Two district conferences are held this weekend:
Southern Plains District meets Aug. 4-5 at Family Faith Church of the Brethren in Enid, Okla.
Northern Plains District holds its 150th recorded meetings Aug. 5-7 at West Des Moines (Iowa) Christian Church, with Rhonda Pittman Gingrich as moderator. The theme is “This is our story, this is our song.” Guest leaders are Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary, and Carol Hipps Elmore, minister of nurture and music at Oak Grove Church of the Brethren in Virlina District. On Saturday evening, a festival of story and song celebrates the 150th anniversary and the ongoing ministry of God’s people in the district. The district is commemorating the anniversary by challenging its members to collectively engage in 150 random acts of kindness.
In related news, a goal of $15,000 has been set for a special fundraiser to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Northern Plains District. “We are asking congregations and individuals to give in response to the many ways we are ‘Tied Together with Love,’” said the district newsletter. “We are tied together and nurtured by those who work on behalf of our 32 congregations.” Congregations are organizing fundraisers or offerings. Additional opportunities to contribute include the auction of two quilts that are being created for the district conference.
— Remembrance: Jack Cameron McCray, 91, passed away July 24 at his daughter’s home in Kenosha, Wis. He served in the Church of the Brethren mission in India 1960-65 along with his wife, Lila, who in 1981-83 served on the denominational stewardship staff. While in India, he was field treasurer of the mission and was one of the co-managers of the Inter-mission Business Office serving 100 different mission groups and institutions. Born in Los Angeles, Calif., on Sept. 28, 1924, son of Ernest and Florence McCray, much of his early life was spent in Oklahoma. During World War II he was a conscientious objector and served in the Forest Service, Cascade Locks (Ore.) Civilian Public Service unit 21. He became employed by Diamond International in Chico, Calif., and was involved in the early stages of electronic accounting and main frame computers. Later in his career he also was supervisor of computer operations at (Miles) Bayer Corporation. A member of the Church of the Brethren for 72 years, he served in various leadership roles including his service in India. He is survived by his wife, Lila; daughter Karen Modder-Border; son-in-law David Border; daughter-in-law Linda Brooks Broyles; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 12, at Journey Church in Kenosha.
— The Church of the Brethren seeks an individual to serve as part-time Yearbook specialist. This person prepares the annual denominational Yearbook, a digital resource that includes the church’s directory and statistics. The ideal candidate will be a well-organized person who enjoys keeping track of many details and has experience in publishing. Applicants should be competent in Microsoft Outlook, Word, and Excel; adept at learning a database system; and able to meet deadlines. Preferably the Yearbook specialist will be familiar with congregational life. This person must be able to work in a religious setting and communicate knowledgeably with congregations, districts, and organizations within the wider church. This part-time position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and reports to the publisher of Brethren Press and communications. Applications will be received beginning immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to request the application form by contacting: Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; firstname.lastname@example.org . is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
— Southern Pennsylvania District seeks an executive director for Camp Eder, to fill a full-time position at a year-round Church of the Brethren camp and retreat center located near Fairfield, Pa. Camp Eder is a 400-acre facility nestled in the southern Pennsylvania mountains. The district seeks a Christian with a growing faith and a heart for evangelism as well as an understanding and acceptance of Church of the Brethren values. This person needs to be a strong spiritual leader with a passion for outdoor ministry. Qualifications also include the ability to implement the strategic vision plan as directed by the camp board; a bachelor’s degree or equivalent life or work experience; previous administration and camping experience preferred, with strong fiscal, management, and communication skills; ability to do interpretation of the mission and vision of the camp, including fundraising, to area congregations and beyond. Interested and qualified persons may apply by sending a letter of interest, resume, the name and address and phone number of three or four references, and salary expectations to the search committee chairperson: Leon Yoder, 36 S. Carlisle St., Greencastle, PA 17225; email@example.com . The application deadline is Sept. 30. Learn more about Camp Eder at www.campeder.org .
— The Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry seeks a ministry assistant. This is a Brethren Volunteer Service placement at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and includes serving as a BVS volunteer and being a member of the Elgin Community House. The position is both a practical ministry position and an administrative position. In 2016-17 the assistant will focus on preparations for Christian Citizenship Seminar 2017, Young Adult Conference 2017, National Junior High Conference 2017, and Ministry Summer Service, which includes the Youth Peace Travel Team. Most of the year is spent preparing for these events in the Elgin offices, while the remainder of the time is spent facilitating these events on-site. Work includes working with various planning teams to envision and carry out the various events by identifying themes, workshops, speakers, and other leaders, as well as managing the administrative side of the various events including setting up online registration, managing budgets, coordinating logistics, tracking contracts and forms. Required skills include gifts for and experience in youth ministry; passion for Christian service and an understanding of mutual ministry, both giving and receiving; emotional and spiritual maturity; organizational and office skills; physical stamina and the ability to travel well; computer skills including experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access, and Publisher). For more information or to request an application, please contact: Becky Ullom Naugle, Youth/Young Adult Ministry Office, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; firstname.lastname@example.org ; 800-323-8039 ext. 385 or 847-429-4385; fax 847-429-4395.
