Elizabeth Ferris, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; and
— Sharon Watkins, president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

The weekend begins with the Pre-Forum Gathering on Oct. 29-30, featuring Bethany faculty and guest lecturers from the fields of journalism, biblical study, peace activism, and theology and culture. Educators and social justice workers from the Brethren, Mennonite, and Quaker traditions will add their voices in a variety of breakout sessions on the theme, from the historical to the artistic to the practical.

All alumni/ae and friends of Bethany–and anyone interested in living in community with neighbors, cultures, and environments close to home or around the world–are encouraged to come for this timely and intriguing weekend program! Attendees can register for all of the events or selected weekend events. Continuing education credit is available. Registration and complete information about the forum is at .

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

8) National Junior High Sunday will be observed on Nov. 1

National Junior High Sunday in the Church of the Brethren will be observed on Nov. 1. The 2015 theme is based on James 2:14-17 from “The Message”: “Faith Without Works Is Outrageous Nonsense.” Worship resources and other resources for the special Sunday are made available online and are free to download from .

Resources for the 2015 junior high Sunday are authored by a number of Church of the Brethren young adults, and include skits and action ideas, children’s stories, worship resources such as calls to worship and benedictions, stewardship resources including offertory statements and prayers, Bible studies, scripture jams, sermon helps, and more.

Also available on the website are high and low resolution versions of the theme logo, in both full color and black and white.

The observance of National Junior High Sunday is sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministries office of the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries.


9) We are addicted to guns today: A reflection from the president of the NCC

By Jim Winkler

The awful shooting last week at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., the 994th mass shooting in the last 1,004 days, followed a familiar pattern. The news flashed across the Internet, the shooter killed himself, first responders arrived in mass, grieving families mourned, funerals were held, statements were issued, etc. Few local churches dare to address the matter for fear of offending those members who oppose gun control.

Soon, very soon, the pattern I described above will repeat itself.

Will this latest mass shooting prompt legislative action desperately needed to reduce easy access to guns? Few are hopeful it will happen. There’s a sickness in our national soul that is yet to be addressed.

On the day of the Oregon shooting, I was reading Psalm 85. I was comforted by these words: “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for God will speak peace to God’s people, to God’s faithful, to those who turn to God in their hearts. Surely God’s salvation is at hand for those who fear God, that God’s glory may dwell in our land. Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.”

We seek and work for peace not only in a spiritual sense but in a temporal sense as well. I know that a reduction in gun violence will require sustained mass efforts and pressure. We’ve done this before. We overcame the opposition of the tobacco industry to an acknowledgment that smoking led to cancer, to warning labels on cigarette packs, to an end to marketing to children and youth, to regulation of tobacco products. It was a long road and still too many people die of smoking-related illnesses, but attitudes toward smoking have changed dramatically in my lifetime.

We were and are fighting against an addiction in terms of tobacco–not only the addiction of users but an addiction of our economy. Much of the US economy was formerly based on tobacco. Slaves were imported to work the plantations. It was widely believed that reducing our emphasis on tobacco production would ruin the nation’s prosperity.

Similarly, we are addicted to guns today. Addicts, we all know, respond when confronted that they don’t have a problem, whether it is with alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. This morning, I watched a television interview with a presidential candidate who said that the US has a mental illness problem that needs to be addressed, but it does not have a problem with guns. Our nation is in denial regarding guns.

I urge you to participate in Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend, Dec. 10-14, (go to ) and join the interfaith movement underway to change our nation, to seek a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and to call for universal background checks.

— Jim Winkler is president and general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. For more about the NCC and its ministries go to .

Prayer is requested for a time of discernment by the leadership of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The denomination’s National Executive Committee has been holding meetings this week, with the question of resuming classes at a re-opened Kulp Bible College (KBC) in Kwarhi on the agenda. Kwarhi is the location of the EYN Headquarters, and the KBC campus which was abandoned last fall when the extremist Islamist group Boko Haram overran the area. In recent months the security situation has improved in the area, and KBC provost Dauda Gava Andrawus has been working to reopen the college along with a number of students and faculty who already have returned to the Kwarhi campus. However, insurgent attacks are still happening in northeast Nigeria and have been occurring in nearby areas around Madagali and Lassa. A related issue is the damage caused to the Bible college facilities by the Boko Haram, and the expense of repairs and renovations. In addition, students and staff typically rely on their own farm produce to sustain them and their families during the school year, and help pay school fees, and since the KBC community was forced to flee the area for the farming season that resource is not available. The Nigeria Crisis Response staff ask for prayer for the Nigerian Brethren leaders who will be addressing these crucial questions.

