Brethren bits for Nov. 18, 2019

2020 Annual Conference Logo
“An orchestra at Annual Conference? Yes!” said an invitation from the Conference office. “Next year in Grand Rapids we are putting together an orchestra to play for the opening service and other additional times.” Musicians who play an orchestra instrument and are able to attend the 2020 Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., on July 1-5 are invited to sign up. The orchestra will rehearse and then play during some of the evening worship services, organized by Nonie Detrick. The conductor is still to be named. The music will include a new piece written by Greg Bachman especially for this orchestra at the 2020 Conference. Musicians are invited to fill out the Orchestra Survey at . Art by Timothy Botts

— Remembrance: Dorothy Brandt Davis, 89, passed away Sept. 30. She authored three iconic Brethren Press books for children, “The Tall Man,” “The Middle Man,” and “The Little Man,” about historical figures in the Church of the Brethren. She was born in Pomona, Calif., on Dec. 8, 1929, followed shortly thereafter by her twin brother Daryl. Her parents, Kathryn and Jesse Brandt, lived in La Verne, Calif. She earned a bachelor of arts, a master of arts, and a juris doctorate degree from the University of La Verne. As a youth she was active in the Church of the Brethren’s first Peace Caravan movement that gave birth to Brethren Volunteer Service. In 1950 she married J. Rodney Davis. In the mid 1950s she taught in the Chicago public school district until she was pregnant with her first child, and then taught elementary school in the Azusa (Calif.) School district in the 1960s until wearing a black armband in protest of the Vietnam War prompted her removal. She moved to San Antonio Continuation High School in the Claremont (Calif.) School District teaching sewing and English until she retired. After earning her law degree, she clerked for Judge Paul Egly on the court-mandated integration efforts of the Los Angeles Unified School District in the late 1970s. In her creative life, she worked in ceramics, textiles, and watercolors, directing larger class projects and executing her own works. In 1964, she designed and managed the building of her family’s primary residence, including an art shack. She is survived by four children, son Carl of Tuolumne, Calif., daughter Sara of La Cañada, Calif., sons Muir and Eric of La Verne, Calif.; 13 grandchildren; and 4 great grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, at La Verne Church of the Brethren, Memorial gifts are received for On Earth Peace and La Verne Church of the Brethren.

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— “Mark your calendars! National Young Adult Conference will be here before you know it!” says a Facebook post from the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministries. The conference known as NYAC is planned for May 22-25, 2020, on the theme “Love in Action” (Romans 12:9-18). Find out more at .

— The Workcamp Ministry has published and mailed its 2020 brochure with detailed information about workcamps planned for next summer. The large, poster-sized brochure lists the dates and locations for the 20 workcamps including events for junior and senior high youth, young adults, intergenerational and adult groups. There is one correction to the information in the brochure. “We apologize for any confusion!” said a follow up announcement made via Facebook. “The correct dates for the We Are Able workcamp in Bethel, Pa., are June 22-25.”

— The Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee is holding its November meetings this week at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The committee includes moderator Paul Mundey of Frederick, Md.; moderator-elect Dave Sollenberger of Annville, Pa.; secretary Jim Beckwith of Elizabethtown, Pa.; and elected members Jan Glass King of Martinsburg, Pa., Carol Hipps Elmore of Roanoke, Va., and Emily Shonk Edwards of Nellysford, Va.

 “Honoring God” is the topic of the winter quarter of “A Guide for Biblical Studies” written by Anna Lisa Gross, with the “Out of Context” feature by Frank Ramirez. The book offers weekly lessons and daily scripture texts for December through February, suitable for small study groups and adult Sunday school classes. In December, lessons focus on stories from the life of King David, under the title “David Honors God.” In January, lessons come from the Bible stories about King Solomon, titled “Dedicating the Temple of God.” In February, the study shifts to a gospel focus under the title “Jesus Teaches about True Worship.” Teachers and class members use the same study book, with the recommendation for each class member have their own book. Cost is $6.95 at .

