Brethren bits for Aug. 5, 2017

Church of the Brethren Newsline
August 5, 2017

Rebecca Dali, founder of the Centre for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI),and a leader in Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has won the 2017 Sérgio Vieira de Mello award in recognition of her humanitarian services in the northeast of Nigeria. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has announced that the award ceremony will take place on Aug. 21 in Geneva, Switzerland, during the celebration of this year’s World Humanitarian Day. Read “Live Your Life in the Hand of God,” a 2016 Newsline interview with Dali about her work with victims of the Boko Haram insurgency at .

— Remembrance (updated): Florence Daté Smith (96) of Eugene, Ore., died peacefully on June 26 at Sacred Heart Hospital University District with family and friends at her side. She was a survivor of internment at the Topaz Internment Camp during World War II, and was a prominent Church of the Brethren peace activist. She was born in San Francisco, Calif., raised in Berkeley, Calif., and attended the University of California/Berkeley. Just prior to graduation she was interned at the Topaz Internment Camp from 1942-44. She began her 70 years as an active educator teaching 4th and 5th grade children there. Upon being released, she worked at the Presbyterian Christopher Settlement House in Chicago, where she met and married her husband, Russel. She graduated from the University of Chicago. Together the couple raised their family in the inter-racial, intercultural, and interfaith York Center Co-operative Community in Lombard, Ill., which had ties to the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Theological Seminary. There she helped found a nursery school and a co-op buying club. She worked as a Learning Specialist teacher at Elmhurst District 205 in Illinois and obtained her master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Oregon. The couple moved to Eugene, Ore., in 1978, and she began teaching in the Springfield Oregon Public Schools. In December 2009 she was given an honorary degree from UCAL/Berkeley. She was active in local and international projects of the Church of the Brethren including serving on the board of the Global Women’s Project. Her ecumenical involvements included service on the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Oregon Bach Festival/War and Reconciliation. She participated in the Historic Peace Church Teacher Exchange with the World Friendship Center Hiroshima, Japan. As a lifetime educator, she continued to share her personal internment experiences with youth and adults until her death. Her Topaz Internment Story is viewable at . Her husband, Russel, preceded her in death in 2008. She is survived by her children Barbara, Norman, and Roger, and grandchildren. A celebration of her life will be held on Friday, Aug. 25, at 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Eugene, Ore. The family will hold a private gathering sometime at a future date. A multimedia memorial website for the community will be available at . Memorial gifts are received to On Earth Peace, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and CALC in Eugene, Ore.

— Emmy Goering’s last day as a Peacebuilding and Policy Associate at the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., was Aug. 4. She began serving in the office as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker on Aug. 8, 2016.

— Chasity Gunn has resigned as conference and event assistant for Congregational Life Ministries, serving at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She began in the position on Dec. 14, 2016.

— Church World Service (CWS) is seeking to fill two positions:
     CWS seeks a creative and visionary leader to fill the position of media associate. The ideal candidate will live and breathe a commitment to immigrants’ rights and a coalition approach to advocacy, and thrive in a creative environment in which no day is the same. This team member will join and be at the intersection of the CWS Advocacy, Communications, and Immigration and Refugee Program staff teams. To learn more go to .
CWS seeks a savvy digital media intern to support its communications work. This internship offers valuable real-world experience in digital media outreach, online organizing, and graphic design. To learn more go to .

— The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) seeks a full-time director of US Prisons Program to coordinate national interfaith organizing and strategic state and federal advocacy for its interfaith members working to end the torture of solitary confinement in US prisons, jails, and detention centers. NRCAT has a strong preference for the position to be based in its Washington, D.C., office, although it is open to possibility of remote work. To learn more go to .

— Material Resources has reported making several shipments of relief goods and materials in recent weeks. Material Resources is a Church of the Brethren program housed in warehouse space at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. A Church World Service (CWS) shipment was made to Illinois for flood response in Lake and McHenry Counties, containing 229 clean-up buckets for the American Red Cross in Round Lake, Ill. On behalf of Lutheran World Relief, five 40-foot containers were loaded for shipment to Burkina Faso, containing 80 bales of blankets, 800 bales of quilts, 600 cartons of  personal care kits, 100 cartons of school kits, 600 cartons of baby care kits, 60 cartons of fabric kits, and 100 cartons of soap. These nonfood items are donated by American Lutheran supporters to help meet vulnerable families’ most urgent needs.

— The summer 2017 edition of the Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) newsletter, “The Volunteer,” includes articles by Sarah Uhl, Andrew Bollinger, Pat Krabacher, Gillian Miller, and Greg Davidson Laszakovits on the topic of “Resiliency.” Find the newsletter online at .
“BVS is always looking for volunteers!” the announcement of the newsletter added. “Please call Jocelyn Snyder, BVS Orientation Coordinator, if you’re interested in beginning a year or two or service.” She can be reached at 847-429-4384.

