Brethren Bits for March 24, 2017

Church of the Brethren Newsline
March 25, 2017

Remembrance: Dora Belle Showalter, 98, died on Dec. 10, 2016, in Modesto, Calif. With her late husband, Marion Showalter, she had served as a Church of the Brethren mission worker in Nigeria for almost two decades. The couple lived and worked for 19 years in Garkida, the village where the mission headquarters had been located. The Showalters went to Nigeria in 1964 for a two-year volunteer term with Brethren Volunteer Service, but ended up working in Nigeria until retiring in 1983. Her work at the mission headquarters in Garkida was to serve as a hostess, and she provided room and board for hundreds of guests over the years. She was born July 19, 1918, in Witonka, S.D., to Grant and Elizabeth Catherine Tooker. She was a homemaker and a lifelong member of Empire Church of the Brethren in California. Once she returned from Nigeria, she continued to serve the church in many ways including involvement with church camps such as Camp Peaceful Pines located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. She was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 74 years, Marion Franklin Showalter, as well as her only daughter Kollene. She is survived by grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Find a full obituary at

The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill a full-time hourly position of program assistant for Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services (CDS). This position is located at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Responsibilities include supporting the programming and administration of CDS; providing administrative, programming, and clerical support to the associate director of CDS; support of volunteers, volunteer training, and response; assistance with general administration of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Required skills and knowledge include administrative office skills, ability to relate with integrity and respect, strong interpersonal and written communication skills, ability to manage multiple simultaneous priorities, ability to learn and competently utilize new software, ability to keep information and records confidential, and the ability to uphold and support the basic beliefs and practices of the Church of the Brethren. An associate’s degree or high school graduation with equivalent work experience is required, as is proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, particularly Word, Excel, and Outlook. Applications are being received and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Request the application form by contacting Human Resources Manager, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367;

Venezuela baptism. Photo by Joel Peña.


The Global Mission and Service office is giving thanks for multiple recent baptisms in two congregations of Iglesia de los Hermanos, the developing church in Venezuela. “Pray for the burgeoning Brethren movement there, as it grows both in members and in its social outreach ministries such as distributions of clothing and medicine,” said a recent prayer request. Venezuela was approved as a mission project of the Church of the Brethren by the Mission and Ministry Board at its spring meeting.

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers responded in Missouri following tornadoes that hit the state earlier this month. Teams served affected children and families in Oak Grove and Perryville, Mo. CDS staff reported that “news sources report that within the Oak Grove area alone approximately 480 homes were affected by tornado damage.” Gary Gahm, district disaster coordinator for the Missouri and Arkansas District of the Church of the Brethren helped to connect the local Red Cross with the CDS office. Lindsey Murphy served as the project manager for this deployment. For more about the ministry of CDS go to

The Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry is seeking donations of children’s books to be distributed during a workcamp in Flint, Mich., this summer. “Every aspect of life has been affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan–including literacy,” said an announcement. “Because of this, we plan to distribute books during the workcamp July 2-8, and we need your help with collecting them.” Send new and gently used children’s books to Flint Church of the Brethren or to the Workcamp Office, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. Direct questions to Shelley Weachter, 847-429-4328. For more information about this Workcamp Ministry go to

A live stream event with two experts on Gaza is offered by Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), and is being publicized by the Office of Public Witness. The Church of the Brethren is a member of CMEP. “Learn about the current realities of life in Gaza and where there might be opportunities for hope,” said an invitation to the webinar on Tues., March 28, 12 noon-1:30 p.m. (eastern time). The panel of speakers includesa Tania Hary, executive director of Gisha, an Israeli nonprofit organization whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents; Omar Shaban, director of PalThink for Strategic Studies, a nonprofit “think and do tank” that seeks to contribute to the building of a free and modern Palestinian state and democratic society; and moderator Mae Elise Cannon, executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace and an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church. Formed in 1984, CMEP is a coalition of 27 national church denominations and organizations that works to encourage US government policies that actively promote a just, lasting, and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ensuring security, human rights, and religious freedom for all people of the region. Register at to receive a link to the live webinar.

Find several reflections from recent Nigeria workcamps on the Nigeria Crisis Response blog. Recent posts are from Sally Rich, John Krabacher, and Carol Goss.

Hillcrest School in Jos, Nigeria, is celebrating its 75th anniversary on May 14. The celebration includes a worship service followed by a lunch. The school was begun by the Church of the Brethren Mission in Nigeria, and then became an ecumenical enterprise shared between several Christian mission groups from various denominational backgrounds.

On Earth Peace is inviting those planning to attend the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference this summer to a pre-Conference day of training in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Wednesday, June 28. The training will be focused on Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation, and will provide an introduction to the philosophy and methodology of Martin Luther King Jr. “These trainings are transformational experiences that have helped thousands of people from around the world understand the depth of the philosophy of nonviolence, and learn to begin to bring the practices into their lives and their work. Kingian Nonviolence shows a path to put God’s agape love into action,” said an announcement. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with the workshop scheduled for 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with an hour break for lunch. The fee is $60. For an additional $10 fee, Church of the Brethren ministers may receive .7 continuing education units. More information and registration are at .

Bethany Theological Seminary is holding the next Explore Your Call” discernment event for high school students on June 16-26. The seminary is located in Richmond, Ind. Participants explore different, exciting paths of Christian ministry and where God is leading them. “Due to a generous grant, all qualified applicants will receive a full scholarship. Students pay only for their transportation to and from the event,” said an announcement. For more information contact professor Russell Haitch at 765-983-1827 or coordinator Brian Mackie at 765-465-5960.

