Brethren bits for Feb. 19, 2021

“Special thank you to Dr. Drew Hart [at left above] and all who joined for this month’s Healing Racism and Congregations and Communities series ‘Who Will Be a Witness,’” wrote Intercultural Ministries director LaDonna Nkosi [at right above]. In all, 229 people registered for the Feb. 9 webinar and 234 registered for the #ConversationsTogether online meeting on Feb. 18. “Please plan to join us for the next online Healing Racism Communities and Congregations Gathering,” Nkosi added. Dates will be announced next week for the March and April meetings in the series. To see the recording of the Feb. 9 webinar go to https://youtu.be/FOrRlkwRZMo.

Victoria Crouter has begun work for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) in the position of accounting associate, based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministries from Trinity International University and started her career in the finance department of another Church Benefits Association organization. She brings skills in financial and administrative disciplines, organization, customer service, and supporting team projects, as well as work experience in accounting, bookkeeping, and data management. She and her family live in Lakemoor, Ill.

The Church of the Brethren seeks applicants for the position of assistant coordinator of the FaithX ministry in the Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) office at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. FaithX (formerly the Workcamp Ministry) offers summertime short-term service events for junior and senior high youth and young adults. The assistant coordinator serves as a BVS volunteer with both administrative and practical ministry responsibilities. The first three-quarters of the year is spent preparing for FaithX events including choosing an annual theme, preparing promotional materials, writing and designing a devotional book and leaders’ resources, setting up financial spreadsheets, setting up and maintaining a registration database, sending letters to participants and leaders, making site visits, collecting forms and paperwork, and other administrative work. During the summer, the assistant coordinator travels from location to location, serving as onsite coordinator of FaithX events with responsibility for overall administration including housing, transportation, food, work assignments, and recreation, and also often responsibility for planning and leading devotional, educational, and group activities. As a BVSer, the assistant coordinator lives at the Elgin BVS Community House. Required skills, gifts, and experience include experience in youth ministry, passion for Christian service, an understanding of mutual ministry–both giving and receiving, spiritual and emotional maturity, organizational and office skills, physical stamina and the ability to travel well. Preferred skills and experience include previous FaithX or workcamp experience as a leader or participant, and computer skills including experience with Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, Access, and Publisher. For more information or to request an application, contact BVS director Emily Tyler at etyler@brethren.org or 847-429-4396.

Brethren Press and the Shine curriculum are offering a special Easter promotion on Bible story books for children. The books are “a great way to nurture faith” and “encourage God’s light to shine in your children,” said an announcement. The hardcover Shine On: A Story Bible is on sale for $15 (list price: $24.99) at www.brethrenpress.com/ProductDetails
.asp?ProductCode=1983. The paperback All of Us: God’s Story for You and Me is on sale for $5 (list price: $10.99) at www.brethrenpress.com/ProductDetails
.asp?ProductCode=80694. Sale ends March 31.

Children’s resources to accompany The Wild Way of Jesus, this year’s Lenten devotional from Brethren Press, are being offered by author Anna Lisa Gross. She has developed a companion piece to the devotional designed for use on a tablet, cell phone, or computer, full of coloring pages as well as discussion and activity prompts to use with children. She is offering to email the resources on request, contact annalisa144@gmail.com.

“Pray for the EYN Annual Ministers Conference,” said an email from Zakariya Musa, head of media for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The event on Feb. 16‐19 was expected to bring a smaller than usual number of ordained ministers from across the denomination to the EYN headquarters in Kwarhi for their annual meeting. A usual year sees around 1,000 pastors in attendance, Musa wrote, but this year he reported that “the conference was successfully started with 220 in attendance, under strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols. The Disaster Relief Ministry has provided face masks, sanitizer, and hand washing items. The EYN president Rev. Joel S. Billi welcomed the gathering. The choir of the Women’s Fellowship sang at the opening event. The EYN Vice President Rev. Anthony A. Ndamsai is the guest preacher and teacher.” Musa explained that the number of attendees was cut down to three from each District Church Council in order to observe COVID-19 protocols put in place by the government to reduce the risks. “Beside the COVID-19 pandemic,” he wrote, “the escalating insecurity is another major concern for the most devastated church in Nigeria.”

Atlantic Southeast District is offering a women’s retreat as an online event on the theme “Made with Creativity” (Exodus 35:35) on March 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Eastern time). The keynote speaker is pastor Founa Badet. Registration is $10 per person, and once received by the district office (7360 Ulmerton Rd., 13C, Largo, FL 33771) a link will be sent to join the retreat. For more information contact atlanticsoutheastcob@gmail.com.

Camp Bethel, a Church of the Brethren outdoor ministry center near Fincastle, Va., has announced plans for a summer camp season this year. “Registration is OPEN for SAFE and FUN 2021 summer camps using our ‘Small Group Unit’ model. Health and safety adaptations will abound, and boy-o-boy are we excited! Kids need Summer Camp in 2021 more than ever!” Schedule, prices, safety information, and more is online at www.campbethelvirginia.org/camps.html.

