Brethren bits for June 25, 2018

10) Brethren bits

The 2018 Ministry Summer Service orientation was held June 15-18 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The interns and mentors include April Wells of Huntingdon, Pa., who is serving at Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren with Rachel Witkovsky; Jamie-Claire Chau of Philadelphia, Pa., who is serving at Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren with Ron Tilley; Laura Hay of Modesto, Calif., who is serving as the Youth Peace Advocate; and Zakaria Bulus of Michika, Nigeria, who is serving at the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C., with Nate Hosler. Dana Cassell, pastor of Peace Covenant Church of the Brethren in Durham, N.C., offered leadership for the orientation on behalf of the Office of Ministry. Shown here, from left: Ron Tilley, Jamie-Claire Chau, Zakaria Bulus, April Wells, and Rachel Witkovsky (not present for the photo: Laura Hay and Nate Hosler). Photo by Kelsey Murray.

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks a full-time administrative director to empower and guide the work of CPT in fulfilling its mission. The administrative director works closely with CPT’s program director in a collaborative, consensus-based, team model. Primary responsibilities include overall financial and administrative oversight, strategic planning and culture formation, and board and staff development, with some international travel to meetings and/or project sites each year. Candidates should demonstrate wisdom and imagination; skilled leadership of group and organizational processes and capacity building; commitment to grow in the journey of undoing oppressions; and ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a dispersed team across continents. Nonprofit management experience and a focus on grassroots social change organizations is preferred. This is a 40 hours per week, 3-year appointment. Compensation is $24,000 per year. Benefits include 100 percent employer-paid health, dental, and vision coverage; 4 weeks of annual vacation. Location: Chicago, Ill., strongly preferred. Start date is Oct. 1. To apply, submit electronically, in English, the following to : cover letter stating motivation and reasons for interest in this position, a résumé or CV, a list of three references with e-mail and daytime telephone numbers. Find the position description at . CPT is an international, faith-based, non-profit organization that builds partnerships to transform violence and oppression. CPT seeks individuals who are capable, responsible, and rooted in faith and spirituality to work for peace as members of teams trained in the disciplines of nonviolence. CPT is committed to building an organization that reflects the rich diversity of the human family in ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender identity, language, national origin, race and sexual orientation. All members of CPT receive a subsistence stipend currently capped at $2,000 per month for staff. For more about CPT see .

— The Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADN) Board of Directors seeks a visionary leader to be the ADN public face to constituents, supporters, and congregations. Proven faith-based fundraising and constituent cultivation ability required. A heart for inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families in the life of the church is a must. The ability to regularly connect with regional congregations, supporters, and develop ADN volunteer networks nationwide. See for more information, or contact Anabaptist Disabilities Network at 574-343-1362.

— Summer warehouse positions are available at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The full-time, temporary positions are for two persons. Responsibilities include opening cartons, removing quilts, flattening cartons, folding quilts, sorting medical supplies, and packing for shipments, with lifting required. Other warehouse duties as assigned. Work hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Email to express interest or send a resume to, phone 410-635-8795.

— The Brethren Service Center partnership in warehouse work with IMA World Health has ended, after IMA fully transitioned away from managing and shipping donated medical supplies and drugs. The Church of the Brethren continues as a member denomination of IMA. The annex warehouse at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., originally was built for IMA and contained only medical supplies. The IMA inventory has now been given to an organization called Brother’s Brother Foundation, which has shipped a number of containers. The Church of the Brethren Material Resources program has started working with Brother’s Brother in a newly developing partnership around medical supplies. “We are sad to see our relationship end but hope we may cross paths in the future,” commented Loretta Wolf, director of Material Resources. “We look forward to the opportunity with Brothers Brother Foundation that the ending of IMA inventory has facilitated. Best wishes as IMA continues on a new path.”

Last week, Brethren Press held a book launch for “25 Days to Jesus,” an illustrated children’s Advent devotional by Christy Waltersdorff and Mitch Miller. Shown here, Waltersdorff (at center) holds up a promotional poster for the new book with Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden (at right) and director of marketing and sales Jeff Lennard (at left). The book is now available to purchase at or call 800-442-3712.

— Church of the Brethren congregations may participate in three offerings at National Youth Conference on July 21-26, even if they are not sending youth to the event. Offerings may be sent to the NYC Office, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL, 60120. Here are suggestions: Offerings of financial gifts or kit supplies for clean-up buckets for disaster relief (excluding the buckets, laundry detergent, and liquid household cleaner that will be provided on site); NYC hopes to give 450 clean-up buckets to victims of natural disasters. Offerings of new or gently used sewing scissors to help youth cut 2,400 t-shirts into diaper pieces for Diapers for Haiti, providing Midwives for Haiti with a one year’s supply. Offerings to the NYC Scholarship Fund to help up to 20 international Brethren youth from around the world attend the conference. The NYC Scholarship Fund helps with the cost of travel and registration for youth from a number of countries including Brazil, Spain, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, and India.

