Brethren bits for Jan. 17, 2020

Jan. 12 marked 10 years since the 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti. The Church of the Brethren shared a Facebook post remembering and grieving those who were lost in the disaster, with a commitment to continue to walk beside the Haitian Brethren. Out of the rubble of that disaster has emerged a growing Haitian Brethren denomination with new congregations in many parts of the island and vital ministries that had their origin, in part, in the 2010 disaster, such as the Haiti Medical Project and an emphasis on providing leadership with robust theological training.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sara-cook.jpg
Sara Cook

– Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) has contracted with Sara Cook to coordinate BVS Europe as of Jan. 1, 2020. The work will include accompanying BVS volunteers in Ireland and Northern Ireland and sustaining partnerships with all current and future project sites there. Originally from Corona, Calif., Cook was a BVS volunteer in Northern Ireland from 2001-2003 and has been living there since that time. For the last decade she has been in Belfast, where she attends a Presbyterian congregation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and history from Anderson University and a master’s degree in social work and nonprofit leadership from Boston University. For the past two years she has been doing consultancy work in the area of conflict response, including teaching, training, facilitation, and mediation in Northern Ireland and internationally. In previous work, she was involved in peacebuilding in Northern Ireland in the period following the Good Friday agreement, directing an organization that brought together people who were affected by the conflict for storytelling and dialogue encounters. For more about Brethren Volunteer Service go to .

— John L. McCullough has announced that he will not seek re-election to another term as president and CEO of Church World Service (CWS). McCullough started his leadership of CWS on July 1, 2000, and his resignation will be effective June 30, 2021. “The faith and values that undergird this organization are not only powerful but transformative. Working together we have changed the world for good and I have every confidence that this legacy will prevail in the years ahead,” McCullough said in an announcement from CWS. “We are grateful to Rev. John McCullough for his many years of leadership and vision for Church World Service. We look forward to many moments of celebration and thanksgiving in the time before us.  We will keep you posted as our transition plan develops,” said CWS board chair Patricia deJong.

— The Church of the Brethren’s Michigan District seeks a district executive minister. The district includes 20 congregations in the lower peninsula of Michigan, north of the southern tier of counties. Camp Brethren Heights is associated with the district and the district office location is negotiable. The district is theologically diverse and seeks creative and biblically centered leadership with a broad, unifying perspective to find common foundation to continue to build God’s Kingdom together. This half-time position of approximately 25 hours per week is available on March 30. Travel is required both within and outside of the district. Responsibilities are in three main focus areas: 1. Direction, coordination, management, and leadership of the district program, as authorized by District Conference and implemented by the District Leadership Team; 2. Work with congregations in calling and credentialing ministers and in the placement/call and evaluation of pastoral staff, providing support and counsel for ministers and other church leaders and sharing and interpreting program resources for congregations; 3. Providing a crucial link between the congregations and the district and the wider church by working collaboratively with the Council of District Executives, Annual Conference and its agencies and their staff. Qualifications include ordination through an accredited program, with a master of divinity degree preferred; skills in organization, administration, and communication; commitment to the Church of the Brethren locally and denominationally, along with ecumenical skills; demonstrated leadership skills; pastoral experience preferred; biblical leadership. To apply, send a letter of interest and resume to Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Director, Office of Ministry, via email at . Applicants are requested to contact three or four people willing to provide a letter of reference. Upon receipt of a resume, a candidate profile will be sent that must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

— The Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) seeks an archival intern to work at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The purpose of the Archival Internship Program is to develop interest in vocations related to archives and libraries and/or Brethren history. The program will provide the intern with work assignments in the BHLA and with opportunities to develop professional contacts. Work will include processing archival materials, writing descriptive inventories, preparing books for cataloging, responding to reference requests, and assisting researchers. Professional contacts may include attending archival and library conferences and workshops, visits to libraries and archives in the Chicago area, and participation in a Brethren Historical Committee meeting. BHLA is the official repository for Church of the Brethren publications and records with a collection of more than 10,000 volumes, 3,500 linear feet of manuscripts and records, 40,000 photographs, plus videos, films, DVDs, and recordings. The intern’s term of service is one year beginning June 2020 (preferred). Compensation includes housing, a stipend of $550 every two weeks, and health insurance. A graduate student is preferred, or an undergraduate with at least two years of college. Requirements include an interest in history and/or library and archival work, willingness to work with detail, accurate word processing skills, and ability to lift 30-pound boxes. Submit a resume to ; Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. All submissions must be completed by April 1.

— Registration opened Thursday, Jan. 16, for this summer’s Church of the Brethren workcamps. “Jump in to serve this summer!” said an invitation from the Workcamp Ministry. Find out about this summer’s workcamp opportunities and register at .

— Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) training workshops begin in February at several locations around the country. The workshops train prospective volunteers to serve with CDS to care for children and families affected by disasters. Find an interactive map of the next round of CDS workshops at .

— The Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (SVMC) is publicizing three upcoming continuing education opportunities:
     “Binocular Vision: Seeing Through Eyes of Faith and Science” on March 19, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., in the Sill Board Room in the Von Liebig Center for Science, is taught by Russell Haitch, professor of Theology and Human Science at Bethany Theological Seminary. Registration is due by March 5.
     “Pastoral Care and Crisis Intervention, Part III: Congregational Care” on March 28, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Newville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, is taught by Dale Leverknight, pastor of Montgomery Church of the Brethren in Western Pennsylvania District. Registration is due by March 13.
     “Neurocognitive Disorders: Supporting Parishioners Through the Journey” on May 11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Cross Keys Village in New Oxford, Pa., is taught by Jennifer Holcomb, director of Memory Support at Cross Keys Village, and Kimberly Korge, Memory Care Coach. Registration is due by April 27.
     Cost of $60 per course includes a light breakfast, lunch, and 0.5 continuing education credits. For more information contact 717-361-1450 or .

