Brethren bits for Sept. 14, 2019

— The Church of the Brethren seeks an executive director of Organizational Resources and chief financial officer (CFO). This full-time salaried position is located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and reports to the General Secretary. The position supervises the operations of the finance office, information technology department, buildings and grounds, and the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, and serves as corporate treasurer, overseeing all aspects of the organization’s finance and asset management and organizational resources. Required skills and knowledge include a commitment to operating out of the Church of the Brethren vision, mission, and core values and dedication to denominational and ecumenical objectives; an understanding and appreciation of Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; and integrity, excellent financial management skills, and confidentiality. A bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, business administration, or a related field, and a master’s degree in business administration or a CPA is required, as well as ten years or more of significant proven financial and administrative experience in the areas of finance, accounting, management, planning, and supervision. Active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred. Applications are being received and reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to ; Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60142; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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The Program and Arrangements Committee announced at Annual Conference in Greensboro this summer that the location and dates for the 2022 Annual Conference will be Omaha, Neb., on July 10-14, 2022. This conference will begin on Sunday and end Thursday morning, a change from the usual cycle. “It made a very significant difference in the cost of hotel rooms as well as of the convention center to change our usual pattern, so the hotel cost will only be $106 per night,” said an announcement from Chris Douglas, director of the Annual Conference office. “We are striving to keep costs for Annual Conference as low as possible, and this was one of the compromises we felt we needed to make. Omaha has a lovely, newer convention center that we think Brethren will love. A beautiful Hilton hotel is directly across the street and connected by a skywalk as well. Omaha is an up-and-coming city with so many things to do! Brethren will be surprised at all that Omaha has to offer.”

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Tony Price. Photo courtesy of Bethany Seminary

— Tony Price of New Madison, Ohio, began Sept. 5 as office manager for “Brethren Life & Thought,” in an announcement from the Brethren Journal Association. His work for the journal is based at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Published jointly with the seminary, “Brethren Life & Thought” is a scholarly journal that reflects the faith, heritage, and practices of the Church of the Brethren and related movements. Price will have primary responsibility for corresponding with subscribers, tracking the printing schedule, and overseeing office logistics. He is pastor of Cedar Grove Church of the Brethren in New Paris, Ohio. For more about the journal go to or contact 765-983-1800 or .

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Nyampa Kwabe. Photo courtesy of Bethany Seminary

— Nyampa Kwabe of Plateau State, Nigeria, is serving as international scholar in residence at Bethany Theological Seminary during the fall 2019 semester. An Old Testament scholar, he is currently acting head of the Department of Biblical Studies at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN). Prior to arriving on the Bethany campus in Richmond, Ind., Kwabe cotaught Bethany’s August intensive course, “Gospel of Peace,” from Nigeria as Dan Ulrich, Weiand Professor of New Testament Studies, taught from Bethany via synchronous video. It was the first course for the new cohort of Nigerian students in the seminary’s partnership with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Hermeneutics was an area of concentration in Kwabe’s MATh from the International Christian College in Glasgow, Scotland, and PhD from the University of Leeds, England. He also holds an MATh and a BD degree from TCNN. He is originally from Michika, Adamawa State, in northeastern Nigeria, and is a member of and ordained in EYN. He has taught at EYN’s Kulp Theological Seminary.

— The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has issued an action alert calling for Congress to rescind the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), which the alert said “forces asylum-seeking families and children to return to dangerous areas in Mexico while their cases await adjudication. Thousands of asylum-seekers are thus stuck in Mexico, with recent accounts indicating that these areas are ill equipped to handle the growing number of forced returns…. This poses significant problems for due process and access to legal counsel for these asylum seekers, subjecting them to longer waits in neighborhoods that expose them to kidnapping, sexual assault, and attacks.” The alert cited the Church of the Brethren’s 1982 Annual Conference statement on Undocumented Persons and Refugees: “The primary truth of faith as we consider immigrants and refugees today is that Christ has made another appearance among us, as Himself an immigrant and refugee in the person of political dissidents, the economically deprived, and foreigners on the run. We are to join them as pilgrims in search of that city yet to come, with foundations of love and justice whose architect and builder is God.” Find the action alert at .

