Brethren bits for Nov. 10, 2017

Church of the Brethren Newsline
November 10, 2017

Starting next week, until the week registration opens for National Youth Conference, the NYC office will announce one speaker a week. The speakers will be announced on social media every Tuesday, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. The list of speakers will be released in Newsline as the information becomes available. “Don’t miss out on this really exciting news!” said the announcement, that urged youth to follow @cobnyc2018 on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, and to “like” the “National Youth Conference 2018” Facebook page.

— Remembrance: Shirley Brubaker, 87, died in Barrington, Ill., on Oct. 21. She had held a position at the Church of the Brethren’s Messenger magazine offices, in earlier years. She was a resident of Elgin, Ill., since 1951, and was a long-time member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin. She was a leader in several civic organizations in the Elgin area. She and Edward Brubaker were married 54 years, until his death in 2005. Survivors include daughters Tricia Hernandez and Sally Vincent (William) and grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Highland Avenue Church on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., with a reception following.

— Remembrance: Merilyn Foltz Tansil, 78, died Sept. 6 in Lebanon, Ohio, where she resided at Otterbein Retirement Community the past two years. She served as receptionist at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and was a former employee of Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). She grew up in Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, where she was active in music, playing bells and flute. In later years she was a special friend of Ron Rocke until his death in 2003. Prior to moving to Ohio, she resided for a decade in Columbus, Ind., remaining close with members of the Rocke family. A memorial service was conducted Sept. 16 at Otterbein Home.

— Joe Detrick has completed an interim assignment as director of the Office of Ministry for the Church of the Brethren. His last day is Friday, Nov. 10. He has worked in the position for more than a year, since June 22, 2016. He is retired from serving the denomination as a pastor and a district executive. He also is former staff for Brethren Volunteer Service.

— Margie Paris is retiring as program assistant in the Office of Ministry for the Church of the Brethren, effective Feb. 8, 2018. She has worked at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., for more than 28 years. She began her service on Aug. 30, 1989, as the assistant Yearbook coordinator. In 1996 she became the Yearbook coordinator and in August 1999 she began in her current role. A key focus of her work in the Office of Ministry has been facilitating daily operation of the denomination’s Pastoral Placement system, working closing with district executives and district administrative assistants. She has provided administrative support for the director of Ministry and has facilitated support for the director’s work with various committees and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership.

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced the appointment of Jonathan Shively as interim administrative director. Shively is a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., and has worked for the Church of the Brethren denomination in various capacities at the administrative level, including eight years as executive director of Congregational Life Ministries. He holds a certificate in nonprofit management from North Park University. Said Jason Boone, CPT Steering Committee chair and coordinating minister for the Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA, in a release: “With the completion of Sarah Thompson’s term as Executive Director, we wanted to take the opportunity of this transition to explore next steps with intentionality. Jonathan’s particular leadership skills will help position CPT to move our mission of building partnerships to transform violence and oppression forward with healthy vigor.” In addition to serving half-time with CPT for the next year, Shively continues as director of Advancement for Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mt. Morris, Ill.

— Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership seeks a coordinator of Spanish-Language Ministry Training Programs. The academy is a ministry training partnership of the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Seminary. The coordinator will communicate and work with liaisons and students from the districts involved in the certificate-level ministry training programs, with the director and faculty provided by the Mennonite Education Agency (ecumenical partner in the SeBAH program), and with other constituent groups. Qualifications include fluency in Spanish and English, both in oral and written communication; experience in the Latino church, either in the United States or abroad; completed ministry or theological training in the Anabaptist tradition; practical experience in pastoral ministry; ability to travel as needed. Qualifications preferred include Spanish as a first language; licensing or ordination in the Church of the Brethren or another Anabaptist tradition; a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an appropriate field for the position. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt and will be accepted until the position is filled. Interested candidates should send their resumes, a letter of interest, and contact information for three references by e-mail to Janet L. Ober Lambert, Director, Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374; . Bethany Theological Seminary’s policy prohibits discrimination in employment opportunities or practices with regard to race, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or religion. Find the full position description and more information at .

— A Congressional Briefing on Nigeria is hosted by the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness on Nov. 13, 2:30-3:30 p.m., at the Rayburn House Office Building Room 2103 in Washington, D.C. “This year, the Nigerian government embarked on a 60 day ‘surge’ to eliminate Boko Haram, but following the surge the country still faces insurgency and humanitarian crisis,” said an invitation to the event. “Partnering with Nigeria to solve the multi-faceted issues the nation faces is no easy task. Our panel of experts will share their insights into the holistic work that must be done in the country.” The event will address a host of issues including the humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria, accessibility to the region, government accountability, Congress’ role in security reform, human rights, and peacebuilding/recovery work.

— Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) invites church members and friends to send Christmas cards to BVS volunteers this December. The BVS office is sharing a list of the names and addresses of the current BVSers with the invitation. “Our volunteers love receiving cards and greetings from Brethren congregations!” the invitation says. Find the 2017 address list at .

— On Nov. 18-19 the PowerHouse regional youth conference will return to Camp Mack in Indiana, providing a weekend of worship, workshops, music, recreation, and more for senior high youth in the Midwest and their advisors. This year’s speaker is Jamie Makatche and she will speak on the theme “Who Am I?” based on 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. The cost is $90 for youth, $80 for advisors. Find out more information and register today by visiting the PowerHouse website: . This event is sponsored by Manchester University’s church relations office.

— University Baptist and Brethren Church in State College, Pa., received rave reviews from, which reported that “anyone seeking the true spirit of Christmas needs to look no further than the University Baptist and Brethren Church’s annual Alternative Christmas Fair.” Started in 1982, the fair has raised more than $600,000 for local, national, and international nonprofit organizations over the past 34 years. The article about the event “was in the monthly Town and Gown magazine that is circulated at all the hotels and businesses in State College,” reports pastor Bonnie Kline Smeltzer. Find the article at,1474340 .

Christian Elliott, pastor of Knobsville Church of the Brethren in Southern Pennsylvania District, traveled to Nigeria recently with Jeff Boshart, manager of the Global Food Initiative, to evaluate an agriculture project. “We carried with us a letter from Chambersburg, Pa. (Southern Pennsylvania District) Church of the Brethren pastor Joel Nogle,” he reports. “Included were drawings from a number of children in the congregation. In the attached photo, I am shown presenting the letter to EYN (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria) president Joel Billi. We are standing in front of EYN headquarters. It didn’t get past us that both pastors are named Joel!”

— District conference season in the Church of the Brethren closes out in November. On Nov. 3-4, Atlantic Southeast District Conference met at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., and Illinois and Wisconsin District Conference met at York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill. Pacific Southwest District holds its conference at Hillcrest, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in La Verne, Calif., on Nov. 10-12. Virlina District gathers in Roanoke, Va., on Nov. 10-11. Puerto Rico District has yet to determine the location and date for its district conference this year.

— Western Pennsylvania District Conference on Oct. 21 received a special offering to assist the  Puerto Rico Brethren affected by Hurricane Maria. Donations from churches and individuals totaled $7,555, reported district executive minister Bill Wenger. The district is extending the opportunity to give to the special offering up through Thanksgiving, so that more people in the district can participate and the total can grow. The funds will be sent to the Puerto Rico District to support its disaster response program, which is being done in partnership with Brethren Disaster Ministries. Wenger commented on the personal nature of this giving. “Since we have a Puerto Rico District it helps us focus on that,” he said. “These are folks we know.”

— The Church World Service (CWS) kit collection in Shenandoah District has filled a trailer with emergency clean-up buckets and hygiene and health kits. The donations totaled 748 clean-up buckets, 1,323 hygiene kits, and 380 school kits.

— Pinecrest Manor, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Mt. Morris, Ill., appears in the number 1 spot in a list of the 73 Illinois nursing homes labeled as “top performing” with overall ratings of 4.5 or greater. This new set of ratings places nearly 2,300 nursing homes in the United States as top care providers in the country for 2017-18. The “Nursing Home Finder” was released by “US News and World Report” at the end of October, and evaluates more than 15,000 nursing homes across the country. “To create the “Nursing Home Finder,” U.S. News used data from Nursing Home Compare, a program run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,” reports “Across Illinois Patch.” The nursing homes were rated “poor” to “top-performing” on a scale of 1 to 5. Pinecrest Manor received a 5 rating. Find the article at .

— Camp Mack is offering Cookie Days in early December, with three times to sign up. “Fill your cookie jar for the holiday,” said an announcement. Cost is $45 dollars for a four-hour session and about 12 dozen cookies, with lunch or dinner provided. “And we clean up the mess!” the announcement noted. The camp provides the ingredients, measuring utensils, and mixing bowls. Participants may bring along family members, and will mix the dough, sample cookies, and sip hot chocolate. Choose 4 batches of cookies (each makes about 3 dozen) Choose from a variety of cookie recipes. Sessions are offered on Dec. 2 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 12 noon-4 p.m., and Dec. 3 from 12 noon-4 p.m. Go to .

— The Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, is hosting a Nigeria Crisis Update and Reception for special guests Samuel and Rebecca Dali on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. Samuel Dali is a past president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Rebecca Dali is the founder and leader of the Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI), a Nigerian nonprofit serving victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, and recent recipient of the United Nation’s . The event is co-sponsored by the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren and EYN. Find out more about the Nigeria Crisis Response at .

One of the burned buildings in Tijuana, Mexico, related to Bittersweet Ministries.

— A building of Bittersweet Ministries in Tijuana, Mexico, and four nearby homes were destroyed by a fire recently. Bittersweet Ministries is a Church of the Brethren-related ministry serving children and others in need in the Tijuana area, with leadership from Brethren minister Gilbert Romero among others. The fire destroyed a newly renovated daycare center building, but an older established center in a different neighborhood was unharmed. The fire started in a neighboring building, but it could not be stopped as the government had turned off water to the neighborhood several days before, reported Bittersweet leader Gilbert Romero to Jeff Boshart of the Global Food Initiative, which has helped fund some of the ministry’s work in Tijuana. Bittersweet has plans to rebuild three of the destroyed homes next summer, reported Boshart, and is looking for help to rebuild one home and the daycare center immediately, he added. “The location of the fire is where he [Romero] has had a desire to plant a Church of the Brethren preaching point for some years,” Boshart said. A prayer request from other supporters of the ministry asked, “Pray for those who have been affected and displaced, and for the ability of the ministry to help this community get back on their feet again.”

— An action alert from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition is being shared by Church World Service (CWS), regarding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consideration of whether or not to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the United States. The DHS decision is expected before Thanksgiving. “Given the recent TPS terminations for Sudan and Nicaragua, we are deeply concerned that DHS will end TPS for Haitians altogether,” the alert said. “Haiti’s recovery since the devastating 2010 earthquake has been interrupted by a series of other natural disasters that resulted in widespread housing and food insecurity, exacerbated the cholera epidemic, and led to public health crises.” CWS is encouraging calls to elected leaders in support of Haitians who are living in the United States with TPS status. “Haitians should be allowed to remain in the United States while Haiti continues to recover,” the alert said. The situation affects about 58,000 Haitians–including some members of the Church of the Brethren–who have been in the United States since Jan. 12, 2011, Find the full text of the action alert at .

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