— The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has issued an action alert calling for Brethren to engage with their elected officials on the “State and Local Resettlement Executive Order.” The alert reports that “on Sept. 26, the White House issued an Executive Order (EO 13888) that may drastically reduce, if not entirely stop, the resettlement of refugees in your community. The EO is already creating chaos and confusion about where refugees can be resettled, will lead to family separation for refugee families, and will leave refugees, former refugees, and United States citizens without supportive services,” the alert said, in part. “To make matters worse, the administration proposed a refugee admissions goal of 18,000 refugees for the next year, a shamefully abysmal number for the world’s most powerful nation that stands in stark contrast to the historic average goal of 95,000 refugees. The Executive order is harmful because it fundamentally alters the structure of the US resettlement program by transferring decision regarding who can resettle and where they can settle from the federal government to state and locally elected officials. This is detrimental because it will lead to a patchwork of conflicting polices running contrary to the purpose of a national resettlement program, leaving thousands of refugees, former refugees, and US citizens without consistent and routine access to integration services.” Find the full alert with action suggestions at .

 In more news from Peacebuilding and Policy, staff had an opportunity to attend the Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare Conference held at Princeton Theological Seminary on Sept. 27-29. The conference provided background information on the use of lethal drones and their roles in extrajudicial killings, as well as trainings to equip participants to approach and engage their congregations and communities to participate in policy advocacy and work with the media to raise awareness on the use of lethal drones by the Department of Defense and the CIA. Approximately 24 states and Washington, D.C., were represented, and participants were equipped with the necessary resources such as short films produced by the network and tips on how to draft and successfully submit op-eds to educate their communities and congregations on the subject matter. Additionally, participants were given tips on how to successfully plan and execute advocacy visits with their representatives in Congress. Office of Peacebuilding and Policy director Nathan Hosler co-chairs the Interfaith Working Group on Drone Warfare with Matt Hawthorne, policy director at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, which holds monthly meetings to share news and work strategically on bringing this issue to the forefront of the agenda for policy makers.

— “These seven Messenger articles will inspire and challenge you as we approach Thanksgiving,” said an email highlighting articles published on the Church of the Brethren magazine’s website:
     “9 Reasons to Give Thanks” by Wendy McFadden, 
     “Moving Toward Gratitude” by Angela Finet, 
     “True Colors” by Nathan Hollenberg,
     “Faith that Calls for Pumpkin-esk Patience” by Amanda J. Garcia, 
     “Practice Thanksgiving” a Bible study by Christina Bucher,
     “Grit, Grace, Gratitude” by Sandy Bosserman,  and
     “A Biblical Basis for Welcoming Refugees” by Dan Ulrich, .
     The email concluded: “We are grateful to each one of our subscribers. Thank you for supporting this ministry and being a part of the Messenger family!”

— Midland (Mich.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a presentation focused on human rights in the Holy Land on Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. A speaker from the Good Shepherd Collective and the Holy Land Trust, Cody O’Rourke, will speak about human rights focusing on South Hebron and a small village in Palestine/Israel. An announcement reported that O’Rourke will give a broad overview of the situation in Palestine/Israel and examine the process of settler colonialism in the community of Um al-Khair.

— West Charleston Church of the Brethren in Tipp City, Ohio, is hosting a “Women’s Interfaith Discussion: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism” for Southern Ohio and Kentucky District. The event takes place Nov. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with lunch. RSVP to .

— Shenandoah District has honored a large number of ministers ordained for 50 or more years. The listing of 25 ministers includes (with years in parentheses): Samuel Flora (76), Emmert Bittinger (75), Fred Bowman (73), C. C. Kurtz (72), Emerson S. Fike (71), James S. Flora (68), Earle Fike (67), Clarence Moyers (67), Thomas Shoemaker (66), Charles Simmons (65), James Eberly (64), Wendell Eller (64), Cecil Haycock (64), Grant Simmons (64), Dee Flory (63), David B. Rittenhouse (63), Albert Sauls (63), Jimmy Ross (62), Auburn Boyers (58), Fred Swartz (58), Curtis Coffman (57), John W. Glick (54), J. D. Glick (53), Kenneth Graff (51), Gene Knicely (50).

