Brethren bits for June 26, 2020

New resources from Brethren Press include face masks in three patterns–a unique Church of the Brethren witness. The face masks suitable for wearing during the pandemic as a protection from the virus for self and others, display three Brethren messages of caring in the name of Christ: “Speak Peace,” “For the Glory of God and My Neighbor’s Good,” and “Peacefully, Simply, Not So Close Together.” Order from Brethren Press at www.brethrenpress.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=FACEMASK .

— Church of the Brethren denominational staff will continue to work from home at least through the end of August, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and the office building at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., remain closed to visitors. A few staff are working in the office buildings, only if their responsibilities require it. The Materials Resources staff and Brethren Press order fulfillment staff are working in their respective warehouses.

— Zoe Vorndran ends her 2019-2020 internship with the Brethren Historical Library and Archives today, June 26, but will continue to work with archivist Bill Kostlevy on a digital scanning project through the summer. This fall she will be attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to pursue a master of arts in public history.

— Church World Service (CWS) seeks an executive assistant who will provide executive-level support to the senior vice president, senior director for Resource Generation, and director for Policy and Advocacy, as well as the resettlement and integration team. The position manages expenses, answers routine correspondence, and assembles and manages highly confidential and sensitive information including legal documents and attorney-client privileged materials. The position also deals with a diverse group of important external callers and visitors as well as internal contacts at all levels of the organization. Independent judgment is required to plan, prioritize, and organize a diversified workload, and exercise independent thinking and decision making. The ideal candidate will have several years of experience in handling a wide range of key administrative, research, and executive support-related tasks, and be exceedingly well organized, flexible, and scrupulous with time management. Must be able to function effectively, and within a timely manner, in a dynamic, fast-paced environment under minimal supervision. Find a link to the full position description at https://cws-careers.vibehcm.com/portal.jsp .

— A “loaves and fishes” story was a highlight of this week’s email from the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service. Reports from Venezuela have expressed joy about how people have been touched by their food outreach funded by a COVID-19 grant from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). “One story shared was about purchasing the food supplies,” said the email. “The owner of the warehouse or commercial center where they made their purchase asked what they were going to do with the items. When the pastor explained the plan for distribution, the owner was moved to not only match but triple the amount they could have. In other words, what was enough for one month in the EDF plan, has turned into three months’ worth of support for families in need. Praise God for the multiplication of his resources. Pray also that church attendance and momentum will not be reduced once churches are meeting again.”

— Global Mission and Brethren Disaster Ministries staff also are sharing a need for prayer for Nigeria, where violence continues with attacks by Boko Haram on communities in the northeast of the country. Nigerian Brethren have been among those affected in recent violence. Yuguda Mdurvwa, director of the Disaster Relief Ministry of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), has reported a rise of violence, a COVID-19 surge, hunger, and continued Boko Haram threats. “Numerous small villages in Chibok, Mussa, Lassa, and Rumirgo areas have been attacked,” said a prayer request from Global Mission. “Houses have been burnt, people killed, food and cows stolen, while the government pays no attention. People are afraid to sleep in their homes and farmers are leery of traveling to the countryside to plant their crops. Pray for the staff of the Disaster Relief Ministry as they continue to assist others despite the security threats. Pray for the EYN leaders and pastors as they minister and provide leadership.”

— Concord (N.C.) Living Faith Church of the Brethren has received $3,000 to purchase food for distribution from the Cabarrus COVID-19 Response Fund. The fund has distributed $100,000 to 11 local agencies and organizations in its fourth wave of grantgiving. Grant awards were determined by a Response Fund Committee, made up of the Cabarrus County Community Foundation’s board of advisors and representatives from United Way of Central Carolinas. Read the full article in the “Independent Tribune” at https://independenttribune.com/news/cabarrus-covid-19-response-fund-awards-100-000-to-local-charities/article_2ff0e296-b637-11ea-b058-a3d6f235f0ca.html .

— An article “All About York Center Co-op” has been published by the Lombard (Ill.) Historical Society. The co-op was begun by a Church of the Brethren member and over the course of its existence from 1947 to 2010 included, among others, members of York Center Church of the Brethren and people related to Bethany Theological Seminary–which formerly was located in Oak Brook, Ill. “In 1947, an idea for establishing a cooperative community was conceived by a man named Louis Shirky, a member of the Church of the Brethren,” the article begins. “He learned that a DuPage county dairy farm, owned by the Goltermann family, was for sale, just to the south of the town of Lombard in an unincorporated area of the county known as York Center. Fourteen families raised $30,000 to purchase the property and began the work of creating their own neighborhood…. The bylaws were written by a Black attorney, Theodore ‘Ted’ Robinson, who lived in Chicago with his wife, Leya, a Jewish social worker, and their two daughters.” The history goes to tell of the co-op’s struggle to become and maintain an inter-racial and multicultural community, including a lawsuit that went all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court. Find the article at www.lombardhistory.org/blog/2020/6/16/all-about-york-center-co-op?fbclid=IwAR3JJPPzY7liY4fqeYj4mUiHkXNbjUjTonaMVsQ64_akQ9G8e2WW-Tqdt_I .

— Churches throughout the world are calling for a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War that started 70 years ago yesterday, June 25, according to a release from the World Council of Churches (WCC). The effort also calls for normalization of relations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States, in the quest for a peaceful future for the Korean peninsula. “Seventy years ago, today, the war began in northeast Asia and left the Korean Peninsula devastated,” said the release. “Fighting was suspended by a ceasefire–the Armistice Agreement of 1953–but the war has never been formally declared over or a peace treaty concluded. Special prayers and efforts are needed for a shared peaceful future on the Korean Peninsula future on this anniversary occasion, say the churches. A renewed escalation of tensions in the region has recently put the world on edge again.” A “Joint Ecumenical Peace Message” for the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War was publicly delivered on June 22 during a live-streamed event that acknowledged these tensions and urged new initiatives for peace. Co-sponsored by churches and councils of churches around the world, especially from countries that participated in the Korean War, the message describes the war as an “appallingly destructive conflict” and called for the healing of wounds in order for a shared future for the long-divided Korean people. The “Joint Ecumenical Peace Message” on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War is at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/other-ecumenical-bodies/joint-ecumenical-peace-message-on-the-occasion-of-the-70th-anniversary-of-the-start-of-the-korean-war . Find out more about the global prayer campaign for peace on the Korean peninsula at www.oikoumene.org/en/get-involved/light-of-peace .

 In more news from the World Council of Churches, the WCC assembly planned for Sept. 2021 in Germany has been postponed to 2022 “in order to be more inclusive of the wider fellowship amid COVID-19,” said a release. The decision was made by the WCC executive committee, on behalf of the central committee, and in close consultation with the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and other host churches and local partners. This will be the 11th assembly of the worldwide ecumenical Christian organization, of which the Church of the Brethren is a founding member. The decision was made “because of the gravity and uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is hoped that an assembly in 2022 will provide a better opportunity to secure the full participation of the ecumenical fellowship. The location in Karlsruhe [Germany] will remain the same.” The theme will be “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.” Ioan Sauca, interim general secretary of the WCC, said in the release, “So much creative thought and hard work have already gone into preparations for our next assembly. I am grateful to all who have contributed thus far; and I am confident that, with our continued collaboration, the support of the churches, and God’s continued blessings, our 11th Assembly will even more deeply contribute to the life, witness, and spirituality of Christians everywhere.”

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