Newsline for Aug. 6, 2021

“The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

NEWS
1) Global Mission staff released from custody in South Sudan
2) Global Food Initiative makes Ecuador visit
3) Action alert brings attention to crisis situation in Nigeria
4) Office of Peacebuilding and Policy monitors AUMF and withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan
5) Letter encourages equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines
6) Church workers’ COVID emergency grants are extended again
7) Haiti Medical Project continues to meet needs for health care and community development

UPCOMING EVENTS
8) Virtual National Older Adult Conference to offer keynote presentations, worship and Bible study, unique online gatherings
9) Online formation experience is offered by Discipleship Ministries and Diversity 2 Inclusion
10) Annual Conference office co-sponsors webinars on theme of equipping for leadership

RESOURCES
11) Video promotes nominations and explains process for choosing denominational leadership
12) Brethren Press offers a new Bible story book from Shine

JESUS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: STORIES FROM CONGREGATIONS
13) Chicago First Church speaks out in support of Brethren Volunteer Service
14) Neighborhood prayer walk helps Celebration of Christ Church reach out
15) Lancaster Church to host International Fun Day on Aug. 21
16) Manchester Church of the Brethren hosts blood drive in honor of 5-year-old
17) Lakeview Church participates in conversation about community center
18) Trinity Church members make quilts for Sabetha Community Hospital

PERSONNEL
19) Joshua Rowan to work in IT for the Church of the Brethren

20) Brethren bits: Remembering Kendal Elmore, BHLA welcomes Jennifer Houser with Facebook event, Bethany Seminary seeks executive for Institutional Advancement, Material Resources gets trailer of Lutheran World quilts, district conferences, new staff for Anabaptist Disabilities Network, more



A note to readers: As many congregations return to in-person worship, we want to update our listing of Churches of the Brethren at www.brethren.org/news/2020/church-of-the-brethren-congregations-worship-online.html. Please send new information to cobnews@brethren.org.



Landing page of Church of the Brethren COVID 19 related resources and information: www.brethren.org/covid19

Church of the Brethren congregations offer a variety of worship opportunities in English and other languages: www.brethren.org/news/2020/church-of-the-brethren-congregations-worship-online.html
*Spanish/bilingual; **Haitian Kreyol/bilingual; ***Arabic/bilingual
*español/bilingüe, **kreyol haitiano/bilingüe, ***عربي / ثنائي اللغة

Lifting up Brethren who are active in health care: www.brethren.org/news/2020/brethren-active-in-health-care.html

Send information about your congregation’s worship services to cobnews@brethren.org.

Add a person to the list of Brethren active in health care by sending first name, county, and state to cobnews@brethren.org.



1) Global Mission staff released from custody in South Sudan

By Eric Miller

Athanasus Ungang, Church of the Brethren Global Mission staff in South Sudan, was released from prison after a detention lasting more than three weeks. He and other church leaders and colleagues had been held for questioning following the murder of a church leader in May, although he was not a suspect in the case and the authorities did not press formal charges.

Although Ungang has been released, his passport has not been returned to him, so he is currently unable to leave the country. He is a citizen of the United States and holds a US passport.

The Peace Center that Ungang overseas in Torit was robbed while he was in detention. Five people have been arrested in relation to that robbery, all reported to be members of the Moti community and neighbors of the center.

Ungang is very grateful for the prayers and support of the church during his detention. Prayer continues to be needed for him, the work of the church in South Sudan, and for the members of the Moti community that hosts the Peace Center.

— Eric Miller and Ruoxia Li are co-executive directors of Global Mission for the Church of the Brethren.



2) Global Food Initiative makes Ecuador visit

By Jeff Boshart

The main purpose of the Global Food Initiative (GFI) trip to Ecuador on June 16-24 was to spend time meeting with Alfredo Merino, executive director of La Fundacion Brethren y Unida (FBU–Brethren and United Foundation).

FBU has a proud and exemplary history of serving not only the communities near its campus and farm in Picalqui, about an hour north of Quito, but other parts of Ecuador as well. It was formed when two former mission agencies–the Church of the Brethren mission in Ecuador and the United Andean Mission–combined their social and community development ministries in the 1970s. Neither mission is in Ecuador presently.

Conversations about having the Church of the Brethren re-engage in Ecuador began in 2016 when Dale Minnich, a former mission worker and first executive director of FBU, expressed interest in an exploratory visit. Former Global Mission executive Jay Wittmeyer gave the green light for Minnich to pursue a trip and in 2017 he traveled to Ecuador with some financial support from the GFI. On his return, Minnich encouraged the GFI to begin a dialogue with FBU to see how we might be of support, leading to a seat on the FBU board of directors through 2022.

Photo by Jeff Boshart

In the past decade, FBU has experienced financial difficulties. GFI grants over the past four years have helped the farm become productive and innovative. Grants have been used to work with youth and young adults in the community to provide training in organic vegetable production, cooking, and environmental stewardship. Pre-COVID, FBU was regularly hosting school groups and international volunteers to work and learn on the farm. GFI grants also allowed for the construction of two greenhouses and the purchase of two dairy cows with improved genetics. Some milk is used to make cheese and the rest is sold. Grants also aided formation of a micro-company for vegetable seedlings and produce together with young adults in Picalqui.

However, COVID-19 in 2020 and hailstorms earlier this year caused major financial setbacks, and with the slow pace of Ecuador’s vaccination campaign, 2021 looks to be equally difficult. Recently a financial arrangement was made with a local land developer to use FBU’s entrance road for access to a new housing development being built. Much of this money went toward covering back pay for employees and some will be added to a grant received from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) through Brethren Disaster Ministries to repair roofs and floors damaged by flooding.

GFI has helped place a student from Wheaton (Ill.) College at FBU for a six-month stay. During this trip, I was able to meet with him and his host family. I also met with members of the youth association involved with vegetable production and toured their greenhouse to see their seedling production. Demand is high for seedlings, and they have plans to expand. During a farm walk, I learned about each element of the farm’s production system and discussed weaknesses and potential improvements, animal nutrition, and pasture management. Additional conversations with FBU staff generated ideas for partnerships with other organizations to generate more income, support the running of camps and retreats, and carry out renovations of aging infrastructure.

I also was able to visit one of FBU’s community outreach programs, a reforestation initiative on land owned by the federal government in the mountains above Tabacundo. The peaks in that area are over 4,000 meters high and we could see Cayambe–an active volcano. Starting in 2002, FBU organized youth to plant thousands of trees along a road that winds back and forth for 15 to 20 kilometers. The project lasted for over a decade and now the trees are old enough to produce seeds, which are dropping down steep hill sides and leading to natural reforestation. It’s impressive and hopeful to see what is possible when a change agent like FBU is willing to act as a catalyst to bring together community members who wish to make their community a better place.

One morning a pastoral couple from a nearby church stopped by. They were new to the area, it seemed, and had never been to the campus. They were impressed and began talking about possibilities to utilize it at some point. I encouraged staff to reach out to other church organizations as well as US Christian organizations that focus on creation care and environmental education.