Upcoming events from the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College:

The Kreider and Snowden Lectures, “Responding with Compassion to the Crisis in Northeastern Nigeria,” led by Samuel Dali and Rebecca Dali, takes place March 4 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time).

The Durnbaugh Lecture, “Weapons Transfers as Foreign Policy: Theological Ethics, Economics, and Strategy,” led by Nathan Hosler of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, takes place March 25 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time).

“Traveling Through the National Dark: Poet and Pacifist William Stafford,” presented by Fred Merchant, takes place April 13 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time).

For more information and links to attend these Zoom events, go to www.etown.edu/centers/young-center/events.aspx.

“Old Time Gospel Songs and Bill Jolliff” are featured in the February episode of Brethren Voices, a community television program of Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren produced by Ed Groff. Jolliff is one of the musicians who participate regularly in the Song and Story Fest annual family camp co-sponsored by On Earth Peace. “Bill admits that he really likes some of the old Gospel songs,” said Groff in an announcement of the program, which is the second that Brethren Voices has produced with Jolliff. “When you listen and watch Bill sing ‘Tell It to Jesus’ and ‘Near to the Heart of God’ you will understand why he likes them. Should you happen to be a regular viewer of Brethren Voices, the theme song, ‘The Jesus Way,’ is one of Bill’s creations.” Joliff has been a professor of literature at George Fox University for nearly three decades and is an active writer and researcher. His musical interests “have carried him for 50 years of his life,” said the announcement. Find Brethren Voices on YouTube at www.Youtube.com/Brethrenvoices.

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is offering a webinar on “20 years of Accompaniment in Colombia,” celebrating the 20th anniversary of the organization’s work with those suffering from violence in Colombia. CPT was started by the historic peace churches including the Church of the Brethren. The online event takes place Thursday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. (Central time). Said an announcement. “We will be joined by Salvador Alcantara, a long-time CPT partner and human rights defender, Alix Lozano, CPT Reservist and Mennonite theologian and pastor, as well as Christine Forand and Duane Ediger, who were both part of the four-person exploratory team who established CPT accompaniment in Colombia in 2001. Our guests and partners will share their reflections about the past, present, and future of accompaniment and solidarity activism, strengthening grassroots initiatives for social justice.” Sign up for the online event at https://cptaction.org/memories-of-social-justice-20-years-of-accompaniment-in-colombia.

A webinar on “The Future of Refugee Resettlement and Complementary Pathways: Strengthening Sustainable and Strategic Humanitarian Solutions for Refugees” is offered by Church World Service (CWS) and the Migration Policy Institute. The online event Monday, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m. (Eastern time) will be a panel discussion with experts including Andre Baas, head of the Resettlement Sector of the European Asylum Support Office; Katherine Rehberg, deputy vice president of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program; and Susan Fratzke, senior policy analyst for the International Program of the Migration Policy Institute. Said the announcement: “In 2020, amid a global pandemic, resettlement numbers reached a record low: only 22,770 (1.6 percent) of the 1.4 million refugees in need of resettlement were resettled…. CWS has argued that resettlement can and should be a humanitarian program to find protection for individuals and strategically contribute to the resolution of situations of forced displacement. However, achieving these goals will require political, structural, and operational changes.” CWS is one of nine refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. Register at www.migrationpolicy.org/events/future-refugee-resettlement-complementary-pathways-strengthening.

Susu Lassa is editor of this year’s Earth Day resources from Creation Justice Ministries. Lassa is a student at Bethany Theological Seminary and a former Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker at the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy. Earth Day is observed on April 22. This year’s theme is “A New Heaven and a New Earth” and resources focus on health, environmental racism, and eco-justice. Included are Christian education materials, sermon starters, case studies, actions to take, and more. Sign up to receive the download link at https://creationjustice.salsalabs.org/SignuptorecievetheEarthDay2021Resource/index.html.

“Seven Weeks for Water 2021” from Feb. 17 through March 29, is the World Council of Churches (WCC) event for Lent, in collaboration with the Ecumenical Water Network. Christians around the world are invited to use the season of Lent to reflect on God’s gift of water. Since 2008, the WCC–through its “Seven Weeks for Water” campaign–has been providing weekly theological reflections and other resources on water for the seven weeks of Lent and for World Water Day, which falls during Lent every year and in 2021 is on March 22.

In addition, the WCC’s Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace has a regional focus on North America this year, and accordingly the Seven Weeks for Water “takes us on a pilgrimage of water justice in North America…,” said an announcement. “Flint, Mich., representative of the many American cities with drinking water contaminated by lead; Standing Rock, where the Dakota Sioux have successfully fought the destruction of sacred waters by the Keystone Pipeline, and the Navajo Nation, where lack of water for handwashing has heightened the toll of the COVID pandemic in the Southwest. We will also explore other less storied places where we search for water justice from the verdant valleys of California to the salmon streams of the Pacific Northwest. Our guides are theologians and water justice activists from diverse faith traditions.” For more information go to www.oikoumene.org/events/seven-weeks-for-water-2021.

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