— West Marva District also has recognized a minister attaining 50 or more years of service: James Dodds has reached the 50 year mark.

— Virlina District’s disaster response offering for Hurricane Dorian has received $12,385.56 from 20 congregations and 6 individuals, as of Oct. 30. “We will continue to receive offerings from our congregations to underwrite various efforts in response to this storm that has devastated various parts of the United States and the Bahamas,” said the district e-newsletter.

— The Village at Morrisons Cove, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Pennsylvania, has written a thank you letter to Middle Pennsylvania District for the purchase of a SARA-Flex Lift. The District Conference Offering Emphasis received donations to purchase the lift, with a total offering of $2,920. The district paid the balance of the cost of the lift, said an email from the district office.

— Camp Bethel is holding its Christmas TOGETHER Banquet on Dec. 5, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event includes a dinner and Christmas program in a festively decorated Ark Dining Hall. Gifts of $50 per person (larger gifts accepted) provide year-end funding for the camp. Reserve for familyies or groups to attend by Nov. 28 at .

— The Dunker Punks Podcast has announced a new listening opportunity at . This critique of the new “space force” comes from the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, with an interview with director Nathan Hosler and BVSer Susu Lassa voicing the Church of the Brethren opposition to war of all kinds–including those in space.

— “Brethren Voices” is making a visit to the Great Northwest with the Colebrook Road Blue Grass Band, in an announcement of the next episode in this television show from Peace Church of the Brethren in Oregon. “As individuals, we may not know the influence that we might have in another person’s life,” said the announcement. “For Jesse Eisenbise, guitarist of  Colebrook  Road, and member of Elizabethtown [Pa.] Church of the Brethren, he remembers when his life took a different path. During a performance of the Colebrook Road blue grass band he indicated that the spring of 2019 marked the tenth year together as a band and a return to the state of Oregon where Jesse’s life made a turn down a different path.” During the summer of 2003 Eisenbise was a  Summer Service volunteer from Bridgewater (Va.) College at Camp Myrtlewood in Bridge, Ore. His path crossed with that of Doug Eller, member of Portland’s Peace Church of the Brethren, who also had an interest in music. “Jesse’s path in life was forever changed when they, together, played the song, ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken.’” The program features the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge and songs from their latest album, “On Time.” For a copy of the program, contact producer Ed Groff at .

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced two candidates who have been nominated for the position of WCC general secretary. The position will be vacant as of April 1, 2020. The present general secretary, Olav Fykse Tveit, has announced that he will not stand for re-election for a third period after having served two five-year terms. Fernando Enns is serving as moderator of the search committee, which has concluded interviews and is proposing two names to the WCC Central Committee for the upcoming election of the next general secretary. The two candidates are Elizabeth Joy, a director/trustee at Churches Together in England, and a member of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church; and Jerry Pillay, head of the Department of Church History and Polity at the University of Pretoria, and a member of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa. The final decision will be taken by election at the Central Committee meeting on March 18-24 in Geneva, Switzerland.

— The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs at Christian Theological Seminary provide funds to congregations to support renewal leaves for their pastors. Congregations may apply for grants of up to $50,000 to underwrite a renewal program for their pastor and for the pastor’s family, with up to $15,000 of those funds available to the congregation to help cover costs for ministerial supply while the pastor is away. “There is no cost to the congregations or the pastors to apply; the grants represent the Endowment’s continued investment in renewing the health and vitality of American Christian congregations,” said an announcement. For information about the 2020 programs, application materials, and other content related to clergy renewal go to .

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