Brethren bits for May 9, 2020

Remembering the Kent State shooting, which occurred 50 years ago this week. Dean Kahler, a Church of the Brethren member, was shot in the back and paralyzed by National Guardsmen when he was a student at Kent State on May 4, 1970. His story is featured in an article by Craig Webb of the Akron (Ohio) “Beacon Journal.” Go to https://stories.usatodaynetwork.com/kentstate50yearslater/kent-state-shooting-survivor-dean-kahler-paralyzed-reflects-50-years/site/cantonrep.com .

— Remembrance: Josephine S. Wampler, 89, a former Church of the Brethren mission worker in India, passed away on May 1 in Bridgewater, Va. She and her husband, Dr. Frederick William Wampler whom she married in 1953, and who passed away in 2013, served as missionaries to India for 10 years. She was born on Dec. 26, 1930, in Salem, Va., to Horace Charles and Ruth Webster Spangler. Over the course of her life she was a homemaker, a school teacher, an artist who loved weaving and painting, and a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and Brethren Disaster Ministries. She helped found the Humane Society in Johnson City, Tenn. She was a lifelong member of the Church of the Brethren, most recently attending Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. She is survived by three daughters, Amanda Marie Wampler Smith and her husband Cecil “David” Smith of Mt. City, Tenn., Ruth Virginia Wampler also of Mt. City, Tenn., and Rosalie Savita Wampler of Baltimore, Md.; and grandchildren. A private graveside service will be held at Greenmount Cemetery in Harrisonburg, Va., and a memorial service at a later date. Memorial gifts are received to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Online condolences may be made to the family by visiting www.mcmullenfh.com .

— Prayer requests from the staff of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service:
     Norm and Carol Waggy, interim directors of the Global Mission office, have shared a prayer request from Brethren in Brazil following a telephone call with Marcos Inhauser, who serves as denominational staff with Igreja da Irmandade (the Church of the Brethren in Brazil). Inhauser requested prayer that “Brazil has a pandemic as well as a political earthquake because the president is not dealing with the health problems but is creating political problems.”
     Global Mission staff also have received an update from a church in Honduras that recently received a small COVID-19 grant. Roy Winter, associate executive of Global Mission and Service, highlighted the church’s statement of faith in the face of extreme hardships including Dengue fever and COVID-19 together. Global Food Initiative manager Jeff Boshart translated the update into English from the original Spanish written by Arely Cantor, a pastor of the Vivendo en Amor y Fe congregation in Tegucigalpa along with her father, Mario Cantor.
     “[In] the quarantine we continue now…. Each family of the church meets together to pray, sing, and meditate. We are studying a book about Jubilee and we write in our Whatsapp group the prayers and experiences that we are living during the week. We have given food to the families. It has been a great experience. We have seen God accompanying the people. We have cried to see so much pain, but our trust is in God and his overabundant grace in the middle of all the darkness. In Honduras almost everyone is detained. The unemployment grows and in the best of cases, some are working for 50 percent of their original salary. We aren’t only working to survive the COVID-19, but also Dengue fever is spreading every day. We have many deaths. It looks like the plagues of Egypt truly! We pray to God that our faith will not fall and for strength to continue maintaining our hearts as a lamp full of oil to be useful, we hope-givers where we are and how we are.”

— Youth from Antioch Church of the Brethren have created a video scripture jam titled “Through my fear, I trust in God.” The Facebook video was posted on the Youth Advisors of the Church of the Brethren page by Nolan McBride, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker in the denomination’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Find the scripture jam at www.facebook.com/groups/140324432741613/permalink/3118880678219292 .

