Brethren bits for Oct. 23, 2020

Nathan Hosler is the new Church of the Brethren representative on the board of Heifer International. He began in the position at a recent meeting, which also was the last meeting for Jay Wittmeyer, who formerly represented the denomination as executive director of Global Mission and Service. Hosler is on the Church of the Brethren staff as director of the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C.

“Know a young adult interested in a transformational Church of the Brethren leadership experience?” asked a Facebook post today from Youth and Young Adult Ministries director Becky Ullom Naugle. “NYC coordinators serve for a year through Brethren Volunteer Service. Food, housing, insurance, student loan deferment, and a small stipend provide peace of mind in order to concentrate on planning an awesome faith formation experience for high school youth and advisors during the summer of 2022.” Applications are open until Oct. 31 at .

Before and after pictures of Doug Campbell, who offered his “COVID beard” as a fundraiser for Brethren Disaster Ministries.

A unique fundraiser was held by Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers last week, reports director Jenn Dorsch-Messler. Doug Campbell, a disaster project leader from South Central Indiana District, had the idea for a beard-shaving fundraiser. He took bids from the volunteers at the project site that week, who were from Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren, as well as others from Mid-Atlantic District. Bids were made for cutting off portions of Campbell’s lengthy “COVID beard.” When the idea was shared with Doug’s wife, Alice, she said she would match all donations. On Thursday of last week, they cut and shaved Campbell’s beard for a total of $1,100 in donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund to support Brethren Disaster Ministries. “When he had the idea he hoped to raise around $75 and never thought it would be so much!” wrote Dorsch-Messler.

Applications are due Oct. 31 for community engagement grants from On Earth Peace for youth groups focused on youth-initiated peace and justice projects. The grants for up to $500 are funding projects that may include, for example, “organizing a rally to bring attention to a concern, hosting a community conversation to get to know your neighbors and their interests in justice and peace, or sponsoring a violent toy turn-in,” said an announcement. To apply or learn more go to . For questions, contact Laura Hay at

Atlantic Northeast District is holding “Coffee with ANE” as its first district-wide Zoom gathering on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 9:30-11 a.m. (Eastern time). “We have heard your need to gather together, face to face, on a larger scale based on responses from the District Conference evaluations,” said the district’s e-newsletter.

“Join Manchester University Church Relations for the PowerHouse 2020 Regional Youth Conference–a VIRTUAL event!” said an invitation to this free event serving youth in several Midwestern districts of the Church of the Brethren. This year it will be held via Zoom as three one-hour gatherings. On Friday, Nov. 13, a virtual campfire will be held from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern time). On Saturday, Nov. 14, youth will enjoy virtual games from 2-3 p.m. (Eastern) and worship from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern). High school youth in grades 9 through 12 and their adult advisors are invited. Keynote speaker pastor Jody Gunn of Bethany Church of the Brethren in Farmington, Del., will speak on John 14:27, “Do not let them be afraid.” “This is sure to be a weekend of learning and growth, fun and silliness, and you can even win prizes!” said the announcement. For more information and to register go to

Students at McPherson (Kan.) College have the opportunity to set out on their own adventures and explore all Kansas has to offer through a new program called Build Your Own Adventure, said a release. “Offered through the college’s Bulldog Adventures organization, it provides gear and planning information to assist students in taking advantage of the great outdoor spaces in Kansas on their own time. Bulldog Adventures, a program introduced by McPherson College last year, provides opportunities for students to participate in monthly adventures and on-campus outdoor activities. Offering ventures like hiking, float trips, a fishing derby, and lawn games, Bulldog Adventures utilizes outdoor spaces in and around campus to engage students and develop leadership skills.” Tony Helfrich, director of Bulldog Adventures, said in the release, “For many of our students, our adventures are their first exposure to this part of our state.” There is a list of hiking trails, fishing sites, camping areas, and disc golf courses within half a day’s drive from campus and students have free access to “adventure gear” like backpacks and trekking poles, fishing gear, tents and other camping gear, disc golf sets, binoculars, and hammocks. The gear was donated to the college through the Outdoor Fund by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Bulldog Adventures also coordinates efforts of the student Adventures Club, which is working with the Environmental Stewardship class to develop the McPherson College Outdoor Adventure Education Center at Bulldog Park in McPherson.

Juniata College’s work to provide comprehensive prevention education and to implement practices designed to create a safer, more inclusive campus has been recognized by EVERFI and Parchment, according to a newsletter from college president James A. Troha. Juniata is located in Huntingdon, Pa. EVERFI and Parchment are “companies who have partnered to elevate and distinguish campuses committed to this work,” the announcement said. “The college was awarded the Campus Prevention Network (CPN) Seal of Prevention for our work on issues including sexual assault, alcohol misuse, mental health, and discrimination.”

The Mutual Aid Agency is observing October as Pastor Appreciation Month, sharing special personal messages from staff.

In more news from Juniata, the college’s web page for COVID-19 information is reporting some 20 positive tests among students and staff within the past week and a half. The college–which has a “hybrid” model combining online and in-person instruction and started its fall semester in mid-August with students on campus–has an on-campus COVID-19 testing facility and stringent COVID protocols. The outbreak was first detected late last week and is expected to be short-lived. Students remain on campus while the college has gone to online-only instruction and has put in place additional restrictions on activities. The surrounding Huntingdon County is experiencing a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases centered in long-term care facilities and correctional facilities.

“Building the Church of the Future: Kingian Nonviolence Workshop” is a webinar facilitated by On Earth Peace at the invitation of the Womaen’s Caucus and the Supportive Communities Network. The event will be online on Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time) to explore Kingian nonviolence “as a method for interpersonal and group conflict, and nonviolent social change organizing. During this session, we will explore the meaning of nonviolence (a rich conversation in our pacifist tradition!), consider the three social dynamics of nonviolence, and briefly introduce the 6 principles and 6 steps of Kingian Nonviolence.” For more information go to .

Videographer and Annual Conference moderator-elect David Sollenberger has been busy reviving video wrap-ups of past years of Church of the Brethren gatherings–specifically, select years of National Youth Conference (NYC), National Young Adult Conference, and National Older Adult Conference (NOAC). Sollenberger has been posting the videos to YouTube for the viewing enjoyment of past participants. So far the wrap-up videos from the NYCs beginning in 1986, the 2004 National Young Adult Conference, and the 1992, 1994, and 1996 NOACs have been posted. Go to the “Uploads” section of the Church of the Brethren YouTube channel at .

Actor Don Murray recently spoke about his commitment to service and to working with refugees in a wide-ranging interview with Closer Weekly. Those commitments started when he was a conscientious objector working in Germany through the Church of the Brethren’s Brethren Service program. Find the interview, titled “‘Twin Peaks’ Star Don Murray Reveals Secret to Staying Young: ‘Everything in Moderation,’” at

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