Newsline for June 4, 2021

“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received” (1 Peter 4:10)

NEWS
1) Brethren Disaster Ministries closes Coastal Carolinas project, Children’s Disaster Services continues work at border

2) Office of Peacebuilding and Policy welcomes redesignation of TPS for Haitian refugees

3) Forging peace: Turning guns into garden tools

PERSONNEL
4) Randall Yoder to serve as interim district executive for Western Plains

UPCOMING EVENTS
5) What is planned for district conferences this year?

6) Gorman to present on the church in 1 Corinthians for Ministers’ Association virtual event

RESOURCES
7) Anabaptist Disabilities Network creates Disability Language Guide

8) Brethren bits: Remembering Martha Bowman, #TodayWeWearOrange, jobs, volunteer openings, camping news, GFI shout out, virtual experiences of the Holy Land from CMEP, video from CPT Palestine, peace and justice webinars from LMPC, “Anti-Racist in Christ”



A note to readers: As many congregations return to in-person worship, we want to update our listing of Churches of the Brethren that will continue to offer online worship. If your church’s entry at www.brethren.org/news/2020/church-of-the-brethren-congregations-worship-online.html needs to be updated, please send the 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 offering online worship 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 churches to be added to the listing of online worship offerings 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) Brethren Disaster Ministries closes Coastal Carolinas project, Children’s Disaster Services continues work at border

In updates from Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), the rebuilding project site in North Carolina has been closed, with the prospect of reopening the site this fall. CDS has sent a third volunteer team to Texas to work with migrant children and families at the border

Brethren Disaster Ministries

The “Coastal North Carolina” rebuilding project of Brethren Disaster Ministries closed May 1. A celebration service was held on April 24 for staff, volunteers, and partner organizations to celebrate the 23 homes that have been completed. This site was begun after Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas in September 2018. Preliminary conversations are occurring regarding the possibility of reopening this site in October, since it is likely there will still be work to do there, according to Brethren Disaster Ministries director Jenn Dorsch-Messler.

Brethren Disaster Ministries hosted a short-term “Derecho Recovery” rebuilding project in Iowa on June 1-6, following the derecho that hit the state and other areas of the Midwest in August 2020. A derecho is a severe straight-line wind event that can cause as much damage as a tornado. Brethren Disaster Ministries is working with National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and the Church of the Brethren’s Northern Plains District, with assistance from a Lowes grant. The work is led by Matt Kuecker, district disaster coordinator in Northern Plains.

New from Brethren Disaster Ministries is a video about its work, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s96pbXpUE8.

“It was a busy last week at the Bayboro site as we were winding down the project,” said a Facebook post from Brethren Disaster Ministries about the house blessing held for the final home that was completed in Pamlico County, N.C. “We are grateful for the many volunteers who contributed to the completion of this house, as well as our wonderful partner agencies–Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders and Pamlico Co. Disaster Recovery Coalition. Jennifer, we were blessed to have the opportunity to know you and serve you. Welcome home Jennifer!”

CDS shares love in play dough form at the border facility where volunteers are caring for migrant children and families. Photo by P.Henry

Children’s Disaster Services

CDS associate director Lisa Crouch has shared that CDS staff is busy with the deployment of volunteer teams in Texas, working with migrant children and families at the border. A third CDS team is deployed to the facility serving migrant families after the first two CDS teams that worked onsite there concluded their work and returned home.

The first CDS team to serve at the border had 720 child contacts and the second team had 660 child contacts, but the third team has been the busiest so far with a daily average of around 80 children. CDS plans to take a break from responding at this facility once the third team wraps up in early June, but plans to work on a longer term plan to support the facility in the coming weeks.

“Good work, but heavy work, and taxing on resources,” was the comment shared in an email from Brethren Disaster Ministries. It noted that, because of the pandemic, these are the first teams of CDS volunteers to serve in person for more than a year.

“It feels good to be back out there interacting with the children,” said Crouch. She visited the facility at the border to work with the first team in early May.

For more about Brethren Disaster Ministries go to www.brethren.org/bdm. For more about Children’s Disaster Services go to www.brethren.org/cds.



