“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies’” (Matthew 5:43-44a).
1) Partnership in prayer is requested throughout the church
2) Budget for 2017, grants for hurricane relief, discussion of state of the church on the agenda of Mission and Ministry Board
3) UN Working Group on People of African Descent presents findings
4) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, workcamp announcement, Christian women’s letter, Mambula receives award, Syria webinar, Harrisburg First anniversary, Miami church collects for Haiti, the Gathering, Election Day Love Feast at Brethren Woods, and more
Quotes of the week:
“Oh God of creation. Holy Father!! You are so awesome!! There is none like you. Your ways are far above human understanding. A thousand years before you is like a day. We praise you Lord for your loving kindness. For the release of the 21 Chibok girls. We still ask Lord that your mighty hand will make possible the release of the remaining girls. Blessed be your Holy name. Amen.”
— A prayer by Salamatu Billi celebrating the release of 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls who had been abducted by Boko Haram, posted on Facebook. Salamatu Billi is married to Joel S. Billi, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), and is a leader in EYN’s women’s fellowship and choir.
“If you only love those who love you, you have no difference from the Boko Haram…from the people who are persecuting us….”
— Markus Gamache, EYN staff liaison, speaking for chapel this morning at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. He is hosted on a short speaking tour in the US by Dale and Deb Ziegler of Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and stopped in at the denominational offices after a visit to McPherson, Kan. Speaking on Matthew 5:43-48, Gamache went on to comment about how difficult this text has been for the Nigerian Brethren, as they seek to follow Christ in the midst of violence and loss. “Do you really have enough room to love these people [Boko Haram]?” he asked. “The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria…who has continued as a peace church, is left with this question: how do you love them?”
1) Partnership in prayer is requested throughout the church
A release from the Leadership Team of the Church of the Brethren and the executive committee of the Council of District Executives
Partnership in prayer throughout the church is requested as the Leadership Team of the Church of the Brethren and the executive committee of the Council of District Executives meet Nov. 1-2 to work on the task assigned from this past summer’s Annual Conference. The delegate body referred the concerns of the “Query: Same Sex Weddings” to the Leadership Team in consultation with the Council of District Executives “to bring clarity and guidance concerning the authority of Annual Conference and districts regarding the accountability of ministers, congregations, and districts, bringing recommendations to the 2017 Annual Conference.”
The Leadership Team and the executive committee of the Council of District Executives are asking that the church as a whole pray with them, as they plan Nov. 1-2 for January conversations that will invite all of the district executives to discern with the Leadership Team the best way for this body of Christ to carry out God’s purposes regarding our patterns of authority and accountability.
All members of the church are asked to join in listening to the Lord as well as speaking our concerns to the Lord, as we pray with confidence that God will provide the guidance and wisdom we need. Please be aware of the breadth and diversity of your brothers and sisters in this body of Christ, with whom you join in this time of prayer, especially those whom you have called to serve as your district and denominational leaders. May the Holy Spirit of the Risen Lord shape and empower our spirits to faithfully follow Jesus together, as we pray together over the coming months.
The 2016-2017 Leadership Team of the Church of the Brethren:
David A. Steele, general secretary
Carol A. Scheppard, Annual Conference moderator
Samuel Kefas Sarpiya, Annual Conference moderator-elect
James M. Beckwith, Annual Conference secretary
Chris Douglas, Annual Conference director, staff support
The Executive Committee of the Council of District Executives:
Colleen Michael, chair
Kevin Kessler, vice chair
David Shetler, secretary
David Shumate, treasurer
— Find the full text of “Query: Same Sex Weddings” at www.brethren.org/ac/2016/documents/business/nb1-query_same-sex-weddings.pdf
2) Budget for 2017, grants for hurricane relief, discussion of state of the church on the agenda of Mission and Ministry Board
Financial reports and a budget proposal for 2017, grants for disaster relief following Hurricane Matthew, along with discussion of the state of the church and root causes of current tensions were all on the agenda of the fall meeting of the Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren.
Meetings were held Oct. 13-17 at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., chaired by Don Fitzkee, assisted by chair-elect Connie Burk Davis. This was the first board meeting for David Steele as general secretary of the Church of the Brethren.
The weekend included a service of consecration for Steele, who began as general secretary on Sept. 1. The board’s Sunday morning worship included a message brought by Fitzkee focused on the leadership and responsibilities of the general secretary, and a laying-on-of-hands for Steele. The service was recorded and may be viewed on the Church of the Brethren Facebook page at www.facebook.com/churchofthebrethren .
