Brethren bits for June 4, 2021

Remembrance: Martha Anne Bowman, 83, of Chester Township near North Manchester, Ind., a former Church of the Brethren mission worker in Nigeria, died May 24. She was born April 2, 1938, to Morgan and Nora June (Blough) Yoder in Somerset County, Pa. She attended Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va. She married Robert C. Bowman on July 24, 1960. She joined her husband as the pastor’s wife in Easton, Md., Pleasant Valley and Barren Ridge in Augusta County, Va., and Ephrata, Pa. For three years, 1966 to 1969, the family lived in northeast Nigeria, where her husband was a Bible and theology teacher in a secondary school and she worked in education at the Waka Schools of the Church of the Brethren Mission in Nigeria. They lived in Scotland for a year after completing their term of service in Nigeria, and then lived for some seven years in Elgin, Ill., where her husband served on the denominational staff of the Church of the Brethren, in the Parish Ministries Commission. After their children were grown, she completed her college education at Bridgewater (Va.) College in 1993 and soon after began teaching in the Manchester Community School system. She was a member and faithful supporter of Manchester Church of the Brethren. She is survived by her husband and their children Christopher (Sherry Clark), Jonathan (Joyce Waggoner), Mary Elizabeth “Molly” (Kenneth Greene), and Joseph-Daniel “Jd” (Rebecca Dilley), grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.

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 or 847-429-4396.

The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is today, June 4, marking National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

“People are wearing orange to honor the victims and survivors of gun violence and to call attention to this crisis,” said the NCC newsletter. “The facade of the Washington National Cathedral will be lit orange this evening in honor of the over 100,000 Americans killed and injured in the United States every year by gun violence. The cathedral’s Bourdon Bell will ring 120 times at 9 pm ET, once for every American who dies from gunfire on the average day in the United States. This lighting is sponsored by the Cathedral Congregation’s Gun Violence Prevention Ministry and it will not be livestreamed. Survivors of gun violence are honored each year on the first weekend in June because friends of Hadiya Pendleton wore orange and asked everyone to stand up and speak up about gun violence on what would have been her 18th birthday if had she not been shot and killed in Chicago at age 15. For over 50 years, the NCC has called for basic common-sense changes to our gun laws that have not been enacted and they are far beyond overdue. We reaffirm, as we did in our 1967 statement, that the God-given ‘right to life’ is fundamental and sacred and hold that it is not possible to protect life and maintain public order when individuals have unregulated access to firearms.”

Find a link to the Church of the Brethren’s most recent statement on gun violence, “Lukewarm No More: A Call for Repentance and Action on Gun Violence,” adopted by the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board in 2018, at

Bethany Theological Seminary seek applicants for the fulltime position of coordinator of Seminary Computer Services. Responsibilities include planning, leadership, and management of the use of IT services at Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind., including the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and Earlham School of Religion in support of the schools’ missions; support for technology in classrooms, network infrastructure, hard-ware, software, and related services. A complete position description is available, contact Applications are received until the position is filled, with a desired start date in June or early July. To apply, send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to Academic Dean’s Office, SCS Coordinator Search, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374; 765-983-1815;

The deadline is extended to June 30 for young adults to apply to volunteer as stewards for next year’s Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC). The assembly is a gathering of representatives of church bodies from around the world, which happens only every seven or eight years. The 2022 assembly, which will be the WCC’s 11th, will be held in Karlsruhe, Germany. Said an announcement: “Stewards are young people between the ages 18 and 30 years old. As a diverse community, stewards bring their faith, experiences and visions to an ecumenical experience of togetherness and friendship, with English as the working language of the program. The Stewards Program includes: an on-site ecumenical formation, participation in the Ecumenical Global Gathering of Young People, and work at the 11th Assembly. Stewards will arrive in Karlsruhe a week prior to the assembly to learn about the ecumenical movement and to participate in the pre-assembly gathering. WCC looks for young people capable of integrating their experience back in their local contexts, motivated to multiply the ecumenical enthusiasm, ready to ‘do ecumenism’ locally.” Dates for the Stewards Program are Aug. 21 to Sept. 10, 2022. Find out more and download an application form at