2) Office of Peacebuilding and Policy welcomes redesignation of TPS for Haitian refugees

By Naomi Yilma

“The concepts of stranger, alien, and sojourner furnish useful metaphors for interpreting the biblical and theological heritage of our church and God’s actions in human history. In the biblical tradition the alien is under the special protection of God. The alien is among those who receive the special protection because they do not have land. This means that the alien is to be dealt with in the same manner as the native. This is true of religious rights and of civil rights. Furthermore, that which is set aside for the alien, the widow, and the orphan (such as the gleanings of the crops) is not an act of charity but an obligation on the part of Israel, who, in truth, is an alien in God’s land.” – Church of the Brethren Annual Conference 1982 statement “Addressing the Concern of Undocumented Persons and Refugees in the United States” (www.brethren.org/ac/statements/1982-refugees)

On May 22, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will grant temporary protected status (TPS) to tens of thousands of Haitian migrants living in the United States without legal status.

Our staff commends and celebrates the extension of TPS, a crucial advance for Haitian Brethren and/or their family members who may be in the US on former TPS status. We recognize and congratulate all those who worked tirelessly to advocate for this redesignation.

In recognizing that this decision is a critical first step to protecting people from being returned to the harsh conditions in Haiti from which they fled, we call for a strategic, well-resourced, successful implementation of TPS to ensure that migrants are protected from deportation and that the 150,000 people eligible for work permits are given that opportunity.

The 1983 Church of the Brethren resolution “Providing Sanctuary for Latin American and Haitian Refugees” (www.brethren.org/ac/statements/1983-latin-haitian-refugees) “encourages congregations to employ all lawful means to protect refugees, including: providing legal assistance to refugees through administrative or judicial appeals of actions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, petitioning Congress and the State Department to grant refugee status to those fleeing political oppression in Latin America and Haiti, and providing the general public with information on the crucial issues. These actions are consistent with our commitment to obey the law unless such obedience violates conscience.”

— Naomi Yilma is a Brethren Volunteer Service worker with the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C.



3) Forging peace: Turning guns into garden tools

By Ivanna Johnson-McMurry

After we temporarily put our collective outrage aside, as the reality of another mass shooting–this time literally steps away from our front doors–steeped into our pores and settled into our bones, the reality that our Boulder bubble had been burst and that we would be forever changed by the events of March 22 took hold. The infinite loop of shock, outrage, thoughts and prayers, talking points of tougher gun laws, intentional inaction and follow-through on tougher gun laws. The weight of the casualness of another mass shooting.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat–the routine of it all.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Western Plains District newsletter, where it appeared as one of the quarterly “Peace Corner” series. Illustration courtesy of Western Plains District.

Simultaneously, as those in our community were lamenting “It could have been me,” or “That is where I get my prescriptions filled,” and “This has got to stop,” phone calls were being made, organizing was occurring, plans were being initiated.

It was a stone soup of sorts. “I’d like to sing, if you have space for that.” Jennifer Friedman of Dancers of Universal Peace offered to lead a restorative dance and chant. “I’d like to play an instrument,” if that will be helpful, another said. Brenda Fox of Prayerstream suggested bringing Beulah, one of her twin Airstream trailers, that has served as a contemplative meditation space for communities in the throes of trauma. “I can bring individually wrapped snacks,” another said enthusiastically. Carole Suderman proposed that seeds be distributed and planted for hope and renewal. She and Steve Voran walked the neighborhood posting fliers about the event.

Terry Mast erected giant chalkboards, so people could write words of encouragement. Mike Martin of RAWTools asked if he could bring his anvil and do a demonstration. Others called and emailed asking how they could be helpful, as pastor Randy Spaulding of Boulder Mennonite Church strategized and contemplated the logistics of pulling this event together in less than a week’s time, all while working a fulltime schedule, preparing liturgy for Easter, and honoring his other pastoral commitments.

Good Friday arrived, an unusually warm day for a Colorado April. There was the hum of activity as the tent that served as a sunshade was set up. Beulah was pulled into the parking lot, and given a prominent spot for maximum exposure. A mobile marquee with information about the event commanded attention at the front of the church. Different stations were set up for participation, a peace banner recognizing those lost to gun violence, seeds and cartons in which to plant them, flash paper distributed to write names upon and then burn by the fire of a candle. Mandala coloring pages on yet another station. The proverbial star of the show was the anvil and the dismantled guns that were being repurposed into garden tools, a demonstration graciously offered by Mike Martin.