Mary Scott Boria of First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill., has sewn 1,000 COVID-19 masks, “and counting!” report fellow church members Joyce and John Cassel. “Masks for hospital workers, prison inmates, anti-violence street workers, senior citizens in public housing, postal workers, police detectives, disabled people, grandchildren, and others. Masks were sent to Boulder, New York City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Puerto Rico, Chicago, suburban Chicago, and other locations.” Boria is a longtime member and a strong leader in the congregation. She has “always loved fabric, and loved to sew,” the Cassels write. “Across the years Mary created many artistic and creative pieces, like the Pentecost banner she made for First Church.” They report that sewing has been an important part of life for Boria, who has had connections to the Textiles Department of the Chicago Art Institute, and at one point owned four sewing machines. Her project to sew face masks started when a friend expressed frustration, via Facebook, about not being able to find a mask for her disabled brother. “Mary said to herself, ‘I can make a mask.’ And she improvised two for her friend.” After her friend wrote a post appreciating Boria’s mask-making gifts, other people started to contact her asking for masks, “and the requests exploded.”

— Northern Plains District has announced that it will not be meeting face-to-face for its 2020 District Conference on July 31-Aug. 2 but will be gathering together on the same dates, through technology-based platforms yet to be decided. Said the district e-newsletter: “District Conference Planning Committee made this decision after conferring with the District Board. The Committee is exploring how to provide a meaningful program of worship and business along with opportunities for fellowship, learning and giving. Congregations should still select and register their voting delegates for the business meeting, noting that participation in the meeting will be through computer or telephone.”

— Bridgewater (Va.) College continues to announce student awards.
    Ashley N. Williams of Temple Hills, Md.,  received the 2020 Paul M. and Betty Kline Student Art Award. The award is in honor of the late Paul Kline, who retired as professor of art in 1997 after 38 years on the faculty, and Betty Kline, who formerly served at the college as dean of women and a psychology instructor.
     The Bridgewater College Alumni Association recognized a number of students with Alumni Legacy Scholarships: Colin M. Bryant, a sophomore from Port Republic, Va.; Mark R. DeWitt, a sophomore from Henrico, Va.; Jacob H. Grabeel, a junior from Gordonsville, Va.; Kellen C. Hodge, a sophomore from Greensboro, N.C.; Davin P. Kines, a sophomore from Amissville, Va.; Jenna Long, a sophomore from Bridgewater and Dayton, Va.; Charles H. Price, a junior from Shenandoah, Va.; Camryn P. Rosenberger, a senior from Mount Jackson, Va.; and Luke N. Stubbs, a junior from Pearisburg, Va.
     Also awarded by the alumni association was the Citizenship Award, given to Anh H. Nguyen, a global studies major with a minor in economics, from Hanoi, Vietnam.
     The Dr. Jacob S. Huffman Outstanding Student Leadership Award was given by the alumni association to Victoria L. Hudson from Springfield, Va., an environmental science major with a concentration in wildlife biology.
— About the latest Dunker Punks Podcast: “Need ideas for some wholesome fun? Having trouble finding a silver lining? Susu and Annika chat about experiencing community during a pandemic, rekindling their love and excitement towards nature, connecting with old friends, and a lot more. For your daily dose of positivity!” Listen at bit.ly/DPP_Episode98 or subscribe on iTunes.

— On Earth Peace is announcing a Dunker Punks Podcast “talkback” session with Dana Cassell about her “Praying Through A Pandemic” episode. “Many of us are experiencing faith life in new ways in the physical separation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. How is it going with your spiritual life in this moment?” said the announcement. Participants should first listen to “Praying Through A Pandemic” at https://arlingtoncob.org/96-praying-through-a-pandemic to get the most out of the discussion, which will include time to share experiences and introduce some creative prayer practices. The event takes place online on Wednesday, May 13, from 3 to 4 p.m. (Eastern time). Sign up at www.onearthpeace.org/cv_5 .