Discussion dissects root causes of tension
Annual Conference moderator Carol Scheppard led a two-hour session for board and staff considering the question, “Church of the Brethren: Are we who we say we are?” Two additional sessions led by a small committee of board members focused on root causes of tension in the church, including differences over biblical authority and interpretation and sexuality.
The three board members–Donita Keister, Jonathan Prater, and J. Trent Smith–were named to a small committee after the 2016 Annual Conference, to help lead the board in responding to the query “Living Together as Christ Calls.” Stan Dueck from the Congregational Life Ministries staff was asked to join the committee as well.
The Conference had referred the concerns of the query to the board. The query asks, in part, for an effort “to address the roots of our tension and develop strategies that will aid us in treating one another in a truly Christ-like manner.” (Read the full text of the query at www.brethren.org/ac/2016/documents/business/nb4-query_living-together-as-christ-calls.pdf ).
Survey results and other preliminary work by the committee aided the board’s discussion, which succeeded in identifying numerous causes of tension in the church as well as some possible strategies for responding. However, the board did not get to the point of making recommendations for action.
“The committee had hoped we would get further in identifying strategies,” said Fitzkee, “but the issues are complex. If there were easy solutions somebody else would have found them by now.”
Board officers and the committee will determine next steps for continuing to address the query.
Budget for 2017 is adopted
The board approved a 2017 balanced budget of $5,192,000 for Core Ministries, and a “grand total” budget for all Church of the Brethren denominational ministries of approximately $8,517,000. The board also received year-to-date financial reports for 2016.
The 2017 budget was recommended by staff, and is $160,000 lower in anticipated Core Ministries expenses than the parameter approved by the board in June. However, it includes more than $700,000 of “bridges” or one-time transfers of redirected funds from reserves including previously unused designated funds, and monies from the New Windsor Buildings and Grounds Land, Building, and Equipment Fund.
A new Ministry Enablement Contribution will take effect with the 2017 budget, representing a 9 percent contribution from donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund and the Global Food Initiative Fund, as well as other restricted donations. This contribution replaces internal fees that previously were charged to these two funds.
A 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase in salaries is built into the 2017 budget, which also takes into account an anticipated increase in health insurance premiums for next year, and continues an employer contribution to employee Health Savings Accounts that accompany the organization’s high-deductible plan.
In addition, the board approved bringing the budget of “Messenger” magazine into the Core Ministries budget beginning in 2017. This will end some years of the denominational magazine being considered a “self-funding ministry.”
Grants are approved for hurricane relief
The executive committee approved two grants of $40,000 each for disaster relief work following Hurricane Matthew, to come out of the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF).
One grant will “kick start” the Church of the Brethren response in Haiti, which was hit hard by the storm. The Brethren relief work in Haiti will be a cooperative effort of l’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti), Brethren Disaster Ministries, the Haiti Medical Project, and the Global Food Initiative. The other grant supports the hurricane relief work of Church World Service (CWS) in Haiti.
A smaller grant of $7,500 was announced by Roy Winter of Brethren Disaster Ministries, as an initial allocation to the hurricane relief efforts of CWS on the east coast of the US with a focus on those affected by flooding in the Carolinas. More allocations are expected as needs continue to be assessed.
Draft of new mission philosophy is shared
The board received the first draft of a new mission philosophy paper from Global Mission and Service executive director Jay Wittmeyer and an ad hoc committee. The document focused on creation of a new over-arching fellowship of international Brethren bodies tentatively called the Global Church of the Brethren. It laid out foundational understandings of how different national bodies that identify as Brethren might relate to one another, how global mission might be carried out in light of the existence of Brethren denominations in a variety of countries, and how new Brethren bodies might be welcomed. The document will be distributed to various other groups for discussion and comment before coming back to the board for further consideration.
Board discusses Brethren Service Center
A proposal for use of net proceeds of any eventual sale of property at the Brethren Service Center prompted a lively discussion among board members. The board, however, could not reach consensus on the proposal that had been brought by the executive committee.
The “upper campus” portion of the Brethren Service Center property in New Windsor, Md., has been listed for sale since July 1, 2015. The “lower campus” that consists of a warehouse and office annex is not for sale and–in the event the upper campus is sold–will continue operating as the Brethren Service Center and will continue to house Brethren Disaster Ministries, Children’s Disaster Services, and the Material Resources program. The Zigler Hospitality Center and SERRV facilities are operating on the upper campus while the property is listed for sale.