Another morning, my whole family and I volunteered with vegetable planting before heading to Quito for COVID-19 tests. Upon returning in the afternoon, we did weeding in the FBU tree nursery.

My wife, Peggy, throughout the trip shared from her farming expertise. She encouraged FBU not to lose sight of its main goal of serving the poor in the community while looking at the possibilities of raising funds from the wealthy. As if God wanted to emphasize this point, an older gentleman representing a group of farmers in the community stopped by that evening to discuss how FBU might help them farm in more environmentally sustainable ways.

Jeff Boshart is manager of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative. Find out more about this ministry at www.brethren.org/gfi.



3) Action alert brings attention to crisis situation in Nigeria

From the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy

Our Nigerian brothers and sisters have asked for constructive engagement to support peace and security for all Nigerians.

“Christ is just like the human body–a body is a unit and has many parts; and all the parts of the body are one body…. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it. You are the body of Christ and parts of each other” (1 Corinthians 12:12a, 26-27, CEB).

We have been hearing for years, but more so recently, the increased concerns of insecurity in Nigeria. Our Nigerian brothers and sisters have asked for international attention and constructive engagement to support peace and security for all Nigerians. Through regular communication with Church of the Brethren staff in the US, social media posts, and an updated video from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) posted on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFJmy04qA2Q, a dire picture is portrayed. Regular kidnappings, attacks by Boko Haram and other armed groups, intentional destruction of farm produce, and increased difficulty in travel are consistently reported.

Across regions, various forms of mass atrocity crimes that violate the rights of innocent citizens are witnessed. Nigeria’s northeastern region, home to EYN, continues to face attacks from the armed group Boko Haram. In the “Middle Belt” region, intercommunal violence that is too often simplified to conflict between pastoralists and farmers is pervasive. In Nigeria’s Niger Delta, tensions between the federal government and multinational oil companies and minority ethnic groups remain unresolved even as environmental degradation continues apace.

In October 2020, the country was rocked by nationwide protests against police abuses focused on the Special Armed Robbery Unit (SARS). While the protests have quieted, concerns over abuses by the Nigerian security forces and police endure and the situation across the country remains dire.

In addition to perpetuating abuses and a lack of accountability, efforts to repress freedom of expression and civic space have increased.

We are guided by the 2014 resolution of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, “Responding to Violence in Nigeria” (www.brethren.org/ac/statements) to “partner with EYN and ecumenical international relief and development agencies to offer support as requested and directed by the leadership of the Nigerian Brethren.” As we acknowledge and share the concerns of our brethren in Nigeria, we call on you to advocate for free and fair elections, peace and security for the Nigerian people, and the opening of civic space.

Contact and meet with your Congressional representative (find a “Legislator Look Up” page at www.brethren.org/peacebuilding/legislator-lookup) and ask for constructive engagement with the Nigerian government to support:
— Free and fair elections in 2023,
— Peace, security, and stability for all Nigerians, and
— Promotion of human rights and the opening of civic space.

For other longer term engagements, consider the following actions:
— Keep contacting your representatives.
— Write op-eds to raise awareness.
— Advocate for city council resolutions on Nigerian security.
— Plan and facilitate educational events with your congregation such as showing the video produced by EYN (go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFJmy04qA2Q).
— Keep up to date on news from Nigeria to identify opportunities for engagement.

Resources
— Church of the Brethren Nigeria Crisis Response www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis.
— Nigeria Working Group www.nigeriaworkinggroup.org.

— To receive regular action alerts from the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, sign up at www.brethren.org/intouch. Find this action alert online at https://mailchi.mp/brethren.org/advocate-for-nigeria.



4) Office of Peacebuilding and Policy monitors AUMF and withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan

By Angelo Olayvar

“The death, wounds, and pain of war have touched us all. Iraqi lives, American lives, and those of the international community have been lost as a price of our violence against one another.” – 2004 Annual Conference Resolution: Iraq

In line with our 2004 Annual Conference “Resolution: Iraq,” 2006 Church of the Brethren “Resolution: An End to the War in Iraq,” and 2011 Church of the Brethren “Resolution on the War in Afghanistan,” the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy along with our ecumenical and interfaith partners are watching and engaging with developments on the repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (AUMF) and withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

This resolution enacted by American legislators and the deployment of American troops in Afghanistan ostensibly aims to defend US national security against the threats posed by Iraq and terrorist organizations in the Middle East. However, these actions by the United States have only brought death, destruction, despair, instability, and violence in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East. Furthermore, it has drained our resources that are so desperately needed to relieve the suffering of people at home and around the world. Hence, it is just and right to repeal the 2002 Iraq AUMF as it is problematic, wasteful, irrelevant, and immoral. It is crucial to withdraw and bring home our American troops from Afghanistan as their lives and spirits have been affected in ways we cannot yet fully comprehend.

As cited in the Annual Conference resolutions, our historic peace church has called us to pray and repent for the catastrophic consequences that deployment of American troops have brought to millions of people around the world. The far-reaching consequences of the military actions of the United States have abused the bodies, minds, and spirits of millions of individuals around the world.

As brothers and sisters in Christ who have consistently spoken to the sinfulness of war, our faith and conscience dictate us to demonstrate steadfast support in repealing the 2002 Iraq AUMF and the withdrawal of American troops in Afghanistan. However, it is necessary that we continue to be vigilant about the possibilities of drone warfare that may be expanded in order to maintain the power and influence of the United States in the region.

In the meantime, we must continue to work toward creating mechanisms that would create lasting peace in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other affected countries in the Middle East and around the globe. It is paramount that substantial work be done in order to achieve accountability for the victims of these conflicts that have claimed and devastated millions of lives.

— Angelo Olayvar is an intern in the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy.



5) Letter encourages equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines

The Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy has signed an interfaith letter encouraging action by the US administration to ensure everyone has equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine and other tools necessary to contain the pandemic. The letter gained 81 signatories.

The letter was shared with the faith‐based liaison at the White House in addition to staff at the USTR, Dr. Fauci’s office, and House Speaker Pelosi’s office by Chloe Noël, coordinator of the Faith Economy Ecology Project of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.

The full text of the letter:

July 23, 2021

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20050

Dear President Biden:

Photo courtesy of the CDC

We write today as organizations representing diverse faith traditions and people of conscience working to address the health, social and economic challenges facing people around the world, including the United States, resulting from COVID-19. Over the past 20 months, we have witnessed the devastating impacts on the people in our congregations, communities, schools, and healthcare systems across the country and the world. We know that a just recovery for all will depend in part on ensuring that every person has equitable and expedient access to the vaccine, testing, and treatments to contain the virus.

As people of faith and conscience, we are called to care for the sick and vulnerable. Both Jewish and Muslim scripture teach that saving one life is akin to saving the entire world (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9; Quran 5:32). We are joined together by our common humanity. Or, as the Buddhist tradition reminds us, we are all part of one interconnected web of life. Pope Francis echoed this sentiment in his recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti: “We are all in the same boat, where one person’s problems are the problems of all” (Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter “Fratelli Tutti,” n. 32).

