Brethren bits for Aug. 1, 2020

Brethren Disaster Ministries has provided updates on Hurricane Isaias via Facebook posts in recent days (see ). Here is yesterday’s update from Puerto Rico:
     “It is still down pouring rain. Lots of main rivers are on the brink of overflowing levels. On the south western part of the island where the earthquakes have been occurring, the coastal land has sunken 6” due to them and the sea currents flooded several homes in that community. In some areas it has accumulated over 10” of rainfall. It’s supposed to dwindle down sometime during this evening or tomorrow morning. Many homes are flooded or damaged due to flooding and mudslides. This farm that was supported by the Church of the Brethren Global Food Initiative to rebuild after Hurricane Maria has extensive damage due to heavy winds.”
     Brethren Disaster Ministries will continue to track the storm as it heads to the mainland of the United States.
     The ministry also offered a reminder that “we are now in hurricane season” and shared some links to resources for those needing to make hurricane plans, especially keeping COVID-19 in mind.     Resources from the CDC are at .     Resources from
FLASH: Hurricane Strong are at . The latter site also has a children’s section with basic information about hurricanes and how to track them.     Also helpful are the numerous resources for children and families offered by Children’s Disaster Services at .

— Remembrance: Charles Arthur “Art” Myers, 89, died on June 9 at his home in Point Loma, San Diego, Calif., from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. He had been a member of the first unit of Brethren Volunteer Service, serving at Falfurrias, Texas, from 1948-49. After a career as a physician, he turned to photography and became well-known for portraits of women with breast cancer, orphans in Kenya, and women with HIV. “His work, whether it was through his writing or his photography, gave voice and visibility and optimism to people experiencing hardships,” said his daughter Diane Rush in an obituary highlighting Myers’ life and work in the “San Diego Union Tribune.” He was born Oct. 18, 1930, in what is now Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., the son of a Church of the Brethren minister. He held a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Akron, a master’s degree in public health from San Diego State University, and a doctorate from Philadelphia College of Osteopathy. His medical career included the position of chief of staff at Northwest General Hospital in Milwaukee, Wis., a private practice in Mission Hills, Calif., and work for the California Department of Rehabilitation. After retiring in 1997, he became a professional photographer. In Kenya, “he photographed children at the Nyumbani Village orphanage but it was his work documenting the plight of women fighting breast cancer that caught many people’s attention,” the newspaper said. “Those photographs were part of a series that collectively became a book and an exhibit titled ‘Winged Victory: Altered Images–Transcending Breast Cancer.’” The series was inspired by close family members’ experiences with breast cancer including his sister Joanne and his wife, Stephanie Boudreau Myers. He said in an article published by the newspaper in 1996: “The message of this book is that these are still whole women. That whether you lose a breast or not, you don’t need to feel diminished.” Myers is survived by his wife; children Diane Rush of Escondido, Calif., Lynn Mariano of Chula Vista, Calif., Chuck Myers of La Jolla, Calif., and Gretchen Valdez of Riverside, Calif.; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren. Due to coronavirus restrictions, services will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts are received to a Parkinson’s association of the donor’s choice, the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park, Calif., and the Kinsey Institute Library and Special Collections at Indiana University Bloomington. Find his obituary at .

Extended COVID-19 church workers grant flyer from BBT

— Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) has extended the COVID-19 Emergency Grant as part of the Church Worker’s Assistance Plan. This program provides financial assistance to current and former clergy and lay employees of Church of the Brethren congregations, districts, or camps who have no other means of financial assistance. The extension of the COVID-19 Emergency Grant is in response to the additional challenges caused by the current pandemic. Applications will be accepted through November 30. For more information visit the Church Workers’ Assistance page at , email , or call Debbie at 847-622-3391.

— The Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry is recommending “COVID-19 Mental and Spiritual Health of Children and Teens,” a town hall-style webinar on Aug. 6 at 1 p.m. (Eastern time). The event is presented by the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton (Ill.) College and the National Association of Evangelicals. Said a description: “As parents and educators continue to prepare for the back-to-school season during COVID-19, how can the church help? What impact has the pandemic had on the mental and spiritual health of children and teens? What is the church’s role in addressing those needs, both at home and through the church? In this Town Hall webinar, experts will share insights and answer questions looming in many church leaders’ minds.” Panelists include Ryan Frank of KidzMatter, Beth Cunningham of the Florissa Center, and Pam King of the Thrive Center for Human Development of the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. Find out more and register at .

Photo courtesy of Dennis Beckner
Annamarie Yager rings the bell at Columbia City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren for “Bells for John Lewis”

— Columbia City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren participated Thursday, July 30, at 11 a.m. in a nationwide honoring of Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis’ 80 years of life. The effort called “Bells for John Lewis” invited churches with bells to ring them for 80 seconds, sponsored by the National Council of Churches as well as several church denominations. Columbia City member Annamarie Yager, pictured here, rang the church’s bell. The bell is believed to be original to the building that dates to 1886 and is one of the oldest active church buildings in Columbia City. Find out more about Bells for John Lewis at .

— The Church of the Brethren contingent at the 1963 March on Washington happens to appear in the first few seconds of John Lewis’ video account of his participation as the youngest speaker at the podium that day. The video has been viewed many thousands of times since Lewis passed away on July 17. It is the opening of Oprah’s Master Class titled “John Lewis’ Pivotol ‘This Is It’ Moment at the March on Washington.” Find it on YouTube at .

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