Newsline for September 23, 2016

“I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 118:17).

Photo by Christy Crouse


1) Celebrating Peace Day as part of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace
2) Religious leaders of many faiths talk peace in Assisi
3) Nigerian Brethren welcome Church of the Brethren executive staff, continue relief efforts
4) Manchester University Intercultural Center will be named for Jean Childs Young


5) Workcamp Ministry announces staffing, theme for summer 2017 events

6) Brethren bits: Remembrance, fourth annual meeting for Spanish Brethren, deadline for Brethren Press “early bird” offers, Carlisle Truck Stop Ministry announces chaplains, Hispanic leadership conference, “12 Baskets” performances in October, Virlina’s flood offering, more


Quote of the week:

“In a world that is less and less secure and faced with more and more tensions between big powers, nuclear disarmament remains the number one unfinished business. The recent nuclear tests by DPRK [North Korea] should be a warning signal. We all agree that the humanitarian consequences of the explosion of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable, and therefore we have to finally get rid of all these nuclear weapons. Experience shows that the first step to eliminate weapons of mass destruction is to prohibit them through legally binding norms. Together with other member states, Austria will table a draft resolution to convene negotiations on a legally binding comprehensive instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons in 2017.”

— From a statement by Austria’s foreign minister. According to a release from ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which has been shared by staff of the World Council of Churches, the decision by Austria follows on “a landmark recommendation last month by a UN working group in Geneva for the General Assembly to convene a conference in 2017 to negotiate ‘a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.’ The Austrian-sponsored resolution would take forward this recommendation by establishing a formal mandate for negotiations.” The deadline for Austria to “table” the resolution in the UN General Assembly’s First Committee, which deals with disarmament matters, is Oct. 13. See .


1) Celebrating Peace Day as part of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

Image courtesy of On Earth Peace
Bulletin insert for Peace Day 2016

By Bryan Hanger, from the WCC Pilgrimage Blog

When we began planning for this year’s Peace Day, I started to think about the many different visions of peace in the Bible and from the Church of the Brethren tradition. Peace Day has been a ministry of On Earth Peace since 2007 and an international event since the UN resolution in 1981. But this year we really wanted to connect our visions and dreams of peace with what we hoped for the church and the world.

There was so much pain happening with war in Syria, terror against our Nigerian sister church, and racist violence perpetrated against Black Americans. It felt overwhelming, but as a people committed to the Gospel of Peace, we could not simply become apathetic.

This led me to ask, “How am I called to build peace?” I can’t end the Syrian war, but I can contribute something to the building of God’s peaceable kingdom.

My contribution will make a difference and would be building upon the foundation laid by Jesus and our foremothers of faith. This became the theme for our 2016 campaign.

God’s call to build peace and create just communities always has been key to our story of faith. Abraham was called in his old age to leave home and become the father of many nations, Moses was called to lead his people out of slavery and into freedom, Esther was called to redeem her people from oppression, Mary was called to bear and raise the Redeemer of the world, and Jesus himself was called to bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Like our spiritual forebears, we are all called to different places and to different ministries to do God’s work and to bring God’s peace and justice to the world. We are all part of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace that the World Council of Churches has invited us on–and Peace Day is part and parcel of this same vision.

Both Peace Day and the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace are about bringing people together to learn from one another, walk together, and dream about a common future where God’s peace and justice shape the world.

So far, 75 different communities have shared their unique 2016 Peace Day plans with us. Most are Church of the Brethren congregations here in the United States, but we also are connected to groups in Cameroon, Nigeria, India, Mexico, Brazil, Northern Ireland, and Canada. Our peace pilgrimage is truly interconnected and worldwide.

Many events are worship services focused on issues of peace and justice, but creativity abounds. One group is having a meditation for racial peace on a college campus, another congregation is de-constructing weapons and re-forming the raw materials into gardening tools, while others are having community interfaith events seeking to bring together those who have been divided historically.

Peace Day itself is not the culmination. We hope that Peace Day inspires people to reflect deeply on the question, “How am I called to build peace?” and to seek out concrete ways to build upon Peace Day, step out in faith, and join the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.

Peace is not a destination, but a lifelong pilgrimage, where we journey together towards a future where God’s peace and justice shape the world.