We wish to express our gratitude for your Administration’s commitment to donate 500 million vaccine doses through COVAX and to other “hot spots” around the world, your support of the time-limited TRIPS intellectual property waiver at the World Trade Organization for global COVID-19 vaccine access, and your initial efforts to expand vaccine production through the Quad agreement and the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/05/17/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-is-providing-at-least-80-million-covid-19-vaccines-for-global-use-commits-to-leading-a-multilateral-effort-toward-ending-the-pandemic).

We also thank you for supporting the allocation of $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights from the International Monetary Fund so that countries can respond to the health, economic, and climate crises. These are vitally important and welcome actions, but many more vials, tests, equipment, and treatments are urgently needed to stop the mounting scale of the pandemic worldwide.

Like you, we witness the great inequality in vaccine access between rich countries and low-and middle- income countries as well as within countries themselves. The United States is approaching the goal of a 70% vaccination rate and pharmaceutical companies are working on possible booster shots. Meanwhile, most countries have yet to secure, or are only now receiving, vaccine doses and are facing the possibility of vast majorities of their people not receiving a vaccine until 2022 or as late as 2024. New variants continue to emerge, such as the virulent Delta variant, and threaten to eventually make current vaccines ineffective. These realities are leading to large numbers of avoidable deaths, prolonged shutdowns and civil unrest, and severe economic distress around the world.

While we know that you face significant pressure to do otherwise, we encourage you to continue to be a strong voice for vaccine equity, technology transfers, and broad distribution and production capacity around the world. Specifically, we implore you to:

● Continue to distribute the surplus doses the United States has purchased to COVAX-AMC (for distribution to lower-income countries) and to “hot spots” around the globe; and prioritize worldwide distribution of vaccines to those without access before considering booster shots for the already vaccinated.

● Express strong support for the TRIPS waiver for vaccine recipes and expand this to include waivers for testing, treatments, and PPE as India, South Africa and 150 other WTO parties have proposed. The vaccine patent alone is not sufficient to manufacture vaccines, let alone the other tools necessary to contain COVID-19.

● Launch and invest in a global vaccine manufacturing program of scale and urgency to end the pandemic. This should be a whole-of-government approach to source and produce materials and train personnel, with regional manufacturing hubs around the world. This program should include a pledge to immediately share the knowledge, technology, and intellectual property to make safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments available to everyone by or before Spring 2022.

● Support technology-sharing initiatives such as the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP).

● Encourage the EU and G20 to fully support these efforts.

On behalf of the global common good we must all do our part, as governments, civil society, and private enterprises, including pharmaceutical companies, to ensure that everyone everywhere can receive a vaccine and a chance to live a full life; to live in peace; to live in a healthy environment; and to work and receive an education.

We will continue to walk alongside individuals and communities suffering from the interconnected repercussions of the global health pandemic. We will look to and pray for your leadership to shape a U.S. policy response that supports a just recovery–one that begins with global vaccine equity.

Sincerely,

Africa Faith and Justice Network
American Friends Service Committee
American Humanist Association
American Jewish World Service
Bayard Rustin Liberation Initiative
Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB)
Christian Connections for International Health
Christians for Social Action
Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy
Church World Service
Churches for Middle East Peace
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Congregation of Sisters of Bon Secours
Congregation of Sisters of St Agnes
Dominican Leadership Conference
Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids
Dominican Sisters of Houston
Erie Benedictines for Peace
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart
Franciscan Action Network
Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Friends in Solidarity, Inc. (with South Sudan)
Get1Give1 Worldwide
Ginter Park Presbyterian Church
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ
Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart
IHM Sisters Justice, Peace and Sustainability Office
Incarnate Word Sisters
Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center
Islamic Society of North America
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Medical Mission Sisters
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Missionary Oblates JPIC Office
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Churches USA
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light
Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore
Pax Christi USA
People’s Federation for National Peace and Development (PEFENAP)
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc.
Religions for Peace USA
Religious of Jesus and Mary
Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Western American Area
School Sisters of Notre Dame Atlantic-Midwest
Sikh Council for Interfaith Relations
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia Justice, Peace and Integrity for Creation Committee
Sisters of Bon Secours, USA
Sisters of Charity Federation
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team
Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA
Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, PA
Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Albany Province
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, LA
Sisters of St. Joseph of NW PA
Sisters of St. Joseph-TOSF Social Justice Committee
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur
Sisters of the Humility of Mary
Society of Helpers
Sojourners
Stuart Center Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
The Episcopal Church
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United States Catholic Mission Association
Wheaton Franciscans JPIC Office

CC: Katherine Tai, USTR Ambassador Antony Blinken, Secretary of State Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAD Director Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor Gayle Smith, State Department Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator



6) Church workers’ COVID emergency grants are extended again

By Jean Bednar, Brethren Benefit Trust

It’s difficult to gauge whether the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been a threat in the US for 18 months now, is soon to be behind us, or taking a second run with vaccination challenges and variants that are harder for our systems to fight off. At Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), when the pandemic began in March 2020, staff immediately kick started discussions on how to address the inevitable financial woes that would hit some of our members and clients hard–such as pastors and other employees of churches, districts, and camps.

Lynnae Rodeffer, director of Employee Benefits, says, “We were in a unique position to be able to very quickly create a grant program for those who might suffer financial problems caused by the pandemic. We already had the Church Workers’ Assistance Plan in place. Adding an emergency relief grant to the infrastructure of that program was a quick solution.”

The Church Workers’ Assistance Plan was created as an Annual Conference directive, which in 1998 asked BBT to serve as administrator of this benevolence program. Funds contributed by churches, districts, and camps provide financial support grants to church workers in dire financial need. The application process and distribution of funds are overseen by BBT staff.

In 2020, this program provided $290,000 in grants to 45 people.

When the COVID Emergency Grant program was set up last year, it was linked to the Church Workers’ Assistance Plan program but with a separate application and less stringent rules to make it easier to qualify, thereby making the process faster.

Extending the grant program now through the end of the year 2021 has been an easy decision for BBT staff, but they also had the backing of the Council of District Executives, who voiced their support of the idea earlier in 2021. The district executives report that they have seen the need within their districts, and the grants awarded thus far have helped carry folks through. They are also helping BBT spread the news of the grant program by passing the information along when they hear of someone who is suffering financial hardship.

Please visit www.cobbt.org/Church-Workers-Assistance-Plan for more information and an application.

— Jean Bednar is director of communications for Brethren Benefit Trust.



7) Haiti Medical Project continues to meet needs for health care and community development

By Paul E. Brubaker

One motivation for being involved with the Haiti Medical Project arises from Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 25. Characteristics of Jesus’ followers are those who care for the hungry, thirsty, unclothed, sick, and imprisoned. The Haiti Medical Project helps meet these needs of the people in Haiti.

In 2010, a devastating earthquake occurred near the capitol city of Port-au-Prince causing the death of an estimated 350,000 people. A small group of Church of the Brethren individuals from the US responded by spending a week helping to meet the healthcare needs of survivors. As a result of this response, God moved in their hearts to see the lack of ongoing healthcare in Haiti and motivated them to do something about it. The Haiti Medical Project is the result.