Discussion of the proposal revealed a variety of ideas about how net sale proceeds might best be used. When it was clear the board could not reach consensus, and two amendments had failed, a decision was made to empower a small committee of board members and staff to consider the matter further and bring a recommendation back to the board at the March 2017 meeting. Named to the committee are chair Don Fitzkee, chair-elect Connie Burk Davis, district executive representative David Shetler, and general secretary David Steele.
In other business
Patrick Starkey was called as the next chair-elect, to begin in that position at the board’s reorganization meeting during the 2017 Annual Conference. He sits on the executive committee and is an ordained minister from Cloverdale, Va. He will serve as chair-elect for two years, assisting Connie Burk Davis who begins her term as chair next summer, and then will chair the board for the following two years.
The resignation of board member John Hoffman was received, for reasons of health. He is awaiting a kidney transplant. The board shared prayer for Hoffman’s healing, and for a suitable organ donor to be found. Hoffman is from McPherson, Kan., and had served only one year of his five-year term on the board.
William C. Felton of Royersford, Pa., was named as a Church of the Brethren representative to the Germantown Trust that holds responsibility for the historic Germantown meetinghouse and property in north Philadelphia. Felton is a member of Providence Church of the Brethren and is a general contractor and president of William C. Felton Builder Inc. His interests include revitalization in the Phoenixville area and he is active in the Phoenixville Green Team and the Phoenix Iron Canal and Trails Association, among other professional organizations.
The board received several reports including reviews of strategic goals for church planting and international mission, held daily devotions and closing worship in addition to the Sunday morning worship, and enjoyed meals together and time for getting acquainted.
Find a link to a photo album of the meeting at www.brethren.org/album
3) UN Working Group on People of African Descent presents findings
By Doris Abdullah
The Working Group of Experts on the People of African Descent was established in 2002 following the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance. Their mandate was renewed by the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council in various resolutions during the subsequent years leading up to their 2016 findings which were put forward at the Sept. 26 meeting of the council.
The working group is mandated to study the problems of racial discrimination faced by people of African descent; to summit recommendation on the design, implementation, and enforcement of effective measures to eliminate racial profiling; to propose measures to ensure full and effective access to the justice system; to make proposals on the elimination of racial discrimination; to address all the issues concerning the well being of Africans and people of African descent; and to elaborate short-, medium-, and long-term proposals for the elimination of racial discrimination against people of African descent in collaboration with international and development institutions and agencies to promote the human rights of people of African descent.
At the invitation of the United States government, three members of the working group–chair Ricardo A. Sunga III of the Philippines, Mireille Fanon-Mendes France of France, and Sabela Gumedze of South Africa–visited Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and Jackson, Miss., from Jan. 19-29. The group met with the attorney generals of Illinois and New York, the Chicago police department, the Congressional Black Caucus, and various civil society organization representatives and human rights activists.
These are the findings that I made note of after listening to the group’s report to the Human Rights Council:
The United States has a long racial discrimination history of enslavement of people of African descent, followed by legal segregation known as Jim Crow. The recent killings by police of unarmed black men and boys highlights the continual institutional racial disparities within the United States, while remembrances of lynching and other violence from days prior to the enactment of civil rights and voting rights laws of the 1960s are still fresh. Racial bias and disparities within the criminal justice system have resulted in mass incarceration of people of African descent and are the outcome of tough-on-crime policies. The disproportional impact of racial bias on children of African descent subjects the children to being prosecuted as adults and disproportionately placed in adult jails and prisons. School children discipline policies include criminal charges of misdemeanors for minor disturbances, causing further stigmatization. An increase in finds and fees for minor infractions has resulted in criminalizations of poverty, resulting in persons of African descent going to prison for being unable to pay their debts.
The group called for justice and various legal and policy reforms within the United States society to combat structural racism against people of African descent. The group concluded that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a “crime against humanity.” They recommend that the United Station government pay reparation for the crime of slavery. They noted that a commission to study reparations had been proposed previously, but Congress had not taken any action.
The working group also gave a report of findings on racial discrimination against people of African descent in the country of Italy at the September session of the Human Rights Council.
— Doris Abdullah is the Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations.