Shown above: a Love Feast held at the Kulp Bible College campus in Kwarhi, as students and staff returned to the area hoping to be able to reopen the school and resume classes. Photo courtesy of KBC provost Dauda Gava Andrawus

10) Brethren bits

— Camp Alexander Mack is publicizing two job openings:

     The camp seeks candidates for an executive director position. The camp on Lake Waubee in Milford, Ind., is a year-round camping and retreat ministry of the Indiana Churches of the Brethren. The camp is 65 acres with additional 180 acres of wilderness area. Camp Mack was founded in 1925 and continues to serve 1,000-plus users per year. The executive director will serve as the camp administrator and will develop policy and long-range goals for the camping ministry in partnership with the Board of Directors. This full-time position has responsibility for developing and implementing policies and programs of the Board of Directors; staffing; overseeing the promotion and scheduling of programs and facilities; overseeing administration of the camp; maintaining professional standards; fundraising in coordination with the Board of Directors. The qualified candidate will be a faithful Christian with a clear understanding and appreciation of the Church of the Brethren; have a bachelor degree, with IACCA certification preferred; have proven supervisory experience in outdoor ministries; have appropriate emotional maturity and stability and be able to create excitement in persons of diverse backgrounds; be gifted in interpreting the camp’s mission. For more information about the camp visit . Send inquires, letters of interest, and resumes to . (ACA accredited.)

The camp also seeks candidates for a program director position. The program director will be instrumental in developing and implementing the policy, procedures, and long-range goals for the programs. The primary emphasis will be on organizing, implementing and facilitating all Camp Mack-directed programs. The qualified candidate needs to be a faithful Christian with a clear understanding and appreciation of the Church of the Brethren; have a bachelor degree; have proven supervisory experience in outdoor ministries; have appropriate emotional maturity and stability; and be able to create excitement in others. Candidates must have a good working knowledge of the American Camp Association Standards, and of Microsoft Office. They must be team players. For more information contact Galen Jay at 574-658-4831 or .

— Job openings at Camp Pine Lake and Northern Plains District have been announced. Parker Thompson has resigned as director of Camp Pine Lake, effective Nov. 15. The district seeks a camp director and a kitchen manager for the camp, find job descriptions and application information at
. The district also seeks candidates to fill two positions, the district communications minister (find a job description at
) and district minister of Leadership Development (find a job description at

— Church World Service (CWS) seeks a policy advocate. CWS is a not-for-profit organization working to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world. CWS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or veteran status in employment or in the provision of services. Apply via the applicant log-in page at .

— Interns and assistants are wanted at Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry Center, a camp of Mid-Atlantic District located near Sharpsburg, Md. The camp seeks candidates to help make a difference in the world by educating others about hunger and poverty through Heifer International’s experiential learning program. Opportunities to serve exist between March and October 2016, for at least 10 weeks. Responsibilities include working with children, youth, and adults; caring for livestock and a “staple foods” garden; providing multicultural education; assisting in fulfilling the mission of Heifer International. Position includes room, board, and stipend. Applicants must be at least 18 years old. No experience is necessary, training will be provided. Contact Stewart Lentz at 301-223-8193 or . For more information about the Global Village at Shepherd’s Spring go to .

— The Young Adult Steering Committee recently held meetings at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Committee members Kyle Remnant, Jess Hoffert, Heather Houff Landram, Laura Whitman, Amanda McLearn-Montz, Mark Pickens, and Youth and Young Adult Ministries director Becky Ullom Naugle began planning upcoming activities with a focus on the 2016 National Young Adult Conference. NYAC is a national conference, an expanded form of the annual Young Adult Conference. The 2016 NYAC will be held May 27-30, 2016, at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind. NYAC is open to young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. Early bird registration opens online at noon on Jan. 6, 2016, at . The early bird registration fee, available for the month of January only, is $200. Regular registration is $250. A non-refundable deposit of half the registration fee is due within two weeks of registering. Stay tuned for a promo video which will announce the theme.