— A report from the 65th general assembly of TEKAN, the Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Nigeria, has been shared by the communications office of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). EYN president Joel E. Billi was elected vice president of TEKAN at the event held Jan. 7-13 in Kaduna, Nigeria. TEKAN includes 15 Nigerian denominations representing about 30 million church members, the communique said. A statement of condolence was made to member churches affected by violent acts of Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram, and commendation given to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) “for championing the cause of the persecuted Church in Nigeria.” The gathering also expressed concern for the security and human rights situation in Nigeria, condemning the recent beheading of 11 Christians in Borno State, the kidnapping of EYN pastor and CAN state chairman Lawan Andimi and the kidnapping of four students at the Catholic Seminary in Kaduna, among other recent attacks and killings. It called on the Nigerian government to facilitate the immediate release of Leah Sharibu, a young woman who has been in Boko Haram captivity for two years. Another section of the communique noted “with grave concern the degradation and destruction of our environment and reemphasized her call to re-clothe the earth through deliberate revegetation of the land badly exposed to agents of weathering, creation of water ways to fight flooding, management of plastic/wastes, control of bush burning amongst others.” The national economy, a new taxation measure, and the security of elections were also of concern. “The Assembly calls on her member-churches to continue to be committed to the worship of God and propagation of the gospel,” said a section on prayer, “be peace-loving in spite of the level of persecution and provocations in the environment they reside in; calls on Christians and all well-meaning Nigerians to be more committed to prayers for Justice, Peace and Unity of the nation; and do whatever is legal within their capacity towards building peace and to support every government initiative that would promote peace and justice.”

— Church of the Living Savior, a Church of the Brethren congregation in McFarland, Calif., is celebrating a new roof this Sunday. “After joining the Church of the Living Savior five years ago, Pastor Phil Corr set out to restore one of the McFarland most iconic buildings,” reports Channel 17 KGET. “A landmark in the city, the church’s roof was slowly decaying due to leaks and asbestos concerns…. Then the church received a makeover courtesy of roof inspector Vernon Lawson.” Lawson found wind damage that was covered by insurance. “As a result of getting the roof replaced it now has a second lease on life and can go another 70-80 years,” said Lawson. Find the report at .

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mlk-day-celebration-at.jpg
Artwork by Grace Martin

— Bridgewater (Va.) College and the town of Bridgewater are hosting a Martin Luther King Day Celebration on the theme “Celebrating the Dream, Continuing the Journey,” beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 20, at Oakdale Park in Bridgewater. “Members of the community are invited to celebrate the life and legacy of the renowned civil rights leader with the Bridgewater College community,” said an announcement from the college. “The event kicks off with guest speakers giving remarks at Oakdale, followed by a march of event attendees from Oakdale Park to Bridgewater College’s campus, where guests are invited to enjoy a reception in the Kline Campus Center lobby. Following the reception, Bridgewater College students will participate in Day of Service activities, both on- and off-campus. That evening, Jelani Cobb, winner of the 2015 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism for his New Yorker columns, will present an endowed lecture at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Hall.” Cobb will speak on “The Half-Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today.” Also part of the celebration is the screening of the feature documentary “It Is Well” at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22, in Cole Hall, followed by a panel discussion with director and writer Bennie R. Mitchell III. All of the events are free and open to the public.

— In more news from Bridgewater, the college will host Annual Conference moderator Paul Mundey presenting his “Reflections of the Moderator” at the college’s Forum for Brethren Studies. The presentation will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22, in Bowman Hall, Room 109. A time for questions and answers will follow. The seminar is free and open to the public. The mission of the Forum for Brethren Studies is to encourage scholarship on the Bridgewater campus and within the Church of the Brethren, especially on Brethren heritage, said a release from the college. For more information, contact Steve Longenecker at .

— “Imagine! God’s Earth and People Restored” is the theme for the 2020 Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, DC, from April 24-27. “With special attention to the intersection between climate justice and economic justice, EAD 2020 will be spent galvanizing advocacy around policies and programs, working toward chipping away at the systems of oppression that perpetuate poverty and further push our planet to the brink of destruction,” said an announcement from the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy. “Please join this movement of the ecumenical Christian communities, along with recognized partners and allies, to address inequalities and strengthen the movement of climate justice.” Go to for more information and to register.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cws-course-changing-systems.jpg

— Church World Service (CWS) is offering a free online course titled “Changing Systems, Changing Ourselves: Anti-racist Practice for Sanctuary, Accompaniment, and Resistance.” The five sessions will explore anti-racist practice for accompanying those most affected by injustice; the US immigration system’s history of racial exclusion and how it plays out today; criminalization, immigration, and the prison industrial complex; anti-Blackness and working for immigrant justice; the theology and practice of accompaniment; real-life examples through case studies; practical skills to accompany immigrants in ICE check-ins, detention visitation, and other contexts. Participants are encouraged to participate in small groups working together locally. There will be homework between sessions, and attendees are expected to participate in the full course. The course begins Jan. 28 and continues every fourth Tuesday evening through May. It is a collaboration between CWS, the American Friends Service Committee, and other partner organizations. Find out more at .

— A new Bible app is making this year’s “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” accessible to on-the-go people across the globe, according to a release from the World Council of Churches (WCC). The special week of prayer starts Jan. 18. The app is available for phones, computers, and tablets using the YouVersion Bible-reading app. Users can explore the theme for the week, “They Showed Us Unusual Kindness” (Acts 28:2) in a digital format. “The app, which has already been installed on more than 400 million devices by users in all countries of the world, allows users to read the Bible, share verses via social media, and bookmark favorite passages,” said the release. Find out more at . Access the app at .

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]