Newsline for July 9, 2021

1) Eglise des Freres Haitiens general secretary expresses appreciation for prayers for Haiti
2) Ministers’ Association hears Michael Gorman presentation on 1 Corinthians
3) McPherson gets ready for virtual NOAC
4) Bethany Seminary announces 2021 Peace Essay Contest winners
5) Womaen’s Caucus celebrates its 50th anniversary during Annual Conference 2021

6) Her quilting inspiration comes from God
7) Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren proclaims ‘Peace is patriotic’
8) Pleasant Chapel Church of the Brethren celebrates a century of ministry
9) Albright Church of the Brethren hosts Relay for Life
10) Wanted: Jesus in the neighborhood stories

11) Brethren bits: Annual Conference reporting resources, personnel notes, job openings, new dates for the fall orientation of Brethren Volunteer Service, extended deadline for Healing Racism Mini-grants, 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) Eglise des Freres Haitiens general secretary expresses appreciation for prayers for Haiti

The general secretary of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti), Romy Telfort, is expressing appreciation for prayers from the US Church of the Brethren following the assassination of Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse.

Yesterday Telfort sent a voicemail to Jeff Boshart, manager of the Global Food Initiative, sharing that the churches in Haiti are saddened by the assassination. Telfort has spoken to church leaders across the denomination and is encouraging them to stay home and not to travel, if at all possible.

On top of the political crisis, he mentioned that tropical storm Elsa just swept over the island, with high winds stripping leaves and unripe fruit from trees in the mountain communities of Grand Bois and Savanette near the border with the Dominican Republic.

The fruit, primarily avocadoes, typically ripens in September or October. It is counted upon by families with school children, who can get a meal from an avocado before going to school or after school, said Boshart.

“Insecurity [in Haiti] has been increasing for months and is now at its highest in recent memory,” Boshart added.

2) Ministers’ Association hears Michael Gorman presentation on 1 Corinthians

By Phil Collins

Approximately 130 people virtually attended the Church of the Brethren Ministers’ Association Pre-Annual Conference Event on June 29-30. Michael Gorman, a biblical scholar who was a featured speaker at the 2021 Annual Conference, spoke on 1 Corinthians, focusing on the church as Paul describes it.

Gorman explained the centrality of the church for Paul in all aspects of Christian life, as well as some of the challenges facing the church today and how 1 Corinthians might speak to those challenges. This two-day event covered the full epistle and included time for questions and interaction with the attendees.

Michael Gorman shown in a screenshot from the daily Bible studies at Annual Conference 2021

In a Zoom poll, the attendees approved the slate of incoming officers to the Ministers’ Association that was presented by the current officers. This includes Brandon Grady, who is the incoming secretary; Laura Leighton-Harris, who is the incoming second vice chair; and Cheryl Marszalek, who is the incoming treasurer. After a report of the Ministers’ Association finances from the current treasurer, Tim Morphew, the attendees also voted to approve the report.

— Phil Collins is a student at Bethany Theological Seminary.

3) McPherson gets ready for virtual NOAC

By Christy Waltersdorff

Exciting things are happening at the Cedars Retirement Community in McPherson, Kan. A group of dedicated folk are making plans for a great National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) experience on Sept. 6-10.

Since we cannot meet in person as usual at Lake Junaluska, N.C., they are creating their own National Older Adult Conference event, sponsored by the Cedars, McPherson Church of the Brethren, and McPherson College.

Plans include: meeting together in a banquet room to watch the Bible studies, keynote speakers, and worship services on a big screen. They will have two locations for viewing the workshops. The Cedars is providing a meal plan for the week. They have reserved rooms at a local hotel for out of towners. The McPherson College “virtual” ice cream social will feature delicious “real” ice cream.

If you would like more information, send an email to NOAC@brethren.org. NOAC 2021 registration is open at www.brethren.org/noac.

— Christy Waltersdorff is coordinator for the 2021 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC).

4) Bethany Seminary announces 2021 Peace Essay Contest winners

Bethany Theological Seminary has selected the winners in its 2021 Peace Essay Contest. Funded by the Jennie Calhoun Baker Endowment, the contest is open to students in graduate school, college, or high school. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three entries. This year’s contest solicited entries on the theme, “Civil Resistance and Nonviolent Social Change in an Increasingly Virtual World.”