4) Brethren bits
— Remembrance: Galen Stover and Doris Law Beery, members of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, died in a car crash in New Mexico on Oct. 11. Galen Beery is remembered for his key role in the effort to resettle thousands of Vietnamese refugees known as “boat people” after the fall of Saigon, and also as a grandson of Brethren mission leaders Wilbur and Mary Stover who were pioneer missionaries to India. Doris Law Beery is remembered for her work as a fire safety specialist for the Ontario (Calif.) Fire Department, and for her volunteer service that over the years included work with Children’s Disaster Services and the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, a rape hotline, and more. Galen Beery for two decades in the 1960s and ’70s was a leading member of the Church of the Brethren serving in southeast Asia, where he worked with refugees, agricultural development, education, and healthcare, among other concerns. His role in the region over the years connected with various organizations including Church World Service (CWS), the US State Department, US AID, the International Rescue Committee, and others. He first went to Laos as a conscientious objector working for International Voluntary Services, the State Department, and US AID. He worked in Laos from 1962-72, during a time when the country became embroiled in the Vietnam War. He returned briefly to the US, but when Saigon fell in April 1975 he became the CWS officer in charge of helping to relocate southeast Asian refugees to the US, and in 1976 became a refugee caseworker for CWS, the International Rescue Committee, and Catholic Charities. In 1977 he went to Malaysia as a representative of the Joint Voluntary Agency, which was an organization of churches and humanitarian groups working with the American Red Cross, the State Department, and the US Immigration and Naturalization Service. In a 2001 interview he told the “Inland Valley Daily Bulletin” newspaper (published as the “City News” of San Dimas and La Verne), “My last official act in Malaysia was in December 1979 when I shook hands with the 50,000th refugee.” An interview with Galen Beery can be viewed in an episode of “60 Minutes” filmed after the fall of Saigon and now posted on YouTube. In the interview, Beery speaks about his work and that of other volunteers who aided, interviewed, and categorized the refugees, and the process that the refugees went through to gain admission into the US. Find the “60 Minutes” episode at www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSXkGojVmh0 . A life celebration for Doris and Galen Beery is planned for Saturday, Oct. 29, beginning at 11 a.m. at La Verne Church of the Brethren. A service will be followed by a light lunch. Memorial gifts are received to NAMI Pomona Valley, Camp La Verne, and the University of La Verne Archives and Special Collections.
— Bethany Theological Seminary announces that Brian Schleeper has resigned his position in student services, effective Nov. 4. He joined the Bethany staff in 2007 as a student services associate and in January 2016 was promoted from financial aid officer and coordinator of student services to coordinator of student financial services and Title IX compliance. Bethany wishes him well in his new employment as Wayne County District Director of the Cardinal Greenways.
— Paige Butzlaff has begun her term in Brethren Volunteer Service working with the Youth and Young Adult Ministry at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She will be working with director Becky Ullom Naugle on planning for Christian Citizenship Seminar, National Junior High Conference, Young Adult Conference, Ministry Summer Service, and other projects. Her home congregation is La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. She graduated from the University of California (Santa Cruz) with a degree in anthropology in May 2015.
— Coordinators of the Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry plan to post a live announcement of the newest workcamp offering planned for next summer. “Facebook. Tomorrow. Live video introducing dates/location of Young Adult Workcamp! Completely new. Ages 18-35. See you then!” Find the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CoBWorkcamps .
— Intergenerational Ministries director Debbie Eisenbise is raising awareness of a letter from Christian women in response to remarks made about sexual violence during the presidential campaign. “This being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Church of the Brethren congregations are encouraged to educate members about violence that occurs in intimate relationships and to advocate for victims of domestic violence,” she says. “Particular sensitivity to words and actions that justify and rationalize such violence is critical in addressing this issue.” The letter campaign was organized by Jennifer Butler, a Christian minister and CEO of the faith-based advocacy group Faith In Public Life Action Fund. The letter states that the women who have signed, which includes clergywomen in the Church of the Brethren, understand this as “an opportunity to teach our daughters and sons that they are loved, and to teach all Americans how to speak out against sexually violent language.” According to the last publicly noted count, more than 700 Christian women have signed the letter. Find the letter and some of the names of leading Christian women who have signed it at https://docs.google.com/a/faithinpubliclife.org/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeU_TxWLezKArwDewf_DFuhKKf9JTt67Mnv0FLKMTXTRC4Grw/viewform .