— Volunteer groups from two Church of the Brethren congregations have been serving in the Caribbean: volunteers from Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren have been serving with Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti), assisting with a mobile medical clinic and a children’s program for around 125 children from various Eglise des Freres congregations; and some 25 volunteers from Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa., have been serving with Iglesia de los Hermanos (the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic), helping with construction projects and assisting with a youth conference where 200 Brethren youth from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Puerto Rico were expected.

— Antelope Park Church of the Brethren is one of the sponsors of the 34th annual Lincoln (Neb.) Lantern Float from 7-9 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6, Hiroshima Day. The event is held on the northeast side of Holmes Lake. The theme will be “Hiroshima-Nagasaki: the Past, Present, and Future of Nuclear Weapons.” A report in the Lincoln Journal Star noted that “recently, the lantern float has been used across the world to remember the souls inflamed in nuclear holocaust in 1945, later nuclear tests, and some nuclear plant accidents. This year’s event will contemplate the history and future of the use and control of nuclear weapons because the United Nations on July 7, at the urging of the first victims of nuclear war–the Japanese hibakusha–passed a ban on nuclear weapons, making their possession and use a violation of international law. However, the US and other nuclear-armed nations rejected this ban, and President Trump has said he might use nuclear weapons in future situations.” Star. Read more at .

— On Saturday, Aug. 12, Dranesville Church of the Brethren in Herndon, Va., is hosting a presentation by Roxane Hill, coordinator of the Nigeria Crisis Response, and a yard sale to benefit the families of the Nigerian Brethren girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. The Nigeria Crisis Response is a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The presentation starts at 6 p.m. The yard sale takes place from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

— Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren holds its Annual Missions Golf Tournament at the Maryland National Golf Course on Aug. 27. Sign up at . Shotgun start is at 1 p.m., registration begins at 11:30 a.m.

— Rocky Mount (Va.) First Church of the Brethren collected close to $1,000 for the Franklin County Perinatal Education Center as part of its Baby Bottle Campaign, reports the Franklin News-Post. “The members of the church spent six weeks soliciting donations with baby bottles used as money collection containers. In all, they raised $966.50,” the newspaper reported. Read the article and see a picture of the congregation at .

— South Waterloo (Iowa) Church of the Brethren partnered with Orange Elementary School in a summer bookmobile project in which the book mobile traveled to different sites every week on Wednesdays. The church provided ice cream and other treats at the park shelter during a visit by the book mobile to Lichty Park, said a newspaper report. Read more at .

— The Mt. Morris Loaves and Fish Food Pantry hosted at Mt. Morris (Ill.) Church of the Brethren received a gold rating in an assessment conducted by an education representative from the University of Illinois Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. “The gold rating was awarded for implementing many best practices identified for food pantries. The report noted the large garden maintained by volunteers to provide fresh produce to pantry guests, the use of shopping style distribution, well-stocked pantry shelves and the use of the food pyramid as a nutritional guide for pantry guests,” said a report on . Find the news report at .

— July saw the start of district conference “season” in the Church of the Brethren. Southeastern District met in Mars Hill, N.C., on July 21-23; Northern Ohio District met at Hartville (Ohio) Church of the Brethren on July 28-29; and Western Plains District met at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and McPherson College on July 28-30. This weekend, the plains districts hold their annual meetings: Southern Plains District meets at Cushing (Okla.) Church of the Brethren on Aug. 3-4, and Northern Plains District meets at South Waterloo (Iowa) Church of the Brethren on Aug. 4-6.

— “Leadership and Anxiety in the Church” is the topic for a workshop sponsored by Pacific Southwest District’s Ministry Commission on Sept. 27 in Woodland Hills, Calif. The workshop is led by the Lombard (Ill.) Mennonite Peace Center. Contact the district office at P.O. Box 219, LaVerne, CA 91750 no later than Sept. 5 to register.

— Mark Flory Steury will be the guest speaker on the topic of 500 years of the Reformation, at Camp Mardela’s Family Camp 2017 held over Labor Day weekend Sept. 1-3. The camp is located near Denton, Md.

— A report on Camp Bethel’s celebration of 90 years was published by WDBJ Channel 7. The camp is located near Fincastle, Va. “Hundreds, even thousands of people, might have called a special place home during a summer or two while growing up,” said the report, which interviews camp director Barry LeNoir. Go to–436391333.html .

