Brethren bits for May 22, 2020

National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) planners have released the logo that will be used at the 2021 conference on the theme, “Overflowing with Hope” (Romans 15:13).

— Brethren Disaster Ministries has shared an update on the Michigan flooding. Dan Rossman, director of Pastoral and Congregational Support for the Michigan District executive team, informed staff yesterday that none of the Brethren church buildings (Midland Church of the Brethren, the Church in Drive, and Zion Church of the Brethren) were affected by the flooding in the area. However, one family from the Midland church had to evacuate. There will be much need for assistance when the flood waters recede, with many homes in the community with basements or whole homes flooded. Beaverton Church of the Brethren has been in contact with local entities to see if they can be a support to shelters in the area as well.

— Pauline Liu began work May 18 as the orientation assistant for Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). She will work initially from her home in Arizona. She was in BVS orientation unit 319 and served from 2018-2019 at a L’Arche community in Kilkenny, Ireland. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado with a degree in psychology and is currently a student at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff working toward a master’s degree in Educational Psychology for Counseling-Student Affairs. She will be working with BVS for three months to help with the summer orientation.

— “The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery” is  a sermon by Otis Moss III, now posted online and recommended by the Intercultural Ministry. A description of this “sermonic movie” notes that Moss “delivers a sermon for a time such as this…. ‘A young man just shy of his 26th birthday stepped out into the sun and ran for the final time upon this earth.’” Moss pastors Trinity United Church of Christ on the south side of Chicago, Ill. View the sermon online at .

— Southern Ohio and Kentucky District has shared an urgent need for sewing PPE gowns for the Brethren Retirement Community (BRC) in Greenville, Ohio, where there is an immediate need. The district is recruiting sewers to help meet this safety measure for staff and residents. The Brethren Retirement Community has purchased fabric and a member of the district, Barb Brower, is making kits for sewers to use. Each kit contains instructions, cut-out fabric, and binding for five gowns. For more information contact .

— Pacific Southwest District has announced that its district conference this year is going online. The event will be held virtually on Nov. 13-15. “Continue to plan to be present that weekend, you just won’t need to travel,” said the announcement. “This decision by the Program Committee and affirmed by the District Policy Board is necessary due to the uncertainty that the fall holds regarding what will be happening with COVID-19. We feel that however hopeful things may be, it is unlikely that gatherings the size of District Conference will be advisable. And so many of our attendees are in a key at-risk population based upon their age. So rather than planning to be in person and then scrambling at the last minute to go online, we are making that move now so that we can create the best possible opportunity for the members of the district to come together under our theme ‘Bless’d be the tie that binds.’ We believe this opportunity might even draw the largest attendance of any past district conference.”

— “Cooking Up a Healthy Community” is a webinar sponsored by Brethren Community Ministries and bcmPEACE, scheduled for June 5 at 6-8 p.m. (Eastern time). Alyssa Parker, operations manager for the community organization that is related to Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, reports this is the second in a series of webinars to help people focus on nutrition and other aspects of maintaining community health during the COVID-19 pandemic. “And this is a fundraiser for bcmPEACE,” she added. The link to register is

— Commencement at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., would have been last Saturday, May 16–now postponed to October. During the week before commencement would have taken place, the university posted a number of things on social media to help build up spirits. One of the posts featured members of the A Cappella Choir coming together virtually to offer an arrangement by professor Debra Lynn of “We Shall Overcome.” The song is a signature concert-ender for the choir, notes Anne Gregory, assistant director for Media Relations. Enjoy the choir piece at .

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is sharing a campaign called “Hear us Now: Stop the Bombing!” This letter-writing campaign is being carried out by members of communities all over Iraqi Kurdistan, who “have joined voices” to call for an immediate end to “these cross border assaults that are deeply impacting the lives of so many living in the region,” said an action alert from CPT. “For over 30 years, the government of Turkey, and more recently, the Iranian government have engaged in cross-border bombing campaigns against multiple armed groups operating from within Iraqi Kurdistan,” said the alert. “These bombardments have taken the lives of many families within Iraqi Kurdistan. Though the Turkish and Iranian governments deny that these assaults are targeting civilians, since 2018, Turkish and Iranian targeted bombings have escalated, and civilian casualties continue to rise. In 2019 the Turkish military conducted over 350 bombings along the border region of Iraqi Kurdistan including targeting vehicles on roads between villages.” Find out more and find the text of the open letter to the Kurdistan Regional Government at .
— Dennis Beckner has been voted “#1 Pastor” in the Reader’s Choice award from “The Post and Mail” newspaper. He serves as pastor of Columbia City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren.

Priscilla Arceo giving her speech during “Graduate Together”

— Priscilla Arceo, who delivered a commencement message on all major TV networks as part of the “Graduate Together” nationwide celebration of the high school class of 2020, attends Principe de Paz Church of the Brethren in Santa Ana, Calif. She also is this year’s Valedictorian for Santa Ana High School. This link is to a video of her speech during “Graduate Together” was shared by Downtown Santa Ana. Go to .

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