— Musa Mambula, international scholar in residence at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., has been acknowledged by his home country of Nigeria for his contributions to the betterment of Nigerian society. On Sept. 20, Mambula was honored with the Custodian of Nigerian Dream Award at the Nigerian Rebirth Conference in Abuja, Nigeria. “The conference was the first event of the recently unveiled Nigeria Rebirth Project,” said a release from Bethany. The project is described as “an initiative of passionate and patriotic Nigerians who over the years have proven themselves meritoriously in various fields of endeavor.” With the theme “Activating the Secret Wealth of the Nation,” the conference focused on the human resource potential in Nigeria. During his two-year term at Bethany, Mambula is helping to build an educational relationship with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and to identify potential Nigerian students for the program.
— A webinar on the situation in Syria, sponsored by the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy, is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern time). This follows on a Global Day of Action and Prayer for Syria that coincided with this year’s Peace Day on Sept. 21. “We hope you were able to join on that day and in the continuing days in remembering the people of Syria and lifting up ‘the things that make for peace,’” said an invitation to the webinar. Connect with the webinar at www.globalministries.org/global_day_of_action_and_prayer_for_syria .
— Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren will celebrate its 120th anniversary on Oct. 30. The theme is “We’ve Come This Far by Faith: 120 Years Strong,” and the celebration will feature guest preacher and former minister Fred Swartz, as well as participation from many past pastors and community outreach ministers. A Celebration Class will begin at 10 a.m. for all ages, followed by worship at 11:05 a.m. and a fellowship meal.
— Eglise des Freres Haitian Church of the Brethren in Miami, Fla., has several efforts underway to aid those affected by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. Pastor Ludovic St. Fleur has shared information that the congregation is putting together a shipping container of clothing, water, and other donated personal items to be sent to Haiti. The congregation will also be giving cash to members who have relatives in Haiti who have seen storm damage to their homes or who have lost animals to the storm. Individual members will be responsible for sending the money to their relatives in Haiti, but the congregation is receiving donations to send collected relief goods to Haiti.
— The Gathering of Western Plains District is meeting this year on the theme, “You Are Loved,” on Oct. 28-30 at the Webster Conference Center in Salina, Kan. Annual Conference moderator Carol Scheppard will preach for the opening worship service. Saturday’s general sessions will include a presentation on disaster ministries in Colorado. Intergenerational Ministries director Debbie Eisenbise preaches the Saturday evening sermon, with a campfire and coffeehouse following. The Sunday morning service will hear a message from Walt Wiltschek, former Messenger editor and chaplain at Manchester University, currently working as communications staff for the Mennonite Church. “Gather with us for a transforming experience,” said an invitation from the district. Find a brochure and more information at www.westernplainschurchofthebrethren.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Gathering-Brochure-6-16-Web.pdf .
— In more news from Western Plains, the district has donated another $21,518 to the Nigeria Crisis Fund in the months of August and September, bringing the total donated to $148,264, “which is 74 percent of the total goal,” reported the district newsletter. The district has a goal of raising $200,000 for the crisis relief work in Nigeria. “Let’s see if we can meet and exceed our goal as the need is great!”
— Tomorrow a workshop “Ministry to Dementia Patients” is sponsored by Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria, Ohio, along with the Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter and Jonah’s People Fellowship. “Even if you have not yet registered there is room available and you are welcome to attend,” says an announcement. The workshop is from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with check in beginning at 9:30 a.m. Pastors, chaplains, Stephen’s Ministers, volunteer lay visitors and other interested church members are invited to attend. Ministers may receive .45 continuing education units.
— An Election Day Love Feast co-sponsored by Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center and Shenandoah District is being held on Nov. 8, 7-8 p.m. at the camp’s Pine Grove Building. The camp is located near Keezletown, Va. “It has been a long and divisive presidential election season,” said an invitation. “Whether you plan to vote Democratic, Republican, independent, third party, write-in, or not at all, let’s join together after the polls close to make the same choice together: Jesus Christ. Election Day Love Feast is an opportunity to affirm that our first allegiance is to Jesus, and this allegiance is more important than party, candidate, or country. Jesus is our true savior and the one with the actual power to change the world.” The event will include feetwashing or hand washing, a light Fellowship Meal of snacks, and communion.
— Students from McPherson (Kan.) College joined in solidarity with a traditional sports rival, Bethany College, at a recent women’s volleyball game, reports Western Plains District in its newsletter. “The two schools came together in solidarity against racist messages written along sidewalks on the Bethany College campus in September. The event was covered in a story by Wichita’s KWCH 12 News, which featured McPherson College students and Western Plains Church of the Brethren members Grant Tuttle of the Holmesville, Neb., congregation and Logan Schrag of the McPherson, Kan., congregation.” Find the news report, “Rival colleges ‘unite against hate’ in McPherson,” at www.kwch.com/content/news/Rival-colleges-unite-against-hate-in-McPherson-396894671.html .