— A Prayer Service for the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria will be held at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 6:15 p.m. An annual Labor Day potluck will follow. “Prayers will be offered for the Chibok girls who have returned home, those who are still missing, and the ongoing threat of violence experienced by the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria and the trauma it causes,” said an announcement from Virlina District. The service will be led by members of the district’s Peace Affairs Committee.

— Brethren Woods is sponsoring a weekend conference on the historic Brethren value of simple living. “Simplify: A Simple Living Weekend” will be held Nov. 10-11, beginning after dinner on Friday and continuing through late afternoon on Saturday. The weekend registration fee of $35 covers housing, food, and all activities. The Saturday-only fee is $20. Students may attend for $10. Find a letter of information with more details at . To register, go to . The camp and retreat center is located near Keezletown, Va.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College has received a significant gift, according to a release published by the August Free Press. “Five Smith family members and the Smith-Midland Corporation have donated $1 million toward the expansion and renovation of the college’s library,” the report said. “Their donation is the third seven-figure gift in Bridgewater’s march toward what will become the John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons. The $1 million gift of Rodney Smith, his four sons Ashley, Roderick, Matthew, and Jeremy and the Smith-Midland Corp. will name the first-floor café in the building the Smith Family Learning Commons Café.” Rodney Smith has served on the college board of trustees since 1980 and was named a life trustee in 2011. Read more at .

— The first offering in the 2017-18 Ventures in Christian Discipleship webinar series from McPherson (Kan.) College will be Saturday, Sept. 16, from 9 a.m.-12 noon (central time). The presenter will be Kirk MacGregor, assistant professor of philosophy and religion at McPherson College, speaking on the topic “Welcoming Muslims: Understanding the Differences Between 98 Percent of the World’s Muslims, Islamists, and Jihadists.” Continuing education credit is available for ministers, go to

— The August episode of “Brethren Voices,” a community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features “Stories of Survival by the Nigerian Brethren” as told to Carol Mason of Centralia, Wash. Mason served as a Church of the Brethren mission worker in Nigeria for 10 years, and recently returned to Nigeria to compile 300 stories and photographs of Nigerians who have survived the violence of the Boko Haram insurgency for a book to be published by Brethren Press.
The September episode will feature Katie Schreckengast, a member of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren who will be Miss Pennsylvania in the Miss America Pageant to be held in Atlantic City on Sept. 10. Also, Church of the Brethren general secretary David Steele is featured as he tours the Church of the Brethren districts in a “Listening Tour.”
DVD copies of the program are available from producer Ed Groff at . Programs also may be viewed at .

— The Bittersweet Gospel Band will tour in Maryland and Virginia in August. Church of the Brethren members Gilbert Romero, Scott Duffey, Leah Hileman, Dan Shaffer, David Sollenberger, Trey Curry, Andy Duffey, and Kevin Walsh will all participate in various parts of the tour. Several Church of the Brethren congregations will host concerts including Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren, Aug. 23, 7 p.m., benefiting the Hagerstown Area Religious Council which works locally on issues of food security, education readiness, and poverty alleviation; and at Wakeman’s Grove Church of the Brethren in Edinburg, Va., Aug. 24, 7 p.m. Mt. Zion-Linville Church of the Brethren, Aug. 26, 6 p.m.; Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren, Aug. 27, leading an outdoor worship service at 10:30 a.m., followed by an annual all church picnic; Summerdean and Renacer Churches of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., Aug. 27, 5 p.m. On Aug. 25 the band will visit the Staunton (Va.) Juvenile Detention Center during day, and then participate in the “Sing Me High” Music Festival in Harrisonburg, Va., beginning at 5 p.m. The band will give their festival concert on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 1 p.m. at “Sing Me High” benefiting the Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va. Tickets for the event can be purchased online. The public is invited to any and all worship concerts.

— Aug. 13 is the date of a joint north-south prayer service sponsored by the councils of churches in North Korea and South Korea. A memorial worship service will be held at a church in Seoul recognizing the anniversary of the division of the Korean Peninsula that took place on Aug. 15, 1945. The prayer service is jointly written by Christians in both countries. Find out more about the Christian ecumenical effort for a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula at .

— In June, 97-year-old George Etzweiler became the oldest person to make it to the peak of Mount Washington in the annual race up the 6,288-foot mountain. Bonnie Kline Smeltzer, pastor of University Baptist and Brethren Church in State College, Pa., where Etzweiler is a member, shared his accomplishment with Newsline. She commented that it is “amazing news about one of UBBC’s saints!” Etzweiler was the subject of an article published by the Centre Daily, which reported that “it is the 12th time he has finished the race, which follows the 7.6-mile road up the peak in northern New Hampshire, with an elevation gain of 4,727 feet.” Read the article at .

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