Learn more about On Earth Peace’s Peace Day organizing ministry at . Learn more about On Earth Peace at .

— Bryan Hanger is serving as the Peace Day 2016 organizer for On Earth Peace. He is a student at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. This blogpost was published by the World Council of Churches on the WCC Pilgrimage Blog. 


2) Religious leaders of many faiths talk peace in Assisi

A release from the World Council of Churches

Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist religious leaders met this week in Assisi, Italy, to discuss peace, while across the ocean in New York City global political leaders assembled at the United Nations also focused on a troubled world.

The Sept. 18-20 interreligious conference in Italy organized by the Community of Sant’ Egidio was titled “Thirst for Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue” and drew some 450 religious leaders. Among participants were the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Olav Fykse Tveit and other leaders of the ecumenical movement, such as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew; the WCC president for Europe, Archbishop Emeritus Anders Wejryd; and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Pope Francis participated in the closing ceremony of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi on the afternoon of Sept. 20. Quoting Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Francis said, “We thirst for peace. We desire to witness to peace. And above all, we need to pray for peace, because peace is God’s gift, and it lies with us to plead for it, embrace it, and build it every day with God’s help.”

He said, “Our religious traditions are diverse. But our differences are not the cause of conflict and provocation, or a cold distance between us. We have not prayed against one another today, as has unfortunately sometimes occurred in history.”

Continuing his remarks, the Pope said, “Peace means welcome, openness to dialogue, the overcoming of closed-mindedness, which is not a strategy for safety, but rather a bridge over an empty space. Peace means cooperation, a concrete and active exchange with another, who is a gift and not a problem, a brother or sister with whom to build a better world.”

The roots of religious extremism

Before a full conference hall, Tveit led a panel on terrorism and religious extremism, entitled “Terrorism–A Denial of God.” “No one can claim the name of God to use terror or violence,” said Tveit. “Terror is a blasphemy against God our creator, who created all of us equally in the image of God. Terror is sin against other human beings, against the sanctity of life, and therefore against God.

Tveit noted that, “The ideology underlying those attacks is a mixture of political, cultural and surely religious justifications of violence. A key factor is the denial of the humanness of the ‘others’ that become the target.

“Terror is not a matter of figures or pictures from somewhere, it is about us as human beings. We can all become the victims of terror,” he said, telling of how he himself escaped the terror attack in Bologna on Aug. 2, 1980, and how he later was reminded of it when reading the list of names in the new Bologna station years later. “I could not answer the question why I should live and not the others on that list. I could only answer the question: ‘What do I then do?’ My answer was to study to become a pastor, to use my life in the service for God and all humanity, sharing the Gospel, working for justice and peace.”

In terrorism, Tveit noted, “The transcendent, transformative, and holistic dimensions of religion are reduced to a totalitarian ideology that justifies and imposes itself in destructive ways and does not accept any responsibility for life-giving relationships beyond their own group and even within their own group as a collective entity.”

But religions themselves are part of the problem, he insisted. “We should be critical and self-critical. There must be space for self-critique and repentance, for constructive imagination that opens doors for healing and reconciliation and the life-giving presence of God who renews all life.” He ended by quoting Psalm 118:17: “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”

Tveit also participated in a panel on economic inequality, reflecting on how the increasing gap in income and wealth is at the heart of many problems in the world. Christians must “mind the gap,” he said. Tveit referred to how faith in the one God, creator of all, based on the biblical witness, compels us to work toward a fair distribution of resources. The covenant and the Decalogue (Exodus 20-23) focused on that, he said, as did the teaching of Jesus. We pray for our need, not our greed.

The full conference program included presentations from Nobel laureates Jody Williams of the USA and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, along with a lunch with Syrian refugees.

An ecumenism of mercy

At a homily during a Mass on the final day of the conference, Pope Francis said, “Our heart is the heart of a man or woman of peace. And beyond the divisions of religions: everyone, everyone, everyone! Because we are all children of God. And God is the God of peace. There is no god of war. He who makes war is evil; it is the devil who wants to kill everyone.”