In related news, McPherson College president Michael Schneider made a statement a recent campus luncheon, saying, “McPherson College has been and will always be a place that welcomes diversity…It’s in our mission. Discrimination, racism, bigotry–in any form–is unacceptable.” Read the president’s statement at www.mcpherson.edu/2016/09/president-schneider-discusses-diversity-and-discrimination-with-campus/ .
— Bridgewater (Va.) College senior history major Charlotte McIntyre has produced “Legacies of Peace,” a video documentary about peacemakers whose papers and artifacts are in the college’s Special Collections and Reuel B. Pritchett Museum Collection. The documentary will be shown as part of Special Collections’ exhibition, “Seek Peace and Pursue it,” on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, on the ground floor of the Alexander Mack Memorial Library. There is no admission fee and the public is invited, said a release from the college. “Individuals featured in the documentary are former Bridgewater College president and peace advocate Paul H. Bowman; local Civil War evangelist John Kline; Peace Corps volunteer Lula A. Miller; author and teacher Anna B. Mow; founder of the Brethren Alexander Mack Sr.; Brethren ambassador W. Harold Row; missionary to China Nettie M. Senger; humanitarian Naomi Miller West; and Nobel Peace Prize nominee M. Robert Zigler,” said the release. “All voiceovers and interviews are done by Bridgewater faculty and students, including five theater students who give voice to historical characters such as John Kline and Nettie Senger. Interviews include Bridgewater President David W. Bushman, who talks about President Paul H. Bowman; Stephanie Gardner, special collections librarian, who discusses Nettie Senger and Lula Miller; Dr. William Abshire, the Anna B. Mow Professor of Philosophy and Religion, who talks about Anna B. Mow; Dr. Stephen Longenecker, professor of history and political science, who talks about Alexander Mack Sr., John Kline and W. Harold Row; and Dr. Dean R. Neher, a former Bridgewater physics and computer science professor, talking about M. R. Zigler and Naomi Miller West. Other Bridgewater participants include library director Andrew Pearson reading as John Kline, and Dr. Robert Andersen, dean of academic affairs and director of the Kline-Bowman Institute for Creative Peacebuilding, reading as W. Harold Row.” After Oct. 22 the documentary will be available for viewing by request in Special Collections at Bridgewater or on the Bridgewater College YouTube channel.
— A Midwest Forum of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, the organization of retirement communities related to the Church of the Brethren, was held in Goshen, Ind., on Oct. 13. Fellowship executive Ralph McFadden reported on the schedule for the event, which included get-acquainted time, sharing of information about the retirement communities, observations about opportunities and vulnerabilities of the homes and visions for their work over the next decade, among other highlights.
— The Women’s Ministry of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) held a livelihood program and a choir annual conference at the EYN headquarters compound in Kwarhi. “Special songs and prayers were presented by the host DCC [church district] Hildi for having the National Conference at Kwarhi after the Boko Haram occupation,” reported Zakariya Musa of the EYN communications staff, who also provided photos of the event.
— Janice Davis, administrative assistant of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s Department of Biology, has received the 2016 National Association of Social Workers’ Public Citizen of the Year Award. “When Janice Davis saw homelessness, she didn’t just walk by, hoping someone else would take care of the problem. She acted. She created a winter shelter and has been instrumental in Elizabethtown Community Housing and Outreach Service organization (ECHOS), which aids and assists families and individuals facing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness and are seeking help,” said a release from the college. Find more information at http://now.etown.edu/index.php/2016/10/05/janice-davis-receives-public-citizen-of-the-year-award .
— Dec. 4 is the release date for an album of music by Leah Hileman, a Church of the Brethren minister and musician who has led music at past Annual Conferences and other denominational gatherings. The album, titled “The Impossible,” has been “a labor of love,” said Hileman. Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a celebration of the album, a CD release concert starting at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4. To purchase concert tickets or the album, go to www.leahjmusic.com .
Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Doris Abdullah, Debbie Eisenbise, Elizabeth A. Harvey, Mary Kay Heatwole, Tim Heishman, Leah Hileman, Nate Hosler, Ralph McFadden, Zakariya Musa, Glenn Riegel, Jenny Williams, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.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. 28.