— During an upcoming medical leave for Julie M. Hostetter, executive director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, starting Aug. 22 the academy will be overseen by Steve Schweitzer, academic dean at Bethany Seminary. He will work in consultation with Joe Detrick, interim director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry. Send requests and questions to Fran Massie, administrative assistant, at email@example.com or 765-983-1824.
— During a sabbatical leave for Nathan Hosler, director of the Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., requests and questions are being handled by Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 362.
— David Young of Capstone 118, a community garden in New Orleans, La., and a partner of the Church of the Brethren Global Food Initiative, has posted a YouTube video that is getting a lot of attention on social media. The brief clip invites volunteers to help Young in his innovative work creating gardens on some 30 city lots abandoned after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Lower 9th Ward. He also is a beekeeper, has the largest aquaponics “farm” in the city, and raises goats and chickens–all in an effort to provide fresh food in an inner city “food desert.” Find the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF9w6WReHgE .
— On Sunday, Aug. 28, Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren will celebrate the seagoing cowboys and Heifer Project. Learning that 14 seagoing cowboys live at Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community, the congregation has invited them all to worship beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the outdoor pavilion behind the church, following by an annual picnic. Worship will include a brief history of Heifer Project and an opportunity for the seagoing cowboys–and one seagoing cowgirl–to share about their experiences. The congregation also is holding collections for Heifer Arks of animals to be shared with families in need around the world, in honor of the seagoing cowboys. Each also will receive a copy of the illustrated children’s book “The Seagoing Cowboys” written by Peggy Reiff Miller, published by Brethren Press.
— The Camp Mack Golf Outing is Saturday, Aug, 20, at McCormick Creek Golf Course in Nappanee, Ind. Registration is at 8 a.m. with golfing starting at 8:30 a.m. and lunch at 1 p.m. Cost is $75 per player. Call the camp at 574-658-4831.
— “Caregiving Your Loves Ones: The Good, Bad, and Ugly” is a caregiving event offered by Virlina District on Aug. 20 at Peters Creek Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va. “It comes to us all–that time when our loved ones need special care,” said an invitation. “We consider ourselves privileged to support and care for them, but in the meantime the rest of our lives continue. It takes a toll. This workshop presented by local hospice providers will provide tips for caring for your loved one without exhausting yourself.” Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. The event will begin with worship at 8:45 a.m. and workshops at 9 a.m. This event is free. For a flyer with registration form attached contact the District Resource Center at email@example.com .
— Northern Indiana District has announced a new address: 301 Mack Drive, Suite A, Nappanee, IN 46526.
— Virlina District continues to receive an offering for the flood victims in West Virginia. Fund are received at the Virlina District Resource Center, 3402 Plantation Rd., NE, Roanoke, VA 24012; mark the memo line Acct #33506 – West Virginia Flooding. Thus far, the district has received $30,721 from 36 congregations in Virlina and eight in West Marva District. The majority of this, $30,000, has been distributed through ecumenical channels, the district newsletter reported.
— “Summer camp success!” proclaimed the newsletter of Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center near Keezletown, Va. The total number of campers to attend this year was 564, 40 more than last year. “We are so grateful for the 55 volunteers who generously gave of their time to help out,” the newsletter said. “We are deeply thankful for the 28 full time staff members who gave their summers to make this ministry possible.”
— Aug. 6 and 9 mark the 71st anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two Japanese cities destroyed by atomic bombs during World War II. The combined death toll is estimated at more than 225,000 people. The World Council of Churches (WCC) has called for prayer for the anniversary, in a release. Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, commented, “The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki broke the laws of God and of humanity on an unprecedented scale. An era of global fear and suspicion ensued, and continues today…. Now a solid majority of countries in a special UN Working Group are considering negotiating a ban on nuclear weapons. We give thanks for the member churches who are advocating that course of action, for partners in civil society, and for like-minded governments. What happened in Japan 71 years ago must never happen again. The nine states that have nuclear weapons must meet their obligations and eliminate their nuclear arsenals. The suffering inflicted on Hiroshima and Nagasaki requires nothing less.”