Connecting the ecumenical quest for unity to the search for peace, Archbishop Wejryd spoke on “Christian Unity: Ecumenism of Mercy,” noting that Christians today can readily engage in mission together, “not least in these areas of the world we used to call Christendom.”

“We, as humans, are sent to each other with individual deeds and a responsibility to build better structures, and we are sent to bring the biblical narrative that changed and changes the world.”

Wejryd said Ephesians 4 speaks of unity already a reality due to one Father and one baptism. “And none of us Christians should be comfortable until we can honestly and wholeheartedly celebrate together and share the Eucharist.”

Preconditions of peace

In his remarks, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said peace “needs a few cornerstones to uphold it even when it is endangered.” He said, “There can be no peace without mutual respect and acknowledgment…. There can be no peace without justice; there can be no peace without fruitful cooperation among all the peoples in the world.”

Bartholomew said humanity needs to be able reflect on where it goes wrong or where it has not taken care, “because fundamentalisms have risen, threatening not only dialogue with others, but even dialogue within our own selves, our very own consciences.

“We have to be able to isolate them, to purify them, in the light of our faiths, to transform them into richness for all,” he said, Vatican Radio reported.

Bartholomew was granted an honorary doctorate in international relations by the University for Foreigners of Perugia during the conference.

Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby reflected in an ecumenical prayer ceremony on the misconception in today’s world that money makes one rich. “We think ourselves rich,” he said, “Our money and wealth is like the toy money in a children’s game: it may buy goods in our human economies which seem so powerful, but in the economy of God it is worthless. We are only truly rich when we accept mercy from God, through Christ our Savior.”

The conference marked the 30th anniversary of the first interfaith “World Day of Prayer for Peace” held in Assisi first under then-Pope John Paul II, who has since been elevated to sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. Assisi was the home of St Francis, in whose honor the current pope chose his papal name.

The World Council of Churches provided this report. The Church of the Brethren is a founding member of the council. Find out more about the ministries of the WCC at .


3) Nigerian Brethren welcome Church of the Brethren executive staff, continue relief efforts

Photo by Zakariya Musa, courtesy of EYN
Global Mission executive staff Jay Wittmeyer and Roy Winter have been in Nigeria for meetings with leaders of the Nigerian Brethren, as well as other groups including BEST, and staff of EYN’s disaster response effort.

With contributions from Zakariya Musa

Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has welcomed a visit from Global Mission and Service executive staff Jay Wittmeyer and Roy Winter, who also heads up Brethren Disaster Ministries. The two church staff from the US have been meeting with Nigerian church leaders including EYN president Joel S. Billi and leaders of EYN’s Disaster Relief Ministry, as well as other groups.

Their visit coincides with a continuing “Sympathy, Conciliation, and Encouragement” tour by the EYN leadership. The tour recently was in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, where they met with church members and some of the displaced Nigerians living in IDP camps in and around the Abuja area.

Continuing disaster relief

The next tour stop was to be Benin City, where EYN leaders planned to visit schools for orphans where many of the orphaned children from EYN families are receiving assistance.

EYN’s Disaster Relief Ministry also continues to distribute food on a regular basis. During his visit in Nigeria, Winter planned to hold a workshop for EYN leaders involved in such humanitarian efforts.

A recent distribution of food at Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, served 200 people. Each household went home with 50 kilograms of rice, 2 liters of cooking oil, 2 packets of salt, and 2 packets of Maggi Cubes [a popular soup base in Nigeria]. Although EYN’s DCC Yobe [the church district in the area] includes some far distant congregations, they were able to come for the food distribution. Also offered was free medical care–the EYN Medical Coordinator was there for two days of health delivery.

Recently EYN presented 30 goats to 10 Rural Development workers at its Headquarters at Kwarhi, Adamawa State. James T. Mamza, director of the Integrated Community Development Program, and Yakubu Peter, deputy director of EYN’s Agricultural Department, addressed the beneficiaries about the development that the project is aimed at, to help farmers to improve the varieties of goats by feeding on Crotaria juncea grass. This is coming as a result of the workshop by Education Concern for Hunger Organization (ECHO), sponsored by the Church of the Brethren early this year and held in Ibadan, Nigeria.