Photo by Paul Brubaker

The project is financed through grassroots efforts by raising money from individuals, churches, and organizations. Distribution of this money is managed through the Church of the Brethren General Offices and the Global Mission of the denomination, but no money for project is in the denominational budget.

The project started as a series of mobile medical clinics. This consisted of a number of Haitian doctors, nurses, and support personnel traveling throughout the country and providing care in villages with a congregation of L’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (Church of the Brethren in Haiti). The church’s leaders and members are instrumental in arranging the sites for the clinics, usually associated with a church building or an associated school. Everyone in the community, not just church members, is invited to attend the medical clinics. All medications prescribed to patients by the providers are purchased in pharmacies in Haiti prior to the clinic, and are distributed as needed at no charge. In 2012, 12 mobile clinics were held. In the past few years, 48 clinics per year were held, although they were reduced to 32 in 2021 because of funding restrictions.

In 2015, a Community Development Team was formed and a number of new projects were started, aimed at improving health in communities. These have included a team of Haitian nurses who travel to villages and teach classes to pre-natal patients as well as mothers of children up to two years of age. They teach preventative measures related to hygiene and nutrition, and check growth parameters of the children, looking out for problems with these individuals and hopefully improving Haiti’s dismal child mortality rates. Several of these nurses also provide services as school nurses for four schools associated with L’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti.

Several nurses on the Community Development Team have taken additional educational courses from Midwives for Haiti, and now do training for village matrons. A matron is an untrained villager who assists in home births for women electing home deliveries, which may be the easiest option for many women in Haiti. The nurses teach the matrons about using sterile techniques, and provide them with a delivery kit. The nurses encourage women to give birth at the nearest birthing center where care is better than home deliveries, whenever possible.

Community Medication Dispensaries have been set up by the Community Development Team in a number of outlying villages. This consists of a locked cabinet with typical over-the-counter medications for treatment of common, non-life-threatening disorders. An individual in the village is chosen to attend a two-day seminar where they learn what they should use the medications for and learn to recognize when someone is too ill and needs to receive medical care at a distant medical center. People who receive a medication pay a minimal fee so it can be restocked.

Clean water is scarce in Haiti, and contaminated water is one of the leading causes of death in young children and the elderly because of diarrheal diseases and dehydration. The Community Development Team has been active in setting up sources of clean water in villages where there are L’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti congregations. In these villages, people sometimes have to travel for miles to find water, and even then it is not clean. By using a variety of techniques including cisterns to hold rainwater, purifying the water through filters, capped springs, well drilling, and reverse osmosis desalination, pure water has been provided to an ever-growing number of communities. Villagers are most appreciative for the reliable clean water nearby. These water supplies are shared with everyone in the community, not simply church members.

The most recent project by the Community Development Team has been the building of latrines. There are villages which have not one latrine. Villagers who have no access to a latrine simply go in the bush, which readily spreads disease by insect vectors or by contaminating water sources. An available latrine prevents these dangers. Latrines that have been built have been readily accepted by the villagers and should help to prevent the spread of disease.

Unrest in Haiti as well as COVID-19 have made the holding of clinics less predictable in the past year, but the Haiti Medical Project has been successfully making progress in providing medical care, clean water, and preventative health measures to many individuals.

In the past, some congregations have made commitments of varying amounts to the Haiti Medical Project and collected the money as part of their congregational ministries. Some congregations have held fundraising activities, such as meals, a Sunday school offering, or a class project. We are thankful for the generous support of the Royer Foundation in the past seven years. The project also receives support from Project Piti Pami, which pays for several Mobile Medical Clinics each year.

At the current time, a Mobile Medical Clinic that provides evaluation and care for an average of 165 patients costs $2,200 per clinic. Clean water can be provided to a village for about $14,000, unless it involves desalination, in which case the price doubles. A latrine can be built, with the help of local labor, for $600. The 15 full- and part-time employees of the Community Development Team receive a combined annual salary totaling $113,600.

For additional information or to contact a resource person to help organize a fundraising meal for the Haiti Medical Project, contact Paul and Sandy Brubaker at peb26@icloud.com or 717-665-3466.



UPCOMING EVENTS

8) Virtual National Older Adult Conference to offer keynote presentations, worship and Bible study, unique online gatherings

National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) is fully online this year. The dates are Sept. 6-10. The theme, “Overflowing with Hope,” is inspired by Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Christian Standard Bible).

Register at www.brethren.org/noac. (For paper registration forms call 800-323-8039 ext. 303.) Registration costs $100 per person or $150 for a couple (spouse, friend, or relative). Registration provides access to all keynote presentations, worship services, Bible studies, workshops, virtual field trips, virtual “campfires” and “ice cream socials,” and recordings after the event.

All who register will receive an email with basic information about how to access NOAC events online, and by late August will receive a conference booklet in pdf format also via email. During NOAC, registrants will receive an email every morning with the schedule, login information, and links for that day.

A help line at 800-323-8039 will be available each day of the conference from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Eastern time) for questions or assistance to log in.

The NOAC 2021 schedule (all times Eastern)

Monday, Sept. 6

— 6:50 p.m. – Congregational singing, welcome, announcements, and NOAC News

— 7:30 p.m. – Worship with preacher Christy Dowdy

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Sept. 7-9

— 8:20 a.m. – Congregational singing, welcome, and announcements

— 8:30-9:30 a.m. – Bible study led by Joel Kline

— 9:35 a.m. – Welcome, announcements, and NOAC News

— 9:45-11 a.m. – Keynote presentations: Karen González on Tuesday (with panel discussion to 12:05 p.m.); “From Trolleys to Tub: The History of NOAC News” on Wednesday; and a keynote presentation by Lisa Sharon Harper on Thursday (with panel discussion to 12:05 p.m.)

— 1:30-2:45 p.m. and 3:15-4:30 p.m. – Workshops and virtual field trips

— 6:50 p.m. – Congregational singing, welcome, announcements, and NOAC News

— 7:30 p.m. – Worship with preacher Paula Bowser on Tuesday; Andrew J. O. Wright on Wednesday; and Don Fitzkee on Thursday

— 8:30-10 p.m. – Virtual campfires and ice cream socials (online gatherings and reunions)

Friday, Sept. 10

— 8:50 a.m. – Congregational singing, welcome, announcements, and NOAC News

— 9:15-11 a.m. – Keynote presentation by Ken Medema and Ted Swartz

— 11:05 a.m. – Closing worship with preacher Eric Landram

Many of the NOAC events will be pre-recorded and streamed at the time indicated on the schedule. The live portions of NOAC are: the keynote presentations and panel discussions on Tuesday and Thursday; welcoming statements and announcements from coordinator Christy Waltersdorff and others before each Bible study, keynote presentation, and worship service; and closing remarks on Friday after worship.