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is offering a webinar titled “Iraqi Kurdistan: Nonviolent Resistance to Cross-Border Bombings” on May 14 at 12 noon (Central time). CPT began as an initiative of the historic peace churches including the Church of the Brethren. In this live webinar, the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team will speak about how “for years Turkish and Iranian bombings have disrupted the lives of civilians within Iraqi Kurdistan,” said an announcement. “The bombings have displaced families, destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of communities, and injured and killed many civilians, including children. Over the past year, there have been over 350 bombings in the Sidakan sub-district alone and the bombings continue, even during this time of COVID-19.” The webinar also will include information on the “Hear Us Now: Stop the Bombing! Campaign.” Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_z1-ZmDzlQq6nU272u8XoBg .

— Bread for the World has published its annual hunger report, provided through the Bread for the World Institute. This year’s report, titled “2020 Hunger Report, Better Nutrition, Better Tomorrow,” examines the challenge of ending global hunger and malnutrition and offers recommendations to accelerate progress, said an announcement. The overview of the report, posted online, notes that “currently, there are 822 million people undernourished because of hunger, more than 2 billion people undernourished because of vitamin and mineral (micronutrient) deficiencies, and another 2 billion overweight or obese. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 interconnected goals adopted by the United States and 193 other countries in 2015, include a goal to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030. The World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2012 adopted a set of global maternal/child nutrition targets for 2025. The SDGs and the WHA targets are touchstones for all our recommendations in the report. The world is not on track to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030. Neither is it on track to reach the maternal/child nutrition targets. To get on a path to success, food systems need to make healthy diets available and affordable to all; ensure that food is produced sustainably; and support equitable livelihoods for all workers in food systems.” Find the full report at https://hungerreport.org/2020 .

— The National Council of Churches (NCC) has issued a statement grieving acts of violence perpetrated against two unarmed African American men reported this week. Citing Isaiah 1:17, the statement noted that these shootings happened “even as most of the nation has remained at home sheltering in place. These incidents have reinforced the urgent need for us to address racism and white supremacy. The evil that results from racial hatred is exactly this: Black bodies lying dead in the streets.” The NCC statement responded to the killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery who was shot dead by two white men while jogging through a neighborhood just outside Brunswick, Ga., and the shooting of Dreasjon (Sean) Reed, 21, by Indianapolis police who fired 13 bullets, “most after he fell helplessly to the ground,” the statement noted. Said NCC president and general secretary Jim Winkler in the release, “Our history is marred with 400 years of slavery, racism, and lynchings that include far too many incidents like these. Now, we have these unprovoked and grotesque murders in broad daylight. We demand justice.” Read the full statement online at http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-decries-violence-against-two-unarmed-african-american-men .

— World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Ioan Sauca has invited all member churches to observe a global prayer day on May 14. “The joint initiative with the members of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, of which the WCC is part, is calling for prayer and supplication to God for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a release from the WCC. “Many of our people are experiencing fear and uncertainty, as well as trauma, separation, isolation, and even death in their families or in their church communities,” said Sauca. “As we continue to navigate this global health crisis, world unity through prayer reflects our willingness to care for one another. WCC member churches can, from their own places and traditions, support each other, look outwards to the needs of all their neighbours, and strengthen our one human family.” In calling for worldwide prayer, the committee stated in the invitation: “Each one, from wherever they are and according to the teachings of their religion, or faith, should implore God to lift this pandemic off us and the entire world, to rescue us all from this adversity.”

— Justin Self of Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., has been named a co-valedictorian for the class of 2020 at Manchester Jr.-Sr. High School. He has earned Academic Excellence and highest honor roll during all four years of high school, is a member of the National Honor Society and served as secretary, participated in a Germany exchange program, has been involved in choir, school musicals, and theater productions, and participated in the Wabash County Honor Choir. He also was a key member of the soccer team that won a sectional championship this past fall, served as team captain for two years, and received TRC All-Conference and Academic All Conference awards for two years. He is the son of Randy and Brenda Self. Find the full announcement from the Times Union at https://timesuniononline.com/Content/Local-News/Local-News/Article/Manchester-Names-Top-Students/2/453/126369 .

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