Brethren bits for June 11, 2021

Remembrance: Kenneth Frantz, 97, who served on the former General Board of the Church of the Brethren, died on May 29 at Timbercrest Senior Living Community, a church-related retirement community in North Manchester, Ind. He was born in Beatrice, Neb., on Oct. 1, 1923. The family moved to North Manchester in 1938, when he was 15, to escape the drought and dustbowl in Nebraska and to be close to Manchester College, now Manchester University. He attended Manchester and Bethany Theological Seminary, and in 1944 accepted a call to ministry from Manchester Church of the Brethren. During college, he met Miriam Horning and they were married in 1945. The wedding had to be postponed because he became a “Seagoing Cowboy” with the Church of the Brethren’s Heifer Project and helped deliver horses to people in Greece in the aftermath of World War II. In the summer of 1948, the couple also participated in a workcamp in Heilbronn, Germany, helping to rebuild after the war. His pastoral career included pastorates in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa. His final pastorate was in Naperville, Ill., where he later worked for eight years in the Development Department of Bethany Seminary. He also served the denomination as a district moderator, chair of district and regional boards, a member of the Standing Committee of district delegates to Annual Conference, and on the denomination’s General Board. His work for peace included a 1969 peace seminar in Geneva, Switzerland, and participation in the Church of the Brethren delegation that met with people from the Russian Orthodox Church at the height of the Cold War. His wife, Miriam, passed away in 1990. He married Barbara Gray in 1992. She passed away in 1999. He was a member of Manchester Church of the Brethren, but also spent the past 30 winters in Sebring, Fla. He is survived by daughter Ruth Ann Bever, sons David and Michael, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. His body was donated to I.U. School of Medicine. Memorial gifts are received to the O. C. and Flora Frantz Scholarship Fund at Manchester University, in memory of his parents.

“Churches, will you pray?” asks an invitation from Carol Elmore, a member of the Program and Arrangements Committee for the 2021 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren.

We invite YOUR congregation to pray for Annual Conference the Sunday before it begins, June 27. The online Annual Conference runs from June 30 to July 4. We have much to do that week, and all of it in a new way…virtually! Churches, will you pray? We pray…

– That the Spirit unites us in purpose and that we are able to do the work of the Church of furthering God’s Kingdom.

– For ease of getting online together, to leave energy for the more important things.

– That the discussion and vote around our compelling vision proposal will be fruitful.”

Find out more about the Conference at www.brethren.org/ac2021.

“Join a young adult call on June 27!” said an invitation from Youth and Young Adult Ministries director Becky Ullom Naugle. “Fellowship, think, and discuss with other awesome young adults. You won’t want to miss a special musical offering by Seth Hendricks!” Young adults who are interested in the conversation may register at http://ow.ly/I16h50F7v07.

Discipleship Ministries staff are recommending a Christianity Today piece in the form of a recorded conversation called “The Fire This Time: Reflections on a Year of Racial Reckoning.” One of the panelists is Cecelia Williams, who has been an executive for Love Mercy, Do Justice at the Covenant Church, has been a leader for Sankofa journeys, and is currently the CEO of the Christian Community Development Association of which Discipleship Ministries has become an denominational member on behalf of the Church of the Brethren. Find the conversation linked on the Discipleship Ministries Facebook page or go directly to www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/may-web-only/fire-this-time-reflections-on-year-of-racial-reckoning.html.

Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., presented children’s books to the Huntingdon County Library recently as part of the “It’s a Small World Book Project,” according to the Hungtingdon Daily News. The presentation was part of an initiative to introduce books about race in an effort to heal racism, funded by the Healing Racism mini-grant program of the Church of the Brethren’s Intercultural Ministries. Church members who took part in the presentation included Pam Grugan and co-pastors Ben Lattimer and Cindy Lattimer and their family. The church received a grant of $750 to purchase books for people of all ages that focus on stories of people of color. Find the newspaper report at www.huntingdondailynews.com/news/local/working-to-better-community/article_58e351f7-38dd-5bee-b911-6fa8a85c484c.html.

Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., is hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for the homeless community this Saturday, June 12, from 1-5 p.m. The effort was the focus of an article in the Daily Herald, a newspaper covering the cities and suburbs west of Chicago. The clinic will give the Johnson and Johnson one-shot vaccine, in conjunction with the weekly Soup Kettle that offers a free, hot meal every Saturday. Though intended for the homeless, the clinic is free to anyone who wants to be vaccinated. Soup Kettle organizers will send cars to parks and other areas where the homeless typically gather, to offer free rides to the clinic. “Those who agree to be vaccinated will be treated to snacks and beverages, be given $5, and be entered in a raffle to win a bag of groceries,” said the article. Read more at www.dailyherald.com/news/20210609/elgin-church-to-host-vax-clinic-for-homeless.

Shenandoah District has announced the locations for its in-person district conference this year: on Nov. 5 events will be held at Montezuma Church of the Brethren, and on Nov. 6 events will be at Mill Creek Church of the Brethren. The theme is “As Christ Loves Us” inspired by Ephesians 5:1-2: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Also from Shenandoah District, the Pastors for Peace Book Club will be reading and discussing the book When the Center Does Not Hold: Leading in an Age of Polarization by David R. Brubaker. Discussions begin Aug. 3, at 1:30 p.m. (Eastern time) and will continue with a twice-monthly one-hour discussion via Zoom on the first and third Tuesdays of August, September, and October. “These discussions are open to any interested person,” said an announcement. “We are especially thankful that David Brubaker, who teaches at Eastern Mennonite University, will join us on August 3 to provide an overview of the book’s theme and introduce us to some of the questions he is addressing. All you need to do to participate in the discussion is to register and read the book.” Pastors for Peace in the Shenandoah District “provides a meeting place for pastors and others with a desire to promote the Gospel of Peace for a living peace church.” Contact drmiller.cob@gmail.com.

“No Return: The Civilian Impact of Turkey’s Operation Claw-Lightning” is a report published by Christian Peacemaker Teams’ Iraqi Kurdistan program on June 3. It documents the impact of the Turkish military’s Operation Claw-Lightning on the civilian population living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. “The in-depth report covers details of environmental destruction, massive displacement, and threats to human lives in several villages and regions across northern Iraqi Kurdistan,” the CPT newsletter said. CPT was begun by the historic peace churches including the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers. Read the report at https://cpt.org/cptnet/2021/06/07/no-return-civilian-impact-turkeys-operation-claw-lightning. Watch a press conference in English and Kurdish at www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1012411492627044.

— “Anti-racist in Christ? Ecumenical Christian Repentance, Reflection and Action on Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia” is the title of an online webinar series on June 14-17, sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Council for World Mission. “Both organizations are pursuing work and policies to confront racism and to invite anti-racist action, habits, and policies among their members and partnerships,” said a release. The series of daily webinars focus on four thematic areas: setting racism within colonial and neo-imperial contexts; the legacy of mission agencies, including false ideologies of race; models for anti-racist action for dominant racial groups; and anti-racist markers for churches. Participants will begin to develop the foundation of an ecumenical anti-racist/racial justice network and will begin to identify and develop theological reflections and resources on antiracism for use by churches. Each webinar will be held twice daily to make sure that all regions are involved in the conversation. The morning webinars will involve speakers from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Afternoon webinars will involve speakers and participants from the Caribbean, Europe, North America, Central America, and South America. Find out more at www.oikoumene.org/news/anti-racist-in-christ-online-event-in-june-will-consider-christian-repentance-action.

Don Judy, pastor of White Pine Church of the Brethren in Romney, W.Va., is celebrating a major success in his campaign to bring public water to dozens of homes in Purgitsville. A $2 million block grant for the project was announced earlier this week. It “puts the icing on the cake…. I think it’s amazing,” he said in an article in the Hampshire Review. Judy began working on the issue at least three years ago. Find the article at www.hampshirereview.com/news/article_5b996838-c927-11eb-a75c-533818335b2d.html

Ruth Karasek of York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., has been named a JustPeace Leader by On Earth Peace. She “developed a passion for peace and activism and an understanding of community development and world issues through her lifelong involvement with On Earth Peace and the Church of the Brethren,” said an announcement. In addition to participating with On Earth Peace, her peacemaking and community involvements have included work with Children’s Disaster Services and Christian Peacemaker Teams, helping to organize a cooperative grocery store, and volunteering with Good Samaritan Hospital in crisis counseling as a trained Stephen Minister. Find Karasek’s JustPeace Leader profile at www.onearthpeace.org/impact_leader_ruth_stowe_karasek.

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