— This week’s Global Mission Prayer Update asks for prayer for Haiti, which is suffering a severe drought: “In Haiti, many people regularly face lack of clean water and lack of money for food. However, the drought in Haiti has led to an even more acute water shortage and an increase in food prices, causing greater hunger and malnutrition. Jobs for farm workers have decreased as well. Pray for rain and for God’s providing.” Also requested are prayers of praise for the opening of a new congregation of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in the town of Jalingo. Jim Mitchell, who recently returned from volunteer service with the Nigeria Crisis Response, attended and preached at the opening celebration of the new church and shared his account of the inspiring service: “Even though the EYN church has been severely injured and deeply wounded, new life is happening and we give God all the praise and glory for the grace that is making all things possible.”

— As part of an ongoing effort to engage the denomination around faithful action to end hunger, the Office of Public Witness is inviting congregations to participate in Bread for the World Sunday on Oct. 18. During worship services on this Sunday, churches are asked to pray for an end to hunger while considering actions they can take to help end hunger in their own communities and the world. According to the Bread for the World website, “On Bread for the World Sunday, we recognize and give thanks for the work of churches, community groups, and denominations as they seek to remove the obstacles that keep people from sharing in God’s abundance. We celebrate the diversity of faith traditions across race, ethnicity, and culture that are working together to end hunger. Moved by God’s love in Jesus Christ, we reach out in love to our neighbors–and create a better future for all.” The theme scripture is from Mark 10:43 and 45, “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” More information and worship resources are at . Congregations interested in learning more about how to end community hunger and how to advocate for strong anti-hunger policy can visit the Going to the Garden webpage of the Office of Public Witness and the Global Food Crisis Fund at , or contact .

— Nigeria Crisis Response co-directors Carl and Roxane Hill will be on a short speaking tour over the next week, that will include two district conferences in Pennsylvania and presentations at churches in Maryland. On Saturday, Oct. 10, at 2 p.m. they will share with Middle Pennsylvania District Conference meeting at Martinsburg (Pa.) Memorial Church of the Brethren (210 N. Wall St. in Martinsburg). On Sunday, Oct. 11, at 12:30 p.m. they will give a presentation at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren (201 Fairview Ave. in Frederick). On Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 5 p.m. they will be at Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren for a dinner followed by a program (1 Park Place in Westminster). On Saturday, Oct. 17, at 1p.m. they will give a program for Western Pennsylvania District Conference at Camp Harmony (1414 Plank Rd., Hooversville, Pa.). For more information about the Nigeria Crisis Response go to .

— The On Earth Peace Anti-Racism Transformation Team will meet at the Church of the Brethren General Office in Elgin, Ill., on Oct. 9-13. The team has invited all of the staff working at the General Offices to a “bring your own lunch” event on Oct. 12 in order to learn more about the anti-racism work that On Earth Peace is developing. For more information about the Anti-Racism Transformation Team go to .

— Clover Creek Church of the Brethren celebrates its 225th anniversary on Oct. 11. The planning committee is looking for pictures of church-related functions and former members of the congregation, according to the Middle Pennsylvania District newsletter. Contact 814-502-8027 or .

— A new community garden in Salisbury, Md., at Community of Joy Church of the Brethren, has had a successful first year reports the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) e-newsletter. With the help of a $1,000 GFCF grant through the Going to the Garden initiative, organizers installed 16 raised beds, drip irrigation, a shed, a sign, a children’s library, and compost bins, and purchased four dump truck loads of a mix of top soil and compost. “Church members are working with Salisbury University and a local elementary school to develop programming for community children,” said the report. “This outreach is attracting support from city officials, neighbors, and garden users, indicating that the garden is producing not only food, but a greater sense of community.” Find the e-newsletter at .