Before the start of the event, a local resident, who didn’t want to be named, discreetly donated a handgun to Mike. Within five minutes the gun was completely dismantled according to Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) specifications. It is important that RAWTools disable the gun in front of the donor. This ensures to the donor that the gun was disabled and is no longer usable. It also makes certain that any laws regarding the transfer of a firearm have not been broken. Additionally, RAWTools doesn’t want to be in possession of a live firearm.

“Turning guns into garden tools is at the center of the work of RAWtools. It connects our programs and enables storytelling–stories of magnificent transformation as well as the deep trauma of grief and loss,” explains Martin. The process of repurposing various types of firearms into gardening tools takes about 45 minutes. A rifle can be made into a mattock, a shotgun into a spade, and a handgun would make half of a mattock, either the hoe or fork. At the end of each event that RAWTools is a part of, they donate whatever garden tool that was created to either the organizer sponsoring the event or a local community garden where the event was held.

As the crowd began to swell and the barometer rose, Pastor Randy stood solemnly before a lectern and reminded us of our peacemaking traditions as Mennonites, reminding us of our sacred text and holy scriptures. In the background a forge to the right of him was being fired up to 2,200 degrees, a power saw capable of cutting through metal was being positioned, and the anvil set-up had been completed. Martin led us in a prayer, and invited anyone who wanted to participate in hammering a gun barrel to get in line. And they did. There were participants as young as 8, there were mothers, and grandmothers, they were Black and white, members of the Latinx community, regular churchgoers and others who had only heard of the event through media channels. One by one they stood in line, and when given the hammer they pounded that gun barrel, in frustration, in grief, in rage, in anger, and in an act of solidarity with so many who have lost their lives to gun violence.

As the sun was beating down on me, and sweat beads pooled at the nape of my neck, while Lily Mast, accompanied by Eve Kia, belted out one of the most beautiful renditions of Sarah McLachlan’s “Arms of an Angel,” I took the hammer in my hand, held it with both hands above my head, and pounded out my heartache of having another 10 lives lost to gun violence that was absolutely preventable, especially if we had politicians that didn’t prioritize profit over personhood. As Lily sang, “In this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness, that brings me to my knees,” I finished hammering, and prayed that Rikki Olds, Neven Stanisic, Denny Strong, Eric Talley, Jody Waters, Tralona Bartkowiak, Suzanne Fountain, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray, and Teri Leiker had found comfort in the arms of an angel.

— Ivanna Johnson-McMurry works for and is a member of, Boulder (Colo.) Mennonite Church, which is also a Church of the Brethren fellowship in Western Plains District. For more information about RAWTools go to https://rawtools.org.



PERSONNEL

4) Randall Yoder to serve as interim district executive for Western Plains

Randall Yoder of Huntingdon, Pa., began June 1 as interim district executive minister for the Church of the Brethren’s Western Plains District. He will serve primarily in a virtual capacity, with travel to the district as needed.

Yoder has been an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren for more than 50 years. He has served in three pastorates and has 20 years of experience as district executive minister in Middle Pennsylvania District. He also has been an interim district executive in Pacific Southwest District and in Atlantic Northeast District.

Yoder has specialized in training for conflict management, congregational transformation for mission, and coaching congregations and pastors for missional life and leadership with a focus on discerning a missional fit for their cultural settings and realities.

He is an instructor for the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, which is based at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, focusing on polity and leadership classes. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Manchester University, a master of divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary, and a doctor of ministry from McCormick Seminary, with a focus on organizational redevelopment.



UPCOMING EVENTS

5) What is planned for district conferences this year?

This listing of what the 24 Church of the Brethren districts are planning for their conferences this year was collected by Nancy Miner, manager of the Office of the General Secretary, and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services. Information was received from district offices and gleaned from district websites and district newsletters:

Atlantic Northeast District is planning its 52nd district conference for Oct. 1-2, online from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, with Colossians 3 as the foundational scripture. The district’s Program and Arrangements Committee “continues to wrestle with the challenges of balancing the desire to gather and encourage one another in-person, while there is uncertainty over conditions five months from today,” said the district newsletter, and as of May had decided on a virtual event. Plans include worship highlighted by multi-cultural inspirational music, a challenge to be renewed by the district’s Way Forward process, Bible study, opportunity to support Brethren Disaster Ministries. Scott Moyer of East Fairview Church of the Brethren is the moderator.

