Prayer is requested for the country of Haiti and l’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). The Global Mission office reports that “Haitian gangs have blocked a major port, leading to fuel shortages. Clean water is also lacking, and there have been outbreaks of cholera. The United States and United Nations are considering armed intervention to support the national police. We praise God that construction continues, including a new church, as Haitian Brethren rebuild the community hit by an earthquake in 2020. They are also building a temporary headquarters for the church and the Haiti Medical Project in a safer town outside of the capital. Pray that they may raise the needed $15,000 for building project.”
Ilexene Alphonse who pastors in Miami, Fla., and who has been working with the churches in Haiti, reported from a visit he made early last month. He wrote that “the crisis in Haiti is worse than ever,” but despite the difficulties, rebuilding of homes following the country’s last large earthquake has been successful and continues. “Five of the houses are completely done except for painting and five of the first ten houses need roofing and doors,” he reported. “Now, we are about to start with 11 new houses. All the foundations are already dug by the beneficiaries and most the materials that were expected from each one of them are already onsite. There are also rebars and cements on each site for work to re-start whenever possible…. I met with a few members of the community and church board members; they all expressed their heartfelt appreciation for the projects…. Again, more people are accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and join the church because of the service. They sent their greetings on behalf of the church and the community. We are praying for the Brethren family in the diaspora, said an older lady. There is a lot more to be done but what the Church of the Brethren is doing here no one has done that before and don’t think anyone else/organization/government will ever do…. God has a way of taking people to places that He only can do.”
— In related news, the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy is one of 289 immigration, faith-based, and human rights groups that sent a letter to the Biden administration regarding Haitian migrants captured at sea. The lengthy letter, dated Nov. 4, asked the administration not to send Haitian migrants to detention at Guantanamo Bay military base in Cuba or subject them to “third-country arrangements.” The letter said, in part: “We call on your administration to prioritize protections for Haitian nationals. This includes halting returns and expulsions to Haiti given the life-threatening conditions there. The administration must not under any circumstances send asylum seekers and migrants to the notorious Guantánamo Bay or other offshore detention locations. The United States should also immediately create swift, meaningful, and substantial safe pathways to protection for Haitians, and provide access to apply for asylum in the United States, without discrimination, and regardless of whether people travel by land, sea, or air in search of refuge.” The letter cited similar instances in past history of US treatment of Haitian migrants, as well as documented conditions at Guantanamo Bay from the Guantánamo Public Memory Project. The letter also noted that “third-country arrangements…violate refugee and human rights law” and advocated for the end of Title 42, “which UNHCR has repeatedly warned violates refugee law and returns people to their country of feared harm without asylum adjudications or screening, restore asylum processing at ports of entry, and ensure interdicted Haitians can disembark in the United States.”
— “World’s only four-year automotive restoration program gets $500M boost” is the title of a report about a record-breaking funding initiative for McPherson (Kan.) College, written by Kyle Smith of Hagerty Media, himself an alum. “No matter how you use or abuse a vehicle, you will likely learn something. You can kickstart an informal education with a few hundred bucks and a search on Craigslist–or you can learn the craft of restoration from professionals at Kansas’ McPherson College, which just announced a massive gift of $500 million that could make it one of the richest liberal arts colleges in the United States. This humble, 800-student college offers a Bachelors of Science in Automotive Restoration, the only four-year degree of its kind in the world. The program comprises roughly 120 students that, upon graduation, spread worldwide into every arm of the automotive industry. (Your author is one such example.)… ‘This is an unprecedented show of support not just for McPherson College but also for America’s small, liberal arts colleges,’ says McPherson president Michael Schneider. ‘I am indescribably grateful to our anonymous donor….’ The donation is set up as a 2:1 matching affair, meaning the donor will give $2 for every $1 raised by the college between now and June of 2023.” Read the full article at www.hagerty.com/media/news/worlds-only-four-year-automotive-restoration-program-gets-500m-boost.
The Mutual Aid Agency (MAA, https://maabrethren.com), a Church of the Brethren-related insurance agency, has shared more information following up on a recent announcement of the Full Strength Network being made available to pastors and ministers across the denomination.