— Hollins Road Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., is hosting a special spiritual retreat on Oct. 10, titled “Shaped by God and Community: Stories and Reflections.” Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the retreat will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The retreat will be a time to reflect on and honor those who have inspired and guided our faith journeys, according to an announcement. Several people will share reflections from their journeys: Jane Wood of Bethlehem Church of the Brethren, Tara Shepherd of Mount Union Church of the Brethren, John Reed of Cloverdale Church of the Brethren, Bryan Hanger of Roanoke, Oak Grove Church of the Brethren, Mike Varner of Topeco Church of the Brethren, and Cathy Huffman of Germantown Brick Church of the Brethren. Their sharings will be followed by opportunities for guided reflections as individuals, as well as small and large group discussions. Contact Patricia Ronk at 540-798-5512 or .

— Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa., is holding a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the Haiti Medical Project of the Church of the Brethren. The dinner will be served on Saturday, Oct. 10, starting at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 and all proceeds will benefit the project. For reservations, call 717-229-2068 or 717-873-7286. There will be a short video about the Haiti Medical Project shown throughout the evening.

— Jackson Park Church of the Brethren in Jonesborough, Tenn., was one of the congregations helping to feed festival goers at the 43rd annual National Storytelling Festival on Oct. 2-4. It was “part ministry, part fundraiser,” said an article in the “Herald and Tribune” newspaper. “I believe that we as the body of Christ are the only Bible some people will ever read. Just reaching out to share the love of Christ can make a difference,” pastor Jeremy Dykes told the paper. The church hosted its 12th annual traditional Southern breakfast fundraiser, with proceeds supporting the church’s youth programs. The effort involves nearly every church member, and features biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon, grits, eggs and more. Find the news report at .

— This is a banner weekend for district conferences, with five districts holding their annual meetings on Oct. 9-10. Atlantic Southeast District will meet at Camp Ithiel, in Gotha, Fla. Idaho District meets at Fruitland (Idaho) Church of the Brethren. The Mid-Atlantic District Conference will be at Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren. Southern Ohio District gathers at Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Clayton, Ohio. Middle Pennsylvania District Conference is hosted by Memorial Church of the Brethren in Martinsburg, Pa.

— The Southern Ohio District Conference on Oct. 9-10 will be the 161st for the district. Participants will gather on the theme, “Toward a 20/20 Vison.” The unusual schedule, announced in a district newsletter, features six different workshop opportunities to make the event “both inspirational and informational–not only for pastors, but for all church leaders and other persons interested in seeing their congregation develop a vison to reach out into their respective communities, offering their neighbors and friends the opportunity for a transformed life through a relationship with Jesus Christ.” Workshop information is at . On the business agenda is the financial situation of the district, however. The district newsletter published Oct. 1 alerted readers that the district faces a critical financial situation, with churches having given only $21,000 toward a $160,000 annual budget in the first six months of 2015. “We plead with you to speak with your congregational leadership as they begin planning your 2016 budget,” said the newsletter. “Ask them to prayerfully consider increasing their support to district ministry. As a guideline, if every congregation donated only $51 per attendee yearly, budget would be met.”

— Missouri and Arkansas District has started a program called “Weave Us Together” which is a focus on congregational vitality, with a plan of congregation-to-congregation visits with the goal of knowing each other and the district’s ministries better. “Letters of invitation and support will be reaching each congregation in October with visits anticipated between April and June, 2016,” said an announcement.

— “Growing Leaders in New (and Older) Congregations,” a retreat led by Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, will be held Oct. 9-10 at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va. The retreat is hosted by the New Church Development Committee of Virlina District. The theme focus on leadership development in congregational life will have a special focus on new church plants. The registration fee of $60 includes admission to the retreat as well as dinner on Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday. The retreat opens with an optional session at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9. The main retreat will begin with registration at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9, and will continue through Saturday afternoon at 4:15 p.m. Continuing education credit will be available for ministers. For more information contact the Virlina District Resource Center at .

— In more news from Virlina District, the district’s Historical Committee is sponsoring a special Brethren Heritage Day Trip on Oct. 17. The bus trip will make stops in the Bridgewater, Va., area including the Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center, Bridgewater Retirement Community, Bridgewater College, Tunker House, and the John Kline Homestead. Pickup will be at First Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va., at 8 a.m., and the District Resource Center at 8:45 a.m. Cost is $29.99 per person, which includes lunch. To reserve a seat on the bus, send a check for $29.99 per person to the District Resource Center, 3402 Plantation Road NE, Roanoke, VA 24012. This trip provides .5 continuing education credit for ministers.

