Brethren bits for Oct. 9, 2020

Remembrance: Leland Wilson, 90, a former member of the Church of the Brethren denominational staff, died on Sept. 1 at Hillcrest Homes in La Verne, Calif. He was born May 12, 1930, in Tonkawa, Okla. He earned a bachelor’s degree from McPherson (Kan.) College, a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Kansas, and also studied at George Washington University, Garrett Theological Seminary, and Oxford University. In 1966 he was named as one of the Outstanding Young Men of America. Prior to his work for the church, he did social work for a county welfare agency and the Kansas Boys Industrial School. He was an ordained minister and pastored congregations in Kansas, California, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. He served as the Church of the Brethren’s director of interpretation from 1961 to 1969, working out of the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., with responsibilities for interpreting the mission of the church, benevolent giving, stewardship education, news services, and production of audio-visuals. He was the denomination’s Washington (D.C.) representative from 1983 to 1989. His career in church leadership included terms as president of both the Pomona Valley (Calif.) Council of Churches and the Southern California Council of Churches, president of the Brethren Journal Association, chair of the American Committee of the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan, service on the national board of CROP, and service on committees of the National Council of Churches and Church World Service. While working for the denomination, he helped host representatives of the Orthodox Church visiting from the former Soviet Union, and Buddhist and Christian peace delegations from Japan. He was a participant in the British-American Preachers Exchange in 1977. He was an official observer at the 1978 Special Session of the United Nations on Disarmament. As a fellow Oklahoman, he had a notable interest in Will Rogers and the books he authored included at least two books on Rogers called Living with Wonder and The Will Rogers Touch, among others. His collection of about 1,800 Will Rogers books and memorabilia has been donated to the Will Rogers State Park in California. Survivors include his wife, Pat, children Gary Wilson, Robert Bruce Wilson, Anne Wilson, Mike Waters, and Mark Waters, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Memorial gifts are received to La Verne Church of the Brethren, which is hosting an online memorial service on Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. (Pacific time) at www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqr8mEcCAJk .

Global Mission staff have requested prayer for a leading family among the Brethren in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Pastor Ron Lubungo and his wife, Mwangaza, are grieving the death of their infant son Jules. “We grieve with you and your family,” said an email message to pastor Lubungo from Global Mission interim directors Norm and Carol Waggy. “We pray that you may sense God’s presence and surrounding love in a very real way, even in the midst of this tragic loss.”

In an update from the Spanish Brethren, who have been suffering an outbreak of COVID-19, an email reported that a total of 40 church members tested positive. “The church still remains closed and the members quarantined, unable to go to work. The good news is that many of us have overcome the disease (16). Of 4 seriously admitted to the hospital, the mother of Pastor Santos Terrero, Mama Hilaria died, two were discharged and only one sister remains in the hospital who we hope will be able to leave it this week. The rest are at home with no symptoms in recovery process…. We are in victory, our faith strengthened and trusting God more. Thank you for your support and prayers.”

Brethren Disaster Ministries is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) and the 40th anniversary of Children’s Disaster Ministries (CDS) with a series of Friday Facebook posts. The posts, under the theme “Rise Up!” recall special events and eras in the history of Brethren disaster relief.

The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has signed on to two letters. One letter called for the Select Committee on Coronavirus Response to investigate the Pentagon’s misuse of $1 billion in CARES Act funding. The other, from the AdNA COVID working group, called for the release of special drawing rights from the IMF, “which is vital in helping countries in their recovery from the COVID-19 economic downturn,” said the office’s newsletter.

Mack Memorial Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Ohio, has voted to close due to declining membership. The congregation held its last worship service on July 12, according to the newsletter of Southern Ohio and Kentucky District.

Philosophy and religion is one of six academic majors recommended for discontinuation by Bridgewater (Va.) College leadership in a Strategic Resource Allocation plan, according to a report in the student publication BC Voice. The recommendations were released to students on Oct. 6. Along with philosophy and religion, the other five majors recommended for discontinuation are applied chemistry, French, mathematics, nutritional science, and physics. The five minors that have been recommended for phase-out are applied chemistry, French, German, physical chemistry, and physics. “In addition, 32 tracks, concentrations, and emphases, such as the administration management concentration and the environmental chemistry emphasis, will also be discontinued,” said the report, which added information about the planned restructuring of various aspects of the college. Discontinuations recommended in the athletics department include men’s golf and the dance team. “The Eagle Club, founded in 1994 to support athletics and provide funding for special projects, will be replaced by a new model. The equestrian program will also be downsized. The Bridgewater College Equestrian Center will be sold,” the report said. Next steps include a vote by the board of trusteess in November. The report said the recommendations were developed by faculty task forces and finalized by college President Bushman, the vice presidents, and the director of athletics. Find the BC Voice report at https://bcvoice.org/3281/news/features/strategic-resource-allocation-recommendations-released .

The next Ventures course hosted at McPherson (Kan.) College is “Understanding Transitions: Gender in our Christian Context” on Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (Central time). “This course will be a safe space to explore with other Christians your questions, concerns, and issues about the transgender experience and explore together what it means to be a good Christian neighbor to the transgender community,” said the Ventures website. The presenter will be Eleanor A. (Draper) Hubbard, a graduate of McPherson (1962) who has earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her areas of expertise are gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, social class, and race. She and her family are members of Cairn Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Lafayette, Colo. There is no charge for these online courses. However, a suggested donation is invited. Continuing education units may be requested for individual registrations at $10 per course. For more information go to www.mcpherson.edu/ventures .

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is inviting all people of good will to attend an online prayer service on Oct. 16 at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern time) for World Food Day, said a release. The day is part of the Churches Week of Action on Food, from Oct. 11-17. The theme is “Grow, Nourish, Sustain Together.” “Hunger is a stark reality for 26.4 percent of the world’s population,” said the release, which noted that “hunger is growing at an alarming rate.” The live stream will be available at www.oikoumene.org/live . Download the prayer material from www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/diakonia/eaa/prayer-for-the-churches-week-of-action-on-food-2020 .


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