Matthew Wiley, of Chicago, earned the $2,000 first prize for his essay “Spirit, Flesh, and the Algorithm.” Wiley is a PhD student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he is researching ecclesial division and unity. He also works as an editor at the Henry Center for Theological Understanding. He and his wife belong to Boulevard Presbyterian Church, where they lead the youth ministry.

The $1,000 second prize was awarded to Izaza Izeowayi, a 24-year-old Nigerian writer and poet, for his essay, “Knowledge, Action, and Hashtags: The Effective Means to Be Involved in Nonviolent Social Change in an Increasingly Violent and Virtual World.” Izeowayi is currently completing an undergraduate degree program in marketing at the University of Port Harcourt. He lives and writes in the city of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Carol Davis, of Canton, Ill., was awarded the $500 third prize for her essay, “The Stories Will Rise.” Davis earned a Master of Arts in Theopoetics and Writing from Bethany as well as master’s degrees from Illinois State University and the University of Missouri. She recently retired as a vice president of Spoon River College where she continues serve as an adjunct instructor and artistic director of a community performing arts troupe. She has a background as a playwright and journalist.

“We were very pleased with the three winning essays, and we offer congratulations to these writers,” says Scott Holland, Slabaugh Professor of Theology and Culture, who directs Bethany’s Peace Studies program. He organized the competition with assistance from a student, Susu Lassa. “We are grateful to all the writers who took time during a very challenging year to write about this important topic.”

5) Womaen’s Caucus celebrates its 50th anniversary during Annual Conference 2021

By Anna Lisa Gross

We celebrated Womaen’s Caucus’ 50th anniversary with 50 devices (and more than 50 people) praying for God’s reconciling and transforming justice in our lives and church. We lamented the lack of women and other marginalized persons in denominational leadership. We shared stories of empowerment to leadership, and barriers to leadership, including a lack of mentoring for ministers, the sabotage of women on the ballot, and theology that preaches male and white supremacy.

We gathered on Saturday, the final evening of Annual Conference 2021, with the question: How will you care for yourself and rejuvenate at the end of this exhausting week? The gathered body of Christ named
— laughing with friends
— spending time in God’s creation
— singing hymns
— eating nourishing and delicious food, and more as we celebrated being together through a Zoom meeting.

Womaen’s Caucus closed its Annual Conference networking session singing “You are salt for the earth, O people, bring forth the Kingdom of God!” with thanks to Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Ohio for the song.

We closed our Annual Conference networking session singing “You are salt for the earth, O people, bring forth the Kingdom of God!” (thanks to Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Ohio for the song).

In this rapidly changing church and world, Womaen’s Caucus is generating power with the wise, faithful, fierce margins of the church: women, people of color, lgbtq, and variously-abled persons. We are salt for the earth, teaches Jesus. In this spirit we will offer a panel discussion on July 15 on “Speaking Truth to Power: Barriers to Leadership” (www.womaenscaucus.org/blog/speaking-truth-to-power-barriers-to-leadership), a workshop on Aug. 24 on “Leadership in the Church of the Brethren workshop” (www.womaenscaucus.org/blog/leadership-in-the-church-of-the-brethren-workshop), and a sharing session on Oct 5 on “From Nomination to Election” (www.womaenscaucus.org/blog/from-nominations-to-elections).

Would you like to join us in thinking about a healthier election system? Would you like to do something about barriers to leadership in the church? Do you have energy and/or money to support and fund Womaen’s Caucus? We’re looking for all of this involvement–let us know what inspires you! Go to www.womaenscaucus.org/involvement.

— Anna Lisa Gross is a member of the Womaen’s Caucus Steering Committee.


6) Her quilting inspiration comes from God

Amy Ziehm, a member of Arlington (Va.) Church of the Brethren, is featured on the Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren blog focused on arts and faith. In her blogpost, she displays a number of her beautiful quilt creations, and writes about the meaning of quilting in her life and the church’s ministry. “My mother and grandmother taught me to sew as a child, but I learned to quilt from a group of church ladies in the Fellowship Hall at ACOB! It gave me something fun and beautiful to focus on during a difficult period in my life, and I continue to enjoy it…. I feel certain that my inspiration comes from God, as well as the ability to put things together. But it is in the calm I feel when I am quilting that I feel most spiritual. Also, many of the smaller items I make are for our church’s Soup & Pie Bazaar, so I always have that in mind as I’m sewing.” Find the full blogpost at https://washingtoncitycob.org/2021/06/22/amy-ziehm-quilter.

7) Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren proclaims ‘Peace is patriotic’

Members of the Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., have folded several hundred origami cranes and mounted them in a display on the front lawn of the church along with a banner that reads “Peace is Patriotic.” Wrote James Lehman in a release published in the Daily Herald: “The origami crane as a symbol of peace goes back to Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who was a victim of the bombing on Hiroshima. She was 2 years old and severely irradiated. Still, she lived another 10 years. She is remembered because she folded more than 1,000 cranes for peace before her death. This display is the congregation’s way of celebrating the Fourth of July, lifting up their conviction that it is important for all of us as Americans to remember that working for peace is a way of honoring our country.”

8) Pleasant Chapel Church of the Brethren celebrates a century of ministry

Pleasant Chapel Church of the Brethren in Ashley, Ind., will celebrate 100 years of ministry on Sunday. The celebration marks “a century since the congregation was officially organized as a Church of the Brethren congregation and moved to its current building at the T corner of C.R. 8 and C.R. 19 in DeKalb County,” said a report published by The Blue Mountain Eagle. Said the article: “Pleasant Chapel’s celebration Sunday will begin in the same way as it did for its founding ancestors–with horse-drawn transportation. Members and guests will gather at the church from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. to ride in horse-drawn wagons from the present church building to the location of the long-gone Putt Schoolhouse.” The event echoes a Sunday morning in 1912 when the congregation went by horse and buggy to the schoolhouse to start a Sunday school. Read the full article at www.bluemountaineagle.com/life/national/ashley-congregation-celebrates-centennial-milestone/article_a97cc733-550f-59f6-857d-3e145bb0ed9a.html

9) Albright Church of the Brethren hosts Relay for Life

The Relay for Life event in Roaring Spring, Pa., on June 26 was hosted by Albright Church of the Brethren. The Morrisons Cove Herald reported that 44 cancer survivors took part. The Relay for Life is a national movement sponsored by the American Cancer Society as a fundraising event dedicated to saving lives from cancer. This was the 20th year for Relay for Life in the Cove. The event included food donated by local businesses, survivor shirts donated by a local business, entertainment by the Horseshoe Cloggers, and a speech from the ambassador for the event Carol Oaks, who was diagnosed with melanoma in 2010 and breast cancer in 2018. She said, “Those we lost won’t be forgotten and those who survived will continue to be remembered.” Read the full article at www.mcheraldonline.com/story/2021/07/01/news/relay-for-life-in-the-cove-celebrates-20-years-with-44-survivors/8624.html.

10) Wanted: Jesus in the neighborhood stories

We want to hear your “Jesus in the Neighborhood” stories! How is your congregation living “Jesus in the Neighborhood”? How are your members acting as Jesus’ hands and feet?

The Church of the Brethren congregations webpage at www.brethren.org/church now features stories about congregations from Messenger magazine and Newsline. Take a look for some instant inspiration.

We welcome photos, write-ups, or links to what your church is doing and being. Send materials to cobnews@brethren.org. Your submissions may be included in an upcoming issue of Newsline and/or Messenger, or may be posted to the congregations page.

While on that page, check your church listing and send updates to yearbook@brethren.org. Recently, the congregations page at www.brethren.org/church has been viewed hundreds of times per week. Don’t miss the opportunity to offer updated links and contact information for your congregation or fellowship to those visiting the page.

Questions about “Find a Church” or the congregations webpage can be directed to cobweb@brethren.org.

11) Brethren bits

2020 Annual Conference Logo
The logo for Annual Conference 2021. Art by Timothy Botts

Annual Conference reporting resources

A 2-page printable “Wrap Up” reviewing the 2021 Annual Conference is now available for free download in pdf format. This document is suitable for delegates to use in reporting to their congregations and districts, for reprinting in church and district newsletters, as an insert in worship bulletins, among other uses. Find the link at www.brethren.org/news/coverage/annual-conference-2021.

A video “Wrap Up” of the 2021 Annual Conference and videos of the Conference sermons are available to purchase from Brethren Press. These videos may be used by delegates in their reporting and may offer congregations options for small group study sessions and more. Order the Annual Conference Wrap-Up DVD for $29.95 and Sermons DVD for $24.95 from www.brethrenpress.com.

There are updated registration numbers for Annual Conference 2021: 519 delegates from congregations and districts and 705 nondelegates for a total registration number of 1,224.

Naomi Yilma completed her year of Brethren Volunteer Service on July 16. She has served as an associate with the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C. Her main areas of focus have been COVID-19 recovery and vaccine access, the Advocacy Network on Africa, economic peacemaking, and coordination of the Nigeria Working Group.