The beneficiaries are staff who attended the workshop, and were provided with building materials for the enclosures in which they will keep the animals. The beneficiaries are expected to breed more animals, and will be asked to share them in their communities. Around the compound at Kwarhi, they have planted the Crotaria juncea seedlings that will be given to the goats. The grass is provided through the work of Jeff Boshart, manager of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative (formerly Global Food Crisis Fund).

Photo by Zakariya Musa, courtesy of EYN
District Head of Kiri, Musa Gindaw (seated at right), meets with EYN leaders

EYN celebrates new congregations

EYN leaders are continuing to celebrate the “church autonomy” of new congregations and grant them official status. Another scheduled stop on their tour is Lagos, where the Lekki congregation will be granted church autonomy.

During a recent granting of church autonomy to the Tongo congregation, a traditional ruler in the area–His Royal Highness Umaru Adamu Sanda, Gangwarin Ganye–attended and expressed appreciation to the church leaders for coming to his domain. The Tongo church is the third to gain autonomy under the leadership of EYN president Joel S. Billi.

District Head of Kiri, Alhaji Musa Gindaw, also graced the occasion despite the fact that he is not a Christian, said an EYN report. He urged the church leaders to establish the EYN church in his domain and assured his support whenever needed, without discrimination. The EYN president in response thanked the traditional rulers and offered them prayers for God’s protection over their territory, families, and for the entire nation.

Evangelist Joseph B. Adamu was praised for being a pioneer of the new congregation, which has 150 members.

The information for this report is taken from releases by Zakariya Musa, head of media and a project officer for the disaster ministry of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).


4) Manchester University Intercultural Center will be named for Jean Childs Young

By Dave McFadden

Photo courtesy of Manchester University
Jean Childs Young

Manchester University’s future Intercultural Center at College Avenue and East Street [in North Manchester, Ind.] will be named in memory of alumna educator and activist Jean Childs (’54) Young.

Jean’s life reflected brightly on our mission to respect the infinite worth of every individual and improve the human condition. A child of the segregated South and a partner in the civil rights movement, Jean’s work dispelled stereotypes and fostered understanding. She built relationships and bridged divides. I can think of no better namesake for our Intercultural Center, a symbol of Manchester University’s commitment to learning from differences.

Recently, Jean’s husband, Andrew Young, sent me a copy of his book, “An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America.” In it, he wrote: “Much of this story is a result of Jean’s study at Manchester. I doubt that it could have happened if I’d married anyone else. Peace and blessings, Andrew Young.”

The note is an amazing testimony to the power of relationships and the ripples of everyday work. Andrew visited Jean here when she was a student. He served in Brethren Volunteer Service and attended a meeting at Camp Mack. “The Church of the Brethren in many respects is my spiritual home,” he once wrote. It was in his experiences with the Brethren “that my ministry, my sense of direction, indeed my personality and character were shaped.”*

Jean Childs followed two older sisters to Manchester and earned a degree in elementary education. Weeks after graduating, she married Andrew, who would remain at the side of his close friend Martin Luther King, Jr. throughout the civil rights movement. Later, Andrew became a US congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, and mayor of Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of Manchester University
Jean Childs and Andrew Young

Jean had a distinguished career as a teacher and an advocate for human rights and children’s welfare. In 1977, President Carter appointed her chair of the US Commission of the International Year of the Child. She also established the Atlanta Task Force on Education, served as co-founder of the Atlanta-Fulton Commission on Children and Youth, and helped develop Atlanta Junior College.

She served Manchester as a trustee from 1975 to 1979 and received an honorary doctorate from MU in 1980. She died of liver cancer in 1994 at the age of 61.

At the site of the future Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center, our university family is dedicating a Peace Pole in memory of three international students killed last winter in a traffic accident. Nerad Mangai, Brook “BK” Dagnew, and Kirubel Hailu wove themselves into the fabric and hearts of our community in the short time they were with us. We miss them.

The pole will remain at the site until construction begins on the new building early next year. That facility will include a permanent memorial to our three young friends and, when the building is finished, we will reinstall the Peace Pole permanently.

As you may recall, the Young Intercultural Center traces its roots to AAFRO House, established in the early 1970s. Over the years, its scope expanded as a home to MU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), Black Student Union, African Student Association, and Hispanos Unidos. The center also is a home away from home for our growing international student population and serves as a gathering space for students of all backgrounds to learn from each other.