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The Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee meeting at the Church of the Brethren General Offices on Sept. 13-14: (from left) Ray Flagg of Lebanon, Pa.; Terry Grove of Winter Springs, Fla.; Deb Oskin of Columbus, Ohio; Daniel Rudy of Roanoke, Va.; Beth Cage of St. Charles, Minn.; and Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, director of the Office of Ministry (staff).

— The Intercultural Ministries’ Xenos Project is providing resources at for congregations to access ideas and projects to use in learning about and better understanding the immigrant situation. Begin by taking a survey . For more information email .

— An update on the Nigeria Crisis Response is available on the Church of the Brethren blog at . The post includes information about 100 children receiving trauma healing training in July. “Five workshops were held for children ages 10 to 17,” says the report. “Each workshop was held in a different town and included 10 girls and 10 boys. Most of the attendees were orphans; some lost their parents from natural deaths and others as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency.” The report continues with interviews with a few of the children, as well as additional news about a distribution of emergency relief goods to the town of Kindlindila, which was attacked by Boko Haram on Aug. 18. “Although no persons were killed, the insurgents burned eight houses and ten businesses,” the report says.
— The South Central Indiana District conference will be Sept. 21 at Living Faith Church of the Brethren in Flora, Ind. The District-Wide Projects committee is asking each church to collect supplies for five Church World Service (CWS) hygiene kits including $2 per kit for shipping. On Sept. 20 pre-conference events include a Brethren Leadership Institute Orientation at 10 a.m., a workshop on “Dealing with Conflict” led by Angie Briner at 1 p.m., a workshop on “Dealing with Mental Illness” led by Dr. Tim McFadden at 3:30 p.m., and a workshop on “Music in the Church” led by Jonathan Shively at 7 p.m. Those who attend both afternoon workshops and the after-dinner presentation may earn .5 continuing education credits for a $10 fee.

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— Chippewa Church of the Brethren in Creston, Ohio, is holding a 200th anniversary Celebration and Reunion Sunday on Oct. 13. Worship will be at 10:30 a.m. with Bill Eley preaching, with a potluck lunch following in the fellowship hall at 12 noon. Following the luncheon, historical presentations and talks by members and friends will be featured. Said an announcement by Annette Shafer in the Northern Ohio District newsletter: “German Baptist Brethren, as the Brethren were previously called, began to move into Milton and Canaan Townships early in the 1800s with the first recorded arrival being the Peter and Sarah Blocher Hoff family who moved into Milton Township from Westmoreland County, Pa., in 1819. Early history of the Chippewa congregation has been mostly obscured by lack of recording and loss of records. Preachers were shared across a large territory, and in the early days worship and love feasts were held in houses and barns of the members. Later centers of worship arose at Beech Grove (Canaan Township), Paradise (Smithville), Orrville, Mohican (West Salem), and Black River (Medina County). The first meetinghouse at Beech Grove (now Chippewa) was built in 1868. The earliest surviving official minutes of the Chippewa congregation date to May 29, 1877, when the congregation had grown large enough to officially divide into three congregations: Chippewa (Beech Grove), Wooster (Paradise), and Orrville. Later the Orrville location was discontinued and in 1890 a house of worship was built at East Chippewa.”

— Altoona (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren hosted the visitation and funeral for longtime Pennsylvania State Rep. Rick Geist, who died Aug. 29 of a heart attack while traveling in Russia. Pastor Bill Pepper officiated at the funeral today. Geist was elected in 1978 to serve the 79th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he served 17 terms. He was a lifelong member of Altoona First Church of the Brethren, which is one of the organizations receiving memorial gifts in his honor along with the Railroaders Memorial Museum and the Mishler Theatre in Altoona. “Rick was unceasing in his efforts to make the Commonwealth, his district, and the community which he loved, a better place,” said his obituary. “His faith sustained him through 74 years. Though Rick deservedly received countless honors, awards, and accolades during his lifetime, ultimately his was a life of service, and that always meant humbly doing good for others, and striving to make a positive difference in this world.” See . Find a report on the visition from WJAC-TV at .