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. Responsibilities include strategizing and actively working to build relationships with a variety of constituents, enlisting financial support for the seminary, and serving as a member of the President’s Leadership Team. Find the full position description and how to apply at https://bethanyseminary.edu/jobs/executive-director-of-institutional-advancement.

Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., seeks a food services coordinator. The camp has announced that Wes Shrader is leaving the position after Aug. 31. He will help overlap and orient the new employee. Online applications are being accepted now for this fulltime, year-round position that is available immediately. Application, salary, and more details are at www.campbethelvirginia.org/food-services-coordinator.html.

Brethren Volunteer Service has announced new dates for its Fall Orientation Unit 330. The orientation will still be held at Camp Brethren Heights in Rodney, Mich., but on new dates: Oct. 3-22. The new application deadline is Aug. 20. “We have pushed back the start date of orientation to accommodate for EIRENE (our German partner organization) volunteers and obtaining visas,” said the announcement. For more information go to www.brethren.org/bvs.

The Healing Racism Mini-grant program from the Church of the Brethren’s Interculutural Ministries has been extended to Oct. 15. “Have an idea with your church or community?” said an invitation. “Don’t hesitate to contact Intercultural Ministries if you’d like to talk through your ideas or to brainstorm possibilities.” Contact LNkosi@brethren.org. The application and more information is online at www.brethren.org/intercultural.

A letter urging President Biden to end US drone strikes outside of traditional combat zones has been signed by the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, among more than 100 organizations that signed the document. The letter was organized by the Human Rights and Security Coalition. In it, the 113 organizations demand “an end to the unlawful program of lethal strikes outside any recognized battlefield, including through the use of drones,” which the organizations say is “imperative” to meet Biden’s aims of “ending ‘forever wars,’ promoting racial justice, and centering human rights in US foreign policy.” Find the full letter at www.aclu.org/letter/110-groups-letter-president-biden-calling-end-us-program-lethal-strikes-abroad.

“What’s in a Name? A Conversation with Christian Peacemaker Teams” is an online conversation to take place July 16 at 5 p.m. (Eastern time). Register at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEkdOqrqj4sGtXaydL7iFno48Sl8p6-fyhT. “As CPT has grown as an organization and in anti-oppressive values, the Steering Committee is considering the ways in which including ‘Christian’ in the name may be inadvertently hindering the work, excluding people, or misrepresenting the organization,” said an announcement. “At the same time, the Steering Committee is deeply aware of the importance of our spiritual approach to the work, our connections to faith communities, and the active engagement of denominations like the Church of the Brethren. As we discern the best way to move forward, we invite you to join the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, Christian Peacemaker Teams, and On Earth Peace for a conversation about replacing the word ‘Christian’ in CPT’s name.” In addition, the event will include a CPTer giving an update on the important accompaniment work of teams in Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, Colombia, and elsewhere. Participants will be invited to give thoughts and feedback on the proposed name change.

Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., has announced an estate gift of $1.2 million that will provide scholarships to students. “The widow of a 1947 Manchester graduate has left a $1.2 million gift to the University in memory of her husband,” said a release. “The Keith Kindell Hoover Memorial Scholarship Fund will provide scholarships to any worthy Manchester students at the direction of Gerda W. Hoover, who died in 2019.” Keith Kindell, who died in 2003, studied communication studies at Manchester, earned a bachelor of divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary and a doctorate in psychology from Northwestern University, and studied at the University of Hamburg, Germany. It was there that he met Waltraud Gerda Wolff and they married in 1952, settling in Lombard, Ill. He maintained a clinical psychology therapy practice and taught college-level classes. Gerda Hoover earned a master’s degree in German literature from Northwestern and taught high school and college German. She also published four books of poems and stories. For more information call the Manchester University Office of Advancement at 260-982-5412.

Chef Dru Tevis, who grew up in Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren, was named one of the best chefs in Delaware by Delaware Today. He was named to the honor by downstate readers. Tevis is a check with SoDel Concepts (sodelconcepts.com). Go to the “chefs” section at https://delawaretoday.com/best-of-delaware-2021/readers-pick-food-drink.

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 Tori Bateman, Jeff Boshart, Shamek Cardona, Phil Collins, Jan Fischer Bachman, Chris Douglas, Jonathan Graham, Anna Lisa Gross, Nate Hosler, James Lehman, Debbie Noffsinger, Christy Waltersdorff, Walt Wiltschek, 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.

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