MAA is recommending a series of four articles that are now available on the Full Strength website. Here are titles, brief descriptions, and links to the online posts:
Here Are 4 Things Healthy Leaders Do – “No leader or pastor starts their career or starts a church with thinking about quitting. All of them start with grand plans and dreams of the future and finishing, retiring, making it to the end with friends and family around them. Yet statistically that is incredibly rare. Most quit, give up, fall out of the race or simply stop trying while still collecting a paycheck…. Recently I’ve had several pastors talk about not wanting to burn out, which seems like a good goal. But the moment you start talking about burnout, you have moved into a dangerous place. Let me throw out a different question, one I think is better: How can you lead and live at a sustainable pace?” https://fullstrength.org/here-are-4-things-healthy-leaders-do
Ten Reasons We Should Practice Solitude – “If we are to live as true followers of Jesus, we will be intentional about the practice of solitude. Let’s look at 10 different times in Jesus’ life when he made solitude a priority.” https://fullstrength.org/ten-reasons-we-should-practice-solitude
Pastor, Are You Burning Out? – “But the Lord said to him (twice), ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ I’m 67 years old and just had my first burn out experience. It never happened during an intense 40+ year business career, most of it as the chief sales and marketing officer of a company with a half-billion dollars in assets. No, it came two years after entering vocational ministry as the CEO of an emerging Christian nonprofit ministry. Here’s a list of the symptoms that I experienced during my burnout adventure.” https://fullstrength.org/pastor-are-you-burning-out
Causes and Cures for Leadership Burnout – “Leadership is really tough. Good leaders understand this and manage their lives and leadership demands to avoid burnout. Sometimes, however, even the best leaders get burned out. If you’re facing it now, examine the cause list below to see what factors may be contributing to it. Then, take one proactive step this week from the cures list to take better care of yourself. Here are four causes of leadership burnout.
Children’s Disaster Services reports that its last team serving in Florida following Hurricane Ian has completed its work. “Three volunteer teams had a total of 418 child contacts in shelters between October 9 and November 1. We are so grateful for these women and men who spent long hours providing a safe and caring environment for these children. And thanks to everyone else who supported them with prayers, good thoughts, and financial donations. We are blessed and so were the children (and their families).”
— “Peacemaking Beyond the Boundary: Lessons from EYN” is the title of a presentation by Dauda Gava, international scholar in residence at Bethany Seminary who has served as provost of Kulp Theological Seminary, a school of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The event hosted at the Young Center of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College takes place on Monday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). Gava will discuss how EYN has held its stand as a peaceful church as it faced crises of leadership, tribalism, and Boko Haram insurgency during the past 15 years. Said the announcement: “Join us in person at the Young Center, Elizabethtown College, or via livestream at https://etown.zoom.us/j/95048643219.” For more information call 717-361-1470 or visit www.etown.edu/youngctr/events.
Gava also will be speaking for the Sunday morning worship service on Nov. 13 at Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren, on the topic “Friendship with Christ Leads to Peace and Unity” (John 15:12-15, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). The service starts at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern time); and will present at the Brethren Retirement Community that afternoon at 3 p.m.
— The November episode of Brethren Voices, a community television show produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, continues a story of two German friends who have been serving in Brethren Volunteer Service. The April episode told the story of Florian Wesseler and his best friend Johannes Stitz who joined BVS together and have been serving at SnowCap Community Charities in Gresham, Ore. Now, in this month’s episode, prior to their return home to Germany the two volunteers share some of the highlights of their BVS experience of serving in the United States. Said long-term SnowCap volunteer Scott Bringhurst, “The last seven months have been amazing at SnowCap, because we’ve had two young guys with a very positive attitude, with a willingness to work, really, hard. The volunteers following them, have very big shoes to fill. These guys will be long remembered by SnowCap.” Find Brethren Voices on YouTube at the channel www.youtube.com/user/BrethrenVoices.
— The World Council of Churches (WCC) has a delegation attending COP27, the annual international climate conference, taking place in Egypt. The delegation attended “ready to push for a just, sustainable global community,” said a WCC release. The group included representatives from WCC member churches and partner organizations. The release stated that the “WCC will lead the ecumenical movement in strengthening collective calls for climate action and justice” following on a strong statement for climate action made at the WCC’s 11th Assembly in September. Find the assembly statement, “The Living Planet: Seeking a just and sustainable global community,” at www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/the-living-planet-seeking-a-just-and-sustainable-global-community.
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