— Middle Pennsylvania and Western Pennsylvania Districts are publicizing “Lord, Let Our Eyes Be Opened: Breaking the Chains of Mass Incarceration,” an event re-launching the Pennsylvania Council of Churches’ annual conference, formerly the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Conference. The event is aimed at educating people of faith, both clergy and laity, about America’s system of mass incarceration. The meeting takes place at the Red Lion Hotel and Conference Center in Harrisburg, Pa., the evening of Friday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Oct. 25. The event will be followed on Monday, Oct. 26, with a day of action at the state capitol. Leadership includes Harold Dean Trulear, founder and director of Healing Communities USA; Glenn E. Martin, founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA; and Geert Dhondt, assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Panel discussions will include a number of returning citizens as well as criminal justice experts. John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, will speak at a lunch on Saturday, Oct. 24. Also, a Healing Communities training will be offered just prior to the conference. Ministers may receive 1.0 continuing education credit at a cost of $25. Registration and more information is online at .

Western Plains Gathering theme ‘Anoint Us Lord’

— Western Plains District holds its annual Gathering on Oct. 30-Nov.1 on the theme “Anoint Us Lord!” The annual event is a “transformational initiative” of the district, inviting members to gather for inspiration and fellowship. “Brethren have long thought of “anointing” as helpful for healing. But it is far more important than that,” said a reflection on the theme. “Anointing is one of the central images moving through the pages of the Bible. Sometimes it is connected with healing; often it indicates divine choice when kings or prophets are chosen and consecrated…. This may well be yet another way of understanding what is encapsulated in our district vision: ‘Rooted together in Love to be Christ’s transforming Hope and Power.’ Or, maybe we could put it this way, as we are enflamed by the Spirit of God in Christ, not only are we healed, but also called, and even authorized (sent) to continue Christ’s own transforming mission as the ‘anointed one’ (John 20:21). Can we possibly grasp what that will mean? Gather with us and explore what having been anointed with the Spirit of Jesus will mean for us. How shall we be healed, called, and sent out today?” Speakers include Annual Conference moderator Andy Murray, Global Mission executive Jay Wittmeyer on the crisis in Nigeria, and the Young Center’s Jeff Bach leading a session on the meaning and impact of anointing. A number of workshops will be offered, as well as a youth retreat and children’s activities. A brochure is online at . More information and registration are at .

— Northern Plains District is planning a Brethren Heritage Tour next summer, sponsored by the District Nurture Commission. The tour is scheduled for Aug. 7-14, 2016, immediately following the district’s 150th District Conference, according to an announcement in the district newsletter. LaDonna Brunk, chair of the commission, is collecting names of those people who may be interested in participating in the tour, contact her at . In a few months, the tour may be opened up to people outside of the district if there are still spaces available, the announcement said. Tentative tour stops include Camp Alexander Mack in Indiana, Lancaster and Germantown, Pa., the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., and the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va. Estimated cost is around $800 to $900 if the bus is filled.

— A total of $68,150 has been distributed in funds raised by this year’s World Hunger Auction. The following has been distributed, according to the Virlina District newsletter: Heifer International (Guatemala) $34,000, Heifer International (US) $6,800, Roanoke (Va.) Area Ministries $17,000, Church of the Brethren Global Food Crisis Fund $6,800, Heavenly Manna $3,550.

— Mid-Atlantic District will be building a Habitat for Humanity house in the spring of 2016, with the blessing of the district leadership team and working with the Washington County Habitat for Humanity Chapter. The construction site will be in Hagerstown, Md. An announcement of the project in the district newsletter noted several volunteer leadership positions that need to be filled in order to carry out the project, and asked for prayer. “This is a worthwhile project to give a worthy family a better place to live. With lots of prayer and support our district can work together to achieve this great ministry.” For more information contact the district office or the chair of the Service and Outreach team at 301-331-8010.

— Camp Eder holds its 37th annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The camp is located near Fairfield, Pa. Special features of the festival this year: a pork and turkey meal, cooked buried in pits, is $12 for adults and teens, 7$ for children, free for ages 6 and under; kettle cooked apple butter and kettle corn; a la carte food court; craft and vendors area; live music and entertainment; children’s games and activities; live fundraiser auction; and blacksmith, glassblowing, and pottery demonstrations. Performers include the Puppet and Story Works and Drymill Road. Contact the camp at 717-642-8256.