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— Randolph Street Community Garden, which is connected with Champaign (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, is hosting an Interfaith Vigil of Remembrance this Sunday afternoon, Sept. 15, beginning at 3 p.m. The event to remember those killed by gun violence in the Champaign-Urbana area is led by local clergy, including Church of the Brethren leader Dawn Blackman, in coordination with the Champaign-Urbana chapter of Moms Demand Action, a group that advocates for stricter gun laws. The community garden also hosts an annual remembrance for Kiwane Carrington, who was shot and killed at the age of 15, gathering around a cherry tree planted in his honor. This Sunday afternoon, organizers are asking churches with bells to ring them 35 times for each person killed by gun violence in Champaign-Urbana in the last five years. Blackman told WILL Radio, an NPR station, “When a person dies, you don’t just lose them. You lose all of their contributions. It leaves a hole in the community when someone is lost like that. And until we repair that hole, we’re just not whole.” Find the WILL Radio article at .

— Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va., hosted a Cardboard City event on Sept. 6-7 to help youth learn about the issues surrounding homelessness first-hand. Family Promise of Shenandoah County sponsors the traveling event, which may be hosted by various organizations. “We try to recreate that feeling of homelessness with the Cardboard City event,” said a representative in an article in the “Northern Virginia Daily.” Participants sleep in the boxes for a night, take a class called “A Homeless Journey” about homelessness and how to prevent it, and pack “blessing bags” to be given to the community’s homeless. Participants bring cardboard boxes to build the houses they will sleep in. The event is for youth ages 12-18 and their adult advisors. Funds are raised for Family Promise with awards given for the most money raised individually, by a team, and for the best-looking cardboard house. Find the article at .

— Middle Pennsylvania District’s 39th annual Heritage Fair is at Camp Blue Diamond on Saturday, Sept. 21. Events begin with breakfast starting at 6:30 a.m., followed by a 5K Run/Walk starting at 7 a.m., Food and Craft Booths starting at 8:30 a.m., and then a variety of demonstrations, displays, activities, auctions, and entertainment for children, youth, and adults of all ages throughout the rest of the day. “New this year is an Escape Room Challenge! There will also be demonstrations on milking a cow, card tricks, bow drill, decoy making, and making homemade ice cream,” said a district announcement. About 30 churches are sponsoring booths. Events continue on Sunday, Sept. 22, with a free continental breakfast starting at 9:15 a.m. followed by music with Joseph Helfrich and worship with Jeff Glenny, pastor of Spring Mount Church of the Brethren. Parking and admission are free. Shuttles are available from the parking lots. Camp Blue Diamond is located seven miles northwest of Petersburg, Pa. For additional details visit .

— The Camp Mack Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This fundraiser for the camp features food booths, demonstrations, children’s activities, tournaments, a live auction, and a flea market. Camp Alexander Mack is located near Milford, Ind.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College is hosting Elizabeth Wuerz and Lindy Wagner, associates of the Sustained Dialogue Institute, for a two-day “Constructive Conflict Resolution” lecture and workshop Sept. 26-27. Wuerz will give an endowed lecture, “Throwing Shade: Navigating Conflict Effectively,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in Cole Hall. The lecture will focus on how to navigate everyday conflicts effectively. The endowed lecture is sponsored by the Mark Leatherman Fund for Connecting and Creating Community Building, the Harry W. and Ina Mason Shank Peace Studies Endowment, and the Office of Student Life, and is free and open to the public. On Friday, Sept. 27, Wuerz and Wagner will present a workshop for student leaders covering problem-solving, communication, and strategies for de-escalating conflict. “The Sustained Dialogue Institute is an organization that specializes in developing leaders who are able to transform differences into strong relationships essential to effective decision-making, democratic governance, and peace,” said a college release.