Keynote presentations

Karen González will be the keynote speaker on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 9:45 a.m. (Eastern time). González is a speaker, writer, and immigrant advocate who herself immigrated from Guatemala as a child. She is a former public school teacher and for the last 11 years a nonprofit professional, currently working for World Relief. She attended Fuller Theological Seminary, where she studied theology and missiology. Her book about her own immigration story and the many immigrants found in the Bible is titled The God Who Sees: Immigrants, The Bible, and the Journey to Belong (Herald Press, May 2019).

“From Trolleys to Tub: The History of NOAC News” is the keynote presentation on Wednesday Sept. 8, at 9:45 a.m. (Eastern time). This retrospective reviews the history of the ever-popular NOAC News humorous video segments produced by the Church of the Brethren videography team of David Sollenberger, Larry Glick, and Chris Brown.

Lisa Sharon Harper presents on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 9:45 a.m. (Eastern time). She leads trainings that increase clergy and community leaders’ capacity to organize people of faith toward a just world. A prolific speaker, writer, and activist, Harper is the founder and president of FreedomRoad.us, a consulting group dedicated to shrinking the narrative gap by designing forums and experiences that bring common understanding, common commitment, and common action. She also has written several books and previously worked as the chief church engagement officer for the Sojourners community in Washington, D.C.

Ken Medema and Ted Swartz are the keynote presenters on Friday, Sept. 10, at 9:15 a.m. (Eastern time). They have been popular performers at National Youth Conference, Annual Conference, and past NOACs. Medema is a Christian musician, singer, and songwriter who, though blind from birth, has for four decades inspired people through storytelling and music. Swartz is a Mennonite playwright and actor whose performances touch the intersection of humor and the biblical story to unearth new understandings of scripture. He is executive director of the Center for Art, Humor, and Soul.

Worship and Bible study

Christy Dowdy preaches for the opening worship on Monday, Sept. 6, at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time). Dowdy has been a pastor in the Church of the Brethren for 31 years. She co-pastored with her spouse, Dale Dowdy, for many of those years at Antelope Park Church of the Brethren in Lincoln, Neb., and Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa. Currently, she is an interim pastor at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren.

Paula Bowser will bring the message on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time). Bowser is a retired pastor from Englewood, Ohio, and a writer. She has written for Brethren Press, authoring two devotionals–The Word Made Flesh and Holy Manna–and two Covenant Bible Studies–Jonah and Women of the Hebrew Bible. She has worked as a high school English teacher, as a reporter, and as an ecumenical campus minister at Iowa State University.

Andrew J. O. Wright will preach on Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time). Born and raised in England, he was introduced to the Church of the Brethren and married his wife, Debi, while teaching at Hillcrest School in Nigeria. In the US, he pastored three congregations in southern Ohio before retiring in 2019, and now serves as an interim pastor. He also has had a career as a musician.

Don Fitzkee brings the message on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time). Fitzkee is pastor of worship at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. He previously served for 20 years as a “free minister” and worked on the staff of COBYS Family Services. On the denominational level, he has chaired the Mission and Ministry Board and preached at the 2015 Annual Conference. He has written for Brethren Press and Messenger and is author of Moving Toward the Mainstream, a 20th century history of Atlantic Northeast District.

Closing worship at 9 a.m. (Eastern time) on Friday, Sept. 9, features Eric Landram, pastor of Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. He has preached for National Youth Conference in 2018 and National Young Adult Conference in 2016, and has been one of those planning worship for Young Adult Conferences. In addition to pastoring, he has worked for the state of Virginia serving those with severe mental illness.

Karen González
Lisa Sharon Harper
Ken Medema
Ted Swartz

Bible study is at 8:30-9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, led by Joel Kline. A retired Church of the Brethren minister, Kline most recently pastored Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill.

Workshops and virtual field trips

Each afternoon offers a choice of two workshops or virtual field trips.

Workshops

Topics range from poetry and memoir writing to “Art in the Church,” “Viruses and Other Issues Infecting our Economy,” “Doing Well for Someone of My Age,” and many more. Find a full list at www.brethren.org/discipleshipmin/noac/workshops.

Virtual field trips

— “Brethren Heritage Tour” led by David Sollenberger, and “Ephrata Cloister” led by Elizabeth Bertheud, on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 7

— “Civilian Public Service and Plough Boys in China” led by Karen Dillon and Ivan Patterson, and “Global Food Initiative” led by Jeff Boshart, on the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 8

— “John Kline Homestead” led by Mike Hostetter, and “300th Anniversary Celebration” led by David Sollenberger, on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 9

Find the online listing of field trips at www.brethren.org/discipleshipmin/noac/field-trips.

Virtual campfires, ice cream socials, gatherings, and reunions (8:30-10 p.m., Eastern time)

A popular feature of past NOACs has been the ice cream socials sponsored by Bethany Seminary and the church-related colleges and universities. This year, that tradition continues with the addition of a virtual campfire and camp reunions sponsored by the Outdoor Ministries Association. Although participants will have to supply their own ice cream, these virtual events will be an opportunity connect with school and camp friends in Zoom gatherings. Registrants will receive emails giving the links needed for each day.

“Virtual Campfire and Camp Reunions” sponsored by the Outdoor Ministries Association takes place on Monday night.

The Bethany Theological Seminary reunion will be Tuesday night.

On Wednesday night are college reunions for Bridgewater (Va.) College, Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and McPherson (Kan.) College.

Thursday night college reunions will be held by Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, the University of La Verne, Calif., and Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind.

Find the schedule with a couple of fun videos at www.brethren.org/discipleshipmin/noac/virtual-gatherings.

Service projects

A virtual “Fundraising Walk Around the Lake” this year raises funds for the Emergency Disaster Fund and assists congregations that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations may be made online at https://churchofthebrethren.givingfuel.com/bdm.

A Lake Junaluska Elementary School Book Drive will help Ira Hyde, school librarian, create a more culturally diverse library for children in grades K-5 in this low-income community. With help from Church of the Brethren volunteer Libby Kinsey, a list of suggested books has been created. Donate funds to purchase books at www.brethren.org/NOAC-book-drive.

NOAC online bookstore

Brethren Press is offering a special online NOAC bookstore at www.brethrenpress.com. Among the new products is a commemorative NOAC News mug designed by artist Mitch Miller, on sale for $20 each.

Watch parties

NOAC organizers are encouraging people to join together with others in their congregations or retirement communities to participate in watch parties. If you want ideas for how to do this, contact NOAC coordinator Christy Waltersdorff at CWaltersdorff@brethren.org.

The NOAC Planning Team includes Waltersdorff along with Glenn Bollinger, Karen Dillon, Jim Martinez, Rex Miller, Pat Roberts, Paula Ulrich, and Discipleship Ministries staff Josh Brockway and Stan Dueck.

For more information and to register go to www.brethren.org/noac.



9) Online formation experience is offered by Discipleship Ministries and Diversity 2 Inclusion

“Discipling Our Imagination: Interrupting Our Biases” is a new online formation experience hosted by the Church of the Brethren’s Discipleship Ministries in partnership with Diversity 2 Inclusion. The experience is offered as online workshops or webinars at 7-9 p.m. (Eastern time) on Aug. 24 and 31 and Sept. 7. Credentialed ministers may earn 0.6 continuing education units through the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. The registration fee is $100.