Atlantic Southeast District plans its conference for Nov. 5-6 at Rock Church of the Brethren. The moderator is Ray Hileman.

Idaho and Western Montana District will gather at Nampa (Idaho) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 8-9. The district conference moderator is Dean Feasenhiser.

Illinois and Wisconsin District will hold its 2021 conference online on Nov. 6. “This decision was made with prayerful consideration, out of an abundance of caution, and for the safety of all concerned,” said an announcement, which added that this year’s conference will follow a similar format to the 2020 virtual event held with a shortened format. “We look forward to being able to safely meet in person at the 2022 District Conference,” said the announcement. The moderator is Blaine Miner.

Atlantic Northeast District

Michigan District is planning a hybrid format for its district conference, both in-person at Camp Brethren Heights and online. Dates are Aug. 13-14. Randall Westfall, director of the camp, is the moderator.

Mid-Atlantic District will be hosted for its conference at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren for a hybrid event, taking place both in-person and online. The one-day event takes place Oct. 9. The moderator is Allen O’Hara.

Middle Pennsylvania District

Middle Pennsylvania District holds its conference on Oct. 2, as a one-day, in-person event at Pine Glen Church of the Brethren. The theme is “Bearing Fruit, Being Disciples, Surrendering All.” The day will include worship, ministry moments, a camp meeting, fellowship, and food. The moderator is Rock Manges.

Missouri and Arkansas District will have a hybrid conference with in-person events to be held at Cabool Church of the Brethren on Sept. 24-26. The moderator is Gary Gahm.

Northern Indiana District is planning its conference to take place at Camp Mack on Sept. 17-18. The moderator is Kara Morris.

Northern Ohio District plans its conference as a hybrid event on Aug. 14, scaled back to a one-day event from the usual two days. Only delegates from the district’s congregations will gather in person at Akron Springfield Church of the Brethren, but the conference will be live-streamed at no cost to online participants. Social distancing and masks will be in place. The district’s 2020 conference was canceled because of the pandemic, so the 2021 conference continues last year’s theme: “Focusing on Jesus’ Vision of His Church and for His Church” (Matthew 16:18 and 28:18-20). “This theme will still prove to be very timely due to our denomination’s current focus on a compelling vision,” said an announcement. Brad Kelley is the moderator.

Northern Plains District

Northern Plains District plans to hold its district conference on Aug. 6-8 as a virtual, online event. The theme is “Humble Service” (John 13:12-17). Among the keynote speakers is Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary. In addition to worship, insight sessions are being planned as well as school-age and young adult activities, and times of fellowship. The moderator is Paul Shaver of Ivester Church of the Brethren.

Pacific Northwest District’s conference will be a virtual, online event led by moderator Ben Green. Dates TBA.

Pacific Southwest District will hold a hybrid conference with in-person events hosted at Hillcrest Homes, a church-related retirement community in La Verne, Calif., and some events held online only. Dates are Nov. 7-10 for Zoom insight sessions, and Nov. 12-14 for the hybrid conference sessions. The moderator is Al Clark.

Puerto Rico District will hold its next district conference in February 2022.

Shenandoah District plans an in-person conference on Nov. 5-6. Daniel House is the moderator. Location is to be determined.

South Central Indiana District plans a hybrid conference, with delegates gathering at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., and the conference also streaming online. The date is Sept. 11. The moderator is Spencer Spaulding.

Southeastern District will hold its conference at Camp Carmel on July 24. The district moderator is John Smith.

Southern Ohio and Kentucky District is planning a virtual, online-only conference on Oct. 8-9. The moderator is Nick Beam.

Southern Pennsylvania District has announced its conference for Sept. 18 at York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, as a one-day, in-person event. The theme is “Jesus Calls Us to Follow Him” (Matthew 9:9). The moderator is Ray Lehman.

Southern Plains District will hold its district conference at Antelope Valley Church of the Brethren in Billings, Okla., on Aug. 5-6.