— September’s “Brethren Voices” features Jonathan Hunter on the topic, “Realities of Homelessness.” Hunter is a leader in collaborative design of innovative solutions to address the needs of vulnerable citizens, including developing and funding supportive housing for people who are chronically homeless and have disabilities related to mental illness, substance use, HIV/AIDS, and other chronic health conditions. “In Los Angeles, this work resulted in the creation of more than 3,000 new units of supportive housing,” the release said. “His clients include government agencies, for-profit and nonprofit developers and foundations. As part of the workshop, Hunter shows how over the years wages have not kept up with the cost of housing…. Los Angeles City and County in 2018 spent millions of dollars to move more than 20,000 people off the streets into permanent housing. However, in January 2019, the Point In Time count showed that the number of homeless people had increased by 12 percent in the county and 16 percent in the city.” Hunter provided a workshop at the 2019 North Woods Song and Story Fest, where Brent Carlson interviewed him for this episode. For a copy contact producer Ed Groff at .

— The Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) holds a general meeting on Sept. 14 at Trinity Church of the Brethren near Blountville, Tenn. The theme for the event is “Revival in the Church.” Worship begins on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with a message from Craig Alan Myers and a report on the 2019 Annual Conference by Eric Brubaker. The host church will provide lunch. The afternoon worship begins at 1:30 p.m. with a message from Roy McVey. “Everyone welcome,” said the brochure for the event.

— A Church of the Brethren and Mennonite youth event is hosted at the Brethren/Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., on Sunday, Sept. 29, from 4 to 8 p.m. Youth will do a service project, eat together, worship in the woods, and play a large group game. Email for more information.

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced creation of a Turtle Island Solidarity Network (TISN). “In March 2019, the full time Indigenous People’s Solidarity Team closed as a result of necessary budget cuts in CPT. However, CPT remains committed to continuing the work of Indigenous solidarity across Turtle Island (the Indigenous name for North America),” the announcement said. “In addition, we have been inspired by CPT reservists who are committed to decolonization. We would like to explore ways we can support reservists in this work and provide a platform for advocacy, opportunities for networking, and shared learnings on Indigenous solidarity and decolonization.” The Turtle Island Solidarity Network will take part in actions, be available for accompaniment, provide opportunities for education and advocacy, and work in coalition striving “to erase the colonial border between Canada and the US.” This will be a two-year pilot project. Find out more at .

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— A Season of Creation is being celebrated by churches around the world from Sept. 1 to Oct. 4 this year, in an effort connecting the Eastern and the Western traditions of Christianity with sponsorship from the World Council of Churches (WCC). Sept. 1 was proclaimed as a day of prayer for the environment by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I in 1989–the Orthodox church year starts that day with a commemoration of how God created the world. On Oct. 4 Roman Catholics and other churches from the Western traditions commemorate Francis of Assisi, known to many as the author of the Canticle of the Creatures. In 2016, Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew released special messages for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, starting the month-long Season of Creation celebrations. Participating ecumenical organizations include the WCC, Global Catholic Climate Movement, ACT Alliance, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, and the Anglican Communion Environmental Network. The suggested for this year is “The Web of Life: Biodiversity as God’s Blessing.” A “Celebration Guide” for the Season of Creation is at . Find more information and resources at .

— During this week which includes the International Day of Prayer for Peace on Sept. 21, the WCC is offering resources under the theme “Humanity and Equality in God’s Creation” with a focus on Israel and Palestine. Churches and people of faith “are encouraged to bear a common witness by participating in worship services, educational events, and acts of support in favour of peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians,” said an announcement. Find more information and worship resources in a “Concept note for 2019 World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel” at .

— Nicholas Zimmerman, a 2017 graduate of Bridgewater (Va.) College, received a Facebook “shout out” from his alma mater when he was featured on the Rachael Ray Show “for his dedication to teaching essential life skills to the next generation.” He was a Family and Consumer Sciences major at Bridgewater and works in the Shenandoah County Public Schools in Virginia teaching family and consumer sciences. An article about the show noted that this is “the new umbrella term for home economics.” The article quoted Zimmerman as saying, “I teach my students essential life skills in the areas of child development, human development, apparels, textiles, housing interiors, and nutrition and wellness. People need to understand that home economics never left. We evolved to meet the needs of our students and this current generation as we transitioned into family and consumer sciences.” Read the article at .

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