— The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy was represented at the annual advocacy summit of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) in Washington, D.C. The event took place June 17-19 at Lutheran Church of the Reformation under the theme “And Still We Rise,” focusing on the voices of women peacebuilders. Participants were from the interfaith community, focusing on peacebuilding in Israel and Palestine. Annual Conference moderator-elect Donita Keister presented during the summit.

— The Global Mission and Service office has requested prayer for an end to the violence and suffering in Yemen, which is in its fourth year of civil war. The prayer request noted that many consider Yemen to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. “Some 8 million people are on the brink of famine and more than 1 million have been infected in a cholera epidemic considered the worst in history. The aid group Save the Children estimates that in just one year in 2017, more than 50,000 children died of starvation, malnutrition, or disease.” Earlier this month, the situation worsened as fighting centered around Hodeida, a large port city that serves as the only remaining major entry point for humanitarian aid, after a blockade closed other access points.

— Church of the Brethren pastor Carol Yeazell has visited with Iglesia de los Hermanos-Una Luz En Las Naciones (the Church of the Brethren in Spain). Along with visits to congregations, she led ethics training for approximately 25 pastors and leaders preparing to be pastors.

— The Office of Mission Advancement will be hosting an insight session at Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the “Impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on Estate, Charitable, and Gift Plans.” The session takes place Friday, July 6, 12:30-1:30 p.m., in Room 260. Karen Crim, senior manager of Tax Services at RSM US LLP in Dayton, Ohio, will be the presenter. She will discuss how the act reduced individual and corporate tax rates, eliminated a host of deductions and credits, enhanced other breaks, and made numerous additional changes. “Come to this session to learn how this act may affect your charitable and estate plan giving,” said an invitation.

— Brethren Disaster Ministries is holding a “Meet & Greet” at Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Friday, July 6, 7:30-8:30 a.m., in Room 204 of the Duke Energy Convention Center. “All Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services volunteers are invited to join Roy [Winter], Jenn [Dorsch Messler], and Kathy [Fry-Miller] to share some coffee and fellowship,” said an invitation. “Stop in to say hello, chat about BDM happenings, and/or find out how to get involved.”

— Two Church of the Brethren staff participated June 19 in a twice-a-year call with the Alternative Service Program division of the Selective Service System: Kendra Harbeck, manager for the Office of Global Mission and Service, and Dan McFadden, director of Brethren Volunteer Service. The SSS regularly updates those who are connected formally to the Alternative Service Program with program and staff changes. No significant changes were mentioned in this summer update other than some staff changes. The SSS and ASP staff did state that next year, 2019, was going to be a focus year on their Alternative Service Program and they are planning a review of all the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) signed over the past eight years. The Church of the Brethren and Brethren Volunteer Service signed an MOU in 2010 stating that in the event of a military draft, the Church of the Brethren and BVS will be recognized partners to offer alternative service options for those who identify as conscientious objectors to war. BVS and the Church of the Brethren were partners when the draft was still in force following World War II through the early 1970s. The Selective Service System is one of the only places within the federal government that conscientious objection is formally recognized.

— Sipesville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren will be hosting a “Celebration Weekend” for its 100th anniversary on July 28-29. Events on July 28 begin at 5 p.m. with a corn and hot dog roast and mountain pies and s’mores around a campfire at the church pavilion. On July 29 the 10 a.m. worship service will be followed by a celebration meal in the church basement, and a 2 p.m. “Singspiration” with special music from Danny Connor and others from the area. “The members of the Sipesville Church of the Brethren are excited about achieving this wonderful milestone of 100 years and hope that you will join them during this special time,” said an invitation in the Western Pennsylvania District newsletter.

— Shenandoah District shared a “thank you” from Brethren Woods to those who attended the camp’s 60th Anniversary event this past Saturday, June 9. “It was a blessing to have over 100 people gathered to celebrate 60 years of ministry,” said the district e-newsletter. “Sam Flora and Linda Logan participated in a panel discussion with Camp Director Doug Phillips, sharing about the early years of ministry at Brethren Woods. Items from camp history were displayed. Plenty of activities were planned for children and youth to enjoy. After dinner, several individuals who have been active in different decades of camp history shared their experiences. Larry Glick led a campfire worship time to close out the evening. After 60 years, the ministry at Brethren Woods is going strong.”

— Union Bridge (Md.) Church of the Brethren is receiving media attention from the Carroll County Times for the Union Bridge Early Learning Center that it hosts. Linda Hook, treasurer of the Early Learning Center, said, “The early learning program [helps] children to construct a solid foundation on which to build a lifetime of learning.” Read the article at .

— This month’s “Brethren Voices” features three Brethren Volunteer Service workers who have played an important role at SnowCap, an emergency food and clothing agency in Portland, Ore. “In the mid 1960s, the basic life needs of many in Portland’s East Multnomah County were not being met by any agency or organization,” said a description. “Peace Church of the Brethren and 25 area churches stepped in to help fill the void, felt by so many residents. Now, and for the past 50 years, SnowCap has been providing emergency food and clothing to over 8,000 low-income neighbors each month. For Peace Church of the Brethren, the involvement  with SnowCap was a ‘natural fit,’ being a community that believes in doing what Jesus did by helping people meet the practical and spiritual needs of day-to-day life.” Since the fall of 2010, Peace Church has supported SnowCap with  BVS volunteers. In this episode, host Brent Carlson meets with Kirsten Wageman, director of SnowCap, and with BVSers Jonathan Faust and Freddie Stoeckman. For a copy, contact producer Ed Groff at .

— In related news, Brent Carlson, host of “Brethren Voices,” and producer Ed Groff will be attending Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, to conduct interviews and record video for upcoming programs. “Brethren Voices, the community television program produced by Portland Peace Church of the Brethren, has just completed 13 years of monthly programs,” said an announcement. “That amounts to 156 programs of what Brethren have done as a matter of faith.  The programs have been picked up by over 50 community access television stations in the country and recently by Champion Television in Kenya. Currently 350 subscribers are viewing ‘Brethren Voices’ programs on . During the past 6 years programs have received 162,000 views.”

— “How old were you when you became an activist for social justice?” asks the Dunker Punks Podcast this week. In this episode about a group of inspired elementary-schoolers raising money to help girls go to school through the Malala Fund, Sarah Ullom-Minnich interviews Lucy and Becky Bowman about their work on the project. Listen at or subscribe on iTunes Podcast at

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, has reaffirmed its commitment to human rights. “This year marks the anniversary not only of the WCC but also of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights,” notes a WCC press release. A WCC statement recalls the historic role of the WCC in formulating “this foundational instrument of modern international human rights law,” and forcefully reasserts its indispensable character and import, especially at a time when human rights are increasingly in jeopardy, the report says. The WCC statement says that a commitment to human rights is rooted in core biblical and Christian convictions. “All human beings are created in the image of God, equal, and infinitely precious in God’s sight and ours,” and “Jesus Christ has bound us to one another by his life, death and resurrection, so that what concerns one concerns us all. It also calls on churches to re-prioritize their support for human rights. Find the WCC statement at .

— A series of hearings by the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service continues in the Chicago area this coming week. These hearings are on the future of the military draft, draft registration, and compulsory service, including compulsory military or national service for women, health care workers, and people with language, IT, or STEM skills. The next hearing will be held Thursday, June 28, 6:30-8 p.m., at Kennedy-King Community College, U Building, 740 W. 63rd St., Chicago, which is in Englewood neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Peace church members are encouraged to attend and express support for alternative, non-military service in place of a military draft. Written comments are being received by the commission by email to with “Docket No. 05-2018-01A” in the subject line of the e-mail message, or use this online form: . The deadline to submit written comments has been extended through Sept. 30.

— Earl and Vivian Ziegler, Church of the Brethren members living at Brethren Village, will have a special treat this weekend when the South Korean Yemel Chorus performs in Lancaster County, according to Lancaster (Pa.) Online. “The all-female chorus is directed by Hyun Joo Yun. Fifty-three years ago–1965-66–Hyun Joo was an exchange student living with the Zieglers at their home in southern York County. Today, she directs the Yemel Chorus, the Seoul National University Concert Choir and the university’s Faculty Chorus. Hyun Joo, who has a doctoral degree from the Manhattan School of Music, also has performed extensively throughout the United States and South Korea as a concert and opera singer,” the news site reports. Find the full article at .

— Also from Lancaster Online, a report on local leaders’ opposition to the government’s separation of children from their families at the US border, including Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren pastor Greg Davidson Laszakovitz and Church World Service’s Lancaster office director Sheila Mastropietro. The newspaper “sought comment from a range of houses of worship Tuesday. Some did not respond, but faith leaders who did were unanimous in condemning a policy they said puts at risk the well-being of children. ‘I don’t think any great, moral country can pursue a policy like this and expect to maintain a strong moral presence in the world,’ said Greg Davidson Laszakovits.” Read the article at .

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