Newsline for Dec. 12, 2015

1) Church of the Brethren general secretary speaks out against anti-Muslim rhetoric
2) Haiti Service Ministry Consultation strengthens partnerships, assesses ministries
3) Review and Evaluation Committee holds second meeting
4) Press conference urges support for US refugee resettlement
5) Congregations host Ted & Co. event, help raise funds for Heifer Arks
6) Kindness is good for your health, research shows

7) Winter and spring workshops are offered by Children’s Disaster Services

8) Brethren bits

Kindness Is Good for Your Health, Research Shows

Research shows that kindness and generosity have positive physiological effects. Researchers sometimes call this “helper’s high.” Two studies found that older adults who did volunteer work were living longer. Another study found a significant reduction in early death for people who volunteered often. This actually had a larger effect than regular exercise. In the 1990s, a study looked at personal essays written by nuns in the 1930s. The nuns who expressed the most positive emotions lived about 10 years longer than those who were less positive.

Church of the Brethren General Secretary Speaks out Against Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stanley J. Noffsinger has issued a statement against the current escalation of rhetoric that seeks to demonize Muslims. Citing Jesus’ commands to love God, and love neighbor as self, and the parable of the Good Samaritan, the statement also calls church members to revisit portions of the 1991 Annual Conference statement “Peacemaking: The Call of God’s Peace in History” that direct the church to “explore avenues of interfaith dialogue leading toward a visible expression of God’s plan for human unity.”

Congregations Host Ted & Co. Event, Help Raise Funds for Heifer Arks

Two Church of the Brethren congregations have hosted the new Ted & Co. production, “Twelve Baskets and a Goat,” which is a cooperative venture to raise funds for Heifer International. Between them, the two events at West Charleston Church of the Brethren in Tipp City, Ohio, and Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren raised enough funds to support two “arks” for Heifer–a goal for the series of events.

Press Conference Urges Support for US Refugee Resettlement

On Tuesday, the Office of Public Witness attended a press conference where Senators Leahy, Durbin, and Kaine, and several faith leaders urged Congress to support resettlement of Syrian refugees. Even though 4.3 million Syrians seek refuge from the violence in Syria, policy riders on a budget bill threaten to bar even a small fraction of this vulnerable population from the United States.

Brethren Bits for Dec. 11th, 2015

In this issue: Invitation to simulcast Christmas Service from Bethlehem, alert for nonprofits about proposed IRS rule changes, Highland Avenue church to host special music and worship weekend led by Shawn Kirchner, S. Pennsylvania District plans “Man 2 Man,” National Council of Churches announces new leaders, NCC welcomes Assyrian church, and more.

Haiti Service Ministry Consultation Strengthens Partnerships, Assesses Ministries

Thirty leaders of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) gathered with about 20 persons from the United States for the first Haiti Service Ministries Consultation on Nov. 19-23. The focus was learning about Brethren ministries underway in Haiti, and building bridges of partnership among the Haitian Brethren and American Brethren. It was sponsored by the Global Mission and Service of the Church of the Brethren and organized by Dale Minnich, a volunteer with the Haiti Medical Project.

Winter and Spring Workshops Are Offered by Children’s Disaster Services

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has issued a winter-spring workshop schedule for 2016. The CDS training obtained at these workshops is a unique kind of disaster preparedness training. The trainings will include logistics of disaster response work, all through the lens of compassionate care for children and their families, as well the caregivers themselves.

Review and Evaluation Committee Holds Second Meeting

The Review and Evaluation Committee has met twice this fall to begin the work given to them by the Annual Conference. The first meeting was a conference call in late October, which focused on understanding the full scope of the mandate. The second meeting occurred Dec. 1-2 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The committee comprises Tim Harvey (chair), Leah J. Hileman (recorder), Robert Kettering, David K. Shumate, and Ben Barlow.

Paynes Resign as Co-Executives for Southeastern District

Russell and Deborah Payne have announced their resignation as co-district executives of the Southeastern District, effective July 31, 2016. The Paynes began their ministry with the district on June 1, 2012.