The new building will feature a permanent display honoring Jean Young. Plans also call for OMA office space, a lounge area, a multipurpose room for events, open-concept kitchen and dining, and a resource room, library, and computer lab.

If this project–so core to Manchester’s values–inspires you to help, I encourage you to direct your gifts to the Office of University Advancement at 260-982-5412.

* “Messenger,” Oct. 1977, Vol. 126, No. 10.

Dave McFadden is president of Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind. Find out more about Manchester University at .



5) Workcamp Ministry announces staffing, theme for summer 2017 events

By Shelley Weachter

The Workcamp Ministry of the Church of the Brethren has welcomed Shelley Weachter and welcomed back Deanna Beckner as assistant coordinators for the 2017 summer workcamp season. The theme developed by the workcamp team for the 2017 season is “Say Hello,” which is a phrase pulled from 3 John 13-14 in “The Message” version. The theme will focus on communication with God, each other, and the world.

Beckner and Weachter began their work together on Aug. 22 as volunteers through Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS), working at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Beckner graduated from Manchester University in 2015 with a degree in Communication Studies and comes from Columbia City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren in Northern Indiana District. Weachter graduated from Bridgewater (Va.) College in May with a degree in Mathematics. She grew up in Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren in Mid-Atlantic District.

The workcamp experience next summer will allow for time to focus on a Christ-follower’s role in the world and how to positively and pro-actively interact with those around us. The workcamp team is hard at work scheduling the sites for next summer. The complete schedule will be available online by the beginning of October. Follow the link to stay up to date.

Shelley Weachter is a Brethren Volunteer Service worker and an assistant coordinator for the Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry.


6) Brethren bits

At its fourth annual conference, Iglesia de los Hermanos-Una Luz en las Naciones (the Church of the Brethren in Spain) officially received two new congregation, one in the Spanish city of León, and one in London, in the United Kingdom. Approximately 70 people attended the conference in the city of Gijon, on the theme “Now Is the Time for the Harvest” (John 4:35). “Give thanks for the continued growth of the Spanish church, and pray that God’s wisdom may guide its leaders in the year ahead,” said an announcement from Global Mission and Service.

Representatives of the newly-received congregations are anointed by members of the Spain advisory committee, Carol Yeazell and Joel Peña. Global Mission and Service executive director Jay Wittmeyer (left) attended the conference. Photo courtesy of Joel Peña.

Remembrance: Esther Eichelberger, 94, passed away on Aug. 29 at Golden Living Center in Hopkins, Minn. She served as coordinator of the Office of the General Secretary for the Church of the brethren, from 1978-86, supporting the work of general secretary Robert Neff. She left that position in June 1986 to become administrative assistant to Neff as he assumed responsibilities as president of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. A memorial service is being planned for Oct. 15 at St. John’s Retreat Center in Montgomery, Texas, a place Eichelberger loved and supported in many ways. Memorial gifts are received to St. John’s Retreat Center.

The end of this month is the deadline for pre-publication orders of two upcoming Brethren Press resources, “Witnesses to Jesus: Devotions for Advent Through Epiphany” by Christy Waltersdorff and “Speak Peace: A Daily Reader” edited by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford. “Witnesses to Jesus” is a pocket-sized paperback suitable for individual use and for churches to provide to their members during the season of Advent. “Speak Peace” is a collection of readings about peace and peacemaking, featuring writers past and present, from within and outside of the church. For detailed information about the “early bird” discounts for each of these books, call Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or go to .

The Carlisle (Pa.) Truck Stop Ministry, which is related to Southern Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren, has announced the appointment of co-chaplains Dave Braithwaite and Craig Shambaugh. “Even as we grieve the loss of chaplain Dan Lehigh, wehave been prayerfully seeking the Lord’s will regarding his replacement,” said the announcement from the ministry’s board of directors, published in the district’s newsletter. Braithwaite is retired from the U.S. Postal Service. Shambaugh has his own window and house washing business. The two new co-chaplains will be continuing the truck stop ministry on a seven day a week, eight hour a day coverage schedule, the announcement said.

On Sunday, Sept. 25, Lafayette (Ind.) Church of the Brethren celebrates its 70th anniversary with a special worship service and carry-in meal.

Image courtesy of Heifer International

“Grazing money to goat-oward hunger relief,” said an announcement of one of the upcoming performances of Ted and Company’s “12 Baskets and a Goat.” These performances are hosted by Church of the Brethren congregations and proceeds benefit Heifer International:

Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren hosts “12 Baskets and a Goat” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8. Ted Swartz and Jeff Raught will present their original play, “The Jesus Stories: Faith, Forks, and Fettuccini,” with a live auction of baskets of breads. Tickets are $5 per person.

“12 Baskets and a Goat” will be presented at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 3:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Bidding for baskets of bread will be open to all.

Northern Indiana District hosts “12 Baskets and a Goat” on Oct. 16, as a “fun”draiser for Heifer International. “A light-hearted auction of baskets filled with fresh bread and other goodies, and a major helping of laughter,” will be part of the experience, said an announcement from district executive minister Torin Eikler. “Please join us at Union Center Church of the Brethren (near Nappanee, Indiana) at 7 o’clock for a delightful evening of fun and fundraising for a good cause. All proceeds of the event will go to support Heifer Project International in its ongoing mission to alleviate hunger and poverty around the world.”

Carlisle (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren is hosting a Hispanic leadership conference titled “Para Su Gloria” (Colossians 3:23) on Oct. 22, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission is free and a lunch will be provided, according to an announcement in the Southern Pennsylvania District newsletter which noted that these “For His Glory” conferences are sponsored by the Renacer Hispanic Ministry of the Church of the Brethren. Spanish/English translation will be available. Conference topics will include the Hispanic reality affecting America, the Renacer vision, the power of unity, and reaching the Hispanic community.

“West Virginia flood offering stands at $45,755.32,” reported Virlina District in its E-Headliner newsletter. As of Sept. 30, 61 congregations in Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia have contributed to the West Virginia Flood Offering, the newsletter said. Of the total donated, $30,000 has been distributed through the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). “It is our desire to distribute the remainder by Oct. 10, the announcement said.

Camp Emmanuel has received a “shout out” from Theresa Churchill, a senior writer for the “Herald and Review” newspaper of Decatur, Ill., who wrote a review of the family camp held over Labor Day weekend. Camp Emmanuel is an outdoor ministry center of the Church of the Brethren’s Illinois and Wisconsin District, located near Astoria, Ill. “Camp Emmanuel…has provided our family a wonderful respite from that busyness for more than a quarter-century now,” she wrote. “I’m talking specifically about Family Camp, a semi-structured 2 1/2 days that happen there every Labor Day weekend. Even if I’m stressed and tense when I arrive Friday evening, the beautiful setting and warm fellowship work their magic before Saturday is done. It’s a special time of reflection and relaxation.” Find the full article at .

A Quilters and Crafters Retreat will be held at Camp Eder near Fairfield, Pa., on Nov. 4-6, supported by Southern Pennsylvania District. As well as quilting, participants will have opportunities to engage in a number of activities including drop spinning, cross stitching, crocheting, creating felted soaps, and more. The retreat takes place in Schwarzenau Lodge. Cost is $125. For more information go to .

“On Sept. 17, 1977, the Church of the Brethren raised $11,715 for disaster relief at an auction at the Lebanon County Fairgrounds. Forty years–and more than $14 million later–the Brethren Disaster Relief Auction continues to thrive, annually attracting more than 10,000 people for what is now a two-day event on the fourth weekend in September,” reports Earle Cornelius, writing for Lancaster Online. The annual auction sponsored by the Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania Districts of the Church of the Brethren, is held today and tomorrow, Sept. 23-24, at the Lebanon (Pa.) Expo and Fairgrounds. In recent years, the event has raised nearly $500,000 each year for disaster relief efforts including Brethren Disaster Ministries, the report said. “Last year, $500,000 from the auction went to the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria–Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria–for relief from the attacks by the militant Islamist group  Boko Haram.” Find the news article at .

Pacific Northwest District today convenes its annual district conference at Camp Koinonia near Cle Elum, Wash. The district conference continues through Sept. 25. Carol Wise of the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests (BMC), will provide leadership.

Western Plains District holds the Gathering, an annual district event, on Oct. 28-30 at the Webster Conference Center in Salina, Kan. “Invite your family and friends to attend this event of fellowship, worship, music, education, and fun!” said an announcement. “This year’s gathering will focus on the theme ‘You Are Loved.’” The line up of preachers includes Carol Scheppard, Debbie Eisenbise, and Walt Wiltschek. General sessions will focus on “Disaster Ministries in Colorado” and engaging conversation around how we are “Living and Loving Together: A Simple Peace.” Workshops will include topics on the joy of family music, Restorative Discipline with children, including persons of all abilities, managing differences in the congregation, and working with kids at camp. Youth retreats also are offered, as well as children’s activities. For more information go to .

Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community is inviting area pastors to a “Meet Our New Chaplain, Russ Barb” event at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6, at the newly-renovated Lantz Chapel, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. at the Houff Community Center introducing the new Pastoral Enrichment Program. More information and RSVP to Marla McCutcheon, 540-828-2162, or .

Photo courtesy of Samuel Sarpiya
Annual Conference moderator-elect Samuel Kefas Sarpiya has received the Jane Addams Peace Award from the Rockford (Ill.) Housing Authority. Sarpiya pastors Rockford Community Church of the Brethren and is co-founder of the Center for Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation in Rockford.

New Community Project has announced 2017 Learning Tours. “NCP invites people of all ages to take part in Learning Tours to fascinating, welcoming, and challenging parts of the world,” said the announcement. “Neither mission nor service trips, these experiences offer a chance to build relationships with God’s people and God’s creation, learn about the gifts and challenges of each, and discover ways we can work together for a better world.” Here is the list of tour dates and destinations: Jan. 6-17 Myanmar; June 3-10 Ecuadorian Amazon; June 15-25 Democratic Republic of Congo, hosted by the Congo Brethren; July 9-16 Lybrook, N.M., hosted by Lybrook Community Ministries; July 25-Aug. 3 Denali/Kenai Fjords, Alaska. For more information, contact or 844-804-2985, or visit the Learning Tour page on the NCP website.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its Ecumenical Institute at the Château de Bossey. On Oct. 1 the institute will host a series of events, including a public lecture by H.E. Prof. Dr. Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Grand Imam and Shaykh of al-Azhar al-Sharif, a mosque and university in Cairo, Egypt. He is an advocate for religious dialogue and peace and a critic of religious extremism, and will speak on “The Responsibility of Religious Leaders for Achieving World Peace.” The lecture will also be live streamed on the web.

Two humanitarian groups, the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative and the Stefanus Foundation based in Nigeria, have reported figures on the scale of the crisis still affecting northeast Nigeria. “Over 14 million Nigerians are directly affected by humanitarian crises in the north-east region of the country,” the groups reported at a press conference held in the capital city of Abuja, and co-organized by the Christian Association of Nigeria, according to “Officially, there are 2.2 million Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs. Unofficially, there are five to seven million IDPs. Those in need of special assistance, are 2.5 million, comprising children under the age of five, pregnant women and nursing mothers,” said the executive director of the Stefanus Foundation, which has been a recipient of aid from the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Other statistics cited at the press conference as results of the insurgent violence in northeast Nigeria included: 611 teachers who died as a result, 19,000 teachers displaced, 1,500 schools closed down, 950,000 children denied the opportunity of accessing education, 13,000 churches abandoned or closed down or destroyed, 2,000 children abducted, 10,000 boys forced to join Boko Haram.

Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence is one of the national organizations supporting “The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence” on Sunday, Sept. 25. A series of live concerts on the theme “Remember” will be brought together by social media. Performers at the Beacon Theater in New York City include Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash, Vy Higginsen’s Gospel Choir of Harlem, and more. A list of other locations across the country and more information about the concert event is at .

Contributors include Ruben Deoleo, Torin Eikler, Anne Gregory, Bryan Hanger, Kendra Harbeck, Alice Lee Hopkins, Dave McFadden, Nancy Miner, Zakariya Musa, David Radcliff, Shelley Weachter, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Contact . 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 Sept. 30.

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