“It is generally agreed that we all have biases,” said a description. “Sometimes these biases are conscious preferences, such as liking pie better than cake. Yet, at other times, these biases are subtle and take place below our conscious awareness. Far from being neutral, these biases frame the way we experience other people and shape our attitudes about them. Implicit biases inhibit meeting people as made in the image of God and flatten them into one-dimensional persons so that they fit within our mental categories.

“The vision of the scriptures, where all are gathered in the name of Jesus regardless of ethnicity, class, and gender is both beautiful and difficult. Belonging together in the name of Jesus takes intentional effort to interrupt our biases so that we might begin to view and relate to others as God’s beloved people.”

Through recorded and print resources, participants will learn about how status and bias inhibit belonging together in the name of Christ. Through live video conferences, participants will share together and explore practices intended to identify biases and reshape attitudes and actions with the goal of transformational growth. Media will include video, PDF documents, and Zoom conference calls. Participants will engage videos and print materials prior to each session including workbooks from Diversity 2 Inclusion.

Leadership will be provided by Joshua Brockway, co-coordinator of Discipleship Ministries, and Jessica Oladapo, founder of Diversity 2 Inclusion, an organization that seeks to foster greater inclusion in society, workplaces, and everyday lives through professional development sessions, team development workshops, and one-on-one coaching. Oladapo is a professor of sociology and holds degrees in psychology and sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Lewis University, and DePaul University.

Find more information and register at www.brethren.org/discipleshipmin/discipling-our-imagination.

Jessica Oladapo


10) Annual Conference office co-sponsors webinars on theme of equipping for leadership

By Chris Douglas

The Annual Conference office is co-sponsoring two online workshops offered by Womaen’s Caucus on the theme “Equipping for Leadership.” All are invited to join! The first webinar titled “Leadership in the Church of the Brethren” will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 8 p.m. (Eastern time) via Zoom.

To attend, email womaenscaucuscob@gmail.com. In addition to the Zoom link you will receive a short document to read in preparation for this workshop.

Questions to be addressed include: How do people get on Program and Arrangements Committee anyway? And Standing Committee–how is that different from Mission and Ministry Board? Do Brethren Benefit Trust and On Earth Peace pick their own board members or do we? How do I nominate people? Who can I nominate? What do I do if I get nominated? How do we deal with getting nominated every year but never making it on the ballot? Or getting on the ballot but then the delegates vote for someone else–publicly and painfully?

Bring all your other good questions, too, and Nominating Committee and Annual Conference officers will be with us as we get equipped to lead the church: today and tomorrow.

— Chris Douglas is director of the Annual Conference office.



RESOURCES

11) Video promotes nominations and explains process for choosing denominational leadership

A new video that promotes nominations for Church of the Brethren leadership and helps explain the nomination and election process at Annual Conference is now available at www.brethren.org/ac/nominations. Also on this web page are a list of currently open positions and nomination forms.

The video can be downloaded from the denomination’s Vimeo site by districts and congregations that would like to show it in places without good Internet access. To download the video from the nominations web page, click on the title at the top left. Once seeing the video on Vimeo, scroll down to find “download” or an icon with an arrow pointing down beneath the video. Clicking that, the video will download.

The video was created by Nominating Committee chair Kurt Borgmann at the urging of the committee, which is made up of members of the Standing Committee of district delegates to Annual Conference. It calls church members across the denomination to consider making nominations of names for church leadership positions that are open for election. At a little under 5 minutes in length, the video is suitable for use in congregational worship services, Bible study and adult Sunday school classes, and other church settings.



12) Brethren Press offers a new Bible story book from Shine

Brethren Press is offering a new volume of the Shine curriculum’s Bible story book, called All Together: God’s Story for You and Me. The book serves as the source of the Bible story for elementary classes. One new volume is produced each year, containing all the Bible stories for that year.

The book is suitable to purchase for each child in elementary age Sunday school classes, for each Sunday school teacher, and also for families who would like to share the Bible stories with their children at home.

The book features the two versions of the Bible story for each week of the Shine curriculum for elementary ages, in the form of an illustrated or “cartoon” retelling of the story and a version that uses the exact Bible text. God’s Story and My Story prompts accompany each story, providing questions and interesting facts about the story.

Cost is $10.99 for this paperback book. Purchase online at www.brethrenpress.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=80885.



JESUS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: STORIES FROM CONGREGATIONS

13) Chicago First Church speaks out in support of Brethren Volunteer Service

Submitted by Heidi Gross

Members of our Wednesday evening “Faith Issues” group at First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill., were saddened to read in Newsline that Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) had received pushback related to their statement on racism. (Find the statement linked at www.brethren.org/bvs.) We were in the midst of a book study of Drew Hart’s Who Will Be a Witness? and felt called to write this statement in support of BVS:

“We stand in strong support of BVS’s reaffirmed statement on racism. As a congregation with members who experience racism in their own lives, and which witnesses first-hand the effects of structural and institutional racism in communities of color (in which we are situated), we applaud the prophetic witness demonstrated in this statement. We also see in ourselves the same complicity in perpetuating white supremacy, and join in repentance as well as the commitment to continuing the work of anti-racism.”

14) Neighborhood prayer walk helps Celebration of Christ Church reach out

Submitted by Ray Hileman

On a Saturday morning in June, some members of the Celebration of Christ Church of the Brethren in Saint Petersburg, Fla., met to go on a neighborhood prayer walk. This seemed to the Leadership Team to be a good starting point for reaching out to the homes around us. We had three small groups who took different routes to walk.

The goal was not to knock on doors and to only speak if spoken to. In most cases, the members simply prayed God’s blessings on each home, although, by and large, they did not know who lived inside. But in a few cases, neighbors who were out in their front yards did greet the walkers. At that point, members would ask them if they had any needs for which they would like prayer. At least one shared a need and was prayed for. Several others conversed with the walkers and were given brochures from the church with an invitation to attend.

The only negative lesson learned was to avoid future walks in summer, even in the morning. It’s just too tropical in Florida! But the church intends to go out more again in the fall and winter months to continue this ministry.

15) Lancaster Church to host International Fun Day on Aug. 21

Submitted by Don Fitzkee

Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is hosting an outdoor International Fun Day on Saturday, Aug. 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (rain date is Aug. 28). The event will include booths representing various countries, with each one providing an activity. Participants get their “passports” stamped as they visit each booth, and each person who completes their passport receives a small prize along with information about the church. Additional activities and free food will add to the fun. “We are looking forward to celebrating different cultures and making new friends from our community,” said lead pastor Misty Wintsch.

Local musician Stu Huggens will perform from 10:15 to 11 a.m. and noon to 12:45 p.m. A dance company from Paloma School of Irish Dance will entertain from 11:15 to 11:45. A bike obstacle course with a pedestrian option in the church parking lot will give a nod to the Tour de France. Children will enjoy a bounce house reminiscent of Russian architecture. Church member Jerry Brown will wander the grounds with Django, his pet Capuchin monkey. The Hospitality Team will safely serve a free grilled hot dog lunch throughout the day, as a contribution from the US. Additional countries to be represented include the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Nigeria, Scotland, and Venezuela.