The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative (GFI) got a “shout out” on Facebook from Martin Hutchison this week. The post thanked the GFI and director Jeff Boshart for a grant providing the initial $3,500 of the $6,000-plus expense for a new community garden project. The GFI grant was given to Community of Joy Church of the Brethren in Salisbury, Md., to build a hoop house on the property of an alternative school. Also thanked were Choices Academy for their volunteer work, and additional funding partners the Opportunity Shop and Together Café and its tip jar. “My heart is full,” Hutchison wrote. “It has been a long trying journey but the day is here and next week we will finish it mostly.”

Southern Ohio and Kentucky District’s Camping and Retreat Ministries has announced that the virtual camps planned for this summer will not be held due to very low registration numbers. “Many hours of planning and preparation and the hours volunteers had committed to have a successful camping season did not match up positively with the numbers of enrollment of campers,” the announcement said. “Zoom camp has lost its appeal.” The ministry is, however, planning to host two in-person gatherings for everyone in the district on two Sunday evenings–June 27 and July 25–from 4-7 p.m. at Salem Church of the Brethren. The events will include games, a free picnic supper, and evening vespers. Also, an in-person Pieceful Quilting Camp will be held at Bergamo from Aug. 18-21.

Camp Pine Lake in Northern Plains District was awarded an environmental grant from the Church of the Brethren Outdoor Ministries Association. The funds were used to plant a pollinator garden beneath a set of solar panels.

Virtual tours of the Holy Land are offered by Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), of which the Church of the Brethren is a member denomination. Upcoming online tours are offered in partnership with MEJDI tours, including “three virtual tours of Jerusalem, each focused on a different Christian faith tradition: Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and a tour featuring the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem,” said the announcement. “The tours will feature key voices and highlight sites and locations specific to each communion. This is a great opportunity to support the tourism industry in Israel/Palestine, which has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, CMEP is able to offer private virtual events and experiences for congregations and community groups, “scheduled for a time that works for your community,” said the announcement. “Whether you want to have a casual evening of experiencing the culture of the Middle East or host an in-depth discussion on the religious history of the land, current theological conversations, and the root causes of the recent war in Israel and Palestine, CMEP is eager and willing to support the work you are doing in your community.”

Find out more about virtual tours and journeys offered through CMEP at

Christian Peacemaker Teams has announced a new video series produced by its CPT Palestine team. CPT got its start as a project of the Historic Peace Churches including the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers. Described as “a powerful video series of memories,” the series interviews Palestinian people living in Hebron who “share their lived experiences as a way to resist the occupation that aims to erase them.” Find the first video in the series posted on YouTube at

“Experience Shalom,” invites the Lombard (Ill.) Mennonite Peace Center, which is offering a series of webinars on the theme of right relationship around issues of peace and justice. Each webinar will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon (Central time). J. Denny Weaver, Mennonite scholar and author of Nonviolent Atonement, will present the first in the series on June 3 on the topic, “Being in Right Relationship with God: Why Did Jesus Have to Die?” Devon Miller, assistant director at the center, will present two webinars: “Does Our Past Really Matter?” on June 29 and “What Are the Terms of Justice?” on Aug. 10. Naomi Wenger will present on July 13 on the topic, “Are Humans Responsible for the Wellbeing of Earth?” The center’s executive director, Jay Wittmeyer–who formerly served as executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren–will present “How Can We Become a Trauma-Informed Church Community?” on July 28 and “Is the Fabric of Our Society Beginning to Fray?” on Aug. 24. Register for all six sessions in the SHALOM series and pay for just five (save $30). Register via TicketSpice on the center’s website

“Anti-racist in Christ? Ecumenical Christian Repentance, Reflection and Action on Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia” is the title of an online event on June 14-17, sponsored by the 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 event will be in the form of a series of daily webinars focusing 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 for churches on antiracism. 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 sessions will involve speakers and participants from the Caribbean, Europe, North America, Central America, and South America. Find out more at


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