GraceWay Church of the Brethren opened in Dundalk, Md., in early February, according to the “Dundalk Eagle” newspaper. “The church touts itself as a multi-cultural hub,” the paper reported, adding that on opening day, “seven nations were represented at the church–Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon, and the United States.” Find the newspaper story at

Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren has been featured in the news for its public statements exploring the possibility of becoming a sanctuary church–along with other churches in Lancaster County. Pastor Pamela A. Reist shared the article with Newsline, hoping that her congregation may hear from other Brethren congregations around the country who also are exploring sanctuary status, or may be finding other means of response for immigrants in their own communities. The church also hopes to be an encouragement to others with this effort, she said. The church has posted the news article on its Facebook page, with this comment: “As a people who are committed to practicing peace, service and openness to all, we have been preparing for ‘such a time as this.’ We are ready to explore how we might reach out with compassion and love, for we are strangers no more, but part of one humanity…” ( . Find the article posted by Lancaster Online at

Canton (Ohio) Church of the Brethren hosted a “Forum on Poverty” on Thursday, March 23, “to create awareness and promote resolution about poverty in Fulton County,” reported the “Canton Daily Ledger.” Panelists represented Love INC, Spoon River Pregnancy Center, Graham Hospital, the YMCA and YWCA, the First Baptist Church, Canton Union School District 66, and the Health and Wellness Clinic of Fulton County. Find out more at

Henry Fork Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va., in cooperation with Living Waters Church will host a second annual prom dress giveaway on Saturday, April 1, reports the “Franklin News Post.” Any girl in need of a prom dress is encouraged to attend, organizer Iris Akers told the newspaper. “All dresses have been generously donated and are clean and gently used,” she said. The event will feature more than 200 dresses in various sizes. See

La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren hosts college students from the University of La Verne on the third Tuesday of each month of the school year for an evening meal. “We provide a nourishing meal and nurturing hospitality. Students eat well, build community with each other and adult volunteers, as well as learn that the Church of the Brethren is a place of welcome. Many times we will have nearly 400 students including the football team!” said a report in the e-newsletter of Pacific Southwest District. The program is co-sponsored with the university’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. The church is seeking more volunteers to help out with the dinners, contact or 909-593-1364.

Northern Ohio District shares a prayer request for a group from Dupont Church of the Brethren. The group of 11 people are leaving March 24 for a missions trip to Honduras, planning to return home on April 3. “We pray for safe travels, good health, God’s provision, wisdom, and direction as they travel to serve their brothers and sisters in Honduras,” said an email from Julie Watson, the district administrative secretary.

A “Mission Information Event” sponsored by the South Central Indiana District board will be held on Sunday, April 30, 2-4 p.m. at Marion (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. The event will provide an opportunity to learn more about what the Church of the Brethren is doing in Nigeria and Haiti with leadership from Cliff Kindy and others who have been in Nigeria recently, and Brad Yoder bringing information about pure water projects in Haiti. “As a district we will have a fundraising emphasis for these two missions and encourage churches to think about what they can do to be a part of this great emphasis,” said an announcement from the district, which will be receiving a love offering on April 30 to get this fund started.

The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College holds its annual banquet on April 20 at 6 p.m., followed by the Durnbaugh Lecture on the topic, “New Directions in Pennsylvania German Studies.” The presenter is Simon J. Bronner, distinguished professor of American studies and folklore at Penn State Harrisburg. Cost for the dinner is $23 but the lecture is free of charge and reservations are not required. On April 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the center hosts the Durnbaugh Seminar with Joshua R. Brown and several panelists speaking on “Object Lessons: The Meanings of Pennsylvania German Life and Culture.” Cost for the seminar, which includes lunch, is $10. April 6 is the deadline to make reservations for the banquet and the seminar. Call 717-361-1470 or go to

The Global Women’s Project steering committee is holding its semi-annual meeting this weekend, hosted by Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Expressing gratitude for the church’s hospitality, a recent e-mail notice from the group invited readers, “Please join us Sunday, March 26th for Sunday school, service, and fellowship at the Elizabethtown COB. We are looking forward to seeing you.”

With “a prayer of great thanksgiving,” a Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) release celebrated a successful conference with Sabeel, an ecumenical center for liberation theology in Jerusalem and a partner of the CPT Palestine team. CPT reservists, administrative staff, and Steering Committee members from five countries joined the Sabeel conference. The conference held two weeks ago was followed by a CPT Steering Committee meeting in Hebron. “Together in unity, we affirm the prophetic call of the Gospel to renounce violence and dominative power,” the release said. “We also give thanks that Steering Committee meetings took place in Hebron so that board members who could travel here had the chance to meet teammates and participate in the work of the Palestine team on-the-ground. With the context in mind they deliberated over matters in order to build an organizational culture of justice, inclusion, mutual respect, and welcome.” Find the CPT faith identity statement at

“Famine in South Sudan: Remaining food expected to run out in two weeks” is the title of a foreboding release received this week from IMA World Health, a longterm ecumenical partner of the Church of the Brethren. “Of the areas facing famine in South Sudan at the moment, Duk County might be one of the worst,” the release said. “Violence has forced men, women, and children to flee for their lives. Estimates are that more than 41,000–almost a third of the county’s population–have been forced from home. Most are expected to run out of food within two weeks. Medical supplies, including emergency food and nutrition stores, are dwindling.” The release noted that IMA World Health may be the only international public health nonprofit addressing needs in this crisis, working with a local partner the John Dau Foundation to treat the medical complications of malnourishment in Duk.

Pearl Beard of Locust Grove Church of the Brethren in Mt. Airy, Md., celebrated her 100th birthday on Jan. 26. She recently moved to Cross Village-the Brethren Home Community, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in New Oxford, Pa.

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