To add to the event’s international flavor, the church has invited families with children participating in the Leap Into Language program, a partnership between the school district of Lancaster, IU-13 Refugee Center, and Eastern Mennonite Missions. The program enhances language skills of refugee children whose resettlement was sponsored by Church World Service. Earlier this summer, as part of a stay-at-home service project, junior and senior high youth from the congregation participated in afternoon activities at Elizabeth Martin Elementary School with children and youth enrolled in the program.

16) Manchester Church of the Brethren hosts blood drive in honor of 5-year-old

Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., is hosting a special Red Cross Blood Drive in honor of 5-year-old Kole Adamiec, who was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma on April 18. “He has received several blood transfusions since he started treatment. Kole rarely lets his diagnosis keep him down, and he often surprises the medical staff, according to a news release from The American Red Cross…. His family wants to help educate the community about the need and importance of blood donations,” said an article in the Times Union. The blood drive is scheduled for Aug. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To donate, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. See the full article at https://timesuniononline.com/Content/Top-Stories-Click-for-more-top-stories/Top-Stories/Article/Red-Cross-To-Host-Blood-Drive-In-Honor-Of-5-Year-Old-Battling-Cancer/82/353/134409.

17) Lakeview Church participates in conversation about community center

A project in Manistee County, Mich., is seeking input on what a new community center should be used for, and Lakeview Church of the Brethren is one of the organizations interested in participating. The roughly $100,000 project aims to convert the former Kaleva Elementary school, which has sat empty for more than a decade, into a community center, according to an article from the Manistee News Advocate. At an event to receive suggestions from the community, “the recommendations received include things which organizers say are lacking in the area, such as a place to host blood drives, a central location for locals to gather in case of emergency, and expanded options for health, fitness, child care services, and adult learning classes.”

The Lakeview Church is among the individuals and local organizations that have approached the committee in hopes of using the space when it becomes available. Also interested are the Marilla Food Bank and Bethany Lutheran Church, with along with the Lakeview Church might utilize space to host their food pantry. Community meetings about the project continue on Aug. 19, Sept. 16, Oct. 21, Nov. 18, and Dec. 16. Find the full article at www.ctpost.com/insider/article/This-Manistee-County-project-is-seeking-input-on-16341033.php.

18) Trinity Church members make quilts for Sabetha Community Hospital

Roma McCorkle, Beverly Goodman, Nancy Cox, and Laurie Hertzler of Trinity Church of the Brethren spend part of their spare time getting together to make quilts, according to the Sabetha (Kan.) Herald. They have donated quilts to the Sabetha Community Hospital to be used for lap blankets for patients who need a little extra comfort and warmth. Find the article and a photo at www.sabethaherald.com/2021/07/27/quilts-donated-to-sabetha-community-hospital.



PERSONNEL

19) Joshua Rowan to work in IT for the Church of the Brethren

Joshua Rowan has been hired by the Church of the Brethren as IT specialist for the Information Technology team, working from the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and holds an associated degree in engineering from Truman College. He will begin his work on Aug. 9.



20) Brethren bits

– Remembrance: Kendal Wilson Elmore, 74, a former executive of the Church of the Brethren’s West Marva District, died on July 31. “Please be in prayer for Carolyn and their family,” said a request from the district. Elmore was born in Lawrenceville, Va., to H. Wilson and Virginia Elmore, the oldest of three sons. He attended Ferrum College and Virginia Commonwealth University and in the early 1970s was licensed and ordained as a pastor in the Church of the Brethren. He served pastorates in Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He began as a district executive minister in West Marva District in 2010, retiring in December 2019. In addition to his love for Christ and the ministry, he loved music and played several musical instruments. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Stone Elmore; their children Tracey Elmore Hoffman, Amy Williams and husband Dan, Angela Nelson and husband Steve, Matthew Elmore and wife Jessica; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The family expressed appreciation to the aides and nurses at Fahrney Keedy Nursing Home. A celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m. on Aug. 14–which would have been the couple’s 55th wedding anniversary–at Potomac Park Retreat and Conference Center in Falling Waters, W.Va. Memorial gifts are received to global missions in South Asia.

— A special Facebook Live event will welcome Jennifer Houser as the new archivist and director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The event takes place Aug. 17 at 10 a.m. (Central time) at www.facebook.com/events/223133596255760.

The National Council of Churches of Christ in the US (NCC) and Friendship Press are working toward an updated edition of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. A series of Q&A posts about the NRSV Updated Edition is appearing online at https://friendshippress.org/nrsv-updated-edition-bible-question-answer-series. In a recent post: “The New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition reflects discoveries of ancient texts and new insights made in the 30 years since the NRSV was last revised. The newly updated translation offers clearer, more direct, and inclusive language, and increased cultural sensitivity absent of the unintended biases of prior versions.” A sampler also is available to download. This updated Bible translation will be available to purchase from Brethren Press later this fall.

— Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., seeks an executive director of Institutional Advancement to manage the overall operations of development, alumni relations, local community relations, and institutional communications. This position strategizes and actively works to build relationships with a variety of constituents, enlists financial support for the seminary, and serves as a member of the president’s Leadership Team. For details and how to apply, go to https://bethanyseminary.edu/jobs/executive-director-of-institutional-advancement.

— Material Resources staff were very happy to receive a trailer load of Lutheran World quilts and kits from Oregon. This trailer was ‘stuck’ in the Harrisburg rail lot for 3 plus months due to an issue with the chassis on many of the trailers needing a repair. This is the first large donation we have received in several months. Hoping it is a good sign of increased donations coming to New Windsor to process for filling the requests pending from around the world.
Loretta Wolf

Chris Douglas, director of the Annual Conference Office, will be the featured speaker for the 30th district conference in Missouri Arkansas District on Sept. 24-26. The event will be hybrid, held virtually and in-person at Cabool (Mo.) Church of the Brethren. Douglas will bring the message for the Sunday morning worship service and will lead a workshop for all district ministers on the preceding Friday afternoon Ministers in the district can earn 0.3 continuing education credit. Also from the denominational staff, Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden will lead in an insight session on copyright laws and licenses, worth 0.1 continuing education credit. Staff from On Earth Peace will lead in a Bible study on the topic of racism. The business session will include a special time to celebrate and remember 30 years as the Missouri Arkansas District. Gary Gahm is serving as moderator.

— The Northern Plains District Conference on Aug. 6-8 will be held online on the theme “Humble Service.” The moderator is Paul Shaver. Pre-conference insight sessions have been held on “Who Is My Neighbor?” and other topics, with leadership from Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Seminary; Dava Hensley, pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va.; and Linda Lantz, a member of Panther Creek Church of the Brethren. Carter and Hensley are the featured preachers. Go to www.nplains.org/dc2021 for more information.