Virlina District has not yet announced a format for its district conference this year. The dates are Nov. 12-13. The moderator is Greg Fleshman.

Western Pennsylvania District plans to meet at Camp Harmony on Oct. 16. The moderator is Cheryl Marszalek.

Western Plains District will meet on the theme “Who Can Separate Us from the Love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35) via Zoom on July 23-24. The conference is planned “to help us be living examples of the scripture that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of Christ!’” said an announcement. The Friday evening celebration of the district’s annual Gathering events that have now come to a close will be held as a hybrid, online and in-person event at the Cedars retirement community in McPherson, Kan. In addition to business sessions and insight sessions, plans include a sermon by Annual Conference moderator-elect David Sollenberger, and a presentation from Tim Grove, an expert on Trauma Informed Care, speaking on “Helping Our Youth Thrive in Unprecedented Times” (ministers may earn .15 continuing education units). The moderator is Gail Erisman Valeta.

Western Plains District

West Marva District has scheduled its conference for Sept. 17-18. “We hope for an in-person meeting at that time,” said an announcement. “Moorefield Church of the Brethren has offered their church for the conference, and we appreciate their invaluable help and support.” Mark Jones is the moderator.



6) Gorman to present on the church in 1 Corinthians for Ministers’ Association virtual event

By Phil Collins

The Church of the Brethren Ministers’ Association is hosting a virtual pre-Annual Conference event on June 29, 6-9 p.m., and June 30, 10:30 a.m.-12 noon and 1-4 p.m. (Eastern time). The event will consist of presentations by New Testament scholar Michael J. Gorman followed by interactive question-and-answer sessions with attendees.

Gorman is the Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Md., who specializes in the letters, theology, and spirituality of the apostle Paul. At this event, he will present on the church in 1 Corinthians.

The committee hopes participants will read one or both of the following books prior to the event: Reading Paul (available through Brethren Press at www.brethrenpress.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=9781556351952) or Participating in Christ: Explorations in Paul’s Theology and Spirituality.

Ministers may earn continuing education credit, for those who sign up for the event. Attendance is priced at $50 and signing up provides a link to the live sessions as well as access to the recorded sessions after the event. Translation is also available if needed.

Michael J. Gorman

For more information and registration, which is open now, visit www.brethren.org/ministryoffice.

— Phil Collins is a student at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. The Brethren Ministers’ Association Committee includes Barbara Wise Lewcsak, Ken Frantz, Erin Huiras, Jody Gunn, Nancy Heishman as director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry, and Tim Morphew, treasurer.



RESOURCES

7) Anabaptist Disabilities Network creates Disability Language Guide

By Jeanne Davies and Hannah Thompson

The Anabaptist Disabilities Network announces the creation of a Disability Language Guide. This guide is meant to help us all carefully consider the language that we choose when writing and speaking about disability and people with disabilities. We hope you find it useful and share it with others.

The mission of the Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADN) is to connect and support people who have disabilities, families, and faith communities to create a culture of belonging for everybody. Our vision: “Faith communities are transformed when individuals with disabilities and their God-given gifts and experiences enjoy full inclusion in the Body of Christ.”

Find the Disability Language Guide at http://bit.ly/ADNLanguageGuide. Contact Jeanne Davies at jeanned@adnetonline.org with any questions or concerns.



8) Brethren bits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about virtual tours and journeys offered through CMEP at https://cmep.salsalabs.org/CMEPJourneys2021/index.html.

Christian Peacemaker Teams has announced a new video series produced by its CPT Palestine team. CPT got its start as a project of the Historic Peace Churches including the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers. Described as “a powerful video series of memories,” the series interviews Palestinian people living in Hebron who “share their lived experiences as a way to resist the occupation that aims to erase them.” Find the first video in the series posted on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ibp1bnedve8.

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

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


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 Jeff Boshart, Shamek Cardona, Phil Collins, Lisa Crouch, Jeanne Davies, Jenn Dorsch-Messler, Stan Dueck, Pamela B. Eiten, Jan Fischer Bachman, Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Ivanna Johnson-McMurry, Nancy Miner, Hannah Thompson, Roy Winter, Naomi Yilma, 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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