— A pictorial history of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS), a ministry related to Southern Pennsylvania District, has been published to celebrate 100 years of service to children in south-central Pennsylvania. According to an announcement in the district newsletter, the book traces the history of CAS from the 1913 district conference where it was created, through to its recent 100-year anniversary in 2013. Authors are Theresa Eshbach, a former CAS executive director, with Elmer Q. Gleim and Dianne Gleim Bowders. “The book is filled with pictures of the people and events that are a part of Children’s Aid Society’s history,” said the announcement. The book may be purchased for $20 online at or call 717-624-4461.

— Elizabethtown (Pa.) College will begin offering a master’s of education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, through the college’s education department. The news appeared in “The Etownian,” the campus newspaper, on Sept. 24. “A master’s in curriculum and instruction is one of the most common degrees that in-service teachers will earn as they develop professionally in the field,” said the article. Education department chair Rachel Finely-Bowman emphasized the unique character of the Elizabethtown program: “What makes ours unique is its emphasis on peace education, so it covers everything from conflict resolution to social and emotional learning to collaboration and conversation in the classroom.” The article reported that “the peace-centric curriculum represents the strengths of the professors within the department, in which the top research area for faculty members is peace education.” The application for the new degree program will go live on Jan. 1, 2016. Course information and check sheets will be available through the college’s digital course catalogue. Find the Elizabethtown College website at .

Death row exoneree speaks at McPherson College

— McPherson (Kan.) College offered a presentation by death row exoneree Curtis McCarty this week. McCarty told his story during an event on Wednesday, hosted by the college’s Spiritual Life department.

-– Christian Piatt will be the Spiritual Life Focus Speaker at Bridgewater (Va.) College on Oct. 20. The author of “postChristian: What’s Left? Can We Fix It? Do We Care?” and the “Banned Questions” book series will give two presentations on that Tuesday, at 9:30 a.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. in the Carter Center for Worship and Music, said a release that noted Piatt will offer two different presentations at the two times. The programs are free and open to the public. Piatt is director of premium content for the interfaith website Patheos, and is director of growth and development for First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Portland, Ore. As co-host of Homebrewed Christianity’s CultureCast, he reaches 20,000 to 25,000 listeners per episode with his take on current events, faith, ethics, and popular culture.

— In more news from Bridgewater, the annual CROP Meal and CROP Hunger Walk coordinated through Bridgewater College are planned for Oct. 29 and Nov. 1. On Oct. 29, from 5-7 p.m., members of the community are invited to purchase meals surrendered by Bridgewater students and enjoy dinner in the Kline Campus Center, with proceeds going to Church World Service hunger relief programs. On Sunday, Nov. 1, the CROP Walk (3.7 miles) will begin at 2 p.m. at the Bridgewater Municipal Building. Contact college chaplain Robbie Miller at or 540-828-5383 to register for the meal and/or the walk.

— Ann Cornell, administrator of Shepherd’s Spring camp and outdoor ministry center in Mid-Atlantic District, will celebrate her 60th birthday and 25 years of camping ministry by attempting to bicycle the C&O Canal Tow Path in one day. The path is 184.5 miles long, and runs from Cumberland, Md., to Pittsburgh, Pa., according to the district newsletter. Cornell will attempt the ride in 2016, and will be joined by other bicyclists for several training rides, the newsletter said. Sponsors for the rides will donate in benefit of Shepherd’s Spring capital improvements such as a climbing wall or zip line. The camp kicks off its 25th anniversary year on Oct. 10. Find more information at .

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Emily Barrand, Jeff Boshart, Deborah Brehm, Lauren Carrick, Rebecca Dali, Jenn Dorsch, Kathy Fry-Miller, Katie Furrow, Dauda Gava, Anne Gregory, Kendra Harbeck, Mary Kay Heatwole, Carl and Roxane Hill, Steven D. Martin, Nancy Miner, Becky Ullom Naugle, Jim Winkler, Jay Wittmeyer, 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 . 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. 15.

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]