– The Northern Ohio District Conference on Aug. 14 at Akron (Ohio) Springfield Church of the Brethren will address “much important business on the agenda this year,” said an announcement. The agenda includes changes in the ways money is drawn from the Hottle Memorial Fund, a new district constitution, a 2022 district budget, and election of district leadership.

— Southern Ohio and Kentucky District is thanking donors who have contributed toward a goal of raising $10,500 for the purchase of a bus for the elementary school attached to the Theological College of Northern Nigeria near Jos, Nigeria. “We had a total of 10 individual gifts, 5 gifts from congregations, and gifts from 2 organizations, including Brethren World Mission,” said an email from the district. “When all the funds were counted, we actually received $13,240 that will not only allow for the purchase of the bus but also for repairs as they might be needed along the way.”

— On Earth Peace is offering a two-hour online introduction to Kingian Nonviolence on Aug. 12 at 5 p.m. (Eastern time). Register to attend and “meet others interested in Kingian Nonviolence, build Beloved Community, and connect with On Earth Peace’s Kingian Nonviolence Learning Action Community,” said an announcement. Go to www.onearthpeace.org/2021-08-12_knv-intro.

– Camp Pine Lake in Iowa held a day camp for children in grades K-5 with matching grants from the Brethren Faith in Action Fund and Northern Plains District. According to the district newsletter, the day camp welcomed 53 children the week of June 21-25.

— The latest episode of Brethren Voices features the 2021 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren. “Over the years, Brethren have dealt with many practical questions of how to live out their faith,” said an announcement of this program for community television, produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. “They’ve worked through many public issues such as war, slavery, death penalty, abortion, and environmental issues, helping to foster and develop the unique perspective of the Church of the Brethren. Due to the pandemic, the 234th Annual Conference met virtually this year via Zoom, with delegates and observers participating, from all over the country and world. We share a small portion of the activities that took place.” Find episodes of Brethren Voices on the show’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/BrethrenVoices.

— Kate Szambecki has joined the staff of the Anabaptist Disabilities Network as resource director, starting Aug. 2. She has spent the last several years writing in both journalistic and social media contexts as well as managing multiple professional social media accounts and blogs. She brings skills in writing and content creation, web design, outreach and communication, and project management, and a passion for storytelling and connecting with others. Additionally, she has worked consistently with underserved youth, something that helped spark her interest in advocacy. Szambecki will be responsible for the network’s social media, blog, and newsletter, as well as strengthening its network of churches, advocates, and disability resources. She is a student at Eastern Mennonite University who will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in English and Writing Studies and a minor in Digital Communications. She lives in Harrisonburg, Va., but grew up in Newton, Kan., where she attended Shalom Mennonite Church.

— Christian Peacemaker Teams has announced its next Peacemaker Congress in honor of the organization’s 35th anniversary, to take place as a virtual event on Sept. 25 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Central time). “We would love for you to join us!” said an invitation. The event includes a keynote presentation from Irish poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama, author of four books of poetry and prose including Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community. He also presents the podcast “Poetry Unbound” with On Being Studios, and from 2014-2019 was the leader of Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation community. Also on the schedule are meetings with CPT teams, workshops on nonviolence and undoing oppressions, musical entertainment, and a silent auction. The theme is “Mobilize for Collective Liberation.” Go to https://cptaction.org/cpt-peacemaker-congress.

— Registration is now open for the “Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders” at the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, to be held on Oct. 11-15 and Nov. 15-19. The two identical sessions will be held online via Zoom. “This workshop is designed to help church leaders deal more effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict,” said an announcement. For a complete list of training events offered by the center, including a one-day “Conflict Transformation Skills and Healthy Congregations” training, go to www.lmpeacecenter.org/all-events.

— The past week, July 28-Aug. 4, marks the 70th anniversary of the Refugee Convention “and celebrate the courage and resilience of refugees who have been forced to flee their homes and rebuild their lives,” said an announcement from Church World Service (CWS). “The 1951 Refugee Convention laid the foundation for humanitarian protection laws and acknowledges the responsibility of the global community to protect and support those seeking refuge. On this anniversary, we are reminded of the urgent need for the US to restore and rebuild refugee resettlement, asylum, and humanitarian protections. As we face the worst global displacement crisis in history–with more than 31 million refugees displaced globally–it is vital that the US live up to its moral values to welcome and treat all people with dignity and respect.” A toolkit for action in support of refugees is at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hjbLjfApiHd88f3qBf64_Ot91MbNniIVakkHPOxu5Ds/edit. More information for congregations wanting to join or host a “Restoring Welcome Vigil” is at www.facebook.com/events/4374729415913017.

— The World Council of Churches’ journal The Ecumenical Review focuses its latest issue on the WCC 11th Assembly theme, “Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity.” The assembly is to take place in September 2022 in Germany. The journal’s July issue offers biblical and theological perspectives from a number of ecumenical leaders on the theme, against the backdrop of critical issues confronting churches and humanity as a whole. Go to www.oikoumene.org/news/ecumenical-review-focuses-on-wcc-11th-assembly-theme-christs-love-moves-the-world-to-reconciliation-and-unity.

Also new from the WCC is a second edition of the publication Cooler Earth-Higher Benefits: Actions by Those Who Care about Children, Climate, and Finance. This new volume gives suggestions for how churches and other organizations around the world can respond to the climate emergency through investment decisions that are crucial to protect children from global warming. It contains updated tables and reports. It may be downloaded from www.oikoumene.org/resources/publications/cooler-earth-higher-benefits-second-edition.

— Fred C. Garber of Wakemans Grove Church of the Brethren has received the 2021 Electric Cooperative Leadership Award from the Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. He is a farmer, businessman, and longtime electric cooperative director, said an article from the Augusta Free Press. “Garber received the association’s highest award July 22 at a reception at the Rockingham office of Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, where he served as a member of the board of directors from 1984 until 2019,” said the article. “In retirement, Garber’s farm in Shenandoah County is hosting SVEC’s first community solar project.” Find the full article at https://augustafreepress.com/fred-garber-receives-co-op-leadership-award.


Newsline is the email news service of the Church of the Brethren. Inclusion in Newsline does not necessarily convey endorsement by the Church of the Brethren. All submissions are subject to editing. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contributors to this issue include Jean Bednar, Jeff Boshart, Paul E. Brubaker, Shamek Cardona, Jeanne Davies, Chris Douglas, Torin Eikler, Pamela B. Eiten, Jan Fischer Bachman, Don Fitzkee, Jonathan Graham, Ed Groff, Heidi Gross, Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Ray Hileman, Nate Hosler, Clara McGilly, Eric Miller, Angelo Olayvar, Meredith Owen, Hannah Redekop, Randi Rowan, Allison Snyder, Christy Waltersdorff, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Please send news tips and submissions to cobnews@brethren.org . Find the Newsline archive at www.brethren.org/news . Sign up for Newsline and other Church of the Brethren email newsletters and make subscription changes at www.brethren.org/intouch . Unsubscribe by using the link at the top of any Newsline email.


Find more Church of the Brethren news: